Text bombs and “Black Dots of Death”
plague WhatsApp and iMessage users
How to Restrict Android App Permissions
How to Share Large Files Over the
External Hard Drive Not Showing Up on
Mac? Here’s How to Fix It
Test Windows Defender Antivirus (or
other security software)
Comcast is charging $90 to plug in your
modem and I’m not even angry any more
Google Is Replacing Drive Storage With
More Generous ‘Google One’ Plans
GOOGLE ONE INTRODUCES CHEAPER CLOUD
Google introduces new name for its paid
cloud storage service, and with it cheaper plans and other
6 Ways You're Using Your Headphones
Do your headphones or earphones keep
breaking? Follow these tips to end the painful cycle of buying a
cheap replacement pair every year.
5 ways to insert a checkmark into
Adding symbols to a Word or Excel
document can lend strong visual cues that text simply can't
replicate. Use these five easy methods to add important symbols to
8 cool new things your Google Home can
do that will make Alexa jealous
Confusion over chipmakers' debug
exception instructions prompts patching
How to Speed Up Your PC's Slowest
Critical vulnerabilities in PGP/GPG and
S/MIME email encryption, warn researchers
EFAIL FLAW "MIGHT REVEAL THE PLAINTEXT
OF ENCRYPTED EMAILS."
5 of the Best Free Online Translators
to Translate Foreign Language
Send Texts From Your PC With This
Upcoming Windows Feature
How to Use the Windows 10 Startup
Folder: Everything You Need to Know
Windows 10 version 1803 microcode
Behold: The iPhone X Plus of your
Intel’s First 10nm CPUs Have Been
Spotted in the Wild
Microsoft to fix Intel and Toshiba SSD
problems with Windows 10’s April 2018 Update
It seems like the Windows 10 April 2018
Update wasn't ready for the masses after all, as more issues
continue to appear.
Linksys WRT32XB Router Prioritizes Xbox
It's the first router in the 'Designed
for Xbox' program and one for serious online gamers.
How to find what's taking up space on
your Mac using DaisyDisk
This guide shows you how to find and
delete what's using the most space on your MacBook or iMac drive
with the help of an application called DaisyDisk.
Best security system for people who are
not tech savvy
How to: Make your very own Snapchat
Gigabyte Enters The SSD Market With UD
PRO, Aorus Branding
Despite Efail, the sky is not falling
ATTACK ON ENCRYPTED EMAILS IS SNEAKY,
BUT IT DOESN'T SEEM TO BE ALL THAT IT'S HYPED UP TO BE.
Flesh Wounds Could Be Healed with a 3D
Skin Printer Now in Development
How to Disable Touch ID or Face ID On
Opera Touch for Android Makes
One-Handed Browsing on Larger Screens Easier
Microsoft releases KB4134661 and
KB4134660 for Windows 10
Microsoft released the two updates
KB4134661 and KB4134660 for Windows 10 version 1703 and Windows 10
version 1709 yesterday.
OnePlus copied the iPhone X, but it
also improved Apple’s design in one important way
Senate votes to reverse FCC order and
restore net neutrality
Microsoft is reportedly taking on
Apple's iPad with a line of low-cost tablets
- The new $400 tablets will
feature 10-inch screens and rounded edges — closely mimicking the
iPad — and could hit shelves as early as the second half of 2018,
according to a Bloomberg report.
- Microsoft attempted to launch
an affordable Surface-branded laptop in 2012 with the release of
the Surface RT.
How to Listen to Audiobooks Through
Alexa can read you books from Amazon's
Kindle service and audiobooks from Audible.
Intel's First 10nm Cannon Lake CPU
Do it now! Protect your router from the
Apple given permission to use drones to
improve Apple Maps
Intel Sneaks Out Z390 Chipset
Documents: Native USB 3.1 Gen2, Wireless-AC, Bluetooth 5
Data Breach Disclosure Is Still Taking
Too Long, Report Reveals as GDPR Looms
Encryption Made Easy: Stuff You Can Do
How to Remove the Microsoft Store Icon
from the Taskbar in Windows 10
Use This Hidden Keyboard Combo to Fix
Your Frozen Computer
Enable Chrome's new Picture-in-Picture
Malicious Apps Get Back on the Play
Store Just by Changing Their Name
The new AI-powered Google News app is
now available for iOS
Intel’s Intriguing Future For Memory
'Android Things' Emerges From Beta as
Google Dives Into IoT
Android Things attempts to solve the
problem of bugs within Internet of Things devices by off-boarding
the security work to Google.
Apple Suddenly Makes iPhones $200
With this portable tool, your web
browser goes with you
Windows-based CLI susceptible to
process injection attack
HP EX900 SSD Review: HMB Makes DRAMless
Zero-day flaw exploited in targeted
attacks is fixed by Microsoft
3 Ways to Insert the Degree Symbol in
7 Chrome Extensions Spreading Through
Facebook Caught Stealing Passwords
How to Disable Pocket’s Sponsored
Stories in Firefox
Here’s absolutely everything we know
about the HTC U12 Plus
Comments by -- Bob Primak --
Re. Recent FYI Postings: Week of
Re. FYI #1254 (Sun 5/06/2017):
(Note: Date still needs fixing.)
Yes, those robocalls you’re ignoring are
In an age when cellphones have become
extensions of our bodies, robocallers now follow people wherever
they go, disrupting business meetings, church services and bedtime
stories with their children.
I get very few of these. What am I doing
differently? At home, I use NomoRobo, But for my cell phone I
don't use anything. Unless someone sends me a spam text, the
incoming calls (which rarely leave a voicemail message) aren't
costing me anything.
Twitter Talks Up Its Move to PWA
Now if only they could keep their user
How to Disable Nearby Sharing on Windows
This feature should be disabled by
default. If left on in a public place, this could be very risky.
'Unpatchable' Nintendo Switch exploit is
perfect example of the importance of firmware security
The exploit, which affects all Nvidia
Tegra X1 systems, allows arbitrary code execution at the bootROM
I'll bet the last thing a gamer will ask
when buying a game box is, "Can the firmware in this box be
updated?". The sales people would probably faint dead on the spot.
In defense of the Goldilocks phone
Boring phone specs? Don't be so quick to
This article focuses on expensive phones
which only look cheap because they are subsidized under
locked-down contracts. For real affordability, phones like the
Moto G6 are the ones which are best described by this article, not
the X or Z series. That is, if you prefer unlocked and really want
to be able to choose an affordable plan.
The Internet Is Facing a Health Scare,
Suggests Mozilla Report
But will people get scared enough to
actually learn something this time? The current gun control debate
suggests the answer is, No.
The Real Reason Why Everything at Aldi Is
They also do not have on-site Union
employees. Everyone else except some local chains is a Union Shop,
in all departments including their cashiers. That costs a lot of
money. I am actually pro-Union -- we should not be allowing
companies like Amazon to pay such low wages and have so few
benefits that many of their full-time employees are eligible for
food stamp (SNAP) assistance. Aldi is equally bad in this area,
and so are the warehouse club stores, as well as WalMart and
Target. If you shop at any of these places, you are supporting
worker exploitation, both in the stores and at the supplier level.
That includes using illegal migrant labor to harvest fruits and
vegetables, or outsourcing to countries with exploitative
anti-Union laws. But if you can live with all of that, enjoy your
(temporary) savings. BTW, I have tried Aldi and WalMart produce,
and it is usually very poor quality for the price. Their yogurt
and cheese are also very much second-rate or poorer quality.
Open-Sourced Windows File Manager Gets New
Life on Windows 10
The article itself says this is useless
for Windows 10 users. This is another one of Microsoft's pathetic
lip-service efforts to gain some credibility with open source
advocates. Like the other recent Microsoft olive branches, this
one is viewed in the Linux community with more than a little
Newton email app makes the 'sent' folder
Like a messaging app, sent emails show up
in the inbox alongside other conversations.
This is the exact opposite of what a mail
manager should be doing. It makes it even harder to sort out what
has been received from what has been sent. It sacrifices true
organization for the aesthetics of a "conversation view". Which I
and any other serious email client user would detest. The whole
world is not Texting, Messaging or Chat Apps.
Cambridge Analytica Files For Bankruptcy
As Its Execs Form ‘Emerdata’
And the evidence of their misdeeds with
user data flies to the winds.
The Best Video Doorbells of 2018
"Knock-knock-knock." "Hi, Sheldon." "Well,
that was very unsatisfying."
How to See What Data Windows 10 is Sending
Now that we can see it, how do we stop it?
My opinion of these Ashampoo apps -- meh
--. They aren't worth paying for.
Facebook: AI will protect you
We'll believe it when we see it.
I've already posted about how well AI
"protected" some of the users of Facebook's dating app. A lot of
fake accounts got a pass while many real accounts got taken down.
Use Windows 10’s New “Free Up Space” Tool
to Clean Up Your Hard Drive
I don't see this feature as putting
CCleaner out of business, but it is a step in the right direction.
10 Ways to Speed Up Firefox Quantum in
Under 10 Minutes
Again, the comments are from 2016. This
article is a retread, with the word "Quamtum" added into the
headline. Some of these settings aren't even available anymore.
How to ‘Drop In’ on an Echo, Echo Show, or
Another Echo feature to disable before it
gets someone into a lot of trouble. Will these guys never get it
about the need for privacy in one's own home? Guess not.
Apple's Siri Is An Embarrassment
At first I thought this article was about
Siri's penchant for telling complete strangers every intimate
detail she knows about you. But the utter inability to answer even
simple questions is also a reason to be embarrassed. Though I
doubt Siri is intelligent enough to experience embarrassment.
Neither are any of her competitors, FWIW.
FTC warned Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft
about illegal warranties
Hyundai, HTC and ASUS received warnings as
And what about those tags on pillows which
Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Law? One thing which is not clear
is whether just opening up a device really can void your warranty.
On Chromebooks, modifying the firmware is supposed to void the
hardware warranty. I'd like to see this challenged in court, as I
use Linux alongside Chrome OS on my ASUS flip c302. This is like
Intel saying it's NUC warranty is void because I run Ubuntu Linux
alongside Windows 10 Pro on it. Yes, support is not applicable.
But the hardware warranty? Come on!
The Best Graphic Design Software of 2018
Whether you are a professional graphic
designer or just want to dive into high-end design, these are the
tools you need to master.
I'm calling out PC Mag on this one. They
totally ignore anything which runs on a Mac, and all open source
alternatives like The GIMP. That is the worst case of selling out
to commercial and pro-Microsoft interets I've seen at PC Mag in a
Hulu to Finally Allow Offline Viewing
I haven't heard the details, but I'd be
surprised if the downloads are permanent. The probably become
unplayable after a little while. And of course the DRM will
prevent external displays and screen mirroring (Chromecast,
Miracast) from working with them. They may have an arrangement
with Roku or somebody for their devices to play offline content.
[Nightly Update] Firefox 61.0 Shows
Downloads in Highlights Section on New Tab Page
So now you have to wade through a mountain
of ads to get to your downloads?
Re. FYI#1255 (Mon 5/08/2018):
AT&T accidentally blocked Cloudflare’s
privacy DNS service
Comcast may be resetting the DNS services,
not blocking any of them. So, if you get your gateway (router)
from an ISP, you may not be able to make switching your DNS stick.
Regulators should be looking into these claims.
Facebook admits it didn’t read terms of
app that caused data breach
So, even the folks running Facebook (and
their lawyers) didn't read the whole agreement. TL;DR strikes
again! This is not making Facebook look good.
What “WebAuthn” Is and How It Might
This is the system which uses FIDO keys.
When these are set up like the YubiKey dongles, this is more
secure than passwords, and less likely to be forgotten. If you
lose the YubiKey-style dongle or it fails for some reason, you'll
still need a password and one other factor (like a text-message
one-time recovery code) to regain access.
Survey Reveals Users Have No Clue About
The fact of the matter is, I don't know
much about this either. The manufacturers don't seem eager to help
users change default settings. And if the ISP provides the router,
forget about getting support for making the router more secure.
Microsoft is fixing a Windows 10 bug that
causes Chrome to freeze
Some users are reporting the glitch locks
up their PCs.
One more reason to hold off for a while
before upgrading. This means folks who care about this sort of
thing should have the Pro version.
FTC Promises Legal Action if
Warranty-Voiding Stickers Aren’t Fixed Soon
I wonder how far beyond PCs this action
Facebook Fires 'Stalker' Engineer
I wouldn't be surprised to find out that
similar insider stalking happens at other companies which hold a
lot of personal data. But this is yet one more thing which makes
Facebook look bad.
AMD Ships Vulnerability Patches To
It's hard to say just what is being
patched, but this does show that it's not just Intel chips which
are having security issues deep inside their hardware. We'll be
hearing more like this for a long time to come.
Bluestar Gives Arch Linux a Celestial Glow
No matter how pretty you skin it, Arch
Linux is one of the most difficult Linux distros to use. It is
dependent on Command Line, which disqualifies it as a beginner's
distro. There are other quirks which take some getting used to.
Would a Phone With a Keyboard Be Feasible
Probably not practical for on the go use.
And not really necessary. I don't type out novels (or FYI Replies)
when using my phone on the road.
Microsoft's 4 most disappointing products
Wow! What's listed in this article pretty
much sums up everything in Windows 10 which makes it different
from Windows 7. I don't disagree -- just wanted to point this out.
Microsoft Offers New Tool to Grow Linux in
Windows Subsystem fro Linux (WSL) is not
intended for end users. It is a Developer platform, and relates
primarily to enterprise app development and Cloud applications,
using Microsoft Azure as the main platform. Amazon Web Services
(AWS) has been doing things like this ever since Amazon first
introduced its Cloud platform. So no, this is not Microsoft
allowing Linux to run inside of Windows. It is an effort not to
lose further market share to AWS from Azure.
Chrome learns to mute sites based on your
It's no longer an all-or-nothing affair.
This is an interesting theory. But if you
clear your browser history and don't let Google keep your Web
History, I don't think this feature is going to work properly. My
own Chrome Browser in Linux does not always mute things I don't
want activated, even on inactive tabs.
Re. FYI#1256 (Tues 5/08/2018):
Microsoft to fix freeze and compatibility
issues with Windows 10’s April 2018 Update
Users are finding out problems with the
Windows 10 April 2018 Update, but Microsoft is promising fixes
These sorts of Day One bugs are becoming
the norm for Windows 10 Feature Update releases. All the more
reason to defer for a while, if your Windows version allows you to
Chromebooks will soon be able to run your
favorite Linux apps
Surprise, surprise: The Pixelbook will get
the feature first.
Not exactly. This is not native apps
running on native Linux. So there are limitations and differences.
What seems to be happening is more like porting some Linux apps to
the Google Play Store in Chrome OS versions. And you won't
necessarily have full file format compatibility with every full
Toward transitive data privacy and
securing the data you don’t share
The article is taking a too-simplistic
approach to the underlying issue.
There are varying degrees of risk if
someone other than yourself shares your data without your
expressed prior consent. Obviously, the risk of having your DNA
involuntarily shared is much higher than the risk of having a few
embarrassing photos shared without your prior consent. We all know
how up in arms people get about the very common occurrence of
sharing embarrassing photos of each other in social media circles.
For medical records, prior consent is provided by us in consent
and release forms.
But for the DNA database which was tapped
in the Golden State Killer investigation, users were only
was TL;DR. (Most folks don't read lengthy, lawyer-language Privacy
Policies, or even ones posted in Plain English.)
Sharing non-user data is how CA got
everyone up in arms. And that wasn't even our DNA. By far most of
the folks who later found out they were targeted by these two
examples of involuntary sharing of their data had no idea when
they signed up, what the consequences of their public postings of
personal information might be. The all-purpose Privacy Policies
were TL;DR for most folks when they signed up at these sites.
Which should be viewed legally as a lack of specific, prior,
My point is, while medical information
like DNA needs the utmost privacy protection, I am not so sure
that web browsing histories or anonymous telemetry data rise to
such high levels of risk as to require such strict protections.
There are degrees of risk, and there should be degrees of
protections to match. Law enforcement has plenty of ways to gain
legally permitted consent for their use of personal information.
So public safety cannot be argued as a justification for secrecy
and evasion of informed consent requirements.
Although I do wonder how many people would
use any DNA matching registry if we all knew in advance just how
broad the applications of this information can be.
Best Portable Hard Drives of 2018
I notice in this article a distinct lack
of mention of anything made by Western Digital. Did that company
fail to pay enough to be included in this article?
I still stand by my preference for WD
Elements drives, for their lack of included software (bloatware)
and for their reliability, durability and longevity. I also do
like some Seagate portable drives, but not the ones with extra
My preference for no extra features stems
in part from my use of Linux and its file systems. Most extra
features in portable drives disappear or even cause errors when
the drives are formatted to any of the Linux ext file systems.
Apple confirms there’s a serious problem
with the iPhone X
Actually, it is completely possible that a
problem with one camera lens in a smartphone could arise in
connection with flaws in other cameras, or in the hardware which
allows camera images to be combined to make a single, enhanced
Why Do Some Smartphones Use Multiple
(referenced recently in More FYI postings)
As for the support site runaround, this
does not speak well of Apple's support services.
Vulnerabilities Abound in Popular Android
So we're picking on open source code
vulnerabilities because it's easier to scan open source code than
to scan "Enterprise" (proprietary) code. And probably legally less
risky, too. This article makes way too big a deal about the open
source components in Android apps. What are vulnerable, are any
and all out of date components, open source or proprietary. Scan
everything before making accusations against the open source
China forces spyware onto Muslim’s Android
phones, complete with security holes
This is China we're talking about. Just
another Day in the Life. (BTW, this has nothing to do with the
charges by US intelligence agencies about Huawei and other smart
MoviePass Veers Again, Brings Back
What we are seeing coming out of this and
a few other attempts to draw people into actual movie theaters, is
a shift away from feature films and toward other forms of
entertainment. In other words, the Cinema experience is dying out.
One example is Netflix buying theaters:
Netflix Apparently Wants to Buy Its Own
Theaters, and That's Honestly a Good Idea
Also, non-movie ideas have been tried:
Imax brings virtual reality to movie
Uses for movie theaters have been
diversifying even further:
From Popcorn To Pews: How Movie Theaters
Are Finding Other Sources Of Revenue
Best Affordable Monitor for PC in 2018
Not a bad choice, but you won't be able to
plug in USB powered dongles to this monitor. (Use a desktop
charger for power if this affects you.) Otherwise, who uses USB
ports on a monitor anymore?
How to run a free background check on
The free ones of these services are
notoriously inaccurate, and the accurate ones, you do have to pay
to see any meaningful results. My own data on these sites is
usually out of date, including listing me and my father as still
living at a house which no longer exists, with a phone number
which no longer belongs to me. And Dad passed in 2015.
What is RCS, the Successor to SMS?
It will be awhile before we'll have to get
new phones for this.
You're Not Using a VPN? Bad Idea
Given how difficult it can be to set up
and use a VPN (especially for us Linux users) and how slow and
unreliable many of them are, plus the fact that many sites where
we log in make us turn them off, I don't think this article is
providing very useful advice. Most ISPs, including Comcast,
interfere with VPNs, and this can cause leakage which defeats the
whole (legitimate) purpose of a VPN. (In all fairness, not all
VPNs in all tests have these issues.)
Twitter has an unlaunched ‘Secret’
encrypted messages feature
If it ever launches, this could get
interesting. I say if, not when.
The NSA wants its algorithms to be a
global IoT standard. But they’re simply not trusted
Ideally, no State sponsored standard
should be used at all. Open source standards are at least subject
to scrutiny, which would prove or disprove pretty quickly whether
or where there might be backdoors in the code, intended or
8 great consumer-focused features in
There are plenty of Windows 10 features
that consumers can enjoy, with more on the way. Here's a list of
the best of them.
This is clearly a Microsoft press release
disguised thinly as an article. But they do have a few good points
in there. Very few. I see nothing compelling in these "new"
Why Microsoft Has Switched Its Focus to
This is simply not (entirely) true.
Microsoft is focused on Cloud Computing. Cloud computing uses
servers which have to be able to "talk" to each other. This is
much easier when all the servers share a common operating system,
or at least the most necessary components of a common OS. Linux
was already more widely used than any other OS on Internet
servers, including those of Microsoft Azure's biggest competitor,
Amazon Web Services (AWS). Google also uses a lot of Linux in its
Cloud services. Microsoft is doing what they are doing (which I
still would call mere lip-service) because they have no other
choice, not because they have had a sudden change of sentiment.
How to lock down the Settings app in
Although this is written with server setup
in mind, most of what it shows (if the images show in your browser
-- they don't show in mine) can also be applied to PCs shared in
our homes. But you need to have Windows 10 Pro to use Group
Flawed routers with hardcoded passwords
were manufactured by firm that posed “national security risk” to
This is one of the Chinese companies whose
phones are being denounced by our Intelligence agencies. But the
routers are not sold in the US, to my knowledge.
Google’s Android Things IoT platform comes
out of beta
This should help a lot of developers to
bring out new IoT devices. More importantly, it is designed to
allow IoT designs to be tested for things like how well they work
with other Things, how to secure them adequately, etc. A more
unified, standards-based development system is sorely needed at
Thousands of compromised websites
spreading malware via fake updates
I find "updates" to be annoying, so I try
to limit them or turn them off if they are not needed. This is
going to be one more reason to leave them minimized. The same goes
for app notifications and operating system notifications. The
fewer I allow, the more likely I will notice if one of them is not
behaving the way it usually has behaved. Also, a reminder -- read
the update or notification before clicking on anything.
The world’s most popular YouTube video has
The flaw was in YouTube itself, it
appears. Not in the owner of the videos, a company called Vevo.
However, I would expect Vevo to aggressively pursue the offenders,
because the company's revenues may have taken a hit, and some of
the repair costs will fall on Vevo, most likely. The potential for
worse offenses does call into question You Tube's own security.
That is likely to improve as a result of figuring out how this
hack was done. And they will find out, I am confident.
Apple and Android: Windows vs Mac vs
Mix Linux in there, too! As Kim Komando
points out, which OS is "best" depends a lot on how you want to
use the apps and the OS itself. On which devices, mobile or
at-home, high-end or low-cost, casual use or productivity, etc.
Lots of factors enter into the choices, and no one choice is
really best for everything. Don't limit yourself -- learn to use
everything you can get your hands on. You never know where your
tech future will take you.
How to disable AutoPlay and AutoRun in
There are really several different things
to consider here. Auto-Play is useful for automatically opening SD
Cards, Flash Drives, and playing DVD movies or CD music disks.
Autorun is the one which is a security risk and should be
disabled. You don't want programs from removable media to be able
to start running without user interaction. Even with UAC enabled,
this is risky and for most purposes, unnecessary. I allow
automatic opening of media unless I know in advance the media
hasn't been screened for viruses. But I disable autorun on
Windows, and in Windows 10, I thought it was disabled or severely
hobbled by default. Most third party active antivirus also locks
down autorun. Still, it never hurts to lock it down even further.
How Common Cryptography Techniques Work
This is a good overview. I bookmarked this
article for further study later.
Office 365 ProPlus Users Basically Already
Have Office 2019
One of the few advantages of Cloud apps is
that they can get updates faster than installed applications. This
is one example. But some folks don't want to wake up in the
morning to find their apps all different from yesterday's
5 Ways to Avoid Paying $119 for Amazon
Prime Free Shipping
My sister used to have a credit card with
Prime as a perk. But she dropped it in favor of a different card
with better rates and payment structure.
[Windows Tip] Master List of All Commands
to Use Command Prompt Like a Pro
This article and the linked article about
the keyboard shortcuts should prove useful when and if I need to
use the Windows 10 Command Console again. I don't use Command Line
much in Windows, but that's all the more reason to keep these
sorts of cheat-sheets handy.
Time to turn off Windows auto update –
unless you’re using Win10 version 1803
I do follow Woody Leonhard's advice
generally. So I don't intend to upgrade to Windows 10 Version 1803
for a few months. But if you did get upgraded, you really need the
stability update which is part of the May Windows Updates.
5 reasons a Chromebook should be in our
arsenal of gadgets
I'm happy with my Chromebook purchase.
Even happier with Fedora Linux running alongside Chrome OS in
there. As for financial activities, while this isn't the reason
why I started doing Linux, it is one type of activity I do in
Linux, both on my Intel NUC (using Ubuntu) and on my Chromebook
(using Fedora). While not quite as secure as a locked-down
Chromebook, Linux is plenty secure for financial activities,
especially with security and privacy extensions in the Chrome
Browser. Both Chrome OS and Linux offer good protections against
Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in Intel chipsets.
Re. FYI#1257 (Wed 5/09/2018):
Patch for April 2018 Update sends Windows
10 into infinite boot loop
Although this and a few other issues have
been patched now, there are plenty of reasons to defer the update
for awhile longer. And very few reasons most of us should be in a
rush to get the update.
25 Worst Gadget Flops of All Time
Some of these gadgets, if presented in
just slightly different ways, or at a slightly different time,
would have been successful. This is an amazing collection of what
might have been.
Reset a lost root password in under 5
My latest Linux login disaster was in
Ubuntu, but this info is useful and I have bookmarked it for
Why Can’t You Give a Straight Answer?
I often have to explain this to computer
users when they ask for help but they don't have the affected PC
with them. Without seeing how the actual PC is misbehaving I can't
give an answer which will always apply to all possible
configurations. These same users still can't understand why not.
Linux App Support is Coming to Chrome OS
As with Windows support of "Linux", this
is a case of, Well, sort of...
NEVER FORGET YOUR FILES AGAIN WITH WINDOWS
To use Timeline, all your logins have to
use your Microsoft Account. That is an instant fail for me. I'll
be turning this off and clearing anything it may have slipped in
before I get it turned off. I use local logins and limited user
accounts exclusively (except for maintenance and updating) in
Could We Be the Last Generation to Know
What the Flu Feels Like?
I sure hope not! If you deprive the human
immune system of exposure to germs, or if you vaccinate people
instead of letting them develop their own immunities, the immune
system becomes weak. Severe food allergies are also linked to not
letting the immune system develop its own immunities. If you
wanted to write a sci-fi scenario in which aliens wipe out the
entire human population, exposing us to a new disease or a new
strain of a disease to which no one is immune would be near the
top of the list of plausible possibilities. The flu virus can
mutate so easily that if few or no people are allowed to develop a
general resistance to flu virus "families" (something vaccines
cannot confer) a new strain could kill millions or tens of
millions of people before it could be contained. This has happened
before with flu pandemics and it will happen again. Nothing in the
current research can prevent this.
How to Disallow Third-Party Apps from
Accessing Your Google Data
It's a good idea to review which apps have
how much access to which data, but you might not always want to
deny all apps all access. There may be a few apps which really
need access to be useful. But choose wisely.
Android May Be Replaced with Fuchsia, a
New OS by Google
This isn't going to happen for quite a
Why Did Deleting a Desktop Icon Delete the
There are also two kinds of Windows
programs. The installed programs will produce shortcuts on the
desktop. Removing these shortcuts will not uninstall the program.
But there are also stand-alone or portable apps. Removing the
desktop icon for one of these may remove the program completely. I
usually keep copies of the latest versions of programs like Geek
Uninstaller in my Downloads Folder, just in case.
BEST FLASH DRIVES FOR UNDER $20
Be advised -- cheaper flash drives are
more prone to failures. If you go too cheap you are risking losing
the data you are storing on the flash drive. For things like a
rescue media USB drive or an installer media drive, I would go
with something name-brand and not too cheap.
Report Claims Eight New Spectre-Class
Vulnerabilities Impact Intel And ARM Processors
We will be seeing a lot of these new
Spectre vulnerabilities for a long time to come. Maybe occasional
BIOS or firmware updates, and certainly a lot of OS patches. It's
just like following any other news about pending updates -- read
about the issue, read about the solutions and then choose how to
respond. There's nothing to do about this round of issues right
There’s a whole world outside Windows, and
Microsoft finally gets it
Do they really get it? I see no evidence
of any sudden epiphanies at Microsoft lately.
Re. FYI#1258 (Thurs 5/10/2018):
Chromebooks will start to feel more like
Windows, but in a good way
So what happens if you pull the plug on
your Internet connection? I bet the illusion goes away pretty
fast. Which is why I still keep Fedora Linux on my Chromebook.
Usability vs. Security. How Various
Operating Systems Manage Security
Really good comparison, but with a bias
against anything open source. Still,
I agree with the assessment of Linux. You
have to talk about each Linux distro or family of distros in its
own workspace, so to speak. Some are lousy at security, while
others are great with keeping up. Fedora and Ubuntu are both very
good about security, but are perhaps not the most user-friendly
distros out there. So, usability is so-so, but security is very
good for these two distros with which I am familiar. My Ubuntu
16.04 is showing signs (not security issues, but updating issues)
of needing the upgrade to Ubuntu 18.04. I might be wise to do this
as a clean install, as this Ubuntu has been messed with a LOT.
Google Duplex Offers a Scary Glimpse of
One comment pretty much sums up the future
"I wonder if anybody is working on
developing an AI to detect other AI." Maybe an
How fast shipping can flag you as a
This is only one of several factors
considered by online merchants. Personally, I don't do the things
they flag the most. But this does seem a bit like using a credit
score to determine whether you will be accepted for health
insurance. Very little real-world relevance.
Welsh police facial recognition software
has 92% fail rate, showing dangers of early AI
This was based on early experimental
testing. The face recognition software is much more accurate now,
though far from foolproof.
Windows 10's April Update Crashes Systems
With Intel SSDs (Updated)
Last I read, Intel and Microsoft were
working on a fix for this. It should not be insurmountable.
How to Use Nearby Sharing in Windows 10
I can see use cases for this, just like
the feature some phones used to have which was essentially the
same principle. But like those phones, this needs an easily
accessed off switch. And it should be turned off by default.
6 Awesome Websites You Can Use to Burst
Your Filter Bubble
While not a cure-all, these sorts of sites
can help ID bias in our news sources, which is important in
maintaining a fair and open perspective. Unless that's just not
your thing, that is.
Would You Like the Ability to Run Mobile
Apps on the Desktop as Well?
On a Chromebook, this is useful. On
Windows, even the MS Store Apps are pretty much useless.
Generally, I do not want my PC operating or looking like a phone.
Too many IoT smartphone apps making life
easy for online criminals
The apps, not just the devices, need to be
secure. And many, too many apps are not secure.
Windows 10 security: Google Project Zero
shreds Microsoft's unique Edge defense
One of these days someone will do the
reverse to Google Chrome. Just wait for it.
Has The Internet Been Good For Society?
Fewer Saying Yes
I think the Internet has not been the
problem. By and large, having the Internet has helped more than it
has hurt. But with great access and great power comes great
responsibility. Companies are responsible for how people are
allowed to use their products and services. This is true online
Best soundbars to improve your TV's audio
I have a soundbar, not very expensive. It
makes a big difference on those few occasions when I am not using
headphones. (I live in an apartment.)
BUFFERBLOAT: FIX YOUR SLOW NETWORK
My Comcast network tests pretty well on
Security pros: Get ready to patch for 8
new Spectre-related vulnerabilities soon
There will be more as time goes by. Both
the firmware (BIOS) and the operating system(s) will need
additional or modified patches as these exploits are revealed.
Security researchers want to force
people to use different passwords for every website
Two University of North Carolina
professors say popular websites like Google and Facebook must
share password data from their users to eliminate password reuse.
Or, they could move us away from password
logins altogether. Several ways have been proposed to do this.
Re. FYI#1259 (Fri 5/11/2018):
25 Best Voice Recorder App for Your Phone
Just make sure anyone else whose voice you
record has been given notice. Illinois is strict about this.
What is WPA3? (everyone needs to move to
this new security standard as soon as possible)
When actual devices star showing up, I'll
consider what to do next. In the meantime, I'll continue to use
the Comcast provided gateway which was installed when my network
was set up.
Google Assistant now has a feature that
Amazon's Alexa doesn't
Oh great! Now it can rack up phone charges
6 Signs Microsoft Is Really a Fan of Linux
No they're not. They simply recognize that
in Cloud based computing, Linux is already there, and they have to
adapt to that reality.
Deep learning with synthetic data will
democratize the tech industry
Dream on. It won't play out this well.
Microsoft's future is all about AI and the
This is true, and so is everybody else.
Surface Pro (2017) owners hitting Win10
1803 update blue screens. Now we know why.
The 1803 update is still not ready for
users who need a stable device. I am still waiting before applying
it to my PC.
Facebook Is Researching Paid Subscriptions
This is truly delusional. No ads does not
mean no data collections.
IBM Employees Banned From Using All
Well, there's an overreaction.
Facebook only checks for impostors within
your circle of friends
This has been a cause of some complaints
about the Facebook dating app. Legitimate accounts have been
suspended or terminated while impostor accounts continue to use
legitimate photos and personal profiles to commit scams.
Cryptojacking spreads across the web
Is someone else making money on your
Doubtful. I use browser extensions and I
run Linux. But I am not arrogant, and if anything indicates
unusual network activity, I would be swift to try to track down
the issue and put a stop to it.
How to Back Up Your Data When Your Windows
PC Won’t Boot
This is not the time to be backing up your
data. The time to back up your data is before the PC wont boot. In
other words, as an ongoing part of your routine (and mine). Only
the very most recent changes would need to be salvaged in a well
protected system (one where the user has been backing up data
Apple Doesn’t Collect Much Data About You
Much compared to what? Anyway, it isn't
how much they collect, it's how well they have secured the data
they do collect which is the issue. Apple has not performed well
in this regard. There have been numerous leaks and breaches,
including entire iCloud accounts being downloaded by unauthorized
6 Great New Features to Love in Ubuntu
One of these days I will have to upgrade.
Just not tonight.
Re. FYI#1260 (Sat 5/12/2018):
It’s Not Just You: Chrome is Crashing on
Windows 10’s April 2018 Update
This is another issue Microsoft thinks
they can fix fairly quickly. Probably by the time the May MS
Updates come out there will be a patch. Part of the CU, most
likely. Chrome is definitely getting updated in connection with
this and a few other issues.
actually understand it
Remember, Facebook is not updating their
policies to comply with the EU laws. Not outside of the EU zone,
A malicious USB stick could crash your
Windows PC, even if it's locked
A recently published proof-of-concept bug
in Windows Autoplay should alarm Microsoft, but the company said
it isn't a serious security flaw.
This is yet another proof of concept. I'll
get concerned when and if this becomes an active exploit.
No Thanks, Google. I'll Speak for Myself.
As long as this feature can be switched
off, or is opt-in, I'm OK with it being available. I just don't
see myself using it.
10 Chrome Flags You Should Enable for a
Better Browsing Experience
This is a retread of an old article. Half
of this stuff either is no longer present, or is no longer
optional in Chrome.
'Android Things' Emerges From Beta as
Google Dives Into IoT
Android Things attempts to solve the
problem of bugs within Internet of Things devices by off-boarding
the security work to Google
Basically, Google wants to secure IoT
apps, since their developers often don't do things right.
Standards-based security makes a lot of sense for the IoT.
Google's flashy A.I. demo overshadowed
Microsoft's focus on work
Google is focusing its future on remaining
a consumer products and services company. Microsoft seems intent
on abandoning consumers in favor of Big Data and the Enterprise.
Think about this when you plan your future purchases and
This USB-C Hub Does Everything: QacQoc
For a low-priced USB-C hub this looks
pretty nice. But how well does it handle sound output while
charging? Many cheaper hubs have real issues with this. For my
Cromebook I paid about twice this price and got the official ASUS
USB-C hub. This hub does handle real HDMI and audio outputs, as
well as being able to charge while playing video and audio
outputs. Another device I got for the Chromebook is a moderately
priced DAC (digital analog converter) which sits in-line between
the USB-C out and a pair of inexpensive headphones (or expensive
headphones if I really want nice sound). USB-C output, including
sound and video, is digital, so analog headphones will need a
converter somewhere in the output line.
I hope Google won’t nag me about my
I don't need another mom.
I have an insurance company and a doctor
for that role. Also agreed I do not need yet another nanny.
How to Turn Vim into a Word Processor
Instead of sticking to the Command Line
Interface (CLI) I pimped out gEdit for use as my everyday word
processor in Ubuntu. In Fedora, I use several Notepad-like apps,
mostly Notepad. I get pretty good results for note taking and
simple documents. My FYI Replies postings originate with gEdit or
Notepad, then pass through LibreOffice for formatting. If I'm
working with downloaded content with images and headlines or
fonts, I go directly into LibreOffice Writer. Or I work in Master
PDF using Google Chrome's Save As PDF feature.
Know when malware or spies turn your
webcam or mic on with this free download
I wouldn't depend on this app. Malicious
activity can be conducted in very subtle ways these days.
Flawed routers with hardcoded passwords
were manufactured by firm that posed “national security risk” to
Not many of these routers have shown up in
7 ways to finally end robocalls
Nomorobo has been working pretty well for
me. Some callers have begun using the Local Exchange trick, but
even those calls are fewer than four per day for me. Only one
persistent spammer on my phone.
Hands-On: Windows 10 Mail’s New “Density”
Feature is Superficia
Well, it's a step in the right direction,
even if only a small step. At least this time Microsoft seems to
Google may require manufacturers to issue
timely security updates
Now hopefully all Android users will be up
I'll believe this when my phone starts
getting timely updates. Or my next phone, to be fair.
How to find files in Linux with grep: 10
examples (free PDF)
Both Nautilus and Thunar offer GUI ways to
search for files or folders. I stay away from CLI methods whenever
possible. But I ahve used grep in these and other situations.
26 Firefox Quantum About:Config Tricks You
Need to Learn
Again, a retread of an old article. Over
half these things are no longer controlled by about:config.
The Google News App fuels your interests,
provides a balanced perspective
How do we know how "balanced" Google news
is? Who decides?
The Best Windows Software
Even though this is essentially a retread
of an old article, the software choices in this article are very
close to my own preferences when I am forced to use Windows.
Gmail, Google Photos Getting Big AI
Uh-oh! Here we go again with more crazy
feature changes. I'll have to learn gmail all over again.
From My Own Reading:
UK police force's facial recognition tech
keeps misidentifying people as potential criminals
At one point it had a 92 percent false
Our ‘modern’ Congress doesn’t understand
21st century technology
California to require solar panels on most
It's the first state where the renewable
energy is mandatory
They'd better be paying a hefty subsidy
for this! I'm all for people voluntarily doing something about
greenhouse gas production, but requiring it seems heavy-handed to
say the least.
Tesla patent application explains how its
solar roof tiles work
The solar cells are under specially cut
They do look pretty. But will they perform
What use is Apple’s Mac mini, anyway?
Not updated for years, underpowered and
expensive when compared to any iOS device, what use is Apple’s Mac
The Linksys router that prioritizes Xbox
One gaming is now available
I guess this is for people too dumb to
figure out how to read the many online tutorials which show you
how to set up traffic prioritizing any way you want with almost
any router or ISP provided gateway.
Best Android antivirus? The top 11 tools
How Waymo's AI-trained self-driving cars
could feel scary even if they're safe
The example of a car blowing through a red
light shows how counterintuitive really safe driving is for many
people. It really is safer to slow down and avoid the crash than
to come to a full stop even though your light is green. Drivers
behind you who don't see the red light runner can easily fail to
slow or stop, hitting you from behind. This has happened many
times in the real world. It has also happened when there was an
incident at a railroad grade-level crossing. Drivers who stopped
to avoid a hazard have gotten hit from behind by drivers too far
back to see the danger.
Around Boston, we are lucky to go through
a week during which someone doesn't manage to drive into a
building or a house because they fail to adapt their speed around
our crazy intersections, sharp curves, obstructed views and steep
hills. This, even without bad weather.
Google's Digital Wellbeing is schooling
Apple on how to combat smartphone addiction
(And PC World seems intent on "schooling"
its readers about what a modern family looks like -- see
illustration near the bottom of the article.)
What's new in Windows 10 Insider Build
17666: 'Cloud Clipboard,' Sets improvements and more
Two things of note (one very trivial).
Notice that the Build Number ends in "666"? Anyway and more
seriously, this is the upcoming Fall 2018 update, as yet not
officially named (Redmond 5). In other words, this is what's next
in Windows 10, not what's in there now, as of the 1803 upgrade.
Patch Lady – if you do have 1803
If you do have 1803 on your computer
systems, you’ll honestly want to install [stability patch]
It’s a mess: Microsoft patched Windows or
Office on 11 different days in April
You can actually afford Nvidia GeForce
graphics cards now
Hacker Kevin Mitnick shows how to bypass
Researchers show Siri and Alexa can be
exploited with ‘silent’ commands hidden in songs
Android P’s notification shade is so good
Apple should just copy the whole damn thing in iOS 12
If only they could, under US copyright and
What still isn't clear about the future of
Windows after Build 2018
CShell is a new universal Windows Shell
for Windows 10 that scales across PC, Mobile, and Xbox
Microsoft is about to take the next step
with its "One Windows" vision by introducing an improved,
adaptable Windows Shell that'll work across PC, Mobile and Xbox.
It all seems pretty clear to me. What did
Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot learns to run
and jump, while robot dog gets smarter
Facebook is reportedly considering its own
This follows news that the social network
created a blockchain division.
What could possibly go wrong? Aren't these
guys in enough trouble already, without a major financial services
Huawei puts giant ravens around the UK
because that's not creepy at all
Researchers create a real cloaking device
MoviePass Backs Off Plan Meant to Boost
Ignoring the old adage: "When you've dug
yourself into a hole, stop digging".
Apple hit with lawsuit over the
“completely reinvented” Macbook keyboard it rolled out back in
Ring’s doorbell cam allowed video access
after its password was changed
(Supposedly fixed now.)
How to print to PDF in Windows
US and Chinese presidents work to get ZTE
'back into business'
Just how ZTE will recover isn't yet clear.
Our President and his policies hard at
work -- MAGA!
Subscriptions for the 1%
It turns out that paywalls and
subscription software models do not pay off for corporations.
Lawmakers want to know how Amazon protects
Echo Dot Kids users
They asked Amazon if it collects kids'
data and if third parties can access the info.
Some Amazon customers are frustrated that
their packages are arriving late — and it reveals a giant
misconception people have about Prime
iPhone catches fire on counter inside
store in Las Vegas [video]
Tesla’s Giant Australian Battery Is a More
Wind Turbine Maker Vestas Plans Solar,
And guess whose batteries they are using?
HOW MANY TOY CARS ARE NEEDED TO PULL A
JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE
And yes, there is a video showing them
This malware is harvesting saved
credentials in Chrome, Firefox browsers
Since this attack relies on .NET
Framework, it makes sense to avoid the issue by using Linux when
doing financial business until Microsoft patches .NET to address
the underlying issue(s). Linux does not have .NET. Neither does
Chrome OS. Android neither, though for other reasons I would not
do financial business using an Android device or app. Mac and iOS
shoudl be safe as well. This is yet another reason you should not
place all your eggs in one OS basket.
Tesla to restructure management as more
This time in Utah, a Tesla car failed to
slow for a red light, hitting a truck at 60 mph.
California teen phished his teachers to
Google employees reportedly quit over
military drone AI project
4,000 employees have petitioned an end to
Project Maven involvement.
Ring doorbell flaw lets others watch after
password changes (updated)
At one point, the camera was exposed for
Nintendo’s NES Classic will return to U.S.
retail stores on June 29
Microsoft may launch an
accessibility-focused Xbox One controller
It could bring more people into gaming.
Google's smart jacket can now call an Uber
Senate vote to restore net neutrality will
take place on May 16th
It still needs to pass the House and get
the President’s signature.
Facebook found 200 more apps that may have
misused your data
There could be more.
I asked Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant
if they're spying on me — here's what they said
What it costs to keep up with Windows 10's
Microsoft's Surface Hub 2 is a
Teams-powered giant tablet that creates its own video wall
The Surface Hub 2 may not be your next PC,
but it's one of the key devices in Microsoft's "intelligent edge"
NuScale's Small Modular Nuclear Reactor
Passes Biggest Hurdle Yet
Kaspersky to move to Switzerland following
latest government ban
Google Compute Engine now offers VMs with
up to 3844GB of memory
Deadly Convenience: Keyless Cars and Their
Carbon Monoxide Toll
Weaned from using a key, drivers have left
cars running in garages, spewing exhaust into homes. Despite years
of deaths, regulatory action has lagged.
Wi-Fi Alliance’s Wi-Fi EasyMesh
certification aims to standardize mesh networks
Target Tests Retail ‘Flow Center’ for
Faster, Nimbler Distribution
Retailer’s supply strategy aims to reduce
inventory in store back rooms, create more space for online
U.S. Senate Votes to Restore Net
Neutrality, Now Expected to Face Major Hurdle in House
Or more generally, the process by which a
company or a technology gets integrated into an existing
technological structure or infrastructure, with particular
emphasis on the merging of corporate cultures.
Offboarding In The Online World