• Randy’s top 10 customer-support issues: Identified!

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    ISSUE 19.33 • 2022-08-15

    SUPPORT

    Randy McElveen

    By Randy McElveen

    You hear pretty much everything when you’ve been in the computer-repair business for as long as I have, but you also hear a lot of the same questions and see the same issues on a daily basis.

    In this series of articles, I have one goal — to keep you out of stores like mine by giving you some tips on what to do when you experience any of the following problems or have any of these questions.

    Let’s start this week by simply identifying the most common things I see on a weekly basis, and then I’ll do a few follow-up articles to show what you can do to avoid me.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.33.0, 2022-08-15).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Kim Kardashian wants out of lawsuit for promoting EthereumMax

    PUBLIC DEFENDER

    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    Attorneys for Kim Kardashian, the famous reality-TV star, have filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit that alleges investors lost millions of dollars after the celebrity promoted a new cryptocurrency named EthereumMax to more than 200 million followers on Instagram.

    EthereumMax is a digital product that went live in trading markets on May 17, 2021, under the symbol EMAX. Its promoters can’t be accused of thinking small: they issued an initial quantity of 2 quadrillion coins. (That’s 2 followed by 15 zeros or 2 million billion tokens.)

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.33.0, 2022-08-15).

  • CleanSweep2 — When you need extra hard-drive space fast

    FREEWARE SPOTLIGHT

    Deanna McElveen

    By Deanna McElveen

    My first use of Windows was 3.1. Back then, I didn’t know how fast a graphical user interface was supposed to be.

    If the operating-system gods determined that Netscape Navigator would take a full minute to load, who was I to question it?

    Today, I question that a lot. There are things in Windows that are slow. Very slow. Not just third-party programs, either. There are features of Windows itself that are just as slow now as they used to be.

    Disk Cleanup is a good example.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.33.0, 2022-08-15).

  • Windows 11’s unique bug

    PATCH WATCH

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Whenever Microsoft releases a new version of Windows, it invariably introduces new bugs as a side effect.

    KB5016629 includes a fix for a server message-block (file-sharing) bug that is unique to Windows 11. In a peer-to-peer network, an attacker could trick you by using web-based sharing links such as Azure or other data centers. Windows 10 and earlier are not affected.

    This month’s Windows 11 updates also include fixes for issues where File Explorer fails to work when you use the Star menu’s context menu and an external monitor, or when you use the Play and Pause keyboard buttons.

    Not to be outdone, the Windows 10 security update this month, KB5016616, includes fixes for an issue that affects printing. Let’s hope it fixes those problems we’ve been seeing with USB-based printers.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.33.0, 2022-08-15).

  • The technology of cars

    As you well know, I’m a geek.  I love technology. Alexas surround me.  iPhones, iPads, Android tablets. But for many years I’ve had a car that was quite behind in technology.  As in it had a CD player and a stereo and an auxiliary jack and that was about it. Recently after having that car for many years (trust me I can’t name it because I’m still in mourning over having to finally let my head be more important than my heart) and now have “upgraded” to a used car that has many more features in the dash including bluetooth connection to my phone, as well as a Pandora app link. It does not have a SiriusXM link like my Dad’s newer Honda does. But one thing you find with technology in cars is beware that the vendor may not like it as much as you do. And thus, just like with computer technology, sometimes you have to find workarounds and alternatives.

    In my older car I was able to get Alexa to work in it quite reliably by using a Roav VIVA attachment and then connected it to a Bluetooth enabled AUX cable. So if I’ve forgotten to arm the House alarm I can say “Hey Alexa, tell Honeywell to set the alarm to away”. Note that Honeywell only lets you arm your House, not disarm it for safety reasons.

    On an occasional basis, I will have to resync up my Dad’s SiriusXM subscription as it falls off the Satellite. In going through the options for my “new” older car I noticed that some of it’s audio options no longer function as they originally were planned. Got an Onstar enabled car that dates from 2015 or before?  Guess what?  Due to 2G and 3G technology being out of date and retired, that feature is also going to be retired in older cars.  HondaLink App reviews are also showcasing that connecting TOO much and relying on an app that the vendor may not support well means you get frustrated.  Someone said… too bad it doesn’t have Apple Carplay and the problem with that is that it too will be obsolete at some point in time. Those vintage cars sold at Mecum Auctions – it will be interesting to see in the years ahead if our newfangled cars stay as valuable as those vintage ones do.

    And then of course there is the concern that any bit of tech can be used for nefarious purposes. Blackhat security conference has long had sessions about how hackers can break into remote starting cars or any number of issues.

    I am reminded by a quote from Brian in Pittsburgh… “The fun😐 thing about security problems going forward is that there will forever be new ones to worry about because developers are inherently more eager to create new functionality and get it out the door than they are to bake in good ways to prevent or restrict misuse.”

    So what technology in your car no longer works like it should?

  • Master patch list for August 9, 2022

    I’ve updated the Master Patch List tonight for today’s releases.

    So far we’re tracking some side effects with Excel patches. I’ll also have a full write up and details in Monday’s newsletter. I’m not seeing any OTHER major trending issues but it’s still a bit early. 

    Seeing issues with Outlook closing after launch in network settings. Not seeing it in standalone deployments with pop accounts.

    For those of you with Exchange servers, I’ll have a special section on concerns about this month’s updates for Microsoft’s on premises mail server.

    As always, thank you all for supporting the cause! Remember a mere $1 donation will give you access and if you donate $50 or more you’ll get a special code to enable text messages sent to your phone each time the Master Patch List gets updated and when I change the MS-DEFCON level.

  • Long file names used in user redirected folders trigger issues

    Michael McElrath reported this yesterday and Born city follows up that after the Excel patch is installed that files with a long path length – meaning that the ending name and location of the file results in a LONG path, an error is reported.

    When he opens an excel file it will open from the desktop but not the redirected folder on a 2019 server.  The error is “The file format and extension of “file.xlsx” don’t match. The file could be corrupted or unsafe. Unless you trust it’s source, don’t open it. Do you want to open it anyway?”

    When he copied the file to other shared locations the issue went away so it looks like it’s a redirected folder issue.

    “If you shorten the file name it goes away.

    Follow up, I copied the file to several other shared locations on the server and it opened fine. It appears to be a User Redirected folder issue.

    Next, I changed the name from ‘longfilenameofexcelfile.xlsx’ to ‘shortname.xlsx’ and it worked fine. ‘shortername.xlsx’ also worked.

    The path is:

    \\Servername\FolderRedirections\username\Documents\Accounting\Banking\longfilenameofexcelfile.xlsx

    The file above it wouldn’t open either until I shorten the name to ‘Loan.xlsx’.

    It appears to be a path length problem.”

    It’s been reported on 2013 but I’d keep an eye out for 2016 as well.

    5002242 8/9/2022 Defer Security Excel 2013
    5002232 8/9/2022 Defer Security Excel 2016

    I am not using folder redirection here and with click to run Excel, I’m not seeing this issue so you may need to test to see if this applies to you.

  • It’s time for those August updates to be deferred

    Annnndddd here we go again….

    It’s Second Tuesday of the Month and Microsoft is releasing their updates:

    Remember first and foremost to always update your browsers so ensure Firefox, Chrome, Brave, Tor, Edge, Safari, whatever you use is up to date.

    Now onto the updates:  https://patchtuesdaydashboard.com/

    21 Critical

    2 already in the wild and exploited

    227 vulnerabilities patched

    The majority are “elevation of privilege” — translation the attackers want to get inside the office.

    I’ll link up more as we know it and in the meantime I’ll keep an eye out for side effects.

    Dustin Child’s zero day write up – https://www.zerodayinitiative.com/blog/2022/8/9/the-august-2022-security-update-review

    Dogwalk Zero day (the OTHER Microsoft support tool bug) got fixed

    There is a “Secure boot patch” I’ll be recommending you defer at least until we know more about it. Impacting all the way back to Windows 8.1.

     

  • The new privacy policy’s here! The new privacy policy’s here!

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    ISSUE 19.32 • 2022-08-08

    LEGAL BRIEF

    Max Oppenheimer

    By Max Stul Oppenheimer, Esq.

    On July 26, Meta (aka Facebook) changed its privacy policy.

    So this is a good time to ask two questions: what’s in the new policy, and what should you do about it?

    You can find the new privacy policy here. Settle in — it’s enormous.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.32.0, 2022-08-08).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • $52 billion for semiconductor giants — but will we get more chips?

    SILICON

    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    President Joe Biden recently signed a $52 billion subsidy program for the semiconductor industry, within an overall $280 billion package called the Chips and Science Act, but will we see an easing of today’s maddening chip shortages any time soon?

    The short answer is “no,” but the reasons might surprise you — and you shouldn’t assume we’ll get no bang for our bucks at all.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.32.0, 2022-08-08).

  • Restored desktop computers must work flawlessly

    HARDWARE

    Ben Myers

    By Ben Myers

    Test, test, and test again — just to be on the safe side.

    In my last article, I covered the basic and essential tests needed to assure that a computer was in generally sound operating condition. As the late-night TV pitchman always says: “But wait! There’s more!” More testing, that is.

    There are still electronics that need to be working right for the entire computer to be fully functional. Along the way, you need to do at least a visual inspection to see that all the ports and connectors — in back, in front, and even on top of a computer — are not damaged.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.32.0, 2022-08-08).

  • Can you trust technology?

    ON SECURITY

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    The other day, a reader asked why I use a Lenovo laptop, expressing concern that it was built overseas and contained sensitive technology.

    He noted that the US Department of Defense had recommended that its divisions stop buying technology that included components suspected of containing (or known to contain) spying capabilities.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.32.0, 2022-08-08).