• October 2023 Office non-Security updates are now available

    PK's Office update info

    The October 2023 Office non-Security updates have been released Tuesday, October 3, 2023. They are not included in the DEFCON-4 approval for the September 2023 patches. Unless you have a specific need to install them, you should wait until Susan Bradley (Patch Lady) approves them and any problems have been reported.

    Remember, Susan’s patching sequence and recommendations are based on a business environment that has IT support and may have time constraints on the updating process. Consumer patching should be more cautious due to limited technical and mechanical resources. The latter is the reason for the AskWoody DEFCON system.

    Office 2013
    Update for Microsoft Visio 2013 (KB5002479)

    Office 2016
    Update for Microsoft Access 2016 (KB5002209)

    On April 10, 2018, Office 2013 reached End of Mainstream Support. Extended Support ended for Office 2013 on April 11, 2023.
    Office 2016 also reached  End of Mainstream Support on October 13, 2020. EOS for Office 2016 is October 14, 2025.

    Updates are for the .msi version (perpetual). Office 365 and C2R are not included.

    Security updates for all supported versions of Microsoft Office are released on the second Tuesday of the month (Patch Tuesday).

  • USA only – alert to be sent to all devices

    Susan BradleyIf you are startled tomorrow, it’s just the FEMA and FCC running a test of the emergency alert system.

    “FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) this fall.

    The national test will consist of two portions, testing WEA and EAS capabilities. Both tests are scheduled to begin at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

    The WEA portion of the test will be directed to all consumer cell phones. This will be the third nationwide test, but the second test to all cellular devices. The test message will display in either English or in Spanish, depending on the language settings of the wireless handset.

    The EAS portion of the test will be sent to radios and televisions. This will be the seventh nationwide EAS test.”

    If you don’t want to be alerted, you can turn off your phone. But don’t panic, that large noise you’ll be hearing is merely a test.

  • Microsoft Backup triggers help-desk calls and confusion

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    ISSUE 20.40 • 2023-10-02


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    I applaud Microsoft for admitting that we all need to back up our computers and workstations, or at least have a recovery plan of some sort.

    But Microsoft’s recent backup implementation, its suddenly appearing Microsoft Backup app, is not well thought out and is a one-size-fits-all solution — that doesn’t fit well at all.

    Here’s the backstory. The new Backup app is available for both Windows 10 and 11. That’s a surprise, because we’ve been put on notice that Windows 10 22H2 is the final release, with only security updates coming our way until October 2025.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.40.0, 2023-10-02).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • How Amazon ejected AI-written e-books from its bestseller lists


    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    The giant online retailer, Amazon.com, faced a problem. Hackers were using chatbots to create fake e-books — mostly novels full of gibberish — and posting them into the Kindle Unlimited (KU) service.

    The perps then launched scripts to “read” their works. The automated traffic resulted in Amazon’s e-book bestseller lists being dominated by drivel.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.40.0, 2023-10-02).

  • Ten stunning features in Microsoft Word


    Peter Deegan

    By Peter Deegan

    Microsoft Word has been around for so long, it’s easy to forget how great it really is.

    If you ask Microsoft about great Word features, they’ll drag out a list of recent innovations (starting and ending with “AI” and plenty of “cloud” in between). My own “stunning features” are things we take for granted, with some tips to make better use of them.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.40.0, 2023-10-02).

  • Thunderbolt


    Ed Tittel

    By Ed Tittel

    Not many people know this, but Thunderbolt originated as an optical networking technology. Apple and Intel worked on its initial design.

    Known as Light Peak, it was based upon optical components and fiber-optic cables at Intel’s Silicon Photonics lab. When it turned out that copper cables could deliver the same 10 Gbps bandwidth as the more expensive and finicky optical elements, the cheaper, less demanding technology won.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.40.0, 2023-10-02).

  • Wait for the bugs to be worked out

    Lately no matter what the vendor, it pays to not be first.

    Case in point, today Apple acknowledged that there is a bug in their latest OS 17 combined with iPhone 15 to cause it to run hot.

    The issue will be fixed in an upcoming patch.

    Over the next several weeks you’ll see stories and hype about Windows 11 23H2 and Copilot for Windows which is being slid into the October security updates. But don’t worry, we got your back. Rest assured you can defer and block whatever you don’t like that Microsoft is slinging your way. Already there is a KB tracking the known issues in Copilot.

    Bottom line, good things come to those who wait, or in our case, block what we don’t want.

    For the Copilot in Windows preview, we have identified the following:

    • Narrator does not work as you expect with challenge–response tests, such as Captcha.
    • Narrator fails to correctly state the name of the “remove an image” button. It also fails to say the name of the dialog or buttons for a skill.
    • When you are in the chat input box, pressing Tab does not change the keyboard focus. If you add an image to the chat input box, Narrator does not announce the addition.
    We are working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release.
    The color font format for COLRv1 does not render properly. This format enables Windows to display emoji with a 3D-like appearance. We are working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release.
  • MS-DEFCON 4: Is Windows 11 really a disaster?

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    ISSUE 20.39.1 • 2023-09-26


    By Susan Bradley

    Every month, I read headlines claiming that the latest patches for Windows 11 22H2 are causing major issues and impacting gazillions of users.

    Every month, I also note that the deployments of Windows 11 in my home and office are well behaved. Some of that is surely the result of my tender ministrations, such as using an alternate menu system. But for the rest, Windows 11 is not some sort of monster stomping through neighborhoods and ruining lives.

    I consider the current updates safe, so I’m lowering the MS-DEFCON level to 4.

    Anyone can read the full MS-DEFCON Alert (20.39.1, 2023-09-26).

  • Windows 11, Surface, and Windows Copilot

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    ISSUE 20.39 • 2023-09-25


    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    In case we didn’t realize it already, Microsoft told us where we are headed.

    Last week, Microsoft held an event in New York. The bulk of the presentation was about AI, specifically Windows Copilot. Not Copilot, but Windows Copilot.

    This is deeply significant.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.39.0, 2023-09-25).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Why File Explorer keeps me on Windows


    Josh Hendrickson

    By Josh Hendrickson

    I own both a fairly powerful Windows PC and a Mac Studio.

    Technically, the Mac Studio, with its M1 processor, far outstrips my desktop PC. And yet my PC continues to be my daily driver. Why?

    File Explorer.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.39.0, 2023-09-25).

  • Uninstalr — “World’s best cup of coffee”


    Deanna McElveen

    By Deanna McElveen

    In the movie “Elf,” Buddy discovers the world’s best cup of coffee. He may take the signage on the building a bit too literally as he bursts in to congratulate the staff of the coffee shop. Well, today I am Buddy, but I actually tasted the coffee.

    Uninstalr by Macecraft Software has the words right there on their website: “Uninstalr is the best Windows uninstaller.” Well, anyone can put that on their website. I was, of course, skeptical, because I have used all the uninstaller programs.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.39.0, 2023-09-25).

  • Locked out of your refurbished computer?


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Corporate “leftovers” may impact your new computer.

    All of us want to purchase a good deal. Often I will look for refurbished computers, many of them systems coming off corporate leases, because they are an excellent value. Many times, they are less than three years old and support Windows 11. Some even come with Windows 11.

    Most of these systems have been reset to factory defaults, so the configuration process is basically the same OOBE you would get with a new PC. You start the boot process, set it up with either a Microsoft account or a local account with the no@thankyou.com email trick, and off you go. You’re happy: you have a well-built computer that is cheaper than anything you’d purchase elsewhere.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.39.0, 2023-09-25).