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  • February 2017 Adobe Flash Player security updates available

    Posted on February 14th, 2017 at 19:54 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    From EP:

    Hey Woody.  Happy Valentine’s Day.

    While Microsoft has chosen to delay the release of the February 2017 security updates for .NET, IE, Edge, Office and Windows, Adobe has posted new Flash Player updates on Feb. 14 as scheduled in Adobe security bulletin APSB17-04

    https://helpx.adobe.com/security/products/flash-player/apsb17-04.html

    These new updates install Flash Player version 24.0.0.221.  The new patches for Windows 8, 8.1 & 10 are not yet available until Microsoft releases them (at earliest tomorrow 2/15 or Thursday 2/16, or whenever MS is ready).

  • Cut through the bafflegab of Windows 10 versions, branches, updates and builds

    Posted on February 14th, 2017 at 12:17 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Here’s a very down-to-earth description of Windows 10 and how it’s being upgraded.

    InfoWorld Woody on Windows

    Interesting. The tech press is only now (15 Feb) picking up on the news that Win10 1507 goes end-of-life in May. That’s not a huge deal as most people aren’t using 1507 any more, but it gives a guidepost for how future versions of Win10 will live and die.

  • Microsoft calls off Patch Tuesday

    Posted on February 14th, 2017 at 11:13 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    As far as I know, this is unprecedented.

    MSRC just posted a blog that says we won’t have Patch Tuesday today.

    This month, we discovered a last minute issue that could impact some customers and was not resolved in time for our planned updates today.

    After considering all options, we made the decision to delay this month’s updates.

    Don’t know about you, but I think that’s great. Better to be a day or two – or even a week – late, than to send out bad patches.

    It’s not clear to me if this includes Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, .NET and other patches. We’ll find out in a few hours.

    h/t Ghacks

     

  • If you’re tired of fighting Skype, check out Amazon’s new Chime

    Posted on February 14th, 2017 at 09:40 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’ve spent years – many years – struggling with Skype. I’ve watched tech-savvy friends crumble into shivering blobs of protoplasm when confronted by Skype bugs that were simply insurmountable.

    Amazon wants to better Skype, and it looks like they may actually do it. Amazon Chime supports a mix of video calls (I like it as much as Line), video conferencing, SMS and “content sharing” – think shared files, on a slightly smaller scale than Dropbox. And it works on Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android.

    Free for personal use with one-to-one video and voice calls, and an Outlook plugin. (Gmail, please, Amazonians.) You can use your Amazon account, if you like.

    Corporate use includes screen sharing, RDP/LogMeIn-style Desktop Controls, and a bunch of additional goodies.

    Martin Brinkmann has a good overview on Ghacks. If you’re ready to start (and I’ve already heard from some of you who have), go to the sign up site.

    For those of you who love to gripe about Skype (at least 90% of the Skype users I know), give Chime a try and let me know what you think.

  • Repost: Which Windows 10 should your business install?

    Posted on February 14th, 2017 at 09:28 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This is a repost of a blog item that got gobbled up when the site went down. Here’s the original post, but the original comments are gone.

    For those of us down in the cumulative trenches, it’s a bit jarring to realize that many of the folks who make key decisions about technology aren’t plugged in to the day-to-day.

    Eric Knorr has a good “forest for the trees” explanation in his InfoWorld blog.

  • Repost: Is Firefox snooping just as much as the other browsers?

    Posted on February 14th, 2017 at 09:27 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This is a repost of a blog item that got gobbled up when the site went down. Here’s the original post, but the original comments are gone.

    Details are murky, but Günter Born has an outline on his blog.

    Last November, Mozilla released a new “super-private” browser for iPhone and iPad called Firefox Focus. The new browser has built-in support for blocking all sorts of trackers.

    If you’re using Firefox Focus on your iPad or iPhone (and, it appears, on your Android device), there’s a big surprise in store. The “super-private” browser is tracking everything you do, by default, and sending the info to a data aggregator, Adjust GmbH.

    Born explains, quoting German journalist Peter Welchering and security expert Hermann Sauer:

    [Firefox Focus] tracks user data about the users behavior using the app and surfing the web. Data, which websites are visited, where the app has been downloaded, the IP address, a tracking id and many more data are being send to German Big Data specialist Adjust…

    Mozilla announced Firefox Focus as a “privacy browser” stopping user tracking. Welchering  and Sauer found out, that the app sends user tracking data not to Mozilla’s servers. The (raw) data will be send to the German big data harvester Adjust – then the data will be anonymized and transferred to Mozilla.

    Et tu, Mozilla?

    UPDATE: Mozilla denies the report from Welchering and Sauer, according to Bleepingcomputer. “Firefox Klar (Focus) DOES NOT track user browsing histories.” Mozilla has a privacy page about their anonymous usage data. The debate continues.

  • Repost: Born: Office activation site controlled by a non-Microsoft company

    Posted on February 14th, 2017 at 09:25 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This is a repost of a blog item that got gobbled up when the site went down. Here’s the original post, but the original comments are gone.

    Yet another fascinating bit of sleuthing from Günter Born.

    Normally, when you install Office 365, Office 2016, or Office 2013, they’re activated automatically. Sometimes automatic activation fails, though, and you need to enter a product key or even contact Microsoft to activate a completely-legitimate copy.

    There’s a lengthy, detailed description of how to do that on this Microsoft Office blog page. One problem: The method described there doesn’t always work for the non-365 versions of Office. At the top of the Microsoft blog page there’s a new notice that:

    Customers report that when selecting the option to activate Office by telephone, they receive this error: Telephone activation is no longer supported for your product. This issue impacts Office non-subscribers only. We are actively working on fixing this issue. In the meantime, you can call the numbers for your specific country/region listed in this article.

    The referenced site asks you to choose your country, provides you with a telephone number. Call that phone number and you should be activated automatically.

    There’s another activation method, though, which was recommended last month in one of Born’s comment sections. That comment points to Microsoft’s Self Service for Mobile product activation page. Long story short, that activation option – which requires you to type in your Installation ID – is not on a secure page. Microsoft’s instructions direct you to a third-party web site, and tell you to type your Installation ID into that web site.

    Read Born’s exposé to see how he tracked down that page – a page requesting your Office activation details – through GoDaddy and ultimately found the owner.

    No, it isn’t Microsoft.

    Somebody’s collecting a whole lot of valid Office Installation IDs – and Microsoft’s helping them do it.

  • We’re back with a two-day-old backup

    Posted on February 14th, 2017 at 08:45 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Looks like we lost everything from Feb 12 and 13 – and that’s as good as it’s gonna get.

    Sorry.

    I’ll work later today on restoring the main posts that appeared over the past two days.

    If you did anything to your user account over the past two days, it’s gone. Some of you will have to re-register.

    Carry on. What you post now WILL be kept. Whatever you may have posted earlier today didn’t make it through the restore.

    We’ve beefed up our defenses. Hope they’ll hold.