Monthly Archives: December 2022

  • Bringing in the new year with a backup

    As the year 2022 closes give yourself a new year’s resolution to make a backup.

    One that ensures that anytime you read about ransomware, hard drive loss or possible issues with a Windows or Apple patch you don’t worry about such things.

    I personally use Macrium reflect and I ensure that it builds a “boot” menu so that I can easy get into the recovery process.

    Part 1 of the backup video is here: Making a backup 

    So have YOU rung in the new year by making sure your computer has been backed up?

    What about restoring?  Do you check if you can restore your computer?

    Part 2 of the backup video showcasing how to restore is here:  Restoring your backup

  • MS-DEFCON 3: Windows 10 22H2 may leave you blue

    alert banner

    ISSUE 19.52.1 • 2022-12-27

    By Susan Bradley

    I have a favorite Christmas song titled “We need a little Christmas,” from the Broadway musical “Mame.”

    The uplifting tone of the song expresses the pleasure and happiness we experience during the holiday. We don’t usually associate “blue” feelings with the season (except Elvis).

    Windows 10 could use a little of that holiday spirit. Unfortunately, two different patches for 22H2 appear to be throwing off blue screens of death for some — but not all — users. As much as I’d like to lower the MS-DEFCON level to the more serene level 4, so you can enjoy the holiday while applying updates, out of caution I am dropping it only one notch.

    Anyone can read the full MS-DEFCON Alert (19.52.1, 2022-12-27).

  • The best tech secrets of 2022: AirTags, TikTok, Twitter, oh my

    newsletter banner

    ISSUE 19.52 • 2022-12-26
    Look for our BONUS issue on January 2, 2023!


    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    Amid my efforts to help you protect yourself against some rather aggressive technologies, I’m glad to report that there’s been at least some progress this year on the worst aspects of our “labor-saving” devices.

    Please note: I’m not claiming that my columns by themselves caused any of the changes I describe below. I just report the problems. We can all celebrate when bad tech is improved, whoever may have developed a particular solution.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.52.0, 2022-12-26).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Microsoft 365: Year in review


    Peter Deegan

    By Peter Deegan

    Let’s take a minute to check the rearview mirror and review what’s happened this year with Microsoft Office. We’ll also peer over the horizon to speculate about 2023.

    There were obvious (and not-so-obvious) changes to Microsoft Office and Microsoft 365. I’ll look at just some of the changes. They might not be the most hyped changes coming from the never-ending road that is Microsoft marketing, and some of them might be overlooked but yet interesting.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.52.0, 2022-12-26).

  • Firewall App Blocker — Make the Windows firewall usable


    Deanna McElveen

    By Deanna McElveen

    Microsoft did a pretty decent job when it added an improved software firewall to Windows XP SP2, and it has gotten even better over the years.

    That said, the ease of adding a program to be allowed or blocked by Windows Firewall has not improved much at all.

    But that’s okay. Along with its other great programs, has created Firewall App Blocker.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.52.0, 2022-12-26).

  • Finding good security information


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    I do this so you don’t have to.

    And I’ve been doing it for a long time, learning and cultivating sources of knowledge to allow me to make informed decisions about the stability and security of my computing environments, both at home and for my business. The latter has been extremely important to me; as a CPA, I am entrusted with the private financial information from the firm’s clients, which must be dealt with carefully.

    Thus, I have been on a decades-long journey through the landscape of NNTP newsgroups, Listservs, email groups, chat rooms — you name it. Today the available resources are much broader, including all the social networks including YouTube; specialty websites dealing with security, privacy, and operating environments; governmental websites regarding regulation, especially with regard to privacy; and the many personal acquaintances I’ve developed over the years.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.52.0, 2022-12-26).

  • Happy Holidays 2022

    Happy holidays to all and hope everyone around the world has had a great and safe morning no matter where you are or what you celebrate.

    Today is the day I make one of my favorite breakfast recipes. And of course, while I could go find the cookbook on the shelf, like any good geek, I just googled it. Or rather duck duck go’d it.  (Sorry duck, you are going to have to work on your naming as it just doesn’t roll off the tongue.

    Here’s hoping you have a wonderful holiday season, always have batteries on hand, always have power on hand, always have lit up Christmas trees and no burnt out bulbs and above all else, always have a helpful community to help you through any questions that life, or technology may throw your way.

    Thanks to all our readers and forum participants.

  • So did you buy a new computer or laptop this season?

    What did you buy?  What brand did you buy and why?  What specs?  Hard drive, memory?

    Where did you buy it?  Several of my friends buy electronics at Costco because of the return policy.

    One thing that I’m sad to see in the marketplace is that while you can find Chromebooks, the market for Linux based laptops and desktops is moved back to niche brands and a bit more expensive business machines and not affordable (i.e. cheap) home versions. Yes you can put it on older laptops that are aging away from Windows 7 and 8.1 but it’s also nice to see a healthy ecosystem of cheaper Linux based laptops geared towards the home market.

    So what did you buy? Why did you buy it? Where did you buy it?

  • If you use LastPass…. read on

    So there is a bit of disturbing read on the LastPass situation

    Read this first.

    also a bit of commentary from a Security expert on the topic:

    Ask yourself…. do you have two factor authentation set up on your LastPass? I have Yubikey as a second factor on my password manager.

    If you use LastPass and do not have two factor enabled, ensure that you change your master password. Add two factor authentication to any cloud based password manager.

    Don’t get rid of a password manager, just make sure it’s appropriately protected. We will cover more on how best to protect your passwords in a future newsletter.

  • Patching year 2022 comes to a close

    newsletter banner

    ISSUE 19.51 • 2022-12-19


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Every vendor brought us a lump of coal.

    No matter which platform you use, we are closing out a year in which we have been very vulnerable. From Microsoft to Apple to our firewall vendors — and even to Linux distros such as Ubuntu and Mint — just about every vendor has ended the year with patches, vulnerabilities unfixed, and new releases.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.51.0, 2022-12-19).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Will the last tech worker who is fired please turn off the server


    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    A wave of layoffs by the world’s largest technology companies is causing widespread fears. People are afraid that the growth spurt in online commerce that occurred during the coronavirus pandemic may be over — and opportunities for tech employment may never be the same again.

    Firings and separations are certainly ripping through the Internet at a rapid pace. But the impact of all this downsizing may not be exactly what you might expect.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.51.0, 2022-12-19).

  • Defibrillate your “dead” laptop


    Ben Myers

    By Ben Myers

    I confess: I do not have a defibrillator to use on a laptop.

    Beginning with Windows 7, a laptop in sleep mode can become unresponsive and completely inoperative. In the repair business, we call this “dead.” Ultimately, it’s about managing your laptop’s battery.

    On the average, a seemingly dead laptop lands in my hands every couple of months. That is not often enough to be classified as a major problem by Microsoft, but it is still very real.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (19.51.0, 2022-12-19).