Monthly Archives: March 2023

  • Are you checking your backup tonight?

    As Alex pointed out …. today is World Backup day.

    Just a reminder, issues like ransomware can be thwarted by having a backup. Specifically, something that the bad guys can’t touch. So rotate out those hard drives. Have a cloud backup with versioning that is protected from access. Make sure you are protected.

    Now while this is a marketing session that demands you sign up and register – I still enjoy Jessica Payne and her talks how how we can do better against ransomware. From the recent Microsoft Secure session.

  • MS-DEFCON 4: Win11 22H2 not ready for prime time

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    ISSUE 20.13.1 • 2023-03-28


    By Susan Bradley

    March updates are ready. Windows 11 22H2, not so much.

    It’s time to install the updates for the March releases, and that’s why I’m lowering the MS-DEFCON level to 4. There are a few issues out there, but most appear to be plain old low-risk bugs — things that used to be caught in Microsoft’s beta testing. As usual, it seems we’re the beta testers.

    I have several Windows 11 22H2 deployments in active use. If you are not an advanced user, are relatively new to the Windows platform, or are really into rounded corners and having to click several times to build shortcuts on your desktop, you might be tempted to forgive Microsoft for some of these cosmetic bugs.

    Anyone can read the full MS-DEFCON Alert (20.13.1, 2023-03-28).

  • Apple zero days fixed today

    💻 macOS Ventura 13.3 – 58 bugs fixed
    📱 iOS and iPadOS 16.4 – 33 bugs fixed
    💻 macOS Monterey 12.6.4 – 27 bugs fixed
    💻 macOS Big Sur 11.7.5 – 25 bugs fixed
    ⌚ watchOS 9.4 – 16 bugs fixed

    📱 iOS and iPadOS 15.7.4 – 16 bugs fixed
    📺 tvOS 16.4 – 14 bugs fixed
    🌐 Safari 16.4 – 2 bugs fixed
    🛠️ Studio Display Firmware Update 16.4 – 1 bug fixed

    Several bugs may have been actively exploited. So far I’m only seeing targeted attacks, not widespread.

  • You’re fired if you don’t know how to use GPT-4

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    ISSUE 20.13 • 2023-03-27


    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    Mainstream media outlets are ablaze with news about GPT-4, OpenAI’s enormously powerful artificial-intelligence engine that will soon be shoehorned into every nook and cranny of Microsoft 365. Suddenly, knowing how to “prompt” (program) a generative AI app has become an essential requirement for your job or your life. God help us.

    We’ve all been instantly transported into the 25th-century world of Star Trek’s Jean-Luc Picard. You may think we’re still in the year 2023. But now — by entering just a few words — you can propel your personal starship through the galaxy at Warp 9. Or you can remain stuck in place and be assimilated by the Borg. Resistance is futile.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.13.0, 2023-03-27).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Microsoft 365 Copilot announced


    Will Fastie

    By Will Fastie

    Another shoe has dropped in Microsoft’s quest to build generative AI into just about everything.

    On March 16, Microsoft announced a new feature named Copilot, which will be provided with Microsoft 365 accounts. Copilot uses generative artificial intelligence, a large language model (LLM), and the Microsoft Graph to provide services based on natural language prompts. Examples of such prompting are evident in the controversial BingAI, but Microsoft emphasized its commitment to “responsible AI” for Copilot.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.13.0, 2023-03-27).

  • What’s wrong with OneNote — and what you can fix


    Mary Branscombe

    By Mary Branscombe

    OneNote is one of my favorite applications — but one that frustrates me far too often.

    It’s not me or you — it’s OneNote. Here’s a quick rundown of the annoying things that are just too hard (or downright impossible) to use, and some tips about how you can make those annoyances less so.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.13.0, 2023-03-27).

  • Temp_Cleaner GUI — Just what I was looking for


    Randy McElveen

    By Deanna McElveen

    When I go looking for a piece of free software for a particular need, I usually have a checklist in my mind.

    In this case, I was looking for a program that we could put on customers’ computers after a tune-up to help them in two ways. First is having a way to keep things cleaned out. Second is discouraging the client from downloading bundleware contained in other cleanup programs.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.13.0, 2023-03-27).

  • Who controls our tech?


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    The other day I spotted a USA Today article by Kim Komando about how to ensure Chinese tech wasn’t spying on you.

    She wrote: “Know that there are plenty of allegations that the companies below have government ties, but it’s up for debate how much the Chinese government is genuinely involved in operations. I’m sharing this to help you make more informed decisions on what you purchase and use daily.”

    I think her view is far too simplistic.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.13.0, 2023-03-27).

  • Celebrating Spring

    We’re between rain events here in California and the bulbs are in full bloom and in some cases getting ready to end their display for the year. I’m taking a slight break from tech tonight to share spring with you.

    One of my favorite Daffodil varieties called “jetfire”.

    But taking photos always reminds me how much the technology of taking pictures has changed. We used to have dedicated cameras and only took photos with film that had to be developed. Taking and developing pictures was expensive so you’d reserve taking a photo until you had just the right shot. Along the way we moved to faster photo processing, even to the point that we could get our photos developed in an hour (or less). Along the way we had poloroids where you’d take a photo and then shake it to help it develop. (Ah the kids have no idea what fun we had) Then came the big change in photography. The PHONE. When a camera was inserted into a phone to where you had a high quality photo taking device that not only was with you at all times but was in your pocket – and had Internet access – taking photographs changed drastically.  No longer did we even care if we got the PERFECT photo, we could screw up a bunch and not care. We can even edit the photos and make them better.

    I’m still struggling finding a nice, easy photo editing software program.  Geeks swear by irfanview but that’s a bit too geeky for my Sister who loves to edit photos. Do you have a favorite editing program?  Share in the comments!

  • Making Windows 11 on Arm less obnoxious

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    ISSUE 20.12 • 2023-03-20

    WINDOWS 11

    Mary Branscombe

    By Mary Branscombe

    If you’re running Windows on Arm, you really want to be running Windows 11 rather than Windows 10.

    Not only is it the only way to get Windows 11–specific features such as running Android apps or tabs in Notepad, but — crucially for Arm devices — it’s the only way to get 64-bit emulation or the native ARM64 .NET Framework. 64-bit emulation was previewed in an Insider build of Win10, but it shipped only in Win11.

    If you want to run apps such as the most recent version of Photoshop or Signal on your Arm PC, you need Windows 11 to do it. That’s annoying if you find the new Windows 11 user interface as frustrating as I do.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.12.0, 2023-03-20).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • The forums, and networking


    Talk Bubbles

    Last week, Will wrote a “From the forums” note titled How to participate in the forums. The response to that note was greater than expected, as you can see if you visit its associated forum topic.

    Your reaction in the forums has already spurred us to make a change.

    Will’s article about his encounter with Verizon also resulted in heavy forum activity. The comments were interesting and instructive.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.12.0, 2023-03-20).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • TPM 2.0, required by Windows 11, is hackable. Upgrade now?


    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    Researchers have discovered flaws in TPM 2.0, a security microcontroller that Microsoft requires on a device (with exceptions) before Windows 11 will install. If your computer is affected, a hacker could bypass TPM’s security to read some of your data or overwrite cryptographic keys that the microcontroller is expected to contain safely.

    The news isn’t all bad. There are many ways you and your devices may be immune.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.12.0, 2023-03-20).