Daily Archives: March 6, 2023

  • Tooling around with computers

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    ISSUE 20.10 • 2023-03-06


    Ben Myers

    By Ben Myers

    Whether you maintain your own computer, run your family IT department, or manage lots of computers, having the right tools makes the work so much easier.

    No matter which task you need to do, tools are essential — whether a spoon to stir your morning coffee or a hammer to pound a nail. So it is with computers, which need to be taken apart, put back together, cleaned, and sometimes connected to other devices to get the job done.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.10.0, 2023-03-06).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Can chatbots write code? Yes, but should you use it?


    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    You’ve heard a lot about “chatbots” that can answer search queries and write essays that sound like some human had written them. But did you know that artificial-intelligence agents, if you ask nicely, can also write working computer code?

    Bots that can code include OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which Microsoft has tried — with great frustration — to integrate into its Bing search engine. (See my February 27, 2023, column on the freakouts Redmond’s AI has subjected users to.)

    Automated tools like ChatGPT have spawned a lot of hysterical commentary, such as “The sky is falling and human programmers are doomed.” But don’t quit your day job just yet.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.10.0, 2023-03-06).

  • What to do before your phone is stolen


    Peter Deegan

    By Peter Deegan

    Having your smartphone or tablet stolen is a traumatic event, but there are things you can do beforehand to make loss and replacement much less stressful, risky, and expensive.

    I speak from experience. My iPhone was stolen last month, which was very annoying. But — because I’m a careful nerd — no files or data were lost. The thief was locked out of the smartphone in minutes.

    There are things you should do to make loss of a device less traumatic and easier to recover from.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.10.0, 2023-03-06).

  • When you are flagged as malicious


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    We rely too much on automated reporting in our security solutions.

    Most of the time, such automation works pretty well. When it doesn’t, the consequences can be quite damaging. We can think back to many times when antivirus updates accidentally flagged a file as malicious, and all sorts of fun ensued.

    Just recently, an update to Microsoft Defender interacted with Attack Surface Reduction rules and removed shortcuts on the desktop. If you were on Defender and had the “Block Win32 API calls from Office macro” Attack Surface Reduction rule in place, then updated to security intelligence builds between 1.381.2134.0 and 1.381.2163.0, you would find your icons missing. IT admins were scrambling for days to fix the resulting mess.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.10.0, 2023-03-06).