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  • Fresh reports of HP PC shortages

    Posted on March 9th, 2020 at 15:28 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Just got a message from a reader:

    I wanted to report to you something that may pique your interest. I was tasked with ordering computers (HP) and I am finding out due to the Coronavirus coupled with Intel chip shortages that [it’s difficult to find HP] computers… to replace old Windows 7/Vista, yes Vista, machines.

    I did a search on many sites and stock is low and even Amazon and Google are struggling to find pcs that would fit the needs (I’m aiming at 16gb of ram, I5 processors at minimum).

    Are you encountering any problems getting new computers? There have been reports and rumors of chip shortages cascading into PC shortages, but I haven’t seen anything specifically about i5-level processors with 16 GB of RAM.

  • How to manage your router – Part II

    Posted on January 13th, 2020 at 01:15 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    By Lance Whitney

    Your router holds the keys to your local network. Here’s how to use some of its advanced settings.

    In Part I of this two-part series, I covered the basics of router management: changing router and Wi-Fi credentials, guest networks, parental controls, and blocking devices. If you missed it, head over to the 2020-01-06 AskWoody Plus issue.

    The basic settings add some security and protection, but if you want to kick that up to a higher gear, you’ll need to dive into the more advanced options. In Part II, we’ll cover topics such as changing DNS servers, running a speed test, blocking specific sites, setting up MAC-address control, viewing logs, and updating your firmware.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.2.0 (2020-01-13).

  • How to manage your router – Part I

    Posted on January 6th, 2020 at 01:15 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    By Lance Whitney

    Your router holds the keys to your local network. Here’s how to interpret and configure its various settings.

    Router management has always been a somewhat challenging task, especially if you venture beyond the basic settings. Over the years, router manufacturers have tried to make the initial configuration process simpler through one-touch buttons and easy-setup wizards.

    But making sure your Wi-Fi network is configured securely and properly means delving into the local router’s firmware, checking and tweaking various options.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.1.0 (2020-01-06).

  • Versatile gadget gifts for stuffing stockings large and small

    Posted on December 9th, 2019 at 01:00 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    By Michael Lasky

    Christmas stocking stuffers are usually thought of as small, whimsical, and not always practical gifts. They’re fun little extras.

    But throughout the year, I bookmarked a host of high- and low-tech products that are actually useful for digital denizens. You know: gadgets that will appeal to your favorite techie — or that you secretly covet for yourself.

    If your holiday shopping list is still incomplete, here are four items for your consideration.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 16.45.0 (2019-12-09).

  • Google shutting down Cloud Print late next year

    Posted on November 22nd, 2019 at 06:05 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Don’t know about you, but I use Google Cloud Print every day. In fact it’s the only way I print these days. Google’s killing it at the end of next year.

    Here’s what Google says:

    Beginning January 1, 2021, devices across all operating systems will no longer be able to print using Google Cloud Print. We recommend that over the next year, you identify an alternative solution and execute a migration strategy.

    I’ll probably change to Epson’s cloud-based printing service, but what a pain!

    (Technical note: I have an Epson ET-4750 which connects to my office WiFi system. Works great. I could print directly from every other device on my WiFi network, but it’s a bear setting up direct printing from my LAN-attached main computer, unless I go through the cloud.)

    Martin Brinkmann has more details on

  • Patch Lady – for small businesses remember your firewall is a computer too

    Posted on November 19th, 2019 at 15:35 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    If you are like many small businesses, in addition to the router provided by your Internet provider, you also may have a hardware firewall that goes between you and the outside world.  It provides additional filtering and protection.  In this era of cloud computing it may be getting less important, but I still like to have a bit of web filtering between me and the bad guys that come through browsing in a firm setting.

    Last night at 5:05ish p.m. our Sophos firewall hardware completely died.  Good news is that is covered under warranty they are shipping out a unit overnight.

    The good news is that I quickly downloaded a ISO of a trial of Sophos firewall software, stuck it in hyperV, installed it and after a few missteps in setting up firewall rules, got the server/network back online.  It pays to have a server with spare networking ports that you aren’t using that you can set up a virtual appliance firewall.  I’m using a 30 days trial version to tide me over.  I’m thinking about sticking the home license in there and keeping it on the server as a just in case of emergency.  You don’t realize how dependent you are on the firewall until it goes boom. And then you realize your ENTIRE network goes through a SINGLE box.

    For those of you that are small business consultants, you may want to see if your firewall vendor has similar software appliance downloads to work as a temp firewall as long as you have two nics free.  Once you get it up it looks just like your real firewall.

    Here’s the bad news:  So in googling around last night, I realized that I have a rev 1 SG125 and guess what….. there’s a known issue in these suckers

    And it’s been known for at least two years.  So you may want to google on the firewall vendor forums every now and then to determine if other devices are like this unit:

    “Please do not go screaming at Sophos as this one is NOT THEIR FAULT.  Intel is hampering things trying to contain the damage by not allowing the vendors to say exactly which chips are hit..but a little self-research makes it very easy to figure out whoe SOC is screwed up and which devices are a time bomb.”

    Apparently I’m lucky that it hasn’t occurred before this.

    More on this issue:

    And it impacts Cisco too:


  • Even Charlie Kindel gets the Surface Laptop 3/Surface Dock blues

    Posted on November 8th, 2019 at 11:02 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    (Yes, that Charlie Kindel – Windows Home Server, Alexa, Control4)

  • Bowman: How to update the Marvell driver for your Surface — without installing Win10 version 1909

    Posted on October 28th, 2019 at 14:40 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    There’s a detailed, step-by-step explanation in this new video from Barb Bowman.

    There are quite a few folks desperate for fixed Marvell Wi-Fi drivers for Surface devices following bad drivers that were sent down through Windows Update in early August. The greatest impact seems to be on mesh type networks. You can, or course, roll back the bad driver. But if you need to test the “fixme” version, and intend to stay on 1903 until 1909 is “proven safe for mankind” (so to speak), there is an option.

    It seems possible to join the Insiders Preview Ring to get the “fixed” Marvell Wi-Fi drivers for Surface devices without being forced to download and install 1909 if you are already running 1903. 1909 “should” be offered as an optional update and I’ve made a short video explaining the steps, as there are multiple restarts in addition to the specific order of steps that need to be followed. I’ve tested this and it works for me. I can’t guarantee that it will work for you, but the worst that can happen is, if you are running 1903 and 1909 does install, you can open the classic Control Panel, Programs and Features, view Installed Updates, and UNINSTALL the 1909 update.

    Neat trick – and a safe way to get the drivers that’ll fix your WiFi.