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  • In memory of Dr Martin Luther King Jr

    Posted on January 15th, 2018 at 12:47 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    By the by… if you haven’t seen the Netflix talk between Pres. Obama and that hairy comedian/talk show host, it’s well worth watching.

  • Intel admits that its Meltdown/Spectre firmware patches trigger reboots on Haswell and Broadwell computers

    Posted on January 12th, 2018 at 06:57 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    If you own a PC with a Haswell or Broadwell processor (roughly 2014 to 2016 vintage), I strongly recommend that you refrain from installing the Meltdown/Spectre firmware updates, when they arrive.

    Intel’s detected a teensy-tiny problem.

    Computerworld Woody on Windows.

  • Born: Is my browser vulnerable to Spectre attacks?

    Posted on January 11th, 2018 at 09:51 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Günter Born has an important recap of the the test website xlab.tencent.com, which has a tool that can check to see if your browser is currently susceptible to Spectre attacks.

    The tool is from Tencent’s Xuanwu Lab, which is part of Tencent, one of the largest companies in Asia. The Xuanwu Lab is well-known in antimalware circles.

    I ran a quick check on both of my go-to browsers, Firefox 57.0.4 (64-bit) and Chrome 63.0.3239.132 (Official Build) (64-bit). Both of them came up with “Not vulnerable.”

    That’s a comforting, if ambiguous, determination. As the Tencent site says:

    However, if the result is NOT VULNERABLE, it doesn’t mean your browser is absolutely not vulnerable because there might be other unknown attacking methods.

    Which is something of a triple (quadruple?) negative, but I surmise that Firefox and Chrome aren’t susceptible to the currently published Spectre vulnerabilities.

    A quick check of the latest IE and Chrome on my Win10 1703 machine turned up Not Vulnerable as well.

    Martin Brinkmann on ghacks.net ran a similar set of tests. He says that Google Chrome Stable, Opera Stable and Vivaldi Stable all turn up Vulnerable.

    Your mileage may vary.

  • Merry Christmas!

    Posted on January 7th, 2018 at 08:04 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    For my Russian, Greek and other Orthodox friends – best of the holiday season.

    (Nashville has a large group of Copts. I have fond memories of the blue-painted houses in Egypt. It’s an amazing, diverse, fascinating world we live in.)

  • Reports of “coil whine” in new Surface Book 2 machines

    Posted on January 7th, 2018 at 07:51 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Some folks love their Surface Book 2 PCs — Paul Thurrott certainly does — and at $ 2,000 or so for a well-aspirated model, Microsoft’s certainly hoping you will, too.

    But there’s one feature that’s drawn a fair amount of attention that you should take into account. Coil whine.

    If you’ve never seen, uh, heard coil whine in action, watch this video:

    There’s a thread developing on the Microsoft Answers forum that says the Surface Book 2’s coil whine — at least for some people — drives them nuts.

    Microsoft’s Arnulfo Avi posted:

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Surface Book 2 has just been released and should be in perfect working condition upon receiving your device. We understand that it may be causing the undesired noise when using the device. This is normal given the high-powered component and the specs of this model.

    Nonetheless, if this is giving inconvenience on the way you utilize the Surface, we suggest that you drop by the same store where you’ve purchased it. Our staff will assist you and should replacement be required, there should be no issue at all.

    That seems like excellent advice.

  • HP recalling some recent laptop batteries

    Posted on January 5th, 2018 at 14:51 Kirsty Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Another laptop battery issue has been reported, with a heads-up article by Catalin Cimpanu on bleepingcomputer.com.

    See the details and links in our Code Red topic (not a security issue, but we don’t have a Recall topic!):

  • Windows fades as the world gets more connected

    Posted on December 31st, 2017 at 11:58 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I found this chart from Benedict Evans to be… sobering…

    The world’s changing. Fast.

    By the way… while I have your attention… today is a very good day to back up everything.

  • Merry Christmas, everyone

    Posted on December 24th, 2017 at 07:24 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    The first Christmas card, 1843. Source: Wikimedia

    For those of you who celebrate Christmas — and even those who don’t — all the best from the Leonhards to y’all.