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  • We just went over 1,000,000 posts

    Posted on May 12th, 2019 at 14:04 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    And the Windows Secrets merge continues…

  • Patch Lady – who actually plays Candy Crush

    Posted on April 30th, 2019 at 11:41 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Random stupid thought of the day…. who actually plays Candy Crush on their Windows 10 machines?  I mean seriously.  We have phones and tablets for games.  People use computers for work.  And if you want a game, around my office, solitaire is the one people play, not Candy Crush.  It seems to me that Microsoft cannot be making enough revenue stream from Candy Crush’s authors, nor can Candy Crush’s authors be having such a great financial deal with Microsoft given that so much time and energy is spent by Microsoft admins and users world wide to GET RID OF IT.

    The number of resources to de-crapify Windows 10 is staggering.

    Think of how much more we’d all embrace 10 if you just got rid of the stuff that shouldn’t be there in the first place, Redmond?

    So here’s my unofficial survey for the final day of April:

    Have you EVER played Candy Crush on your Windows 10 computer?  

  • Patch Lady – when support goes too far

    Posted on April 24th, 2019 at 20:33 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    First off I know many of you will go …uh huh what do you expect of a company that maps your house.. but I love my irobots… until they don’t work.  I purchased an iRobot i7 with a clean base that … for a while would vacuum the house and go back to the base and empty itself.  And Susan was happy.  Until it didn’t empty itself.  It would go back to the base and charge but would not sense that the clean base was there.  So I went on the web and did all the support documents said to do to get it to work again.  And still it wouldn’t see the clean base.

    So finally when busy season was over and I had a chance to call them, I did.  And during the call explained all the steps I had previously gone through to get it working.  (rebooted the machine, rebooted the clean base, moved the iRobot to 8 feet away from the clean base and pressed the button to go home, cleaned all sensors, cleaned all clean base sensors, etc, etc, even removed the battery to reset the unit, trust me folks I’m a geek, I read your support docs and nothing is working).  So then the support personnel wanted to do a video chat with me.  I’m on a phone I’m thinking…. I’ve explained what I did… why do I need to do a video call?  So he texts me a link to their support video platform.  Which I can tell from clicking on it that their video chat tool is having technical issues and is not making a connection.  He has me try a second time and it doesn’t work.  So then he informs me that I need to record a video and upload it to icloud in order to share it with him to demonstrate what is not working and what steps I’ve done to get it to work.

    Excuse me?  Gentlemen at what point in time do you take the word of your customer and do the right thing?

    I asked to speak to a supervisor to express my opinion that asking me to do a video call was beyond acceptable as a practice to ask of your customers especially after your support tool clearly was not functional.  They agreed and promised to send out a replacement robot, clean base and evacuation bin.  So today the package arrives from iRobot telling me to reset my robot, take out the battery and put it in the replacement one and then send back the defective three parts.  So I remove the five screws, take the battery out, and open up the replacement box getting ready to place the battery in the replacement robot.  And that’s where the fun started.

    You see, only the clean base arrived, not a robot. Seriously of the three promised replacement parts, only one was shipped, the base vacuum robot in particular was not shipped.   So off I call again to ask then to follow up.  And they indicate they will have to look into it with UPS as it must be a shipping problem.  They assure me that three items were shipped.  I assure them that no, just one arrived.

    I am sure that if I looked into the customer support notes of my case they would probably call me slightly beligerent.  Right now I feel frustrated and feel that customer support shouldn’t believe the UPS shipping that says that “oh yes three items were delivered” and instead believe the word of a customer who loves your devices and is losing faith with them as a result of your customer support.

    Why do technology items have to constantly have such frustrating customer support experiences?  Why is this “acceptable” in this industry?

    Thank you, Woody for letting me vent on your platform.  At least it made me feel a bit better to get out my customer support frustrations.

     

     

  • Patch Lady – so I don’t get it

    Posted on April 12th, 2019 at 20:24 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    By now you’ve seen the headlines… we have three antivirus documented as being down for the count when it comes to Windows 7 and 8.1 (and corresponding Server OS as well).  Per https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4493448 , Sophos, Avira and Avast all are causing issues, with machines unresponsive.  Avast in particular has the nasty side effect of “additionally you may be unable to log in or log in after an extended period of time”.

    Yet in the patches there doesn’t see to be any extreme changes to the kernel (that my honestly untrained eyes) can see that would cause three pretty common antivirus engines to be totally making computers unusable.

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4493472 (the monthly rollup KB) lists ArcaBit as another impacted one.

    Windows 10 1809 also refers to an issue with ArcaBit antivirus.  I am not seeing that reported on any other Windows 10 platform.

    In the cumulative update model it’s a bit harder to tell what exactly Microsoft is fixing.  Dustin Childs (ex-MSRC webcasts/blogger now at Zero day) lists out the patches in their “code” style not in the patch style.  Normally kernel code changes are the most historically and notoriously at fault for interactions with antivirus.  Because A/V hooks into the kernel, changes to that code often has ripple effects.

    Both kernel bugs this month (here and here) don’t give me clues that they might be the ones triggering all of these failures.

    Bottom line I’m giving you no answers tonight, just big warnings.  Don’t install updates just yet… but you knew that one already.

  • 31 days of Paranoia – day 31

    Posted on October 31st, 2018 at 20:48 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    First off a bit of Halloween humor seen on a twitter post… someone was saying they were dressing up as “Outlook”.  Their costume was to wrap themselves up in a translucent shower curtain with a sign that said “Not Responding!”.

    I think we all can relate to that.

    So as I’m here at the front door (dressed up like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg I might add) waiting for the trick-or-treaters let’s end our 31 days of paranoia with one more post of resources:

    Places to go to get help – especially for Windows issues.

    First off – and above all – this site.  Specifically the Forums on this site.  There is nothing that helps better than someone else saying “gee I don’t see that here”… or “yes, I’ve had that EXACT same issue and here’s how I fixed it!”.  When you have no other machine to compare to, you tend to get a bit paranoid thinking that attackers are making your machine freak out when it might just be… well… patching or anti virus scanning or something third party making it freak out.

    Next I’d recommend something that makes me shiver… and not just because it’s Halloween and I’m listening to the Amazon Halloween playlist (It’s playing Michael Jackson’s thriller right now).  Twitter.  Yup Twitter.  I am lately finding that you can get one on one help when you direct it to a corporate or official twitter account.  There is a list (it might be a bit outdated) of official twitter aliases, and their official support alias for Microsoft is https://twitter.com/microsofthelps

    You can direct message them and get communication back.  The reason it makes me shiver is I find that twitter is too narrow of a channel and the knowledge or solution doesn’t often get exposed like it does in a forum venue.

    If you are an IT pro kind of person, I’m finding that Microsoft employees respond pretty good on the Techcommunity venue.

    Also make sure you have at least SOMETHING that can get to google.  The best way to fix a Windows machine is a working computer or device and a search engine.  There are so many times I’ve fixed something scrolling around a page on my iPhone.

    Now just so you don’t think I’m going to end the 31 days of paranoia in a happy spot here are some parting trends to worry about:

    Crypto mining attacks are trending.  The bad guys get on your machine and use the excess CPU to coin bitcoin.  So they don’t want to steal your credit card data, they want to use your computer to make their own money.

    Smaller more targeted phishing is on the rise.

    Attackers that set up Office 365 relay rules and then hide the fact that they’ve taken over your email box.

    And with that we close this month of paranoia.  Going forward I’ll still throw in a paranoid post or two…. just not as often as one a day.

  • Patch Lady – 31 days of Paranoia – Day 25

    Posted on October 26th, 2018 at 00:23 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    How many times has this happened to you?  You get a call and the person on the other end of the phone says you have a problem with your [computer, iPhone, apple device, technology].  They usually say that your device is alerting them that it is full of viruses.

    Their goal?  To either get on your machine or get your credit card from you and then steal money from you.  As noted on this FTC page,

    The scammers may then

    Ask you to give them remote access to your computer — which lets them access all information stored on it, and on any network connected to it

    Try to enroll you in a worthless computer maintenance or warranty program

    Install malware that gives them access to your computer and sensitive data, like user names and passwords

    Ask for credit card information so they can bill you for phony services or services available elsewhere for free

    Try to sell you software or repair services that are worthless or available elsewhere for free

    Direct you to websites and ask you to enter credit card, bank account, and other personal information

    How many of you try to play along and keep the scammers online?  I know some folks that purposely keep a virtual machine around and let scammers log into that and pretend to be really really dumb in regards to technology to keep the scammers online as much as possible.  I have often dragged them along for a time and then finally asked them if they feel right scamming people.  They promptly hang up.

    If you’ve let them on your system, make sure you scan your system with an antivirus program.  Cancel credit cards if you gave them any financial information.

    But just know that Microsoft never calls you, unless you’ve called them first.

  • Patch Lady – 31 days of Paranoia – Day 22

    Posted on October 23rd, 2018 at 00:56 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    We come to our 22nd day of paranoia and today is about a topic that is near and dear to many of you….. end user license agreements.  Those statements that vendors provide that we all click through and most of us don’t understand them, nor read them like we should.  The electronic foundation recaps most of the terminology that we miss, but there’s another end user license agreement issue that we often overlook.  One where the terms change and we don’t realize that it has changed:

    For example… let’s look at the Windows 10 end user license agreement.

    In Windows 10 the eula specifically says this:

    Section 2 c (v):
    use the software as server software, for commercial hosting, make the software available for simultaneous use by multiple users over a network, install the software on a server and allow users to access it remotely, or install the software on a device for use only by remote users;

    Windows 8.1 Pro the eula says this:
    The software is not licensed to be used as server software or for commercial hosting, so you may not make the software available for simultaneous use by multiple users over a network

    One could argue that the eula specifically disallows the ability to set up a headless Windows 10 machine that one can remote into and use remotely.

    Given that they have announced a Microsoft virtual desktop hosted on Azure, you can see that’s where they want the remote experience to be.

    Bottom line, never assume that end user license agreements are static.  They can be updated with newer terms.  Keep reading ….and keep reading between the lines… as necessary.

  • If you got hit by the 1809 upgrade file deleting feature…

    Posted on October 6th, 2018 at 12:55 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    and you’ve tried using Recuva to get the files back…

    Contact Microsoft directly:

    “They have the tools to get you back to a good state.”

    Like, maybe Hawaii?

    If Microsoft does have a secret tool or two in their hip pockets, I’d sure like to hear about it/them.