Newsletter Archives

  • Ewaste or usable?

    I have two old laptops that over the next few weekends I’m going to attempt to see what options I have to make them usable.

    Laptop number 1 was built for Vista and is now running Windows 7 (barely). Laptop number 2 was sold as a Chromebook but the version is now out of date and it’s unsupported. It’s no longer usable for it’s most recent use – that of tele-medicine for someone who used it recently. She’s since bought a new chromebook that is supported.

    But before I add these two laptops to the ewaste heap – I’m going to see what I can do to make them USABLE and SUPPORTED.  Meaning that it’s a functional machine and doesn’t mandate that I take a coffee break for 20 minutes as it boots up and it has to still get patches.

    What’s my goal? Well first they are no longer usable as Windows devices. These days you need 16 gigs (at least) and a SSD drive to be usable for Windows 10.  Clearly they cannot support Windows 11 as they have no TPM chip.  I don’t expect these two devices to be beefy workstations, rather merely web browsing and email only.

    I was going to try to initially move these to a supported Chrome OS like Cloud Ready but recently they got bought out by Google.  Along the way I’ll discuss the issues I hit.

    So my first bit of a roadblock is the fact that Cloud Ready has gone more “corporate” and now has certified models that they recommend.  I purchased the Acer C710-2834 from Amazon back in 2013 .  It has a 16 gig hard drive, Intel Celeron Processor 1007U 1.5GHz (2MB L3 Cache)  2 GB DDR3 RAM

    In poking around the web site, it’s definitely not supported, and was not considered a good candidate three years ago.  But I’m going to press on and just see if this is doable.  First I’ll follow these instructions to make a bootable flash drive, I’ll report next weekend on my progress!

  • April 2022 Office non-Security updates have been released

    The April 2022 Office non-Security updates have been released Tuesday, April 5, 2022. They are not included in the DEFCON-4 approval for the March 2022 patches. Unless you have a specific need to install them, you should wait until Susan Bradley (Patch Lady) approves them and any problems have been reported.

    Remember, Susan’s patching sequence and recommendations are based on a business environment that has IT support and may have time constraints on the updating process. Consumer patching should be more cautious due to limited technical and mechanical resources. The latter is the reason for the AskWoody DEFCON system.

    Office 2016
    Update for Microsoft Office 2016 (KB5002141)
    Update for Microsoft Project 2016 (KB5002132)

    There were no non-security listings for Office 2013.
    On April 10, 2018, Office 2013 reached End of Mainstream Support. Extended Support will end for Office 2013 on April 11, 2023.
    Office 2016 also reached  End of Mainstream Support on October 13, 2020. EOS for Office 2016 is October 14, 2025.

    Updates are for the .msi version (perpetual). Office 365 and C2R are not included.

    Security updates for all supported versions of Microsoft Office are released on the second Tuesday of the month (Patch Tuesday).

  • 2004’s being pushed?

    In the Windows update twitter account they indicate:

    Today we are starting a new rollout phase for Windows 10, version 21H1 using our latest machine learning model to begin the multi-month process to automatically update devices running Windows 10, version 2004, that are approaching end of servicing.

    So. What does that mean? Same old, same old, unfortunately.

    If you have a device on 2004 and do not have the targetreleaseversion in place to keep it on 2004, Microsoft will begin pushing you to 21H1.

    Well first I think they are pushing a little too quickly as 2004 doesn’t age out until December.  Furthermore I still see people struggling to get off of 1909 and on to 2004. So if you have a reason to stay on 2004 – even if that reason is that you are too busy right now to deal with it- make sure you have the targetreleaseversion setting in place otherwise you may find yourself rebooting when you don’t want it.

    I’ll be soon adding the approval of 21H1 to my recommended versions.  Bottom line my recommendation is to use the TRV (aka targetreleaseversion) setting to be the guard rails on your system.  You then get to choose exactly when you want to go through the feature upgrade process. It’s on your time schedule, not Microsoft.

    Will spotted this video the other day… scroll to the 9 minute mark and listen.

  • Are you a Consultant or IT Pro?

    I’ll be speaking virtually at the SMBTechFest coming up on April 15th on the topic of Security in the news. If you are a SMB consultant I highly recommend signing up for the presentations.

    Highlighted speakers include

    Susan Bradley (yours truly), Bethany Roser, Derek Melber, Robert DeVito, James Kernan, Amy Babinchak, Mark Winter, Nicole Faletra, James Hatzell, Nicole Faletra, , Sarah Hansen, Ian McChord and more.
  • Set up a guest network that’s actually secure

    PUBLIC DEFENDER

    Set up a guest network that’s actually secure

    By Brian Livingston

    In the computer industry, too many things that should be simple and easy are instead complicated and hard for the average person to understand. Take Wi-Fi routers — please!

    In my column on January 25, I showed you a way to protect your most essential computing devices by placing them on a different network from easy-to-hack Internet of Things devices. The trick uses two different Wi-Fi routers.

    But what if you have only one device? A cable company often installs a gateway that offers several wired Ethernet ports as well as Wi-Fi. In that case, you don’t have two devices to play with — you have just one.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.4.0 (2021-02-01).

  • There’s something about trains

    (I hope you’ll indulge me in this off topic post tonight)

    I love riding on trains.  In my personal experience they are vastly superior to planes.  It’s not that I hate flying, rather it’s the lack of leg room, and because I live on the West coast, getting up at the crack of dawn to get to the airport early.  In this era of lack of travel and lack of flying to conferences, I don’t miss flying, but I do miss train travel.

    I also love toy trains.

    As we decorate for Christmas, we get out our family’s vintage 1950’s era Lionel toy train that my Grandmother bought for my Sister when she was a little girl.  Tonight I’m watching a video on Amazon about Lionel Christmas toy trains.  My sister hasn’t (yet) decorated with as many trains as shown in that video.  We only have the one – and yes – it still works!  I’ve traveled to toy train shows where they have computerized consoles that control their whole train displays.

    Real Trains changed the world.  It was a game changing technology that totally changed the world.  It introduced the concept of time zones in England and in North America so everyone could agree on what time you’d need to meet the train and not have “local only” time.   It made transportation of goods and services possible.  It moved us all to more industrial production.  As much as the Internet has changed our lives, Trains changed our Grandparents (and even Great-Grandparents) lives even more.

    Now if you think train technology is stagnate, guess again.  Even Elon Musk is getting in on inventing new technologies for trains including – believe it or not – wind energy.  What technology do you see changing in your lifetime?

     

     

  • Sometimes a reboot is good

    So today as I’m taking a slight break from technology … well kinda (*)…. and baking Christmas spritz cookies I am reminded of a reboot I had to do yesterday.  A modem reboot.  I have a consumer Comcast modem at home that every now and then I have to reboot.  The comcast app lets you do it quite easily.  Mind you I have another router in FRONT of that Comcast because we all know how we love ISP provided things and prefer something between us and them.

    At the office I have a similar set up with a Business level model that I honestly forget that every now and then it’s good for it to be rebooted as well.  It’s more rock solid.  But just yesterday I thought the www.askwoody.com site was down.  Wouldn’t come up for me.  I knew that my internet was still up because I could get to other sites.  So then I started the normal…. is it me?  Is it them?

    I opened up a command line and typed in ping www.askwoody.com.  Everything came back with no packet loss.  Then I went to the is it down site.  Hmmm still not down.  I then took my iphone off of the firm wifi and tried on cellular.  Hmmm the site worked.  I had in the middle of that emailed PK and Kirsty and they said it was fine.  Must be me.  But my firewall me or my Comcast modem me?  So I have some guest wifi that goes through the Comcast but not through the firm firewall and I connected to that with my iphone.   I even remoted into my home system and realized for sure it was just the office.  (Home is also on Comcast)   So it must be the Comcast modem.  Had to wait until after 5 p.m. to reboot and sure enough, that was the issue.

    So a kind reminder…  EVERYONE including things you consider “rock solid” need a reset or a reboot every now and then.  What are you doing to reset or reboot your technology and yourself these days?  Do you regularly reboot your modem/router and any other wifi devices?  What steps do you use to troubleshoot connectivity issues?  What do you do to narrow down that it’s you and not them?  As calling anyone these days for tech support is not the most relaxing or fulfilling task these days.

    (*) Okay so not completely free of technology, I am using my phone to search for a Christmas spritz cookie recipe and listening to Christmas Jazz on my Sonos streaming system.

  • WSUS survey results

    For those of you that are patching admins, I recently did a survey on your attitudes towards WSUS.  The results in their raw form are located here and here.

    Lots of interesting comments.

    In the meantime I did a similar story about different Microsoft business patching options on Computerworld.

  • Patch Lady – be aware of potential issues with HP firmware

    Andrew warns

    Hey @HP Color LaserJet Pro printer owners seeing a boot cycle with error 79 in the last few days. I think HP pushed bad firmware. I was able to resolve by turning off all networking to stop rebooting and then uploading old firmware via USB

    He said

    in my case it was an MFP M281fdw, but I’m seeing a bunch of folks on HP’s forum with error 79 in just the last few days with different models. Symptom is constant reboot if wireless or wired networking is connected

    Here’s a sample of the forum posts here: https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Printing-Errors-or-Lights-Stuck-Print-Jobs/79-Service-Error-Boot-Loop/td-p/7842055

    and here https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/forums/searchpage/tab/message?q=79&sort_by=-topicPostDate&collapse_discussion=true

    Remember once you get it working again to disable the remote firmware update until it’s known that it’s been corrected.

    (Not all HP printer support over the internet firmware updates.  But if yours is a newer model it probably does)

  • National Hurricane Center: Get out of coastal areas between Freeport TX and Ocean Springs MS

    For those of you along the coast, get out. Now.

    Unsurvivable storm surge with large and destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, including Calcasieu and Sabine Lakes. This surge could penetrate up to 30 miles inland from the immediate coastline. #Laura

    Take your pets, too.

  • Patch Lady – pushing off 1803

    Well the pandemic is still impacting patching:

    “We have heard your feedback and understand your need to focus on business continuity in the midst of the global pandemic. As a result, we have decided to delay the scheduled end-of-service date for the Enterprise, Education, and IoT Enterprise editions of Windows 10, version 1803. This means that security updates will continue to be released monthly until May 11, 2021. The final security update for these editions of Windows 10, version 1803 will be released on May 11, 2021 instead of November 10, 2020.”

    https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/windows-it-pro-blog/revised-end-of-service-date-for-windows-10-version-1803-may-11/ba-p/1614136

  • PC sales rose significantly in the second quarter. Chromebooks, too.

    From IDC (which includes Chromebooks in its “PC” numbers):

    The second quarter of 2020 (2Q20) ended well for the Traditional PC market, comprised of desktops, notebooks, and workstations, with global shipments growing 11.2% year over year reaching a total of 72.3 million units… Early indicators suggest strong PC shipments for education, enterprise, and consumer, muted somewhat by frozen SMBs,

    You small and medium businesses (he says, looking in the mirror) haven’t been keeping up the pace. Maybe it has something to do with available capital. Or maybe it’s just “Meh, what I have is good enough.”

    United States Traditional PC shipments posted double-digit growth in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period a year ago. While the first quarter was record breaking for the lowest PC shipments seen in over a decade, the second quarter was record breaking for the opposite reason. With volumes expected to surpass 21 million units, the US has not seen such volume since the end of 2009.

    From Gartner (which doesn’t count Chromebooks in the “PC” category, for some bizarre historical reason):

    Worldwide PC Shipments Grew 2.8% (year-over-year) in Second Quarter of 2020… After a significant decline in the first quarter of the year due to COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions, the PC market returned to growth as vendors restocked their channels and mobile PC demand increased.

    I’d be hard-pressed to say that the dip in 1st quarter demand was primarily due to “supply chain disruptions,” but I don’t have a team of high-priced clairvoyants at hand.

    The big PC manufacturers: Lenovo (25%), HP (24.9%), Dell (16.4%), Apple (6.7% – doesn’t include iPads), Acer (6.2%), ASUS (5.5%).