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  • Are you a Consultant or IT Pro?

    Posted on April 7th, 2021 at 23:38 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    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

    Posted on February 1st, 2021 at 01:10 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge


    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

    Posted on December 10th, 2020 at 22:49 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    (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

    Posted on December 5th, 2020 at 16:20 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    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 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  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

    Posted on November 19th, 2020 at 12:11 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    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

    Posted on November 3rd, 2020 at 17:49 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    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:

    and here

    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

    Posted on August 26th, 2020 at 12:19 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    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

    Posted on August 26th, 2020 at 12:16 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    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.”

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

    Posted on July 10th, 2020 at 06:06 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    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%).

  • Patch Lady – we feel your pain

    Posted on June 11th, 2020 at 18:03 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I remember seeing this video YEARS ago and thought many of you might enjoy it….  This was (I believe) done by Microsoft Europe back in the Windows XP days.  Yes it’s a joke but there’s a slight evil part of me that would love to have this ability … just a little bit


  • Patch Lady – seriously Gordon, Windows 10’s aren’t dropping like flies

    Posted on April 13th, 2020 at 14:07 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    If you read Gordon’s post you would think that I was typing up this post from my iphone because all of my Windows 10 machines were blue screening on me and were not functional.  While I am an advocate of not installing updates on the first day, the reality of updating is that while SOME people will have issues the vast majority of us will be fine and see absolutely no side effects whatsoever.

    I’ll even take Mayank to task in his article…

    “Windows Updates have a dreadful track record of late, with almost every single update causing users some serious problems.”.    Again, I skip all optional updates, only install the main updates, and not right away and all of my machines are just fine.  There are some people having issues, but it’s not ALL of us having issues.

    Here’s my recommendation to not do a Gordon on your Windows 10 machine.

    1. Stick with one antivirus.  I’ll even go so far as to recommend the native Defender.  I often see browser brick ups, issues and oddities with any number of third party antivirus vendors (just saw one yesterday related regarding Symantec).  But if you have multiple a/v, or multiple anti spyware, please, don’t.
    2. Don’t use cccleaner.  Registry cleaners do more harm than good especially on Windows 10.
    3. Really really old software should be installed on really old systems.  Meaning that if you install something where the drivers aren’t signed, or you have to jump through all sorts of hoops of application compatibility to get it installed, that’s not a good sign.
    4. The optional updates are not, nor have they ever been mandatory.  If you aren’t directly impacted by that VPN connectivity issue, don’t install them.
    5. Know how to boot back into your machine and restore from a backup.  Not just uninstall the update, but truly to reboot a pc back and restore it.  Often booting from a flash drive is the most horrific experience on a pc.  You often have to google up the specific instructions for a pc to figure out how to ‘catch’ it before it boots to get it to grab the flash drive.  You want to make sure you KNOW that exact sequence and have tested it out.  Personally I find Surface devices the most fiddly as you often have to find the specific info for that specific version and press the up down buttons a certain way to get it to grab the flash drive.
    6. Ensure you have bootable flash drives and external hard drives.  Here at the office I even keep a spare SSD drive because so often they can just die spontaneously.

    Don’t install updates right away tomorrow, but seriously Gordon, that article isn’t helpful.

  • New forum for COVID-19

    Posted on March 6th, 2020 at 08:50 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’ve posted several times about the novel coronavirus – once on a purely personal level. I should know better than that. Sorry.

    I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and can’t recall any single, recent exogenous event (as in outside the tech sphere) that’s had a greater impact on our day-to-day lives. It’s doubly vexing because we not only have the obvious impact of the spreading infection — Microsoft and many other companies are basically shut down, fer heaven’s sake — but also because we have the tools at hand to help people keep going, even if they can’t drop by the water cooler to catch up on the latest gossip.

    I’m also painfully aware of the many problems that surround COVID-19, the way governments and individuals have mishandled things, the way coverage in the media falls far short, the lack of information, both intentional and unintentional.

    I have a bit of extraterrestrial skin in this game. I’ve been an advocate of telecommuting (er, working from home) for a long time. Co-wrote a book about it, back when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Much has changed. Surprisingly, much hasn’t. I continue to believe that telecommuting is the way of the future — and probably will be for a millennium or two.

    As I said earlier this week, I’m no epidemiologist, and you aren’t either. But I was surprised to find that one of the folks here at AskWoody Central does have a great deal of experience with communicable diseases — and knows a whole lot more about the nuts-and-bolts of infections than I ever will.

    All of which has led me to create a forum specifically for discussions about COVID-19. You’re most welcome to drop by and add your observations, questions, and insight. It’s an “Outside the box” forum, so the usual posting rules have been relaxed a bit. Still, I’d like to ask that you keep the political noise to a minimum.