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

    Posted on July 10th, 2020 at 06:06 woody 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 Susan Bradley 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 Susan Bradley 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 woody 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.

  • Cortana officially gets thrown under the bus

    Posted on February 28th, 2020 at 16:40 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    An amazing Friday blog post from Cortana corporate VP Andrew Shuman:

    Today, Microsoft is announcing an updated Cortana experience in Windows 10 that will deliver more help from your assistant in Microsoft 365. This next step in Cortana’s evolution will bring enhanced, seamless personal productivity assistance as a free update to the latest version of Windows 10 coming this spring…

    We’re excited about how these updates to Cortana will help you stay on top of things, save time and do your best work. As we continue to innovate on Cortana in Microsoft 365, we plan to share further improvements in the coming months.

    Tero Alhonen had an accurate synopsis on Twitter:

    We’re excited about these updates to Cortana:
    * consumer skills including music, connected home and third-party skills will no longer be available
    * ending support for Cortana in older versions of Windows
    * turning off the Cortana services in the Microsoft Launcher on Android

    and we plan to share further improvements in the coming months.

    He then turned to the demise of certain MCSE certifications, posted yesterday by Alex Payne, the GM of Global Technical Learning at MS….

    We’re also excited to share that there will not be Windows Server 2019 and SQL Server 2019 certifications and basically everything that has anything to do with on-prem will be wiped out

    (That’s Tero’s take, but it’s a fair representation of what’s happening.)

  • Patch Lady – are you an IT pro?

    Posted on February 22nd, 2020 at 13:44 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Would you be willing to fill out a survey?

    I’m assisting someone getting a masters degree – she is conducting a research job on IT pros especially those that have managers. If you would be so kind – For full information in the Consent Form document and to begin the survey, please go to:

    On behalf of myself and Janetta Waterhouse, thank you!

  • Citrix announces security patches for some (but not all) of its compromised products

    Posted on January 20th, 2020 at 17:01 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Citrix says it’s fixed some things, and will fix the rest soon. Per the web announcement:

    Permanent fixes for ADC versions 11.1 and 12.0 are available as downloads here and here.

    • These fixes also apply to Citrix ADC and Citrix Gateway Virtual Appliances (VPX) hosted on any of ESX, Hyper-V, KVM, XenServer, Azure, AWS, GCP or on a Citrix ADC Service Delivery Appliance (SDX). SVM on SDX does not need to be updated.
    • It is necessary to upgrade all Citrix ADC and Citrix Gateway 11.1 instances (MPX or VPX) to build to install the security vulnerability fixes. It is necessary to upgrade all Citrix ADC and Citrix Gateway 12.0 instances (MPX or VPX) to build to install the security vulnerability fixes.

    Nope, that doesn’t cover all the bases.

    We have moved forward the availability of permanent fixes for other ADC versions and for SD-WAN WANOP from our previous target dates as follows:

    • ADC version 12.1, now January 24
    • ADC version 13 and ADC version 10.5, now January 24
    • SD-WAN WANOP fixes, now January 24

    “Soon” being relative, I guess.

    UPDATE: As of early Tuesday morning, Kevin Beaumont reports that GreyNoise’s honeypots are trapping lots of attempts to break into Citrix Gateway systems.

    The top thirty most scanned URLs today are almost all Citrix Gateway related. If you haven’t patched or mitigated your devices, you’re likely in deep doo doo. There’s another nugget in that data, which is people are scanning for Citrix devices using other paths, e.g. font files etc – likely IDS avoidance technique.

    Details in Computerworld Woody on Windows.

    UPDATE: FireEye just released a tool that scans for infections. Citrix has details.

  • Microsoft says it’ll sell Win7 Extended Security Updates to Ultimate users

    Posted on December 20th, 2019 at 09:27 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Sort of.

    Microsoft’s Joe Lurie posted on the Tech Community forum yesterday:

    • We have been communicating ESU since last May with constant blogs, announcements at events, tweets, etc. The media has been reporting on them as well; I apologize if it seems last minute. The EOL date of Windows 7 was announced long before the ESU announcements, so even without ESU the EOL of Windows 7 has been looming. That said, Microsoft announced ESU in early 2019 and have been making changes to the program as necessary ever since. One change was allowing for CSP which was not in the original plans. This is why this was announced in October – it was an add-on program based on customer request;
    • Most of us at Microsoft, and specifically in the ESU PG, are not at home over the holidays, we are still working to provide ESU for the customers that need it. As I mentioned in the above point, we only announced CSP recently, and have CSP partners ready to help;
    • ESU is available for Windows 7 Ultimate edition, and has been since ESU was first being sold. We may have failed in that communication, and I apologize for that. Most of our enterprise customers aren’t using Ultimate edition, so we didn’t have Ultimate documented. Once we started selling ESU via CSP channel, the CSP partners were made aware of which versions are eligible for ESU.

    Wading through the alphabet soup, Lurie’s saying that normal people (and small companies) will have to get Extended Security updates through the recently-announced Cloud Service Provider companies. It appears that Microsoft forgot that there are Win7 users who want security updates, but aren’t tied to volume licenses. Those unwashed masses (like, oh, me) have to go through a CSP.

    The announcement about Extended Security Update availability for Win7 Ultimate is brand new, at least to me. There’s been a lot of speculation in recent months (much of it here on AskWoody) as to whether Ultimate customers will be able to buy the patches.

    Patch Lady Susan Bradley is spearheading the drive to bring Win7 Extended Security Updates to the masses. Stay tuned – much more to come.