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  • Why is printing so hard to get right?

    AskWoody Plus Newsletter Logo
    ISSUE 18.45 • 2021-11-22
    Look for our special issue on November 29!

    ON SECURITY

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    I work in an industry that keeps promising we are going paperless, but we still find ways to kill trees. Even though I regularly print to PDF, I continue to print to various desktop and network printers.

    Physical printing is still very important to me and many other professionals. Any problem with printing will affect productivity. Each month, when new updates come out, one of my top priorities is to test printing. Can I print? If I can, then I know I can keep the new patches installed. But why are we constantly fighting issues with printing, and why are we constantly patching our systems for printing?

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.45.0 (2021-11-22).
    This story also appears in the AskWoody Free Newsletter 18.45.F (2021-11-22).

  • Windows 11: Not quite ready for prime time

    LANGALIST

    Fred Langa

    By Fred Langa

    These early days of Win11 are looking a bit rough. Driver issues remain the leading cause of serious upgrade problems, and some solutions are out of end-users’ hands until Microsoft and various OEMs and software publishers catch up.

    To make matters worse, Win11’s Device Encryption may stumble when upgrading a Win10 BitLocker drive, and the Win11 interface repeats some of the same mistakes Microsoft made in Windows 8!

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.45.0 (2021-11-22).

  • Take a selfie – NOW!

    LEGAL BRIEF

    Max Oppenheimer

    By Max Stul Oppenheimer, Esq.

    Deepfakes are a growing problem. Could taking a selfie be your best defense?

    In the last column, we saw why law must lag technology. It must, because legislators have no better crystal ball than the rest of us — and judges, faced with the task of extrapolating existing statutes to situations that were not foreseen, reach different conclusions as to how to draw the curve. Therefore, a period of uncertainty — until a legislature reacts or a judicial consensus is reached or imposed by the Supreme Court — is inevitable.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.45.0 (2021-11-22).

  • Understanding Office 2021 and Office LTSC

    MICROSOFT 365

    Peter Deegan

    By Peter Deegan

    What are Office 2021 and Office LTSC, and should you care?

    Office 2021 and Office LTSC are the latest nonsubscription versions of Microsoft Office. Microsoft calls each a “perpetual license,” but historically we might have called them the “boxed” editions of Office. These two Office versions are very similar and deliberately limited in new features, licensing, and even support.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.45.0 (2021-11-22).

  • Tasks for the weekend – Nov 20, 2021 – It’s the annual geek clean up

    (Youtube here)

    This week’s Tasks for the weekend is brought to you by MuscularPortfolios.com.  Brian Livingston brings his tech mind to the Investing world. Sign up for his free newsletter to learn more.

    It’s that time of the year that we start planning to visit with family and it’s also the time of year that I recommend reviewing the computer systems of your loved ones and make sure their browsers are not riddled with extensions they don’t use, notifications they don’t want. See if they want to try out the Brave Browser or the Duckduckgo search engine.

    Review for new programs you don’t recognize added to the Programs and features section. Make sure their antivirus is up to date and if they use a third party program, that the subscription is current. (I’m still a fan of defender. Even now Windows is fighting with third party antivirus vendors like Kaspersky). Check what feature release they are on and make sure they are not on Windows 10 2004 soon to be out of support.

    See if they are being offered Windows 11 and if you want to use the targetreleaseversion to block it or use the gui opt out. It will look like the image below in the Windows update panel.

    You can click on that “stay on Windows 10 for now”.

    So when you visit loved ones, do you end up fixing their computers?  What are your tasks that you do?

     

     

     

  • Know where your data is

    So the other day I was needing to get a backup of a QuickBooks file from someone for a project. In my office we get a copy for purposes of forensic analysis.  Even when the QuickBooks is online, there is a third party app that allows us to convert the online data to a desktop version (it’s called Exportmybooks for anyone interested). We do this in my business even with online QuickBooks to ensure that we have a copy of exactly what the accounting books were at a specific time.  Too often with accounting systems people move information around or things get changed and thus this ensures we can showcase (in court, in meetings, etc) what it was at X date in time. Long story short this is for analysis and forensic work and the data I obtain isn’t necessarily from clients that I work with on a regular basis.

    So the other day I contact someone to get a backup of the QuickBooks and I ask them “Do you know if you have Desktop QuickBooks or Online QuickBooks”? They say “It’s on my laptop”. No problem I have a Splashtop SOS subscription so I can reach out remotely to people using a process of having them get a link and then giving me a one time code for this very need. So I log into their computer and I don’t see an icon on the desktop for QuickBooks. “Can you open your QuickBooks” thinking they hid the icon or something. They then launched a web browser and went into online QuickBooks.

    It just hit me funny because that’s not “on your laptop”. That’s actually saved in the cloud and your laptop can get it it from the browser. I was reading a post the other day that was talking about how as we pivot more to cloud services (and trust me, I can see this over time that more and more businesses ARE moving such services to cloud offerings even if you personally won’t be) that we really need to rethink how we protect things. We can’tjust assume because something is up there that it’s automatically protected.

    1. Authentication – make sure multifactor is enabled
    2. Got a backup of that cloud? – We often rely on the vendor for cloud backups but should you?
    3. Security and monitoring of the cloud  – recent case in point is this Microsoft security blog post regarding Azure Active Directory (AD) keyCredential property Information Disclosure in Application and Service Principal APIs (say that three times fast).  How can I as a consumer of cloud services know that my vendors are up on protecting their cloud services? For those folks with small businesses – the one in particular that you may need to review with you or your IT provider is the Azure Site recovery service that takes cloud backups/sets up virtual machine fallover service.

    Bottom line, your data is “not just on your laptop”.  Act accordingly, and start thinking of better ways to protect it.

  • 21H2 is finally out

    FINALLY.  So let me do the Susan translation for you:

    Today marks the time that I consider 21H1 as being the version you need to be on. 21H2 just came out and I always like to be cautious and hold back a bit. If you want to ensure that you stay on 21H1, remember to use the Group policy or registry key methods posted here.

  • Win11 Home never completely lets go

    AskWoody Plus Newsletter Logo
    ISSUE 18.44 • 2021-11-15

    LANGALIST

    Fred Langa

    By Fred Langa

    Even after upgrading to Pro, PCs that start with Windows Home can retain several critical Home limitations that royally foul up future from-scratch reinstalls and upgrades.

    Win11 (both Home and Pro) also continues to show other serious rough spots and omissions — with drivers, especially — that can turn a simple upgrade into a multi-day nightmare.

    Read on before you attempt an upgrade, especially if you’re using a Home edition!

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.44.0 (2021-11-15).
    This story also appears in the AskWoody Free Newsletter 18.44.F (2021-11-15).

  • Bulging batteries in Surface laptops are a growing issue

    PUBLIC DEFENDER

    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    More and more users of Microsoft Surface 2-in-1 laptop computers are reporting a bent and battered screen that’s been curved by a dangerously bulging battery that protrudes from its frame.

    This was first covered in an AskWoody post on December 5, 2019. At that time, the post linked to 10 forum threads at Microsoft Answers, Reddit, and elsewhere. The forums contained dozens of stories describing similar-sounding problems.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.44.0 (2021-11-15).

  • Freeware Spotlight – CrystalDiskInfo

    BEST UTILITIES

    Deanna McElveen

    By Deanna McElveen

    YOUR HARD DRIVE IS GOING TO DIE!

    German-born theologian Georg Hermes once said, “Death is like an arrow that is already in flight, and your life lasts only until it reaches you.” This also applies to the hard drives in our computers. But sometimes we get some subtle hints that the end is near … well, at least for our hard drives.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.44.0 (2021-11-15).

  • November cleans up October’s mess

    PATCH WATCH

    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    Could we still see printing issues?

    Even though the 55 vulnerabilities fixed in November do not include any new Print Spooler updates, we are still to some extent in clean-up mode. Microsoft is at least acknowledging that issues remain that it is trying to fix.

    Read the full story in the AskWoody Plus Newsletter 18.44.0 (2021-11-15).

  • Tips for the weekend – November 13 – geek shopping tips

    (Youtube here)

    I was out at my local Home Improvement store this weekend and clearly Christmas is here. The tree decorations, lighting displays, poinsettias and all sorts of Christmas decorations were all over the store. There is a local street in town that decorates each tree down the road with Christmas lights and the infamous house that does an electronic Christmas display to die for had their entire front yard stacked with boxes as they were unloading the Christmas lights for the year. My thought was… oh my… and I thought my search for burned out light bulbs was bad!

    It got me to thinking about the Christmas season and of course geek gifting. Here’s some of my suggestions for good geek gifts:

    I’m a fan of reading and love a small sized Kindle. I get one that is about the size of a small paperback. If you have someone in your family that is a reader and they don’t already have a Kindle, I’d highly recommend it.  The color versions that are small in size means you can take it anywhere and with various apps, you can even use them to read and respond to email.

    Next up is an expensive gift, an iPad. I bought one for my Dad a few years ago and because I want to make it so he can use it anywhere, I bought him the cellular model. I added it to my phone plan as an additional line and have just paid for it over time. With an iPad there are two sizes that depending on your needs, you may want to opt for the smaller mini one, or the larger version with the keyboard. If you want to save money and purchase one on a marketplace site, make sure you research if the iPad is still supported and will be able to get security updates. I’ve seen folks purchase some online from marketplaces and not realize that they were several years old and no longer updateable.

    Last but not least, I’m honestly recommending that you don’t buy loved ones (or yourself for that matter) a new computer for Christmas. I’d recommend you’d wait at least six months before buying a computer with Windows 11.  If you must buy a computer at this time because the computer died and someone needs a new one, I’d recommend looking for models that still have Windows 10 and that can be upgraded to Windows 11. Or you may consider a cheaper refurbished model to use for the next several years. Remember Windows 10 will be fully supported until October of 2025.

    During this time of inflation and need, a kind reminder that there are businesses that specifically refurbish computers to sell to folks with limited income. (This is a US based business I’ve linked to but there may be others in your area). Whenever you get rid of your old technology see if you can electronically recycle it by resetting it back to factory defaults (at a minimum for ipads and kindles) and consider options for ensuring hard drives are fully wiped or the operating system is reinstalled for computers. Always retire your old hardware safely, securely and with the idea that it may be able to go on to some other deserving person.

    So what are some of your geek buying tips for the holiday season?