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  • Apple’s “Time Flies” September 2020 event: The bottom line

    Posted on September 16th, 2020 at 07:16 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This just in from Nathan Parker:

    Apple showed its “Time Flies” September 2020 event on September 15. Here is the “bottom line” of Apple’s new product and service offerings:

    • Apple Watch Series 6: Now offers Blood Oxygen support, Brighter Screen, Always On Altimeter, New colors include (PRODUCT)RED and Blue, New “Solo Loop” option, New Watch Faces; No 5G on Cellular model, No Ceramic option
    • Apple Watch SE: More Affordable Apple Watch option, No ECG or Blood Oxygen sensor, Series 3 still available as a low-cost option as well
    • Apple Watch Family Setup: Works with Series 4 or later running watchOS 7, makes it easier for parents to manage children’s watches and communicate with family members with Apple Watches
    • Apple Fitness+: New monthly or annual service (one month free for all Apple Watch users and three months free for new Apple Watch purchases), workouts that integrate with Apple Watch and workout videos that work across iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV; Coming late 2020, Apple Watch Series 3 or later required
    • New iPad Air: New All-Screen design similar to iPad Pro, Touch ID built into power button (no Face ID), A14 Bionic Chip, Apple Pencil 2 support, Magic Keyboard support, New Colors include Green and Sky Blue; Coming in October
    • New iPad: The low-cost option now includes A12 Bionic Chip and Apple Pencil support
    • iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, tvOS 14 will be available September 16
    • Apple One: Apple Services bundle, Three tiers; Individual (Includes Music, TV+, Arcade, 50GB iCloud Storage), Family (Everything in Individual plus 200GB iCloud Storage and Family Sharing included), Premier (Everything in Individual and Family plus 2TB iCloud Storage, News+, and the forthcoming Fitness+)

    I watched the event, and I came away impressed – and wondering if the time has come to start wearing a watch. That iPad Air looks mighty sweet, too. Let’s hope Apple has better luck with iOS 14 stability than they did with iOS 13.

  • Parallels removes functionality to run Insider Dev Channel Previews unannounced

    Posted on September 16th, 2020 at 06:38 PKCano Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I have been in the Insider Program since October 2014, running the Insider Fast Ring/Dev Channel Previews in Parallels Standard Edition VMs on Macs with no problems during that time. Parallels v15 has been hosting the VMs since the end of 2019 flawlessly – until Win10 Pro Insider Build 20175.1000 when the Builds suddenly started failing to install.
    Parallels recently issued version 16, and thinking that would solve the problem, I upgraded on August 14th. Still the Insider Previews failed to install, so I opened a support ticket. After a remote session with a Parallels Engineer, who said to contact Microsoft because it was an MS problem, the followup email response from Parallels:

    We have escalated the issue you reported to the Development Team and they are working to address it in one of the future builds of Parallels Desktop for Mac.

    While we do not have ETA for the fix, it has been prioritized appropriately and you can track the changes in the product at the corresponding knowledge base article page

    Reading through the Parallels Forums, sheds light on the problem. Parallels removed functionality from version 15 between updates without notice.
    Parallels Support agent Ajith says:

    Enabling nested virtualization helps in updating to latest Windows Insider build which is only available with Pro and Business subscription. As you are testing Windows beta versions as a professional using Pro is the right choice and will have more features compared to the standard edition.

    And I have to agree with Parallels Forum poster “SoonToBeFormerParallelsUser” who responds

    It is DISHONEST to not publicly announce you are no longer supporting Previews and then turn around and demand upgrade to Pro to re-enable that functionality.

    And follows with

    You misstated that Parallels has removed the feature & ability to boot recent Windows Insider Preview builds. Preview builds WORKED FINE until build 20175 through NO FAULT of Microsoft. It is Parallels’s FAULT.

    You left out that within the same version (v15) Parallels has mysteriously not been able to install and boot these recent builds. It’s no accident.

    Why didn’t Parallels do the HONEST thing and announce that starting with v16, the new release, that Preview builds would not be supported and you would have to upgrade to Pro. Instead they broke the software ON PURPOSE with NO ANNOUNCEMENT.

    In the past, I have praised Parallels Desktop for functionality and Parallels Support for being among the best. What a shame they have fallen to this kind of deceptive practices.

  • Yes, you do need to patch sooner or later

    Posted on September 15th, 2020 at 08:06 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    You know how I say that there’s no reason to patch as soon as the patches come out — but you need to patch sooner or later?

    Those of you running Windows Server as a domain controller just showed the rest of us how important that “sooner or later” can be.

    Microsoft patched CVE-2020-1472 last month. The security hole was (and still is) described as “2 – Exploitation Less Likely,” thus not of immediate concern. It wasn’t publicly disclosed or exploited at the time (it wasn’t a zero-day). If you followed along with the MS-DEFCON system (which, admittedly, isn’t designed for admins with Windows Server domain controllers) you would’ve installed the patch late last month or early this month.

    Good for you.

    Yesterday,the Dutch security company Secura B.V. released a full report of the security hole – and it’s a doozy. Catalin Cimpanu at ZDNet has a thorough description:

    According to Secura experts, the bug, which they named Zerologon, takes advantage of a weak cryptographic algorithm used in the Netlogon authentication process.

    This bug allows an attacker to manipulate Netlogon authentication procedures and:

    • impersonate the identity of any computer on a network when trying to authenticate against the domain controller
    • disable security features in the Netlogon authentication process
    • change a computer’s password on the domain controller’s Active Directory (a database of all computers joined to a domain, and their passwords)

    There are limitations to how a Zerologon attack can be used. For starters, it cannot be used to take over Windows Servers from outside the network. An attacker first needs a foothold inside a network.

    However, when this condition is met, it’s literally game over for the attacked company.

    It’s a bad one. But you got your Server patched a couple of weeks ago, yes?

    It’s rare to have a security hole erupt this quickly – although it does happen. We still haven’t seen widespread attacks. But it’s only a matter of time.

  • Microsoft is pushing the Chromium-based version of Edge

    Posted on September 15th, 2020 at 07:28 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    This really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody.

    Lawrence Abrams at BleepingComputer talks about KB 4576754, the “Update for the new Microsoft Edge for Windows 10, version 1809, 1903, 1909, and 2004: August 31, 2020.” Abrams credits Venkat on Techdows. Venkat says that the patch appears as “2020-08 Microsoft Edge Update for Windows 10 version 2004 (KB4576754)” in the Update history list.

    As @abbodi86 notes:

    It’s a normal update, can be hidden or postponed with group policy or a metered connection. And it was announced two months ago:

    https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/articles/upgrading-to-the-new-microsoft-edge-through-windows-update/m-p/1499724

    As I’ve said before, go ahead and install Chredge. Use Brave or Firefox (or Chrome)… and give Chredge a try when you have some time. It’s OK, but it won’t supplant any of the others for me anytime soon.

  • Checking on your vote (USA centric)

    Posted on September 14th, 2020 at 22:39 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Patch Lady Susan here with a bit of an off-topic post.  Being in a country that lets all individual states run their own elections means that there’s no set rules across the country to check if your vote has been counted.  Where I live (smoky and a bit orange) Central California, I can use a web site called Ballottrax.com to track that my vote has been counted.  Specifically in the state of California I can go to this web site on the Secretary of State site and sign up to be alerted when my ballot is sent to me and when they receive my ballot back.

    After listening to the Blackhat presentations on election security I am convinced that electronic voting is NOT the way to go.  You want to make sure there is a paper trail and the ability to audit the vote, but with something more direct and confirmable than hanging chads 😉

    Here are some resources to know more information about voting in the upcoming elections:

    Turbovote has a site to help you get to your State’s resources.  From there you can check to see if your state allows you to check to see if you are registered, and if available, you can sign up to get email alerts about the acceptance of your ballot.  Vote411.org is put out by the League of Women Voters so you can check when and where to sign up to vote and the issues on the ballot.

    The bad guys are REALLY trying to get into accounts having to do with the UK and USA elections.  And they are really using social media to sway and influence.  One of the suggestions I’ve heard of recently to get a different view regarding the issues is to go outside of your own country and read the media from another country and see what they say about the elections in your country.  I’m personally a fan of reviewing the actual language of the bills and propositions on the ballots and ignore any radio or television commercial regarding an issue.

    Regardless of your views, I urge you to step away from the dollars being thrown at this election and go back to deciding the issues the old fashioned way:  Read the ballot.  Read the propositions you have to vote on.  Read the words of the candidates rather than listening to them.  Often reading the plain boring words allows you to see through the ….uh…. fluff on both sides and get a clearer picture of the issues and what you need to vote on.  Use resources like the League of Women Voters or other non partisan sites that you trust to give you an unbiased viewpoint.  Get ready to turn off the television and the social media in the next few weeks and do your own research.  A LOT of money is going to be spent in the next few months to sway you.  I challenge all of us to make sure that all of this money is a waste of funds and that you will make up your mind with good old fashioned minds made up with good old fashioned research on the issues.

    To anyone in the way of the fires or dealing with the smoke, stay safe and take care.

     

  • Windows PowerToys — returns!

    Posted on September 13th, 2020 at 21:10 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    Logo

    UTILITIES

    By Nathan Segal

    When it comes to utilities for Windows, most of us are conditioned to look either inside the OS or beyond Microsoft

    We forget that the folks in Redmond offer a wide variety of accessory tools and utilities online. When was the last time you visited Sysinternals, home of the classic Sysmon and Process Explorer?

    Another example is Microsoft PowerToys (GitHub page), which has been resurrected as an open-source app for Windows 10. This collection of useful tools is designed primarily for power users, but the average Windows jockey might want to look at them, too.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.36.0 (2020-09-14).

  • Wi-Fi stutters every evening like clockwork

    Posted on September 13th, 2020 at 21:05 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    LANGALIST

    By Fred Langa

    What on earth could cause a Wi-Fi setup to momentarily fail each night at around the same time?

    Perhaps a rogue scheduled task? A power-savings malfunction? A failed update attempt? An electrical power fluctuation? External electromagnetic interference? Aliens?

    There are many possible causes; here’s how to sort through them.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.36.0 (2020-09-14).

  • Microsoft will make business patching a bit easier

    Posted on September 13th, 2020 at 21:00 Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    PATCH WATCH

    By Susan Bradley

    As I look over the September updates on this smoky, orange-colored day, I see some interesting changes coming for businesses.

    The forecast for September Windows and Office updating is a bit murky as well. Woody is already tracking a variety of patch flaws, and we don’t yet know whether they’re widespread or limited in scope.

    In one example, the Bitdefender AV application was blocking the cumulative update for Win10 1909/1903 (more info), but that’s already been fixed by the app’s vendor — so it’s no longer an issue.

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.36.0 (2020-09-14).