Archive for the ‘Information’ Category

Scams, what can you do?

February 16, 2017

Phone scams are nothing new but with a new one going around lately I figured it may be a pertinent thing to talk about. Lately there has been a scam going around where a recording will call your phone and ask if you can hear them, if you say yes your answer is recorded and used to sign you up for all sorts of things without your knowledge just with your answer. It is important to remember to be cautious when you answer your phone just as you would be visiting sites online.

While I understand this may not be possible for everyone I believe a good rule of thumb is to not answer phone numbers you are unsure about, essentially screening your calls. This is something I always do, if the number does not show up on my caller ID as a number I have saved I just don’t answer. If you don’t want to do that another idea is to inquire more information from the caller on the other end, for example instead of just answering a question asking simple things like “who is this?” or “what is this about?” Never just answer a question if you are unsure of who you are speaking to, even if it seems innocent and harmless.

It is important to protect ourselves from strangers who are seeking to do us some sort of harm, even over the phone. For some these things may seem like common sense but it is important to remember and remind us of them every so often. So a word to the wise, be careful when you pick up your phone, not everyone who calls you is your friend 😉

Coupon App to save you $$$ this holiday season and beyond!

December 13, 2016

I just downloaded an App called Honey. This is a coupon app that was originally created by a dad whom apparently just wanted to save a few dollars on pizza but it has become a great money saving tool among millennials. I have an android phone and I am not sure if there is an App for iOS users or not. It seems very user friendly thus far, the first thing I found upon opening the app was a list of local gas prices with the lowest already listed before you even open up the whole list of prices, score!

I need to use the App for a few days before I can give a full report or opinion but so far it seems like a wonderful tool. Things are  categorized by “local” “weekly ad” “favorites” “latest” and so on with a search option, notifications, favorites, and a bar-code search among other menu options. It also breaks things down by type such as “Store” “Restaurant”  and expiration dates of offers. I’m excited to use this for a week or so and report back with my official opinion of “Honey”. Stay tuned!

 

Using Minecraft to teach Kid’s Programming

November 18, 2016

If you have small children (or big ones) or like the game yourself then you’ve probably heard of Minecraft. Microsoft announced recently that it wants to teach kids to not only play the game but program the game as well. It has been said that coding and programming will be an essential skill in our children’s future and it looks like Microsoft wants to jump on that bandwagon, but who could blame them.

On Tuesday the company released a tutorial for Code.org which is a non-profit sponsored by many tech companies to get kids into programming. The tutorial uses “Lego-like” puzzle pieces snapped together in a certain sequence to control an on-screen character, puzzles and video tutorials attempt to explain programming concepts. Many schools are also on board to teach kids coding and programming skills as well.

I think this is a fantastic effort by Microsoft to take an already popular game and get kids involved in a way that could give them vital skills for their future. Bravo Microsoft! Bravo!

 

Sources:

https://www.cnet.com/news/microsoft-uses-minecraft-to-get-kids-to-learn-programming/

 

Windows 10 Update KB194496

October 14, 2016

In the never-ending saga of Windows 10, Microsoft has recently pushed another update and surprise surprise its broken! The name of the update is KB194496 and its causing widespread problems for users. It doesn’t install correctly, it causes machines to restart and in some cases the update will attempt to install again after the restart causing a never-ending loop of restarts and re-install attempts. Most but not all users have reported issues. What’s even worse is Microsoft was aware of the issue before releasing.

 

How much more can Microsoft upset consumers with Windows 10? How will Microsoft rectify the current issue? And when will they stop forcing unwanted things onto their customers? I’m willing to bet blame will always be placed elsewhere and not much will come of a hopeful handle on quality control. How has this updated impacted you? Are you still a satisfied Microsoft customer?

Microsoft’s Timesheet App for iOS

September 23, 2016

Microsoft has released an app called “Office365 Project Time Reporter” that allows you to keep track of and submit your hours from your mobile device (currently only if that device is an Apple product but Microsoft claims a version for Android will be available soon). The app allows you to keep track of hours, non-project work and assignments and save for later editing and submission. All of this is completely independent of location and allows you to input whatever you need to wherever you may be at the time. I am optimistic for this app just for the simple fact of being able to add to, revise and submit your hours regardless of where you are.

I think the app would work great for someone who travels out of the office a lot for work or someone who works from home a lot and is seldomly in the office. Not only can you keep track of hours and projects you can also keep track of overdue tasks and also submit task updates to keep your boss informed of your progress if a project is particularly long. I think the app will come in handy for many business owners and their employees and I applaud Microsoft for its creation.

 

Can Samsung repair the damage?

September 15, 2016

Samsung has recently pulled it’s commercial for the Note 7 off of the air after the large recall of Note 7 phones due to exploding batteries. They’ve basically given up hope of restoring peoples faith in the smart phone and are hoping to focus energies on an early release of the S8 an S8 edge. But this begs the question, can Samsung repair the damage? Sure they can issue consumers who’ve already bought the Note 7 a new handset, but who is to say that one won’t explode too? They can try to make people forget by releasing the latest version of the S a bit early but is that really going to help? Samsung has already undergone a lot of bad press as of recent and releasing a new version of the S may not be all they need to come back from it. What many, my self included, find interesting is their lack of marketing during this time to try to pull more consumers in. They’ve instead focused their already purchased ad space on things like refrigerators and and TV’s. With Apple about to release their latest iPhone, can Samsung repair the damage that has been done quickly enough to regain profits undoubtedly lost? I suppose time will tell….

RE: Microsoft Confirms Windows 10 New Monthly Charge.

August 26, 2016

So by now I’m sure most of you have heard that Microsoft has announced and confirmed that Windows 10 will now be a subscription service. What does this mean for consumers? Well apparently not much, yet, as Microsoft has also stated that this subscription fee will be for enterprises only. But for how long? How much trust are we willing to instill in that “promise?” We are talking about the company who went in and automatically upgraded users to the service without their permission or knowledge. I’m sure eventually Windows 10 will be a fee-based service for all who use it; Even if you don’t have to incur the fees automatically, like probably those who have already upgraded, I’m sure little features here and there will start having some fee attached to them.

My thoughts? Why fix something that isn’t broken. What I mean by that is, what was wrong with windows 7 or 8? Why do you or I or any average Joe computer user need windows 10? Most millennials don’t even have home computers anymore anyways. Want to save a buck, or 7? Stick to a slightly older but more than sufficient version of Windows and go buy yourself a drink or take yourself to dinner instead ;).

Google’s Chrome version 28 released with Rich Notifications For Apps, Extensions

July 9, 2013

Google today released Chrome version 28 for Windows and Mac. The new version features a notification center, although it’s only available on Windows (in addition to Chrome OS of course). You can update to the latest release now using the browser’s built-in silent updater, or download it directly from google.com/chrome. This is also the first release of Chrome that ships with Blink instead of WebKit. You can check the Blink ID yourself tag by navigating to chrome://version/.

Adobe, Microsoft Release Critical Updates

July 9, 2013

We have seven bulletins from Microsoft this month, addressing a total of 34 vulnerabilities. Six of the bulletins are rated “critical” and allow for Remote Code Execution.

This is quite a high ratio compared to past months, and it is mostly due to the font parsing vulnerability, which is present in three of the seven bulletins. Overall, the focus is clearly on the workstation part of your infrastructure because most vulnerabilities are triggered by users browsing websites, viewing files and watching media.

Our recommendation is to start the patching process with MS13-053, a bulletin for Windows that applies to all versions of the OS. It includes a fix for two high value vulnerabilities: first, CVE-2013-3129, the previously mentioned problem with Windows font parsing. The most likely attack vector is through end users browsing a malicious web page or opening an infected document, which results in Remote Code Execution that gives control of the affected machine to the attacker.

The second high profile vulnerability is CVE-2013-3660, a local Windows 0-day, which got its start by a post from Tavis Ormandy on the ”full disclosure” mailing list, and which soon after had several implementations published in underground forums and in security research tools such as Metasploit and Core Impact.

Next on our list is MS13-055, a bulletin for Internet Explorer (IE) that affects all current production versions, from IE 6 to IE10. It addresses 17 vulnerabilities, and several of them can be used to gain control over the attacked workstation through a malicious web page. Since several of the vulnerabilities have an exploitation index of “1,” indicating that the development of an exploit is well within the capabilities of attacks teams, it is worth addressing as quickly as possible.

Two of the remaining bulletins MS13-052 (.NET and Silverlight) andMS13-054 (GDI+) are results of the same font parsing vulnerability (CVE-2013-3129) affecting the font implementations in these software packages, which are separate from the Windows OS due to architectural reasons and increase the severity of these bulletins to “critical.” A single vulnerability appearing in several bulletins is not common but has happened before, for example in MS12-034 (Silverlight) and MS12-039 (Lync), which addressed both the font vulnerability CVE-2012-0159.

The remaining critical bulletins are MS13-057 (Windows Media), which is triggered by a malicious media file, and MS13-058(DirectShow), which fixes a vulnerability CVE-2013- in the GIF graphics format. MS13-058 is lowest on our list, since there is no Microsoft product using the vulnerable GIF function. However, third-party applications are potentially affected.

Adobe is releasing new versions of three products addressing security flaws, Adobe Shockwave (APSB13-18), Coldfusion (APSB13-19) and Adobe Shockwave Flash player (APSB13-17). Users of Internet Explorer 10 (KB2755801) and Google Chrome already have updates integrated and do not need to worry about installing the new version themselves. Everybody else, including Mac OS X users, should apply this critical update as quickly as possible.

By the way, the pre-production Windows 8.1 and IE 11 are not affected by any of these bulletins. However, there are still vulnerabilities in these products, and Microsoft has started a bug bounty program while these programs are in beta under the BlueHat umbrella. The cash prizes are quite attractive (up to $100,000 USD), and the program seems to be working and has attracted several submissions already.

Lastly, keep in mind that the month is not over: Oracle will be releasing their quarterly update for all of their software (except Java) next week on Tuesday, July 19.

Update Plugs 40 Security Holes in Java (Critical)

June 19, 2013

Oracle today released a critical patch update for its Java software that fixes at least 40 security vulnerabilities in this widely deployed program and browser plugin. Updates are available for Java 7 on both Mac and Windows.

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The latest patch brings Java 7 to Update 25 (looks like Oracle has finally followed through on its promise to stop shipping updates for Java 6). In its accompanying advisory, Oracle notes that 37 of the 40 vulnerabilities fixed in this update may be remotely exploitable without authentication — that is, they can be exploited over a network without the need for a username and password.

If you really need and use Java for specific Web sites or applications, take a few minutes to update this software. Updates are available from Java.com or via the Java Control Panel. Keep in mind that updating via the control panel will auto-select the installation of the Ask Toolbar, so de-select that if you don’t want the added crapware.

Other, seriously consider removing Java altogether.  I’ve long urged end users to junk Java unless they have a specific use for it (this advice does not scale for businesses, which often have legacy and custom applications that rely on Java). This widely installed and powerful program is riddled with security holes, and is a top target of malware writers and miscreants.

If you have an affirmative use or need for Java, unplug it from the browser unless and until you’re at a site that requires it (or at least take advantage of Click-to-Play). Java 7 lets users disable Java content in web browsers through the Java Control Panel. Alternatively, consider a dual-browser approach, unplugging Java from the browser you use for everyday surfing, and leaving it plugged in to a second browser that you only use for sites that require Java.

There are a couple of ways to find out if you have Java installed and what version may be running.  Windows users can click Start, then Run, then type “cmd” without the quotes. At the command prompt, type “java -version” (again, no quotes). Users also can visit Java.com and click the “Do I have Java?” link on the homepage. Updates also should be available via the Java Control Panel or from Java.com.

Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) users who have Java should check Software Update for any available updates. Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) and 10.8 (Mountain Lion) users can grab the updated version of Java from Java.com.