Larry The Computer Guy November 2017 #2

How to Make Your Black Friday Bargain Even Better

Look at all those price drops! You’ve been watching and waiting for so long, eyeing off that new tech and having big plans for the day you get to bring it home. Each time a sale popped up, you’ve been so tempted to go for it, but the price wasn’t quite right…until now. Hello Black Friday!

It’s better than Christmas, better than your birthday, because now you can finally get the exact gadget you’ve been lusting after. With prices so low, you might even be able to swing the next model up and still save a bundle on tech like:

The latest laptop that doubles as a tablet – and weighs in from a featherlight 1.76lbs (766g) …

A new wireless printer or 3D printer to really blow your mind…

Or even a powerful router so you can stream movies in full HD (and run your Smart Home devices with full connectivity) …

But can you use it straight away?

Forget the struggle of lining up for hours, surging through to get the ‘door buster’ specials first, or playing tug of war over the latest Chromebook, the real drama begins when you get your new tech home.

No, we’re not talking about getting it out of the packaging, although that can be ridiculously difficult. We’re talking about getting that new tech to work the way you want it to, and leaving demo mode far behind.

That means talking to ALL your devices, loaded up with all your files and preferred software, and hooked up exactly the way it should be – without calling the emergency ‘I’m stuck’ support number, or waiting for the in-store techs to schedule you in…sometime next month.

This Black Friday, we’re getting you up and running faster, with lightning-fast turnaround on:

  • Initial setup and connectivity
  • Backup and migration from old devices
  • Installing alternate operating systems
  • Installing and configuring your software
  • Network setup and firewalls
  • Online security measures such as Larry On-Guard

Call us at 248-360-8967 to get your Black Friday purchase fully set up and customized.

Larry The Computer Guy October #3

New ‘KRACK’ Wi-Fi Security Issue: This Affects All of Us

The invention of Wi-Fi has been a science fiction dream come true. We can use our laptops anywhere in the house, our phones are using home internet instead of sucking down our cellular data, and our gadgets are all communicating. It’s essentially the backbone of the smart tech boom for home and business alike. Most networks are password-protected with an encryption called “WPA2” and this has been safe and secure, until now.

Recently, a security flaw called KRACK was discovered that allows hackers to break into Wi-Fi networks – even the secured ones. Your laptop, mobile phone, gaming console and even your smart fridge are possibly vulnerable as a result.

How KRACK works: The Key Reinstallation AttaCK isn’t a problem with your device or how it was set up. It’s a problem with the Wi-Fi technology itself. The attack gets between your device and the access point (eg router) to reset the encryption key so hackers can view all network traffic in plain text. Since we rely on Wi-Fi so much, this might mean hackers have a front row seat to your credit card numbers, passwords, chat messages, emails, photos and more.

NOTE: The hacker must be in physical range of your Wi-fi to exploit this flaw, it doesn’t work remotely like other attacks we’ve seen recently. Given most Wi-Fi ranges extend well past your own home/business, this is small comfort, but important to know.

How to protect yourself

Run your updates: Software updates are being released which fix the flaw. Microsoft has already released one for Windows, Apple has one coming in a few weeks. Take a few minutes to make sure you’re up to date with all your patches on any device that uses Wi-Fi (your smartphones, laptops, tablets, PCs, game consoles, etc). Unfortunately, some devices may be slow to get an update, or if they’re older, may not get an update to fix this issue at all. If possible, consider using a cabled connection on those older devices or upgrade to one with support.

Be very careful with public Wi-Fi: While your local business center, library or school campus has expert IT professionals keeping guard over your security, it’s a very different matter at your local coffee shop. It’s unlikely small locations such as this will be on top of security patches. Remember, a hacker exploiting this flaw only needs to be in the same Wi-Fi area as you, so be careful you don’t give them a dollop of private information with their coffee.

Check your browser security: Before sending anything secure over the internet, check you’re using a HTTPS site. You’ll know these by the little padlock you see next to the URL, and the address specifically begins with HTTPS. Major sites like Facebook, Gmail and financial institutions already use HTTPS.

If you need help updating your devices, or want us to check if you’re safe, give us a call at 248-360-8967.

Should I upgrade to Windows 10

Should I upgrade to Windows 10?

Fcomputer pictureollow the guidelines below to determine whether you should upgrade to Windows 10.

 

Are you a business?        We would recommend that you do not upgrade.

Is your current computer Windows 8.1?   It should be ok to upgrade.

Is your current computer Windows 8?     Before upgrading you need to have windows 8.1 with all security patches installed. If you try to update to Windows 10 it will fail.

Is your current computer Windows 7?   With Windows 7 you have a 50 / 50 chance of successful upgrade. If you do not need the increased functionality of Windows 10 then do not upgrade. If you decide to upgrade you need to make sure your data such as pictures and documents are all backed up. If you are having any issues with Windows 7 such as slowness or things do not seem to be working correctly, your upgrade will most likely fail. In some cases the only way to successfully upgrade is to clean install Windows 7 and then upgrade to Windows 10.

While Microsoft has fixed many issues plaguing the Windows 10 update there are still some issues with graphic drivers. It is a good idea to check with your computer manufacturer to see if Window 10 drivers exist. If the drivers do not exist then do not upgrade.

If you would like help in upgrading feel free to contact us. We can provide the technical support that you need, including the backing up of your precious pictures and documents.

 

Larry The Computer Guy

Serving South Eastern Michigan for over 24 years.

Call us and experience the difference. Let us help you save money.

248-360-8967

Windows 10 updates are much more agressive

Tired of the relentless popups for Windows 10?

Over the last couple of weeks the nagging from Microsoft for Windows 10 has gotten muchwindows upgrade more aggressive. It seems that they want everyone to upgrade now. Our position still stands, that you should hold off upgrading for a while yet. We have seen some great improvements when it comes to having the correct drivers and the stability of the operating system has improved greatly. There are still known graphic issues with older laptops and tablets. If you have a Windows 7 laptop, your best bet is to wait until you need a new laptop and then go to Windows 10. If you have a desktop more and more drivers are coming available for upgrading.

We currently also have a tool to prevent the upgrade process to Windows 10. This tool removes the nagging messages from Microsoft about updating. If you would like the relentless Windows 10 nagging to be removed we charge $25 per computer, to do that.

Larry The Computer Guy

Serving SE Michigan

248-360-8967

Future computing: The Internet of Things

Some thirty years ago, the personal computer revolution began — and no other technology has evolved more quickly.

Now there a new revolution, often referred to as the Internet of Things. Here’s what you need to know about it.

The term Internet of Things (IoT) made little sense to me when I first heard it. I thought: “Oh no! Not another meaningless tech-industry marketing term — like Web 2.0.” But then I visited my pool-supply store and the sales person asked me whether I wanted to connect my pool pump to the Internet.

As you might expect, my first reaction was: “Why?” I left the store a bit bewildered and spent the next several months looking into the topic of new Internet-connected devices. What I’ve discovered took me by surprise — and I teach computer technology.

The Internet of Things extends far beyond just attaching your thermostat (or pool pump) to the Internet. In the broader sense, IoT could encompass any instance in which objects or organisms (including people) are fitted with sensors that collect and transfer data over a computer network. No human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction is required.

IoT isn’t driven simply by convenience; the ultimate goal is collecting and processing large amounts of data in real time. More than fifty years of technology discovery and development has brought us to this point.

For example, with nanotechnology (more info), we can now build data-collecting sensors that measure in billionths of an inch. These tiny devices are described as nanoelectromechanical systems — or the somewhat larger microelectromechanical systems (MEMS; more info).

finger print

Building a ubiquitous data-collection system

These data sensors are so inexpensive and so tiny they can be placed everywhere: in cars, homes, clothes — and even in our bodies. That potential flood of data collection would easily overwhelm our current IPv4 Internet-addressing scheme. Which is why we’re moving to the more-capable IPv6 (more info).

This newer addressing system uses 128 bits, an address space so large that each person on earth could be given a few Octillion (10 to the power of 27) IP addresses and there would still be a lot of addresses left over. In short, it will be nearly impossible to run out of IPv6 addresses.

With many ways to collect data, we also need ways to move the information to the computers that will process it. In the past, this connection was via Ethernet cabling. But now we live a mobile world. Advances in Wi-Fi and cellular transmission rates now make it more practical to move mountains of data wirelessly. And if GPS is added to a sensor, we can know exactly where the data came from.

Data processing has also grown exponentially over recent years. Massive server farms and cloud-storage facilities make real-time processing of huge amounts of data — popularly called Big Data — cheap and practical. (Cloud storage is about a tenth the cost of local storage.) And all this “Big Data” is now stored in “Data Lakes,” where it might reside for years or even decades to come.

Currently, hard drives still do the heavy lifting in data storage. But tech companies are working on new forms of computer memory (RAM) and data storage. For example, Carbon nano tubes (CNT; more info) could increase storage in our devices up to a thousandfold — while using less electricity. It’s quite possible that in the next five to 10 years, your smartphone might have 10TB of RAM/disk storage and a month of battery life.

And what becomes of all this collected information? Businesses use sophisticated data analytics to process it — outwardly to “make our lives better,” but mostly to make a profit. For the most part, the information is cleaned, sorted, and combined with other data to build models of our online behavior. That information is then used essentially to convince us to purchase products and services.

Connecting everything to the Internet

What does the Internet of Things offer us today? It’s far more than you might realize. You might be familiar with products such as the Nest (site) thermostats and smoke alarms; or wearables such as Fitbit devices that monitor heath and exercise.

But IoT is rapidly expanding into more prosaic things; for example, I found a BBQ propane-tank sensor that will notify you that it needs refilling or that you forgot to turn off your gas grill. And then there’s that pool pump I mentioned that can be monitored and controlled via a smartphone app.

Other uses of IoT include monitoring your wine collection. Sensors embedded in corks report temperature, acidity, bottle location, and other properties. IoT sensors are being used in casino chips and golf balls to track location and movement. A golfer’s performance can be monitored and tracked over time. Parking spaces can be fitted with IoT sensors; as you enter a parking garage, you can be notified ahead of getting to it where an open space is located. Power companies are using IoT in appliances and solar systems to manage and track energy usage.

And that’s just the consumer side. Things get really interesting when you look at IoT for the business-to-business (B2B) market. Farming, automotive, security, and heath care are taking advantage of Internet connectivity.

In farming, for example, cameras have been mounted on booms attached to tractors. As the machines are driven though the fields, the cameras take images of each plant and also record its GPS location. An onboard computer system processes the images in real time and determines whether a particular plant needs a shot of fertilizer, pesticide, or water — or is doing fine. The health of the plant is recorded and archived (again, Big Data) so that farmers can make year-over-year comparisons.

For the dark side of electronics in farm equipment — and our cars — see a related Wired story. It tells why we don’t really own the vehicles we think we paid for.

Many newer cars already have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity built in. Your next new car will most likely have at least four high-definition (HD) cameras, a hundred or so performance sensors, and a cellular data-service plan — not for you, but for the automobile manufacturer to keep tabs on the car.

 

car

You and millions of other drivers will be “testing consumers,” so manufacturers can produce better cars. But they’ll also be able to monitor wear and tear on individual vehicles. In theory, they could use GPS data to tell you, via your onboard navigation/information system, that it’s time to change the oil — and here’s the location of the nearest dealer.

Onboard cameras and computers can now prevent unsafe lane changes, assist in emergency braking, and help with parking. The videos from the cameras can be stored, so should you have an accident, the images can be downloaded and used for any follow-up investigation.

IoT is rapidly finding its way into security. For example, retail stores that suffer heavy losses to shoplifters might install wireless cameras. Though some are visible, others are hidden. Yes, that mannequin actually is watching you.

These connected cameras can capture the face of anyone who enters the store; they then immediately compare that information against a list of known shoplifters. If there’s a match, the store’s security staff can then track the person’s movements throughout the store.

IoT, Big Data, and cloud storage let stores share a common database of known shoplifters. Someone caught stealing at the local department store will be recognized and watched at the nearby home-improvement store. The next time you enter a store, check out your image on a conspicuously placed, high-definition screen; it’s there to remind you that you’re being watched.

Residents of my town are concerned about the number of robberies. To help the police, some homeowners are installing IoT cameras that are connected to systems running License Plate Recognition (LPR) software. Every car that drives by has its license plate recorded with the LPR software. If a particular car was used in a previous burglary, homeowners, neighborhood watch groups, and the police are immediately notified. When a large number of homeowners install these cameras, the path the burglars take can be tracked by police in real time. (This obviously raises privacy issues. It might also be adapted for unwarranted profiling.)

In health care, IoT-equipped pacemakers monitor heart rhythm. If a pacemaker detects an abnormal rhythm, it can notify a doctor, dispatch emergency-medical personnel, and initiate treatment. Moreover, if the device is equipped with GPS, it can send out your exact location.

IoT is assisting with pain management and neurological diseases. I was recently told that doctors have imbedded Windows 10 computers into patients. Using wireless connections and the Internet, doctors can remotely manage pain or, in the case of those with neurological diseases, send software updates that help patients cope with their illness.

The dark side of ubiquitous IoT applications

We are a well aware of security on our phones and computers. But the concept of billions of devices connected to the Web raises real concerns over hacking, privacy, and personal security. For example, there was an uproar when it was shown that smart TVs might be capable of sending private conversations back to Web servers. And it was recently shown that hackers could take control of cars remotely. Anything attached to the Internet is a potential target.

Potentially more difficult, will be finding a balance between security and privacy. For many, having your neighbor record your comings and goings and sending that data to police computers is unacceptable. But if you’ve been the victim of a burglary, you might think it’s okay. And will you be comfortable knowing that your car’s manufacturer — and possibly your insurance company — can track your driving habits?

Again, one of the foundations of IoT is targeted marketing. Not too long ago, a woman who was still in high school began receiving drugstore ads targeting pregnant women. The woman’s father (angrily) asked the chain store that sent out the ads why; he was told that, thanks to Big Data, it knew his daughter was pregnant. I’m sure that’s not the way we’d want to learn about a loved one’s private matters.

Gleaned from windows Secrets article by Doug Spindler

Larry The Computer Guy

Serving South Eastern Michigan

248-360-8967

Microsoft Outlook is Crashing after recent update.

Outlook Crashing after recent update!

The software giant confirmed in an emailed statement to ZDNet that some users might be suffering from a Patch Tuesday hangover.

“We are looking into reports from some customers who are experiencing difficulties with Outlook after installing Windows KB3097877. An immediate review is under way,” said a spokesperson.

Many on Twitter also pointed to the patch, also known as MS15-115), a critical update affecting all versions of Windows, as the one to blame. The patch fixes a series of flaws that could allow an attacker to remotely execute code on an affected machine by exploiting how the operating system handles and displays fonts.

Some users have reported that Outlook crashes only when web-formatted (HTML) emails are displayed.

Earlier, download links posted on the security bulletins point to files disappeared off the site, but returned by mid-afternoon.

Gleened from zdnet.com

What can I do to make my laptop computer last a lot longer? Call Larry The Computer Guy 248-360-8967

Make your laptop last longer.

Make your laptop last longer.

What can I do to make my laptop computer last a lot longer? Call Larry The Computer Guy!

 

  • Avoid using your laptop on soft surfaces like beds, couches and pillows. This blocks the laptop’s air vents, causing your laptop to heat up. Hot internal components wear out faster than cool ones.
  • Clean your laptop fans once a month. Get a can of compressed air with a thin nozzle and direct the air into your laptop fans and air vents. This increases airflow through the vents and reduces the amount of work your fans have to do.
  • Carry your laptop in a padded or fortified bag to minimize wear and tear while your laptop is in transit. One bad drop can wreck a hard drive or crack a screen.
  • Never carry the laptop by its corners or edges. This stresses the case, which leads to early fractures and cracks. A weakened case means the laptop is more prone to bending and twisting, which can damage internal components.
  • Remove the battery when the laptop is plugged in. Batteries can overheat or overcharge when plugged in, reducing their lifespan. Store your laptop in a cool, dry location to further increase battery lifespan.
  • Use your laptop on battery power until you get a low power warning, then plug it in and let the battery fully recharge.
  • Don’t put your laptop in Standby or Sleep mode. Sleeping laptops still use a little bit of electricity, which drains your battery, forcing you to recharge more often. The average laptop battery is good for about 500 charge/depletion cycles. Use Hibernate mode instead of Standby.

gleaned from ehow.com

Call us for all your desktop and laptop needs.

Larry The Computer Guy

Desktop and Laptop repair in Commerce MI

248-360-8967

How to make your Lithium-ion batteries last for years

lithium ionThe lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries used in most of today’s tablets, smartphones, and portable PCs require very different care and feeding than with the nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) and nickel-metal-hydride (Ni-MH) batteries used in earlier devices.

Keep your lithium batteries cool

I was surprised to learn that heat is the number-one enemy of Li-ion batteries. Heat issues can be caused by usage factors such as the speed and duration of battery charging and discharging.

Unplug the charger to save the battery

Overcharging — leaving a battery connected to a too-high voltage source for too long — can reduce a Li-ion battery’s ability to hold a charge, shorten its life, or kill it outright.

Don’t deep-discharge your battery

Not all discharge cycles exact the same toll on a battery. Long and heavy usage generates more heat, putting more stress on the battery; smaller, more frequent discharges extend the overall life of lithium batteries.

Slow and steady charge/discharge is best

As you now know, both fast discharging and fast recharging generate excess heat and exact a toll on battery life.

Whenever possible, carry a spare battery

If your device allows for easy battery replacement, carrying a spare battery is cheap insurance. It not only gives you twice the run time but also helps you avoid the need to fully discharge a battery or use a quick charge. When the in-use battery approaches 15–20 percent charge, simply swap out the drained battery for a fresh, cool one — you get instant full power, with no heat worries.

Gleaned from www.windowssecrets.com

Larry The Computer Guy

Computer and Laptop Repair in South Eastern Michigan

Servicing Commerce, White Lake, Milford, Walled Lake, Highland, Hartland, Brighton, Howell

248-360-8967

 

Translate between English and Spanish speech on-the-fly with Skype Translator

SolutionsRemember the Babel Fish from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? The tiny organism that automatically translates any spoken word into your native tongue? While that continues to remain limited to the realm of snarky British science fiction, Microsoft is working hard to make on-the-fly translation feasible for everyone.

The Skype Translator preview is currently available for download, and offers Windows users the ability to voice chat with each other using two different languages. It still has a long way to go before it’s ready for prime time, but this is a major step forward for worldwide communication.

Earlier this week, Microsoft released a preview version of Skype Translator to the public. While it can translate instant messages in any of over 40 languages, this early build can only translate voice chat in Spanish and English. On top of that, this preview program only works on Windows 8.x and the Windows 10 Technical Preview, so Skype fans on other platforms are currently left out in the cold. Thankfully, that’s bound to change when this feature is fully baked.

So, how exactly does this crazy translation system work? In an in-depth post on the Skype blog, Mo Ladha and Chris Wendt break down the technical aspects of Skype Translator. Using Microsoft’s deep neural networks, Skype recognizes the spoken word, and then converts that into text. From there, it uses a translation engine based on the Bing Translator to convert the text to the target language. Then, it uses text-to-speech to deliver the translated line. In a way, this works a lot like duct-taping Siri to Google Translate.

Keep in mind, this system is not at all seamless. Even with Microsoft’s impressive “learning computers” handling the voice recognition and translation, errors are inevitable. When dealing with natural speech over low-cost consumer mics, who knows what might come out the other side? Also, there is a bit of lag between finishing your thought and hearing the translation. The natural flow of conversation is drastically impacted, so the experience is quite different from conversing normally in a single language.

Flaws aside, this clever use of technology puts a big smile on my face. I frequently voice chatwith friends all over the world, but that’s only possible because they speak English. How many friends am I missing out on simply because of the language barrier? I can’t see myself relying on this preview version just yet, but this leaves me very optimistic about the future of the Skype Translator and on-the-fly translation in general. – Gleaned from extremetech.com

Netflix says offline viewing is never going to happen Don’t get your hopes up for watching Netflix on an airplane anytime soon.

Speaking to TechRadar, Netflix spokesman Cliff Edwards made clear that the streaming video service will never allow offline viewing. “It’s never going to happen,” he said. Edwards said offline viewing was just a “short term fix for a bigger problem” of faster, more widespread Wi-Fi access. He expects that in five years, most people won’t even care about offline downloads.

It’s a lovely sentiment, but it also seems like wishful thinking. Currently, most in-flight Wi-Fi on U.S. airlines is too slow for streaming video and doesn’t work on transatlantic flights. While some airlines are starting to switch to faster satellite connections that work over water, it’s unclear whether these connections will be the norm by the end of the decade, or how they’ll even hold up if every passenger starts using them to stream Netflix.

The bigger problem is that these connections don’t come cheap. Wi-Fi on a cross-country flight can easily cost $15 to $20, and providers sometimes inflate prices further to discourage congestion. Given the potential buffering issues that can arise with streaming, at that point it’s just cheaper and easier to watch what the airline is showing or pay for satellite TV service where available.

The story behind the story: Netflix is likely covering for the fact that offline viewing would be a licensing nightmare. While rival Amazon allows downloads of Prime Instant Videos, this requires a Fire phone or Kindle Fire tablet and may have viewing period restrictions. YouTube has also flirted with offline viewing, but mainly in emerging markets. Besides, five years hardly seems “short-term” in the world of technology, so perhaps Netflix should go back to its earlier stance that the market for this feature is just too small to begin with. – Gleaned from pcworld.com