Windows 10 Fall Update

Windows 10’s first major update, aka the “Windows 10 Fall Update” arrives today.  If you’re using Windows 10, the update should be pushed to you automatically sometime today, or you can manually grab the update from the settings menu.  Read all about it here.

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Antivirus for Android? Don’t Waste your Money

Concerned about security on your Android device?  You should be.  There is indeed malware out there for Android, as evidenced by the Stagefright malware news from back in July.  And Android does have some security issues, especially with respect to older versions of Android.  But what about antivirus on Android?  Sure the Google Play Store is full of antivirus apps, many of which are big names that we recognize from the Windows world.  But while third-party antivirus applications can work well in Windows, third-party apps on Android just don’t have the bite or power to be very effective.  That’s in part because Android doesn’t give any third-party apps the sort of low-level access to the OS that Windows allows to its third-party apps.  But there is some good news:  Google Play Services already includes anti-virus and anti-malware code baked right in.  So don’t waste your money on third-party antivirus apps for Android, they’re just not worth much.  Instead keep your Android up-to-date, don’t side-load apps, and be heed any warnings that Android gives you when installing apps from the Google Play Store.  And if you’re considering a new Android device, strongly consider one of the Nexus devices.  These devices get Android updates directly from Google, and bypass the red tape and wait time needed to get security and other updates if you are using a carrier-branded Android device.  Read more here.

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Windows 10 News

Haven’t upgraded to Windows 10 yet? This might help you decide. I’ve been using Windows 10 as part of Microsoft’s Insider program since Sept. of 2014. It’s come a long way since then, and it’s very stable in its current state. It’s also very visually appealing, and now uses live tiles (aka the Modern UI) in a way that doesn’t force you into a separate user interface.  In many ways Windows 10 is a return to the traditional Windows desktop environment. And, the first big update to Windows 10 is due out this month.  Don’t expect plug-in support for the new Edge browser yet (that will arrive sometime in 2016), but there will be other enhancements.  The most useful change may be the ability to active your Windows 10 install with a Windows 7, 8.0, or 8.1 product key.  http://goo.gl/L8QnRx.

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Windows 10 Activation Changes for the Better

Microsoft tried to make Windows’ activation process simpler with the release of Windows 10.  For the first year after release, through July of 2016, Microsoft is giving away Windows 10 to any user with an activated copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 (excluding Enterprise version of Windows).  All you have to do is either download the Windows 10 ISO, or use the Get Windows 10 app which will show up automatically in your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 system tray, and then install.  Your hardware signature is then registered with Microsoft, and your Windows 10 upgrade is activated without the need for a new Windows 10 product key.  Reinstalling Windows 10 at a later time from “bare metal” isn’t a problem, because Microsoft will recognize the hardware signature from your previously-activated Windows 10, and allow you activate again without providing a product key.

But what you those of us purists who prefer to start with a clean slate and install Windows 10 bare metal in the first place?  Microsoft has listened, and with the first big update to Windows 10 dubbed “Threshold 2,” your existing Windows 7, Windows 8.0, or Windows 8.1 product key will allow you to activate Windows 10 the first time you install.  The big update to Windows 10 is expected to launch sometime in November of 2015.  Read more here.

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We’re Out of Public IPv4 Addresses

For a few years now the tech community has been aware that we were running out of IPv4 addresses for Internet-connected devices. Every device that has a public, routable IP address must have a unique address in order to differentiate it from other devices directly connected to the Internet. The mass adaptation of NAT routers which began many years ago slowed down the depletion of IPv4 addresses, but now it’s happened: We’re out. Read more: http://goo.gl/lcJyZY

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Apple Battles Malware in iOS

Malware has struck the Apple App Store in the form of XcodeGhost. This code was used unknowingly by some app developers. Apple has taken steps to remove the affected apps from their app store, but users should uninstall any of the affected apps they have immediately. The malware steals information and attempts to get the end users to divulge additional, personally identifiable information. More information and a list of the affected apps is here: https://goo.gl/Dz1Abd.

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Backup Before iOS 9 Arrives

Do you own an iPhone? With the upcoming arrival of iOS 9 and the new iPhone likely coming next month, it’s a good time to talk about backing up in general and backing up your iPhone or other iOS device before upgrading to iOS 9. Backing up your devices and computers should absolutely be done regularly, but also before any OS upgrade. Get some pointers for upgrading your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch here: http://goo.gl/DCWsIJ

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New Swap File in Windows 10

Windows uses swap files to swap out the contents of RAM to your hard drive or SSD.  With the release of Windows 10, an additional swap file has appeared: swapfile.sys.  This file appears to be used as swap space for Windows “Modern UI” apps.  And Microsoft plans additional roles for this new swap file soon, perhaps as early as the first major update for Windows 10 arrives sometime this fall.  Read more here: http://goo.gl/9s6BPM

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Critical Patch Published for IE

By now it may seem like just more background noise, but an important and critical patch for IE on all supported versions of Windows has been released by Microsoft.  Unpatched copies of Windows could become a portal for hackers to take control of your computer by means of a rogue website.  Although it’s not thought that hackers have yet exploited this flaw, please read and please make sure your computers get updated with tge patch: http://goo.gl/n9MxHa.

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Changes to Activation in Windows 10

Microsoft has announced changes to how installs are activated in Windows 10.  Historically Microsoft has been paranoid about software piracy, and nothing has changed there, but you may be surprised to learn that a product key is not required after your first activation.  Details of your hardware configuration are stored in the cloud after your first activation, making the need for a product key on subsequent activations unnecessary.  Read more http://goo.gl/wH3fSU.

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