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April '16

Opinions, suggestions, recommendations or ideas found on our site are applied at your own risk. 


With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg



PLEASE - Do not give control of your computer to ANYONE unless you are absolutely certain who they are!  For more information see our Self Help > Scams!   So with that out of the way...

In this newsletter

Ransomware

You've probably heard by now where recently, a hospital in CA had their data encrypted.  Initially they were going to recover the information themselves but found the task nearly impossible so they paid a $17k ransom.  The article

These types of viruses have been around for some time but are now targeting small business and individuals as well.  Over the last year or so, we've seen a few of these infected computers and the only fix was to format the drive and reinstall everything from scratch.  As far as data, it was impossible to recover. 

Mac lovers beware, ransomware viruses are stalking your operating system as well.  The article.

And it's getting worse!  See this article.

What can you do? 

Other than being careful what links you accept as safe and being leery of every email with attachments or links, not much!  If these viruses are being served up at malicious websites, it may be all too easy to stumble upon one when doing searches. 

If you have an antivirus that flags web search results, heed the warnings. 

site warning

Be sure to have multiple backups (and on multiple media) but even then, apparently there are viruses that seek out and encrypt your backups.

Windows 7

Staying with Windows 7 for a while?  You have a little over 3 years left before the end of life at Microsoft.   That does not necessarily mean Windows 7 will have the same fate as XP and Vista, but then again, who knows what this industry is going to do?

But as we have discovered recently, doing a fresh install of Windows 7 followed by all the updates may take a very, very long time.  This article explains everything nicely plus has a couple downloads that can reduce the updates time significantly!

Windows 10 forcibly

Microsoft is very persistent on getting Windows 10 to everyone.  Here is an example of that persistence: "Hiding" the upgrade multiple times did no good as it just came back over and over. 

persists

So instead of trying to do so via the Windows Update utility, here's a quicker way.  This ZDNet article has two small registry fixes that you can download (near the bottom of the article). 

We have used the downloads many times without any problem, but if you're concerned about breaking your computer, create a system restore point first!

Below are those same files but you must right click and save them as*
.reg
files rather than .txt files.  You need to change the File type from Text Document to All Files, otherwise Windows will tack on a .txt extension.  More information on file extensions here.

selfhelp/DisableGWX.txt and selfhelp/DisallowOSUpgrades.txt

Change exnternsion

Reboot and the reminder/flag should be gone...

* Internet Explorer is right click and Save Target as
   Google Chrome and Firefox are right click and Save link as   

Get 10 by accident?  Probably no accident...

According to this ZDNet article, a Windows 10 upgrade prompt may have been buried inside of an Internet Explorer update in early March.

30 days

If you have installed Windows 10 and it broke something or you simply do not like it, you have 30 days to revert to the previous operating system.  That is accomplished via: Start > Settings > Update and Security > Recovery

Windows 10 privacy

We talk a bit about the Windows 10 privacy settings here.  Another item you may want to change is the amount of "feedback" they collect about your computer.

Feedback

Windows 10 upgrade & lost files

Contrary to the Windows 10 upgrade statement that all your files are exactly where you left them, here's Microsoft's article how to get lost files back (notice the one we have expanded).

lost files

Free - isn't

A bogus Netflix app delivers more than just free movies; it also delivers malware and could steal the credentials of legitimate users too. 

"The malware disguised as Netflix applications were likely downloaded by users who may have been tricked by a fake advertisement or offers for free or cheaper access to Netflix," Satnam Narang, senior security response manager at Symantec, told eWEEK.  The complete article.

Blue screen of death - Windstream

Well, if you have the Windstream digital TV package in this area, they have brought a whole new angle on a blue screen of death.  No TV guide!

We wrote them about losing this service since we believe part of our monthly premium includes a guide.  Here was their response:

Thank you for contacting Windstream Communications. We appreciate your business and want to resolve your concerns. We apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced while conducting business with Windstream. Unfortunately, Windstream does not have any control over this service going a way. We were advised that the company as a whole that handled the maintenance for this service is dissolving as a whole. For this reason we had to advise our consumers that the guide will go away as well. There are no concessions or adjustments being applied to account. We hope this resolves your concerns.

As a work-around, this site offers the listings, but this is a poor alternative to the real time guide...

Class action anyone?

Quickies

Toshiba recalls 100,000 laptop batteries - more information.

Do you have VNC installed on a computer?  If so, be sure you have a good password on it!  If you do not, your screen may be accessible to most anyone!  The article.

McAfee Security Scan Plus is NOT an antivirus application; rather it's an occasional scan to see what slipped past your actual antivirus application.  Probably not even worth having...

Just a gripe, but anyone else notice just how crappy the new Adobe Reader is when saving?  Open a specific PDF form, make changes, then when you try and save, it acts like a new document asking where, the name, are you sure you want to replace, etc...

Interesting: Zoomable look at our Milky Way Link from this article.

Google's robot - very cool!

Have an Amazon tablet or phone?  It may be unsecured!  The article.

Opinion

Hard to believe but finally, a university has stood up and fired a "professor" for their conduct.  The article.

First Amendment - What's that?   Unbelievable!

Attorneys Generals Kamala Harris, Loretta Lynch and Eric Schneiderman want to censor/restrict speech and debate on the controversial scientific theory of global warming, but not just censor, they want to punish them with possible civil sanctions or even criminal penalties.  That article and another article.

Higher minimum?  Let's ask the employers...  Wal-Mart announced Jan. 15 it will close 269 stores globally, including 154 locations in the United States—affecting about 10,000 associates across the nation. The article.  Not to be outdone, Sears and Kmart Closing At Least 50 Stores

The number of food stamp recipients has risen dramatically, from 17.2 million in 2000 to 45.8 million in 2015.   However: After Maine’s work policy went into effect, caseload fell from 13,332 recipients in Dec. 2014 to 2,678 in March 2015. The article.

Here we go again.  Politicians and the under-informed creating laws without thinking through the full ramifications, a.k.a. rule of unintended consequences. The article.

Certainly not Clinton or Sanders "Free college for all" - Really?  Just a big party for many, but we digress.  This country simply cannot afford their utopian ideas.  But Trump is not our guy either because of his many spontaneous (and stupid) comments.  We just cannot envision him in high level talks with other world leaders.  Speaking of Trump, an interesting debate in Great Britain.  So all we can say at this point is - hold on to your wallets next winter!

Calling Clinton a “pretty typical Democrat in a traditionally Democratic Party,” Matthews asked, “What’s the difference between a socialist and a Democrat?”  The same question was posed to Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  Neither could answer the question (for obvious reasons).  On the flipside, Senator Sasse defines conservatism very nicely.

President Obama announced that he will seek $4 billion from Congress to dramatically increase the number of children who have access to computer science classes in school, a move he said is necessary to ensure that students are competitive in a job market that rewards technological know-how.  And more recently he proposed a 4 trillion-dollar budget.  Again, where will this money coming fromSorry grandkids, but we want it all, and now!

Obama's State of the Union - all kinds of misinformation!   Example: As Obama noted, the unemployment rate has fallen and the economy has added jobs. Unfortunately, much of this improvement comes from Americans dropping from the labor force and of no help to the economy, more government employment.

Really?

Not the fact they built near a cliff!  Oh, no, it's El Nino's fault and as we all know by now, somehow humans should be blamed for that...  The USA Today article

cliff 

.

Leaving you with

Here's a fun number 10250 (1 followed by 250 zeros), and what might that be?  Read the Phys.org article :-)

Does anyone else miss slamming the receiver down to terminate an angry phone call? Violently tapping "End Call" just isn't the same! (Al Lowe)

Remember...

Thanks for all the help over these years, Jeff...