Personal Computer
Users Group

announcements-r (2K)  ... Items of Special Interest! ...

For Today's Technology News, click here!

For an archive of older Items, click here!

Please be aware that some older links have expired and are no longer available!

Tech Headlines
selected from Daily Rotation

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Farmers are hacking their tractors so they can actually fix them Not only is proprietary software an issue with John Deere, it's a problem that could affect your car, as well.

[SCAM] Gadget Insurance and Extended Warranties

FCC gets tough on robocalls The commission approves new rules that give phone companies more ammunition to fight annoying robocalls.

How supercomputing power is helping with anti-pollution plans like city-wide car bans A modeling tool developed at Barcelona's Supercomputing Center is busy predicting levels of atmospheric pollutants in Spain, Europe, and now Mexico.

Zillow, Schmillow - Free Online Home Appraisals

Senate votes to kill broadband privacy rules Lawmakers invoke the Congressional Review Act to kill controversial privacy rules adopted by the previous Federal Communications Commission.

To punish Symantec, Google may distrust a third of the web's SSL certificates After the latest incident of improper certificate issuance, Google says that it has lost confidence in the world's largest certificate authority

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Windows tip of the week
By Ed Bott

Enter special characters with or without keyboard shortcuts

The Character Map tool has been a part of Windows for decades. Its role is simple: It allows you to find special characters, not available on a standard keyboard layout, and enter them anywhere that accepts typed text.

To open Character Map, enter its command, Charmap, in the search box and then press Enter. The resulting app displays 200 characters at a time, in 10 rows of 20 characters each. You can visually scan through the list or click the Advanced View checkbox and use its search tools to find a specific character.

Every character has a descriptive name, making searches easy. For example, say you're looking for an inverted question mark for use in a document written in Spanish using an English keyboard. Type ques in the Search For box and then click Search to show a handful of results, including the Inverted Question Mark character.

Best of all, Character Map also offers a cheat sheet for keyboard shortcuts. Just look in the lower-right corner for the matching combination, which you'll enter by holding down the Alt key as you type numbers using the numeric keypad. If you regularly type in Spanish, use Alt+0161 and Alt+1091, respectively, for the Inverted Exclamation Point and Inverted Question Mark characters.

Are Password Rules Making Us LESS Secure?

Windows 10 Creators Update in the homestretch: Here's what's next With a flurry of recent Windows 10 preview releases, anyone in the Windows Insider Program Fast ring has a right to feel exhausted. What comes next? Based on past development cycles, here's what you can expect.

Geekly Update - 22 March 2017

Microsoft isn't updating some PCs with next-gen CPUs--and never will Next-generation CPUs are designed for Windows 10 only, which means PCs running Windows 7 or 8 may never update. This was Microsoft's intention all along.

Google will now let you share your location with friends in Maps A new feature rolling out soon to all users will let you easily and temporarily broadcast where you are.

This $100M email scam tripped up two big US tech companies The victims were a social network and an "internet-related services" company, according to the feds.

NASA spots breaks in Mars Curiosity rover's wheel treads The Curiosity rover's wheels are taking a beating from the harsh conditions on the Red Planet, with the damage reaching a new level.

Japanese company develops a solar cell with record-breaking 26%+ efficiency A group of researchers funded by a Japanese government program develops “industrially compatible” cells.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Microsoft begins blocking updates for older Windows versions on newer hardware Windows 7 is supported until 2020, and Windows 8.1 will get updates until 2023, right? Not if you're trying to run those older Windows versions on new hardware, as some frustrated customers discovered this week.

[HOWTO] Copy Old Hard Drive to New PC

Friday, March 17, 2017

Microsoft now puts ads in Windows 10 File Explorer, because of course

The 10 best features coming to Windows 10 Microsoft wants to make you love your computer again. Our regularly updated list shows you the best Windows 10 features that are just around the corner.

If Your iPhone is Stolen, These Guys May Try to iPhish You

Underwater magic: Hidden tech behind Cirque du Soleil's 'O' On the surface, "O" is a stunningly simple show. But 17 feet below the massive water pool and 110 feet above stage, you see the real technology at work.

Google Tango means you'll never get lost in a store again Some Lowe's stores are testing out an augmented-reality app that shows the fastest way to get to your items.

Spammers Hijacked Your Email?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Windows tip of the week
By Ed Bott

See the entire collection of Windows troubleshooting tools

If you've run into a problem with Windows, chances are you're not the only one. In fact, some issues are so common that Microsoft has built a library of troubleshooting tools specifically to deal with them.

A troubleshooter might run automatically if Windows sees evidence that you're struggling with a piece of hardware or a Windows feature that isn't working as expected. Each troubleshooter kicks off a wizard that runs some diagnostics and offers the option to perform standard fixes known to work in a significant slice of problem scenarios.

But you don't have to wait for Windows to notice you're struggling. In any currently supported version of Windows, you can go to the classic Control Panel and type troubleshooting in the search box. That exposes the Troubleshooting category, with a categorized list of commonly used tools to help if you're unable to connect to the Internet, or having problems with audio recording, or struggling with a balky update. For Windows 10, there's even a troubleshooter for diagnosing the dreaded Blue Screen of Death.

Click View all at the top of the navigation pane on the left to see the complete troubleshooter list in alphabetical order.

Unleash the power of Excel's AutoSum tool You know AutoSum is a helpful tool, but it's more flexible and valuable than you might realize. This walk-through introduces a variety of timesaving tricks.

Two-Factor Authentication: Who Has It and How to Set It Up Everyone is concerned about online safety. Whether you use Google and Twitter or TeamViewer and Dreamhost, keep your services secure with two-factor authentication.

Geekly Update - 15 March 2017

McDonald's tests iPhone ordering ahead of global rollout

Windows 10 gets even more ads: Here's how to disable them all Users report promos for OneDrive have been added to Windows 10's File Explorer, here's how to ensure you never see these or most other ads in the OS.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Adobe, Microsoft Push Critical Security Fixes

Switching from Mac to PC: Choosing a laptop Windows PCs offer many more choices than Macs do. We'll help you sort through the options.

Video: The world's top 5 supercomputers Have you ever wondered how powerful supercomputers today are? Here are the world's top five, and what they're capable of.

Free Hard Drive Tune-up Tools

A Microbe Hunter Plies Her Trade In Space

Microsoft finally fixes 'critical' Windows security flaw after patch delay The software giant made customers wait a month before rolling out a fix for a serious Windows security flaw with public exploit code.

2 ways to keep your MacBook from falling asleep

In Honor Of Pi Day, Here Are Four Raspberry Pi Projects

Adobe semaphore code cracked by Tennessee high school teacher

There's a Problem With the New Chip Credit Cards They've done little to stamp out fraud

Monday, March 13, 2017

How Fast Is Your Internet Connection...Really?

The Best Tax Preparation Software of 2017

The Best Home Security Cameras of 2017

11 Uses for Your Old Smartphone

TEN Common Computing Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

10 iPhone tricks you didn't know you could do

Friday, March 10, 2017

Windows tip of the week
By Ed Bott

Uncover your system's history of startup and shutdown times

Every time your PC starts up and shuts down, Windows records the length of time that process took. If either of those intervals was longer than it should have been, it records those details in a system log. As with most such measurements, you can browse the history of those events using the Windows Event Viewer (Eventvwr.exe).

To see the full list, open Event Viewer and then, using the navigation pane on the left side, go to Applications And Services Logs > Microsoft > Windows > Diagnostics-Performance > Operational. The list of events in that log appears in the center pane.

Look for items with Event ID 100 to see longer-than-normal startup times. Event ID 200 indicates unusually long shutdown times. Note that these times are displayed in milliseconds, which you can easily convert to seconds by shifting the decimal point three places to the left; a value of 38417 ms is 38.417 seconds, for example.

Don't be too alarmed by seemingly long startup times. These values measure the entire boot time, which includes background tasks that don't affect the responsiveness of the PC. If you begin to notice that Windows is taking longer to hand over control of the PC to you at startup, look for items with Event ID 101. Those events record details of specific applications that are taking longer than expected and might offer the explanation you're looking for.

Geekly Update 02 26 17

Another 32 Million Yahoo Accounts Breached Add that to the 1.5 billion accounts that have already been compromised.

Apple has already fixed most of the iOS exploits the CIA used The company responded to information from a WikiLeaks release of CIA documents that claim the agency has ways to hack iPhones that Apple doesn't know about.

How Do Spammers Get Your Email Address?

Do You Need a PUP Cleaner?

[HOWTO] Fix Chrome Annoyances

Which Mobile Carrier Has the Best Signal?

Geekly Update - 05 March 2017

The New Google Voice: Love or Hate?

We can't see inside Fukushima Daiichi because all our robots keep dying

IBM has figured out how to store data on a single atom

After CIA leaks, tech giants scramble to patch security flaws Apple, Microsoft, and Google are analyzing leaked CIA documents to see if their products are affected, but security researchers say that most of the flaws have long been fixed.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

How To Eliminate 94% of Windows Vulnerabilities Easily