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

Friday, February 23, 2018

Super Bowl 52: How the NFL and US Bank Stadium are ready to make digital history At Super Bowl LII, the Patriots vs. Eagles contest could break a record for the largest data usage ever during an event, as fans stream live video and upload massive quantities of photos to social apps.

Report: Microsoft will make Windows 10 S the default mode for five new Windows 10 versions If Windows 10 S is the default Windows and gamers will have to pay more to upgrade to Pro, consumers are going to flip their lids.

If you want Microsoft Office 2019, you're going to need Windows 10 The upcoming productivity app update drops Window 7 and Windows 8.1 support.

The WIRED Guide to the iPhone Its influence goes far beyond other phones-the infrastructure that made the iPhone also enabled drones, smart-home gadgets, wearables, and self-driving cars.

Spectre and Meltdown - Should You Worry?

Avoid These Online Tax Scams

[HOWTO] Get a Secret Second Phone Number

Geekly Update - 08 Feb 2018

FBI Warns of Virtual Kidnapping Scam

The Opportunity Rover Has Now Operated for 5,000 Martian Days

SpaceX Says Satellite Broadband Is the Future, But It's Actually Already Here SpaceX is getting all of the attention for its plan to launch two experimental internet satellites today, but they're not the only game in town.

20 Reasons to Search With Bing It may seem too late to shake up the web search market, but Microsoft's Bing offers an alternative to Google that may surprise you with some powerful capabilities.

SpaceX Successfully Launches Falcon Heavy Rocket, Sends Car Into Space [Update]

Tesla Will Sell its Powerwall and Solar Roof in Home Depot

Apple releases iOS 11.2.6, macOS 10.13.3 update, and more to fix Telugu 'text bomb' bug A full suite of Apple operating system updates fix the text bug that caused Messages and other apps to crash.

5 things that will slow your Wi-Fi network Wi-Fi networks can be slowed by use of old protocols, overlapping channels and low data rates, and here's how to fix these and other performance problems.

IRS Scam Leverages Hacked Tax Preparers, Client Bank Accounts

Microsoft Patch Tuesday, February 2018 Edition

Sunday, February 04, 2018

The Week's Coolest Space Images

Attackers Exploiting Unpatched Flaw in Flash

The Best Photography Of The Week

'Game Changer': Maya Cities Unearthed In Guatemala Forest Using Lasers

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Photos: 10 major automakers using 3D printing today

The Best Parental Control Apps for Your Phone If you want to keep your kids safe online, parental control software on your desktop is a step in the right direction, but you really need a capable app for phones and tablets too. These are the top performers in our testing.

23 Unforgettable Tech Super Bowl Ads As game day approaches, watch the best (and worst) Super Bowl tech ads ever aired.

Microsoft Takes on the Scammers

Friday, February 02, 2018

Curiosity's sweeping Mars panorama shows how far it's come

5 Predictions for the Future of Automotive Technology


Thursday, February 01, 2018

Windows tip of the week
By Ed Bott

Prevent your PC from going to sleep

On desktop PCs and laptops, sleep is a useful energy-conservation feature. It can also be a source of frustration if you're trying to complete a time-consuming task. The solution? Use Windows' power options to temporarily prevent your PC from going to sleep.

In Windows 10, go to Settings > System > Power & Sleep. There, under the Sleep heading, you can change the current setting to Never. In Windows 7, type sleep in the search box and then choose Change When The Computer Sleeps in Control Panel. (Note that in both operating system versions there are separate settings for when your PC is running on battery power and when it's plugged in.)

If you'd prefer to automate the process with a script or a shortcut, use one of these commands:

powercfg -change -standby-timeout-ac 0
powercfg -change -standby-timeout-dc 0

(The "ac" and "dc" at the end of each command indicates plugged in or battery power, respectively.)

Be sure to change these settings back after your task is complete.

Geekly Update - 31 Jan 2018

Don't believe Microsoft’s latest privacy hype The company could easily give users the ability to control what information is sent to it, but that's not what it has in mind.

Emergency Windows update will stop random PC reboots caused by Intel's Spectre fix PCs running Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 will have the Intel Spectre fix nullified by a new, out-of-bounds Microsoft patch.

SpaceX successfully launches GovSat-1 on a flight proven Falcon 9

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

6 Tips for Better (Super Blue Blood) Moon Photos Anytime the moon is up is a super time to try to photograph it.

Amateur Astronomer Finds NASA Satellite Long Given Up For Dead

NASA finds satellite, realises it has lost the software and kit that talk to it Vanished IMAGE now found. Don't suppose anyone kept a copy of its comms code?

Fed Up With Telemarketers? (here's the solution)

How Microsoft's Windows 10 Privacy Update Could Impact You Ahead of Data Privacy Day, Microsoft gives users more proactive Windows 10 privacy controls.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Higher Standard Deduction Means Fewer Taxpayers to Itemize Medical deduction remains, but many popular write-offs go away under new tax law

How to Watch the "Super Blue Blood Moon" on Jan 31

With iOS 11.3, Apple looks to unite patients and their healthcare data After touting an EMR-sharing feature in its upcoming iOS 11.3 release, Apple said 12 hospitals have signed on to beta test the software, which will allow patients and healthcare providers to interact on iPhones and iPads.

Microsoft issues emergency Windows patch to disable Intel's buggy Spectre fix If your Windows PC seems buggier than usual after the recent round of Spectre patches, you might want to download this.

Hard Drive Making a Clicking Sound?

SpaceX's First Falcon Heavy Rocket Test Launch Set for Feb. 6

File Your Taxes Before Scammers Do It For You

New Egyptian dinosaur reveals ancient link between Africa and Europe Mansourasaurus shahinae helps fill in gaps of African dinosaurs of Late Cretaceous

Windows 10 New Way to Free Up Disk Space

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Best Photography Of The Week

Elemental haiku

Does This 200,000 Year Old Jaw Bone Change Everything?

Microsoft Issues Windows Out-of-Band Update That Disables Spectre Mitigations

Tesla's giant battery in Australia made around $1 million in just a few days

The Magnetic Field Is Shifting. The Poles May Flip. This Could Get Bad. The shield that protects the Earth from solar radiation is under attack from within. We can't prevent it, but we ought to prepare.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

New Jupiter Images From Juno Probe Reveal Amazing Detail

[SCAM?] Time to Update Your Drivers?

Friday, January 26, 2018

[ALERT] Fake Tech Support Scammers Are Calling

Spectre and Meltdown: Cheat sheet What are the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, and how do they affect you? This essential guide will tell you everything you need to know about Spectre and Meltdown.

Geekly Update - 25 Jan 2018

How to create a full system backup in Windows 10 It's an oldie but goodie: Creating a system image of your Windows 10 PC in case your hard drive goes belly up and you need to recover your files, settings and apps.

President Trump Wants to End ISS Funding by 2025 NASA has already been asked to come up with a way to fund ISS using alternative means after 2024.

Disco nights? Rocket Lab launches glinting sphere into orbit

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Windows tip of the week
By Ed Bott

Personalize your desktop

Longtime Windows users probably remember the concept of themes from the earliest days of the operating system, when Microsoft included custom themes as part of extra-cost Plus packs.

Surprisingly, themes have survived and even thrived in Windows 10. You can find a custom Themes tab in Settings > Personalization, with each custom theme automatically saving the desktop background image, the color used for accents in windows and menu text, sounds, and the color and size of the mouse pointer.

To save your current collection of those settings as a named theme, open the Themes page in Settings and click Save Theme. Enter a descriptive name and observe as your new theme appears in the list of saved themes. You can reapply those settings with a single click later.

To save the theme so you can share it with someone else (or apply it to a different PC), right-click the thumbnail for your saved theme and then click Save Theme For Sharing. The saved file has the .deskthemepack extension and can be applied by double-clicking.

Spectre and Meltdown: Cheat sheet What are the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, and how do they affect you? This essential guide will tell you everything you need to know about Spectre and Meltdown.

Should You Buy a Used Computer?

Intel's patches for Spectre and Meltdown causing reboots Intel is telling everyone to not apply its latest patches and that a new solution is in the works.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

AVG Anti-Virus Gets A New Look

Top 10 Cars and Trucks of the 2018 Detroit Auto Show

GPU Prices Skyrocket, Breaking the Entire DIY PC Market

Best home security camera: Keep an eye on the home front

Top 5: Ways to keep your data safe while traveling Airport Wi-Fi, public USB charging stations, and border agents just doing their jobs can all pose a threat to your cybersecurity. Here are five tips to reduce the threats.

Monday, January 22, 2018

[P2P] Send and Receive Money Online

15 things to tweak when setting up a new MacBook Just bought your first MacBook? Start out by checking or changing these settings.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Some Basic Rules for Securing Your IoT Stuff

Are Online Colleges Fully Accredited?

Meltdown and Spectre FAQ: How the critical CPU flaws affect PCs and Macs It varies widely depending on your hardware, operating system, and workload.

Next iOS Update Can Disable iPhone Slowdown Feature Tim Cook confirmed that the ability to disable the slowdown will arrive in February as part of an iPhone battery health feature being added to iOS.

HDMI 2.1: What You Need to Know A new HDMI standard is out, and that means faster ports and cables for your home entertainment devices. Here are the details.

The Best Laptops of 2018 Whether you want a simple budget laptop, a productivity workhorse, or a screaming machine for gaming, there's something here for you, along with all the shopping advice you need.

Intel: Spectre Patch Reboot Issue Affects Newer Chips, Too In addition to Broadwell- and Haswell-based platforms, the reboot problem is affecting some firmware updated systems running Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge, Skylake, and Kaby Lake chips.

PALE YELLOW DOT This Mind-Blowing Visualization Shows How Tiny Our Sun Is Compared To The Universe's Biggest Stars   Our Sun. It's really big. Vastly, stupefyingly huge. Just kidding, it's actually pretty small by the universe's standards.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Windows tip of the week
By Ed Bott

Quick access to special characters and emoji

Modern communications require much more than simple letters and numbers. If you regularly correspond with friends and co-workers who speak a foreign language, you need quick access to characters that aren't part of the standard US English alphabet, including variations with accents and tildes and other diacritical marks.

In Windows 10, you can find most special characters, including those that contain accents or diacritical marks, by using the Charmap utility (Charmap.exe). But there's a faster way: Open the touch keyboard using its shortcut in the navigation area and then press or click and hold any letter to see alternatives. For example, press and hold n to see ñ, or do the same with a vowel like a or e to see its many accented alternatives.

And of course, you need emoji. Because who can resist adding the perfect graphical gesture at the end of a pithy remark? Beginning in 2017, you can open a searchable, multi-tabbed emoji panel by using the keyboard shortcut Windows key + . (period) or Windows key + ; (semicolon).

Charging Your Phone Overnight: Battery Myths Debunked Is it bad-or even dangerous-to leave a smartphone plugged in as you sleep? The answer is complicated, as are many things regarding batteries.

James Webb Space Telescope Completes Deep-Freeze Testing

Geekly Update - 17 January 2018

Watch the amazing moment a 'rare' meteor burst across the night sky over Michigan

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Will Apple finally pay a price for keeping secrets? Apple's battery slowdown shenanigans are beginning to catch up with it.

Microsoft is shutting down its free upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 January 16 Microsoft's Windows 8.1 has moved out of mainstream support, meaning that users are essentially running a dead OS. But there's still one more way to upgrade to Windows 10 for free.

[GADGETS] Best of CES 2018

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

NASA Finds Vast Deposits of Ice Just Under Martian Surface

30 free macOS apps every Mac user should have From useful utilities to handy archivers and transcoders, here are 30 free yet powerful macOS apps you can download today.

[HOWTO] Change Your Email Address (or not)

WPA3 Promises Better Wi-Fi Security with Less Effort

Monday, January 15, 2018

Here's how, and why, the Spectre and Meltdown patches will hurt performance Now that microcode and patches are starting to ship, a clearer picture is emerging.

The Week's Coolest Space Images

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Facebook Messenger for Kids?

Fun With Google Chrome: Tips and Tricks

CES 2018: Top Tech Trends It's easy to get lost in the slew of product announcements at CES on a micro level, but if you step back and look at the big picture, you can see some trends emerge.

CES 2018 Photo Gallery The PCMag staff is making the rounds in Las Vegas and snapping shots of the coolest gadgets and other photo-worthy highlights.

Hitting the Las Vegas Strip in Lyft's Self-Driving Car After 20 minutes of being shuttled around the Las Vegas Strip, I found myself almost disappointed by the simplicity of the demo-it just worked.

The Most Eye-Catching TVs at CES 2018 It's still a race to have the biggest, baddest TV at CES. These are the most interesting ones we saw in Las Vegas.

11 Jaw-Dropping Prototypes at CES 2018 Innovation is alive and well at CES. These are the concepts that caught our eye.

How to Upgrade Your Car's Dashboard Smarts CES 2018 offers several ways you can take your current ride and upgrade its smarts into connected car territory.

The Snazziest Cars of CES 2018 CES 2018 firmly cemented this event as a premiere showcase for automotive tech. Here are the cars that caught our eye during the show.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Windows tip of the week
By Ed Bott

Change audio devices on the fly

Unbeknownst to you, your desktop PC might have multiple audio devices available for playback. That can happen, for example, if your monitor has built-in speakers but you have also connected external speakers from an onboard sound card.

Things get even more complicated when you connect a webcam, a microphone, or a headset.

In these configurations, Windows makes its best guess as to which devices you want to use for playback and input. If you can't hear audio, or if your microphone doesn't seem to be working, you might need to manually change the default device.

>To switch to a different playback device, right-click the Speaker icon in the notification area and then click Playback Devices. The green checkmark indicates the current default device. Select a different device from the list and click Set Default to change devices. To specify a headset for use only with communication apps, choose Default Communication Device from the Set Default dropdown menu. To assign a microphone, use the Set Default button on the Recording tab.

Windows Meltdown patch: No more security updates for your PC if your AV isn't compatible Microsoft has updated its support notice to say that Windows computers will not receive any security updates at all until their AV software is certified compatible with the Spectre and Meltdown patches.

WPA3 is coming to Wi-Fi routers in 2018, with better encryption and login management The Wi-Fi Alliance also announces improvements to WPA2, as a stopgap while the new routers roll out.

Geekly Update - 10 January 2018

For Truly Connected Cars, We Need to Wait for 5G The connected car technologies at CES are amazing. But before we see most of them deployed in the real world, we'll need to see a breathing 5G network, too.

10 Ways to Boost Your Wi-Fi Signal Check out these quick tips to get the strongest signal from your wireless router, extend and optimize your Wi-Fi coverage, and speed up your surfing.

Mysterious radio signals may come from a zombie star lurking near a supermassive black hole It's still not aliens

Microsoft's Jan. 2018 Patch Tuesday Lowdown

Your iPhone tracks every place you visit. Here's how to see the map

NVIDIA updates video drivers to help address CPU memory security (updated) It's not directly affected by Meltdown or Spectre, however

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Windows emergency Meltdown patch: Microsoft stops update for AMD PCs after crash reports Following claims the patches trapped some AMD PCs in an endless loop, Microsoft today announced the Windows updates would not be rolled out to affected machines.

Scary Chip Flaws Raise Spectre of Meltdown

Hold on to your aaSes: Yup, Windows 10 'as a service' is incoming

[SCAM ALERT] Is TotalAV a Total SCAM?

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

The FCC Thinks American Broadband Standards Are Way Too Fast

[README] Before You Buy A Hard Drive

How to Upgrade to a Larger SSD

Samsung Reveals 'The Wall,' a Massive 146-Inch Video Wall Pricing and availability won't be released until March, but Samsung says The Wall is a consumer product, not a prototype or proof-of-concept model.

Border Agents Searched 11,000 More Devices in 2017 U.S. Customs and Border Protection also announced updated guidelines for what agents can look at when searching travelers' electronic devices.

Emergency Windows Meltdown patch locks some AMD PCs into endless loop After installing the update users say their PCs are unable to boot and eventually get stuck in an endless loop, as they try to roll back to an earlier version of the OS.

Monday, January 08, 2018

In the Middle of Nowhere, Panasonic Builds a Smart City In a remote area near the Denver Airport, Panasonic is installing LED street lighting and community-wide Wi-Fi, and prepping for autonomous cars. PCMag stopped by for a visit.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Apple: All Mac & iOS devices affected by Spectre & Meltdown flaws, but there are 'no known exploits'

Apple Confirms 'Meltdown' and 'Spectre' Vulnerabilities Impact All Macs and iOS Devices, Some Fixes Already Released

Spectre and Meltdown: Details you need on those big chip flaws Design flaws in processors from leading chipmakers could let attackers access sensitive information. How did this happen, and what's the fix?

The Greatest Leap, Part 1: How the Apollo fire propelled NASA to the Moon "The conquest of space is worth the risk of life," said Gus Grissom.

Apollo 8 and the 50/50 bet that won the Space Race for America The Greatest Leap, Part 2: If Apollo 8 failed, NASA's Moon dreams would crumble.

The Greatest Leap, Part 3: The triumph and near-tragedy of the first Moon landing Across the cislunar blackness, we set sail for a landing that almost didn't happen.

Microsoft speeds up latest Windows 10 upgrade delivery 2017's final Windows 10 feature upgrade is being pushed out to customers faster than Microsoft released the year's first revision.

[UPDATE] Is Windows Defender Enough Security?

How to Protect Your Devices Against Meltdown, Spectre Bugs It's not just Intel machines. Here's everything you need to know about how to protect your PC, Mac, and mobile device against the chip-level security flaws that were disclosed this week.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Security flaws put virtually all phones, computers at risk

Tech Winners and Losers 2017

SpaceX Posts Drone Flyby Video of Falcon Heavy Rocket

Microsoft is already fixing the big chip bug - here are the Windows PCs that will be most affected

MELTDOWN AND SPECTRE Two Major Security Flaws Found In Almost Every Processor - Here's What's Going On

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Windows tip of the week
By Ed Bott

Cut down on repetitive typing in Command Prompt windows

Windows experts know that using the command line is often the fastest way to get things done. The more you use a Command Prompt window (Cmd.exe), in fact, the more likely you are to reuse commands or to copy complex command syntax (complete with switches) to avoid tedious retyping.

The easiest way to reuse a command is with the help of the command buffer, which stores all the commands you've entered in the current session. Press the Up and Down arrow keys to scroll through the buffer. When you find a previous command, edit it as needed and then press Enter.

If you've found a useful command in a support article and want to avoid retyping it, copy it to the Clipboard. When you switch to the Command Prompt window, you can, of course use the familiar Ctrl + V keyboard shortcut to paste it, but there's no need to take your hand off the mouse. Just right-click in the Command Prompt window to paste that command. Edit it as needed and then press Enter to execute it.

Eye tracking within Windows 10's Fall Creators Update is an assistive technology with potential Microsoft's Eye Control is a niche technology that may evolve into a mainstream feature.

[UNCLAIMED] Is This Your Money?

IIHS: Headlights on new cars perform poorly even with new lighting tech Headlight design on new cars continues to improve, but actual lighting performance lags behind

NASA: Gravity Waves Are Responsible for Jupiter's Jet Stream Flip-Flops

Supermassive Black Holes May Eventually Sterilize Galaxies

Amazon Wants to Virtually Dress You in a Blended Reality Mirror A new patent describes the future of trying on and buying clothes from Amazon

Massive Intel CPU Bug Leaves Kernel Vulnerable, Slows Performance: Report

Fix for Intel Chip Design Flaw Means Slower PCs Patches for Linux, Windows, and macOS are required, with the side effect potentially being a major system performance hit.

Security Researcher Finds 15-Year-Old MacOS Bug The flaw affects all macOS versions. Fortunately, it can't be remotely exploited.

Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign Performance hits loom, other OSes need fixes

As some businesses go credit-only, cash loses its currency

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

17 technologies that died in 2017 RIP AOL Instant Messenger and Microsoft Kinect. And good riddance to Juicero.

15 top science & tech leaders offer surprising predictions for 2018

Monday, January 01, 2018

Construction workers just accidentally discovered 30 perfectly preserved dinosaur eggs

How Hotmail changed Microsoft (and email) forever Acquired December 1997, Hotmail was the gift that kept on giving-for good or ill.