29Dec15 – DoctorLaptop’s Tech News and Trends

Please remember, I am working thru the holidays and available for repairs and services, except New Years Eve night after 6pm!

Patch now! Adobe releases

Emergency Security Updates

for Flash Player

The Hacker News

The Adobe Flash Player just said goodbye to the year with another bunch of vulnerability patches. Adobe released a security update on Monday to address 19 vulnerabilities in its Flash Player. The programming loopholes could be abused to execute malicious code (from a malicious Flash file on a web page) on victims’ computers in order to hijack an unpatched PC or Mac entirely. If you are running the Flash Player plugin on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, or Chrome OS, it is time for you to upgrade your system as soon as possible. Upgrade your machines to the following patched versions of Flash Player:

  • Flash Player versions and for Windows and Mac users.

  • Flash Player version for Google Chrome

  • Flash Player version for Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 10

  • Flash Player version for IE 10 and 11 on Windows 8.x

  • Flash Player version for Linux

Flash has been plagued with stability and security issues for years which is why it has a poor reputation with developers. This is the reason Adobe plans to kill Flash Player and re-brand it as Adobe Animate CC. This will become Adobe’s premier web animation tool for developing HTML5 content as that replaces Flash content.

Full article at: http://thehackernews.com/2015/12/adobe-flash-security-update.html


Amazon’s Fire TV Stick

This is a great little device. Plugging into an available HDMI port on most TVs, it makes available the growing world of IPTV services. However, Amazon’s little device has a trick up its sleeve. Being Android based, Fire TV Stick can run a much wider array of apps and services than Amazon offers through its regular on-screen interface. Of particular interest is Kodi, which together with a vast array of plugins offers access to all the latest movies, TV shows and live sports most people could ever need.

News of just how special the Fire TV Stick/Kodi combo can be has been traveling fast in the past few weeks, particularly in the UK. The first signs that something might be going on came in early December when even for Prime customers Amazon started advising that delivery for Fire TV Sticks was not the usual ‘next day’, but was actually nearer two weeks.

In case you missed it, Amazon banned Kodi from its store in the summer over piracy concerns but with the official APK plus adbFire and a loader like FireStarter, the software runs like a dream on Amazon Fire TV Stick. Read full article here: https://torrentfreak.com/did-pirates-clean-out-amazon-fire-tv-stock-in-the-uk-151229/


Pirate Bay Taken Down, Again

The Pirate Bay lost all of its active “Hydra” domain names this morning. ThePirateBay.LA, .GD, .MN and .VG were suspended by their registrar, alongside several other TPB related domains. The domain troubles make the site hard to reach through the usual channels, but The Pirate Bay still has some backups… Read more at: https://torrentfreak.com/registrar-shuts-down-pirate-bay-domain-names-151228/


Windows 10 Mobile tablets are really something.

Yes, you read that right — Windows 10 Mobile tablets.

Chinese manufacturer Sunty World has made these new devices official, and they come in screen sizes of 7 and 8 inches. Going by the name of Q72 and Q82, these are low end machines with modest specifications, and are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor, with 4G LTE connectivity.

Imagine a video chat using these! (Heads up: WhatsApp is introducing Win 10 Mobile video chat very soon! Info link below.)

Anyway, here are the hardware specifications for the Q72:

  • Screen: 7-inch IPS LCD with 1280×800 resolution
  • Processor: Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 (MSM8909) processor
  • RAM: 1GB/2GB
  • Storage: 8GB / 16GB onboard (plus microSD support up to 32GB)
  • Cameras: 2MP rear, 0.3MP front-facing
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, WiFi, 4G LTE, USB 2.0
  • Battery: 2800mAh
  • Colors: Grey, blue and pink

The dual SIM Q82 offers the same specifications as the Q72, except for some minor changes:

  • Screen: 8-inch IPS LCD with 1280×800 resolution
  • Camera: Optional 5MP rear
  • Battery: 4000mAh

    These are not the only two devices that Sunty has announced. The company showed also off a new 5-inch Windows 10 Mobile smartphone with a 5MP rear camera and interchangeable rear shells, complete with a number of different color options.

All these three devices will become available before the end of the month, though pricing and availability details have not yet been revealed.

See more on Win 10 Mobile Tablets: http://www.windows10update.com/2015/12/7-and-8-inch-windows-10-mobile-tablets-are-here/

See more on WhatsApp video calls here: http://www.windows10update.com/2015/12/whatsapp-video-calling-coming-to-windows-phone/

Happy New Year Y’all!!!



19Dec15 – DoctorLaptop’s News and Tips

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Microsoft’s latest Windows 10 nag screen: Upgrade now, or upgrade tonight

By Adrian Kingsley-Hughes for Hardware 2.0 , with [edits by DoctorLaptop in brackets]

Microsoft is at it again with the Windows 10 upgrade nag screens, with the latest one giving users of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 the option to “upgrade now” or “upgrade tonight.”

I like Windows 10 and I think users should seriously consider taking advantage of the free upgrade while it’s on offer, [but only if they are absolutely sure their computer is Win 10 capable and all drivers are available, check the manufacturer’s website for info regarding their model’s Win 10 status and also do some research on Google regarding other user’s attempts to upgrade that model]. But what I don’t like is the aggressive (or at the very least, overzealous) way that Microsoft is pushing the upgrade to users.

InfoWorld has a screenshot of the latest upgrade prompt being presented to users.



To the average user it looks like they only have two options available: Upgrade now, or tonight. However, the more tech savvy users would probably assume they could use the “X” in the top-right of the box to dismiss it without making a choice, and they would be right. In fact, this is advice that Microsoft offers Windows users on its Safety and Security Center portal.

This is the latest in a series of Windows 10 upgrade nags that Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers have been subjected to. This is the sort of nag screen I’d expect from a shady website or sketchy adware installer , not an operating system, and it makes me uncomfortable to see Microsoft going down this road.

If Microsoft were to add a “not now” and a “no thanks” option to this prompt then I’d be fine with it, but in its current format it has clearly been designed to push users into upgrading by not offering them a clear way to opt out. It’s an older-than-dirt sales trick (known as The Assumed Sale), that makes out that the deal is done, and all you have left to do is choose the color of the car you’ve bought.

I’m at a loss to explain why it’s being used. Is it a company being overenthusiastic about its new product? Is it the marketing people being given too much say in how the upgrade is being pushed? Or is it desperation arising from the fear that bold targets set before Windows 10 was released won’t be met

Users who want to get rid of the Windows 10 upgrade nag screens can use the third-party utility GWX Control Panel to block these prompts. [You will need to check the GWX settings after all Win 10 updates as some will reset all your Security Settings!]

How to switch from PC/Windows to a Mac as painlessly as possible

Planning to make the switch from a Windows PC to Mac over the holidays? Here’s what you need to know.

-Before making the move

-Windows apps won’t run on a Mac

-Moving your data across from your PC to the Mac

-Accessories and non-Windows style connectors

-Learn a few keyboard shortcuts and new keys

-Right-clicking on a Mac

-How to CTRL + ALT + DEL on Mac

-Running Windows on your new Mac

-Backing up your data (frequently) on Mac, manditory on Macs as many repairs require an OS re-install!

Read the full article here: http://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-switch-from-pc-windows-to-a-mac-as-painlessly-as-possible/

How bad sellers on eBay (and elsewhere) get great reviews!

You can buy great reviews online! For $5, people will review (in any way you want) a product/book/etc. See it here: https://www.fiverr.com/categories/online-marketing/writing-reviews/#layout=auto&page=1

Changes to UK copyright law will soon mean that you may need to take out a license to photograph classic designer objects even if you own them.

That’s the result of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, which extends the copyright of artistic objects like designer chairs from 25 years after they were first marketed to 70 years after the creator’s death. In most cases, that will be well over a hundred years after the object was designed. During that period, taking a photo of the item will often require a license from the copyright owner regardless of who owns the particular object in question.

Read more here: http://www.newsforage.com/2015/12/uk-citizens-may-soon-need-licenses-to.html

Windows 10 Trends and Tips

If you are using a 3rd party backup program on Win 7 or 8, be sure to keep a backup copy of that program’s installer. Some of these backup programs have updated to new versions THAT CANNOT READ THE OLD VERSION’S BACKUP FILES!!! When it comes time to move data from those old backups to a new system you can install the old backup program you saved (in Win 10 you may need to use Compatibility Mode to do this) to allow the transfer of the old backups as a new version of the backup program may be unable to do this.

-I am seeing a lot of comments on the techie blogs that persons who have done the Windows 10 Upgrade have found their old data deleted! It is supposed to automatically be copied onto the System Drive (usually the C: drive) in a folder named windows.old. Yet this sometimes fails. So be sure to have complete backups of your data onto an external memory device before doing the upgrade.

-Some Win 7 & 8 users are claiming they awoke to find the Windows 10 Upgrade installed on it’s own, even after users had declined or delayed the offer. Other users claim this happened to them despite having installed special programs to prevent the Win 10 Upgrade. What’s worse is that many of these computers now converted to Win 10 had either failed to fully complete the process and became unbootable, or were missing drivers for essential functions like USB, wifi and Bluetooth. Even worse is if the video driver fails, that essentially bricks the unit forcing you to manually re-install the old operating system.

-If you have Win 10 installed and change any security settings,or use a 3rd party program like GWX to control all the security settings in one window, be aware that any new Win 10 updates you do may reset the security settings to their default despite the program you installed. You will need to open that program and restore all the settings to the way you wanted them.

Beware when buying memory cards and USB flash drives on-line.

On-line stores, and especially E-Bay sellers, have been reported for selling counterfeit memory cards and drives. These will be labeled as major brands (Toshiba, Kingston, etc.), in large sizes, 32 to 128Gb; in reality you get 2 Gb.

Happy Holidays To All, and remember, I will be working thru the holidays, available to do setups, installs or otherwise solve your tech issues!

Reminder, my Clean and Tuneup any computer for 30euros Special runs thru the end of December. Does not apply to heavily infected units, those with hardware problems or showing error messages.

Feliz Navidad









News and Tips – 18July15

Flash Player Problems
Adobe Flash has a long history of security vulnerabilities; over a dozen have required patching in 2015 so far, three more were discovered and fixed recently.The tech community’s response has been pretty standard, despite journalists’ efforts to hype it up. Apple quietly continued to ignore Flash, which it has not supported on mobile devices since 2010. Internet Explorer and Google Chrome automatically patched their built-in Flash players. On July 13, Mozilla Firefox took things a step further. Instead of automatically updating the plugin like its competitors, Firefox disabled the Flash plugin. Users could re-enable it in Firefox’s settings, if they knew how. When Adobe released a patched version the very next day, savvy users who downloaded and installed it could view Flash videos, games and other missing content again. Flash is still used on 23 percent of the 483,000 Web pages tracked by the HTTP Archive, down from 39% three years ago. Untold numbers of smaller sites use Flash to display content, or offer games. Even Facebook still uses Flash. Mobile users get HTML5 videos, but desktop browsers are stuck with Flash.

The rub is that for users, there’s no magical way to switch to some other method of viewing or playing Flash content. Website developers will have to re-code those Flash-based videos, pages and games in the HTML5 language. That’s not a trivial undertaking, and some content will never be converted.

As of this writing, all known Flash vulnerabilities have been patched. So if your version is up to date, you can continue to use Flash safely. As I mentioned earlier, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer keep Flash updated automatically.

If you use some other browser, you should make sure that you have the latest, patched version of Flash installed on all of your devices. Go to the Adobe Flash Plugin Update page to get it. (Uncheck the “optional offer” checkbox in the middle of the page.) And during installation, be sure to set the plugin to update itself automatically in the future.

If you’re worried about future Flash bugs popping up, go ahead and remove it via the Control Panel. You may find that you don’t miss it at all. But if you do, you can always install it again.

Google Photo App on Android smartphones continues to upload your phone photos to Google servers without your knowledge, even if you have already uninstalled the Google Photos app from your device!

Once Google servers have that embarrassing  pic of you it could turn up in Google Photo search results when someone searches other pics of you. But you never take regrettable pics do you?
See full article here: http://thehackernews.com/2015/07/google-photo-app-sync.html

WhatsApp Ranks Ranks Among Worst At Protecting Your Privacy
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has released its annual report card of tech companies for 2015 based upon how much they keep your personal data secure from government snoops. And the Worst Companies Award goes to…

Yes, you heard right! WhatsApp is one of the three worst companies at protecting its users’ data so if you are concerned about your data privacy, you should think twice before using WhatsApp.
See full article here: http://thehackernews.com/2015/06/whatsapp-privacy.html