Wanna Crypto Worm 2017

WannaCrypt ransomware worm, aka WanaCrypt, Wanna Crypt0r or Wcry has crippled Windows systems in at least 74 countries, from government departments to local butchers. At the moment it appears there are up to 16 NHS health trusts taken out by the malware, FedEx in the US, Telefonica and Santander in Spain, Scottish Power and Germany’s rail system. The Russian Federation has been particularly hard hit. Continue reading “Wanna Crypto Worm 2017”

Windows 10 Being Installed By Force

[content re-written for information purposes: original article reference at the end]

Microsoft have confirmed to The Register on Sept. 10 that the necessary files for the upgrade from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 systems to Windows 10 have been pushed via Windows Update .. “For those who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help customers prepare their devices for Windows 10 by downloading the files necessary for future installation” [Microsoft spokesperson] Continue reading “Windows 10 Being Installed By Force”

review: Windows 8.1 update available – a positive step

review: Windows 8.1 update available – a positive step

Tech news & thoughts this week #restart #opendata #windows8 #4g #restart

EE 4G fieldtest results: Is it really as fast as the network claims?
Unsurprisingly, we found that the more congested the location, the slower the download speeds as more people are using their devices.
With 24-month consumer contracts starting at £36 per month and including a monthly allowance of just 500MB, 4G is expensive considering the speed on offer. If you commute into one of the major cities with 4G from surrounding towns, you’ll drop down to HSPA+ connectivity.

Microsoft Windows Phone 8 review: First look

Drawing lessons from Sandy’s wrath
The greater New York area is one of the world’s most important concentration points for internet traffic. This nexus of networks and data centres supports businesses far beyond the US East Coast, with data centres, “carrier hotels” and internet exchanges both in New York and New Jersey; the area is home to 150 data centres, according to Datacentermap. A number of large companies, especially in financial services, have their backup and disaster recovery facilities in the New Jersey area.

EU data proposals
These plans would give EU citizens new data protection rights as set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the Lisbon Treaty. .. Sir Alan Beith, MP and chairman of the Justice committee said that the current data protection laws for general and commercial purposes need to be updated as they do not account for the digital world. .. It will be 2014 before any changes are made to the law in the UK. Final regulation will take effect two years after being adopted.

Government bodies must comply with open standards
The UK government has moved to make all governmental bodies comply with open standards to avoid vendor lock-in and promote government IT .. £409 million has been saved on IT services in the first six months of this year

TV-on demand being problematic
Virgin Media getting it in the neck over ‘peering issues’ that mean download speeds drop like a rock at peak evening times then magically restore after about 11pm.
However, we are also hearing reports iPlayer, etc. are almost unusable for ADSL (T) customers too: when they complete the BBC’s own speedtest, they pass with flying colours. Could some of the problems actually stem from the broadcasting sites themselves?
Test it yourself and left us know.

PC sellers struggling to shift new machines – we just dont need ’em any more
IHS iSuppli, a market watcher, this week said it had found that only six per cent of the desktop PCs that have been and are yet to be sold this year are what techies might call a “performance” machine – a computer based on the latest processor, graphics and storage technologies. For notebooks, the figure is slightly higher: 9.2 per cent.
Instead, punters are focusing their interest on what iSuppli calls the “value” and “mainstream” segments – defined, respectively, as machines cost $500 (£314) or less, and those in the $500-1000 (£314-629) band – of the desktop and laptop markets. Each accounts for more than 45 per cent of the whole.

People really are finding their 2-5 year old computer can do everything they need, so why spend hard earned cash when money is on such short supply?
Sure computers slow down and performance worsens with time, but simple, regular and appropriate maintenance fixes that. How many times have our clients been amazed at their old machine when the OS has been re-installed and returned to factory-new condition? No hardware changes!

Modern software however can be an issue (especially on certain Macs where OS upgrades are demanded by the fruity maker). Here perhaps the finger can be pointed at sloppy programming – dont get me started on today’s webpages needing to 100-200kb in size … what about people on dial-up? Dont laugh, the gods will make your broadband go pair-shaped.

It is one of the greatest advantages a desktop machine has over a laptop, the ability to easily swap out older hardware and upgrade the individual components. ‘Franken-machines’ as some call them, like my old Grandad’s hammer, only had 4 new handles and 2 heads, best hammer I ever owned.

We regularly run courses on computer maintenance around N. London, and work with therestartproject.org to help save servicable machines from landfill. Drop us a line.

Or stick Linux on it .. (whatever ‘Linux’ means) 🙂

Google Android open-love
In addition to flack over paying taxes, along with many other companies at the moment, there’s more and more talk about the alleged true openness of Android: its supposed to be ‘free and open source’ as per Linux. Google’s latest bug-bear has been ‘fragmentation’ of Android, perhaps aimed at Chinese manufacturers producing their own cheapo versions and cutting Google out of the profit line. Many point the finger in fact at Google, for having too quick a release cycle (3 in 2 years) and at phone OEMs who customise ‘user experience’.
It is noted the likelihood of phones going the same way as PC hardware: what differentiates one computer from another? The OS or the hardware (eg. PC/Windows or Apple/Mac/iOS? If the phone hardware field levels out, as is likely in a few years (unless someone massively improves batteries), it will only be features built into software (the OS) that will make punters choose on over the other.

Google worries me much more especially because of the insidious nature of Google’s lock-in tactics, which most consumers (and indeed journalists in the tech media who should know better) will be completely unaware of until they buy a device a few years in the future. Apart from the dubious reputation on privacy and the forced use of Google services for location awareness and backup etc., one aspect that most concerns me is application DRM, meaning that in 5 years time when there is a good fork of Android out there, most user’s paid apps will not be compatible due to being DRM-locked to the Google Play Store which will not be legally permitted on their devices.

oh, and Apple’s been done for trademark infringement
by Swiss Railways, for ripping off their clock design and using it on iPads, to the tune of a $21m fine.

whilst registering the turning of pages as a unique idea
True: the US Patent and Trademark office has granted Apple a new design patent, D670,713, entitled “Display screen or portion thereof with animated graphical user interface”. see here
Or maybe Apple haven’t understood ‘prior-art’ either.
Putting in an Apple flavoured comment always increases visitors too .. can I patent that?

Also in trouble with Applecare
especially in Italy where is has been withdrawn and is now unavailable. W shall see if many other ‘extended warranties’ have similar problems, a clash with the U regulations requiring 2 year warranty in electrical goods. This policy is well established in Italy, and theory at least are enforcing it: previoulsy Apple had only recognised the first year of use as covered should a fault appear (although apparently often extended on a case-by-case basis).
In the UK for example, the Sale of Goods Act provides even greater protection than the European directive so the 2 year clause is redundant.

read more about consumer rights here

and finally, replies have been switched on for bone fide readers, for a trial period ..
PS I think I’ve broken my keyboard

Tech news & thoughts this week #energy #co2 #smartphone #windows8 #teach #razr #4g

There’s no sense blaming the big six for soaring bills
Don’t rage about your gas bill this winter, but shout at your MP about the need for a realistic long-term energy strategy

Leaving aside “peak oil” scaremongering, we must accept that carbon fuel supplies will remain permanently volatile as global demand continues to rise. Our own North Sea nest egg is running out, but even if it wasn’t it would still be affected by global price trends — determined as they are by the threat of conflict in Iran on shipments of liquefied petroleum gas from the Gulf, by President Putin’s cold hand on pipelines from Russia to Europe, by rising energy use in emerging industrial nations, and by events such as the earthquake which caused the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
The response that is needed is, first, major investment in national grid and gas storage facilities, so that short-term fluctuations in wholesale markets can be absorbed and domestic tariffs don’t have to be loaded to protect against them.

Vince Cable: making the transition to low carbon economy
but real questions are being asked about the ‘green investment’: is it all coming from subsidies and tariffs (‘dividend’) imposed on energy customers? Incidentally, most wind turbines are made in Germany, solar panels from China; the local workers are installers and maintainers .. All for green energy, but whilst it’s a political card is it really being deployed in the best way?

George Osborne urges energy giants to ‘look again’ at price rises as npower blames Government green policy

Microsoft sold 4m Windows 8 upgrades in first weekend

Does crowdfunding work?

Which site is best for DIY web publishing? http://www.pcpro.co.uk/realworld/377803/which-site-is-best-for-diy-web-publishing
Tumblr has a lot going for it, and sets a high standard for modern, attractive, streamlined posting of regularly updated, media-heavy content. The downside, though, is that Tumblr is all about streaming chronologically ordered posts and currently doesn’t let you create pages that are accessed via more traditional site navigation. .. It’s great for personal blogging and many other scenarios, such as multiple authors contributing to an event-based site, or for a separate news-orientated blog as an adjunct to a brochureware site, but it isn’t the right choice for all users. .. Tumblr is pretty well sweeping the board as a modern blogging platform, but it’s by no means the only CMS available. Open Source CMS currently lists 277 competitors, but there’s a strong argument for the safety of numbers by sticking with the most popular options – namely WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.

Motorola Razr i review

Google gets a wake up call from Apple VP (vice president)

Google Nexus 4 smartphone specs and pricing revealed
As expected, the Nexus 4 is manufactured by LG and will feature a 4.7in screen with a 1280 x 768 resolution and pixel density of 320ppi. .. The device will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.5GHz quad-core processor, which will be paired with 2GB of RAM. The device will offer 8GB of on-board storage, but there will be no memory expansion slot available. .. Other key features include an 8-megapixel rear camera and NFC connectivity. .. shipping will start on 30 October

Forever doesn’t mean forever, warns ads watchdog

EE 4G data caps that are broken in 5 mins

£20k scholarships to boost Computer Science teaching
The government is offering 50 scholarships worth £20,000 each to graduates wanting to train as Computer Science teachers. – yes, that’s 50 across the whole country ..
Gove said the government was trying to “produce the next Sir Tim Berners-Lee” – who actually has a degree in physics from Oxford. And contrary to Gove’s opinion, Tim didn’t invent the Internet .. doh
Also, computing skill doesn’t necessarily come from having a degree: many professionals studied it as a profession/ vocation, not as an academic subject. Experience of current working practices comes from actually working in the business, not from courses studied in college. This was always the advantage of FE, employing working specialists, an ace being thrown away.
And many can remember the dubious ability of some university lecturers to teach .. Bet they have 2:1s and above (the minimum to get govt. support to qualify).

Why Office 365 is far more important than Windows 8