Thursday, June 29, 2017

Is Android getting multi-window support in time for Google I/O?

Is Android getting multi-window support in time for Google I/O?
Android 5.1 is now out in the wild, but it might be holding a few secrets.
The diligent folks at Phandroid have dug up something interesting in the code: references to apps running in multiple windows. The change could be announced at Google I/O in May.
There’s not much detail to go on here — it’s essentially just a couple of lines referring to “multiwindows” hidden inside the software — and as yet Google hasn’t said anything about what’s going to be on show at its developer conference in a couple of months.
With smartphone screens getting bigger all the time, it would make sense for Android to offer support for side-by-side apps. It’s a feature already available on some Samsung devices and would be another key differentiator when comparing Android against iOS.
On smaller screens, multi-window support could quickly become a confusing mess, particularly when trying to drag and resize panels to get everything important in view.
On the other hand, many of today’s smartphones and tablets are easily big enough to support two apps on screen at the same time — and with Office for Android now available it could be a useful feature for those who are looking to stay productive away from the desk.
Google I/O is going to be held in San Francisco from May 28–29. We’re hoping to hear more about Project Ara (Google’s modular phone), Android Auto and Google’s efforts in virtual reality — get the latest from our I/O hub page.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Major BitLocker encryption security fail caused by new Windows 10 update?

It seems that Microsoft has dropped the ball on the security front, as the new autumn update for Windows 10, while introducing lots of juicy new features, unfortunately also messes up BitLocker encryption – at least for some folks.
It's not unheard of for updates to break things as well as fix stuff, of course, although this is a surprisingly major Windows 10 hitch when it comes to the security of user data.
Apparently, according to some users posting on the TechNet forum (spotted by Neowin), if you do a clean install of Windows 10 build 10586 (the new November update), you can't enable BitLocker encryption.
BitLocker encryption still works just fine in the build of Windows 10 previous to the November update.
And if you had BitLocker encryption enabled previously before applying the November update, it won't cause any problems with the system – unless you later turn encryption off, and then try to enable it again, in which case you could get the same error message and failure as those applying a fresh install (something about a parameter being incorrect, by all accounts).
 
So be warned – if you've updated Windows and are using BitLocker encryption, it might be an idea just to leave it well alone until Microsoft manages to look into this issue.
Users have said that this affects the hardware encryption mode of BitLocker, and it could depend on the exact hardware configuration you're running whether or not you encounter problems.
The new Windows 10 update applies a variety of stability and performance tweaks, new features for the Edge browser, tweaks to Cortana and business features to make the deployment of the OS easier for IT admins.
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click Here: Revealed: Microsoft’s high-tech plan to stop laptop thieves

Monday, June 26, 2017

Windows 10 update might FINALLY convince you to uninstall Google Chrome

MICROSOFT has taken aim at Google Chrome with a slew of new web browser features added to its latest Windows 10 update.
The Redmond-based firm have released a brand new Windows 10 Insider Preview Build, which features big improvements to the Microsoft Edge browser.
One of the headline new features is designed to make it easier for Chrome users to transition from Google's popular internet browser to Microsoft Edge.

Chrome users will now be able to import their settings and cookies to Edge for the first time ever.
Microsoft said this will make it easier for Windows 10 users to “make the move to Microsoft Edge” and turn it into “their primary browser”.
The Windows 10 update also makes it quicker for Microsoft Edge users to close tabs - with the X close button always visible and not obscured by anything.

This option is also available on Google Chrome, which data shows is currently the market leading internet browser by far.
Data from Netmarketshare claims 47.71 per cent of people use different versions of Google Chrome, compared to 4.89 per cent who use Microsoft Edge.
However the stats, from May 2017, show 13.71 per cent are still using the almost four year-old Internet Explorer version 11.
If those users were to make the jump to Microsoft Edge, then the Redmond-based firm could take a big chunk out of Chrome’s market share.
The Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16226 was released to those inside the Fast ring yesterday.
The update features a great new addition to the calculator – a time-saving currency converter function, which can also be accessed offline.
The feature was outlined in a Microsoft blog, which said: “Since the launch of Windows 10, one of the top customer feedback requests we get is to include a Currency Converter function in Calculator.  Wait no longer!
“As of desktop version 10.1706.1602.0 (included with the Fall Creators Update, available for update via store as we speak), you’ll find “Currency” as the top item under the “Converters” menu.
“It does most everything you’d expect from a Currency Converter, all expressed within the fresh and shiny Fluent Design System we rolled out last month.
“One aspect of the feature that we think is interesting is an offline mode…so if you’re roaming internationally and want to see how much that train ticket or souvenir is going to cost without rolling up extra data charges, we’ve got you covered.”
The Windows 10 update also includes a whole host of new emojis with Emoji 5.0 .
Brand new emojis include a zombie, a mermaid, a vampire, a wizard or a fairy.
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Revealed: Microsoft’s high-tech plan to stop laptop thieves

Microsoft is looking into new ways to guard laptops against theft, with plans to allow the remote wiping or disabling of a stolen notebook, at least according to a new patent that has been uncovered.
We are, of course, used to this sort of technology with our smartphones these days, but a patent spotted by MS Power User shows that Microsoft is mulling over extending this type of anti-theft coverage to notebooks, or rather more specifically its ‘always connected’ laptops powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips.
Because these notebooks – which we heard a lot more about at Computex – use Snapdragon SoCs (System-on-a-Chip), they have LTE mobile data built-in, hence the always connected moniker, and the possibility of allowing for a remote signal to be sent to disable the device, no matter where it is, or what has been done to it (at least theoretically).
According to the patent, the disable command would be actionable even if the stolen machine has had its SIM card removed, or cellular connectivity has been switched off. That would obviously be necessary to stop the thief from easily circumventing disablement defenses.
In the patent, Microsoft states: “[Even] if the device is not capable of general use of the cellular network (e.g., due to a physical authentication module, such as a subscriber identity module, being absent and/or due to a software restriction on cellular network access), disablement communications are still permitted across the cellular network.
“Thus, efforts by an unauthorized possessor of the device to prevent disablement by removing the physical authentication module are thwarted. Likewise, turning the cellular service off using software settings at the device also does not prevent the device from being disabled via cellular network communication.”
Always protected?
So, this could be another major security boon for Microsoft’s Snapdragon-powered always-connected notebooks, doubling up on the fact that the incorporation of LTE mobile broadband also avoids the need to use potentially insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots when out and about.
But on the other hand, it does raise potential privacy issues in terms of the laptops being open to tracking no matter what precautions the user might take to try and shake off those chains. In other words, in the same way that this avenue of remote access can’t be disabled by a thief, it can’t be disabled by the laptop owner either.
And naturally, this news has already caused some concern and chatter online about the potential of hackers abusing the system to maliciously wipe a device.
At this point, we have to throw in the usual caveat that this is just a patent, and so it’s potentially something which will never see the light of day. However, it’s certainly an interesting avenue which Microsoft is exploring, and the potential benefits are likely to outweigh any downsides from our perspective.
Of course, there are anti-theft systems already out there for laptops, such as LoJack software which provides a third-party location tracking and theft recovery system, and is used on some laptops from vendors such as Dell.
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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Top 10 best Linux apps of 2017

While everyone knows that most Linux distributions (distros) are free to download, not everybody is aware that you also have access to thousands of cost-free applications through your operating system’s package manager.
Many of the more user-friendly distros will come with a selection of software preinstalled to help you get started, but there are many more apps out in the wild, under continuous development.
In this guide we'll highlight 10 of the best desktop applications for Linux. All of these programs can be installed either via the command line or by using a graphical frontend to your package manager.
10 of the best Linux distros for privacy fiends and security buffs
10 best Linux distros: which one is right for you?
What's the best Linux distro for beginners?
How to choose the best Linux distro for laptops
10 of the most popular lightweight Linux distros
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Friday, June 23, 2017

Install Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1)

The recommended (and easiest) way to get SP1 is to turn on automatic updating in Windows Update in Control Panel and wait for Windows 7 to notify you that SP1 is ready to install. It takes about 30 minutes to install, and you'll need to restart your computer about halfway through the installation.
To check if Windows 7 SP1 is already installed on your PC, select the Start button, right-click Computer, and then select Properties.

If Service Pack 1 is listed under Windows edition, SP1 is already installed on your PC.

Before you begin

Check if your PC is 32-bit or 64-bit

You’ll need to know if your PC is running a 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) version of Windows 7. Select the Start button, right-click Computer, and then select Properties. The version of Windows 7 is displayed next to System type.

Disk space requirements

Check to make sure your PC has enough free disk space to install SP1.
Installation methodEstimated amount of free disk space needed
Windows update
x86-based (32-bit): 750 MB
x64-based (64-bit): 1050 MB
Downloading SP1 from the Microsoft website
x86-based (32-bit): 4100 MB
x64-based (64-bit): 7400 MB

Back up important files

It’s a good idea to back up your important files, photos, and videos to an external hard disk, USB flash drive, or the cloud before installing the update.

Plug in and connect to the Internet

Make sure your PC is plugged in to power and you’re connected to the Internet.

Disable antivirus software

Some antivirus software might prevent SP1 from installing or slow down the installation. You can temporarily disable your antivirus software before the installation. If you do so, make sure you’re aware of the risks that might be involved and re-enable the antivirus software as soon as SP1 is done installing. 

Installing Windows 7 SP1 using Windows Update (recommended)

If your PC is set to automatically install updates, you’ll be prompted by Windows Update to install SP1. Follow the instructions to install the update.
 
To manually install SP1 from Windows Update:
 
  1. Select the Start button > All programs > Windows Update.
  2. In the left pane, select Check for updates.
  3. If any important updates are found, select the link to view available updates. In the list of updates, select Service Pack for Microsoft Windows (KB976932) and then select OK.

  4. Select Install updates. 
    Picture of security shield icon
     You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.
  5. Follow the instructions to install SP1.
  6. After SP1 is installed, sign in to your PC. You might see a notification indicating whether the update was successful. If you disabled your antivirus software before the installation, make sure you turn it back on.
 

Downloading and installing Windows SP1 from the Microsoft Download Center

If you’re unable to install SP1 from Windows Update, you can download the installation package from the Microsoft Download Center and then install SP1 manually.
 
  1. Go to the Windows 7 Service Pack 1 download page on the Microsoft website.
  2. Select Install Instructions to see which packages are available for download, and make note of the one that you need.
  3. Select the appropriate language from the drop-down list, and then select Download.
  4. Select the packages you need to install, select Next, and then follow the instructions to install SP1. Your PC might restart a few times during the installation.
  5. After SP1 is installed, sign in to your PC. You might see a notification indicating whether the update was successful. If you disabled your antivirus software before the installation, make sure you turn it back on.

Troubleshoot problems installing Windows SP1

If you try to install SP1 and see an error message that the installation wasn’t successful, this might be because there’s a problem with the Windows Servicing Store that is used to install updates or because your antivirus software is preventing the update from being installed.
 
To try and fix the problem, follow these steps and then try to install SP1 again.
 

Download and run the System Update Readiness Tool

  1. Select the link in the table that corresponds with the version of Windows running on your PC.

    Windows versionLink to Microsoft Download Center
    Windows 7 32-bit (x86)Download
    Windows 7 64-bit (x64)Download
    On the Microsoft Download Center page, select your language and then select Download. It might take a few minutes for the tool to download and install.
  2. To install the tool immediately, select Open or Run and then follow the instructions. To use the tool later, select Save and download the installation files to your PC.
  3. On the Windows Update Standalone Installer screen, select Yes or OK.
  4. On the Installation complete screen, select Close.
  5. Try installing the service pack again.
 

Run the Windows Update troubleshooter

If your PC isn’t able to find or install updates, the Windows Update troubleshooter might be able to fix the problem.
 
  1. Select the Start button, and then select Control Panel.
  2. In the search box, enter troubleshooter and then select Troubleshooting from the list of results.
  3. Under System and Security, select Fix problems with Windows Update and then follow the instructions.
After the troubleshooter is done, try installing the service pack again.
 

Not upgraded to Windows 10? This latest shock news may prove why that's a bad idea

The world has just been hit by one of the worst cyber attacks in history.WannaCry managed to infected millions of PCs across the globe and even brought some of the UK’s hospitals to their knees.The deadly virus, which was able to spread in hours, infected computers with malicious software which then blocked access to systems and files.Whoever was behind the bug then demanded that users pay a ransom to unlock their devices.Victims were even warned that their files would be destroyed within days if they did not pay up using Bitcoin, the world’s biggest virtual currency.

At first it was first thought that PC owners using Windows XP were most likely to be hit by the terrifying bug but new data has come to light which could disprove this.Cyber security firm, Kaspersky, has just released some new data which suggests that it was actually Windows 7 that was hit hardest by the attack.To make matters worse, Windows 7 still runs on around 45% of all machines making it a hugely popular operating system.Microsoft say that had released a patch for Windows 7 back in March but it seems many users hadn’t updated to the latest version.The US technology giant also says that its latest Windows 10 software is the only OS completely safe from WannaCry.