Window 10 April 2018 Update

The  latest update was made available yesterday (30th April), Windows 10 April 2018 Update.

So I decided to install this on one machine, which took in total over 4 hours to achieve from start to completion.

There are a number of new and updated features (see the Microsoft Windows blog for further information). Here’s a brief summary of new key features in this release are:

Timeline: A tool that tracks your activities on your devices and lets you return to these at a point later in time.

Nearby Sharing: share your videos, photos, documents, and websites with people and devices near you over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Focus Assist: block notifications, sounds, social media, etc and alerts to create distraction-free work times. The computer continues to receive notifications etc, but does not flag these up.

New Microsoft Edge features: Microsoft Edge is the browser integrated into Windows 10, so nothing new there, but Microsoft have added in EPub reading options, sound mute tab (not just turn sound of totally), full screen reading, autofill cards.

New Cortana:  Microsoft has responded to the sound activated devices such as Alexa, by integrating a similar feature into Cortana. Cortana is now also compatible with smart devices, such as Nest, ecobee, etc.

There are a number of other features described in the Microsoft Windows blog post, but these are the key that will have an impact on most users.

Cyber Attack update

Following events of the cyber attack on the NHS it has come to light this was on a global scale, and the effects to some degree could have been minimised. What wasn’t know on the previous post a couple of days back was the extent or the nature of the attack.

The attack was global, not just on the UK with at least 100 countries being affected, in the UK it was NHS systems, in Spain the utility companies, so no  real theme.

The nature of the attack is known as ransomware. This is where a virus attacks the computer and encrypts files. They will only be unlocked again after a payment. This particular code was already known to exist, a security update – or patch – was released by Microsoft in March to protect against the virus, but it appears many NHS organisations had not applied it or were using an older version of the operating system no longer supported – namely Windows XP. (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/WindowsForBusiness/end-of-xp-support) support for Windows XP finally ended in 2014.

Why was the NHS in particular a target? The size of the NHS can make it difficult to keep track that all patches have been correctly applied. Next, the NHS still use outdated operating system, Windows XP. The implications fro staying with the are clearly laid out on the webpage.

Every 2nd Tuesday of every month (known as Patch Tuesday) Microsoft puts out a series of patches which may be inconvenient, but important and should not be ignored. I have already written here before about the importance of keeping updates running and installing these when they become available. The particular cause of this attack already had a security patch deployed to many computers, almost 2 months previous to the attack.

This attack may be the first of many, so it is time now to get prepared.

NHS across UK hit by Cyber attacks

Reports have been coming in during the past hours of a Cyber Attack on the NHS.

Reports are suggesting this was part of something bigger globally, there is no lead at this time where this attack originated.

More at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39899646

Loyal Customers penalised on broadband costs

Does your broadband costs suddenly jump after an introductory deal ends? Citizens Advice has said that the cheapest broadband prices increase by an average of 43% or £113 a year.

Many customers were unaware of the price increases. The rises amount to a “loyalty penalty” for customers who stay with the same provider, Citizens Advice said. The £113 figure represents a five-fold rise on what customers were paying on average in 2011 to stay on the same broadband deal.

Four of the five biggest internet service providers had these “loyalty penalties”:

  • BT 12 month contract: £198 (67% increase)
  • Sky 12 months: £120 (53% increase)
  • EE 18 months: £90 (36% increase)
  • TalkTalk 24 months: £66 (28% increase)

Virgin Media’s 12 month plan was the only one that didn’t impose a loyalty penalty when the initial term of the contract ended.

Add into this how broadband suppliers have increased their prices:

BT ,Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk have all put up their prices in the past 12 months.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-39555140

IT Training for Transport

After a successful bid in the tender process AHB Information Technology Solutions are to deliver training to transport workers.

The training will involve using IT in general and the specific use of tablets.

Apple Recall

Apple has issued a recall notice on its mains adapters. This is due to safety concerns. Plugs in the UK are not affected, but plugs in the Apple World Travel kit are.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35432682

Twitter offline due to code change

Twitter went offline yesterday due to an internal code change which lasted over 6 hours. The code change was reverted back to the previous version which corrected the problem.

How did we all cope without one of the biggest social platforms on the internet?

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35361150

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35351154

 

 

WhatsApp to be free

WhatsApp

Internet communication application WhatsApp is now free to use. For the last few years, you’ve had to pay a subscription after 12 months. But the company says that fee is being scrapped immediately.

It costs around 69p-a-year, but if you’ve just paid it, you won’t get a refund.

WhatsApp  is owned by Facebook, already has one billion users and the company hopes this move will bring in even more people.

Source: http://blog.whatsapp.com/615/Making-WhatsApp-free-and-more-useful

Friend Reunited to Close

Launched in 2000 one of UKs first social networking sites, Friends Reunited is closing. After being sold in 2005 the site went into decline, and despite being taken over again by its originators it could not recover it’s previous usage against the giant Facebook.

Although Friends Reunited is closing, the founder, Steve Parkhurst is opening a completely new service called Liife. Liife is all about capturing key moments in life – both the past and the present. And then sharing them with just the important people who actually took part in those moments, perhaps incorporating some of Friends Reunited features?

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35343091

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3405294/Friends-Reunited-close-Founder-say-just-handful-users-using-beleaguered-social-networking-site.html

BT gets go-ahead to takeover EE

After weeks of speculation the Competition and Markets Authority has given the all clear to BT to take over Britain’s largest mobile phone network EE. The Competition and Markets Authority saying the deal will not hurt mobile phone or broadband customers.

EE was previously formed from the mobile operators T-Mobile and Orange, and currently operates within the mobile phone and broadband markets. The takeover will give BT the “quad” of products – landline, mobile phone, broadband, TV.

BT said it would issue a formal prospectus for the deal in the last week of January, with the takeover scheduled to close on 29 January. Deutsche Telekom and Orange will own 12% and 4% of BT respectively once the deal has been completed.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/15/bt-ee-takeover-green-light-cma

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35320831