Welcome to the Feb 07, 2015 issue of
CompuNerds.Net-News (←home page)
The Start Menu is back! Click on the thumbnail to see the new Win-10 Start Menu full-size: you'll notice they're merging the old Win-7 Start Menu with the Win-8 "Modern" Start Screen tiles and adding a few things. For starters, that question mark at the bottom takes you to the new "Notifications" window that replaces the annoying "Charms Bar" in Win-8. My mouse frequently wanders over to the right of the screen and makes that pesky Charms Bar slide out when I don't want to see it. Good riddance! And nice touch, Microsoft!
The Notifications window has links to "Tablet mode," "Display," "Connect," "Location," "VPN," "WiFi" and "All settings" that presumably takes you to the Control Panel or something like that. It has always seemed a bit strange that the link to Control Panel was right there on the Start Menu where every novice user can get at it and mess things up. These items are all in the pre-beta developers' release Build 9926. I'm the kind of nerd who likes to try out beta versions, but so far Win-10 is only in pre-beta status so that software developers can get started writing new software and modifying their old software to run on Win-10. When the beta version comes out, I will probably install it.
Also, next to the Windows Button on the Taskbar is a search box with the text "Ask me anything" - that's where you can type in anything and search for it, or just say "Hey, Cortana!" then Win-10's voice recognition will listen for what you say next, and search for it on your PC, in your OneDrive account and on the Web. People who have tried it say it's pretty good. You can read the full review at the Windows Secrets Newsletter website. And while you're there, consider subscrbing to the free or paid versions of Windows Secrets!
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. - Henry Ford
Microsoft over the past four decades has become the mainstay of office computing: small businesses, large corporations, many universities and governments all over the world depend on the ability and stability of Windows operating systems to keep their people productive at work. Microsoft will offer free upgrades to Win-10 for all Win-7 and Win-8 PCs, in order to keep this many-hundred-millions crowd of users in their stable. But artsy people have long preferred Apple computers, and now there are Google Chromebooks, Apple iPads, Android tablets and a wide variety of smartphones (Android has over 75% of that market) - nearly all running non-Microsoft operating systems.
So Microsoft has some serious catching up to do. Ever since Win-8 they've been trying to merge their PC, tablet and smartphone operating systems - sometimes successfully, sometime not so much. Their smartphones, late comers in the game, account for only 1% or 2% of the world market even though the prices and specifications seem quite compelling. There are more and more Windows tablets and PCs-cum-tablets coming to market: my wife Cheryl recently got a nice, small Toshiba touchscreen Win-8 notebook with a screen that flips back and becomes a tablet that can be used in landscape (PC) or portrait mode - I borrow it sometimes to try out my new HTML5 design in portrait mode for my websites.
Speaking of which, just in the last few days I've figured out how to make my websites re-calculate the size of objects on the screen when the window changes size or goes from landscape to portrait mode and back. At present I have two of my six Bibles - the Hebrew-Greek Bible and the World English Bible - converted to re-calc screen object sizes. Give them a try on my test websites, and let me know if you find any bugs! Note the three-bar "slider" icon in the upper-right corner that takes you to the menu.
Our Hebrew-Greek Bible now uses Unicode fonts that display the text correctly on any computer, tablet or smartphone, instead of Windows fonts that only work on PCs. In fact, I had been using a special Hebrew font for the Old Testament that had to be downloaded and installed on a user's PC before the user could read the Hebrew text. That's one of the next languages I want to learn, along with Ukrainian that I will probably add to my website for this upcoming release.
The Security Blurb:
By now you've probably heard the news about the enormous theft of 70,000,000 people's private data from Anthem Health Insurance, including full names, Social Security numbers and birthdates. China is the suspected culprit. Security experts predict that it won't be long before this info goes on sale over the "Dark Web" - the term for the Internet black market. This info, especially Social Security numbers, is the key to a person's identity ...and to identity theft. Anthem is already offering free identity theft protection for one year and urging its customers to put a freeze on their credit records at the three leading credit rating agencies.
Edward Snowden is in the news again: Hostile to privacy: Snowden urges internet users to get rid of Dropbox. He's complaining that Dropbox "only" encrypts your info while it's being transmitted over the Internet and when stored on Dropbox servers. Of course, any fairly savvy user can set up an encrypted area on his computer... so what's the problem, Eddie?
But there's a bigger problem brewing with Linux: Ghost in the Linux machine hits Debian, Red Hat and Ubuntu. A big bug was recently discovered in three leading versions of Linux: Debian, Red Hat and Ubuntu, used on many web servers, are all vulnerable to this bug nicknamed "Ghost" because hackers discovered a flaw in the "GetHOST" function that can be triggered by a specially-crafted email message compromises access to the entire operating system. A patch from the OS vendors can fix this, however, if and when the system software geeks get around to applying the patch. Things like this can be the cause of security breaches such as at Anthem Insurance.
The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk or at your side, your computer, tablet or phone. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!
"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"
Robert D hoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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