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I am sure you will have heard that many of the processors running computers, whether made by Intel, ARM or AMD have been found to contain code which might be vulnerable to attack. As almost all main computer systems have these chips built in the manufacturers have raced to develop code to prevent such an attack. The vulnerabilities have been named Spectre (ARM and AMD) and Meltdown (Intel). ARM chips are the ones used in most mobile phones in the world. This affects some Apple equipment as well.
Microsoft has issued an update (Microsoft Security Advisory ADV180002) which it is hope will protect users of Windows software. Apple has also been busy. Be sure to install these updates, including iCloud and iTunes if you use those.
The flaws would allow hackers to steal the entire memory contents of computers, mobile phones, and servers that run in cloud-computing networks. So far, despite these weaknesses being around for a long time, there have not been any known attacks using them.
Windows 10 Update
On the subject of updates I
found that my
Windows 10 machine had not had any since before Christmas.
However, I finally did get a massive
update. It took a long time to download,
despite my having a very fast, cable connection. It
was version 1709. When it was finally
installed I found that my machine had been changed a great deal. My
had been changed the the US one and half the carefully planned
shortcuts on the
desktop had been removed and the so-called Quick Menu had been
resurrected. We all hate change, so what
was so good about
the new version ? It talks about 'Mixed Reality', and you can download
Reality Viewer from the Microsoft store. The program is called
referring to Augmented Reality.
Given a reasonably fast machine this could enable you to animate and view 3D Models in PowerPoint.
It also says you can add an
your keyboard. You can also set up dictation (wow!), switch from your
smartphone to the PC, change a typed character to the correct one, turn
scribbled on a touch screen into text, highlight text in an e-book, pin
a contact to the taskbar and call someone on Skype from the taskbar.
To say I am 'underwhelmed' would be an understatement. For this they mess up my laptop !
Incidentally, Microsoft is to offer the opportunity to defer updates, perhaps because people have found them disruptive.
In fact Microsoft is blaming certain anti- virus products for causing its updates to crash PCs or repeatedly reboot. Microsoft hopes to be able to detect those computers and they will not be updated. However, looking through the list I did not recognise any of the popular anti virus programs apart from Totalav, which has been blacked by many security writers.
Bob Rankin wrote a blistering
article about Avira anti virus software. Whether it was Free or
$99 it was massive, difficult to install and impossible to uninstall,
even using my favourite (thorough) uninstaller by Iobit. In the
end he had to do a restore to save his sanity !
As a site author I am being bullied into paying a fee to upgrade my HTTP site to an HTTPS (Secure, encrypted) one. We all realise that the internet needs to become more secure. But if we bought every security measure on sale we would need a bank loan. As it is, my Windows machines take far too long to become usable because they are searching for all the updates that are generated daily to keep us safe. Apple's iCloud and iTunes software seem to do this weekly. They are very large updates; and you have to click the PC four times to get them, then reboot the thing. All when you just want to send an urgent message ! It is no wonder people are favouring tablets, where one can get on and use them and choose when to do the updates. It is such a shame that Apple prices all of their (fragile) products beyond the range of many people. They tend to be more secure than Android based tablets as Apple has more control over the software.
I see so many people walking
around with broken iPhone screens. I, too, have broken a screen on an
mini. It cracked when I was prising it out of its cover. I decided to
repaired by a non-Apple repairer. It was out of warranty and the repair
less than Apple would charge. But I was aware that Apple would wash
of it because I had not used their expensive service.
I just cannot understand why something that
can cost over £1000 (like and iPhone X ) cannot be made more durable.
BTW Apple MAY take
responsibility if it is a hairline crack .
I hear that one of the latest iPhones may have an OLED screen https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OLED.
Hopefully these screens will be
to break when dropped.
Wherever you look it is impossible
to find a decent rate of interest on savings.
Whilst banks are not interested in your cash they are quite keen
customers to sell them mortgages, credit cards and other financial
So, some of the best deals are given to new customers, with up to £200
and cashback and regular savings offers. Santander used to be the king
cashback banks but they have reduced the percentage you get back for
bills and have a monthly fee for accounts.
Almost all ask for minimum amounts to be paid in monthly and
expect banking to be on line. As far as I can deduce, one of the best
accounts is the
National Savings 3 year Guaranteed Growth Bond, paying 1.95%. Apart from being absolutely safe the cost of
early withdrawal is only 90 days interest on the amount withdrawn. With
maximum being £1million that should take care of most of us !
n.b. With the indebtedness of
most European countries (apart from Germany) this makes it doubly
important to find a safe harbour for savings. Apart from Greece, Italy,
Portugal and Spain are all teetering on the brink. One wonders
how long the European Central Bank can prop up these countries,
We may be out of the Euro but, being a country that is dependent on the
financial business we would not be immune from the draught caused by a
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