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We’ve already looked at how IFTTT can be used to automate your life, so let’s look at another web application that has impressive powers of automation, these ones generally more suited to workplace functions — including email. I’m talking about Zapier. Zapier describes itself as a glue that holds more than 1,000 different web applications together. The service creates zaps, which are workflows that connect your apps and allow for the background automation of different tasks. Overall, Zapier also allows for more fine-tuning, really allowing you to automate things in the ways that work best for you, your professional needs, and your workflow. “Zapier is a really incredible app. It helps you easily connect up the apps you use without needing to write a single line of code,” said Siobhan O’Rorke, marketing manager at Zenkit. About a thousand apps are currently supported by Zapier, including popular ones like Gmail, MailChimp, and Outlook 365. This extra functionality does come with a price, one that varies depending on how many zaps you have and how often you deploy them. But when the no-cost IFTTT can’t do what you want, Zapier is worth turning to — especially when you need to automate not a … Read More
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Microsoft released 61 security patches for September, including 17 listed as Critical. Several flaws were publicly disclosed before the release and one is already being actively exploited in the wild. The patches and advisories cover Internet Explorer (IE), Edge, ChakraCore, Azure, Hyper-V, Windows components, .NET Framework, SQL Server, and Microsoft Office and Office Services. You can find all of the updates at the Microsoft portal. Here are the highlights from this month’s release, with the information you need to prioritize your patching efforts. CVE-2018-8440 – Windows ALPC Elevation of Privilege Vulnerability The patch to prioritize this month is CVE-2018-8440, a local privilege escalation vulnerability that arises when Windows incorrectly handles calls to the Advanced Local Procedure Call (ALPC) interface. The flaw was first made public last month via a tweet (which was later deleted) and attackers are already taking advantage of it. At the time it was disclosed, Will Dormann, a Vulnerability Analyst at the CERT/CC noted “I’ve confirmed that this works well in a fully-patched 64-bit Windows 10 system.” Don’t delay in getting CVE-2018-8440 rolled out. CVE-2018-8475 – Windows Remote Code Execution Vulnerability Analysts this month also say CVE-2018-8475 is urgent. This bulletin addresses a remote code execution vulnerability that … Read More
Tweaking is a way to fine-tune something, and Windows 10 gives us plenty of capabilities to fine-tune the OS to our particular work methods and thus optimize our productivity. I’m sharing some of the tweaks which I have come to rely on, mined from the inner workings of Windows 10, to feed my need for speed. Turn Off Windows Visual Effects, Turn On CPU Speed You can speed up your CPU by turning off CPU-hungry visual effects. Sure, animations and shadows make the user interface look great, but they can consume significant CPU power and eat memory. Follow these steps to turn off different visual effects. Open File Explorer and from the left column, right-click This PC. From the drop-down menu, click Properties. Click Advanced system settings in the left column. Now click the Settings box under Performance. The Visual Effects tab reveals all the visual features Windows loads by default. Click the Custom button and proceed to uncheck the ones you can live without (most of them, actually). I left on only Enable Peek and Save taskbar thumbnail previews but you can adjust accordingly to see how CPU speed and memory improves on your systems. Use Built-in Windows 10 URIs to … Read More
The reality of personal computing in 2018 — and likely beyond — is that nobody exists in a silo’d tech ecosystem. We’re all switching between different cloud services, operating systems and software packages; what these companies want from us (our total engagement) is not a priority for users. What is a priority is being able to do what you want on your mobile and desktop devices. While Microsoft’s still a great one-stop shop if you want a set of office-work apps on an operating system, Google’s apps have made tremendous inroads. It helps that they’re tied into some really compelling tools (like a search engine …) and based in the cloud, not on a desktop. So how do you get the best of both worlds? We’ve examined this question periodically and in today’s special issue, pulled together some of our answers. How to Sync Your Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendars How to Work with Microsoft Word and Google Docs To-Do, Google Tasks, Wunderlist, and Todoist: Which One Works for You? Here’s to cross-platform productivity.
Automation is the new name of the game in personal organization, but one of the most powerful automation tools, If This Then That (IFTTT) has actually been around for years — and can automate everything from saving your Instagram photos to Dropbox to making sure your lights are already on when you walk through your front door. IFTTT works by identifying an action with one cloud-based service or smart device, then assigning a follow-up action to it. For example, “If you post to Twitter, then save each individual tweet to OneNote.” The interface is easy to use — it’s a website with bright icons for each device or service that you can connect via your personal IFTTT account. From the lighthearted to the lifesaving, IFTTT recipes can (nearly) do it all. IFTTT could always do a ton of useful things, like push emails you star in Gmail to Evernote or send you a daily weather report. But as smart assistants get more powerful, so does IFTTT. The spread of the Internet of Things and the quickly increasing ubiquity of digital and voice-activated assistants means a whole new level of personal automation is available. These deceptively simple “recipes” — many of … Read More
Keeping Windows 10 updated can be a never-ending chore. How can you simplify the process? Microsoft uses updates to improve Windows, fix bugs, and plug security holes. So keeping Windows up to date is key to ensuring the security and reliability of your operating system. But Microsoft doesn’t necessarily make it easy: Updates can be intrusive, confusing, and problematic. You want to ensure that the updates don’t bother you when you’re working, that you’re getting all the right updates, and that the updates themselves don’t create trouble. One trick is to know how to tweak the settings for Updates. You can schedule Active Hours to prevent Windows 10 from rebooting your PC after an update. You can view a history of updates to make sure you’re getting the right ones. And you can uninstall an update that’s not working properly. You can even tap into advanced settings to determine which updates you receive and when you receive them. Let’s check out some best practices for updating Windows 10. Previous versions of Windows offer the Windows Update Control Panel applet for you to view and manage your updates. But Windows 10 has since jettisoned the Control Panel tool in favor of … Read More