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 article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
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.” This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
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
You can juggle different windows, apps, and tasks and travel back in time to access older content. Windows has long offered a Task View feature in which you can create virtual desktops and bounce from one environment or application to another. But with the Windows 10 April 2018 Update comes the multitasking tool known as Timeline. Here’s what you can do in it: By using Task View and Timeline, you can not only jump to any currently open window but you can go back in time to past windows. You can view and access prior documents, spreadsheets, websites, and other content. You can travel back as far as 30 days and access older files on other devices. You can also modify your privacy settings to control how Timeline works and what content it gathers. Why use Task View? Think about how you may work and multitask in Windows. You open one program, maybe your email. Then you open another program, perhaps your Web browser. And then another program, maybe Microsoft Word. And on and on and on. Before you know it, your screen is cluttered with so many windows and programs that you lose track of them all. Yes, the Taskbar … Read More
The next stop on our tour of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, aka Windows 10 Version 1803, is to look at two elements of the operating system that are now delivered through the Microsoft Store app. As a reminder, we’ve looked at the following elements already: Accessibility; Cortana, Continue on PC, Storage Sense and Focus Assist. These updates are important in this latest feature update to Windows 10 because they are a likely precursor to future changes. I believe we can expect more elements of the operating system to move in the same direction in future updates. Microsoft is well on their way to converting the legacy Control Panel we all know from Windows 7/8.1 into the modern Windows Settings app and this is another step in that migration. By adding local experience packs and fonts to the Microsoft Store in the April 2018 feature update, these items can be updated separate from the operating system itself. Now fonts are not changed all that often, but local experience packs are tweaked regularly to keep them accurate. Including these in the Microsoft Store means they can be updated like any app installed on your device. Maximum convenience for the end user once they are installed. … Read More
Looking for a good app or service to manage the items on your to-do list? You need an easy way to keep track of all the tasks you have to accomplish. And you want to be able to do this from your PC and your mobile device. Microsoft To-Do is a skilled app for managing your to-do items. But it’s not the only game in town. You can try such programs as Google Tasks, Wunderlist, and Todoist. How do these free programs work and what features do they offer? Let’s check it out. I wrote about Microsoft To-Do in this article “Keep Track of Your Tasks with the Microsoft To-Do App.” But I’ll start with a brief overview of this app before moving onto other programs. Microsoft To-Do Microsoft’s To-Do service is simple but effective. For each task, you can set a due date, reminder, and detailed notes. You can sort and view your items by name, due date, creation date, or status. You can create and manage multiple lists for different types of tasks. And you can access the service as a Windows 10 app, an iOS app, an Android app, and a website. Since you use your Microsoft … Read More