Q. Are these new smart/secure routers the kind of thing I can give to friends and relatives for the holidays? I’m really tired of doing tech support. A. Let me begin the answer to this question by telling you about CES 2017, way back in January. As I was attending walking the show floor, one of the trends I noticed was home-based devices that are usually referred to as smart or secure routers. They’re supposed to help provide security not only for existing computing devices in the home, but also the growing number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices that are becoming common place in the home. Many of IoT devices include connected home appliances and adapters, and while some of these devices have built in security, many do not. Enter the secure routers, developed to add a layer of security between those devices and the Internet. These new home routers and firewalls add that later of protection to IoT devices by learning the devices’ normal traffic patterns in and out of your home network so they can alert you if and when there’s a deviation from the pattern. You can then decide if there’s a security breach or not. … Read More
For those running the Windows 10 1709 release you will note that you will receive two unusually-named updates. The first, as observed by several posters in the Microsoft user forums, is that the Malicious Software removal update is labeled “Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool for Windows Insider Preview and Server Technical Preview (KB890830)”. All of the impacted folks have never installed the insider preview versions. It appears that someone at Microsoft merely named the update incorrectly. The second naming problem also shows up only on the Windows 10 1709 release. For those running the 64-bit operating system, you will see is that the patch is named with the AMD64 name in the patch naming causing many to question why it’s being offered to their Intel 64 bit machines. AMD64 is the official name for the 64-bit platform and does not mean that it’s only applicable to AMD processor chips and not Intel chips. Normally the naming of the patch is merely “64-bit” and does not refer to either Intel or AMD. Bottom line: It’s merely a naming issue and the updates are safe to install. What to do: Install these updates at this time. Late Breaking Dot Matrix Issue This … Read More
You can remotely connect to any type of computer via TeamViewer. You want to be able to remotely access computers, not just Windows computers but also Macs and even Linux machines. Microsoft’s Remote Desktop program can help but it can only connect to Windows computers. For a more versatile experience, take Microsoft’s TeamViewer application for a spin. With TeamViewer, you can connect to any computer – Windows, Mac, and Linux, and to most mobile phones and tablets. You can see the online status of computers to which you want to connect. You can remotely reboot a computer. You can connect to more than one computer at the same time and switch among them all. And you can easily connect to computers behind firewalls. Under what scenarios would you want to access a computer remotely? Maybe you have a computer at home that you want to be able to use from another spot. Or perhaps you serve as unpaid tech support for family and friends who call you with computer problems and you need a way to access their machines remotely. Whatever the reason, let’s check out how to use TeamViewer to remotely connect to any computer. TeamViewer was designed as … Read More
When there are so many productivity and organization applications available, it can be hard to know which one is the right choice–especially when all of these apps do not necessarily play well with each other, or work across platforms. Fortunately, one of the best–and most versatile–productivity apps is available for Windows and Mac users, on Android and iOS, and for desktop and mobile devices. But while this cross-platform fluidity is an important part of Trello’s appeal, the real secret of its success comes in the way it mimics a very low-tech organizational method: index cards on a corkboard. What Is Trello? Essentially, Trello is an online corkboard. You create boards, which contain lists, which hold individual cards. The user gets a visual view of their projects or information, with the ability to easily add cards and lists and move them around as necessary. Your boards can be private, or you can invite other Trello users to see and collaborate on them–handy for group projects or other situations where you need to share information. Project management is the primary function of Trello, and it does that well, but the app is versatile and intuitive enough to be also be used in … Read More
Distribution lists can help you connect with multiple people in one shot. You’ve set up a list of contacts in Microsoft Outlook. Now you want to work with several of them instead of each one separately. Perhaps you have an email you want to send to them all. Or maybe you want to invite them to a meeting or other event. How can you cover multiple contacts without having to manually add each one to your email or meeting invite? That’s where a distribution list (now known in Outlook as a contact group) comes in handy. You can add several or even all of your contacts to a single distribution list. You can create multiple lists, each one for different people — one for friends and another for colleagues. You can even forward your lists to other people to incorporate into their email program. Let’s look at how to create and use distribution lists in Outlook. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.
Rules can keep your inbox better organized by overseeing each new message. Your Microsoft Outlook inbox may keep growing with dozens or hundreds of emails going unattended and unanswered. Perhaps you get so many emails that they’re hard to handle. And maybe you sometimes miss important emails because so many messages are cluttering your inbox. If only you had a way to manage all your incoming mails! In Outlook, you do: Creating a rule. A rule automatically handles an incoming message based on certain criteria, such as the sender, recipient, or subject line. The rule can delete the message, put it in your spam folder, or send it to a specific folder based on the criteria. For example, emails from a mailing list can be sent to a folder dedicated to that list. Junk mail with a certain subject line can be banished to the spam folder. And email from your boss or an important client can be sent to a folder for emails of high importance. By using rules, you cut down on the clutter of your inbox so you can focus on and respond to the most critical messages. Let’s check out how to create and use rules … Read More
Track Changes can help you modify a document while preserving the original. Maybe you’ve played around with Track Changes in Microsoft Word but bumped into difficulty with it. Or perhaps you’ve never used the feature but could benefit from it. Either way, you can tap into Track Changes to keep track of any modifications in your documents, whether you’re working on them by yourself or collaborating on them with other people. The feature comes in handy if you want to edit a document without losing the initial version of it. But sometimes Track Changes can be confusing. The trick is to enable Track Changes at the right time and then bounce back and forth between your original and revised document. You can also tweak what you see and what you don’t see when you enable Track Changes. How can you benefit from Track Changes in Word? I’m using Word 2016 on my end, but the process is the same for any of the past few versions of the program. Launch Word and open a document you want to revise. Click on the Review menu to display the Review ribbon. From there, either click on the top half of the Track … Read More
Q. I’m thinking about a smart speaker for my house? Does the Harman Kardon Invoke make sense if I have a Windows 10 machine? A. Well, let’s see how it fits into the overall smart speaker picture first. The Invoke is the first smart speaker to include Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant, and retails for about $200 at places like the Microsoft Store and Harman Kardon’s website. This speaker is an entry into the same market occupied by Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home. Amazon already has a significant lead in this area with a reported 70% of the market share and a library of over 20,000 skills for users’ benefit. In comparison, Cortana’s Skill Library lists approximately 220 skills. Not helping: many of them appear to be low quality and Microsoft is listing standard Cortana skills you can already access within Cortana on any device that you have the assistant installed. So if you’re thinking, “The Invoke can go toe-to-toe with Amazon’s Echo,” we’re not quite there yet. This article is part of our premium content. Join Now.Already a paid subscriber? Click here to login.