Windows Insider Program

Insider Program

I signed up for the Windows Insider Program some time ago. Once I did it I really didn’t give it much thought until this morning. I made it to the office this morning and my computer said it was applying updates. Nothing out of the ordinary, RIGHT?

Well after the computer rebooted the above picture is what I am now seeing on my production laptop. How can I get a new build and it is an evaluation copy? I had a fully registered version of Windows 10 on my laptop before this was applied. Now I just hope that at some point it will be fully registered again?

Be sure that I will be keeping an eye on this. I also noticed that my HDMI monitor looks really bad. I will also be talking about this on the next show of Tips From The Server Room.

Microsoft Surface Fits Where?

Surface

I was handed a Microsoft Surface at work and asked to find out where or how it would fit into our daily workflow. We now have multiple devices for every employee. So where will this device fit in and just how good is it? I have been using an iPad as my tablet for years and I make it work with apps that I use day to day. I can say with the Surface being a Windows device it makes more sense in business that is a Microsoft shop such as we are. The screen size seems a little larger than the iPad which is nice. And the keyboard is attached even with a magnet that is better than the one I carry around with the iPad. It is also nice that I can connect the Surface to the same docking system we are using for our Windows laptops. I might have to give that more of a try and make sure everything works. I did just notice that I need to find a way to turn off the trackpad when using a mouse?

As you might have guessed I am writing this posting using the Surface and I find the keyboard is not bad. It has a little spring action on this model but I think this model is a few years older but still working well. I did upgrade it to Windows 1903 and everything seems to be working well. I think with a little practice I can get used to the keyboard. I just got the touchpad turned off when the mouse is connected. Progress is a good thing.

I will give you more updates as I become more aware of how this device works with our office workflows and do some more testing with this device.

Update Windows 10 Before November

1803 Warning

I was working with my home laptop this morning and this message popped up in the lower right of my screen. This is Microsoft giving you time to update your computer. Microsoft will no longer support Windows 10 1803. What is 1803? This is a build version. Windows will always be called Windows 10 at this point but there will always be updated builds.

So how do you see which build or version you have on your computer? Right-click on your start button and left-click on system.

Right Click

Once the System panel opens up scroll down and look for Windows Specs and you will see the version.

System

If you are using 1803 or anything earlier I would suggest you update your computer now. Always make sure you keep up on the updates to ensure you are always getting the current security updates.

Programming

Visual Studio

Programming should not be a scary thing. Learning to write code is a great way to really begin to understand computers. I started writing coed years ago because at that time there were not many programs out that would do what we wanted them to do for our business. When I took my first computer managers job for a private school I used my coding skills to take a work process from 5 days down to 5 minutes. Coding allows you to become a problem solver. If you work for any company in the field of IT it will bring some value add to your skill set. Coding is also one of those skills that once you learn it you will be able to go back and code again. You don’t have to code everyday to stay sharp at it. I know coding is not for everyone. I am currently working on a large inventory project and connecting my code to MySQL back end. For me coding is relaxing and it passes the time away. But more then that coding will allow you to evaluate a companies process and maybe come up with a way to stream line it and save man hours with your coding skills? Best of all you can download Visual Studio Community Edition for FREE.

Windows XP RIP

It is official Windows XP has now passed away after many years of service. Born on August 24, 2001 and now dead on April 8, 2014 at the age of 13 years! In the technology world this is a very long life.

What does this mean for you? If you are reading this and using Windows XP and have your computer connected to the Internet, “RUN”. No wait I am kidding. Well kind of anyway. The truth is you have to be more careful then ever when browsing the Internet. This is because Windows XP will become a hackers paradise. This is because there will be new holes on the operating system that will no longer be patched. Once these are put out on the Internet everyone will be using these holes to attack your computer.

I had a call from one of my clients; calling with great concern. “We really need to get new computers!” I asked. “Why?” Client, “Because on April 8th our computer will stop working.” The truth of the matter is, your computers will continue to run and you can still use them. They will not shut down and be un-usable. You will just have to be more careful when using them when they are connected to the Internet. If you only use them to access your local network and they are not connected to the Internet, they will still work for years.

I hear people complaining and saying how can Microsoft do this to them. Why are they always making us upgrade? The simple truth is, these companies can’t keep programmers busy working on old technology when the new technology is now humming along.

So if you didn’t upgrade. I would suggest now would be a great time to put your plan into effect and get those old Windows XP computers off your desk and step up to Windows 7.

Last note, Windows 8.1 is getting a major over haul and the start menu is coming back for your operating enjoyment.

Bye XP

 

Compressing Files

We had to deal with small storage devices for years. Most people don’t remember when we were limited to hard drive space. My first hard drive was 80 MB and I had to save forever, it cost me almost $300.00. But I was the talk of our computer circles. Everyone wanted to see my new drive; they could not believe when they saw the 80 MB on the label.

Since many people were limited we had to conserve what little space people had. This was done by compressing most file sizes. The first program I remember that did this was call zipper. We would use this at a DOS command window. You would place all of your files into one directory and then change to that directory from the command line. Once there you would issue the command “zip c:/myfiles”, then hit enter and watch as they zipped.

In today’s world we now have large hard drives that will hold what seems like unlimited files of unlimited size. But there are still compressing tools. Today’s tools come with your computer and are much easier to use.

On the Mac is the Archiver. It is easy to add files to a compressed package and it is just as easy to uncompress files that may have been sent to you. On Windows there is the compressor. Easy enough to use; select a group of files and right click on them and click on add to compressed file. You give it a name and off it goes doing it’s magic.

The main reason I see people using compression today is to allow the emailing of large files. Mostly pictures because they are so large these days with the high mega pixels.

If you have never used a compression program on your computer try it today. I compress large folders of pictures to put them on my backup drive. It uses less space and allows me to store large groups of archived pictures together.

DOS

 

Protect Your Computer

With all of this talk about the NSA or National Security Agency watching everything we do and monitoring all of our cell phone calls, don’t you want to protect your computer from prying eyes?

Okay now I don’t really believe that the government has the time of day to watch what I am doing on the Internet. But I know there are millions of hackers in this world that would like to get into everyones computers. They enjoy digging and looking for useful information.

We could talk about a thousand reasons to protect your computer, but what I teach people is that you want to protect your computer so that you can sleep at night.

The easiest way to protect your computer is to be sure you have the firewall turned on. On Windows you can find the firewall in the Control Panel then under Security. On the Mac, you will find it under Preferences and Security/Privacy.

What does a firewall do? Simply allows you to put up a virtual brick wall between your computer and the Internet. Although not non-hackable but a small brick wall is better then no wall at all. Now turn on those firewalls!

Firewall