Infopackets Reader Marion L. writes: " Dear Dennis, I am using Windows Mail with Windows 10, and all the sudden I have been getting an error that says 'Your Outlook account settings are out of date' near the top of the screen. I have the option to ... 'Fix Account' or 'Dismiss'. If I click the 'Dismiss' option, I can't receive any emails, then within a few minutes I'll receive the same error that 'Your Outlook account settings are out of date'. If I click 'Fix Account' it tells me 'Something went wrong. We're sorry, but we weren't able to do that', and it gives me an error code 0x80070003. I have ... (view more)
A proposed class action lawsuit accuses Bose of selling personal data about customers who use its wireless headphones. But the claims are unconfirmed and the argument may be somewhat overstated. Customer Kyle Zak made the complaint about Bose ... Connect, an app for iPhones and Android devices. The app isn't mandatory to use, but is designed to make it easier to switch between different headsets and speakers on a Bluetooth connection without needing to repeatedly pair and unpair the devices. Podcast Choices Could Be Revealing According to the lawsuit, Bose uses the app to collect details of ... (view more)
Facebook has admitted it needs to do more to monitor content after a video of a murder was on the site for just over two hours. Shockingly, it took more than 100 minutes for a user to report the video to Facebook. The video was one of three produced ... by the killer, Steve Stephens, who later took his own life while being pursued by police. Stephens posted a video to Facebook saying he planned to commit murder. Two minutes later he posted another video showing his killing of 74-year-old Robert Godwin. Shortly after that Stephens used Facebook's live broadcast feature to both confess to the ... (view more)
Microsoft says it's patched most of the recently revealed security flaws said to have been used by the National Security Agency (NSA) for spying. But the incident is a reminder not to rely on unsupported editions of Windows such as Windows XP and ... Vista. Windows Vista officially reached its end of extended support April 11, 2017 . A group calling itself "Shadow Brokers" is trying to auction what it says is a set of tools that the NSA were using for surveillance by taking advantage of security failings in widely used software. While that's a bold claim - particularly as it means ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Judy G. writes: " Dear Dennis, I'm running Windows 7. Throughout the day, I often receive a message from Windows that says: 'Windows has detected your computer's performance is slow ... To improve performance, try changing the ... color scheme to Windows 7 Basic.' I click the option to 'Keep the current color scheme, and don't show this message again', but the error message 'Windows has detected your computer's performance is slow...' returns about 5 minutes later. I don't understand why this message appears, and I can't stop it from reappearing! It's incredibly annoying! Can ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Steve F. writes: " Dear Dennis, I will be upgrading my computer to the new AMD Ryzen 1700 CPU (which has 8 cores and 16 threads!) at a fraction of the price of Intel CPUs. I have searched online but I can't seem to find the answer ... - can you please tell me: after I install the new motherboard and CPU, can I continue to use my existing Windows installation or do I need to install Windows again? Also is my Windows 10 license still valid or do I need to purchase Windows 10 for my new motherboard and CPU? " My response: I have been asked this question a lot recently and the ... (view more)
Burger King has cheekily used a Google gadget to advertise its products. But the way it did so is pretty risky and could easily backfire. The stunt came in a television advert that contained a command for Google's Home device. That's a voice ... activated speaker that lets the user ask questions, control home devices, set alarms and other useful (and sometimes purely trivial) activities. While similar technology exists on many Android phones, those are usually set to recognize and respond only to the user's voice, including listening out for the trigger phrase "Okay Google" ... (view more)
Motion sensors in smartphones could give away your lock code to hackers according to new research. But practical limitations mean related attacks might have to be specifically targeted. Researchers at Newcastle University explored the idea that ... tools such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, compasses and GPS chips in phones could reveal more detail than users realize. The tools are used for a variety of functions such as location tracking, fitness tracking and gesture control such as a user turning a phone face down to instantly switch it to "do not disturb" mode. Their theory was that ... (view more)
New York and Los Angeles cops may be among the first to use a hybrid electric car that is specifically designed for police pursuits. The Ford Police Responder Hybrid Sedan (pic) aims to meet the twin needs of police vehicles: an occasional ... high-speed pursuit mixed in with a whole load of waiting around. A hybrid car uses both an ordinary gas engine and an electric motor. The balance of the two varies between models but one common set-up is to use the electricity when the car is starting up or driving at low speeds, where the electricity is the more efficient option. Another common feature is ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Steve P. writes: " Dear Dennis, I am trying to convert my Macrium Reflect disk image backup into a virtual machine by using the 'Macrium ImgtoVHD' utility. The problem is that ImgtoVHD aborts every time, telling me ' The vhd file ... could not be created or written to '. The backup I'm trying to convert is from an old machine which died and I really need to get this working so I can export data from a program. Can you please help? " My response: I have had this problem before and the solution (in a nutshell) is to create a blank virtual machine, then restore the backup onto the ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Rachel P. writes: " Dear Dennis, As per your recommendation, I have installed Malwarebytes Antimalware Free on my system and I do a full system scan every 30 days or so. Today I tried to launch Malwarebytes Antimalware Free ... ("MBAM") and it gives me an error, stating that it is 'Unable to start' and 'Unable to connect to service' , with an option to click 'OK' and nothing else. I don't know how to fix this. Can you please help? " My response: I have run across this issue a few times with my clients, but resolving it is not always the same. I asked Rachel if she would like me ... (view more)
Amazon is to refund up to $70 million of in-app purchases made by children without their parents' permission. It follows a hearing where a court previously agreed that the way Amazon's purchasing system worked was inherently unfair. The case was ... brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FCC) back in 2014 , and relates to so-called "freemium" apps on the Kindle Fire and some other Android devices. The word freemium is a portmanteau for "free" and "premium" and is often used to describe an app that would normally cost money, but instead includes ads or an ... (view more)
A Swiss man is being sued for defamation for "liking" Facebook posts. But the court case looks set to concentrate on the individuals involved, rather than the technological principle. "The Local," a English-language Swiss news site, reports that the ... man had clicked the "like" button beside eight different posts by a range of animal rights groups. Each of the posts accused another man involved in the animal rights movement of anti-Semitism and racism. (Source: thelocal.ch ) It's an intriguing legal point as technically the man being sued for libel has not ... (view more)
Facebook has joined a host of tech companies and non-profit groups to launch a $14 million project to fight fake news. The News Integrity Initiative's aim is to help people "make informed judgments about the news they read and share online." The ... project will be run by the Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York (CUNY). As well as Facebook, it's backed by Firefox developer Mozilla, online ad company AppNexus and journalism investment group, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, among others. The main activity will be holding events at a range of ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader 'Paolo' writes: " Dear Dennis, I have a very strange problem. Whenever I drag my browser window on my Dell laptop, I see 2 blue rectangles popping up near the top of the screen (pic). At first I thought this was a Windows 10 ... feature but I have searched Google for the 'dell 2 blue rectangles popup' problem but I cannot seem to find a solution. I have no idea how to shut this feature off but it is very, very annoying. Can you please help? " My response: I have never had this problem before, so I asked Paolo if he would like me to connect to his system to have a closer look ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader 'Rebecca' writes: " Dear Dennis, I recently purchased a tablet with Windows 10 and I have Windows Defender running. My question is whether I need to install any other protection to stop people (hackers) from being able to steal my ... bank details, etc. My dad was recently a victim of this but I don't know how to protect myself. How can I keep my PC secure in 2017? Thank you in advance! " My response: I have been asked this question no less than 100 times in the last 16 years I've been writing articles online - but the truth of the matter is that the answer changes slightly as ... (view more)
Congress has voted to ditch rules that would have made it harder for broadband companies to share personal user data with third party companies. The vote means Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations will not take effect. The rules were ... adopted by the FCC last October and covered broadband and wireless providers, but not websites such as Google or Facebook. Had they taken effect, the rules would have meant Internet providers could not share key data - for example with advertisers - without the explicit consent of customers. This data included browsing history, details of the apps ... (view more)
Users of Microsoft's Docs.com have been warned to review security settings on their account. Researchers found it was all too easy to search and find personal data contained in documents mistakenly made public. Docs.com is designed to make it easy ... to share documents with other users over the Internet, including PDF files and those in Office formats, regardless of the device and operating system they are using. The site includes a search feature that lets a user look for text in any document on the service to which they have access - something that's designed to make it much easier ... (view more)
Amazon's plans for convenience stores without checkouts or cashiers have taken a knock. Initial test show the system doesn't work properly if more than 20 or so customers use the store at once. The Amazon Go store works through a dedicated ... smartphone app and a technology similar to that used in hotel minibars. When a customer picks up an item from the shelf it will automatically be added to their virtual shopping cart (as well as their real one), though if they put it back on the shelf it will be removed. Instead of paying for the items at the check out, the customer simply walks out ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Phoebe A. writes: " Dear Dennis, Today I tried to free up some space on my C drive by moving files over to my external hard drive, but Windows gave me an error message, stating that 'Error during copy: the request could not be ... performed because of an I/O device error'. I've also tried using 'TeraCopy' to copy files over, but it keeps freezing on the same files. Can you help? " My response: If you receive an error that says "the request could not be performed because of an I/O device error" when trying to copy or move a file, that usually (but not always) indicates bad ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Scott writes: " Dear Dennis, I'm thinking of turning on disk encryption for my Windows 10 computer. I've never done this before. Is there anything to be concerned about or to be aware of? " My response: This is a good question. ... The truth of the matter is that if you encrypt your entire C drive using Windows BitLocker or a third party utility, it's going to slow your system down quite a bit. The reason for this is because every single file written to the drive must be encrypted, and then decrypted when read - including your operating system files. Constantly encrypting and ... (view more)
A man has been arrested after allegedly scamming two US companies into sending him more than a hundred million dollars online. He posed as a legitimate computer manufacturer and issued bogus requests for payment. The companies haven't been named, ... but prosecutors say one is a "multinational technology company" and the other a "multinational online social media company." Evaldas Rimasauskus was arrested in Lithuania last week and has been charged in US courts with one count of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identify theft, and three counts of money laundering. Bogus ... (view more)
A US court says a man must provide the password to unlock two hard drives that prosecutors say contain unlawful images. The court rejected his appeal that to do so would breach his fifth amendment rights, which roughly translate to: "No person shall ... be held to answer for a ... [crime], unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury." The case is an unusual twist on the more common disputes about how the fourth amendment -- which deals with searches and seizures -- applies to technology. In this case the man claims that handing over the password could incriminate him. The ... (view more)
Google has apologized to businesses whose ads appeared next to extremist videos on YouTube. It follows several major brands and the British government dropping Google advertising over the affair. The Times newspaper reported that videos from ... extremist groups had appeared beside advertising from many a host of big businesses and government agencies. That not only meant embarrassment but could mean that the advertisers were unwittingly -- if indirectly -- contributing to extremist groups. Content Classification Confusing Google's Matt Brittin told a conference that he wanted to " ... (view more)
Continuing on with last week's article, David L. writes: " Thanks for your help in identifying the culprit that was causing random Blue Screens of Death ( BAD_POOL_CALLER ) on both mine and my wife's system. Question: I have been using ZoneAlarm for ... many years and it has been good to me. If I decide to stick with the Windows Firewall per your recommendation - what happens if hackers find an exploit in the Windows Firewall that allows them into my system? Yes, ZoneAlarm has caused my Blue Screens of Death (BSOD) and it costs money upfront (versus the Windows Firewall which is free) - but why ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader David L. writes: " Dear Dennis, I have a VERY perplexing problem! My wife and I are trying to publish a book online a website (CreateSpace.com) - unfortunately, both her system and my system are crashing with blue screens of death ... (BSOD) error: BAD_POOL_CALLER. I am using Mozilla Firefox on my machine, and she is using Edge. I've called Microsoft and talked to their support for over 4 hours but they were unable to help - and in fact, my system is operating even worse than before! You've done work for me in the past and I need to have you connect to my system and tell me ... (view more)
A major "hack" of prominent Twitter accounts has raised awareness of a big security loophole. The problem isn't with Twitter itself, but rather third party tools. This morning several thousand accounts belonging to public figures and major ... organizations and businesses posted identical messages. The tweets included a swastika symbol and references to Nazi views in Germany and the Netherlands and are thought to relate to an ongoing political spat between the Netherlands and Turkey. (Source: bostonglobe.com ) There's never a good time for accounts to be hijacked in such a way, ... (view more)
The makers of a remote controlled device for personal pleasure have agreed to pay $3.75 million after allegedly collecting data on how the device was used. Standard Innovations has not formally admitted any wrongdoing. The company makes several ... models in the We-Vibe line, each designed for intimate female use. Some of them include a Bluetooth connection that in turn connects to a smartphone. That allows the user or a partner to remotely control the operation and settings of the device, with an option for partners in long-distance relationships to operate the device over the Internet. ... (view more)
Android phones from a variety of companies have reached business employees with malware already installed according to researchers. How and why it got there is not yet confirmed. The report comes from Checkpoint, a security company. It says it was ... examining devices used by staff at two businesses: one a "large telecommunications company" and the other a "multinational technology company." (Source: checkpoint.com ) While it's not unusual to find malware on employee phones during some checks -- that's partly the purpose of hiring services such as Checkpoint. ... (view more)
Infopackets Reader Barry P. writes: " Dear Dennis, I have an HP computer running Windows 10 (previously upgraded from Windows 8), and it's running very slow. I'd like to reinstall Windows - but before I do that, I want to back everything up onto ... external hard drive. I want to keep the backup as small as possible - as such, I noticed that I have a 'C:\System Recovery' folder with 'C:\System Recovery\Repair' and 'C:\System Recovery\Repair\Backup' subfolders. The 'C:\System Recovery' folder is taking up 40GB of data and I'd like to know if it's safe to delete. I have another machine here and I ... (view more)
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