John Lister

Thu
24
Dec
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Internet Baffled by Bottomless PJs

If you keep seeing a pair of bottomless pyjamas on the Internet, don't worry. It appears to be a glitch that's highlighted the quirks of online advertising. Many users have reported seeing the ad multiple times a day, in some cases embedded in ... almost every page they read. It's particularly noticeable as it's a somewhat unusual product, namely a one-piece tartan outfit with a flap on the backside, presumably to allow bathroom breaks without undressing. The ads are automatically placed by Google and appear to be placed by a Chinese tech company which has the same registered address as a "fast ... (view more)

Wed
23
Dec
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New Win10 Patch Causes Blue Screen of Death

A Windows 10 update causing problems is no surprise, but the two latest glitches will be familiar to long-time users. Both can lead to the dreaded "Blue Screen of Death," indicating a significant problem. The first problem affects users who run the ... built-in CHKDSK utility, which scans hard drives to look for errors. It appears that running "chkdsk /f" via command line (after the new KB4592438 patch has been applied) can cause the file system to corrupt, which then might result in Windows not able to boot at all. Microsoft says a fix has already been rolled out through an automatic ... (view more)

Tue
22
Dec
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Internet Providers Can't Charge for Unwanted Router

Broadband providers can no longer charge customers a rental fee for routers if they use their own equipment. It's banned by the Television Viewer Protection Act which has taken effect after a six month delay. The law was passed in December 2019 and ... originally scheduled to take effect in June. However, Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted a six month delay, stating that cable and broadband providers needed more time because of the coronavirus pandemic. $10 Monthly Fee Dropped Many Internet providers charge rental fees for modems or routers, but allow users to ... (view more)

Thu
17
Dec
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Turning Old Laptops Into Chromebook May Get Easier

Google has bought a company that helps people turn old laptops into Chromebooks. It will turn "CloudReady" into an official way to use the Chrome operating system. Chromebooks run on ChromeOS, a system that's based largely around using the Chrome ... browser to access online tools and applications. It's aimed particularly at people who mainly use a computer for web browsing, light document editing, and watching streaming video. One of the big advantages is that much of the processing is done remotely rather than on the computer itself. That means a Chromebook can run on cheaper low-spec ... (view more)

Wed
16
Dec
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Websites Face Major Fines for 'Illegal Content'

Tech giants such as Facebook could face eye watering fines or even be blocked if they don't do enough to remove "illegal content." The proposals in the United Kingdom highlight the difficultly every government faces in balancing online freedoms and ... responsibilities. The measures, set out in the Online Harms Bill, would affect websites and services around the world. If it becomes law, it raises the question of whether the UK is a significant enough market that websites change their practices worldwide to avoid headaches, similar to the way many US business decided it was better to ... (view more)

Tue
15
Dec
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Google Services Down For An Hour

Multiple Google services were unavailable for almost an hour on Monday. It appears the problem was with the authentication system for user accounts rather than Google's servers themselves being unavailable. The Google search engine was unaffected, ... but that was about the only good news for the company. Affected services included Gmail, Calendar and office tools such as Google Docs. (Source: google.com ) The effect depended on the importance of user accounts. Some tools such as Calendar were completely inaccessible as they are entirely based around an individual account. Gmail Glitches Other ... (view more)

Fri
11
Dec
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Google Tackles COVID Vaccine Scares with 'Info Panel'

Google is adding specially crafted panels at the top of search results related to COVID vaccines. The panel will give information about specific vaccines available in the searcher's country along with details of rollout programs. The aim is to use ... official and credible sources and counter less reliable information including misleading or unfounded claims about the vaccines. Using the panels could overcome the risk that pages with misleading information either game Google's system or "naturally" find their way to the top of the search results list for a particular user. The first panels are ... (view more)

Wed
09
Dec
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Microsoft Updates Update Strategy

Microsoft is rethinking the way it releases new features through Windows Update. New "Feature Experience Packs" will come out separately to the two major updates each year. The idea is to use the packs to release features and updates for tools that ... fall into a gray area where they aren't an integral part of the Windows 10 operating system itself, but aren't really applications in their own right. The packs will be released as and when they are ready. That opens up the possibility that these "unscheduled" updates could also be used for improvements and fixes to Windows itself without having to ... (view more)

Tue
08
Dec
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Feds Snooped IP Addresses Using Website Logs

The Director of National Intelligence has confirmed the government collected visitor information from a US webpage using powers stemming from the PATRIOT Act. It's reawakened political debate about whether search and browsing history should be part ... of these powers. The argument centers on Section 215 of the act which gives the government the authority to collect "tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to obtain foreign intelligence information." In the past that's been interpreted to include electronic records such as phone logs. ... (view more)

Thu
03
Dec
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Microsoft Rethinks 'Employer Snooping' Feature

Microsoft is rewriting a "Productivity Score" feature that businesses could have used to monitor staff performance. The data will now be only available in aggregated form. The feature is designed for IT and network administrators in businesses that ... use Microsoft 365, the subscription version of what was once known as the Office suite. The idea is that the administrators can get a better idea of which features are being used most, which would show where IT administrators might need to focus support. Individual User Data Revealed The problem was that the feature showed these figures on an ... (view more)

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