Rufus 3.5 Beta

So it appears that Rufus, the program which makes creating bootable USB hard drives and flash drives with ease, will now have the added capability of downloading all versions of Windows 10 and 8.1 as shown in the screenshots below…

If this feature works as advertised, it would be a great step forward and would perhaps lead to having access to other operating systems in the future.  Click here to download the beta and give it a try…I know I will!

R.I.P. Adobe Shockwave

So it looks like Adobe has decided that the official end of life date for Shockwave will be April 9th.  They have been working on fully retiring the software since 2017 and the last of it which was designed for the Windows platform will no longer be supported.  I personally haven’t installed it in years so I won’t be missing much.  See Adobe’s FAQ link here.

System Center 2019 Coming Soon!

I was catching up on some tech reading over the weekend and came across multiple articles stating that Microsoft’s latest System Center Suite will be released later this month and is fully compatible with Windows Server 2019 products.

A key takeaway from the article I read on RedmondMag.com about this topic is that Microsoft has decided to shift back to a more LTSC-like (long term servicing channel) model.  This decision stemmed from the fact that customers actually preferred receiving less feature updates but is supported for a longer period of time instead of the opposite.  The only notable exception to this is Configuration Manager which will continue to stay on the current SAC (semi-annual channel) model.

As someone who uses Configuration Manager and Operations Manager on a daily basis, I believe Microsoft made the right call on this.  I personally welcome the new features introduced with Configuration Manager on a regular basis whereas with Operations Manager, as long as its properly managing our 80+ servers I’m a happy camper!

 

Use Wikibuy for the best price online!

Not sure how far behind I am on this but Wikibuy has to be one of the hottest sites for bargain hunters all over!

I recently came across it almost by mistake in that it was initially offered to me as a tool used to compare whether Amazon truly had the cheapest prices available online.  It only took a few seconds to install the provided Google Chrome extension which uses a sophisticated algorithm to see if you were truly getting the cheapest price possible.

Another feature of the Wikibuy extension running on Chrome (which I also happened to stumble upon when browsing items on IKEA’s website) is that it will also automatically try any promotional codes which could net you additional savings and discounts on any site that has the category present.

As stated on their website, Wikibuy scans tons of online shopping sites and automatically determines where the absolute best deal can be had on any given products.

It’s worth a try especially for you online shoppers; let me know what you think about it…

WinRAR has been flawed since the very beginning!

I have to say that I feel for the people at WinRAR; it’s never a good thing when a critical vulnerability has existed within your program ever since it was released 19(!) years ago.  Just look at what comes when doing a simple search for “WinRAR”…

The Hacker News reports the following:

Cybersecurity researchers at Check Point have disclosed technical details of a critical vulnerability in WinRAR—a popular Windows file compression application with 500 million users worldwide—that affects all versions of the software released in last 19 years.

The flaw resides in the way an old third-party library, called UNACEV2.DLL, used by the software handled the extraction of files compressed in ACE data compression archive file format.

However, since WinRAR detects the format by the content of the file and not by the extension, attackers can merely change the .ace extension to .rar extension to make it look normal.

Two things that come to mind:

  1. How many of you still use WinRAR as your “go-to” extraction software?
  2. I can’t believe that their actual recommendation is to install a BETA version of their software in place of whatever existing version you may have!

Click here for the full article in addition to checking out other sites for more details…

Make sure your data is backed up!

At the beginning of the day, I had a user in a panic because his laptop was no longer booting into Windows 10 which happened to have all of his business files.  Luckily, I managed to make a copy of the failing hard drive but was quick to remind the user that if a good backup solution was in place, there would be no need to worry because the files would be safe.

So let this serve as a PSA to all…do not underestimate the need to backup backup backup! and make sure your files are safe from being lost forever!

I recommend Carbonite and CrashPlan as they seem to be the best when taking all things into consideration…let me know if you need assistance with getting a backup solution in place today!

R.I.P. (or R.E.B.O.O.T.) Microsoft Edge Browser?

So it looks like Microsoft’s critically acclaimed Edge browser is headed for a major revamp after a mere 3 1/2 years.  According to various publications, Microsoft will now build its latest version of Edge off of the open source Chromium browser which is also the bulk of the brains behind Google Chrome.  Being that it never gained the type of market share necessary in order to stay afloat in addition to its technical shortcomings, this may go down as one of Microsoft’s better decisions assuming that they follow through with their commitment to fully embrace more open source platforms as well as become more of a contributor to the open source community.

Even though we do not have many technical details of what the “new” Edge will be, we can expect that Microsoft will commit to making this browser more competitive with Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox.  They plan on making it available on operating systems outside of Windows 10; other OSs include Microsoft Windows 7, 8.1 and even the latest versions of macOS.

Only time will tell whether their efforts backed by their refreshed corporate mentality will result in Microsoft gaining back some of their lost mojo on the browser front…after all, you’ve got big problems when a six year old browser (Internet Explorer) still convincingly outpaces your so-called “flagship” Edge browser despite notable success with deploying Windows 10 to the masses.  Stay tuned!

 

Update: R.I.P. Adobe Flash

Back in July 2017, you may recall when Adobe announced the “end of life” for their legendary Flash software.  Back in its heyday (ok so what if it was a mere 10 to 15 years ago), Flash was the standard when it came to producing multimedia content on the web.  As with many tech related things, the mantra: “out with the old and in with the new” can’t ring true enough especially when it comes to Flash.  As I was casually surfing the web over the weekend, I came across an article from earlier this year claiming that less than 5% of all known websites use Flash!  I have to say that I’m surprised at how fast Flash has dropped off the face of the earth.  Compare that with Microsoft’s Windows XP and 7 operating systems which stubbornly held on much longer than their corporate owners anticipated and therefore have caused so many security related issues…oh wait, you mean to tell me that was because their newer “replacements” have been even more problematic…???

Umm…nevermind, time to go.  R.I.P. Adobe Flash.

CrashPlan for Home “End of Life”

Sad to see that one of the best backup solutions for home users is no longer available for use.  I remember when they first made the announcement that it will be going away last year and cannot believe that the day has come.  However, I’m pleased to see that they have partnered with Carbonite to help users transition to their service which while not perfect, is still pretty good.  It’s always better to have a backup than not have one at all!