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April, 2017:

Leadership — Center for Grateful Leadership

The “Center for Grateful Leadership” is an excellent resource that helps:  improve morale, team building, and delivery of quality results for IT and business projects.

Collaborate globally with other Grateful Leaders, and those who want to become such leaders, to create a future filled with gratitude and appreciation!  Tap into the power of personal commitment and dedication by acknowledging people in an authentic, heartfelt manner. Inspire your team and bring out the best in your people by dramatically increasing levels of engagement, productivity, and willingness to take initiative.

Privacy – NSA ends generalized surveillance on US citizens

The broader surveillance program by NSA on US citizens has ended as reflected in article below:

The U.S. National Security Agency will no longer sift through emails, texts and other internet communications that mention targets of surveillance.  The change, which the NSA announced on Friday, stops a controversial tactic that critics said violated U.S. citizens’ privacy rights.  The practice involved flagging communications where a foreign surveillance target was mentioned, even if that target wasn’t involved in the conversation. Friday’s announcement means the NSA will stop collecting this data.

“Instead, this surveillance will now be limited to only those communications that are directly ‘to’ or ‘from’ a foreign intelligence target,” the NSA said in a statement.  As part of that change, the NSA will delete most of the internet communications that were collected using this surveillance tactic.  The agency said it decided to stop some of the activities because of technological constraints, U.S. citizens’ privacy interests, and difficulties with implementation. Privacy advocates applauded the move.

Samsung Galaxy S8 – Ten advanced features APR 2017

This review shares 10 advanced features found on the new Samsung Galaxy S8 which includes even a retina based scanner for secure unlocking

Samsung’s latest phone, the Galaxy S8, is packed with a lot of thoughtful features that you won’t find on the iPhone.  While the iPhone still has a slight edge over the Galaxy S8, there are plenty of things that set it apart from its biggest rival.  Here are the most important Galaxy S8 features you won’t get from the iPhone.

1. There’s an iris scanner that can be used to unlock the phone and access secure folders.
2. More screen. The S8 has a 5.8-inch screen. The S8+ has a 6.2-inch screen.
3. You can charge the Galaxy S8 with a wireless charging pad. There’s also fast charging, which charges the S8 faster than normal
4. You can plug in standard headphones thanks to the headphone jack.
5. Samsung Pay can make payments on standard magnetic credit card readers.

6. The Galaxy S8 comes with its own virtual reality software, powered by Facebook’s Oculus.

7. The S8 has a heart rate sensor on the back.

8. You can attach the Galaxy S8 to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse with a special dock and run a desktop version of the smartphone’s operating system on a normal computer.

9. Samsung’s Bixby digital assistant lets you take photos of real-world objects and brings up relevant information like shopping links and nearby locations to visit.
10. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 screen is more power-efficient and produces better colors.

Windows 10 – How to install on Apple iMac using Boot Camp

The NY Times tech section shares an interesting article on how to install on an Apple iMac using a tool called “Boot Camp”

Boot Camp is Apple’s tool for the Mac.  It allows you to install and use the Windows 10 operating system on a separate hard drive partition — if your hardware meets the system requirements. According to Apple’s guidelines, the earliest iMac model that supports running Windows 10 is theLate 2012edition with either a 21.5- or 27-inch screen.

If your iMac passes muster for Boot Camp, make sure you have 55 gigabytes of free space on your start-up drive and an empty USB flash drive with a capacity of at least 16 gigabytes. You also need a copy of the 64-bit version of Windows 10, which you can buy as a download or on a USB drive from Microsoft.

Before you start installing Windows 10, make sure your Mac’s software is fully up-to-date and back up your computer just in case something goes awry. If you have not created a partition on the Mac before nor installed Windows on it, go to the Mac’s Applications folder and to the Utilities folder and open the Boot Camp Assistant program to get started.

Windows 10 – Cleanup Tools to recover disk space APR 2017

The Guardian features a beneficial article on DISK CLEANUP tools.  They delete temp and work files no longer needed by Windows 10. It is beneficial to cleanup wasted disk storage monthly and it will also improve performance.

Before we start, I must remind you that you are totally responsible for your own PC and all your personal data. If you are going to run programs that delete files, or worse, you must have everything securely backed up first. Windows 10 includes a backup program that can back up your hard drive and also take a disk image. It’s also a good idea to create recovery media and to make separate copies of irreplaceable data files and family photos.

Windows includes Disk Cleanup and other facilities for reclaiming hard drive space. However, Piriform’s free CCleaner is the quickest and simplest way to delete temporary internet files, old log files and other accumulated junk. Download it from the original source as there are scammers who charge for it.

CCleaner can delete information you want. This includes your browser history, and website details stored in cookies on your hard drive. Before you run it, make sure you know the log-on details and passwords for all your websites, and save the current tabs in all your browsers.  For the best results, reboot your PC and run it before starting any programs that may object to CCleaner deleting their data.

There are other possibilities, such as a runaway media cache, a PC that is creating too many system restore points, or an overgrown Windows search index file (windows.edb). Also, your file system may have been corrupted so it is showing incorrect values. To fix this, run a command prompt as administrator, type in chkdsk C: /f /v /x and schedule a reboot.

Windows 10 – Cortana digital assistant setup tips APR-2017

Venturebeat offers tips for setting up the Cortana digital assistant that might be helpful to inexperienced WIN10 users. There are many excellent YouTube videos that can also help by searching on “Windows 10 training”

Cortana promises to outshine other digital assistance suites by delivering exceptional compatibility with third-party apps. That means we’re not witnessing the full power of the blue-hued digital assistant just yet, but there are still some basic things everyone should set up to get the most out of Cortana

Most of the Cortana program’s essential settings can be configured in Windows 10’s Notebook. Notebook is available from the Start menu when Cortana is running. To access it, start Cortana, click the Windows icon in the bottom left to expand the start menu, and then click the notebook icon, which is located below the home icon on the left of the menu.

The final thing you should do here is enable and configure the “Hey Cortana” feature, which will listen for your voice or respond to anyone’s voice in general. This will allow you to give Cortana verbal commands without clicking or tapping.

Google Chrome – version 62 highlights non-secure sites more prominently

As PC Magazine shares — Google Chrome version 62 will highlight non-secure sites (HTTP) to warn of risks when entering data — as HTTPS encryption is a more secure approach:

Google has favored sites with secure connections, or HTTPS, in its search results since 2014. In January, the company took things up a notch by showing “not secure” labels next to certain websites in Chrome that use an unencrypted HTTP server.

Until now, Chrome has only displayed this label for sites that transmit passwords or process credit card transactions over HTTP instead of the more secure HTTPS. But beginning in October, Chrome will show the warning in two more situations: when users enter any type of data on an HTTP page; and on all HTTP pages people visit in Incognito mode.

Since adding “not secure” notices in Chrome 56, Google has seen a 23 percent reduction in navigations to HTTP pages with password or credit card forms on desktop, Emily Schechter from the Chrome Security Team. Now wrote in a blog post.

Starting with Chrome 62, the browser will show the “not secure” warning when users type any data into HTTP sites. “Passwords and credit cards are not the only types of data that should be private,” Schechter wrote. “Any type of data that users type into websites should not be accessible to others on the network.”

Windows 10 – Desktop customization techniques APR 2017

PC Magazine shares a comprehensive guide for Windows 10 Desktop customization tips.  It includes screen-by-screen directions for both Anniversary & Creators versions.

Your Windows 10 display doesn’t look quite right. Maybe the color is off. Maybe the text is too small (or too large). Maybe the resolution isn’t to your liking. Well, don’t despair. You can customize your display in Windows 10 to make it look just right; resize the text, change the resolution, calibrate the color, and more.

The process for customizing your display varies somewhat depending on your version of Windows 10. If you’re still running a pre-Creators Update version, like the Anniversary Update, you follow one set of steps; Creators Update, which started rolling out in April, requires a different set of steps. You can still accomplish most of steps no matter which flavor of Windows 10 you’re using.

Malware – Hajime IoT botnet has infected 300,000 users

The new Hajime botnet is a new Iot security threat, which has infected 300,000 user as described below.  With peer-to-peer designs, each infected client almost becomes a “server” and researchers are having difficultly finding the true command-and-control servers

The Hajime botnet is nearly 300,000 strong, making it a latent threat nearly as powerful as the notorious Mirai botnet that devastated high-profile websites last fall, leading some to think the internet had been broken. Researchers at Kaspersky Lab came up with the number 297,499, says Igor Soumenkov, principal researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

In some ways Hajime is more impressive than Mirai and may be harder to stop if its creators ever decide to put it to malicious use, says Drew. It uses BitTorrent 2.0 to communicate, he says, making Hajime a peer-to-peer botnet. “Everything is a node and everything is command and control,” Drew says. “It’s very, very difficult to cut the head off.  It will upload a file containing an attack module to one device, and it would spread the file among the rest, Soumenkov says. There aren’t just a few command and control servers to knock out and take the botnet down.

Medical Device Security – Improved protection needed

The primary design of “smart” medical devices is to help patients.  Strong security may weak in some cases.  It was not envisioned that malicious individuals would attempt to hack and take over these devices.  But where security is weak, there is a potential to create dangerous health risks. We are likely to see improving IoT security as a better realization of these risks surface.

Everyone has heard of connected insulin pumps and pace makers, but there are some other connected medical devices that might surprise you. Each of them of course pose a security risk to you and your health. Mandeep Khera, Internet of Things security expert at Arxan, ran through some of these lesser known devices.

And while pacemakers and insulin pumps have received their 15 minutes of fame, there are a myriad of other connected medical “things” that are either already available or in development, Khera said. “Although these things have yet to be maliciously hacked, they could pose a threat in the future. There have been attempts made at hacking various connected devices and it’s only a matter of time before it happens,” he said.

Categories include:

1. Brain implants – Connected brain implants are being used to treat seizures, Parkinson’s, and even OCD

2. Vital monitors – Developments in vital monitoring technology now grant healthcare providers with real-time access

3. Connected medication dispensers – To manage chronic illness effectively, patients must adhere to strict medication recommendations

4. MRI scanners – MRI scanners traditionally require a trained technician to operate machinery and record findings

5. Implantable blood flow sensors – Blood flow sensors are used by medical professionals to monitor trends or changes in blood-flow volumes

6. Smart hospital beds – Through touch-free intelligent and cloud connected monitoring platforms, smart beds present around-the-clock data that can be used to make important decisions regarding patient care.

7. Prosthetic devices – By implementing bluetooth technology into prosthetics, owners can take control of their devices and allow for more seamless operation and use.