DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

October 24, 2017

A Paper That Changed Our World

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:08 am

You know everyone makes mistakes; however, not many make as far reaching a mistake as Bill Burr.  Mr. Burr is the person responsible for the current password guidelines he dispersed and he now says the instruction was wrong.

He authored an eight-page document which was OK’d by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  He also mentioned that, “…the paper wasn’t based on any real-world password data, but rather a paper written in the 1980s.”   Unfortunately, the document he wrote went on to become the Holy Grail of industries around the world.  It made it so that all businesses, governments, etc.  updated their password policies to coincide with this new information.

Password graphicYou know the spiel if you are in the workforce today.   You should have capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers, symbols, nothing related to your date of birth, children’s names, pets’ names and maybe a few more.  And the one that made me the craziest, you must change your password every 90 days and cannot repeat one within a certain time period.

In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal Burr was quoted as saying, “Much of what I did I now regret.”   It went on to say that none of these actually make your passwords that secure.  Especially the, “change it every 90 days” rule.  It was determined in a 2010 study at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill that updating passwords regularly can actually help hackers identify a pattern.  (You know you do it, changing just the last letter, number or symbol of a password you have used for years.)  I read another article stating that if you have never been hacked or noticed any strange happenings regarding your password you should never change one.

Guess what the new rules state?   A better solution is to create a password with four random words.  If you are allowed to do so you should include spaces.  This combo is supposedly harder to crack than the old revered password stylings.  You can even capitalize or use punctuation if you wish.  However, the length of the password is what discourages the hackers not the combination of letters, numbers and/or symbols.  The old rule of thumb about being at least eight characters long seems to be weak too.

So, my new passwords may be something like, “IscoffeeanElephantoraTomato?” or “Is coffee an Elephant or a Tomato?

I do have a couple of thoughts/concerns regarding the past guidelines…which we have found out could be bogus.  “They” always said not to use any word in the dictionary as this was how hackers started with their hacks. However, now it appears that commonly known words are OK.  Huh?  Who said that they should not be used the first time and where was their research documentation?   Is that one true or false?

All I know is that I hope where I work will quickly change the 90-day period between changes – life would be so much easier.

Change my passwords how often?!!!

September 29, 2015

Windows 10, Part 6

Last week we looked at the new Start Menu in Windows 10.  If you read it you know that we only looked at the left side.  Today we venture on to the right side of the menu system in W10.

The right side of the start menu may send shivers of fear down your spine.  If it does you were almost certainly a former Windows 8 or 8.1 user.  It looks awfully familiar to the “Metro” window of those happy days gone by.

Right side of Ron's Start menuThe right side shows you “Tiles” some of which are live/active and some are not.  For instance, it will come with the default live news and weather tiles.  The news will provide a constantly changing “tile” which updates news during the time you are on your computer.  The weather tile will do the same thing with the weather.  This is of course, when you have started the menu.

You must first set up the weather by clicking on the tile to open it and set your location.  I used my zip code and it found everything very quickly.

The regular, non-live tiles have an icon and the name of the program they connect to.  When you click them the program opens.  These are pretty much the same as the old Windows 7 menu that had text links which opened the specific programs.

You can move the tiles around on the start menu, change their sizes to small, medium, wide and large depending on what the tile allows.  You can also group the tiles.  The default is the group with the news and weather titled, “Life at a glance.”

You can also change the size of the menu.  To do this move your mouse to the top or side edge of the menu and when you see the double headed arrow, click and drag.  Doing so will make the menu larger or smaller as you would like. If you would like, you can go to All Settings, Personalization, Start and cut on “Use Start full screen.”  The menu will then cover your desktop.

If you want to add any program to the start menu all you need to do is find the program in the All Apps area, right click it and then click, “Pin to start.”  In just a second it will appear in the start menu and you may then proceed to size and/or move it as you wish.

Now on to, “The reason Ron really does not like the new menu.”  My reason is I like the old menu since I could add my five or 10 apps to the top of the menu bar and get to them quickly.  In my opinion more quickly than I can in the new W10 menu.  I have started using it; however, I just do not appreciate not being able to put items on the left side of the menu as I want them placed.

I have solved this for myself by adding those particular apps to the right side as tiles and setting them at the small tile size.  I do not like the wasted space when compared to text links but it is doable.

One last thing you can do if you really do not want the new menu is to install IObit’sStart Menu 8” (rd.dblclx.com/1LShmDO).  It brings a very similar Windows 7 start menu back to you and worked well on Windows 10 and 8.1 when I tried it out.

Personally I decided to stick with the W10 menu and get used to it, which is working for me so far. Iobit's Start Menu 8 sample

September 22, 2015

Windows 10, Part 5

Starting today we will look at some of the new features found in Windows 10.  The most anticipated addition to Windows 10 (over 8.1) is the Start Menu.  The start menu has had a big change between W8.1 and W10; however, not so great between W7 and W10.  

The start menu is accessed through the Windows button on the left end of the taskbar as it has been for past generations of Windows.  You can also press the actual Windows key on your keyboard to pop up the menu.

There are two major sections of the new menu, left and right…easy so far. 

Ron's current Windows 10 Start MenuThe left side which is a list area has several sections.  From the top down they are User info, "Most used" apps and "Recently added" apps along with several system settings and search.

User info shows your icon and username for your account if you set it up when you installed Windows 10.  If you click it you get, "Change account settings" "Lock" and "Sign out."   Of course, you can use the keyboard combination of Windows key + L to lock your system.  However, in my opinion it should be in the bottom section near Power.  This is where it always was in the past. 

"Most used" and "Recently added" links’ uses are obvious for your applications.  However, unlike previous versions of windows, you cannot add apps you want to have in that side anywhere or in any way.  There have been many complaints about this online so keep your fingers crossed for a "new" old feature.  

The system settings labeled at the lower left have the defaults of File Explorer, Settings, Power and All apps.  File explorer has not changed much from the previous versions.  Settings is basically the old "Control Panel" with a modern new look. You may click the start button and type, "control panel" and still get to the old one if you prefer.  

When you click the Power link/button, Sleep, Shut down or Restart are found.  These have the same uses as previous versions with a new location.

Next you will find "All apps." This is where all your applications are found.  This was named "All Programs" in W7.

If you click All apps you will get an alphabetized list of all the applications installed on your computer.  Use your mouse, touch screen or up/down arrows to scroll the list.  Click on the application you want to run and it runs.  Another quick way to use the new applications list is to click on any the labeled letters in the list. When you do this a table of all letters will appear. To open Excel, for example, click on E and you will jump to all of the applications on your computer which start with E.  Then click the application name for it to open. 

If you cannot see all of the letters move your mouse to the top edge of the start menu.  When you see a double ended arrow click and drag up/down to resize the menu as needed.

Next week we look at the right side and tiles.

 Click a letter to find apps that start with that letter.        Click a letter to jump to alphabet

September 15, 2015

Windows 10, Part 4

Wi-Fi Sense

I will continue giving Windows 10 information for the next few weeks. I have received many questions, concerns and requests. So if you have W10 questions (or any tech questions) keep them coming.

Today I have one new warning which depending on your point-of-view could be bad.

Several weeks ago I wrote about linked accounts with Windows 10, check that column for details. If you set up W10 with a linked account you have a new feature added which is not explained in much detail after your setup.

It is, “Wi-Fi Sense” which is all about sharing. There is “good” and/or “bad” written all over this new feature. For an example, say your best friend from college comes over to your house. You have kept up with each other through a few calls and emails over the years.

Since they are in your Outlook.com address book and you used that account to link W10 they can immediately access your Wi-Fi network.  The good is that you do not have to type in or tell them your 47 digit password for your Wi-Fi.  That is very convenient; however, what if it is someone you do not want to give access to your Wi-Fi?  Pretend you have a friend who, unknown to you, was wanted by the NSA for being a major hacker.  You would then have shared your connection with them.  Farfetched on that last one but you know what I mean.  How about your curious grandkid that you do not want surfing the net unless you are with them?

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