The End Of EBooks Bought From Microsoft

Microsoft ebooks are coming to an end. If you bought ebooks through Microsoft’s online store, you’re losing (or have already lost) your library.

The service was first launched back in 2017 and relied on the use of a web browser rather than a dedicated app. Sadly, it failed to build a significant audience. Therefore, in April, Microsoft warned customers about this after giving up any ambitions of making its Surface computers a popular choice on which to read novels and textbooks.

Microsoft ebooks couldn’t dethrone Amazon’s Kindle

You may not know this, but Microsoft predates Amazon in this industry by a whopping seven years.

The MSReader format was launched in 2000. It was part of an alliance with the retailer Barnes and Noble. But along with rival efforts by Palm and the French firm Mobipocket, there was little interest.

Undeterred, it tried to get back into the market again in 2012 as part of a second tie-up with B&N. However, that also struggled, and the partnership came to an end in 2014.

You may not be aware Microsoft made a third run at the industry. However, experts say the cut-off serves as a reminder that you do not own a copy of most digital purchases outright. Instead, you have purchased a licence that can expire.

“The fact is that you don’t own e-books when you buy them with DRM [digital rights management] from Amazon or anywhere else,” commented Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group.

“Technical controls through DRM are said to reduce unauthorised copying, but what they are really for is putting Amazon or Microsoft in charge of the e-book ecosystem.” An organisation called Defective by Design, however, maintains a list of ways to buy or otherwise legally download content that is not bound by such restrictions.

What does this mean for Microsoft customers?

What does it mean for all those titles you bought through Microsoft? Well, any purchases or titles offered for free will no longer be available.  However, out-of-pocket users are offered refunds, including a $25 (£20) credit if they made highlights or notes, which will also be lost.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

Source: BBC

Using Read Aloud In Microsoft Word

Did you know that Microsoft Word can read aloud to you?

This speak function was added way back in 2003 and is simple to use and set up. You can add the speak command to your Quick Access Toolbar, or you can select the Read Aloud command.

Adding the Speak button

Follow these simple steps to add the Speak button to your Quick Access Toolbar:

  1. Click the Customize arrow on the Quick Access Toolbar
  2. From the dropdown menu, select More Commands
  3. On the Word Options screen >Customize the Quick Access Toolbar, locate the Choose Commands From box and scroll down to the Speak command
  4. Select the Speak command, click the Add button in the middle of the screen, then click OK
  5. Word adds the Speak command to the Quick Access Toolbar at the end, and you’re ready to go

All you then have to do is make sure your system’s speakers are switched on, highlight a paragraph of text, and click Speak.

Word reads any text that’s highlighted. To read the whole document, press Ctrl+A. There is no pause and continue option, so click the button to start reading and then again to stop.

Read Aloud command

The main benefit of Read Aloud over Speak is that you don’t have to highlight the text (place your cursor where you want to start reading and click Read Aloud). Plus, when you stop (i.e. clicking the Read Aloud button a second time), and then start again it picks up from where you left off. In effect, it gives you the pause feature not available with Speak.

To use Read Aloud select the Review tab > Read Aloud button.

The actual settings for your Speak preferences are in the Windows Control Panel:

  1. Click Start > Windows System > Control Panel
  2. Select Ease of Access > Speech Recognition > Text to Speech, and the Speech Properties dialogue window opens on the Text to Speech tab
  3. Under Voice Selection, choose MS David Desktop for a male voice or MS Zira Desktop for a female voice
  4. Click the Preview button to listen to each voice, then make your selection
  5. Use the slider under Voice Speed to adjust the pace (slow, normal, or fast) of the reader
  6. Click the Audio Output button to define the Sound preferences
  7. Click the Advanced button to select or change the output device

 

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

Source: PCWorld

Windows Media Player Will No Longer Show Data

Microsoft has said Windows Media Player (WMP) would soon stop showing new info about songs and films in Windows 7, in what some analysts say is a cynical attempt to encourage people to upgrade to Windows 10.

This is what the Microsoft website has to say about Windows Media Player:

Going forward, you may be unable to view information (metadata) such as the title, genre, and artist for songs, and the director, actors, and cover art for movies in Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player. After looking at customer feedback and usage data, Microsoft decided to discontinue this service. This means that new metadata won’t be updated on media players that are installed on your Windows device. However, any information that’s already been downloaded will still be available.

This change doesn’t affect any major media player functionality such as playback, navigating collections, media streaming, and so forth. Only secondary features that require downloading of new metadata are potentially affected.

The change also affects Windows Media Centre in Windows 7 and 8.1.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

Microsoft’s Security Chief Says Ditch Internet Explorer

It’s not every day you hear the security chief of Microsoft telling you not to use one of its products. However, today isn’t any old day. Today is the day you’re urged not to use Internet Explorer.

In the words of Chris Jackson, Microsoft’s security chief, Internet Explorer is outdated and shouldn’t be used as a main web browser.

Is Internet Explorer is outdated?

Developers no longer test their work on it, instead preferring more modern browsers. This causes problems for people who do use it.

Microsoft is well aware that many firms still rely on IE. Their websites use the deep programming behind it. According to Mr Jackson, this won’t affect the running of the sites. However, IE is now merely a ‘compatibility solution.’

What supersedes Internet Explorer?

Back in 2015, Microsoft launched a successor to IE called Edge, but it struggled and failed to capture the imagination of users.

The software giant now plans to adopt technology from Google Chrome.

If you are still using IE, one word of warning, from 2020 IE11 will be the only version to get security updates.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages. If you have any questions about Internet Explorer, please get in touch.

Microsoft Releases A Free Version of Teams

Have you heard of Microsoft Teams?

It’s a collaboration platform that combines workplace chat, meetings, notes, and attachments. Used by hundreds of thousands of business across the world, it integrates with the company’s Office 365 subscription office productivity suite.

However, the good news is that a free version has now been released by Microsoft.

The program brings together chat, meetings, calling, files and apps in a shared workspace. It will be available in 40 languages for up to 300 people.

What can Mircospft’s Team do for you?

Teams is a complete chat and online meetings solution. You can host audio, video, and web conferences, and chat with anyone inside or outside your organisation.

It makes teamwork easy. For example, you can co-author and share files with popular Office 365 apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint, and Power BI.

Integrate apps from Microsoft and third-party partner services to tailor your process, increasing teamwork and productivity.

Plus when paired with Phone System, Calling Plan, and/or Direct Routing, Office 365 provides a full business calling experience in Teams on a global scale.

Now the free version is here it’s well worth a look.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages.

Microsoft Adds Ransomware Protection To OneDrive

OneDrive ransomware protection

 

OneDrive Ransomware Protection

Here’s a scenario for you.

You know all about ransomware and how it can affect your computer. But did you realise it can also spread to your files stored in the cloud?

Microsoft does, which is why it’s creating some new OneDrive protections.

As a result, you can now ‘roll back’ the files stored in OneDrive to versions stored up to a month ago. This helps you get back to a point before the malware infection occurred.

Better still, it will use its automated threat-detection system. This figures out when the ransomware began infecting those files. You then get an alert, via your phone, so let you know that an infection has taken place.

What’s the catch?

You have to subscribe to Office 365, although the Outlook protections aren’t yet available to the Office 365 version of Outlook.

How does it work?

According to a recent article in PCWorld.com:

“What’s new is that Microsoft has adapted its Files Restore capability—previously only for OneDrive for Business—and brought it into Office 365 subscriptions for home users. Not only will Microsoft detect an attack, but you’ll be notified by any channels that Microsoft would normally use to send you messages: email, a popup notification, and more.

“Then, you’ll be able to enter OneDrive and essentially “roll back” to an earlier day. You’ll want to pick a day before Microsoft alerted you about the attack, naturally.

“Microsoft has also taken security within Outlook a step further: Now you can password-protect links to folders or files. That’s handy: Previously, there was really no real way to protect links to files or folders from being shared to anyone. Both the ransomware detection and link protections are available starting Thursday, Microsoft said.

“If you are concerned about those links being forwarded, Microsoft has begun to address that, too. In Outlook.com, you now have the option of encrypting a file or preventing it from being forwarded, or both simultaneously.”

 

 

 

Even Old Windows Server Machines Can Fend of Hacks

Windows Server 2003

 

Microsoft wants you to upgrade your business onto the latest Windows OSes that offer security patches because, if you’re running a Windows Server 2003 machine, you’re doomed.

Sound advice, but many large institutions (such as those in healthcare and manufacturing) can’t upgrade because they rely on legacy software that won’t run on modern operating systems.

It costs an enormous amount to upgrade, especially when the machines are fine and it’s just the Server that’s the issue.

However, all is not lost because there are some things you can do to keep your old Windows Server 2003 secure.

Network segmentation and monitoring

Network segmentation goes beyond placing vulnerable servers behind a firewall.

By restricting access to your most critical servers, and making sure only system admins can control them, you’re reducing the network hackers can access should they breach your firewall.

It’s not a costly exercise, and Enterprise internet routers often have access control features that can limit which computers can talk to what. It’s also wise to monitor vulnerable servers (especially if carrying critical information) for any unusual traffic.

Application whitelisting

Whitelisting works by allowing only trusted applications to run on your computer.

It’s the opposite approach to antivirus products that blacklist malicious programs based on known indicators.

Backup sensitive data

Hopefully, you’re already doing this, but backing up important data stored in your machines will help. Particularly with the growing popularity of ransomware that infects your computer and encrypts all the data within it, which will only be freed once a ransom is paid.

The best option

Although these ideas will help, the best solution is still to upgrade.

Yes, it will be costly in the short-term, but that investment will help the long-term security of your data and reputation of your business.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: pcworld

Should You Use Chrome or Microsoft Edge?

Chrome or Edge?

 

Are you using Google Chrome?

Have you noticed a few notifications over the last few months in your Windows updates?

Microsoft is trying its hardest to sell its rival browser, Microsoft Edge, by telling you your current browser is rubbish.

The pop-up ad you’ve been seeing appears in Windows 10’s Action Centre whenever you open Google Chrome. It states: ‘Chrome is draining your battery faster’ and encourages you to switch to Microsoft Edge for longer usage times.

It’s easy to turn these off if you want to by heading to Settings, then System, then click Notifications & Actions from the side bar on the left. From there, scroll to ‘Get tips, tricks and suggestions as you use Windows’ and flick the switch to off. Windows should then keep its ”suggestions” to itself.

But is Google Chrome draining our battery?

The simple answer is yes. It is one of the worst browsers for battery life, reportedly lasting three hours less than Edge.

The problem with switching to Edge is that it has a real shortage of extensions; nowhere near the range that you can have running simultaneously on Chrome. Of course, if you’re not running any extensions you’ll probably find Edge will run faster and as Windows reminds us, run for longer.
 

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: Transcendit

Do You Want More Control Over When Windows 10 Installs Updates?

Windows 10 upgrades

You spoke. Microsoft listened.

That’s not something that happens every day, but Microsoft is canny enough to realise its priority has to be keeping its customers happy.

Following user feedback, the software giant has finally taken notice of the complaints that it’s been receiving since Windows 10 made its debut. These are mainly levelled at how the OS grabs control of their PC to install updates and upgrades, usually at inconvenient times.

In a report by Computerworld, Microsoft has announced it will offer customers more options for installing, and delaying, monthly security updates and once to twice a year feature upgrades.

Starting with the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update release, Microsoft will give users notifications once an update or upgrade has been downloaded and offer them the ability to install right away or hit “snooze,” which will postpone the update install for three days.

These new options apply to all Windows 10 editions. Administrators, however, will only be able to push policy-based delays in the Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions of Windows 10.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: Spiceworks

Have You Installed the Emergency Flash Patch?

emergency flash patch

 

As a PC user, you rely on Microsoft’s regular patch updates to make sure your system works smoothly and remains secure.

Adobe and Microsoft release Flash Player updates at about the same time to limit the number of vulnerable users, but in February something went wrong.

We’re not sure what because Microsoft is keeping tight-lipped, but for some reason, the software giant cancelled it’s usual Patch Tuesday that month.

As a result, a critical security fix has been released to resolve the problem with Adobe’s Flash Player on:

  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 RE
  • Windows RT 8.1
  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2016

According to The Verge:

“The patch requires a restart, and fixes a problem that could lead to remote code execution. It’s a serious issue, so check Windows Update and install the patch immediately.”

Check your patches

Historically it’s been shown that attackers analyse Flash Player updates to find vulnerabilities, which are then used to attack the users who haven’t patched their systems.

That’s why it’s important to double-check whether you have downloaded the patch.

If you haven’t, your whole system is at risk.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: Spiceworks