Category Archives: News

Current events and developments happening with the Internet.

Tech Support Is Easier with a Copilot

Sooner or later, everyone needs help for their computer, or has been called upon by someone – parent, child, sibling, co-worker, or friend – to lend technical assistance for some problem too difficult for the other party to solve. Many times, advice must be given from far away, which can greatly compound the difficulties. And even if you’re quite familiar with the type and model of machine, it can be very frustrating trying to deal with computer problems entirely over the phone. Wouldn’t it be much easier for the helper to actually see the screen, and do whatever needs to be done from the person’s own desktop? Now there’s an online site that can allows just that: Copilot Remote Assistance. This handy tool grants the person giving tech support over the phone the ability to actually log into the recipient’s machine remotely. The supporter can actually drive the other device, moving the mouse and typing on the keyboard, while the recipient watches. No more long descriptions, having to go back a step, etc. Copilot is available to everyone for a small fee, but it’s free for our customers’ computers. Our techs often rely on it. So if you as a member need help, call SWCP Tech Support to get a special invitation code to start a session. After talking it over with the technician, you’ll have to download software for your recent Windows or Mac machine for Copilot to work, … Continue reading

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Superfish Troubles Continue

The March 2015 Portal just came out. It’s all about Superfish, adware preinstalled on certain Lenovo laptops, supposedly to enhance user choices and options while shopping. But the software breaks the basic protections embedded in TLS and the digital certificate system that are vital to online commerce. Superfish, to paraphrase our Vice President Jamii Corley, is like a salesman so pushy that he breaks all the locks on your house in his eagerness to enter and leaves them broken so that anybody else, salesman or impersonator, can get in. Another way of looking at it is that Superfish forged the seals on the documents that make sure the party you’re talking to is the one intended, rendering the whole system worthless. Either way, it smells. It’s such a dangerous threat that the Department of Homeland Security has recommended it be removed ASAP. However, it turns out it’s not that easy. Lenovo claims to have stopped installing it on their computers, but some are still being shipped. And while Lenovo has published removal instructions, it turns out that their method leaves the application and libraries intact. Fortunately, there are other options.  First of all, there’s a simple online test to see if your brand-new laptop is affected. And here’s Lenovo’s list of models that “may be” infected. It may prove safer, if more complicated, to remove it by hand. Some commercial software antivirus programs offer removal tools available for those less technically oriented. … Continue reading

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Is Google Getting Too Big?

Google, the most widely-used search engine on Earth, is involved in much more than noting LOLcat links. It has both gobbled up products and services and come up with its own, ranging from a host of online tools to physical products like Android smartphones and even driverless cars. Their product list features no less than 47 categories of online services, 7 just under “Specialized Search”. Despite the occasional misstep like Google Glass, it’s been an amazing success story. However, recent developments may cause some wondering at the extent of the company’s influence and ambition. In Europe, for instance, Google has been under investigation for 4 years for antitrust violations. Complaints have come from publishers in Germany and in Spain, as well as Microsoft Europe and travel sites, including Expedia and TripAdvisor in the US. CEO Eric Schmidt is set to visit next week to work things out. The stakes are quite high; the company could be fined billions of dollars. He also needs to address the raft of complaints on privacy violations. Europe’s “digital czar”, Günther Oettinger, recently fired off a blast at Google and Facebook, warning of the US giants’ exploiting Europeans by harvesting and selling their personal data. He called for a single European-wide law to protect their data privacy, and has spoken ominously of taxing American companies operating there. Investigation into antitrust charges has also begun in Russia after a complaint from a native search engine company. … Continue reading

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