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Posted on May 20, 2018 in Newsletter, Welcome | 0 comments

TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 60 – Cool new Windows 10 features and more CPU bugs

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Top Windows Tutorials
TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 60

Hi, welcome to the May 2018 TWT Newsletter.

The weather has suddenly got super hot here in the UK and as I sit typing this newsletter in the garden, I can’t help but wonder how many lovely sunny days we’ll see this year. Should the weather let us down there’s always lots of great activities we can do on our Windows PCs, including exploring the latest Windows 10 update that has just started rolling out. Of course, we’ve got the scoop on the best new features in this months issue.

Important! A number of our subscribers have had difficulty receiving our newsletter. At Top-Windows-Tutorials.com we never send out unsolicited e-mails. To make sure your TWT newsletter reaches your inbox, please add topwindo@top-windows-tutorials.com to your contacts, buddy list or white list.

In this months issue:-

GDPR – How new EU laws help protect your privacy
Windows 10 April 2018 update brings cool new features to your desktop
Tip of the month – Stop recording vertical video!
Free utility of the Month – FileZilla
Windows Store App of the Month – Forza Horizon 3
Another month, another security flaw

GDPR – How new EU laws help protect your privacy

This month, a new European law comes into force called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). GDPR tightens laws surrounding how companies can use and store your personal information. Everything from e-mail addresses to financial details. Like every business in the EU, we’ve had to review our own practises due to GDPR and we want to tell you, our loyal readers, how we use your data.

We’re a small business and don’t have our own legal department or anything that flash, but we firmly believe we are compliant with GDPR and for the most part at least, always have been.

When you sign up to the TWT Newsletter, you must do so by a double opt-in system. That means, you must sign up on our website, which sends you an e-mail. This e-mail contains a link which must be clicked to confirm your subscription. This has been widely regarded as best practise for some time and it’s the system we’ve always used.

Our mailing list is only EVER used to send you the TWT Newsletter. We have not and will not ever sell this information to a third party. We promise to only send the TWT Newsletter once a month and no other e-mails without your explicit consent.

Our system stored the contact e-mail addresses of people who wrote into the site, and also of users who filled in only the first part of the opt-in form for the newsletter and the e-mail addresses of users who unsubscribed from the newsletter. These details were never used for anything, ever, they simply remained on file. As part of our GDPR clean up, these details will be purged from our site database.

More astute readers may have noticed that ACEL Systems (our company name) changed to ACEL Systems Limited last year. However, this doesn’t mean we’ve sold the site to another party, it’s still exactly the same team here.

Remember – You can review our privacy policy here. If you ever want to unsubscribe from the newsletter, simply use this link.

Windows 10 April 2018 update brings cool new features to your desktop

Another Windows 10 update? You betcha, Microsoft shows no sign of slowing down with yet another new feature update for the new operating system. The update officially launched on the 30th of April 2018, which means it is rolling out at the moment. You may already have it on your PC or it may start to install soon.

So what’s new this time? While the creators update focused on adding features that content creators could use, this update adds a few new features to make general use of Windows that bit easier and more fun. The “Timeline” feature is, thus far, one of the most talked about features. Replacing the boring Task View in Windows 10, you can now see not only the apps that are currently running, but a timeline of the activities and apps you ran on your PC during your current session. The picture below shows the feature in action. 

Not only that, but for busy multi-taskers, timeline can work with other PCs and even mobile devices too. The idea is, you might work on a document from your phone on the train, then when you get home you can pick right up on your PC. Of course, in order to do this you will need to send information on what apps you have been using to the cloud, but this is entirely optional. To take full advantage of this, an app must support the feature too.

We’re big fans of PushBullet here at TWT HQ, and now Windows 10 has its own push or share feature built in. Near Share lets you share files, web links and other snippets to nearby PCs, either via BlueTooth or WiFi. As long as both PCs have BlueTooth or are on the same WiFi network, sharing is as easy as tapping the share button and selecting the PC you want to send the data to. No more e-mailing those cat video links to your spouse when she’s sitting right next to you on the sofa. Assuming of course, you’re both using Windows devices, otherwise you will probably want to stick with PushBullet for your file sharing needs.

Microsoft Edge also gets a bunch of new features in this update. One of the most interesting is support for what Microsoft calls “progressive web apps”. What on earth is a progressive web app? This is a buzz word for a new kind of website that acts as if it was a native app on your PC. At the moment, using a website like Gmail for your e-mail can feel a little more clunky than using a dedicated e-mail app such as Thunderbird, which is why most heavy e-mail users tend to still use an app for their e-mail. Progressive web apps will attempt to address this, making web based tasks as easy and fast as native desktop applications, at least in theory.

Other improvements to Edge include a new “clutter free” printing mode. This helps save ink and paper by removing banners, adverts and other superfluous page elements that you wouldn’t want on your hard copy. There is a new auto-fill option that speeds up submitting information into web forms and the ability to mute a tab, great for those all to common auto-playing video files. 

Font (typeface) management has also seen some upgrades in this latest Windows update. Font preferences are now available in the modern Settings app rather than just on the control panel. New fonts can even be purchased in the store, because it’s always great to have another way to part us with our money.

Other improvements include faster, more reliable BlueTooth pairing, improvements to the People app, HDR video support, Multi-GPU (graphics chip) tweaks and further improvements and enhancements to privacy and app permissions.

Overall the April update brings some exciting and welcome new features to the OS, without being terribly disruptive or requiring a great deal of re-learning. There are some things we need to warn you about, firstly, HomeGroup, the easy home networking feature, has officially been retired. If you use this feature you will need to migrate to standard Windows file sharing. Secondly, some users have reported issues with Google Chrome running on the latest update. Microsoft are already working on fixes of course and this is likely to be resolved fairly quickly.

How to get the April update

The April Windows 10 update will download automatically. As with other big Windows 10 updates, rather than everyone getting the update at the same time, the update will instead be sent to a number of users each day, until everyone is upgraded. If you want to jump the queue, first check your PC for updates manually, then visit the website here (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10) and use the “update now” button. While the update process should go smoothly, it’s still not a bad idea to take a backup of your PC, using a tool like Macrium Reflect, before starting this process.

Tip of the month – Stop recording vertical video!

Once upon a time, having a high definition camera and video camera in almost everyone’s pocket would have seemed like something out of a science fiction movie, but now, smartphones are so ubiquitous that we almost take it for granted that we can snap pictures and record videos wherever we are.

The next time your cat or dog does something funny, or you simply must record that moment from the office party, or that tranquil scene on your walking holiday, don’t make the mistake of holding your phone vertically! Remember, hold your phone horizontally when you record!

There are two main reasons why vertical video is a bad idea. First of all, consider your eyes. Human eyes are arranged horizontally, or side by side. We see in widescreen, that is, we see more sideways than we do vertically. Watching a video that has a longer width than height appears more natural than watching a vertical video.

Secondly, while you might not anticipate it at the time, showing off your video masterpiece might be easy on your smartphone, but if you take it to your PC, or to your television, a vertical video will look quite out of place when played on a regular monitor or TV. Watching a tiny strip squashed in the middle of a TV is a lot less fun. Even if you only anticipate playing the video on your phone, it’s easy to rotate your phone to watch a video, not so easy to rotate a television.

So remember, no to vertical video. Otherwise, who knows, technology companies may start trying to sell us vertical television sets.

Free Utility of the Month – FileZilla

It’s entirely possible you might go your whole life never needing to know what FTP is, or needing an FTP app. If you start to dabble in making your own website, however, you will probably find that you do then need one. FTP stands for “File Transfer Protocol” and it’s usually a way of copying files across the internet, often from your PC to a web host.

Should you ever need to do this, FileZilla is a free FTP program that has been around for many years and works with any FTP site you’re ever likely to encounter. You can read more or download the program by clicking here.

Windows Store App of the Month – Forza Horizon 3

Got yourself a fancy new PC and looking for something to play on it? Check out this amazing driving/racing game from Playground Games and  Turn 10 Studios. If you ever wanted to drive exotic cars around Australia, with scant regard for traffic laws, now’s your chance. A huge open world full of races and challenges awaits you in this triple A racing game title. You can even race your friends across Xbox Live (subscription is required).

If your PC is up to the task, Forza Horizon 3 will give you many hours of fun. Buy it on the Windows Store and you can also play it on your Xbox One console at no additional cost. Click here to check it out.

Another month, another security flaw

You may have heard of the Meltdown and Spectre bugs. These nasty little mistakes in the design of modern CPUs make it possible for attackers to access data that should remain hidden and confidential Remember back in the January 2018 newsletter we talked about how your PC might be getting slower, thanks to fixes for these security vulnerabilities in modern computer processors? Seems like the research done into the so-called Meltdown, Spectre and Ryzenfall CPU vulnerabilities has opened up a pandora’s box of new, previously unknown security problems.

Eight new CPU flaws have recently been discovered, ranging in seriousness from trivial to severe. German tech news magazine c’t first broke the news about the eight CPU related bugs. The vulnerabilities range in severity from trivial to critical. One of the bugs is believed to enable an attacker to break through a “virtual” machine into the underlying operating system. Virtual Machines are a way of running a PC on a PC, they’re often used servers on the internet to ensure that one users resources are completely partitioned from anothers. By breaking out of this “sandbox”, an attacker could read private or sensitive information from another virtual machine or the host operating system.

Right now, there’s nothing extra you need to do in reaction to these flaws. Microsoft and Intel are already working on mitigations and, like always, we can hope that no bad guys have actually got their hands on a way to weaponize this particular threat.

The news of the new vulnerabilities followed news earlier in the month that some of the early patches for Meltdown and Spectre on Windows actually made things worse, rather than better, by introducing bugs of their own. Microsoft were quick to fix these problems but again it shows how difficult a definitive fix for these issues is proving to be.

It seems we’re in for a turbulent year of patches, new bugs and vulnerabilities and security scares. As always, the best thing to do is keep your computer up to date and always use the latest version of your web browser.  

That concludes the newsletter for May. On behalf of everyone here at Top-Windows-Tutorials, I’d like to thank you all for your continuing support. The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th June 2018 and will bring you more tips, tricks and techniques to help you get the best out of your PC, be it Windows 7,  Windows 8 or Windows 10. We hope that you found this newsletter informative and useful. If you did not then please let us know why, you can contact us by visiting this page. If you have enjoyed this newsletter, feel free to pass it on to all your friends and family, or better still encourage them to sign up for their own copy. Until next month, keep checking Top-Windows-Tutorials.com, and enjoy happy, safe and stress-free computing!

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