The Gebesse Blog

Thoughts from the world of technology and business

Weekly Buzz – May 18, 2014

Update on ONEseniors
Last week I mentioned that ONEseniors, the company providing phone, Internet, and distress alarm services to around 100,000 older people, had closed down leaving its customers stranded. The good news is that Telstra have said that they will pick up the fixed line services for ONEseniors customers. It must have been a worrying few days for anyone with a critical illness or condition which could have led to an emergency.


Do you use Twitter?
Twitter have just announced that you can download your complete history of tweets, right back to those embarrassing early ones that you would probably prefer to forget. The facility is being rolled out gradually to all users, but as I have it now I assume everyone else in Australia will have it too. To download it, log in to the Twitter web site (you can’t do it through a client program like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck), go to the Settings, scroll down until you see the message below, and click on “Retrieve your archive”. The archive comes as a sort of web site entered through an “index.html” file. The downside of all this is that it demonstrates that Twitter never throws anything away and that means that everything you have ever said there can be discovered with the appropriate court order. While people might think that Twitter with its 140 character messages is something ephemeral you should apply the same rule there as you do anywhere public and online – don’t say anything you might regret later. A rule we all apply religiously, don’t we?


Speaking of Twitter
Everyone forgets passwords, and some of us even lose our phones. Twitter have introduced new features to make password recovery more secure and to check for suspicious logins. This is what they say: “We know some of you occasionally have difficulty accessing your Twitter account, and whatever the circumstances may be, we want you to be able to get back into it quickly and securely. So today we’re starting to roll out two improvements that will help protect your account and restore access: one, a streamlined password reset experience; and two, better identification and blocking of suspicious logins”.
You can read more about this here.


That reminds me
You should get yourself a password manager program. I use LastPass (www.lastpass.com), but a Google search will turn up others. LastPass is designed to store passwords for web sites and can generate a random password for every site you need to visit and then log you in when you open the site. It installs itself in all the usual browsers, and versions are available for Android and iOS so you can carry the list with you. The only password you need to remember is the master one for LastPass, you can make that as obscure and unmemorable as you like, and it is secure because LastPass never transmits it as all authentication is carried out at the user end. And, yes, there is a way to reset it if you forget.


Need lots of backup room?
The only constant in the IT business is change, and generally change to fit more where less went before. Sony have announced the possibility of storing 185 terabytes of data on a single cassette tape. It’s some way away from production yet but it’s a long way from how much we could put on a cassette back when we (or our parents) got their first computers. In a beautiful case of “missing the point”, I saw someone comment that “I/O would be slow”. That’s because these tapes aren’t for loading games onto your old Apple or Commodore or for day-to-day storage – they are for backing up server farms in cloud installations. I would imagine that neither the cassettes nor the required drives will be cheap.


Windows 8.1 hysteria
Microsoft have released two updates for Windows 8 – Windows 8.1 and the recent 8.1 Update. (These seem to be equivalent to the Service Packs released for previous versions of Windows.) There has been some hysteria in the media about problems with 8.1 Update, and the suggestion has been made that Microsoft will no longer be issuing changes through Windows Update to Windows 8.1 unless the later 8.1 Update is installed, effectively making 8.1 an orphan like XP. The story is that Windows 8 and 8.1 Update will still be supported, but not 8.1, with all updates to that edition stopping after May 13. Is that confusing enough? It might be confusing, but it’s not true. The deadline is August 12. In any case, you should be using Windows Update and installing all security patches and service packs

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