Why I Ultimately Dumped my Surface Pro 3

There comes a time when enough, is just enough…

Surface pro 3

Its hard to know where to start with this one.  I’ve been a Windows guy for so long – nearly 20 years – that in the end… I feel like I abandoned my post, or something.  However, there comes a time when you know you’ve fought the good fight and that you just can’t fight any more. I never thought I would ever say this, but personally, I really think I’m done with Windows and Windows 10. So much so, that I’ve sold my Surface Pro 3.

Over the past year, I’ve written a bit on how much of a problem OneNote and Windows 10 can be together. Funny thing is, I thought it was limited to Office 2013.  Unfortunately, its not.

Even with OneNote 2016 ink still disappears on all Surface Pro tablets running both Windows 10 and OneNote.

I’ve also noticed that while things should be getting more and more stable on Windows 10, they aren’t.  They just aren’t.  Not on my Surface Pro 3.

And to be quite honest, I was willing to live with it. I was going to figure out some way to work through it. I wasn’t going to be easy, but I was resigned to it, in a sense.

That is until I found this thread.

This is not going to end during the life cycle of this device. Period.

The problem exists on the Surface Pro 4. Though it’s a bit different, it’s the same type of problem.

It became clear to me after reading through that thread, that its not going to end. So… I sold my Surface Pro 3. What have I replaced it with?

Nothing yet.

Honestly, I’m not certain what I should do at this point.

The Surface Pro line is proving to be a bit unstable and honestly, unreliable for what I need it to do.  Its also a bit more expensive than I want or need it to be.  I am looking for a way to take hand written, notes in meetings.  The Surface Pro 3 was perfect for that, to a point. It ran OneNote 2013 well enough.

So why not return my Surface Pro 3 to Windows 8.1?  That’s a fair question…

There are really two big issues here:

  1. Windows 8.1 is Clumsy
    Windows 8.1 still has the Windows 8 UI. While there are apps like Start8 and ModernMix that can help hide some of the issues and problems; but its really just a coat of paint for both the Start Screen and ModernUI based apps, nothing more.
  2. Windows 10 isn’t Going Away
    Microsoft is getting aggressive with Windows 10. Their Windows 10 upgrade stub that installs as part of a Windows Update component.  While you can defer it for a while, its going to do its best to assert itself on your computer. I’m not entirely certain you can say no forever. I may be wrong – I hope I am – but it may be true.The OS has been downloading to computers without the consent of their owners. It could install itself overnight, also without their consent.

I thought long and hard about just taking my Surface Pro 3 back to Windows 8.1 and just using Office 2013 or Office 2016 (and ultimately OneNote) there. However, in the end, I decided against that, largely because of number 2, above.

So, out the door it went.  I just wasn’t willing to deal with its problems and issues any longer. I had had enough.

At the end, when I went to take my Surface Pro 3 back to Factory fresh with Windows 10, I had all sorts of trouble, too. Windows 10 would not reset itself on my Surface Pro 3.  Most of the time, it prepped itself and then simply restarted and went back to my Windows 10 account. When I tried to use the Advanced Restart Settings – which booted to the UEFI where you can also refresh, reset and even wipe the drive if you wanted – my Surface Pro 3 froze when trying to reset itself… more than once (I know because it sat at that screen for over three hours each time I tried. I tried three times…).

I had to pull the Windows 8.1 recovery USB I made many months ago and use it; and even then, it wasn’t smooth sailing with that either. I had trouble resetting the device with that too. I had to try ore than once with it, and then ultimately I had to wipe the drive to get MY data off when it sold.

What does this mean for you?

Probably not too much, unless you’re having similar ink and stability issues with Windows 10 on your Surface Pro device (the thread that I’ve been referencing with disappearing ink has a couple posts in it which indicate that it also happens with the original Surface Pro and the Surface Pro 2 as well).

If you are, then you have some kind of decision to make – either put up with it, stay on or move back to Windows 8.1, or sell yours, like I did.

Do you have a Surface Pro device?  Are you having issues with disappearing ink?  Is yours unstable?  Are you using Windows 8.1 or Windows 10? Are you using Office 2013 or Office 2016? Why don’t you meet me in the discussion area below and give me your thoughts on this and tell me what you think you’re going to do?

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Microsoft Releases Windows 10 Build 10576 to Fast Ring Insiders

The latest build of Windows 10 has been issued. Here’s what it’s got…


If you’ve been following me over the past year, you know that I’ve been a Microsoft Windows 10 Insider since the first released build of Windows 10 to Insiders back in October of 2014. Over the past year or so, there’s been a boat load of new builds released to the Fast Ring. Some have been good.  Others… not so good.

While the jury is still out on the quality of Windows 10 Build 10576, it is the next item up for bids…

New Features

  • Media Casting in Microsoft Edge: You can now use Microsoft Edge to cast video, picture, and audio content from your browser to any Miracast and DLNA enabled device on your network. Please note: Casting protected content (content from places like Netflix and Hulu) is not supported.
  • Ask Cortana inside PDFs in Microsoft Edge: You can now highlight text while reading a PDF in Microsoft Edge and right-click to “Ask Cortana” to find additional information.
  • Updated Xbox beta app for Windows 10: The Xbox beta app for Windows 10 was updated last Friday which includes the ability to easily find and add Facebook friends who are also on Xbox Live to play, chat, and share clips – a top requested feature. In addition to that new feature, voiceover recording functionality has been added to Game DVR, and the Store in the Xbox beta app will allow you to search for and purchase Xbox One games – including Games with Gold and Deals with Gold promotions, and Xbox One 25-digit codes will be redeemable within the app.


  • We fixed the issue where the Xbox app for Windows 10 would consume gigabytes of memory on your PC if you have any Win32 games (non -Windows Store games) installed on your PC that have been identified as games or added by you in the Xbox app.
  • We introduced an early preview of nested virtualization so that people could run Hyper-V Containers in Hyper-V virtual machines with Build 10565. This build includes performance improvements.
  • We’ve been addressing a lot of feedback around localization text UI in various languages and you’ll see a lot of that work in this build.
  • The search box should now work in this build if you are in a locale where Cortana is not available.

Known Issues:

  • To continue receiving missed call notifications and send texts from Cortana, you will need to be on this build and higher. We’ve made a change that improves this experience that requires newer builds.
  • When notifications pop up from Action Center, any audio playing (like music from Groove, or videos from the Movies & TV app) gets reduced by 75% for a period of time.
  • After upgrading to this build, all your Skype messages and contacts are gone in the Messaging app. The workaround for this is to navigate to this folder in File Explorer:
  • C:\Users\<USERNAME>\AppData\Local\Packages\
  • Microsoft.Messaging_8wekyb3d8bbwe\LocalCache
  • Delete or rename the “PrivateTransportId” file.
  • Then restart the Messaging app.
  • Small form-factor devices, like the Dell Venue 8 Pro, that boot with rotation or virtual mode screen size set larger than the physical screen size will experience a bluescreen on upgrade and will roll back to the previous build.
  • After upgrading to this build, the power button on your Surface Pro 3 may no longer put your Surface Pro 3 to sleep and instead shut down.
  • WebM and VP9 have been temporarily removed from builds. We continue to develop a VP9 implementation that we intend to ship in Windows. Expect VP9 to return soon in a future build.


I give top marks to the Windows 10 Team here. They’re really trying to get this thing ready for release. They’ve also had a number of different quality and stability (as well as privacy) issues to deal with. Not everyone, myself included, is happy with the current state of Windows 10, either in a released or prerelease state.

It still need a great deal of work.

It’s still not ready… though it’s slightly better than it was.

However, it’s clear that there are still a number of issues with Windows 10’s update mechanism – Windows Update – still… especially on a Surface Pro device and especially when it comes to firmware updates.

I know that I’m not the only one that continually sees the download of firmware or hardware updates for their Surface Pro device.  They can get repeated many, many times in both failed and successful installs.

The biggest problem here is that my Surface Pro 3 very rarely actually runs through the firmware update process.  Yes, Windows Update restarts my Surface Pro 3; but it doesn’t always update the firmware, even if it hasn’t been applied (or truly updated) on the device.  And before anyone asks, yes, it has actually reapplied a firmware update more than once, though more often than not, it just redownloads the firmware update, SAYS that it’s going to reinstall it, doesn’t finish the firmware update, but lists the reapplication as successful anyway.

Go figure…

Are you (still) on the Windows 10 Insider Fast Ring?  Have you been installing all the updates?  Have you installed the latest build, Build 10576?  What do you think of the current state of Windows 10?  Why don’t you meet me in the Discussion area below and give me your thoughts on these and other Windows 10 related issues. I’d love to hear them…

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UPDATE – OneNote 2013 and Windows 10 – Potentially Lethal

It’s been a long time coming, but there finally seems to be light at the end of the tunnel…

onenote and windows 10

I’ve been using the Surface Pro 3 at the office since December of 2014.  Prior to that, I used a Surface Pro 1 for a couple of years. It was the best and easiest way to really organize work at the office; and I say this to any and everyone who asks why I use it:

  1. It’s the best digital notepad (with OneNote) I’ve ever been to find and use
  2. With OneNote on the web and/ or OneNote’s sync capabilities, you have access to your notes nearly everywhere you have a device with internet access
  3. Paper notepads, notebooks and portfolios get lost. You’re never going to leave a tablet in a conference or meeting room (they’re too expensive to forget)

It’s a nearly flawless system, and it’s one of the best out there. Other software and hardware tools just don’t have the same capabilities or use cases due to one limitation or another.

When the Surface Pro 3 was released, I knew it was worth the upgrade from my Surface Pro 1, so off it went toGazelle, and over to the Microsoft Store I went.  While Windows 8.1 wasn’t as optimal a notebook experience as I wanted, and while (in my opinion) Windows still doesn’t know if it wants to be a desktop or tablet OS (even with Windows 10); with either Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 (and the right utilities, like Start8  from Stardock Software) it can still be a very productive tool in either an corporate or academic setting.

Until, however, you move to Windows 10 and you bump into the problems I mentioned in March of 2015.  The Disappearing Ink Bug is a huge problem for users of the Surface Pro 3.

It completely negates nearly all the value out of the device.

The reliability of the inking system is nearly gone. You never know when you’re going to lose anything you’ve written down, as the bug is completely random, and in end, you’re left with two very real choices – downgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 8.1 or take your chances with Windows 10, the bug, and maybe you lose some notes or maybe you don’t.

Well, I have a bit of an update for you.  There appears to be, what may be, a final fix for this problem.  There are two very active threads on this issue over at the Microsoft Support Community (here and here).

Microsoft has released KB3093266 in response to disappearing ink on the Surface Pro 3 running Windows 10.  This cumulative update addresses not only disappearing ink, but tap becomes right click as well.  Both of these issues were contributing factors to the conditions being experienced (where ink would vanish in OneNote on a Surface Pro 3 running Windows 10).

The cumulative update available via Windows Update on your Windows 10 PC, may take a while to appear on your Windows 10 PC. Like all Windows Updates, Microsoft rolls them out in batches.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had it show up for me yet.

However, one really good point came up out of (this support thread. I wish that I could take credit for it, but I really can’t.  Credit for that goes to Clayton Dittman

“Can you possibly tell the Windows OS team to check with the surface team and tell the surface team to check with your team before releasing an Operating System which breaks core functionality of your Staple Devices?

I cannot in good conscious use a Surface (Pro or not) again because of the way this migration to Windows 10 was handled in lieu of Office 2016 and the Surface Pro 4.

I want to trust Windows, I want to depend on you guys for quality control and solutions my customers can trust. I just can’t…”

While it seems obvious, the reliability and trustability of Windows 10 for many users has greatly diminished.  It’s not just this issue, there are still huge privacy, stability and (other) reliability concerns.  You can check just about any and every Windows blog on the internet today and find at least 2-3 articles covering all that.

The cumulative update I mentioned may resolve the disappearing ink issue… it may not.  KB3093266 is not the first fix that was released to address the issue.  There were individual updates made to Windows 10, OneNote 2013/2016 as well as Office 2016 that failed to resolve the problems between May and September of 2015.

Results from those that have received this update have been generally positive, though somewhat mixed.  Generally, it seems to be working; but like Dittman noted above, how much damage has TRULY occurred for the Windows and Surface Pro brands?

How easily Microsoft can recover from this is going to depend on a couple of things:

  1. Does the cumulative update truly resolve the bug for all users of both the Surface Pro 3 and the Surface 3 (its actually experienced on nearly all Surface Pro devices as well as the Surface 3)
  2. How well the Surface Pro 4 is received
  3. How well the bug stays resolved (especially on the Surface Pro 4)

Every time Microsoft releases a cumulative update or a new build, this issue is going to have to be retested. It’s very possible given the depth and severity of the problem(s) that Microsoft may resurrect the issue in future builds and updates. While that’s not ideal and certainly won’t be intentional, it does happen quite often with software development. It’s simply the nature of the beast – sometimes, it comes back.

The Surface Pro 4 has been anticipated for many months now. While there’s no real evidence that any industry pundit can provide regarding a credible rumor on the device’s ACTUAL existence, it is said that Microsoft will announce something next week (2015-10-05 to 2015-10-09) with an actual release date also rumored to be SOMETIME this month (October 2015).  While it totally misses Back to School, it should hit the 2015 Holiday Buying Season, provided its already being manufactured.

Do you have a Surface Pro device (1, 2 or 3)?  Do you have a Surface 3?  Are you using OneNote and the Surface Pen to take notes?  Are you experiencing issues with floating and disappearing ink?  Have you been following any of the Microsoft support threads I mentioned (here or here)?  Have you received the Windows 10 Cumulative Update (KB3093266) that I mentioned?

If you have, do, etc. and have received the update, I would REALLY appreciate hearing back from you on this.  Please provide the appropriate comments and/ or information in the Discussion area, below, so that I can get your information back to Microsoft.  This is a huge bug, and really needs to be resolved once and for all.

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Recent Microsoft Developments

There’s a lot going on in Redmond these days…

Microsoft Zentrale 16:9 hires Firmenschild Building 99

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had my head down at work; but I’ve also been hot and heavy with a review of the Fitbit Surge that’s still yet to be completed. When it comes to wearables, this new computing category really has many people curious and thinking about how and what it can and should be.

Over and above THAT, which has been more than enough in and of itself, I’ve been beginning some evaluations of Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac as well as dealing with some very serious issues with OneNote 2013 and Windows 10 … and yeah. I’ve been a little busy.

However, there have been a few new developments over at Microsoft, other than the ones I’ve mentioned, and I wanted to not only acknowledge them but comment on them just a bit as well. While this may not be ALL that’s hit the news wire lately, it is what has stuck in my head as I’ve got it buried under a bunch of stuff at the office as well as under a ton of research, screen shots and support thread posts.

Here they are in no particular order…

Internet Explorer is Dead
IExplorer_TransparentYes. The victor of the Browser Wars of the late 1990’s has followed Netscape and one or two other browsers in death. The Internet Explorer brand will die with IE 11, as Microsoft has finally decided that their latest browser, current code named, Project Spartan, will be released with a different branding and label.

While everyone is busy clamoring on the fact that IE is gone and that Project Spartan – whatever Microsoft ends up officially calling it – will be taking its place, what many are glossing over is that IE is still around, and likely will be for a while. IE is going to be relegated to the enterprise version of Windows, and will be used there for corporate and enterprise application compatibility purposes. With IE still in use at work, it’s likely that despite the fact that it won’t be officially updated any longer, it’s still likely to be patched for enterprise uses as part of Microsoft’s monthly, often security based, Patch Tuesday. So, it’s gone, but still likely to show up on many browser share analytic reports, as the peoples will surf while they’re at work. (yes… you can still haz internets.)

One of the things that I saw, but lost and had to recreate on my own, was a complete release history of IE from its initial 1.0 release in 1995 to its current, main release in 2013.

IE 1.0 – 1995-08-16 and released as part of Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95
IE 1.5 – 1996-01-15 (or there abouts) and included compatibility for WinNT 3.5.1
IE 2.0 – 1995-11-22 and included backwards compatibility support for Windows 3.1
IE 3.0 – 1996-08-13 and Included partial CSS support. Introduced ActiveX
IE 4.0 – 1997-09-15 (or there abouts) and was the first version to support Active Desktop and full OS integration
IE 5.0 – 1999-03-18 and was included with Windows 98SE and Office 2000
IE 5.5 – 2000-07-15 (or there abouts) bundled with Windows ME
IE 6.0 – 2001-08-27 released for Windows XP
IE 7.0 – 2006-10-18 first release to support tabbed browsing
IE 8.0 – 2009-03-19 Last version supported on Windows XP
IE 9.0 – 2011-04-12 Last version supported in Windows Vista
IE 10.0 – 2012-01-26 Only version supported in Windows 8.x
IE 11.0 – 2013-10-17 the LAST version

The tell-tale sign of its huge – and still very current problem – is the five (5) year span in the release cycle between IE 6 and IE 7. A great many corporate web portals and apps were developed for IE 6 during this time, and due to compatibility issues, many of them are still running on that platform today (five full versions later…)

Microsoft to Give Windows 10 to Pirates
This was an interesting development early this week, and is a great example of journalism that didn’t go quite far enough.


Early during the work week of 2015-03-16 to 2015-03-20, Terry Meyerson, EVP for Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group, was quoted saying a few very interesting things. One of them was severely misquoted and created not only a huge stir within the tech circles I follow, but a rather large piece of link bait as well.

First and foremost, Meyerson stated that Microsoft would ship Windows 10 sometime this Summer (meaning 2015-06-21 to 2015-09-23). Which is a huge statement to make, seeing as the software isn’t even feature complete yet in the builds delivered to Windows Insiders. Build 10041 is a perfect example of this. Microsoft still has a long way to go in not only delivering a new operating system that’s feature and function complete, but is stable and ready for both the enterprise and the consumer world. We’ll see how things go…

Secondly, Meyerson was quoted saying that Microsoft would give pirated copies of Windows an upgrade to Windows 10. The statement is accurate, albeit a bit misleading, hence the link bait… What the world heard was that Microsoft as going legitimize every copy of Windows out there, certified Microsoft Genuine, or not with a Windows 10 license.

That’s not the case.

Let me say again – That’s not the case.

While Microsoft WILL allow every single copy of Windows on the internet that it said had an upgrade path to Windows 10 – including Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 Update – to upgrade to Windows, it did NOT promise to legitimize non-Genuine copies of Windows. So, a pirated copy of Windows 7 WILL get upgraded to Windows 10 for free… but if it started out as a pirated copy, and was identified as non-Genuine, then it will remain that way until the owner of that pirated copy buys a legitimate license.


Microsoft Gives Passwords the Finger
I’ve heard a number of IT security professionals say that one of the biggest security problems in IT is – passwords. They’re lost, forgotten, stolen, easily hacked and in general… a giant pain the rear.

Microsoft has proposed a way of getting around the whole password issue with Windows Hello. According to Joe Belfiore,

“Windows Hello introduces system support for biometric authentication – using your face, iris, or fingerprint to unlock your devices – with technology that is much safer than traditional passwords. You– uniquely you– plus your device are the keys to your Windows experience, apps, data and even websites and services – not a random assortment of letters and numbers that are easily forgotten, hacked, or written down and pinned to a bulletin board. Modern sensors recognize your unique personal characteristics to sign-you-in on a supporting Windows 10 device.”

Windows Hello will satisfy stringent security requirements for government, defense, financial, healthcare, pharmaceutical and other security conscious organizations. The system WILL be able to distinguish between you and someone else and will only allow you to access YOUR authorized resources, though it will require specific hardware and software (like fingerprint readers, illuminated IR sensors and other biometric components) in order to work its magic.

In conjunction with a new and relaunched Microsoft Passport, you’ll be able to authenticate your identity and verify that you have the device in your possession. If the device also contains Windows Hello compatible hardware, then it can use your biometrics to log you in. Combining these two new pieces of technology, Microsoft will leave the password behind and will allow you to gain access to sensitive and confidential files and resources without any risk of them being inappropriately or illegally accessed. It finally gets around the weakest link in the computer security chain – the password.

While I’ve been writing this article, I’ve also been dealing with a huge Windows 10 and Microsoft Surface Pro issue. It’s the biggest reason why I haven’t posted anything in the past week or so. I am back… I think… and I hope to have something up on the experience in the next couple of days. Please stay tuned for the recounting of THAT train wreck, as its almost certainly going to point out that running a beta version of ANY operating system on your computers – whether they be daily drivers or other, less mission critical boxes – is a risk for any and everyone.

Let me just stress this here (and I will in the article I’m prepping, too) – You shouldn’t do it unless you are willing to accept the consequences and deal with the fall out. It isn’t always easy to recover from some of these situations. Sometimes, even the experts need help…

BUT, in the meantime, let me know what you think of these Microsoft developments. I’d love to hear from you and learn what you think of them.

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Remember your password with Password Memory

0t_KeynoteWe are all connected to the huge www. We have accounts on websites we can’t even remember! So, tell me, if you can’t remember the website, can you remember your account details? Well, let’s say you made the account with your desired username, but on every website you made a registration; was your favorite username was available? I’m sure not. And about the password, you might want to say “I will have the same password for all my online accounts”, but now you know very well that this is a complete stupid idea, because your accounts will become very insecure and extremely vulnerable. One “smart guy” can find out your password from one website, and after that, after you worked very hard to have all your life online, your accounts can get “burned” from the ground in just minutes with irreparable effects. To avoid any of the above disasters, try out Password Memory 5.


Many times I lost my account details, and I had to use the “reset password” function or I had accounts that I forgot even the username. So, let me tell you how I managed to keep all my accounts safe, with passwords like (723hjJdA”_sa!@@ paaKSd) that are impossible to remember. The main idea is simple. Password Memory + Dropbox = 100% security and you can rest assured. No matter what happens to your computer, your personal password data base is safe on Dropbox. And of course, if you want to access the database, you’ll need only a single master password.

Password Memory is a 5-Star application that can help you store all your private data in one secure database. All you have to do is to remember one master password. This makes things really easy. You don’t even have to visualize the password. You just right-click on the entry you want, and click Copy Username or Copy Password in the clipboard, and you can simply insert it in the website. In case of emergency, you have a button that will lock the database in an instance, and another one that can clear the computer’s clipboard memory, so you can be safe that your password was not copied in the clipboard.
The Password Memory it’s quite handy when it comes to security. Has a nice MS-Office 2007 look, and it’s very easy to use even for a very basic user. It would have been interesting to see this application on my phone too, but for now it is available only for PC.

download Password Memory 5

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Kindle Fire Lacks (even BASIC) Purchase Controls

Let’s face it, despite what Amazon has to say, the Kindle Fire really just isn’t kid friendly…

I bought my wife a Kindle Fire for Christmas. After a couple of days hesitation with the device, she really got into it, and now, really likes it. Small, easy to carry and for her AND the kids to use, it’s become a standard in her daily gadget line up. In fact, neither her nor the kids have it far from them during the day. Clearly, a sign of a good purchase and gift decision on my part.

However, the tablet, and subsequently Amazon’s ecosystem, have a major flaw in them; and it’s one that you won’t even bump into unless you either have kids that share your Fire or you lose/misplace the device – it has absolutely NO purchase controls.

If you order the device directly from Amazon, the device comes in a clearly MARKED box and comes preactivated with links directly to your credit card and your account. Anyone smart enough to intercept the shipment will have the ability to purchase away inside of Amazon’s online store, with YOU responsible for all of the purchases.

Strike one – Pre-activation

The device itself doesn’t have any method, or way of either excluding your purchasing credentials/credit card info or even password protecting all purchases with your Amazon.com site password. If you have the device, again, you have direct access to your account, and as long as you have money in your debit account, available credit on your card, etc., anyone possessing the device can make all the purchases they want.

Strike two – Have device, can purchase

When I confronted Amazon with this HUGE security (and frankly, clearly common sense) hole, they let me know that Amazon addressed this by putting a password on Wi-Fi access, so if you wanted to prevent purchases, you could password protect the device’s ability to get online.

This made me to a double take; and really ticked me off.

Strike three – Failure to address the specific issue: Purchase control

I think Amazon wants to differentiate themselves in the tablet market by giving their users the clear ability to purchase anything and everything they would want or need on the Kindle Fire without having to enter a password. Really..?! Am I the only one who sees this huge security hole? I give them points for wanting this to be easy, but talk about your advanced identity theft tools..! Apparently, all I need to steal someone’s credit is not their credit card number, their social security number or any of their personal, private information. All I really need is their Kindle Fire.


Let’s forget the real world scenario that I bumped into with my 4 year old ordering an entire season’s worth of Olivia, and that I just want to gate purchases on the device with the linked account’s Amazon password (which you see on every Apple iDevice in town, including the iPad). According to Amazon, this is unreasonable. It’s also something they are NOT going to address.

They’ve given users the ability to limit the use of Wi-Fi instead. You need Wi-Fi to make purchases. With Wi-Fi password protected, you can’t purchase new content. That’s true; but it also fails to address the problem. The Kindle Fire is a content streaming device.

Amazon Prime’s streaming service requires an internet connection. The Fire is a Wi-Fi only device, and in order to view/stream content that I’ve already purchased, Wi-Fi must be on. Effectively want Amazon is telling me is that I have to unlock Wi-Fi every time my child wants to view content that’s already been purchased…and once they are streaming content, I have to watch them watch it so that they don’t go looking for something else.

But, as I said, let’s forget this and the fact that its backwards.

The unlocked device represents a huge security hole. Amazon needs to address this with a software update and needs to require the account holder’s Amazon password for all purchases and not for Wi-Fi access. Until it does, Kindle Fire, and really ALL Kindle owners, need to be careful about where they store their Kindle, who has access to the device, and who is using it. You could find yourself the recipient of a HUGE content bill if your kids, or worse, a thief, happen to get a hold of your device and make unauthorized purchases.

NOTHING you can do, either on the web site or on the device, aside from crippling it, can prevent unauthorized purchases; and this is clearly documented by a number of different complaints and posts in Amazon’s own forums.

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Indispensable tool for the active Internet user: Kaspersky Password Manager

You know… its all about the Internet these days. This website, the other web service, and this or that social network – if you don’t have some kind of online presence, you’re likely the type who doesn’t compute much.

However, most of the people that I know – geeks and noobies alike – are all over the Internet. It’s a vast and dangerous place. That’s why I’m thankful for tools like Kaspersky Password Manager. It’s a security and system utility for Windows.

Kaspersky Password Manager is the latest in advanced, digital identity protection. It provides multiple layers of defense against keyloggers and hackers. You only have to remember one master password, and all of your log-ins for your applications, websites and services are completed automatically entered for you when called for.

Kaspersky Password Manager securely stores your passwords and other, related personal data in an encrypted vault on your computer. The vault can only be accessed by a master password or other, supported authentication method that you define, ensuring that your passwords are always safe. KPM fills in logins and passwords automatically; and It supports major browsers, including IE and Firefox, as well as your important Windows applications. You no longer have to remember all of your usernames and their associated passwords – just one master password.

Read full review | Download Kaspersky Password Manager

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TeamViewer the popular sharing tool for technical and non-technical alike

Team Viewer is an excellent screen-sharing and file-transfer application that is popular amongst the technical and non-technical alike.

This is due to the varied uses that are available through Team Viewer, with the apparatuses most popular devices being the remote troubleshooting of IT problems, the ability to manage servers in remote data centers or the allowance to let users connect to their desktop PCs when they’re away from the computer.

The installation process with Team Viewer is even impressive and even allows you to toggle administration rights. Once loaded Team Viewer gives each of its users the exact tools they need when they are looking to share screens securely, send files with no hassle and switch the user who has complete control.

This can occur because when you log in you’re provided with an access code and a password, which you can share, allowing your computer to be controlled to the level you have set it to. The Team Viewer even remembers the computers that you have connected to, which allows you to reconnect to previous PCs quickly and with no bother.

TeamViewer is free for personal use, easy to use, the integrated contact list allows you to support family and friends instantly, features extensive security mode and remote access. But the support and documentation is poor and it can be very expensive to use it professionally.

TeamViewer makes screen and file sharing simple and fluid as well as unobtrusive and is a worthy addition to any office or home for both professional and casual users.

read full review | download TeamViewer

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