Will #XboxReveal mention Windows 8?

Tuesdays are my tech articles, and I admit I’m behind on a few articles over the last few days, but I had to pop in and remind people that the #XboxReveal is today. You’ll be able to watch it live at Xbox.com/Hub. I’m also interested to see what Microsoft does.

There will be a new console, but I’m almost wishing they would blow people’s minds and say no box! “Xbox” should become a service on the PC, comparable to Steam. And I don’t mean the “Xbox for Windows” games that we see in the Windows 8 Store, but really an environment that you load in to, much like the Games app, but from there it exists as its own platform, and any game available on the console, is available on the PC. Okay, I highly doubt that will happen, but there needs to be some kind of seamless integration among the Windows 8/RT, Windows Phone, and Xbox platforms – and I hope they give some great detail on that today. E3, next month, June 10th, will talk about the games. Today? I’m expecting some general media and entertainment information.

I plan on having some follow up comments on this later today or tonight, and I promise I’ll bring back some regular posts to the website, but I’ve had some hectic days, lately, and I don’t expect things to calm down – but I assure you, I’ll make time for you folks!

Don't give Facebook your phone number

Facebook REALLY wants your phone number. They’ve encouraged you to add it for years, but the latest round of “pop ups” at the top of the page want to remind you that it’s important for your security. I never did it, because in the early days, your phone number was visible to anyone who is your friend. And while you might be “Facebook friends” – it doesn’t necessarily mean you want that person to be able to call or text you. Having your number on Facebook leaves the potential for them to be able to provide it to their advertisers. And now, if you don’t have your permissions set just right, then just by playing a game, filling in a survey, or liking a page, you run the risk of sharing or publishing your phone number with companies you did not intend to give that information to.

To ignore Facebook’s latest plea, and close that annoying banner at the top of the page, simply click the “X” that is hiding out on the left side of the banner (see the picture above). We’re used to looking for the “close” / “X” icons in the right corner, so it’s easy to overlook it. But for now, just click the “X” in the banner at the top of the page, and don’t give in to Facebook asking for your number. They don’t need it. It’s just another data point they can use to find out your location based on area code, your carrier based on the number, and the aforementioned “just giving your number away.”

How to clean up viruses, 2013 (4th edition)

I first wrote an article about malware in 2009. It was for a government funded organization and spread across five counties in Pennsylvania. It has been updated annually since then with my best suggestions. The previous version is still available here, but this year I wanted to do something a little more direct. I have included the usual screenshots of fake programs you should look out for, but on top of that, I wanted to give you some additional programs that I like to use, including at least one I didn’t mention back when I talked about my IT Toolkit.

First, Shut your computer down. You heard me. Continue reading “How to clean up viruses, 2013 (4th edition)”

How to add the Start Menu back in Windows 8

People have asked for a while, how to put the Start Menu from Windows 7 back in to Windows 8. Now, if all you’re looking for is a “button” – you’re in luck. There are quite a few rumors that Microsoft’s Windows Blue will bring back the Start Button. But that button simply brings up the Start Screen, not the Start Menu. At least, that’s the going theory right now.

The idea seems to be that people can’t figure out how to get back to the tiles once they’re in the desktop, and finding the desktop in the first place can be kind of difficult. I can attest to that based on the number of searches and reads I get on articles on my website. Even simple things like Shutting Down Windows 8 actually get more than a few reads!

So, what if you want something like the Windows 7 Start Menu? I’ve avoided writing this article for a long time, because I like to force myself to get used to things I don’t like. In the early days of Windows XP, when I still preferred Windows 2000, I famously called the colorful Start Button Windows Crayola Edition. But eventually I get used to each interface. But for those of you who just won’t adjust to Windows 8, there are options. Start 8 from Stardock is an inexpensive ($5.00) program which gives you a full blown Start Menu and the ability to use apps in Windows, etc… Classic Shell by Ivo Beltchev is free, and offers the return of the classic Start Menu, the Windows XP Start Menu, or the Windows 7 Start Menu, as well as other “explorer” features, like showing the full folder path in the Windows Explorer address bar, etc…

I encourage you to check both out and see if something works for you. But me? I’ll be here… using the Start Screen, and waiting to see what Microsoft does with Windows 8.1.