Bruceb News

Google Wants To Surround You With Invisible Assistants

Ambient computing - surrounded by invisible devices

Part 1: Ambient Computing – Buzzwords That Are Changing Your World

You don’t notice an automatic door when it opens.

Google, Amazon, and Apple want to make it so natural to interact with their devices that you don’t even notice that you’re doing it. We’ll be surrounded by devices. The more there are, the less we’ll notice them. […] continued

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Ambient Computing: Buzzwords That Are Changing Your World

Ambient computing AKA ubiquitous computing

(Sonoma County fires: we have evacuated to a safe place and our house is not threatened. All of our thoughts and best wishes go out to those in danger or suffering losses.)


Hey Google . . .

  • What time is my flight today?
  • How long will it take to drive to Oakland Airport?
[…] continued Read more

Grammar Are For Winners!

Grammar checking made easy with Word, Outlook, G Suite, and Grammarly

Need help with spelling and grammar? Of course you do!

You already get help with your spelling. Microsoft Word and Outlook automatically fix common errors on the fly as you type, and flag possible misspellings with the familiar wavy line. Your phone auto-corrects your errors, which of course works flawlessly.

Artificial intelligence now allows grammar to be checked just as easily as spelling – on the fly, with instant feedback. […] continued

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Windows 10 Has Ransomware Protection – Here’s Why It’s Not Turned On

Ransomware - want your data back?

Microsoft added built-in ransomware protection to Windows 10 two years ago. When you check, you’ll find it’s not turned on. This will seem strange. It should be a good thing to stop ransomware, right? Here’s why you’ve never heard of it and why you probably won’t turn it on.

It will help if you have some background about how ransomware works; then I’ll tell you about the difficult bits in the Windows ransomware protection that make it hard to manage for non-tech people. […] continued

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How To Set Up A New Windows 10 PC Without A Microsoft Account

Windows 10 - how to set up a new PC with a local account

There are good reasons to set up a new Windows 10 PC without a Microsoft account, even if you intend to link it to a Microsoft account eventually.

The bad news is that Microsoft is pushing its own agenda and using deception to hide the option of setting up a local account instead of a Microsoft account. […] continued

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Dark Patterns Are Evil – And They’re Everywhere

Dark patterns - deceptive opt in choices

I hate to interrupt the steady flow of happiness and joy in the news, but I want to call your attention to a small way that our civilization is degrading into a dystopian hell. Once I describe it, you’ll notice it everywhere.

The web is filled with dark patterns – deliberately confusing and deceptive choices, designed to trick us into signing up for junk newsletters, subscribing to unwanted services, spamming everyone in our address book, or giving up our privacy. […] continued

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Microsoft Makes It Easy To Encrypt Your Email (Well, Easier Than Before, Anyway)

Office 365 message encryption

Let’s talk about email encryption.

That didn’t take long! I’ve never seen a room empty out that quickly. I’d like to thank the fourteen of you who are still reading. I didn’t want to say this while everyone else was here, but you’re my favorites.

If you’re in a small or midsized business, you’re probably not using email encryption. […] continued

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How To Use The Archive Button In Outlook

Outlook has a new Archive button

Outlook has an Archive button, right next to the Delete button. You haven’t noticed it because we have trained ourselves for twenty years to let our eyes slide over anything in Outlook that we don’t use. The Archive button appeared a couple of years ago without any fanfare and, I’ll be damned, it’s pretty useful. […] continued

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Security Tip: Use Authy For Two-Factor Authentication

Authy - best app for two-factor authentication

I want to talk to you about two-factor authentication and why you should use Authy to generate codes on your phone.

Oh, come on! Don’t give me that look. I know you don’t want to think about this stuff. It’s roughly like having an insurance salesperson look you in the eye and ask you if you’ve thought about what will happen to your family after you’re gone. […] continued

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How To Get Rid Of The “Microsoft Account Problem” Notification

"Microsoft account problem - we need to fix your Microsoft account" in Shared Experiences settings

If you get a notification that you have a “Microsoft account problem,” you don’t have a problem and you don’t have to fix anything. You haven’t been hacked and you don’t have a virus. Microsoft is testing your patience.


How to stop the notifications Windows 10 Shared experiences - turn off Nearby Sharing and Share Across Devices

Click on Start / Settings (the gear in the left column). […] continued

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Google, Antitrust, And Zero-Click Searches

Google zero-click searches - no need to click when a question is answered directly

When you search for the phone number for Bruceb Consulting, Google shows the phone number.

Does that seem obvious? It’s a relatively recent change. Google only began serious efforts to provide One True Answer to search queries a few years ago. It completely changes Google’s role in the relationship between users and advertisers. […] continued

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Windows 10 Tip: Dress Up Your Desktop With A Theme

Windows themes - photos & art for your desktop

Microsoft has gorgeous collections of photos that you can use for free as your Windows wallpaper.  A typical theme rotates through ten or fifteen photos; when you get bored, it’s easy to switch to another theme with new pictures. I’ll tell you where to get the themes, and along the way, we’ll talk a little bit about the failure of the Microsoft Store. […] continued

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Acronyms You Should Know: TL;DR

TL;DR Too long. Didn't Read. Suitable for mugs, t-shirts, Xmas ornaments, tattoos, etc. Too Long. Didn’t Read.

You’ve seen it in Bruceb News articles. If you’re over 35, you probably thought it was a mistake. Au contrariwise! I don’t make mistakes. Sometimes, though, I slip into dope slang lingo because I’m so damn hip.

Wikipedia’s definition:

Too long; didn’t read (abbreviated TL;DR and tl;dr) is a shorthand notation indicating that a passage appears too long to invest the time to digest it. […] continued

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How To Stop Microsoft Teams From Starting Automatically

Microsoft Teams - how to prevent autostart

Last month Microsoft rolled out an update to some Office 365 business subscriptions that for the first time includes the app for Microsoft Teams. Some of you are seeing the Teams startup screen every time the computer starts.

If you don’t use Teams, the unwanted startup screen may make you think unkind thoughts, but let’s be realistic. […] continued

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