Bill has ways of forcing updates
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Bill has ways of forcing updates

Bill has ways of forcing updates

If you are a Microsoft user, private or business, there is a site you should keep an eye on. Search "Microsoft end of life dates" and then select the result with the heading "Overview – Product End of Support and Retirements", associated with On the left-hand side there are years. Click on 2025, for example, and you will see that Office 2016 and 2019 products will no longer be supported after Oct 14 of that year. On that same date, Windows 10 will be retired. For both of these there will be no new security updates. For some, this will not be an issue, but organisations will need to take note as it means their security will be potentially compromised after a while. Even with Windows 10 still outselling Windows 11, Microsoft will be pushing people to upgrade over the next 18 months and for many, this will no longer be free. People and organisations tend to stick with what works and Microsoft doesn't like that, so it stops supporting older products. The site will tell you when you will start to be at risk and after that you can decide what to do.

- I did this search after I was told by someone that VBA was going to be retired. After some searching, all I could find was that Microsoft advises that Visual Basic will remain a concern and it's still relegated to second-rate status when compared to other languages like C#. That was back in August 2023. Microsoft does block macros by default and you may need to unblock this for each file. Right click the file and under properties, see if you have a check box that reads "This file comes from another computer and might be blocked to help protect this computer". Unclicking will reactivate the macros. Note that this is for files that end in .docm rather than .docx.

- I've been playing computer games since I was in my teens. These days that doesn't mean much but back then it was mostly characters on a screen rather than the fancy graphics and stories. Game companies and how they treat their products and users vary widely across the industry. A PC game like Path Of Exile is free, changes the main quest every three months and any in-game transactions are modest in price. There are definite end goals that anyone with patience can achieve. Contrast this with a game like Raid Shadow Legends. Unless you spend a very long time playing every day, and get very lucky, the only way to be competitive is to pay money. We are not talking small amounts here, but rather the kind of money that could get you a multi-hundred title game set on most platforms. This game is owned by a casino group and it shows. Then there are those companies that rarely improve their product. Ever since Niantic changed to Ingress Prime it has been buggy, loses track of your game state and is clunky to use. No updates other than a pay-to-get-extra-stuff scheme on this one for years. As time gets more precious there are only so many things and games you can fit in, so choose wisely.

- I keep reading article after article on the wonders of AI and how it will be the saviour of all mankind in general. I might have exaggerated in that last part but it is hard to be in the field of IT and not see that kind of thing splashed in headlines. The latest prediction is that AI will replace a lot of jobs. Perhaps, but there will be other things that spring from this. Maybe a new starship industry.

- Apple plans to move a quarter of all their iPhone manufacturing to India by 2028. If this helps to bring down their sky-high prices then I doubt consumers will care that much either way. On the subject of Apple, after a recent iOS update, users are reporting that their long-deleted photos are coming back. In one case pics from 2010 resurfaced. At this point some might be asking what is the point of a delete function that doesn't delete? The obvious answer here is that your media is still kept in the iCloud or stays in local storage on your phone. Assuming people change their phone every few years, the 2010 return would indicate that Apple keeps your stuff, even after you delete it. Remember this if you ever break any laws and try to delete the evidence. I would note that Apple often waxes lyrically about the privacy of their users so if this is a widespread occurrence I'd question such statements in the future.

- Last week, the Biden administration announced new Chinese tariff hikes that included a doubling on semiconductors and solar cells and a more than tripling on batteries. Given that most batteries are made in China, as are solar cells, I don't see what effect this will have other than increasing consumer prices in the US.

James Hein is an IT professional with over 30 years' standing. You can contact him at

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