Someone, somewhere still uses IE

Someone, somewhere still uses IE

A Microsoft engineer, Eric Lawrence, who worked on moving the Edge browser to a Google-driven open source base code, has suggested that people need to stop using the more traditional version of Internet Explorer. His plea was a personal one on his own blog but Microsoft cybersecurity chief Chris Jackson expressed the same sentiment a year earlier. IE still has a couple of percent of people using it -- probably those who had it installed on their machines -- that have yet to be upgraded. The technology is old and full of security holes but a number of organisations demand that it still be used.

One alternative browser I'd never heard of is Brave, found here at brave.com. It is reported as fast, supports your browser settings and favourite sites and supposedly very secure, including being against tracking. It supports plug-ins and is free. If you are looking to update your browsing experience then check it out and see what you think.

Microsoft found itself in trouble recently when Chrome users, after installing Office 365 Pro Plus, found that their default search engine had been changed to Bing. This was a deliberate move by Microsoft to expand their search base and some are calling it a browser hijack. The Office 365 version in this case is for enterprise users with a lot of installed devices. The accompanying tech note says that Firefox will be targeted in a future release, so Microsoft appears to also be bragging about it. Search results will be "contextual and personalised" the notes claim. Some of the sample feedback includes comments such as "are you out of your minds?", "Unacceptable", "Horrible idea", "Browser Hijack?" and more along these lines. I guess with Bing down at under 3% as a search engine this was Microsoft's way of bumping up their stats?

Facebook is parsing your private messages and blocking content. For example it doesn't like a link to Jordan Peterson's Bible series. This is getting to the point where someone needs to do something about it. I've also noticed that the number and length of ads is increasing on YouTube, another service that is increasingly censoring content. I also note that Mark Zuckerberg recently took a lot of flak over his comments on supporting more free speech. I'm not sure he runs his own company anymore.

The latest Galaxy Tab S6 5G has been announced and as you might guess is the world's first 5G tablet. It has already been released in Korea. The specs are about the same as the last model with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal memory. It does come with the Snapdragon X50 Modem, giving it 5G connectivity. As predicted, tablet computers have not done so well recently. Think of those using them for photos as an example. It remains to be seen how much interest a 5G version attracts.

Remember last issue's story on Windows 7? It turns out the Germans were not paying attention and will need to give Microsoft €800,000 (27.4 million baht) to keep their Windows 7 machines working for a while longer. They have 33,000 PCs still running on the now officially old technology. I suspect there are a lot of others out there in a similar situation.

Huawei is still in the news with the UK announcing they will use at least part of their solution for the 5G roll-out. The announcement has put them at odds with the US, so stay tuned as to how that whole mess ends up. In summary, Huawei is China's largest technology company and the second-biggest smartphone maker. It claims to be 100% privately owned but such organisations would seem to be impossible in China. Even if the claim is true, it will have very close ties to the Chinese government and could not exist without those ties as all companies in China can be compelled by law to co-operate with Chinese national intelligence work. Huawei counters that it abides by the laws of countries it operates in and is currently the world leader in 5G technology. It has built 5G infrastructures in many countries.

I had a reader question about upgrading their Windows 7 to Windows 10. In most cases this shouldn't be a problem but check the requirements from the Microsoft site just in case. It might also be an excuse to upgrade your machine.

As I write this it is still in the rumour stage, but I watched a leaked video of the new Galaxy Z flip phone coming soon. The new version opens vertically, like the old Motorola Razr, with a snap to show a 6.7-inch screen in a standard smartphone format. When closed there is a square inch of information presented on the outside. The screen will be ultra-thin glass, so an upgrade on the previous plastic screen version. It will not be a top-end spec unit and by the time you read this it should have been officially announced.

James Hein is an IT professional of over 30 years' standing. You can contact him at jclhein@gmail.com.

James Hein

IT professional

An IT professional of over 30 years’ standing. He has a column in Bangkok Post tech pages and has been writing without skipping a beat every week all these years.

Email : jclhein@gmail.com


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