Why my computer thinks the moon landings were a hoax…

By | September 1, 2014
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In today’s email, Microsoft cause confusion… and I sort it out. I’m not trying to lay the blame or anything, but they really did seem to set out to confuse everyone with this one…

Defender – now you see it, now you don’t…
Oddly enough, I know exactly where I was when someone first told me about this new program called Windows Defender (sat on the obelisk in Broughton Square on a sunny day, complete with a pint of Copper Dragon Golden Pippin). And back then, it was a brilliant idea.

Most people already had an anti-virus program, but there was another type of nasty you could get on your PC – spyware. It wasn’t necessarily a virus and you might have actually clicked to allow it to run, which meant it got past any of the typical protection of the time.

But Microsoft brought out Windows Defender for Windows XP which protected you against spyware (and the related adware). What’s more, they made it free – you just had to download it. Hurrah for Microsoft!

The only problem was that if you didn’t know about it, you might never bother to download it and you weren’t protected.

Then, when Windows Vista and Windows 7 came out, Microsoft included it as part of Windows, so you couldn’t be without it. You could get rid of it if you wanted, but if you did nothing, it was there, protecting you. Hurrah (again)!

But around this time most anti-virus programs (including Microsoft’s own free Microsoft Security Essentials) started protecting against spyware as well. When you installed them, they “turned off” Defender, so you only have one anti-spyware program running at once.

So far so good, though it made some people worry when they got a new computer and saw it didn’t have Defender on it (because it had the new Microsoft Security Essentials, which did everything Defender did as well as protecting against viruses).

But then came Windows 8… and that’s when it gets confusing…

You see, up until this point, you had to download Microsoft Security Essentials if you wanted it. And Microsoft decided to simply include it with Windows 8. Fair enough – a good idea. (Maybe even worth a small hurrah…) Of course, you can always replace it if you want to use AVG, Norton, McAfee or one of the other equivalent programs.

But here’s where they decided to confuse everyone.

Instead of simply including Microsoft Security Essentials, they decided it was a naff name. So they renamed it… to Defender.

So now all of a sudden Windows 8 (and 8.1) come with Defender already included. Except Defender quite literally isn’t what it was… it’s what Microsoft Security Essentials was.

So if you have Windows 8 or 8.1, Windows Defender is a fully blown anti-virus and anti-spyware program to keep you safe. Great. But if you have an earlier version of Windows, it only protects against spyware and you probably don’t need it because you need something else to protect against viruses anyway, which will almost certainly protect against spyware as well.

I don’t know what’s going on at Microsoft… in this case they’re doing some really good things, but they hide it by being so downright confusing about it all.

In a nutshell, if you have Windows 8 or 8.1 and you have Defender, great, you’re protected.

If you have Windows 7 or Vista, Defender on it’s own probably isn’t enough and whatever you have to protect against the viruses that Defender doesn’t protect against will probably turn Defender off anyway.

Phew… makes me want another pint of Golden Pippin (sadly I’m not in the square and it’s not sunny…)

Library books from home
A reader mentioned this to me the other day: in a lot of libraries you can actually “borrow” ebooks from your local library.

If you have a touchscreen tablet, it’s a great way to get recent books you’d like to read. You can do it on a PC, too, but I’ve never liked the idea of sitting reading a novel on a PC. But a touchscreen tablet is ideal.

I was going to give you a set of step by step instructions – but it turns out different counties have different systems, so probably the easiest way to see if it’s available in your area is either search the internet for “Cumbria libraries ebooks” (but replace Cumbria with your area!) or just ask in your local library.

You do have to be a member of the library – you need your library card number. But you can choose the ebooks you want to read from the comfort of your own home.

Or as Dad pointed out, if you’re on holiday and finish the books you took with you, as long as you have internet access and your library number, you can log in and choose another, even from your hotel!

I was bemused by the system Cumbria use, though. I saw several books I’d like to read. But Buzz Aldrin’s (second man on the moon) autobiography was listed under “fiction”. I know there’s a theory that the moon landings were faked, but this is taking it a bit far…

Full contents detail for Family History Videos
You might have already read the information about the new Family History videos. But someone mentioned the other day that it’d be a good idea to have a full contents list.

I agree, so here it is – if you’re wondering what’s included, you can see here http://www.helpfulbooks.co.uk/FamilyHistoryVideosContents.pdf.

That’s just a bare-bones list of the content, rather than a description. It’s actually something we did and included on the CDs so it’s easy to find a particular bit you want to watch again if you know it’s in there somewhere but can’t remember where.

On the other hand, if you’d like to read more about the videos, who they’re suitable for and so on (or if you’d like to order a free-trial set to see and decide for yourself), the full information is here: http://www.helpfulbooks.co.uk/familyhistoryvideosinfo.htm

Oh, and by the way, the videos should arrive in stock later today (Monday), so any orders now should hopefully go out in the post today.