Major bug has hit Windows 10’s newest update.

Microsoft has stopped distributing its latest Windows 10 October 2018 Update.

Microsoft started rolling out the update during the company’s Surface event early last week, but some Windows 10 users immediately noticed their documents were being deleted. “We have paused the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) for all users as we investigate isolated reports of users missing some files after updating,” says Microsoft on its support site for Windows Update.

Microsoft is now recommending that affected users contact the company directly, and if you’ve manually downloaded the October update then “please don’t install it and wait until new media is available.” Other Windows 10 users have been complaining that the Microsoft Edge browser and other store apps have been unable to connect to the internet after the October 2018 Update, and the update was even blocked on certain PCs due to Intel driver incompatibilities.

It’s not clear how many Windows 10 users are affected by the problem, but even if it’s a small percentage it’s still surprising this issue was never picked up during Microsoft’s vast testing of the October update. Millions of people help Microsoft test Windows 10, but the company has struggled with the quality of Windows updates recently. Microsoft delayed its Windows 10 April 2018 Update earlier this year over Blue Screen of Death issues, but those problems were picked up before the update reached regular consumers and businesses.

Microsoft was planning to push the latest October update out to all Windows 10 users on Tuesday, but that’s now likely to be put on delayed while investigations continue into this major deletion problem.

The modern day console wars – Xbox

I recently upgraded my games console from the Xbox 360 S to the Xbox One S, upon looking for technical information on the S model before i purchased it, i came across the following article which i though was worth sharing.

Microsoft’s Xbox group is in a weird place.  It has sold an estimated 30 to 50 million Xbox One consoles, putting Microsoft in a distant second place in the console race behind Sony’s PlayStation 4 with more than 75 million.

And Nintendo’s Switch console? It’s a runaway success.

Nintendo”Super Mario Odyssey” is available only on the Nintendo Switch. Over 9.7 million copies were sold between its launch in October and the end of 2017.
In just over a year, Nintendo sold more than 17 million Switch consoles; it’s the fastest-selling console in US history. Nintendo attributes this success primarily to one thing: a lot of really good games you can play only on the Switch.

The Xbox One, by comparison, isn’t doing so great – though on paper it’s competitive with or outright better than the competition from Sony and Nintendo.

Starting at £230, the Xbox One is cheap and jammed with great games to boot. Even the lowest-end model of the Xbox One supports HDR, a high-end video technology that makes games look better on TVs that support it.

It does everything a set-top box like the Apple TV does, like let you watch Netflix. And it plays blockbuster games.

The PlayStation 4 has many of the same games, like the latest “Call of Duty,” and a bunch of great exclusive games, including the critically acclaimed “God of War.”

Though the Nintendo Switch doesn’t have third-party blockbusters like “Call of Duty,” it has a big edge in terms of exclusives – there’s no other way to play the latest “Super Mario” games. That’s a pretty big advantage.

And if you already own a PlayStation 4 or PC? There simply aren’t many major Xbox exclusive games that make the Xbox One worth owning. And this year’s big Xbox One game, “Crackdown 3,” just got delayed to February 2019.

crackdown 3Microsoft”Crackdown 3″ has been shown off by Microsoft for several years, but has yet to launch.
So what’s Microsoft going to do? That’s the big question.

Here are some ways it could go:

1. Microsoft could buy a game publisher or development studio, which was rumored earlier this year.
The latest rumors suggest Microsoft is considering an acquisition of some sort- a game-development studio or publisher that could bolster Microsoft’s stable of intellectual properties.

The companies most recently rumored as acquisition targets are:

1EA, the maker of “Madden NFL” and “FIFA,” among many others. Valve, the operator of Steam and the maker of “DOTA 2,” “Half-Life,” and much more. PUBG Corp., the South Korean subsidiary of Bluehole Studio that makes/manages the very popular “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.”
But does that make any sense?

Michael Pachter, a senior analyst at Wedbush, told Business Insider earlier this year that there was “close to zero probability of buying EA.”

There’s a good reason for that, and it’s the same reason that Microsoft’s unlikely to buy most any of the other major game publishers, like Ubisoft, Activision, Take-Two Interactive, or Bethesda Softworks.

EA, like many other major game publishers, has a business dependent on making games for every platform, including Sony’s and Nintendo’s. If Microsoft were to buy one of these publishers, it would be to keep that publisher’s games for the Xbox platform.

That makes any such acquisition a poor business choice. Not only would the publisher cost Microsoft a ton of money up front to buy, but it would be difficult to make money back on the investment when it’s suddenly limited to developing for only Xbox.

“That would lower EA revenues – by a lot, unlikely to be made up by growth on Xbox – and would make a purchase prohibitively expensive,” Pachter said.

Though EA has a large library of intellectual property, losing the revenue of selling that intellectual property on competing platforms would hurt too much. This same scenario applies directly to the other big publishers, from Activision (“Call of Duty”) to Ubisoft (“Assassin’s Creed”).

2. Microsoft could lean in to its PC business and walk away from consoles altogether.
There’s a major initiative called Xbox Play Anywhere at Microsoft’s Xbox division that’s years deep now.

The concept is simple: Any game published by Microsoft will come to the Xbox One and Windows 10. You buy it once and get it both places. If you save a game in one place, you can pick up the game where you left off on the other device. It’s pretty sweet!

And it may very well be the future of the Xbox business.

“The next platform might end up being the PC,” Pachter said. “The Xbox Anywhere initiative seems to acknowledge that a Windows 10 PC works fine as a game console.”

That doesn’t mean saying goodbye to Xbox as a platform. It could live on in software form – for instance, as a user-friendly interface on your TV. Maybe Xbox as we know it becomes a component of another device, like an Apple TV or a Roku.

In the short term, Microsoft is unlikely to abandon the Xbox console. But you can perhaps expect Microsoft to shift its focus toward the PC.

“There probably will be a next generation,” Pachter said, “but it is likely to be smaller.”

3. Microsoft buys Valve, thus acquiring Steam (and much more).
Steam, Valve’s computer-based storefront and platform for gaming, is huge; somewhere in the ballpark of 200 million people use it every month.

If Microsoft’s looking to the future of Xbox as a computer-based platform that works anywhere, instead of only on a dedicated piece of hardware created by Microsoft, buying Valve would be a way to bolster that initiative.

Not only does Valve have Steam, which brings a huge chunk of new users andhas a lucrative storefront, but it also owns a bunch of classic gaming intellectual property. The “Half-Life” franchise, for instance, could finally see its long-promised third installment as a big Xbox exclusive.

But Valve is a private company, and there’s no way to know how much it’s worth. Valve takes a 30% cut, on average, of Steam sales, and Steam is the most widely used game store on Earth. Pachter estimated Valve did “around $2 billion in Steam sales” in 2017.

All of this is to say that Valve could be outrageously expensive to buy, and it’s entirely possible it’s not up for sale.

4. Microsoft comes out with a new Xbox in an attempt to start a new “generation” before Sony.
Microsoft just released the extremely powerful $500 Xbox One X in late 2017, so I’d call this one the least likely possibility.

That said, Microsoft could very well surprise everyone with an early launch of the successor to the Xbox One.

The Xbox One is coming up on five years since its launch, making that an early sunsetting – game console “generations” tend to last five to 10 years. It would be an especially surprising move, given the relatively recent launch of a significantly updated Xbox One console in the Xbox One X and what it means for the Xbox platform.

In so many words, the Xbox One X offers a major update to the hardware while retaining compatibility with existing Xbox One games, which look and run better on the Xbox One X but must be playable on the original Xbox One from 2013.

Think of it like smartphones: You expect your old apps to work on your new phone. Microsoft could be moving toward this approach, where the Xbox One is “The Xbox” and new consoles are upgrades. Your game library moves forward with you, and that’s that.

It fits in well with the Play Anywhere initiative, but it might be difficult to pull off from a technical perspective. At some point, new games will require newer hardware, which could leave owners of older consoles out in the cold.

5. The Xbox becomes a streaming game platform.
Forget about downloading games. Maybe Xbox’s future is being the Netflix of gaming.

Microsoft has been working on a streaming service for gaming “that doesn’t require a console,” Bloomberg described Phil Spencer, an executive vice president, as saying in November 2017.

There’s already a service called Xbox Game Pass that offers a Netflix-like instant library of games on Xbox One, but games must be downloaded individually (not streamed instantly, like Netflix).

The new streaming service is expected to launch some point in the next three years, and it’s entirely possible it won’t require a dedicated piece of hardware made by Microsoft – like, say, an Xbox One – to play games.

Would such a service offer access to a library of games, or would games be sold a la carte? It’s unclear.

None of the few existing services like this – such as PlayStation Now from Sony – have been very successful. PlayStation Now, for instance, has a library mostly of old games. Moreover, streaming services introduce technical problems, like network latency, that can turn gaming into a mess.

These hurdles could no doubt be overcome. But it’s an uphill battle.

Original article Ben Gilbert https://amp.businessinsider.com/what-is-the-future-of-the-xbox-one-2018-2

BBC Computer Literacy Project available on iPlayer

Original article by Rob Thubron on https://www.techspot.com/news/75281-bbc-makes-computer-literacy-project-archives-available-public.html

In context: For many people in the 1980s, everything they thought they knew about I.T. came from War Games. In the UK, the BBC tried to change this with the ‘Computer Literacy Project,’ which included a series of TV programs that “inspired a generation of coders,” and led to the commissioning of its own computer, the Micro. Now, it is opening up the project’s archives to the public.
The project ran from 1980 to 1989, with the TV shows introducing much of the UK to the world of computers. Some famous guests included Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Steve Wozniak, and there was plenty of coverage of machines such as the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum.

But the most significant element of the Computer Literacy Project was its introduction of the 8-bit BBC Micro. Part of the UK government’s plans to place microcomputers in schools, Cambridge-based Acorn created the BBC-branded machine, which was released in 1981 and sold until 1994. It featured a 2MHz CPU and 16 – 32 KB of memory. Demand for the Micro was so great that the accompanying 10-part TV series was delayed for a month.

Steve Furber, who led the design of the BBC Micro and the first Arm chip, said: “The BBC Micro not only gave folk access to a computer, but it also gave them easy access to its inner workings, something that has been lost with most of today’s very sophisticated technology.”

The BBC Micro ended up in an estimated 60 percent of UK primary schools and 85 percent of secondary schools and was still being used up until the early 1990s.

Those interested in a piece of tech history can check out any of the 267 shows, the BBC Micro’s 166 pieces of original software, and over 2,509 clips for free right here. It will be available for the next three months, after which time the BBC will decide whether to turn it into a permanent feature.
https://computer-literacy-project.pilots.bbcconnectedstudio.co.uk/

ANDROID WARNING: Smartphone owners put on alert about terrifying FRANKENSTEIN virus

ANDROID smartphone fans are being put on alert about a terrifying ‘Frankenstein’ virus that cybercriminals are looking to spread.

Android users are being warned about a new ‘Frankenstein’ virus that combines the worst features of different malware to form a dangerous threat.

Dubbed MysteryBot, the malware blends features of ransomware, keyloggers and banking trojans to create a virus that can attack on many fronts.

Security researchers from ThreatFabric discovered the malware, and said it appears to be related to the well-known LokiBot Android banking trojan.

Speaking to Bleeping Computer, a ThreatFabric spokesperson said: “Based on our analysis of the code of both Trojans, we believe that there is indeed a link between the creator(s) of LokiBot and MysteryBot.

“This is justified by the fact that MysteryBot is clearly based on the LokiBot bot code.”

MysteryBot is capable of taking control of infected devices, with the ability to read messages, gather contact information and steal sensitive e-mails.

While Android malware tends to attack older versions of the Google mobile OS, MysteryBot can target recent pieces of software like Android 7 and Oreo.

It uses an overlay screen to display fake login pages on top of legitimate apps for the Google mobile OS, so cybercriminals can steal sensitive user credentials.

MysteryBot also has a unique keylogger feature.

Other malware takes screenshots the moment a user presses a key on the touch-based keyboard to figure out what the user is typing.

Whereas MysteryBot records the location of a touch gesture instead.

It then tries to guess what the user has pressed based on points users touched the screen and the positioning of the virtual keyboard.

MysteryBot also has a ransomware module which means it can encrypt files and then store them in a password protected ZIP archive.

Once encryption is complete a message pops up accusing the victim of having watched adult content.

It then demands that an e-mail address is entered so that a password can be sent out.

A victim will then presumably be asked for payment in exchange for the data to allegedly behanded back.

ThreatFabric researchers wrote: “The enhanced overlay attacks also running on the latest Android versions combined with advanced keylogging and the potential under-development features will allow MysteryBot to harvest a broad set of personal identifiable information in order to perform fraud.”

MysteryBot currently isn’t widespread and is still in development.

But Android users should be wary of any apps they download which ask for a lot of permissions.

ThreatFabric said the current versions of MysteryBot they have spotted have been designed as a Flash Player app for Android.

A ThreatFabric spokesperson said: “In general, the consumer must be aware that all of the so called ‘Flash Player (update) apps’ that can be found in and outside the various app stores are malware.

“Many web sites still require visitors to have support for Flash (which has not been available on Android for many years) causing Android users to try and find an app that will let them use that web site.

“In the end they will just end up installing malware.”

The news comes after Express.co.uk recently reported on popular Android apps that were found to collect users’ sensitive data.

Android smartphone fans were put on alert about apps found on the Google Play Store that can collect sensitive data from millions of users.

The data collection shock was discovered by Andrey Meshkov, co-founder of Adguard, who described it as a “huge spyware campaign”.

According to Meshkov’s findings, the data collection campaign affects Android apps as well as extensions for the market leading Google Chrome internet browser.

The security expert said once a victim is logged into their Facebook account the Chrome extensions scrape data immediately after the browser starts up.

In a blog post, Meshkov said all Facebook data is scraped and it even tries to go through a victim’s purchase history.

Other data that is targeted includes posts, sponsored posts, tweets, YouTube videos and adverts a victim has seen and interacted with.

This data is then collected and sent to a third-party firm called Unimania who it is claimed then sells the data to other parties for revenue.

Adguard said a number of Android apps on the Google Play Store have been found to operate in the same way as the offending Chrome extensions.

The ad blocker in their research pinpointed two Android apps with millions of installs.

One of these is an alternative Facebook client called Fast which has been downloaded more than 10 million times.

The other app is Fast Lite, run by the same developers, which the Google Play Store says has over one million installs.

Both apps mention Unimania in the privacy policy.

These apps, in the aftermath of Meshkov’s findings being published, have been removed from the Google Play Store.

Original article by DION DASSANAYAKE https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/974906/Android-warning-malware-virus-alert-keylogger-banking-trojan-ransomware

Sir Clive dragged into ZX Spectrum reboot battle

A fresh war of words has erupted over at ailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm Retro Computers Ltd – this time over the corporate involvement of legendary British inventor Sir Clive Sinclair himself.

The latest squabble over the company boils down to a three-way shareholder fight between former MD Paul Andrews and former CTO Chris Smith, current chairman David Levy, and Sinclair Research Ltd (SRL), which is Sir Clive’s corporate presence. Each shareholder owns a quarter of the company, with Andrews and Smith acting in lockstep.

This is a bitter tug of war with Sir Clive, daddy of the original ZX Spectrum console of the 1980s (as well as 1985’s heroic ‘leccypedalo Sinclair C5), serving as the rope.

RCL, as regular readers know, is the company that was supposed to have delivered a ZX Spectrum-themed handheld game console, called the Vega+, to about 4,500 people who paid money for the product via crowdfunding platform Indiegogo two years ago. Since then the firm has delivered nothing, amid excuses and recriminations flying back and forth over what happened to the £513,000 paid to RCL by its customers.

What should have been a retro-themed product that sold like hot cakes and brought joy to greybeard gamers all over Blighty has descended into a horrible, stinking mess that sullies the Spectrum legacy. The struggle for control of RCL is a marker not only for thousands of customers’ monies, but the very business model behind crowdfunded products – and for what happens when that crowdfunding process goes wrong.

A pile of cash, Sir Clive, and that console
Andrews and Smith are trying to remove Levy as a director of RCL, along with those Levy appointed as directors after the former pair quit the company in April 2016. They want to do this by calling a shareholders’ meeting and voting Levy off the board. Naturally Levy is resisting this attempt to topple him.

With Andrews and Smith controlling 50 per cent of the company, and Levy controlling 25 per cent, the crucial question is who does Sinclair, with the remaining 25 per cent stake in the firm, support? Whoever keeps Sir Clive on their side will be in control of RCL – and the £513,000 that is supposedly still in its bank account.

If SRL opposes Andrews and Smith’s attempt to replace Levy, then the status quo remains.

A press release issued a week ago by Andrews and Smith stated that SRL was backing them. RCL, however, has hit back with a statement of its own, with Levy telling El Reg yesterday:

For the avoidance of confusion and doubt, we are pleased to report that Sinclair Research Ltd have advised us that their company is NOT intending to vote for removing the existing directors and that the position of Sinclair Research Ltd is NOT as stated in the “Joint Press Release” of April 27th, 2018.

Furthermore, Andrews and Smith simultaneously issued a notice to the current board signed only by Smith and Andrews, equating to 50 per cent of the shareholding. Their notice stated the business of the shareholders meeting would be to remove all of the current “members”, i.e. the shareholders of the company and not in fact the Directors.

Andrews and Smith insisted last week’s statement about receiving support from SRL was accurate when they issued it.

We have asked the SRL company secretary what Sinclair Research Ltd’s position is on this squabble but have received no reply at the time of writing. SRL itself has three directors listed at Companies House: Sir Clive; his partner Elaine Millar; and Robert Freestone, the company secretary.

It appears likely to El Reg that a behind-the-scenes battle to secure the hearts and minds of Sir Clive and Millar has been taking place between Andrews and Levy.

Who’s trying to do what here, and why?
The Register understands Andrews (and Smith’s) position is that RCL’s current directors, under Levy, are trying to mislead customers about whether the Vega+ will ever be delivered, with the duo wanting to take back control of the firm they helped found in order to closely examine its books.

Some of RCL’s customers have filed small claims court cases against the company to try and get their money back, as The Register knows.

For his part, Levy disputes Andrews’ allegations and has consistently insisted RCL will deliver, blaming Andrews and Smith for the previous missed delivery deadlines. He has claimed they are trying to destroy the company as revenge for Levy forcing one-time RCL retail distributor Cornerstone Media into liquidation and bankrupting its sole director, Nick Cooper – a personal friend of Andrews’.

Despite public fears that RCL would fold and deliver nothing, the company has repeatedly insisted it will make and distribute the consoles. Its latest pledge is that it will ship some of them by 12 May, though previous self-imposed deadlines have repeatedly sailed past with no action being taken.

Lurking in the background of all this is Indiegogo itself, which is trying to limit the PR damage caused by RCL to its own business model after Luton County Court ruled that the platform’s terms and conditions weren’t relevant and that “backers” were actually customers with a legally enforceable contract of sale. If RCL fails to deliver by the end of May, Indiegogo has pledged that it will send in a debt collection agency on customers’ behalf.

None of the current maneuvering appears likely to bring forward deliveries of the original Vega+. Recently RCL has begun alluding to the delivery of a Vega+ V2 instead of the plain old Vega+, which suggests the product that will appear may not be the same as the one originally offered and paid for. ®

Original Article:- Gareth Corfield 4 May 2018, sourced from,
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/04/sir_clive_sinclair_has_been_dragged_into_the_zx_spectrum_reboot_battle/