Windows 10 Creators (sic) update

My computer had been prompting me to start the “update” process, but although it kept promising to do the update when I logged off, it seems that not much happened until I actually clicked the “Update Now” button.   Then computer then mumbled away to itself for well over an hour, but eventually informed me that “Windows 10 Creators Update” had been installed.  I suppose the flip side of this is that Windows didn’t take it on itself automatically to install the update at a time that it arbitrarily selected (I recall this having happened in the past), so I can’t complain about that.

Apparently this update has a number  of supposedly interesting features, but these seem largely gimmicks to me.  I can safely say, that there seems little in it that is likely to be of interest to me.  Perhaps I’ll look at the privacy settings, but apart from that,  all I want is for my computer to continue to operate with as few hassles as possible (and I accept that updates are necessary in this regard).   Annoyingly, the update appears to have interfered with some of my “default” settings (mainly in relation to programs by which particular files are opened) and also some of the Outlook settings, but hopefully I’ll be able to sort through these.

And – ought there not be an apostrophe in “Creators” ?   I would have thought that it should be Creators’…..?    The issue was mentioned in this article, but clearly Microsoft regards itself as being above the niceties of English grammar!

Light globes

In days gone by, it was quite simple to have a few spare light globes in the cupboard.  They were all bayonet-cap; the only choice was the wattage – somewhere between 25 w to 100 w, occasionally even a little brighter.

But these days, some fittings are screw-in (“ES”), and around the house we have a few varieties, ranging from “candle” globes through to various spot lights.    And technology has changed:  the simple old cheap and plain filament globes have been banned on energy efficiency grounds, and we now have to choose between mini fluors, halogen, LEDs ….  and more.

Hence, although I’ve got a shelf full of legacy type globes, usually I just buy a replacement when I need it.   That can be a challenge, too.   Sure, at Bunnings, they’re all neatly arranged, but at our local supermarket, the shelves are invariably a confusing mish-mash, and it’s pure luck if the description on the shelf accords with the type of globe that’s actually stacked there!

NBN – “Coming soon” (2)

Well, there is some activity in the local streets suggesting that the NBN is in fact on its way.  There have been workmen looking into the Telstra pits in the streets – many of which probably haven’t been opened for years. 

I spoke to one of them, and he confirmed that, yes, they were checking the existing infrastructure in readiness for the NBN to be rolled out, utilising the existing Telstra HFC cable.

Data matching

The Australian Taxation Office is pretty good at matching up the data it receives from various sources to individual taxpayers.  Well, so it ought to be, it’s not rocket science – most of the data they receive presumably comes with tax file numbers.

And sometimes the ATO likes to portray itself as being a little helpful, too.  Hence, I recently received a letter from them drawing attention to the fact that I might be in a zone where I could be affected by the upcoming changes to the superannuation rules.

As it happens, I was already aware of this.   But I couldn’t help wondering why the letter was addressed to our residential address – when we always use a different mailing address (a P O Box) for all our superannuation and ATO correspondence.   Sounds as though there’s room to fine-tune that matching process!

NBN – “Coming soon”

I’d seen on the NBN website that we’re due to get NBN in the next few months, and now we’ve received a card from NBN suggesting that we “register for updates”.

I’ve done a little research about what might be involved in changing our phone and computer connections over to NBN,  and then I attended a presentation at the Melb PC User group on the subject.

Well, time will tell, but for now I’ve got a few unanswered questions, even after the helpful presentation at the PC User group meeting.   These include,  where will the connection point inside our house be located, whether, if we stay with Optus as our retail service provider, what the costs might be (so far, the suggestions have been that other providers are better “value”), and if we move from Optus, what are the implications for our landline phone number and email addresses…….

And these are only the “known unknowns”.  There are sure to be some “unknown unknowns” as well!   Interesting times ahead!

The legal profession

A glossy “Legal Review” magazine fell out of our copy the Australian.  One of the articles suggested that Australia’s legal landscape was being “shaken up” by overseas law firms coming to Australia.

Well, that may well be, but I was left shaking my head as to the appeal of such firms to large commercial clients (who of course are the target clients for both well established and new entrant firms).

The same phrases kept coming up:   profits per equity partner, meeting budgets, lateral hires/”turnover of partners”, internal ructions and “global integration”.

Well, I’m now past all that, and obviously I don’t have the same day-to-day familiarity with what’s actually going on.   But the themes sound unchanged from the days when I was involved.

The starting point has to be that there’s only one source of profits in a law firm, and that’s from client billings.   Yet we regularly read that increasingly savvy commercial clients are monitoring legal fees more closely than ever.   Obviously there are competing interests here!

Budgets can only be met if there’s a good flow of work, and even then often involve outrageously excessive working hours for someone in the food chain – often on the part of more junior lawyers.

Lateral hires (and the associated turnover of partners) are disruptive to all concerned and always beg the question – was the person pushed (why)?   Or did they jump (presumably for more money – see point about source of profits above).

The article honestly admitted that there have been internal ructions at a number of firms.  That’s not surprising when the money involved is so great, but hardly in the interests if clients!

In short, the world of law firms has always been messy, and at this level, things don’t seem to have changed at all.  Glossy magazines may portray a rosy picture, but clients beware!

I haven’t touched on “Global integration”.     Now there’s quite a bit to say about this, so I’ll save it for a future post.

Ransomware

It’s our worst fear, isn’t it?  That we’ll be hit by a virus such as   “Wanna Decryptor” or “WannaCry”?  This particular virus, which has received a lot of publicity, is said to encrypt all the files on the computer and you have to pay a ransom (in bitcoins) to unlock them.

Having said that, in this instance, it’s hard to feel much sympathy for those institutions and people whose computers were attacked.   Either their computers hadn’t been updated with an important security update from March 2017, or they had chosen chosen to continue to run an old version of Windows (such as Windows XP) which is no longer supported by Microsoft – a fact that’s been widely publicised.  In the latter case, they ought to have ensured that they had reliable anti-virus software from a third party supplier.

But of course our big fear is that one day we’ll inadvertently click on something and find that we’ve been infected by a sophisticated virus that’s evaded all the arrangements that we’ve set up to protect us from this sort of thing.

Would I pay the ransom?   Not sure, although I wouldn’t rule out doing so.   However, I do back up my most important files “off line” (to a hard drive that isn’t usually connected to the computer and is stored separately).   The catch is that it takes a bit of an effort to do this, so I don’t do it as often as might ideally be desirable.    Hence, if I were forced to rely on this, although I’d have all the historic data that I keep on my computer, I might well miss out on more recent work – possibly a few weeks of it.