How-to: Get Free Web-Hosting

Image credit: Maitre'd / cameraro carta by unknown, via Google ImagesIf you want a conventional website, you’ll need space on a web-server somewhere to run it. That usually costs money. The more space, better bandwidth, better facilities you want, the more it’s likely to cost you. But the Internet is also inundated with offers of free web hosting. And like ‘free lunches’, there are many definitions of ‘free hosting’. Someone has to pay for it in some way.

The obvious one is on-site advertising. Even the best free hosting services reserve the right to lob some ads onto your pages, even the discreet and hopefully tasteful kind such as you find on WordPress.com. So the key question is how much of a free lunch is free hosting and will it give you the kind of web presence you want? Read more of this post

How-to: Disable Bing in Windows 10 Search

Cortana and Search Settings - Windows 10Windows 10 is a Microsoft product, so by default, any desktop search is set to run through Bing, sending everything through Microsoft on the way. Fortunately, this is one of the Windows bindings that is easy to cut, so you can cut Microsoft out of your desktop or local device searches.

Open the Start Menu and type ‘Cortana & Search settings’ into the search box. Even Bing should be able to find that. Read more of this post

How-to: Understand XPS format

In case you never heard of it, XPS format is Microsoft’s competitor to Adobe’s PDF. First introduced in Windows Vista, the long head start enjoyed by PDF meant XPS never gained much traction, even with Windows users. XPS stands for Open XML Paper Specification, an open format in the same way Office Open XML is now an open, standard format for Microsoft Office documents. Unlike Microsoft Office formats, few software publishers rushed to support XPS.

Once touted as a ‘PDF-killer’ – that never happened – Microsoft continues to embed XPS, so all Windows versions include better support for XPS files than PDF files. Microsoft even published it as an open ‘standard’. Designed as a fixed-format file, similar to PDF or PostScript files, Microsoft included support for digital signatures and DRM – just like PDF. Read more of this post

How-to: Remove Text-Enhance adware

Image: Text Enhance adwareText Enhance is one of those pesky ad-ware browser hijackers that takes over pages in your web browser and overlays ads based on keywords in the page text. Underlined keywords are hyper-linked to pop-up boxes containing coupons in ads clearly identified as Text Enhance. A relatively benign and easily removed example of ad-ware, it is nonetheless an invasion of your privacy.

Text Enhance is a bundled add-on for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome and is typically installed alongside other free programs. As well as injecting ad links into your web pages, it also infiltrates search forms on Ebay, Google, Facebook, Amazon or any website it can to display a box containing related keyword suggestions,ads and sponsored links in the right of your browser window. It can also collect search terms and other keywords from your search queries. Read more of this post

How-to: Introduction to Edge

Microsoft Edge browser - webnotesProject Spartan. Sounds awesome (sic). It was the codename for Microsoft’s successor to Internet Explorer; the new browser: Edge.

So is it cutting edge, leading edge or trailing edge? Is it finished? Is it fast? And is it the first properly functional Modern UI application? After all, we’re all going to spend a lot of time using it in future. Like it or not, Microsoft Edge is going to replace Internet Explorer as the default browser on desktop, mobile and tablet devices.

There is no firm plan as to how and when this is going to happen, but Edge is already the default browser in Windows 10. Read more of this post

Review: Windows 10 ‘Threshold 2’

Windows 10 ThresholdAt one time, Microsoft used to release Service Packs for it’s software – Windows XP had three, versions of Windows Server would have a couple each. As Windows Update came to support more frequent and regular patches, Service Packs fell out of favour. Which is why Threshold 2 is a return to an old idea; it’s the first major update to Windows 10, a large, tightly packaged update to the original Windows 10 which was codenamed ‘Threshold’. In effect, a Service Pack and a feature release combined.

Some of the changes are good – product activation, coloured window title bars, Skype integration, improvements to the Edge browser – but some are not so good – there is advertising in the Start menu. Read more of this post

Opinion: Fingerprints Make Bad Passwords

Fingerprints make bad passwordsWe all know passwords are rubbish. We pick short ones, simple ones, easy ones; we never change them,  we use our birthdays, childrens’ names, pets’s names, postcodes; and then we write them down on post-it notes and stick them to the screen. We think we’re clever when we use a password manager – right up to the point that gets hacked and all our passwords get published to FacePoke in one fell swoop.

What we need is something unique to us that we don’t have to remember or write down, that is always on our person and that will never change. Like a fingerprint. Lots of phones and laptops now have fingerprint scanners. That must be better. Except that’s worse. Read more of this post