Monday, April 27, 2015

ATO AUSkey drops support for Google Chrome.

I thought it was interesting to read the ATO has dropped support for Google Chrome users using AUSkey and decided to checkout why from a technical point of view.

It appears the ATO, for users of AUSkey, are no longer supporting Google Chrome as from version 42. Now of course this will create a storm from Chrome users, but on the other hand, this change is a result of changes Google Chrome is putting into place when it stops supporting the technology NPAPI.

Firstly let's say this is a storm in a teacup. Most people I know now run two browsers. Browsers now simply fail on some sites and it's getting worse. To get around this you need to have two browsers installed. When one doesn't work, then use the other. Problem solved.

The government sites I've found to be rather lacking and you really do need to try sites using different browsers. For the government to continue to use Java, when Java is one of the most prevalent attack vectors for malware lacks foresight. I removed Java from my main computer years ago and recommend to others to do the same. Only if an application requires Java is Java needed to be installed. If you do need Java you can have it installed in your secondary browser to minimise the risk of malware infection.

As a tip. I don't recommend Opera as a browser, but if you need to quickly install a second browser, it's quick and easy to install. Best of all there's only 1% of people who use Opera making it less likely for malware writers to write software specifically targeted at Opera users. Of course you can select your own browser of choice for the second browser.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Error code 80092004 Windows 7 Pro update KB3038314

I thought I'd share this experience in case it helps others.

Reloading a Windows 7 Pro 64 bit system and the final step was to apply the updates. There were over 200 updates so it was going to take a while. However it took much longer than I'd expected. The problem is the updates kept failing and then all updates would be removed. Yes. Pretty frustrating.

I decided to try to identify which update was causing the failure with the error code 80092004. It turned out to be KB3038314 which is a "Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems".

Checking on the internet revealed quite a few others having this issue recently. The best approach I found was to simply hide the update. It appears this may be a buggy update.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

RENEW YOUR SUBSCRIPTION To keep your Office applications with interruption, please renew by...Office 365 renewal message

Here's a tip for those wishing to save money on their Office 365 Home renewal.

If you were to click on the Buy button when you get the message, "RENEW YOUR SUBSCRIPTION To keep your Office applications with interruption, please renew by...Office 365 renewal message", and renew your subscription, you may be paying more than you need to.

As you can see from the following screenshot the cost for Office 365 Home is $119 if you renew on the internet.

Checking the cost on the Microsoft online store Office 365 Home is $119 (the same as the renewal online) and Office 365 Personal is $89.

However last year I decided to do a test and found you can renew your subscription by buying the Office 365 subscription from Officeworks (or possibly another retailer) and the renewal worked fine. The only problem I found is you need to wait until the last day, otherwise the renewal starts from the day you enter the subscription and thus you could lose a couple of days if you update early. It doesn't simply extend the renewal.

The benefit is Officeworks has the Ofice 365 Home subscription currently for $87 (limit four per customer for the card, but no such limit for the box version) and Office 365 Personal for $77. In both cases a good saving can be made by purchasing at Officeworks. A quick check of the other major retailers found their prices were higher.

For those with staff discount at Officeworks, even better.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Global companies Google, Microsoft and Apple coming under the spotlight.

There's no doubt there's a lot of mileage to be gained by bashing the big companies like Google, Microsoft and Apple. Yes, they probably deserve it, but generally they comply with the law and aim to minimise their taxes. Even individuals can appreciate that strategy.

What I find interesting when reading the articles is that often we're purchasing from overseas, yet how often do we hear that prices are set because it's more expensive to do business in Australia. Sorry, you can't have it both ways.

One person I know had their Apple iPad shipped direct from China. Where's the price difference? It's not being delivered first to Australia and then to the client. Simply direct as it could be to any other country.

Microsoft charges Australians more for Office 365. Perhaps the pricing needs to be reconsidered since they're not paying the 30 cents corporate tax rate.

Google, and I have to be balanced here since I use their services, and in full disclosure get paid by them. I claim all income and pay the appropriate level of tax. However those paying for advertising to promote their business in Australia are buying a product from overseas. Those making money from publishing ads on their sites are being paid from overseas. Some I suspect won't be claiming that income.

All the time we have to keep in mind whilst the government makes mileage from this and how unfair it is, they are the biggest buyers of the services, hardware and software. Not happy, then go and buy your product elsewhere is what they should be doing.

We also need to keep in mind that we're told Australian companies, and in fact many major companies around the world play the same global tax game. Some of the companies are so big that you could really consider them global citizens, so if countries provide the mechanisms to minimise tax, then if people were in the same position, they'd probably do the same.

What it probably does mean is that our very complex tax system is failing. Hopefully in time all parties will find an appropriate solution to the problem. I'm sure there's an answer if the desire's there.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Videos not working in Facebook.

Everyone's being told to post videos in Facebook. There's something they probably don't know.

Flash and Java are the two products which make up most of the top 10 malware vectors (that is ways to exploit). By removing Java and Flash you thus reduce the chances of infecting your computer. Based on my experience of removing malware, Java in particular is often involved.

I've removed Java a couple of years ago and see no need for it. However that may not be the case for everyone. I've also been running my Windows machine without Flash now for probably two years. Those nagging video ads you get when visiting a site was probably more of an incentive than the malware issue.

Lately however I've noticed more people posting videos in Facebook which I now simply skip because I can't view them. The reason is Facebook uses Flash for desktop/notebook devices, but HTML5 for mobiles and tablets. Mobile and tablets don't support Flash at all. Video on mobile devices is not an issue as Facebook handles this correctly. Of course watching videos on a mobile device may create data usage issue and for some could be very expensive, but that's a different issue.

Some stats.

I've check my dictionary site ( where around 90% of the traffic is from Australia. Currently around 7-8% of users running Windows and Mac do not have the version of Flash set and I suspect that means it is not installed. This trend may be growing.

This is simply a heads-up. If you post a video in Facebook a certain percentage of people won't be able to view it. If you post a link to a site and not upload the video to Facebook, chances are the site will correctly handle the video so it can be watched. Of course to counter that, I've found through testing only a few per cent of people check the links. Facebook also by design wants people to stay in Facebook and not exit outside.

If you or someone you know finds videos in Facebook not working, this may be one reason.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.