So see those links for what I find interesting in the world of tech and gadgets.
Week 8 2015 (February 16th) was a dark week for Lenovo laptop owners. The web exploded with a story about how Lenovo had installed adware (or malware) on some of it’s models. Called Superfish, a certificate is installed to allow third party ads to inject into websites you visit. Lenovo said this was to enhance users experience. No security issues! Right…
Shortly after, a security flaw was discovered. Lenovo backtracked and apologized, but the damage was already done. Windows Defender got updated to remove Superfish. Lenovo also made a tool available. If you want to know if you’re “infected”, you can visit this site. My trust in Lenovo has been severely impacted. I will not recommend PC’s from them in a while. Or maybe never. But, can anyone be trusted? We (consumers) want cheap PC’s. To earn any money from razor thin margins, PC manufacturers installs a lot of bloatware (or crapware). Microsoft started an initiative for clean Windows PC’s, called Signature PC’s. But it hasn’t got any momentum.
In episode 402 of the Windows Weekly podcast with Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley (both renown Microsoft bloggers), Lenovo’s Superfish scandal sparks a longer discussion (or rant if you will) about installed crapware in general. (Starts at six minutes.)
At MWC 2015 Microsoft showed us Lumia 640 and it’s big brother 640 XL. Although pricing is low mid-range, the hardware seems to be quite good. A lot of bang for your bucks! I especially love that they bring back the color cyan. It looks Oh-So-Glossy on the 640!
|Screen size:||5 inch ClearBlack IPS LCD||5.7 inch ClearBlack IPS LCD|
|Resolution:||720p (1280 x 720)||720p (1280 x 720)|
|CPU:||Snapdragon 400 (1.2 GHz quad-core)||Snapdragon 400 (1.2 GHz quad-core)|
|RAM (memory):||1 GB||1 GB|
|Storage:||8 GB + microSD||8 GB + microSD|
|Camera:||8 MP + 1 MP (front)||13 MP + 5 MP (front)|
|Battery:||2500 mAh (removable)||3000 mAh (removable)|
|Weight:||145 g||171 g|
|Price:||180 USD||245 USD|
|Available:||March-April 2015||March-April 2015|
I have used Google Chrome as my default web browser for years. Earlier this year, Google made a 64-bit version available via the beta channel. Now that it has come to the (default) stable channel, I wanted to install it to get all the benefits of running the 64-bit version instead of the 32-bit version.
- Speed: 64-bit allows us to take advantage of the latest processor and compiler optimizations, a more modern instruction set, and a calling convention that allows more function parameters to be passed quickly by registers. As a result, speed is improved, especially in graphics and multimedia content, where we see an average 25% improvement in performance.
- Security: With Chrome able to take advantage of the latest OS features such as High Entropy ASLR on Windows 8, security is improved on 64-bit platforms as well. Those extra bits also help us better defend against exploitation techniques such as JIT spraying, and improve the effectiveness of our existing security defense features like heap partitioning.
- Stability: Finally, we’ve observed a marked increase in stability for 64-bit Chrome over 32-bit Chrome. In particular, crash rates for the the renderer process (i.e. web content process) are almost half that of 32-bit Chrome.
According to a post on the Chromium blog, you can install the 64-bit version on top of the 32-bit version without uninstalling. The 64 bit version should automatically replace the 32-bit version. You just go to www.google.com/chrome and below the download button you should see a link to install the 64-bit version. I saw it previously when installing the Canary version, but could not find it this time.
I then found this link: https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/?platform=win64, but it wouldn’t install.
When I searched for a solution, the first tip I found was to uninstall Chrome and then reinstall from the above link. This time it worked and I got the 64-bit version running.
To check which version of Chrome you have, enter chrome://help in the address field (and press enter). If you do not see (64-bit) behind the version number, you’re running the (standard) 32-bit version.
This was on my PC running Windows 8.1. A 64-bit version of Chrome for Mac is available via the beta channel.