marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

In a weird twist, it's not HP recording your keystrokes on certain laptops - technically it's a Conexant audio driver that does the actual keystroke recording (it includes a debugging program that went a little haywire; whether that's by design or error is not yet known). HP has since released a security advisory that claims the driver's keystroke logging is "caused by a local debugging capability that was not disabled prior to product launch".

Because Conexant makes audio drivers for many computer brands, this privacy intrusion may ultimately affect many other computer, laptop and tablet makes and models, as well.

That means check your tablet, laptop or computer for this driver - no matter which make, model, device form factor or version of Windows you have.

You can follow these steps to find the Conexant audio driver on your device and to get a new HP driver without the keylogger in it:

  1. Using Cortana or a search tool like Everything, look for C:\Windows\System32\MicTray.exe or C:\Windows\System32\MicTray64.exe (you can right-click, copy and paste these words right from here into either one of those tools).
  2. If either file turns up, right click the computer taskbar, select Task Manager and look for either MicTray.exe or MicTray64.exe. If either of these turns up, right-click it and select End task.
  3. Go back to the file you found in C:\Windows\System32, right-click it and delete it.
  4. Install the latest HP driver from here. [ed. note: requires FTP to download]
  5. Now search your computer for C:\Users\Public\MicTray.log or check C:\Users\Public\ for the file; if it turns up, open it and check for login names, passwords, banking info, and so on, then change your passwords at the affected websites. 

Microsoft says in this advisory that "Windows Defender AV detects and removes this threat" but also warns "[d]oing so also disables the keyboard short cut that turns the microphone on and off."

Affected laptop models the public has been made aware of [list]:

* HARDWARE PRODUCT MODEL(S):
HP EliteBook 820 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 828 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 840 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 848 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 850 G3 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 640 G2 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 650 G2 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 645 G2 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 655 G2 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 450 G3 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 430 G3 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 440 G3 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 446 G3 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 470 G3 Notebook PC
HP ProBook 455 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 725 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 745 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 755 G3 Notebook PC
HP EliteBook 1030 G1 Notebook PC
HP ZBook 15u G3 Mobile Workstation
HP Elite x2 1012 G1 Tablet
HP Elite x2 1012 G1 with Travel Keyboard
HP Elite x2 1012 G1 Advanced Keyboard
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3 Notebook PC
HP ZBook 17 G3 Mobile Workstation
HP ZBook 15 G3 Mobile Workstation
HP ZBook Studio G3 Mobile Workstation
HP EliteBook Folio G1 Notebook PC

Affected operating systems the public has been made aware of [list]:

* OPERATING SYSTEM(S):
Microsoft Windows 10 32
Microsoft Windows 10 64
Microsoft Windows 10 IOT Enterprise 32-Bit (x86)
Microsoft Windows 10 IOT Enterprise 64-Bit (x86)
Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise 64 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Basic 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Basic 64 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Starter 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 32 Edition
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Edition
Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 7 32
Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 7E 32-Bit

I'm pretty sure merely having one of the operating systems listed above - by itself - isn't enough to predict "MicTray.exe" or "MicTray64.exe" will be found on your computer, but any make, model or type of computer - such as your tablet, laptop or computer tower - could have it, so it still doesn't hurt to check.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

Seriously, for the love of God, PCWorld has you do so much just to boot into Safe Mode and it's so unbelievably torturous and will so make you want to stab your eyes out with forks (they didn't even have the simple courtesy to turn their many needless steps into a perhaps easier-to-read list, instead pushing you through a gigantic wall of text that barely passes for a normal paragraph) using both hands at once I'm quoting it just for others to share in my sheer horror (emphasis mine, and oh, do I emphasize! [Bracketed step numbering like so] is also mine.):

Step 1: Enter Safe Mode

[in which I've scraped out two paragraphs of useless fluff you can google which has absolutely nothing to do with how to actually boot into Safe Mode]

Sadly, Microsoft has turned the process of booting into safe mode from a relatively easy process in Windows 7 and Windows 8 to one that is decidedly more complicated in Windows 10. [1] To boot into Windows Safe Mode, first click the Start Button in Windows 10 and select the Power button as if you were going to reboot, but don’t click anything. [2] Next hold down the Shift key and click Reboot. [3] When the full-screen menu appears, select Troubleshooting, then Advanced Options, then Startup Settings. [4] On the next window click the Restart button and wait for the next screen to appear [5] (just stick with us here, we know this is long) [ed. note: NO, really?]. [6] Next you will see a menu with numbered startup options; select number 4, which is Safe Mode [ed. note: Finally, yay! Oh, but wait...-->] . [7] Note that if you want to connect to any online scanners you’ll need to select option 5, which is Safe Mode with Networking.

Dear God.


My way, or the highway

Type "safe" into Cortana. Click on the first result; on the next screen hit the Restart Now button. After restarting, click Troubleshoot, then Advanced Options, then Startup Settings; on the next screen hit the Restart now button.

*drops mic forever* (this came in many words under PCWorld's version even once I had to edit shortly after posting for leaving most of the steps out*)


I could make my version even shorter, but it'd just be nitpicking.

Bold is used in my how-to to help the eye track better, so you stay more focused. And if your steps involve a computer re-start at any point, like these ones did? You need to ask your readers to bookmark the instruction page so they can find it again.

The thing is, if you're gearing words toward the computer-learning, don't use lots of words. You need a clear, short, simple, easy-to-follow framework, preferably in list form if it takes more than 2-3 steps. I struggled with just this issue in learning to write how-tos, and still feel some of them should be even shorter/more concise than they are.

Computer users often know what to look up if they don't understand why they're doing something, so simply tell them how and let them figure out "why" in Google or by asking you or others. You can also explain "why" before you start the actual how-to, but somehow separate it from the actual instructions to help minimize confusion.

And if there are multiple ways to do something, show the simplest way possible. Make it look easy; make it seem like fun! Or they'll never want to follow your steps again. Even I got a headache trying to envision how to perform all of PCWorld's steps: knowing the most complicated way to do something is far from knowing the one way that makes you look l33t even if you have no idea what you just did.

And I'm hoping no one says, "But what about people who disable Cortana?" Can't be done, for one thing. Even if people choose to keep Cortana "hidden", there are still easier ways; for instance, the latest version of Win 10 Pro allows you to find Safe Mode by looking in the taskbar tray for All Settings; from there just go to Updates & Security-->Recovery-->Advanced Startup and hit Restart now, then click Troubleshoot-->Advanced Options-->Startup Settings and hit the Restart button. That's it - for real.

*last paragraph also left steps out; now fixed

Democratic/left-leaning myopia, ftw

Jun. 21st, 2017 02:32 am
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

In tonight's "myopia" series, I explain people not being able to see the forest for their own asses taking up the entire view. Another case in point: Us. Let's get our heads out of our asses and stop Republican gerrymandering (witness another House seat we should have easily won; we are screwed right through 2018, should this continue) and stop ogling Trump's supporters.

Y'all have damn short memories. I mean really damn short.

Do any of you all recall what it was like to support Bill Clinton after his first election? Any Bill supporters out there?

OK: *waves*...I was. He won with only 43% of the popular vote and the right insta-hated him. I cannot emphasize this enough: they hated him right out of the gate; he hadn't taken his first post-McDonald's jog around the White House before you could feel it in the air that they wanted him gone. You can quibble with me, but I followed Clinton's every word/move/bill/action/reaction almost as breathlessly as though he was the actual prophet selected to announce Jesus's return.

If y'all want to know why, it's because - and I've said this before - I have a strong weakness for the underdog as long as they - unlike Trump - seem honest, above-board and act well-intended enough (though having my political and social preferences also clearly helps).

Bill was the underdog, so Bill was my president, no ands, ifs, or buts. The only time I *ever* disagreed with him - for like a half a second - was after he signed off on NAFTA, and I'm still pissed about that, so yeah, I rather vehemently disagreed. But walk away? Oh hell, no. Back then I had two obsessions: the New York Knicks winning their championship that year (they got eliminated in the East Finals) and Bill Clinton becoming and staying president, and you'd easily pry either concept from my cold, dead hands before I gave them up without a fight.

Has it ever occurred to people that Trump's supporters simply feel the same way?

As a past True Believer, I can tell you you're not going to win the fight for 2018 or 2020 by winning them back, so quit it. Stop talking about their underemployed, opiate-and-Faux News-laden self-made hells on Earth. Stop interviewing them in their fucking trailers. Stop bemoaning their disappearing lung-cancer-causing mining jobs and stop doing summations of Why They Voted For Him that ignore the second most important part of why they did: mostly because they're racists - or the more well-heeled folks after big tax cuts and the hell with the rest of us - so again, mostly because they're racists.

The most important reason, though? They wanted a leader, and to their minds, they got one. Don't ask why; it's an irrational thing considering Trump is all smoke, mirrors and one too many Twitter rants. While edges of his base will peel away, the core will remain. Don't mess with it, let's just move on.

For success in 2018/2020 we need to stop finger-pointing, we need to stop ogling, we desperately need to redraw Republican-gerrymandered districts, and we need to stop being divisive. Oh, and you think that's just Faux News! Well, that's us, too. A house divided will always fall. Why are we doing this to ourselves?

  • Every time a progressive points at a Democrat and says: "not left-leaning enough" that's not only complete bullshit it's divisive.
  • Every time a Democrat blames something on "the Bernie bros" that's not only also complete bullshit it's divisive.
  • Every time Bernie gets mentioned, it's divisive. I hate to rip a page from Orangado's book here, but folks: Bernie lost; get over it.
  • Every time progressives single out publications for their hate - most recently, they went after The Washington Post for not feeling progressive enough, something I cannot forgive because it's my favorite newspaper - it's divisive.
  • Every time an (obviously) self-proclaimed "antifa" hits the streets to stand in opposition to Trumpsters, it's divisive; also, "antifa" are quite possibly just plain nuts.

If "antisoc" had hit the streets in protest every time Clinton supporters breathed in his direction they might arguably have been locked up (not to mention back then, no one would have dared. My, how times have changed). A really good argument can be made in either direction that Republicans/right-leaners/Trump in particular are fascist scumwads OR that Democrats/left-leaners/Clinton in particular are socialist scumwads. I'm entirely capable of agreeing with both arguments equally.

Did I mention I was so fucking mad about NAFTA I nearly turned Republican myself, and have considered myself "moderate" (with a few admittedly more liberal aspects) ever since? While I was never gonna give up on Bill, the entire Democratic Party could pretty much blow me at that point, and while I've recovered most of my left-leaning equilibrium since then, in some ways it still can. And I refuse to feel bad about this.

So stop being divisive, stop Republican gerrymandering, and quit with all the "why Trump's supporters support him" songs and dances. Because, nope. Really. It's not helping.