Archive for November 2015

Just Upgraded to Windows 10? Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Your Privacy

If you’ve been paying any attention to the rumors swirling around, you might have heard that Windows 10 is weirding people out; users have found that the newest Windows upgrade has been copying their files and information.

Actually, that’s always been happening. Turns out that operating systems have been collecting the same information and sending it back to Microsoft since Windows XP. That information is not social security numbers, email passwords, etc; it’s just telemetry data.

Telemetry is an automated communications process by which measurements are made and other data collected at remote or inaccessible points and transmitted to receiving equipment for monitoring. It sounds creepier than it is; most of the information is pretty typically leached from users in the interest privacy settings bpof improving operating systems during the next bout of upgrades.

Still, people wanted to at least have the option of turning off the data transfer. There may be some mid-game upgrade that allows for this, but for now, here’s what you can do:

To check out your privacy options, you need to go to Windows 10 Privacy Settings. You can find it at the start menu. If you get to the General tab, you’ll see that the default is for all options to be switched on.

Here you can turn off the advertising tracking, SmartScreen Filter, and data flow to Microsoft regarding typing and writing.

In the Privacy section you can also go to Feedback and diagnostics, where you can limit the data sent to Microsoft to some extent, though not completely; your only choices are Basic, Enhanced, and Full. You can also turn off the location services here.

Another place you can check out is the Manage my Microsoft Adverting and Other Personalization Info area at the bottom of the privacy screen. If you click on that, you’ll see all your information regarding personalized ads. Clicking on Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) will give you even more information as well as the option to opt-out of any personalized ads from the company whatsoever… assuming you’re using the Edge browser. If you use another browser (which you probably do), you can access the DAA from that browser to get a list of companies that are also providing customized ads and see what your options are from there.

cortana bpThen there’s Cortana, who’s name seems pretty ripped from Halo, or was that intentional? Anyway, if you want to set her up, you should know she’s kind of intense.

Go to Cortana and Search Settings; this is where you can control Cortana so that she does your bidding the way you like it. For example, maybe you don’t want her to assist (interrupt, remind) you in Microsoft Edge, in which case you can go to Settings, Advanced Settings, View Advanced Settings, Privacy and finally “Have Cortana Assist Me in Microsoft Edge”. It’s buried pretty deep in there.

Finally, whether or not your information is sent to Microsoft is largely determined by whether or not you have a Microsoft account. If you don’t, your activity and information will remain local to your computer so it definitely will be more private. That said, and like always, you have to pick between privacy and convenience; without a Microsoft account you are limited in terms of your use of the Microsoft store and some other activities.

6 Technological Advancements that Change Lives in Low-Income Nations

In many parts of the world, tech news is basically synonymous with a stream of advertisements for whatever products were most recently released by Apple, Intel, Microsoft, etc. However, in nations where people commonly lack access to infrastructure that “developed” nations take for granted (i.e. electricity, running water and the like), inventions can be the differentiating factor between two vastly different qualities of life.


  1. Take the Luci Solar Lantern for example. Perfect for people who live off the grid or can’t afford electricity bills, the Luci Solar Lantern powers up in the sun and is capable of lasting between six to twelve hours into the night. It’s also extremely durable and portable- it’s easily collapsed, waterproof and shatterproof.
  2. Then there’s the Lifestraw, a handy little water purifier developed in Denmark in 2005. Handheld and portable, the Lifestraw  is capable of killing 99.9 percent of bacteria and filtering 1000 liters of water. It was listed by Forbes as “one of ten things that will change the way we live,” though experts are quick to mention that the Lifestraw is at best a short-term solution to the larger problem of supplying everyone on the planet with reliable, safe water.brck
  3. The BRCK is another big one. This device is a battery-powered wireless modem that runs of a 3G-enabled sim card and can provide internet access to 20 devices at the same time. It’s a rough-and-tumble device with an 8-hour battery life and access to the Brck Cloud, so users can check in on the device whenever and wherever necessary. It costs $250, which split among the users of the 20 devices amounts to pretty cheap internet in times of need.
  4. The PowerPot is crazy. This portable electric generator is also a cooking pot. It uses thermoelectric power generation and can transmit the heat it uses for cooking into electricity. The pot can charge two smartphones, MP3s and LED lights, so it’s ideal for camping vacations and emergency situations.hippo water roller
  5. The Hippo Water Roller is one of the simplest inventions on the list, but it is also among the most clever and effective. The design? One plastic barrel attached to a handle on either side that can be rolled in front or behind the user. This invention is currently in use in South America, India, and 21 African countries by people who usually have to spend hours of time relocating water; now they can reallocate that time towards education or working to lift their families out of poverty.
  6. The Embrace Infant Warmer saves the lives of premature children born in countries that lack the medical infrastructure to otherwise support them. It’s a stand-in incubator that has already helped to reduce the newborn death rate and healthcare costs worldwide.