The Extra Mighell - July 3, 2020

Technology and Assorted News, Among Other Things

Welcome to issue #12 of The Extra Mighell!

The links here represent the stories of the past week that I found interesting or noteworthy in addition to what I cover on the blog - that’s why they’re “extra.”

On to the news….

It’s a holiday week, so things were pretty quiet. That didn’t stop the big tech companies from making news of some form or another.

Top News Stories

In my Friday Tech fix, I discuss the wave of social media bans that took place this week on YouTube, Facebook, Reddit and Twitch, and why lawyers should care. As we celebrate Independence Day, we’re also confronting some potentially important issues around online freedom, as well.

This Week in Coronavirus

In case you were wondering, no, Apple and Google did not install contact tracing apps on your phone. Your version of iOS or Android may have been updated with some settings that will make it easier to send you notifications if YOU choose to install a contact tracing app - so stop worrying. [Lifehacker]

This Week in Microsoft

Microsoft announced it is closing all of its 83 retail stores. Other than Apple, there aren’t a lot of tech brands with dedicated stores, so this isn’t a big deal to anyone, is it? I will say, it was nice going in to check out the latest Surface devices before deciding to buy them, though. [CNBC]

Microsoft Editor, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite things in the M365 productivity suite, will soon offer a Similarity Checker to guard against plagiarism. [The Windows Club]

And finally, Microsoft is releasing its own Windows File Recovery tool, designed to help you retrieve files you mistakenly deleted. That hardly happens to anyone here, amirite? [The Verge]

This Week in Apple

Say it isn’t so! The rumor is that the next iPhone will not include earbuds or a charger. Is this an attempt to get you to buy AirPods and wireless charging tools, or maybe to cut down on the huge volume of cords that go unused? Whatever the reason, Apple will certainly be breaking new ground. [9to5 Mac]

This Week in Google

STOP REUSING YOUR PASSWORDS, PEOPLE! Google will help you with that, by adding a Password Checkup Tool to is Security Checkup dashboard. Check it out - really good tools for keeping yourself safe with Google online. [The Verge]

This Week in Amazon

Amazon is jumping on the recent “let’s watch movies together, apart” phenomenon by releasing Watch Party, which allows you to chat with up to 100 friends online while watching a movie or television show on Amazon Prime. And it’s free to all Amazon Prime members.

This Week in Security

Recent research is confirming what we thought might happen while we’re all working from home: that ransomware gangs are attracted to poorly secured remote access connections, and have stepped up their brute force attacks on home-based employees. There are some good tips in here for your IT department to follow to make sure your remote connections are secure. [ESET]

Finally, this. The headline says it’s the coolest thing you’ll see all day, but it beat anything I saw this week.

See you next week!
— Tom