Another of thousands of reasons to NOT use third party Anti Virus on any computer.

Avast says it has fixed the problem that triggered Win10 April 2018 Update installation blue screens and dysfunctional ‘boot to another operating system’ options.

bsod blue screen of death 


Looks as if we have a solution for the Avast-related blue screens in Win10 1803 upgrades that I talked about earlier this week. Avast heavyweight Ondrej Vlcek chose his words carefully but threw lots of shade at Microsoft for the upgrade installer’s bug.

Posting on the Avast forum, Vlcek says:

In cooperation with Microsoft we have identified an element of the latest Windows 10 1803 update that is incompatible with the Avast Behavior Shield, causing the aforementioned update to fail in some instances (related to a timing issue, Internet connectivity issue, etc).

“Fail in some instances” is polite shorthand for the symptoms originally described quite accurately by gcdrm on Reddit:

Upon restarting, the computer boots to a blue screen asking the user to choose a keyboard language. After doing so, a few options are given, including to ‘boot from another operating system’. Clicking here will take the user to another blue screen with three options to continue “booting” to:

  • Windows Rollback
  • Windows 10 on Volume [x]
  • Windows 10 on Volume [x]

The lower two options are identical.

Running around to get ahead of the band, on May 23, “Microsoft Agent” Freddrick Pal posted on the Microsoft Answers forum:

Windows 10 April 2018 Update may boot to a “Choose your keyboard layout” screen or to a blank screen with a Recycle Bin 

During the upgrade to Windows 10 version 1803, Windows automatically restarts and one of these two conditions might be experienced:

  • The upgrade appears to complete, but after signing in, you observe a blank screen with only a Recycle Bin and a taskbar.  The mouse cursor is present, but the Start menu may not function. Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del runs the Task Manager, but the Task Manager may not be helpful.
  • During the upgrade, Windows restarts to a screen that prompts you to “Choose your keyboard layout”.  From there, troubleshooting options can be selected, but none of them appear to resolve the issue. For example, if Windows Rollback is selected, the entire process repeats.

As is becoming increasingly common on the Answers forum, especially on posts by “Microsoft Agents,” comments to the post are shut off. No discussion possible. It’s not an answer, it’s a diktat.

Vlcek goes on to say:

Luckily, we have found a way to prevent the problem and are now automatically pushing a VPS update to all customers which makes sure that the problem doesn’t happen. The VPS number is 180524-08; all users running this version (or later) should be 100% safe.

(A VPS is a full update of Avast Behavior Shield.)


He then gives a complex 18-step procedure for manually getting your computer back if you got zapped by the bug. It’s not for the faint-hearted. And it’s not from Microsoft — Avast picked it up from The Computer Cellar.

Worth noting: There’s no mention of this bug, or its possible solution, in the second May cumulative update for Win10 version 1803, released two days ago, KB 4100403.

Vlcek ends with an interesting barb:

In the meantime, we continue to investigate this issue which appears to affect only a small subset of our customers. BTW at this stage, we know it’s not an Avast-specific issue as the problem affects other software as well.

Based on the evidence I’ve seen, and some of Avast’s comments, I’d be willing to speculate that we’re seeing another timing-dependent bug in the Win10 1803 installer. Why this bug took out so many copies of Avast — and what “other software” mentioned by Vlcek may be affected — remains a mystery. Of course, Microsoft isn’t saying anything.

Gcdrm on Reddit wraps up his coverage with this statement:

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Lawsuit alleges Apple might have known about Touch Disease before launching the iPhone 6

The iPhone 6

Ugh, the iPhone 6’s problems keep coming back to haunt Apple.

Years after the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus made headlines for “Bendgate” and “Touch Disease,” new information made public (via Motherboard) from an ongoing class-action lawsuit on the latter has revealed the two issues might be related.

The new details were discovered in a document made available by U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh, the same judge who presided over the Apple v. Samsung trial. The lawsuit alleges “Touch Disease,” which can cause the touchscreen on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to flicker and become unresponsive, is directly related to its structurally weak aluminum casing.

When “Touch Disease” was first discovered by third-party repair specialists in late 2016, it was widely believed the root of the issue was a result of the touchscreen controller not being properly bonded to the iPhone’s logic board using “underfill,” a glue-like substance.

Per the case document (embedded below in its entirety), the plaintiffs claim the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus’s bendable metal frame, which if bent even the slightest over time from regular use or drops, can cause the touchscreen controller to come loose from the logic board.

The plaintiffs claim Apple knew about the defective design, but still chose to release the iPhones in 2014 knowing Touch Disease would be a consequence.

According to Judge Koh:

“Apple’s internal testing ‘determined that the iPhone 6 was 3.3 times more likely to bend than the iPhone 5s (the model immediately prior to the subject iPhones) and that the iPhone 6 Plus was 7.2 times more likely to bend than the iPhone 5s.”

And…

“One of the major concerns Apple identified prior to launching the iPhones was that they were likely to bend more easily when compared to previous generations,” something that Apple described as “expected behavior.”

Koh further says “After internal investigation, Apple determined underfill was necessary to resolve the problems caused by the touchscreen defect” and then moved to use the bonding substance on iPhone 6’s “until May 2016,” further suggesting the company realized it was indeed the cause of the  display issues.

There’s also the fact that Apple switched to stronger grade 7000 aluminum in the iPhone 6S, which made the phone slightly thicker, although that could have been solely a response to Bendgate.

Apple’s not the only one guilty of prioritizing design over preventable issues. I hate bringing it up, but just look at what happened with Samsung’s ill-fated Galaxy Note 7. Its demise was partially a result of cramming a battery into a body that wasn’t thick enough to insulate it.

Apple has traditionally put design first, arguably at the expense of usability (New MacBook Pros, anyone?). Was the iPhone 6 another case where reliability was overlooked because it was busy chasing thinness?

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iPhone X owners irate over cracking camera lenses

File photo: An iPhone X is seen on a large video screen in the new Apple Visitor Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

An increasing number of people are complaining of problems with their iPhone X camera lens, according to a new report.

Affected iPhone users are taking to Apple’s support forums and Reddit and saying that their camera lenses are cracking and Apple isn’t replacing the cameras with new units. Instead, Apple is reportedly charging to replace the entire device, which is a $549 fee if you do not have AppleCare+.

The reason Apple can’t just fix the lens is because of the way the iPhone X is designed. Screen repairs cost $279, but a cracked lens would fall under “Other Damage,” which is $549.

According to the reports, the cameras are reportedly cracking on their own. Users are saying that they haven’t dropped their iPhone X cameras to cause the cracking and wonder whether cold or warm temperatures are causing problems. 9to5Mac, which earlier reported on the problems, pointed to a few reports that said the crack appeared to have happened in cold weather and others said it happened in warm weather in Hawaii.

The iPhone X’s camera is reinforced with sapphire, a technology that Apple and other major tech companies say is harder than glass and not nearly as easy to scratch. But there have been some complaints in the past that perhaps sapphire doesn’t provide the kind of protection claimed.

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, it’s worth noting that we don’t know how widespread the iPhone X camera problem is. And while there’s a chance that Apple might find a problem that it’ll need to address, the issue doesn’t seem to be widespread.

We’ll keep an eye on the support pages and fill you in if Apple decides to comment on the issue.

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iPhone X owners irate over cracking camera lenses

File photo: An iPhone X is seen on a large video screen in the new Apple Visitor Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

File photo: An iPhone X is seen on a large video screen in the new Apple Visitor Center in Cupertino, California, U.S., November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

An increasing number of people are complaining of problems with their iPhone X camera lens, according to a new report.

Affected iPhone users are taking to Apple’s support forums and Reddit and saying that their camera lenses are cracking and Apple isn’t replacing the cameras with new units. Instead, Apple is reportedly charging to replace the entire device, which is a $549 fee if you do not have AppleCare+.

The reason Apple can’t just fix the lens is because of the way the iPhone X is designed. Screen repairs cost $279, but a cracked lens would fall under “Other Damage,” which is $549.

According to the reports, the cameras are reportedly cracking on their own. Users are saying that they haven’t dropped their iPhone X cameras to cause the cracking and wonder whether cold or warm temperatures are causing problems. 9to5Mac, which earlier reported on the problems, pointed to a few reports that said the crack appeared to have happened in cold weather and others said it happened in warm weather in Hawaii.


The iPhone X’s camera is reinforced with sapphire, a technology that Apple and other major tech companies say is harder than glass and not nearly as easy to scratch. But there have been some complaints in the past that perhaps sapphire doesn’t provide the kind of protection claimed.

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, it’s worth noting that we don’t know how widespread the iPhone X camera problem is. And while there’s a chance that Apple might find a problem that it’ll need to address, the issue doesn’t seem to be widespread.

We’ll keep an eye on the support pages and fill you in if Apple decides to comment on the issue.

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    Apple reportedly knew that the iPhone 6 would bend, but lied about it

    While every iPhone launch seems to come with some kind of built-in controversy, the “Bendgate” epidemic of 2014 felt different. Customers who bought the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus discovered that their new phones were shockingly easy to bend, and while Apple has maintained for years that there were no engineering issues with the iPhone 6 lineup, a court filing obtained by Motherboard suggests that Apple knew exactly how flawed its phones were.

    According to internal documents made public by US District Court judge Lucy Koh, Apple’s testing “determined that the iPhone 6 was 3.3 times more likely to bend than the iPhone 5s […] and that the iPhone 6 Plus was 7.2 times more likely to bend than the iPhone 5s.” The company even specified that one of its major concerns leading up to launch was that its 2014 iPhone models were “likely to bend more easily when compared to previous generations.”

    This is obviously a far cry from anything Apple shared with the public when the issue was still front-page news. As Motherboard points out, Apple released a statement once the complaints reached a fever pitch, claiming to perform “rigorous tests throughout the entire development cycle” and stating that the “iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus meet or exceed all of our high quality standards to endure everyday, real life use.”

    Apple may have been able to sweep the entire episode under the rug once the initial uproar died down, but “Touch Disease” reared its ugly head. Enough iPhone owners were affected to necessitate a class action lawsuit, which resulted in Apple handing over documents related to internal testing. Although these documents remain sealed, Judge Koh recently made some of the information contained within public in an opinion.

    “After internal investigation, Apple determined underfill was necessary to resolve the problems caused by the defect,” Koh wrote, referring to an epoxy inside the phones. “Apple had used underfill on the preceding iPhone generation but did not start using it on the [touch diseased] chip in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus until May 2016.”

    Apple has argued that “bending and twisting cannot cause the issue unless the phones had already been repeatedly dropped on a hard surface,” but this has been disputed by the plaintiff’s expert witnesses and the repair community. You can read the rest of the 45-page document over at Motherboard.

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    How to fix a Windows 10 laptop that’s plugged in but not charging

    Josh Goldman/CNET

    After updating to Windows 10 Spring 2018 Update, my laptop’s battery stopped charging. (This situation was neither one of the update’s best new features nor its hidden gems.) My laptop would show it was plugged in, but then at the same time it would tell me it was also not charging. 

    Thankfully, I found that this problem was not uncommon and would occasionally arise after a Windows update. And more thankfully, there was an easy fix. Here’s how I got my laptop’s battery back to charging when it was plugged in.

    punc

    Plugged in, not charging

    If your laptop refuses to charge the battery even though it acknowledges that it’s plugged in, here’s what you need to do:

    • Open the Device Manager by searching for it or right-clicking the Start button and selecting Device Manager.
    • Click Batteries on the list to expand it and you should see two items: Microsoft AC Adapter and Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery.

    device-manager-batteries

    Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

    • Right-click on each item and choose Uninstall device. Yes, you are uninstalling your laptop’s battery drivers, but don’t worry because they will automatically be reinstalled when you restart your laptop.
    • Shut down your laptop.
    • Unplug the power cable from your laptop.
    • If your laptop has a removable battery, remove it. My Lenovo laptop does not have a removable battery. I tried skipping this step but it didn’t work, so I removed the bottom panel of my laptop and then removed the battery by disconnecting it from the motherboard.
    • Put the battery back in if you removed it.
    • Plug in your laptop.
    • Power on your laptop.
    • Click the battery icon in the system tray and you should see that your laptop is plugged in and charging.

    plugged-in-and-charging

    Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

    By reinstalling my Lenovo laptop’s battery drivers and disconnecting its battery and then reconnecting it, I got my laptop’s battery back to charging when it’s plugged in. With differences in manufacturers, your mileage may vary. If you encountered this plugged-in-not-charging problem and found a fix that differs from mine, please describe your method in the comments below.

    For more, here’s everything you need to know about Windows 10 April 2018 Update.

    three-laptops-01.jpg

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    Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller is an inspiring example of inclusive design

    Every gamer with a disability faces a unique challenge for many reasons, one of which is the relative dearth of accessibility-focused peripherals for consoles. Microsoft is taking a big step towards fixing this with its Xbox Adaptive Controller, a device created to address the needs of gamers for whom ordinary gamepads aren’t an option.

    a man sitting in front of a store© Provided by TechCrunchThe XAC, revealed officially at a recent event but also leaked a few days ago, is essentially a pair of gigantic programmable buttons and an oversized directional pad. 3.5mm ports on the back let a huge variety of assistive devices like blow tubes, pedals, and Microsoft-made accessories plug in.

    It’s not meant to be an all-in-one solution by any means, more like a hub that allows gamers with disabilities to easily make and adjust their own setups with a minimum of hassle. Whatever you’re capable of, whatever’s comfortable, whatever gear you already have, the XAC is meant to enable it.

    I’d go into detail, but it would be impossible to do better than Microsoft’s extremely interesting and in-depth post introducing the XAC, which goes into the origins of the hardware, the personal stories of the testers and creators, and much more. Absolutely worth taking the time to read.

    I look forward to hearing more about the system and how its users put it to use, and I’m glad to see inclusivity and accessibility being pursued in such a practical and carefully researched manner.


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