Dell might sell itself to VMWare in a massive deal

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Dell is weighing a sale of its business to VMware, a massive and unusual deal that would allow Dell to go public by essentially selling itself to a company that it owns, according to CNBC’s Alex Sherman.

Shares of VMware were down 9% on the report, which cited anonymous sources and noted that Dell was also considering other strategic options.

Dell owns 80% of VMware, a publicly traded software virtualization company that Dell acquired when it purchased EMC for $67 billion in 2015.

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What does “J” mean in e-mail messages?

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Credit to Per Christensson here for this completely random explanation.

What does “J” mean in e-mail messages?

Answer: If you’ve ever received an e-mail with a mysterious “J” in the body of the message, you may have been perplexed by its meaning. Some messages have a single J, while others have several. Most J’s appear at the end of sentences, but they can appear anywhere in the message So what does this enigmatic character mean and why does it show up in e-mail messages?

The J is actually supposed to be a smiley face.

If you have Wingdings installed on your computer, the following character will appear as a smiley face. Otherwise, it will be the letter “J”: J

This is because the letter J represents a smiley face icon in the Wingdings font. Microsoft Outlook, a popular e-mail client, automatically converts the : ) and : – ) text emoticons into smiley face icons using the Wingdings font. Therefore, when Microsoft Outlook users type smiley faces in an e-mail message, they are sent as visual smiley face icons.

The smiley face icons show up correctly on most user’s computers, since most Mac and Windows-based machines include the Wingdings font. Most modern e-mail programs also support formatted text, including custom fonts. However, if you don’t have the Wingdings font installed or your e-mail program or webmail interface does not support formatted text, the smiley face will show up as a “J”. Also, if a message has been forwarded several times and one of the users in the forwarding chain could not view the smiley face correctly, it will be transmitted as a “J” to all future recipients. Therefore, you may occasionally see “J’s” in your e-mails, even if your computer and e-mail program supports the Wingdings font.

Hopefully, now when you go back and look at your messages with mysterious “J’s”, they will make sense in the context they appear. It should also be easier to interpret future occurrences as well.

Signal partners with Microsoft to bring end-to-end encryption to Skype

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In collaboration with Signal, Microsoft is introducing a Private Conversations feature in Skype, powered by Signal Protocol. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Google Allo already use this technology. The protocol combines the Double Ratchet Algorithm, prekeys, and a triple Diffie–Hellman (3-DH) handshake, and uses Curve25519AES-256 and HMAC-SHA256 as primitives.

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WPA3 to be Released in 2018

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LAS VEGAS, Jan. 08, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Wi-Fi Alliance® introduces enhancements and new features for Wi-Fi Protected Access®, the essential family of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ security technologies for more than a decade. Wi-Fi Alliance is launching configuration, authentication, and encryption enhancements across its portfolio to ensure Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices continue to implement state of the art security protections.

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PSA: KB4056892 Released to Address Intel Processor Security Issue

Linking the whole thing here so you don’t have to search for it (Link to the official release here if needed). Pay particular attention to what I put in bold:

January 3, 2018—KB4056892 (OS Build 16299.192)

Applies to: Windows 10 version 1709

Improvements and fixes


This update includes quality improvements. No new operating system features are being introduced in this update. Key changes include:

  • Addresses issue where event logs stop receiving events when a maximum file size policy is applied to the channel.
  • Addresses issue where printing an Office Online document in Microsoft Edge fails.
  • Addresses issue where the touch keyboard doesn’t support the standard layout for 109 keyboards.
  • Addresses video playback issues in applications such as Microsoft Edge that affect some devices when playing back video on a monitor and a secondary, duplicated display.
  • Addresses issue where Microsoft Edge stops responding for up to 3 seconds while displaying content from a software rendering path.
  • Addresses issue where only 4 TB of memory is shown as available in Task Manager in Windows Server version 1709 when more memory is actually installed, configured, and available.
  • Security updates to Windows SMB Server, the Windows Subsystem for Linux, Windows Kernel, Windows Datacenter Networking, Windows Graphics, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, and the Microsoft Scripting Engine.

If you installed earlier updates, only the new fixes contained in this package will be downloaded and installed on your device.

For more information about the resolved security vulnerabilities, see the Security Update Guide.

Known issues in this update


Symptom Workaround
Update installation may stop at 99% and may show elevated CPU or disk utilization if a device was reset using the Reset this PC functionality after installing KB4054022. Note This workaround uses c:\temp and the x64 architecture as examples. Update these examples as appropriate for your environment.

  1. Download the appropriate version of KB4054022 for your device architecture from the Microsoft Update Catalog to c:\temp. Then run the commands in the steps below from the administrative command prompt.
  2. Expand the .msu file that you downloaded in step 1.mkdir c:\temp
    expand -f:* windows10.0-kb4054022-x64.msu c:\temp
  3. End the existing TrustedInstaller processes and install KB4054022 using the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool.taskkill /f /im tiworker.exe
    taskkill /f /im trustedinstaller.exe
    dism /online /add-package /packagepath:c:\temp\Windows10.0-KB4054022-x64.cab
  4. (Optional) Delete the CBS logs from the Windows Logs directory.

del /f %windir%\logs\cbs\*.log

Microsoft is working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release.

Windows Update History reports that KB4054517 failed to install because of Error 0x80070643. Even though the update was successfully installed, Windows Update incorrectly reports that the update failed to install. To verify the installation, select Check for Updates to confirm that there are no additional updates available.

You can also type About your PC in the Search box on your taskbar to confirm that your device is using OS Build 16299.125.

Microsoft is working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release.

When calling CoInitializeSecurity, the call will fail if passing RPC_C_IMP_LEVEL_NONE under certain conditions. Microsoft is working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release.
Due to an issue with some versions of Anti-Virus software, this fix is only being made applicable to the machines where the Anti virus ISV has updated the ALLOW REGKEY. Contact your Anti-Virus AV to confirm that their software is compatible and have set the following  REGKEY on the machine
Key=”HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE”Subkey=”SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\QualityCompat”
Value Name=”cadca5fe-87d3-4b96-b7fb-a231484277cc”
Type=”REG_DWORD”
Data=”0x00000000”

 

How to get this update


This update will be downloaded and installed automatically from Windows Update. To get the standalone package for this update, go to the Microsoft Update Catalog website.

Note: On the catalog website you will also see the update for Server 2016.

Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign

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A fundamental design flaw in Intel’s processor chips has forced a significant redesign of the Linux and Windows kernels to defang the chip-level security bug.

Programmers are scrambling to overhaul the open-source Linux kernel’s virtual memory system. Meanwhile, Microsoft is expected to publicly introduce the necessary changes to its Windows operating system in an upcoming Patch Tuesday: these changes were seeded to beta testers running fast-ring Windows Insider builds in November and December.

Crucially, these updates to both Linux and Windows will incur a performance hit on Intel products.

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