Wednesday Newsbytes: Is Windows 11- Broken?… Windows Finally Supports RAR Files; PC Sales Nosedive, Lenovo Off 75%; Will AI Replace McDonald’s Workers?… Netflix’s Password Sharing Crackdown… and more!
Every day we scan the tech world for interesting news in the world of technology and sometimes from outside the world of technology. Every Wednesday, we feature news articles that grabbed our attention over the past week. We hope you find this week’s ‘Wednesday Newsbytes’ informative and interesting!
Microsoft admits there are Windows 11 problems it just can’t fix
Microsoft has just made a pretty remarkable admission, essentially conceding that it doesn’t have a solution for some Windows 11 problems.
As Neowin reports, some people using Windows 11 and Windows 10 have found a bug which prevents the Start menu, Windows search bar and some Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps from starting or working correctly.
It appears that the bugs coincide with damaged registry keys and data related to Microsoft Office apps, and apps that are integrated with Office software, as well as Windows and Outlook.
The bugs don’t affect everyone, but those who are encountering them first noticed something wasn’t right back in January of this year. If you were hoping that during that time Microsoft had figured out how to fix the problem, then I have some bad news for you…
It’s 1999, and my friends and I are surfing warez sites using Internet Explorer on our 98SE gaming rig. Finally we push past the scams and porn to find an FTP server with a list of files labeled “.rar, .r00, .r01, r.02…” But what the hell are these?
“Oh, it’s segmented. You have to download this program to expand those. It’s called WinRAR. Way better than WinZip.”
“Do we have to pay for it?”
“No…but if you’re as cheap as I think you are, it’ll keep bugging you to for a quarter century until, in the grim darkness of 2023, Windows 11 finally supports the format natively.”
In retrospect, my friend’s comment was amazingly prescient. How could he know how grim and how dark the future would be? How could he predict that Windows would switch back to sequential numbering, but skip 9? And how did he know that I am so, shall we say, thrifty that rather than paying $30, I would wait for more than two decades just trying to get my task done in WinRAR fast enough that the “Please purchase WinRAR license” pop-up didn’t have a chance to appear
Yes, it has taken the better part of three decades for the .rar file to finally be supported in Windows without any kind of additional software…
Chinese powerhouse Lenovo is feeling the burn as demand for personal computers continues to melt in a post-pandemic world.
The world’s largest maker of PCs reported revenue of $12.635 billion for Q4 of its fiscal 2023 ended 31 March, down a brutal 24 percent year-on-year. Pre-tax profit was down 75 percent to $130 million on the back of workforce restructuring charges.
“By the end of this quarter or early next, the inventory digestion will come to an end so that the activation number and the shipment number will be more consistent,” said Lenovo CEO Yanqing Yang.
The Intelligent Devices Group – the PC and smart gadget division – was most devastated by shifting buying patterns: revenue fell to $9.79 billion versus $14.69 billion a year earlier, a 33.3 percent decline, and one that may mark a bottoming out of shipments…
Millions of people are supposed to lose their jobs because of artificial intelligence. This is particularly true of frontline workers, including those working in most retail operations. (These industries are laying off the most workers.)
The AI effect on workers may be beyond belief. The New York Times reports, “Generative A.I. could automate activities equivalent to 300 million full-time jobs globally, according to a recent estimate by Goldman Sachs.”
McDonald’s already has part of its stores that are automated. Most have kiosks where people can order food before going to the counter. There is no telling how many jobs this has replaced already.
Most large retailers, including Walmart and Home Depot, have automated checkouts. People scan their items and pay without human help. Once again, there is no way to tell how many positions this has allowed these retailers to eliminate.
So, McDonald’s can use automation for people to order and for people to pay. That leaves the preparation of food. McDonald’s has a relatively limited menu. That means machines do not have to be built for sophisticated work…
The day we have all feared is upon us: Netflix’s crackdown on password sharing has arrived on the shores of the UK, the US, Australia, and dozens of other countries. If you have a Netflix account in these countries and you share the password with loved ones who live outside your household, it’s going to cost you.
“A Netflix account is for use by one household,” a mildly threatening statement released by the streaming giant on May 23, read.
“Everyone living in that household can use Netflix wherever they are – at home, on the go, on holiday – and take advantage of new features like Transfer Profile and Manage Access and Devices.”
It followed up by explaining that users can add an extra member to a Netflix account for someone who doesn’t live in the house. This will cost $7.99 a month in the US and £4.99 in the UK, with prices varying from country to country.
Users will also be able to transfer a person’s profile to keep all of their viewing history and recommendations…
Welcome to FAST: The free, ad-supported, streaming television bargain bin.
I was looking for Night Court, for research purposes. Not the new version; the original, which went off the air in 1992. Much to my surprise, I found all nine seasons on a streaming app that I’d never heard of before, and that I didn’t have to pay for, called Freevee. The catch? I just had to watch a few ads.
A free streaming service? In this subscription economy? What is this magic?
I dove into my TV’s app listings and discovered a cornucopia of similar offerings, with strange names like Tubi, Pluto, and Xumo. If they don’t sound familiar, you’ll recognize their owners: Fox, Paramount, and Comcast, respectively. Freevee is owned by Amazon. Even my TV has its own free streaming app, Samsung TV Plus. Content can vary, but the format is pretty standard: They offer hundreds of linear live channels and on-demand libraries of thousands of hours of TV shows and movies. The content ranges from old and obscure to recent reruns and castoffs. You might see a few original shows in there, too. And maybe a few your (sic) friends recommended.
These are free, ad-supported, streaming TV — also known as FAST — services. They’re kind of having a moment. Viewers are finding them as they look for alternatives to costly cable and premium streaming subscriptions. Studios, cable companies, and streaming device manufacturers are turning to them as they look for ways to grab new eyeballs and ad dollars, wring more money out of their archives, and promote their other paid services and products. If you’ve only known a world of paying for subscriptions (or using your parents’ password) to watch streaming movies and TV shows, FAST might seem like a novel idea. If you’re older, it probably looks like an updated digital version of an old friend called basic cable.
FAST is a throwback to television before Netflix…
If your internet is starting to stutter then your Wi-Fi could be to blame and there’s a very simple way to test things out.
Broadband is now a vital service in all of our homes with it offering entertainment, access to the web and morning Zoom calls to the office. Most homes can’t live without their Wi-Fi but that flashing black box in the corner of the room could actually be slowing you down. Many routers we all use are supplied directly from our Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and whilst most are pretty decent when they are delivered it’s unlikely they ever get upgraded.
That means if you stick your ISP for years you’ll be stuck using ageing equipment. New research from speed test firm Ookla, has revealed that a large number of properties are still using Wi-Fi technology that’s stuck firmly in the past.
In fact, most still have Wi-Fi 4 or Wi-Fi 5 compatible devices in their homes which simply aren’t as good as the latest Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 7 routers.
For those not aware, that much more advanced internet technology is capable of blasting faster speeds around homes whilst also being far more reliable.
So how can you see if your Wi-Fi router isn’t up to the job and is slowing you down…
Thanks for reading this week’s Wednesday Newbytes. We hope you found these articles informative, interesting, fun, and helpful. Darcy & TC