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Tech 425

Member Since 04 Feb 2009
Offline Last Active Today, 12:36 AM

Topics I've Started

Windows 10 tip: Find your PC's original product key

Yesterday, 11:43 PM

Windows 10 tip: Find your PC's original product key
If you've purchased a new PC with Windows pre-installed in the past few years, chances are it has a product key embedded in its BIOS. With a little PowerShell wizardry, you can find that well-hidden key and learn more about your current licensing status.
If you've purchased a new PC with Windows pre-installed in the past few years, you might have noticed a few changes on the outside of the device.
The biggest change is the absence of a product key, which was included on the holographic Certificate of Authenticity (COA) sticker with PCs that came pre-installed with Windows 7 or earlier versions.
Beginning with Windows 8, that information is no longer on a COA but is instead embedded in the BIOS. If you re-install the same version of Windows that came with your PC, it should activate automatically.
If you want to record that product key so that you can restore Windows later, it's easy enough to do. Open a PowerShell window and issue this command: (Get-WmiObject -query 'select * from SoftwareLicensingService').OA3xOriginalProductKey
If you see no output, that means your system does not include the Windows key in the BIOS, as is often the case with home-built PCs, devices built by a System Builder OEM, or those that were originally sold with a Windows 10 license.
Network administrators who manage licensing using Key Management Services can get details about PCs on the network using a different set of options for the same PowerShell command. To view all details about a machine's current licensing status, use this command:
Get-WMIObject -Class SoftwareLicensingService | Select-Object -Property *
(Be sure to include the asterisk at the end of that command.)
To save the key, click in the PowerShell window, drag the mouse pointer across the entire 25-character key, and then right-click. Although nothing appears to happen, your selection has actually been copied to the Clipboard. Paste it into a text file and save it in a safe place.

Windows 10 tip: Turn off Cortana completely

Yesterday, 11:33 PM

Windows 10 tip: Turn off Cortana completely
In the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, version 1607, Microsoft removed Cortana's on-off switch. But it's still there, if you know where to look. Use this tweak to make Windows search strictly local.
In the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, version 1607, Microsoft removed the on-off switch for Cortana. But the setting is still available if you know where to look.
As with most things Windows, you can remove the search button or box completely if you're really convinced you won't use it. Right-click the taskbar and then click Cortana > Hidden.
With that option set, there's no search box or icon on the taskbar, but you can still access Cortana's full feature set by tapping the Windows key and typing. If you want to turn off all of Cortana's features, leaving only the ability to search for local apps, files, and settings, you need to make a simple registry edit.
On a system running Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise edition, you can use Group Policy to apply this setting across multiple machines in an enterprise network. On a single PC, use the local Group Policy Editor, gpedit.msc, to open the policy Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search > Allow Cortana and set it to Disabled.
On a system running Windows 10 Home, you need to make a manual edit to the registry. Find the key HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search (you might need to create this key if it doesn't exist), and then create the DWORD value AllowCortana and set it to 0.
In either case, this change applies to all user accounts on the PC you're configuring. Sign out and sign back in and you'll notice that the text in the search box has changed from "Ask me anything" to "Search Windows." Clicking in the search box displays only a simple prompt. In addition, Cortana's Notebook is unavailable, only a few settings are available when you click the gear icon, and there's no option to search the web from the search box.

Russian Village Hits -58 Degree Celsius

Yesterday, 11:04 PM



A village in Russia's Yakutia region named Oymyakon is apparently the coldest "permanently settled" place on earth. Here, people's eyelashes freeze up and the thermostat hits -58 degree Celsius (or -72.4 degrees Fahrenheit). Sometimes, it's even colder! Proudly known as "The Pole of the Cold", Oymyakon has a population of about 500 people. Despite everything being frozen, people still know how to have some fun.

This electric jet can take off vertically and Goes 190mph

Yesterday, 10:59 PM

This electric jet can take off vertically and travel almost 190 miles per hour - and it's already being prototyped
  • Lillium is developing a five-seat electric aircraft that can take off and land vertically.
  • The company envisions using the aircraft like an Uber, hailing it from your phone to take you around the city, avoiding traffic.
  • Lillium says it will start rolling out the technology by 2025.
Move over, Elon Musk. A German startup developing an electric, car-sized aircraft that can take off and land vertically just received a prestigious award — and the technology is seriously impressive.
Founded by a group of entrepreneurs in 2015, Lillium is developing the aircraft as a new form of sustainable urban transportation. The idea is to "revolutionize the way people move in and around the world's cities," Patrick Nathen, one of Lillium's co-founder said in a statement.
Cleantech Group (CTG), an industry research firm for sustainable innovation companies, gave Lillium the Early Stage Company of the Year award in January, as part of CTG's Cleantech 100 awards.
Richard Youngman, CTG's chief executive, said Lillium's technology has the potential to "make the dream of zero emissions mass-transportation a reality."
How the Lillium Jet works
Lillium, which raised $90 million in September, tested a prototype of its jet last year in Munich. Similar to a quadrocopter drone, Lillium's jet is capable of taking off and landing vertically. Using fans embedded in the wings, the aircraft can hover, land, and take-off on the spot, using minimal energy.
Once airborne, the fans fold back into the wings — into a horizontal position — and that lift is transformed into acceleration. At that point, Lillium's jet can fly like a regular small airplane, reaching speeds of around 190 miles per hour) — all without generating harmful emissions.
The jet's electric engines, which function like traditional turbofans in a regular passenger jet, are designed to be much quieter and vibrate less than regular gas engines. This makes the jet suitable for use in dense urban areas, (where Lillium's founders see the aircraft being used, according to the company's website).
It's also highly nimble, meaning it can traverse corridors between buildings or bridges safely.
Like Uber, but for the sky
Lillium's founders envision hailing a jet from your phone, like hailing an Uber. Once hailed, you'll be able to meet your ride on a rooftop landing port, and take the jet anywhere you want between a network of landing ports — without getting stuck in traffic.
The plane, which is capable of flying for up to an hour on the single charge, will also be able to take short trips between cities. According to the company's website, the jet will be able to travel over 40 miles in around 15 minutes. The jet's total range will be around around 190 miles, making it possible to travel between Boston and New York City in about an hour.
While the jet is still in prototype phase, Lillium hopes to test it with a pilot as early as next year. By 2025, the company hopes to roll out the technology to the public.

How to delete voice recordings from Alexa-enabled devices, Google Assistant-enabled dev...

17 February 2018 - 05:31 PM

How to delete voice recordings from Alexa-enabled devices, Google Assistant-enabled devices
If you're worried about Alexa and Google Assistant recording your interactions with them, don't fret! You you can easily delete your voice history for both platforms in just a few steps. Here's how.
With the rapid growth of technology over the last several years, privacy has become a hot-button issue in terms of security. Simply put, the idea that an Orwellian “Big Brother” presence in the government or a large corporation can listen in on our daily conversations and monitor our online happenings doesn't sit well for many.
All isn't lost, however; there are safeguards in place that, at the very least, can semi-protect us from the government's prying eyes. These safeguards are baked into a variety of software, allowing you to quickly clear your search history from your browser or your interactions with a host of smart speakers.
Both Google Assistant– and Alexa-enabled devices record your interactions with them, and then upload these exchanges to their respective databases in the cloud. This may be worrisome for anyone who chooses to use these types of devices, but the good news is that these recordings are easy to delete.
How to delete recordings from Alexa-enabled devices
To delete the recordings from an Alexa-enabled device, launch your favorite browser from your desktop and navigate to amazon.com/mycd. It's important to use a desktop machine when doing so, since the deletion process doesn't work as smoothly on mobile devices.
Once there, follow the steps below:
  • Log in with the Amazon account your Alexa device is linked to.
  • Click the Content and devices tab in the upper-right corner.
  • Click the Your Devices tab in the center of the page.
  • Click the three dots beside the device you want to clear history for.
  • Click Manage voice recordings.
  • Read the disclaimer and click the yellow Delete button.
Repeat these steps as necessary if you have other Alexa-enabled devices that you want to delete the recordings for.
How to delete recordings from Google Assistant-enabled devices
For Google Assistant-enabled devices, the deletion process is just as painless. It's similar to the process you would use for an Alexa-compatible device, and as such, it's crucial that you use a desktop computer.
To delete Google Assistant recordings, launch your favorite browser from your desktop and navigate to:
Once there, follow the steps below:
  • Click Delete activity by on the left side of the screen.
  • Specify a time frame. Selecting All time will allow you to delete all activity.
  • Select Voice and audio from the resulting drop-down menu.
  • Click the Delete button located below the date range.
  • Click Delete in the pop-up window to confirm your decision.
Following these steps for either Alexa or Google Assistant-enabled devices will allow you to clear your saved recordings and give you an extra layer of privacy.
Who doesn't want that?

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