Kia Motors and Microsoft team up with UVO eService

Kia UVOKia Motors and Microsoft have collaborated on an in-car telematics application which has the functions of gathering data from your car and driving style, this can then feedback to the owner, when maintenance schedules such as servicing are alerted to the owner.

UVO also adds technology for satnav to being able to make phonecalls.

Kia UVO-hi-Phone_Call

What UVO feeds back to the car owner:

    • UVO eServices is connected to a multitude of sensors embedded throughout a Kia vehicle. These sensors watch for data such as diagnostic trouble codes, mileage and driving patterns.

    • Customers access this maintenance and vehicle diagnostic information on their PC or mobile device.

    • Customers can also request a customized maintenance schedule, which Kia formulates by adjusting the factory maintenance schedule based on the performance data for their vehicle.“What’s great about UVO eServices is that it showcases how an intelligent system can use information that already exists to improve various aspects of your daily life,” says Steven Bridgeland, senior product manager for Windows Embedded at Microsoft. “Kia has done an impressive job of blending the practical benefits of technology in a way that redefines how you interact with your car.”

I have a car that has Blue and Me from Fiat & Microsoft, which is pretty much the early Windows Mobile in-car telematics service, while it does not have all the functions of the Kia developed one, it is how I feel cars should be developed in the future.

“Ask most people how they track the maintenance of their car, and it’s likely they’ll reference the tell-tale or the ubiquitous static cling oil-change reminder tucked in the corner of the windshield. But if Korean auto maker Kia Motors has its way, these analog mainstays could give way to something a bit more high tech.

Kia this year rolled out UVO eServices, which includes a suite of telematics tools to monitor your vehicle’s performance and help you stay current with factory maintenance schedules. UVO eServices also includes navigation and location-based services that help monitor your car’s location — whether lost in a parking garage or keeping tabs on where your teen took it the night before.”

KiaOptimaWithUVOeSer_Web

Read the full press release at Microsoft News Centre HERE

Old Hard Drive’s and left over data

Hard DriveSome new information out today from the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in that they found out of the Hard Disks that they tested, about 11% still held data on them and a lot of this data was personal/private information about a person. This data if pieced together from other data on a Hard Drive about a person, could actually help a criminal create a bogus identification (ID).

“One in 10 second-hand hard drives still contain the original user’s personal information, suggests an investigation by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

It purchased devices from auction sites such as eBay and computer fairs.

Of the 200 hard disks collected, 11% contained personal information.

At least two of the drives had enough information to enable someone to steal the former owners’ identities, the watchdog said”

Read full article at BBC Technology News HERE and the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) information on data issues and destruction HERE

My Suggestions

However we do have a few options here, in that you can securely erase any deleted or specific folder locations on your daily production/used PC or if you are selling your PC or are RMAing you can erase the whole Hard Disk Drive (HDD) so that  no data can be recovered by conventional data recovery means.

Disposing of or Dead HDD

If you have a dead HDD or are just disposing of a HDD then you can do two things depending on if you can access the HDD, if you cannot access then HDD then I would get a good power drill and tungsten bit and drill through the HDD, this should damage the platters that hold the data. Warning is that this is a potential dangerous task, so use any protective clothing you can (goggles, protective gloves etc. or get someone else who is handy with tools to do this.

If you have access to the HD then you can use a drive erasing tool such as Secure Erase to erase the HDD securely, but do note that the best erase methods as in “7 pass secure erase” will take some hours to run its course, depending on size of HDD, plus these methods need a little bit of tech knowledge as you will need to either know command line or how to create a boot disk.

Some may say you can also if you have access to a high powered magnet, run it over the HDD and this will corrupt the data, but not everyone has access to these magnets. (thought I would throw this one in as a random)

Current PC you are still using

At times we all have personal or sensitive data we delete and think that it’s gone, but sadly the normal delete in Windows does not securely delete this data, it can be recovered (if not overwritten by new data, as deleted data is only flagged as delete and not actually deleted) by a wide range of free Data Recovery Software.

So what you can use to securely delete the deleted data is something like CCleaner as it has a secure delete option build in, just needs to be setup. Start by downloading and installing CCleaner from Majorgeeks (do also have a video guide on the site on how to use all the functions of CCleaner) or Piriform.

Once installed and run, click Options > Settings and in the Secure Deletion settings click “secure file deletion (slower) and choose at least “7 Passes” option, the “35 Passes” option will take many more hours than 7 Passes to complete.

    • 7 Passes is the U.S. DoD 5220 method
    • 35 passes is the Peter Gutmann method

CCleaner SE01

Then once set to the option you want, just click Cleaner menu option and Run, then this will securely deletewipe any files you have deleted as well as removing Internet History, Temp files etc, so do watch the Majorgeeks video guide to help with settings.

You can also with CCleaner if you add the old or due to be sold as 2nd hand HDD as a slave option in a Desktop PC, then run the Drive Wiper option in CCleaner, found by clicking Tools > Drive Wiper and once chosen an option Wipe.

CCleaner SE02

There are other applications both free and retail that can securely erase data, and I have only covered a few methods, so please feel free in the comments section to tell us your own methods or applications used.

WARNING – Secure data deletion is permanent so be very sure that the data you want erased is not needed. Always create backups of your data on external devices just in case of accidental deletion as well as hardware failure.

Skype to hire 400 new staff in UK and Sweden

Skype

Microsoft Owned Skype are to expand in Europe and thus going to take on near 400 new staff to cover this expansion in London and Stockholm,

 

“Skype is to hire 400 people between London and Stockholm, as the Microsoft-owned company seeks to expand its presence in the UK and Europe.

London geeks, update your CV’s. Microsoft-owned Skype has plans to hire people in London and Stockholm as part of a wider European expansion, according to the BBC.

But it comes as Yahoo reportedly plans to shed 2,000 jobs in the near future. Some are pegging the pink slips to drop at New York’s market opening today.

The Internet-calling giant was bought by Microsoft for $8.5 billion last October following U.S. and EU approval, and was formally rolled into the bosom of the Redmond technology giant as its own division.

Skype’s expansion to the British capital could not come soon enough for the UK government, which is keen on stressing how London will be the “powerhouse” for European tech, as it continues to invest in the East London Tech City, known colloquially as “Silicon Roundabout”.”

Read full article at ZDNews HERE

Microsoft Blocks Pirate Bay links

Pirate BayMicrosoft are starting to try and block any links to copyrighted material or links to said copyrighted material through their Windows Live Messenger application.

It is a great start in the war against copyright theft or malware that can come from downloading warez, and gives Microsoft a great head start/pre-empts on any law suit that may come its way from the media companies, so I think a superb way to go.

“Links to The Pirate Bay’s website are being blocked from appearing within Windows Live Messenger.

Microsoft confirmed it was enforcing the ban in its instant messaging program after the move was reported by the Torrentfreak website.

The software firm signalled that it had acted to combat malware.”

Read full story at BBC Technology News HERE

Stop your PC going to sleep with Insomnia

Insomnia is a great little free application written by David Anson from Microsoft that when run stops your PC going into sleep and while I know that you can set the Power Options in Windows to stop your PC going into sleep, there are times when that is just a hassle to always do.

insomnia

Most applications like media players, CD/DVD Burners etc. do stop the PC from going into sleep, but there are many applications that don’t, so with Insomnia you just run it when you need too and it stops any application form putting Windows into sleep.

Download from HERE                                                                                                                     works with Windows XP, Vista & 7 both 32bit and 64bit versions

Digital Janitor

SoftwareI like really neat small applications like this that just make your PC life that little bit easier, and Digital Janitor is one such application. Do bare in mind that this is a beta so not the final release of the application but as a starting point I think its well worth an install and test.

“Digital Janitor is an application specialized in sorting files. To use it, you have to insert the rules on which the sort will be performed and press a button. Within seconds the folder that you wanted to sort is clean, and all the files are in the right place.

Example:You have the following files in a folder: “Text File.txt”, “Another Text File.txt”, “Word Document.doc”, “Another Document.otd”, “Image.jpg”.
You set the following rules:

  • All text files (*.txt) go to C:Text Files
  • All files that contain “Document” in their description go to C:Documents
  • All images (*jpg) go to C:Images

After selecting the folder that you want to sort, press the “Sort” button and the files will be automatically moved to their place!”

I thought Digital Janitor would come in handy for me as a way to in one scenario to move files that I save that are updates or new applications to install on all my PCs as I have a network shared folder setup, so this would be a way to automatically copy these new apps or updates to the shared folder. Well it works very well in this instance, so I see no problems in setting up many sort options.

DigitalJanitor 001 DigitalJanitor 004

The option to sort music may interest many who have large collections of music.

DigitalJanitor 002

Download from HERE                                                                                                                   works in XP/Vista/7 and needs at least .NET Framework 2.0 and Windows Installer 3.1

Speckie

SoftwareI have a very bad habit of trying to type way way too quickly on web forums etc. and I mistype or misspell a lot s a consequence of this, so previously I had been using the great ieSpell, but this does not allow real-time spell checking.

So I came across this free application called Speckie for Internet Explorer while looking over applications that had been mentioned on forums and websites, which does allow real-time spell checking so I thought I would give it a test.

On install the setup will download any applications you may need and it does need Visual Basic C++ by Microsoft, so don’t be alarmed if that also installs.

Capture

You can get a large set of dictionaries for your language HERE as various countries are supported.

An in usage its not bad, fairly quick to underline the spelling mistakes , which then you can right click to bring up a list of suggestions or you can add the word to your custom dictionary if you know the word is correct.

speckle 002  speckle 003

Only works in Internet Explorer but covers IE6,7,8,and 9. But don’t despair Firefox user as you do not need a spellchecker as it already has one built in which works good.

Download HERE                                                                                 (works in Windows XP, Vista and 7 in 32bit and 64bit)

Disable Autorun/Autoplay

Software

Disable Autorun/Autoplay is a great free application to do just that disable Autorun/Autoplay from opening any portable media, such as a USB pen, CD etc.

I personally think that autorun should be disabled as a default for one of the very reasons in the quote below in that it can be an easy route for malware to infect many PCs.

“There are many situations where AutoRun may need to be temporarily or persistently disabled. For example:

  • AutoRun might interfere with the operation of a running application and need to be disabled for the duration.
  • Some malware maybe achieve this by copying a malicious executable in the drive and modifying the Autorun.inf file so that Windows opens the malicious file silently as soon as the drive is mounted.”

disable autorun

Do note that you will have to run the application in Vista and Windows 7 as an Administrator to do this right click the application and choose “Run as Administrator” then once you have changed the settings you will need to reboot.

Download form HERE or the Developers Homepage HERE                            (works in Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7, I tested it in Windows 7 x64)

Firm stops pursuing net pirates

Well this will breathe a sigh of relief to many who have been wrongly accused of internet piracy in downloading illegal music and films etc. I personally feel these legal companies where opportunist in trying to frighten  users into paying a small fee to not go to court.

“MediaCAT, a firm which has sent thousands of letters to alleged illegal file-sharers in the UK, has ceased trading, according to its law firm.

It follows the resignation of Andrew Crossley, who heads the law firm that pursued alleged file-sharers on its behalf.

Mr Crossley resigned during a court hearing, brought against 27 alleged illegal file-sharers.

He confirmed that MediaCAT had “ceased trading”.

It comes days before a judgement is due on the case in a hearing at London’s patent court.

During the case, Judge Birss criticised the methods used by Mr Crossley and the law firm he heads – ACS: Law.

MediaCAT had signed a number of contracts with copyright owners, allowing it to pursue alleged illegal file-sharers on their behalf.”

Read the full article HERE at BBC Technology News