Patch Tuesday

A couple of years ago, when I started leaving my computer on all the time, I noticed that my computer would be turned off in the morning. Since I knew I hadn’t turned it off, I turned to the most likely culprit. I asked Chris why he had turned off my machine without letting me know so that I could save all of my stuff first!

That’s when he told me about Patch Tuesday. Microsoft has been sending out monthly updates, generally on the second Tuesday of each month, for a long time. They formalized this process in October 2003. According to this article:

“Microsoft has a pattern of releasing a larger number of updates in even-numbered months, and fewer in odd-numbered months.[7][8][9] Minor updates are also released outside Patch Tuesday. Daily updates consist of malware database refreshes for Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials. Sometimes there is an extraordinary Patch Tuesday, two weeks after the regular Patch Tuesday. Some updates could be released at any time.”

Although Microsoft has changed the name to “Update Tuesday”, the new name hasn’t gained wide acceptance in technical communities. The patches generally include code to update your Operating System to fix known bugs and to plug up any vulnerabilities from malware.

Most people notice a “Patch Wednesday” more than Patch Tuesday. Since the updates are generally installed overnight, you might be prompted to turn off your machine on Wednesday morning to finish installation. And, occasionally you’ll experience glitches with your machine on Wednesday.

Patch Wednesday is also called “Crash Wednesday” since your computer is more likely to crash after the Patch Tuesday updates have been installed. We frequently hear from customers on “Patch Wednesday” who tell us that all of a sudden they can’t print, or their internet isn’t working. Lots of times the fix is as easy as turning off the machine and turning it back on again. But sometimes they need us to reinstall drivers or re-configure their router.

It’s also been called “Exploit Wednesday” since there have been times when the Microsoft patches have left machines more vulnerable to malware. In fact, a recent blog by UK engineer “Zeros & Ones” is a bit of a rant about the whole Patch Tuesday process.

“Security is not ‘my bag’ as such – but the people at Microsoft seem to be in a fantastic situation where security issues only arise on Tuesdays. How do they do they seem to manage to get the ‘bad man’ on side?”

If you’re interested in all the patches over the past ten years, check out this website, or this one for the past five years.

What do you think about Patch Tuesday?  Share in the comments below!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at http://www.GeekForHireInc.com  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

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When Were They Invented?

Have you ever wondered when different components of the modern computer were invented?  Me too!

The Original Mouse
The Original Mouse

Mouse – The mouse was invented in 1964 by Doug Engelbart in his research lab at Stanford.  He had been looking for an accurate way to plot X-Y coordinates on the computer screen.  He and his team went through several prototypes including one with a foot pedal, but settled on the small pointing device we use today.  In Engelbarts words:

“Five or six of us were involved in these tests, but no one can remember who started calling it a mouse. I’m surprised the name stuck.
We also did a lot of experiments to see how many buttons the mouse should have. We tried as many as five. We settled on three. That’s all we could fit. Now the three-button mouse has become standard, except for the Mac.

Keyboard – The keyboard is a natural extension of the typewriter.  There’s a lovely write up of the history of the typewriter here:     The typewriter was first invented in 1706 by Henry Mill.  (There’s no proof that he ever built it, however.)  Other models followed, but the typewriter, with a QWERTY keyboard, wasn’t commercially available until 1873.  Little has changed since then, except making typewriters electric.  The biggest difference between the typewriter of yesterday and the computer keyboard of today are the function keys.

remote shag memeRemote Control – Few things have encouraged the rise of the couch potato (pun intended!) as the remote!  The first “remote” was developed by Zenith in 1950 and was called the “Lazy Bones“.  It was “connected to the television by a wire. A wireless remote control, the “Flashmatic”, was developed in 1955 by Eugene Polley. It worked by shining a beam of light onto a photoelectric cell, but the cell did not distinguish between light from the remote and light from other sources. The Flashmatic also had to be pointed very precisely at the receiver in order to work.”  The Universal Remote – a remote that would work with multiple devices – wasn’t invented until 1985!

Router – We probably wouldn’t have the network we have today if William Yeager hadn’t invented the router in 1981.  It all started at Stanford:

“This project started for me in January of 1980, when essentially the boss said, ‘You’re our networking guy. Go do something to connect the computer science department, medical center and department of electrical engineering.”

History on even more gadgets are available herehere, and the flops are here.

Do you have a favorite history story about technology?  Share in the comments below!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at http://www.GeekForHireInc.com  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

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