The voice on the line is distant and echoing, the words read awkwardly from a script: "Hello, I'm calling from Microsoft and there is a problem with your computer."
I've long held that it's best to keep a written list of passwords that can be safely locked away when not in use. Very safely in may case as anyone who has to listen to me fighting with my desk drawer every morning will testify. The trouble is that now I've just got too many password for this to work.
It's become clear that some details of Dropbox accounts have been stolen and the owners have been receiving spam email. Dropbox has admitted this breach on their blog and promised some new security measures coming soon, including two factor authentication. In the mean time it's a good idea to change your Dropbox password, just to be on the safe side. Luckily this is simple to do, even if you access Dropbox from several computers, as I do.
One of the frustrations with the Android phone that I share with my wife is getting notifications of Facebook updates and emails telling me about those same updates. I tried disabling Facebook notifications but that didn't really work. I was resigned to just clearing the notifications every so often. Then an update for the Facebook app appeared; before installing it I read through the permissions and as a result promptly disabled the app.
It's not that I distrust Facebook, but the app wants an awful lot of control over my phone. Click on the Read more link for full details but suffice it to say that I just copied and pasted the full list from the Google Play website. I'd have spent all afternoon writing them out otherwise.
For their convenience, password managers such as LastPass and Keepass are very useful. You can use secure passwords and not have to worry about getting locked out when by getting them wrong. There is a cost to this, which is that you'll be lost if you find yourself on a strange computer. I've found that I've been able to learn even some fairly complicated passwords by entering them by hand day after day.
And it doesn't just apply to passwords, what about mobile phone numbers? Jerome K Jerome wrote that it was a rare man who could remember what his wife was wearing the day before but how many of us can remember the mobile numbers of our significant others?
Ever since I was unable to contact my wife because her number was in a phone with a dead battery and non standard charger, I've entered it by hand. Granted I only do this with her number but it does at least mean that I don't have to rely on a battery to contact her. Well apart from the time I got her number wrong as I was about to get into a taxi in Berlin at 11.30pm but the less said about that the better.
So I'm not suggesting that you try and learn every password, just the essentials. You might thank me if your battery runs out.
Having listened to reader comments since Office 2007, it's been very clear that the Ribbon is not very popular. While I rather like it, I certainly recognise that it is quite a shock the first time you seen it and takes some getting used to.
So it probably won't make me that popular to point out that support for the last version of Office not to include the Ribbon, Office 2003, ends at the same time as Windows XP, in 2014.
There hasn't been a good way to revert Office 2007 or 2010 to the old style menus. That leaves Open Office or Libre Office if you don't want to make the switch.
Will you upgrade, keep using Office 2003 without security updates or move to Libre/Open Office?
More information can be found here on the Windows Team blog.
Updating your subscription status