Tag Archives: Tips

Harvard IT exec: Take these seven cyberattack prevention steps now

Rick Kamal prefaced a list of cybersecurity tips with some advice from the annals of history. Ancient history.

The CTO at Harvard Business School invoked Galen, the Greek physician of the second century. Galen served as the personal doctor to several Roman emperors, and his discoveries influenced medicine, physiology and anatomy for 1,500 years. His teaching about maintaining good health was simple: A little prevention goes a long way, Kamal explained to an audience of IT executives.

“Yes, you can treat an ailment, but the most powerful thing to do is have good hygiene and do the right things: Exercise, eat well, avoid intoxicants, have friends and family,” Kamal said at the Argyle 2017 Information Technology and Security Forum in Boston on Thursday. “And if you do something like that, your quality of life, instead of starting a steady decline after the age of 40, is pretty good till about your 80s — and then you get a sudden decline, and you’re dead.”

Through a burst of laughter, Kamal kept a straight face. The reality is, he said, most people don’t follow Galen’s common-sense advice on health. Similarly, organizations don’t take measures that are within their control to ensure better cybersecurity: Massive data breaches at Yahoo and credit-reporting agency Equifax and the covered-up hack at Uber a year ago were all preventable, Kamal said. He enumerated a list of cyberattack prevention tips that can help organizations eliminate most threats.

“There are a lot of products, a lot of solutions out there in the security space — I’m not saying don’t look at them,” he said. “Before you go for some nichey, interesting, shiny-penny solution, first address prevention. It will get you 99 out of 100 miles there.”

A little work, a lot of benefit

The first measure companies need to take to protect their data from malicious, prying eyes is “trivial,” Kamal said: Upgrade and patch your OS. So is the second, upgrade and patch your applications.

He recounted the reasons for this year’s Equifax data breach. The point of entry for hackers was Apache Struts, open source software for developing web applications. The Struts team uncovered the vulnerability, released a patch and advised users of the software to apply it. Equifax didn’t — and they aren’t alone in neglecting to follow such simple advice.

“I’m sure many of us may not be doing it on a very deliberate and diligent basis,” Kamal said. By upgrading and patching systems, “you’ve gotten rid of about 60% to 70% of vulnerabilities.”

Next, whitelist applications, Kamal advised — to make known the ones that should run on your servers. Many organizations install virus and malware detection software, and that’s good, Kamal said. But that’s a “blacklist approach”: A compromise is identified, quarantined and then deleted. Whitelisting is different.

“It’s where in the operating system you say, ‘This is my server — I only expect applications X, Y, Z to run and processes A, B and C to run,” Kamal said. “If anything else tries to run, it just can’t.”

Applying this approach, he said, would essentially head off every ransomware and malware attack possible.

Rick Kamal, CTO at Harvard Business School, speaks at the Argyle 2017 Information Technology and Security Forum in Boston on Thursday.
Rick Kamal, CTO at Harvard Business School, speaks at the Argyle 2017 Information Technology and Security Forum in Boston on Thursday.

Keep it complicated

Kamal then flashed what looked like a toddler’s jabber on a screen: “dadada.”

“That’s somebody’s password. Can you guess whose password that is? Any guesses?” Kamal asked. “Actually, it was Mark Zuckerberg.”

The Facebook co-founder and CEO coined the password after he became a father and used it on several social media sites, including Twitter and Pinterest, which were breached last year.

Lots of people less technically inclined than Zuckerberg use weak passwords. In fact, some of the top used passwords of 2016 were “123456,” “qwerty” and “111111,” according to an analysis done by password management company Keeper Security. And as Zuckerberg did, many people use the same passwords to unlock accounts on multiple sites, as an analysis of the 2014 Sony Pictures hack showed.

“Now think about this: Your employees, who are accessing your sensitive systems, are doing the same thing,” Kamal said.

Those practices allow for credential stuffing, a type of cyberattack that starts with a stolen username and password — think the Yahoo data breach of 3 billion email accounts. It unleashes bots on a slew of websites and tries to log in, testing thousands of combinations.

“They only have a 0.1% hit rate,” Kamal said. “But guess what? Point zero percent of a billion is a million.”

The moral of this story? Use strong passwords, Kamal said. And use password vaults, or password managers, software or services that generate, store and access hard-to-crack passwords. And IT leaders will bolster cybersecurity by encouraging the use of multifactor authentication, which requires users to provide several pieces of identifiable information to prove they have authorization for a site or service.

‘Common sense’

Then, encrypt your data, Kamal said — encode text that others may find and use into an unreadable format. A lot of the data made away with in the Equifax breach was either encrypted poorly or not encrypted at all. “And it was sensitive information,” he said.

All it takes is a simple configuration or a little bit of work to encrypt data, Kamal said. But if using encryption keys — bits of code designed to scramble and unscramble information — practice proper key management. “Do not put the keys right next to the data on the same server.”

And also encrypt your keys so if someone finds them, they can’t be put to use.

Finally, secure points of entry. Ports on servers that aren’t being used should be closed to prevent unwelcome visitors. Many don’t do it, Kamal said, citing a recent analysis that found more than 80% of major organizations have open ports, “which is like leaving windows and doors open for folks to come and start poking at you,” Kamal said.

Jeffrey Cunningham, director of enterprise architecture at Thomson Reuters in Boston, said following Kamal’s advice depends partly on the amount of technical debt an organization is dealing with. An example, Cunningham said, are legacy applications at companies that have grown through acquisition, as Thomson Reuters has.

“It’s more, How do you implement it? How much tech debt do you have that prevents you from doing those things?” Cunningham said. The advice itself, he noted, is common sense. “Everyone needs to be self-aware. I mean, you need to be aware of what you’re doing and not get yourself in trouble.”

For Sale – Surface Pro 3 i5 with Type Cover and Pen

  • Microsoft Surface Pro 3, i5, 4GB, 128GB
  • Microsoft Surface Type Cover (blue)
  • Microsoft Surface Pen and tips (H tip is missing)

All 3 are boxed and in good condition, with some signs of use. The Surface Pro itself has no marks to the screen, but has a few light scratches to the rear and a tiny mark in the bottom corner of the kick-stand. I bought it from the forums and it was described as having a yellow band down the edge of the screen. This is a common fault related to the bonding of the screen. I googled it and the fix is just to apply some light pressure to the screen – which I did and the fault almost completely disappeared. Please see photos.

The type cover is in good condition. The Alcantara has a few marks as you might expect from normal use. There’s a little wear on some of the keys

The pen kit was also purchased through the forums. It’s the later version of the pen so it provides more (1024) degrees of pressure sensitivity

Battery report :
DESIGN CAPACITY 42,157 mWh
FULL CHARGE CAPACITY 38,775 mWh
CYCLE COUNT 386

It’s a great device with a fantastic screen – I’m only selling as I picked up an XPS 13 through the forums at the weekend.
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Price and currency: £325
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: Bank Xfer
Location: Worthing, West Sussex
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Copying Files into a Hyper-V VM with Vagrant

A couple of weeks ago, I published a blog with tips and tricks for getting started with Vagrant on Hyper-V. My fifth tip was to “Enable Nifty Hyper-V Features,” where I briefly mentioned stuff like differencing disks and virtualization extensions.

While those are useful, I realized later that I should have added one more feature to my list of examples: the “guest_service_interface” field in “vm_integration_services.” It’s hard to know what that means just from the name, so I usually call it the “the thing that lets me copy files into a VM.”

Disclaimer: this is not a replacement for Vagrant’s synced folders. Those are super convienent, and should really be your default solution for sharing files. This method is more useful in one-off situations.

Enabling Copy-VMFile

Enabling this functionality requires a simple change to your Vagrantfile. You need to set “guest_service_interface” to true within “vm_integration_services” configuration hash. Here’s what my Vagrantfile looks like for CentOS 7:

# -*- mode: ruby -*-
# vi: set ft=ruby :

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|
  config.vm.box = "centos/7"
  config.vm.provider "hyperv"
  config.vm.network "public_network"
  config.vm.synced_folder ".", "/vagrant", disabled: true
  config.vm.provider "hyperv" do |h|
    h.enable_virtualization_extensions = true
    h.differencing_disk = true
    h.vm_integration_services = {
      guest_service_interface: true  #<---------- this line enables Copy-VMFile
  }
  end
end

You can check that it’s enabled by running Get-VMIntegrationService in PowerShell on the host machine:

PS C:vagrant_selfhostcentos>  Get-VMIntegrationService -VMName "centos-7-1-1.x86_64"

VMName              Name                    Enabled PrimaryStatusDescription SecondaryStatusDescription
------              ----                    ------- ------------------------ --------------------------
centos-7-1-1.x86_64 Guest Service Interface True    OK
centos-7-1-1.x86_64 Heartbeat               True    OK
centos-7-1-1.x86_64 Key-Value Pair Exchange True    OK                       The protocol version of...
centos-7-1-1.x86_64 Shutdown                True    OK
centos-7-1-1.x86_64 Time Synchronization    True    OK                       The protocol version of...
centos-7-1-1.x86_64 VSS                     True    OK                       The protocol version of...

Note: not all integration services work on all guest operating systems. For example, this functionality will not work on the “Precise” Ubuntu image that’s used in Vagrant’s “Getting Started” guide. The full compatibility list various Windows and Linux distrobutions can be found here. Just click on your chosen distrobution and check for “File copy from host to guest.”

Using Copy-VMFile

Once you’ve got a VM set up correctly, copying files to and from arbitrary locations is as simple as running Copy-VMFile in PowerShell.

Here’s a sample test I used to verify it was working on my CentOS VM:

Copy-VMFile -Name 'centos-7-1-1.x86_64' -SourcePath '.Foo.txt' -DestinationPath '/tmp' -FileSource Host

Full details can found in the official documentation. Unfortunately, you can’t yet use it to copy files from your VM to your host. If you’re running a Windows Guest, you can use Copy-Item with PowerShell Direct to make that work; see this document for more details.

How Does It Work?

The way this works is by running Hyper-V integration services within the guest operating system. Full details can be found in the official documentation. The short version is that integration services are Windows Services (on Windows) or Daemons (on Linux) that allow the guest operating system to communicate with the host. In this particular instance, the integration service allows us to copy files to the VM over the VM Bus (no network required!).

Conclusion

Hope you find this helpful — let me know if there’s anything you think I missed.

John Slack
Program Manager
Hyper-V Team

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Fast, not furious: 6 tips for using Lock screen and Action Center on the go

I’m all about shortcuts and timesavers. I brush my teeth in the shower if I’m running late, synchronize taking out the trash with picking up the mail, and take advantage of certain track abnormalities to win at Mario Kart.

Windows Phone 8.1 provides some equally satisfying life optimization, thanks to Action Center and other things you can use without having to unlock your phone.* Here’s how I get the most out of my phone, all without having to waste 1.47 seconds entering my password.

1. Screen envy

In order to get the most out of the dozens of times I compulsively check my phone each day, I’ve taken full advantage of the lock screen’s ability to give me quick info from the apps I choose. Up to five quick status slots can be filled with various and sundry apps of your choosing, which can show the number of voicemails, texts, and other app updates you have waiting for you. One app can even be promoted to King of the Apps and show a more detailed status. My Calendar currently sits on that lofty throne. Fiddle around with your quick and detailed status notifications in Settings > Lock screen.

As for the background behind these notifications, you can use a photo from your Camera Roll, but I like to change it up often (as much as I like looking at the transcendently delicious coconut fudge sundae I ate last week, it’s eventually time to move on). The daily Bing photos are a good way to get variety with minimal effort—they’re almost always awe-inspiring (or hilarious). You’ll find Bing, your photos, and a bunch of other options under Settings > Lock screen > Background.

lock-screen

The Lock screen with the daily Bing image selected as the background

2. Oh, snap!

Your dog won’t be making that ridiculous face forever, so you shouldn’t waste precious moments entering your password to take a photo of it. Press and hold the Camera button (most Windows Phones have one) to bring up the camera and snap as many photos as your heart desires. The phone will need to be unlocked before those photos can actually be viewed or deleted, so no one can mess with your pics or albums. (Make sure to select the Press and hold camera button to wake up the phone check box in Settings > Photos + camera. If your phone doesn’t have a Camera button, though, it won’t have this setting.) You can also add Camera to your quick actions in action center. Speaking of…

 3. Instant action

Swipe down from the top of the screen to pull down action center and see your notifications and quick actions in Windows Phone 8.1’s shiny, new Action Center. Notifications range from app updates and recent text messages, to social network info, including when people “Like” your insightful status, or when someone tags you in that photo where you totally have a double chin and need to untag yourself immediately. Quick actions won’t save you from unwanted photo tags, but these dynamic settings can be changed with a quick swipe and a tap (more on that in a bit).

So what’s my tip? Use Action Center! It’s crazy convenient and fast. Swiping down from the top of my screen to see what’s new has become an automatic gesture for me—that’s how often I use it.

action-center-callout

4. Peek-a-boo

Now for some more specific action center tips, specifically about quick actions, which let you change settings like Bluetooth, airplane mode, rotation lock, and more. Swipe partway down to show just your quick actions, but not your notifications. This comes in handy for quickly turning on rotation lock without having to swipe Action Center all the way down—perfect for when I’m reading in bed and want to keep the article, message, or whatever in view, while making sure the screen doesn’t rotate when my head hits the pillow.

quick-action-screen

Quick actions in Action Center

5. Need for speed

Usually I’m on top of my notifications, but when a sunny weekend rolls around they tend to pile up while I’m pulling my shorts out of storage and scarfing down various grilled meats. That’s when I turn to the Karate Kid “Wax Off” method of notifications triage.

Usually, you have to swipe away each individual app’s notifications to remove it, but if you want to disappear the whole lot of ‘em, swipe over with two fingers instead of one. You can also tap Clear all, but I think the “Wax Off” method is more satisfying.

6. A banner day for personalization

For me, Windows Phone 8.1 hits the sweet spot of having granular control without being overwhelming or confusing. The new settings for notification banners are a perfect example of this balance.

In Settings > Notifications + actions, you can tap individual apps and settings to choose whether notifications vibrate, make a sound, or even show up as banners or action center notifications in the first place. Setting up individual notification sounds for each app means you don’t even have to take your phone out of your pocket to know where a notification is coming from. That’s some Mario Kart-level timesaving right there.

notification-banner-dismiss

Dismissing a notification banner

*This post refers to features in Windows Phone 8.1. If your phone is running Windows Phone 8, some of them won’t be available. Check to see which software version you have and find out if an update is available.

3 ways Cortana can make real life easier

Cortana schedules my meetings, reminds me to send emails, and tracks my favorite tech news topics so I can stay current.* But I wonder: how else can Cortana help with my everyday tasks? And how might she help people whose lives and habits are totally different than mine? Hmm…I can imagine all sorts of scenarios…

FADE TO DREAM SEQUENCE

1. The birthday party

Simon is planning a birthday party for his son, Kellen. He tells Cortana, “Schedule Kellen’s party for Saturday from 2 to 5,” then asks her to show the five-day forecast. Uh oh, looks like rain—yikes. “Find indoor party games for kids,” he says. Good: there’s always Freeze Dance.

Next, the shopping list: “Note: Cocoa powder, all-purpose flour, frosting, balloons, napkins, party favors,” he tells Cortana. Then he emails the note to his wife so she can check things off too. Lastly, he creates a Group of guests (plus wife) called “Party Parents.”

Come Saturday, it’s definitely raining, but not too hard. Simon tells Cortana, “Text Party Parents: have your kids dressed for outside fun!” As the first guests arrive, Simon asks Cortana to start playing Kellen’s birthday playlist. It’s party time.

Simon_Texting

2. The new client

Isabella is a freelancer looking for new clients while juggling her ongoing projects. Before she even gets out of bed in the morning, she tells Cortana, “Set lights to Reading,” and the Hue lights in her room and office blaze to life using Oni Light Control. “What do I have today?” Isabella asks, and Cortana shows her a list of today’s deadlines.

Then she gets a text from Jeff, another freelancer, inviting her to a client meeting at a local café that afternoon. The text triggers a reminder from Cortana to send Jeff her new portfolio. Great—she probably would have forgotten otherwise! Cortana also automatically detects and highlights the meeting time in Jeff’s text, so Isabella taps the time in the text, and Cortana instantly creates a calendar event for her. She saves the event and gets going on her other work.

Around 3:00 P.M., Cortana alerts Isabella to heavy traffic between her house and the café, which is one of her favorite places. So she leaves a little early. She pulls into the café parking lot with ten minutes to spare and sits down to wait for Jeff and the client.

Isabella-Reminder

3. The dream vacation

Raúl is flying to Bangkok tomorrow—and he’s going prepared. He had Cortana track a news interest about Thailand, which led to the discovery that he’s going to be there during the Ghost Festival, a colorful holiday featuring parades and bamboo rockets launched into the sky. Thanks to Cortana, he found out in time to arrange a side trip.

Cortana notices a flight itinerary in his email and asks if he’d like her to keep an eye on his flight status. Yup. Then he tells her, “Set an alarm for 3:15 A.M.,” and he goes to bed.

When he wakes up, he sees that Cortana has compiled a “travel planner” that lets him know his flight’s status, the traffic on the way to the airport, and what the weather is like in Bangkok. Ghosts, here comes Raúl!

Raul_Flight

*Cortana is only available on phones with Windows Phone 8.1, and currently only in the US. Check to see which software version you have and find out if an update is available.

5 tips for sharing on your Windows Phone

So, my kids gave me a Cthulhu bobblehead for Mother’s Day (other love offerings have included a Gandalf lunch box, a Frodo action figure, and a talking Yoda doll—proving that nerdiness is indeed inherited). Every day when they get out of school, I pose the Great Old One in some kind of action scene, take a photo on my Lumia 925, and text it to them.

sharing-photo-text-screen

Now you know my shame. It’s dorky, but it’s a way to stay connected while I’m at the office. Of course, texting a photo is Sharing 101, and Windows Phone has lots of other ways to stay in touch, plus an ever-expanding list of social apps to help out. Here are my top tips for some less familiar routes to togetherness.*

1. Connect the dots

In the People Hub, go to your contacts list, tap someone, and then swipe over to Connect, a new addition to contact cards in Windows Phone 8.1. You’ll see apps you can use to connect with that person, like Facebook and Skype. Tap one, and you’ll go straight to the person’s page in the app—for example, if you tap Facebook, you’ll see their timeline.

people-contacts-connect-screen

2. Project yourself

Looking to torment a captive audience with glamour shots of your cat or a photo essay about your kitchen remodel? Then why limit yourself to a tiny phone screen? Use Project My Screen to display those beauties on a nice, big Windows PC via a USB cable or even wirelessly. Learn how.

project-my-screen

3. Share a place (with Cortana’s help)

Then:

Me: “Let’s meet at 6. Where should we eat?”

Friend: “I don’t know. We’ll need a reservation so we can be sure to make the show on time.”

Me: “How about that new Tibetan-Cuban fusion place?”

Friend: “Do they have gluten-free?”

Me: “I have no idea. What restaurants around there do?”

Friend: “No idea. I don’t go downtown a lot.”

Now:

Me: “Find gluten-free restaurants in downtown Seattle.”

Cortana: “Here are 8 restaurants matching ‘gluten-free’ around downtown Seattle. The closest one’s about 7 miles away.”

Me: “Which ones take reservations?”

Cortana: “Here are the ones that take reservations.”

I tap a restaurant to see reviews, menus, and so on, then I tap Share to text the info to my friend. Done and done.

cortana-restaurant-search-screen

You can also go straight to Cortana’s Notebook to share favorite places or spots you’ve been to recently.

(Note: Cortana is currently available in select markets. If it’s not available on your phone or you don’t use it, you can find and share places using Local Scout in the Maps app.)

4. Look who’s sharing (about you)

Curious to see who shared a link on your Facebook timeline or tagged you on Instagram? Action center is your go-to spot for social notifications. To control what you see there, go to Settings > Notifications + actions, tap an app, and tweak notification settings for it. If you’re still not seeing all the adulation you expect, you might need to go into the app itself and turn on some notification options. For instance, in the Facebook app, go to Settings > Notifications, and then select the notifications you want to get.

social-notifications-screen

5. Developers, developers, developers

Our trusty app developers are stepping up to make sharing on Windows Phone 8.1 even better. MultiShare allows you to share to more than one social network at once, via your Me Card or the Photos app. If you’re a Foursquare fan, check out Social extension for 4th & Mayor, which lets you check in with Foursquare using your Me Card (you’ll also need to install 4th Mayor, a Foursquare client). And Messenger gets you to your Facebook messages lickety-split. Keep an eye on the Social section of the Store for new sharing apps as developers get busy.

* This post refers to features in Windows Phone 8.1. If your phone is running Windows Phone 8, some of them won’t be available. Check to see which software version you have and find out if an update is available.

5 photo tips: Burst mode, secretive selfies, and more

I’ve recently started taking advantage of my Lumia 1020’s double-take inducing photo capabilities. This isn’t your typical camera phone—harnessing its power properly can be intimidating. Luckily, the 1020 (and most all other Windows Phones) comes with some useful camera settings that have helped me fool my Facebook friends into thinking I have some semblance of photography skills.

You don’t need to take a class to take some classy looking photos. Here are a few tips and tricks to get the most out of your photos—and how to show them off.*

Camera-options-callout

1. It was the best of modes, it was the Burst of modes…

At one time, I needed to take multiple photos to make sure I didn’t a) frame the shot as if taking pictures during an earthquake, and/or b) cover the lens with my finger. Now, Burst mode lets me take a bunch of shots in rapid succession with one tap, so I don’t need to worry about my photog deficiencies (or my friends’ severe blinking issues).

Switching to Burst mode is easy: open Camera and tap Burst mode (see the rad skateboard pic above for reference). Once you’re done shooting your Burst, find the photo in your Camera Roll, and then tap Burst to choose the best shot(s). The photos you don’t save will be automatically deleted after seven days, so no need to worry about them taking up precious storage space on your phone.

burst-mode-screen

2. Shutter the camera shutter

If you want to keep your shameful selfie habit a secret, turning off the camera shutter sound is a must. In your phone’s Settings, tap Ringtones + sounds, and then clear the Camera shutter check box to keep your phone silent during photo ops. Your secret is safe with me.

3. Get a hot Date view

After hanging out on the beach a few months ago, a friend of mine crafted a makeshift hat out of a towel. Naturally, I needed to remind him how ridiculous he looked. But scrolling through my long list of photos proved tedious and time consuming. The solution? Date view, which shows you every photo on your phone in chronological order. In Photos > All, tap the current month and year to open a full list of every month in which you’ve taken photos. From there, tap a month to find the photo you’re looking for. My hat-crafting friend is now painfully aware that I can pull up any embarrassing photo in a matter of seconds.

date-view-screen

4. Setting yourself up for success

Pick the quick settings you want to see on your Camera viewfinder for instant access while taking photos. To find and change your quick settings, go to Camera > More…, and then tap any of the icons under Show these settings in the viewfinder. The same tubular skateboard pic above shows off the five customizable viewfinder settings.

Among the settings are the usual suspects, like Flash (On, Off, or Automatic) and a front/rear camera switcher, plus more advanced options to control White Balance, Exposure Value, and ISO. You can also select Lenses for more pre- and post-photo editing options. Different phones, especially those not of the Nokia Lumia variety, may have different settings.

photo-settings

5. See the world through rose-colored Lenses

When looking through your viewfinder, what you see doesn’t always have to be what you get. Open Camera and tap the Lenses quick setting icon for a list of camera-enhancing apps already on your phone. For example, the Bing Vision Lens turns your viewfinder into a scanner for QR Codes and barcodes. On Nokia phones, Lenses include Nokia Cinemagraph, which lets you blend photos and movie-like animation to create some impressive and trippy visuals, which you can then export as GIFs. It’s so engrossing I spent almost an hour “researching” what it can do.

There are plenty of other Lenses and photo editing apps available. To search for something new, tap Lenses > Find more lenses, and then choose between dozens of apps, like Vine, Office Lens, Fhotoroom, and more.

* This post refers to features in Windows Phone 8.1. If your phone is running Windows Phone 8, some of them won’t be available. Check to see which software version you have and find out if an update is available.

Help+Tips app for Windows Phone 8.1 is here!

You’d think that after three years on the Windows Phone team, I’d know everything there is to know about my Windows Phone. Think again. It took me a couple of years, for instance, to figure out that you can tap space twice to add a period when you’re typing on the Word Flow keyboard.

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Maybe you’re quicker on the uptake than I am. In any case, the new Help+Tips app for Windows Phone 8.1 is a great way to learn basics, pro tips, and random in-between stuff that you just never noticed before. You can get answers to frequently-asked questions, search for help articles, and see our collection of videos and animated tips.

This app has been around for a while in beta form, so you might have come across it before. This is the official release, available in 19 languages, with better performance and stability—especially on low memory phones.

Get it here.