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Bytes and Beyond

Voice assistants: trick or treat?


First of all: Please don't expect me to provide you with a balanced view about voice assistants. Alexa & Co. have annoyed me far too often for me to stay fair and balanced. I didn't even need my own assistant to reach this point: Visits to friends with more or less Smart Homes were sufficient.

Of course, voice control and home automation aren't always pointless – in certain situations Bixby, Cortana, Google Now and Siri can be really helpful. If both hands have to remain on the steering wheel or if your arms are stuck in plaster, it is really practical when an assistant takes you by your word.

Like so many digital inventions, voice assistants can be as much a curse as a blessing. Let me help you weigh the pros and cons.


Bytes and Beyond

Breaking up and moving on: Life after Windows 7

To reiterate the main point of the previous blog post: Windows 7 may still look fine to you, but it is dying. On January 14, 2020, Microsoft will stop publishing security updates for Windows 7. From then on, the operating system will be fair game for malware.

Fortunately, there are several viable exit strategies: Upgrade to Windows 10, switch to a different operating system such as Linux or macOS, or even go fully mobile. This article will offer specific advice on how to move away from Windows 7.


Bytes and Beyond

Why it's time to leave Windows 7 behind

There are no two ways about it: Windows 7 is dying, and fairly soon. On January 14, 2020, Microsoft will stop issuing security updates for their best-selling operating system. Some users remain defiant: They fail to see any reason to migrate to a newer system. This is a dangerous attitude: By holding on to Windows 7, they don't just risk their own safety, but also the security of others.

The following article will explain what to expect when Microsoft pulls the plug on Windows 7, why it's a bad idea to stick with a dead horse, and propose viable migration options for users unwilling to upgrade to Windows 10. In any case, it's high time to get ready: January of 2020 is closing in fast.

Bytes and Beyond

Anti-virus – why bother?

Anti-virus software is frequently seen as bothersome. Warnings inevitably pop up at the most inopportune moments, breaking your concentration and intruding into your workflow. Occasionally, an overzealous anti-virus application will even block legitimate software.

Time for a brief look under the hood: What does anti-virus software do? How does it work? And is virus protection even worth paying for anymore?

Bytes and Beyond

"Bytes and Beyond": Welcoming our new columnist Gerald Himmelein

Dear SoftMaker customers:

We make our blog even more useful for you: starting today, we will not only cover topics related directly to SoftMaker and our products, but also other topics that will help you use your computer to its full potential.

We are happy to announce that we have signed up well-known German computer journalist Gerald Himmelein as our new columnist. Read the following short interview to get to know him better.


Thank you.

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