I was watching a local TV news broadcast (OK, I was multi-tasking) and saw a quick mention of Häagen-Dazs® ice cream which I love. I wasn’t paying full attention, but it struck me that of late I’ve seen/read/heard more and more FDA recalls. Had to go to the fda.gov website to see what was up with my favorite ice cream.

Later, I looked around in the Windows Store and didn’t find what I wanted so I built an app. FDA Recalls and Photos – http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/app/fda-recalls-and-photos/93f2d82f-395c-4647-b3e5-6a4d7a55b27d

fda app

The app has 4 galleries and has a live tile. Does what I need it to do. Give it a try (it’s free of course) if you’re interested in this kind of thing.

 

I’ve been seriously afflicted by the Wi-Fi connectivity issues on the Surface Pro 3 and have been considering returning to Best Buy as their short 15 day return window expires Friday. Microsoft states that the firmware updates are being throttled and to keep checking Windows Update. I checked and checked and checked and after 18 hours didn’t have the luxury of waiting for the throttled updates to show up as I wanted time to test these fixes.

Microsoft posted the complete SP3 driver/firmware pack overnight so decided to install what I needed manually. For the convenience of others similarly afflicted by the missing throttled update, here are instructions to use at your own risk. I can’t officially support you. Reboot when you are prompted. Keep your fingers crossed throughout.

Here are the instructions:

1. Manually check for updates and install anything offered before beginning.

2. Make sure your Surface Pro 3 is fully charged and plugged in.

3. Go to http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38826 and download the Surface Pro 3 zip file (it’s 173.2 megs). You will need to scroll the list to find it.

 

download zip

 

4. Click Next and download to your hard drive.

5. Extract the archive and open it.

Note as shown below the files named Marvell and Microsoft. These are the two folders containing the bits you need to manually install the firmware and drivers made available via Windows Update to some users on July 8 and which are slowly being rolled out according to Microsoft.

Screenshot (35)

 

6. Open The Microsoft Folder. The FW, SurfaceTypeCoverV3FwUpdate (if you bought a new SP3 type cover)and SurfaceAccessoryDevice folder are the ones you will be using.

7. Open the SurfaceTypeCoverV3FwUpdate folder, right click on the inf file and select install

8. Open the SurfaceAccessoryDevice folder, right click on the inf file and select install

Screenshot (36)

 

9. Now open the FW folder

10. Open the EC folder, right click the inf file and install. Reboot if prompted.

11. Open the SAM folder, right click on the inf file and install. Reboot if prompted.

Screenshot (37)

 

12. Navigate to the Marvell folder.

13. Open the BT folder, right click the inf file and install

14. Open the wlan folder, right click the inf file and install

Screenshot (38)

15. Reboot (maybe reboot twice for insurance).

Best of luck!

 

The first named tropical storm of the 2014 season, which grew into Hurricane Arthur, prompted me to look around for a simple free app that provided the basic status of these disturbances. I found a few apps in the Windows Store but nothing that provided exactly what I wanted to see. So I fired up Microsoft Project Siena and quickly created an app. Amazingly, it went through certification in 26 minutes. It’s now available at http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/hurricane-and-tropical-storm/12c9a48c-717e-4016-a8f9-247066e91d9d 

The app includes large on demand overlay versions of graphics and a live tile.

Below are a couple of screenshots from the two graphical galleries. The third gallery is the text from the NHC RSS feed.

breaking news overlay

 

tropical cyclone activity

 

Microsoft is "suspending" emails (because of the Canadian SPAM law effective 7/1). I found these REALLY useful. I’m sure others did as well.

 

Notice to IT professionals:

As of July 1, 2014, due to changing governmental policies concerning
the issuance of automated electronic messaging, Microsoft is
suspending the use of email notifications that announce the
following:

* Security bulletin advance notifications
* Security bulletin summaries
* New security advisories and bulletins
* Major and minor revisions to security advisories and bulletins

In lieu of email notifications, you can subscribe to one or more of
the RSS feeds described on the Security TechCenter website.

For more information, or to sign up for an RSS feed, visit the
Microsoft Technical Security Notifications webpage at
»technet.microsoft.com/security/dd252948.

 

So then I looked at the page referenced above. My "quick and dirty" very basic ‘Security Notifications from Microsoft Feed Reader’ app is now available in the Windows Store. http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/app/security-notifications-from/f5459c09-6233-4100-bfe1-d198111fc30b

 

 security app main menu

I hope that Microsoft reinstates the emails after they figure out how to exclude Canadian customers who don’t want to receive this important information.

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