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05/26/2017   PC World Latest News

A favorite pastime among Windows 10 users is to figure out ways to save Windows Spotlight images to their PC. Usually this is done through a little bit of trickery that involves finding where the images are stored on your hard drive.

Since early 2016, however, the Windows Store (rather unbelievably) has an app for that. In fact, there are many apps for that, but the one we're going to talk about today is called SpotBright. What's great about this app is that it downloads all available Spotlight images for you in a few clicks. In my test, I downloaded more than 600 images costing me less than 500MB of storage space.

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05/26/2017   PC World Latest News

Just because Windows 7 is close to eight years old doesn’t mean you still can’t find ridiculous bugs that can crash your PC.

Russian-language site Habrhabr.ru recently published one such bug that apparently causes problems if you simply visit a website, as first noticed by Ars Technica. The problem also affects Windows 8 and Vista PCs, but Windows 10 PCs are unaffected.

Here’s how the bug works. All a naughty website has to do is use the character string ‘$MFT’ in the directory name where a website keeps its images. Windows expects to see the four characters $MFT only in a special metadate file on your PC. When it sees those characters as a directory name, however, it causes enough problems that an affected PC will begin to slow down and eventually hang. At that point your only recourse is to reboot the machine. In some cases, the problem may even trigger the dreaded blue screen of death (BSOD).

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05/26/2017   PC World Latest News

If you want a thorough, everyday clean, maybe you should consider using robots. The Roomba 650 Vacuuming Robot provides a thorough clean at the push of a button. The patented, 3-Stage Cleaning System easily picks up dust, pet hair and large debris like cereal and works on all floor types, adjusting itself and re-charging itself as needed to make sure the job is done correctly every time you need it -- preset Roomba to clean when it’s convenient for you. Roomba is just 3.6 inch tall, and is specifically designed to fit under most furniture, beds and kickboards. The 650 model is a #1 best seller on Amazon, where its typical list price of $374 is reduced right now to $286.99. See this deal on Amazon.

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05/26/2017   PC World Latest News

Memory’s been a thorn in the side of AMD’s Ryzen processors ever since they launched. Memory speed and latency can play a major part in Ryzen’s performance, but early AM4 motherboards haven’t been able to offer robust memory overclocking capabilities. Ryzen PCs topped out at DDR4-3200 speeds, and the supported range of frequencies below that occurred in 266MT/s chunks, meaning some kits couldn’t hit their rated maximum speeds and instead fell back to a slower frequency.

A new AMD update puts an end to the madness.

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05/26/2017   PC World Latest News
Built to last
mass effect andromeda

Image by EA

Far too many games these days are built to be played in small bursts: brief encounters, designed for a world with too few hours in the day and too many digital distractions. And that’s fine! Blasting through a few rounds of Call of Duty multiplayer, or playing a few run-throughs in Spelunky, is a wonderful way to spend a few minutes.

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05/26/2017   PC World Latest News
Don't miss the Play Store's most promising new app and game releases.
05/26/2017   PC World Latest News

If Microsoft sold cars like it’s trying to sell its Surface Pro (2017), it would charge extra for wheels—and would be laughed out of the market. But Microsoft’s using this tactic to sell its new Windows tablet as a “laptop,” and we’re still trying to figure out why.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro is clearly a Windows tablet, just like its predecessor, the Surface Pro 4. Nevertheless, devices chief Panos Panay calls it a “laptop” no fewer than three times in his blog post, including the very first sentence. No “laptop” or notebook PC forgoes a keyboard, however, as the Surface Pro does. Long-time Surface fans may know that Microsoft charges $129 to $159 more for that accessory, but does the average buyer get it? That’s where the confusion starts.

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05/26/2017   PC World Latest News

What do you get when you put an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display in the hands of the Sony with their decades of experience enhancing TV images? A better OLED TV. Having only seen another company’s OLED TVs in the consumer space, we’d gotten the idea that the technology was simply challenged when it came to rendering fine details. Not so with the A1E, whose facility with picture minutiae, while not LCD-like, is a substantial improvement.

We recently had the pleasure of setting an A1E next to a brand new LCD-with-quantum-dots Samsung Q9F (we’ll post our review next week) and having at it for an amazing week of viewing and testing. Sadly, the experience left us somewhat torn between which we liked most.

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05/25/2017   PC World Latest News

Vanquish, the cult classic from Platinum Games, has finally arrived on PC, thanks in part to a vocal fan base. The original released in 2010 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and presented fast-paced third-person shooting and stylized graphics from Shinji Mikami, the mastermind behind the Resident Evil series.

Vanquish is known for taking cover-based shooting, a la Gears Of War, and putting a uniquely Japanese spin on it by introducing mechanics like rocket sliding and slo-mo. The game is over-the top in ways that only Platinum can pull off, but it still rewards skillful gameplay.

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05/25/2017   PC World Latest News
05/25/2017   PC World Latest News

If you’re serious about protecting your PC—and any unsaved work or game you might have open on it—you need an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). A UPS is a surge protector and emergency battery in one, meant to keep devices safe and humming along when the power goes out. Right now, Newegg has a particularly good model on sale: The retailer has dropped the CyberPower GX1325U to just $125. That's $65 cheaper than the going price at other retailers.

This UPS is an 1325 VA / 810 watt unit with pure sine wave output. That last bit isn’t a pop quiz from high school—a pure sine wave is supposed to offer a more reliable transition from your local electrical grid to battery power, especially for sensitive PC power supplies. It’s also the most expensive type of output to produce, which is part of the reason it’s nice to catch this UPS on sale.

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05/25/2017   PC World Latest News
05/25/2017   PC World Latest News

Nvidia’s taking another stab at its “GeForce GTX Battlebox” PC concept, and for the first time, AMD’s finally inside—though obviously not Radeon.

Boutique system builders craft Battlebox PCs to minimum specifications laid out by Nvidia. The idea’s similar to any other certification-style program: If you buy a GeForce GTX Battlebox, you’re guaranteed a baseline level of performance. It’s what the legion of failed Steam Machines should’ve offered, and Nvidia’s program launched around the same time as Valve's failed endeavor.

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05/25/2017   PC World Latest News

For all the popularity of mobile apps and cloud services, the venerable PC continues to be a mainstay of computing today. Indeed, the versatile desktop interface means that the bulk of a day’s work continues to be done on PCs for most users.

We’ve found some pretty cool productivity apps that will substantially improve your Windows desktop experience.

1. TidyTabs

If you ever got frustrated tabbing through multiple application windows, then you need to install TidyTabs from Nurgo Software. The lightweight utility lets you organize the desktop by stacking multiple windows together in a tabbed arrangement, even for unrelated applications. This opens the door to grouping applications based on projects worked on, decluttering the desktop and generally keeping things tidy.

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05/25/2017   PC World Latest News

Acer’s Nitro 5 laptop is designed for the casual gamer who feels lucky. This person may not game often, and may never have tinkered with a PC’s cooling system (as many seasoned gamers have) to get maximum power without singeing precious CPUs or GPUs. But the Nitro 5 will let these casual gamers adjust the fan speed themselves, giving them an unprecedented amount of control over delicate thermals.

Acer offered some tantalizing details on the Nitro 5, which is due to ship in July. With prices starting at $800, the laptop targets the growing number of casual gamers. These users won’t shell out for the huge, expensive Predator 21 X, but they still want good gaming performance in a PC they can tote around. Acer says the Nitro 5 is carefully balanced to give them exactly what they need: “all of the really important, necessary features without going too far overboard,” said Acer.

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05/25/2017   PC World Latest News

Right now if you buy a Dash Button, Amazon will give you one for free in honor of National Pet Week, this week. But they're still giving you the $4.99 credit after the first time you use it. So that's two Dash buttons for free, really (typically Dash buttons cost $4.99). Amazon Dash is a simple Wi-Fi connected gadget that lets you order your favorite things with just the push of a button. Keep it by your washing machine, your pet food, or in the bathroom closet. When you notice you're running low, just press the button and Amazon ships it right out. Each button gets tied to a specific product from Amazon's library of over 300 brands, in categories such as (click each category to see samples) household suppliesbeverage & groceryhealth & personal carebeauty productspetskids & baby, and more. Access this deal on Amazon

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05/25/2017   PC World Latest News
It's time to get over it and just start talking to your phone, because certain tasks are much faster with Google's digital aide.
05/25/2017   PC World Latest News

The bigger and uglier your Excel spreadsheet gets, the more you need to use certain features or tricks to keep a handle on the data. The seven features covered here will help you navigate, organize, and readjust your spreadsheet with as little hassle as possible. 

1. Split Screen

One of the most helpful features for large spreadsheets is the Split Screen command. The Split Screen allows you to view two, three, or four windows of your spreadsheet. Use this feature to work on one section of your spreadsheet while you view another section; or use it to compare (side by side) two sections of the spreadsheet. Once you try it, you'll find lots of reasons to use it.

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05/25/2017   PC World Latest News

Intel's dream of making one cable to rule them all took a huge step forward this week. On Wednesday, Intel announced it will integrate Thunderbolt 3 into future CPUs. More importantly, the company said it would open up the long-secret protocol to the world, royalty-free.

The company's explanation for the change is practically utopian. "Intel's vision for Thunderbolt was not just to make a faster computer port, but a simpler and more versatile port available to everyone," wrote Chris Walker, Intel's vice president for Client Computing, in a blog post.

Walker predicted a groundswell of Thunderbolt products. "We envision a future where high-performance single-cable docks, stunning photos and 4K video, lifelike VR, and faster-than-ever storage are commonplace. A world where one USB-C connector does it all—today, and for many years to come."

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05/25/2017   PC World Latest News

Google was ahead of the curve when it launched Android TV in 2014. Instead of just presenting users with a list of streaming-app icons, Android TV's big idea involved a row of recommendations from across different apps. The hope was that users wouldn't have to leave the home screen to find something to watch.

But being first isn't the same as being best, and over the past few years, other platforms such as Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku have all done a better job with cross-app recommendations. Meanwhile, Android TV's approach didn't get much buy-in from app makers, and the platform as a whole seemed to stagnate.

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05/22/2017   InfoWorld Insider

Windows shops transitioning to devops may not yet know the power of build pipelines when it comes to standing up and maintaing infrastructure. A concept familiar to software developers, the build/release pipeline may sound foreign to those from the operations side of the aisle. But don’t sweat it; InfoWorld is here to help.

A build pipeline consists of many moving parts, the orchestration of which can be hard to grasp. In a nutshell, your build pipeline’s structured set of processes to set your scripts in motion on your servers automatically. You write code -- say, some configuration scripts -- and commit that code to a source control repository, which kicks off one or more rounds of tests before deploying your code to one or more environments. The key here is automation.

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(Insider Story)
05/17/2017   InfoWorld Insider

JavaScript programmers have many good tools to choose from—almost too many to keep track of. In this article, I discuss 10 text editors with good support for developing with JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS, and for documenting with Markdown. Why use an editor for JavaScript programming instead of an IDE? In a word: speed.

The essential difference between editors and IDEs is that IDEs can debug and sometimes profile your code, and IDEs have support for application lifecycle management (ALM) systems. Many of the editors we discuss here support at least one version control system, often Git, so that criterion is less of a differentiator between IDEs and editors than it used to be.

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(Insider Story)
05/16/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is readying new smarter SharePoint search capabilities, as well as several other new features for SharePoint customers.
05/12/2017   InfoWorld Insider

Since I reviewed Tableau, Qlik Sense, and Microsoft Power BI in 2015, Tableau and Microsoft have solidified their leadership in the business intelligence (BI) market: Tableau with intuitive interactive exploration, Microsoft with low price and Office integration. Qlik is still a leader compared to the other 20 vendors in the sector, but trails both Tableau and Power BI.

ed choice plum InfoWorld

In addition to new analytics, mapping, and data connection features, Tableau has added better support of enterprises and mobile devices in the last two years. In this review, I’ll give you a snapshot of Tableau as it now stands, drill in on features new since version 9, and explore the Tableau road map.

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(Insider Story)
05/11/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is rolling out an updated Windows 10 Fall Creators Update test build, plus a first version of its Story Remix application, to Fast Ring Insiders.
05/11/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is continuing to bring more Linux options to Windows 10, Windows Server and its Azure Portal.
05/11/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's new motto: "If you can't beat them in mobile, join them." The coming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and some under-the-cover developer technologies are key to trying to make this happen.
05/10/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft now has 29 Cognitive Services,programming interfaces for adding AI to apps and services. Here's what's new as of this week.
05/10/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is making its Visual Studio for Mac -- a rebranded version of Xamarin Studio for the Mac -- generally available.
05/10/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is taking its NoSQL DocumentDB service a step further with its new Azure Cosmos DB.
05/10/2017   InfoWorld Insider

Business chat has come into its own, with Microsoft debuting its Teams system for Office 365 in March and Google promising to deliver Hangouts Chat for G Suite later this year. What had been a market owned by niche technology companies—Slack for its Slack for Teams and Atlassian for its HipChat—suddenly became an arena for the 800-pound gorillas of office software, Microsoft and Google, as they each seek to own the whole collaboration and communications experience within an enterprise.

But being big doesn’t mean being better. Despite the new competition, Slack remains the undisputed champion of chat, the only service that gets it (almost) all right. A near-equal to Slack two years ago, HipChat has fallen behind and seems to have little momentum behind it.

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(Insider Story)
05/09/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is continuing to tweak its Windows 10 patching and updating strategy, and plans to hold off until 2019 before releasing another version of Windows 10 designated as its Long Term Servicing Branch.
05/09/2017   InfoWorld Insider

Security architects are the people responsible for maintaining the security of their organizations’ computer systems, and as such they must be able to think as hackers do in order to anticipate the tactics attackers can use to gain unauthorized access to those systems, according to the InfoSec Institute.

Anyone in this position can expect to have to work odd hours on occasion, and needs to be constantly up to date on the latest security threats and available tools.

Sometimes people who ultimately take on the role of security architect, like Jerod Brennen, could not have predicted such a career direction when they were younger. When Brennen began attending Capital University, a small liberal arts college in Ohio, in the 1990s, he intended to pursue a career in the film industry as a composer.

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(Insider Story)
05/09/2017   InfoWorld Insider

Outlook Groups is supposedly the core of Microsoft’s Exchange-based collaboration experience, integrated in its Outlook email, calendar, and contacts client. It’s meant to provide shared calendars, shared notes, shared files, and shared messages (handled by Outlook as if they were emails) to members of a group—sort of like SharePoint for humans.

But it’s been available only to Windows Outlook and Outlook Online via a browser since its September 2015 debut. Starting in late April, Microsoft began enabling Outlook Groups for Office 365 accounts’ Outlook clients on MacOS, iOS, and Android (if you have the most recent Outlook versions). Thus, Microsoft finally opened its core collaboration tool to users on all the major OS platforms, unifying Outlook group messages, Outlook group calendars, OneDrive shared files for your group, and OneNote shared notes for your group.

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(Insider Story)
05/08/2017   InfoWorld Insider

"Roughly 50 percent of all the jobs on the planet will disappear by the year 2025," predicts futurist Thomas Frey, founder of the DaVinci Institute think tank.

While that claim might seem a bit overblown, it is clear that new technologies like robotics, self-driving cars, 3D printing, drones, artificial intelligence and virtual reality will create major upheavals in all sorts of labor markets, not just technology. (Think self-driving cars and taxi drivers.)

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(Insider Story)
05/08/2017   InfoWorld Insider

As usual in the tech industry, not everything previewed by a vendor shows up in the final product. That’s what happened with the latest update to Windows 10, the Creators Update, which was released last month. Microsoft showed off big changes and smaller tweaks in its Insider Previews that are nowhere to be found in the Creators Update.

Here are the most interesting ones. There’s a chance that some of these features could show up in the next major update to Windows 10, which could happen by the end of this year.

1. File Explorer: There’s an app for that ... maybe

What appeared to be a Windows app version of File Explorer was found in an earlier Insider Preview. The UI of this app appeared friendlier to use with a touchscreen. Don’t expect this to replace the original, desktop application version, which both everyday and power users rely on, anytime soon.

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(Insider Story)
05/08/2017   InfoWorld Insider

With Windows 10 already deployed on more than 400 million computers, it’s hard to argue with its success. But the fastest adoption rate of any Windows release has thus far played out predominantly on consumer devices. The enterprise tells a different story, with organizations still mostly on Windows 7. But the change is coming fast. Brad Anderson, corporate vice president at Microsoft, recently announced that 86 percent of enterprises will upgrade to Windows 10 within three to four years; of these, organizations 47 percent said they will upgrade in the next 12 months.

With the changes to Win10’s updates and rumors of the OS being the final major version of Windows, your upcoming rollout may be your last great Windows migration ever.

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(Insider Story)
05/07/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
What Microsoft is doing in the edge computing/distributed computing space may be a big topic at this week's Build 2017 developer conference. Here are a few clues as to why.
05/04/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's Windows 10 Redstone 3 test build 16188 includes Windows Defender Application Guard, as well as new PDF annotation and navigation features.
05/04/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's initial Build 2017 session list is available, and several Cortana Skills briefings are on the list, signaling the public preview of the Skills Kit is finally ready to go.
05/03/2017   InfoWorld Insider

JavaScript is used for many different kinds of applications today. Most often, JavaScript works with HTML5 and CSS to build web front ends. But JavaScript also helps build mobile applications, and it’s finding an important place on the back end in the form of Node.js servers. Fortunately, JavaScript development tools—both editors and IDEs—are rising to meet the new challenges.

Why use an IDE instead of an editor? The main reason is that an IDE can debug and sometimes profile your code. IDEs also have support for ALM systems, integrating with the likes of Git, GitHub, Mercurial, Subversion, and Perforce for version control. But as more editors add hooks to these systems, ALM support is becoming less of a differentiator.

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(Insider Story)
05/02/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft will begin testing in June preview versions of its full-featured Office apps,which will be downloadable and updatable from its Windows and Education Stores.
05/02/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft has added a new line of Surfaces to its family. The Surface Laptop is a premium device meant to run Windows 10 S.
05/02/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft is adding a new more locked-down version of Windows 10 (formerly known as Windows Cloud) to its line-up.
05/01/2017   InfoWorld Insider

Managing the health of the corporate network will directly affect the productivity of every user of that network. So network administrators need a robust network monitoring tool that helps them manage the network, identify problems before they cause downtime, and quickly resolve issues when something goes wrong.

Five of the top network monitoring products on the market, according to users in the IT Central Station community, are CA Unified Infrastructure Management, SevOne, Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM), and CA Spectrum.

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(Insider Story)
05/01/2017   InfoWorld Insider

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a company that was finally doing business on the web. Its developers were exhausted after spending years learning about HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery, and dealing with all the various browsers the company’s silly partners and customers wanted to use instead of the company’s Gold Standard, Internet Explorer 6.

You would think that everyone would have been grateful now that there was no need to install the company’s Windows NT application. But no! Not management, not employees, not partners, not even customers.

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(Insider Story)
04/28/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's latest Windows 10 'Redstone 3' test build, No. 16184, adds back a feature that Microsoft cut from the Creators Update back in January 2017: My People.
04/27/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft's Surface revenues came in lower than expected in the company's third fiscal 2017 quarter due to both lack of product refresh and competition from the company's PC-maker partners.
04/26/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
Microsoft has started rolling out the Windows 10 Creators Update release to the dozen or so models of Windows Phones that will support the final version.
04/26/2017   InfoWorld Insider

It’s no secret that the world is facing a shortage of cybersecurity talent. The (ISC)² Center for Cyber Safety and Education’s 2017 Global Information Security Workforce study projects a deficit of over 1.8 million qualified cybersecurity professionals between now and 2022.

Many industry analysts agree that the underlying problem is the lack of education in cyber skills—in high schools, colleges, post grad and on the job. While cybersecurity education is maturing and improving at all levels, there is still work to do, including attracting young students to cybersecurity careers, says David Shearer, CEO of (ISC)2 Inc., a global, not-for-profit that educates and certifies information security professionals throughout their careers.

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(Insider Story)
04/26/2017   InfoWorld Insider

It’s risky and often foolish to rush into a new software development framework, programming language, or technology platform too early in its lifecycle. Beyond the usual issues of too much hype and too little stability, new tech tends to lack staying power. You might end up investing precious time and effort into learning the ways of a tool that becomes abandoned or, worse, eliminated. It happens more often than you might think.

So if you have resisted the adoption of .Net Core, no one could blame you. When “ASP.Net vNext” was announced in 2014, its advantages—modular, small footprint, more speed—were immediately interesting to every .Net developer. When the first release candidate of .Net Core arrived the following year—supporting cross-platform .Net development, hosting ASP.Net on Linux, and open source code—the new platform became even more compelling. But it was also very alpha, with showstopping shortcomings.

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(Insider Story)
04/25/2017   ZDNet Microsoft
IT pros, take notice: Microsoft is adding yet another set of Windows 10 Cumulative Updates -- ones that don't include security fixes -- to its patching mix.