[News] Microsoft finally retires Internet Explorer
A 25-year-old veteran of the Internet, Internet Explorer will finally be put out to pasture in 2022.
According to NPR, Microsoft has been trying to move away from IE (and all the jokes about the buggy browser) since 2015, when it released the new Edge browser. But almost all of us know someone — maybe that family member who always calls for tech support — who refuses to let go of the magic button on their desktop that connects them to the Internet.
In the announcement on their blog, Microsoft said they will be transitioning away from Internet Explorer on June 15, 2022.
In response, WordPress will be dropping support for Internet Explorer with the next version. WordPress 5.8, due out in July 2021.
The death of IE will make a huge difference for companies that provide support for their services. Users who rely on (often older versions) of Internet Explorer discover that websites don’t always function as intended, but often these users are less tech-savvy and are hesitant to install a newer or different browser. The shift to Edge will also help website designers who have to ensure their designs or functionality works in all current browsers. Once IE is deprecated, customer support staff and engineers will no longer have to worry about the IE holdouts.
For IE holdouts, you have a year to switch either to Microsoft Edge (which comes with Windows 10, and will have an Internet Explorer mode), or to another current browser such as Chrome, Safari, or Mozilla Firefox.
Easy peasy, right? For individuals, it’s as simple as downloading a new browser. As Microsoft acknowledges, some companies or nonprofit organizations may still be running Internet Explorer, or have legacy IE-based websites and apps. Microsoft reassures such organizations that Internet Explorer mode in Microsoft Edge will be supported through at least 2029. If you need more information about how to migrate systems and apps, there are additional links within the announcement from Microsoft.
In other news
- Password-protect your Google history. Gizmodo reports that Google has recently introduced extra security for your data. You can now set your account to require a password (your regular Google account password) to view your “My Activity” data. This is all the information Google has about your browsing history, your Google searches (including all those late-night “OK Google” rabbit-holes you wander down instead of going to sleep), your Google Maps activity, and more.
If you want to add password verification (and really, we strongly recommend that you do), just mosey on over to your myactivity.google.com page and select the Web and App Activity tab. From there, click on “Manage My Activity verification” and select “require extra verification.”
- Are the best tech team leaders ‘geriatric millennials’? In a post shared by Medium this week, digital body language writer Erica Dahawan described herself as a ‘geriatric millennial’. She proposes that the term ‘millennials’ spans twenty years, and those born at the early end of the 80’s — the ‘geriatrics’ — are more suited to sharing new digital knowledge with older colleagues. When we return to our new hybrid workplaces, she says later millennials (from the 2000’s), who are ‘digital natives’, shouldn’t lead teams introducing tech to the workforce. 15,000 article shares later, the new phrase made international news headlines in publications as diverse as Vice, Vogue, The Today Show, The New York Post, Huffington Post, and Buzzfeed.
- What would you do with an extra thumb? Turns out, it might be handier than you might think. Gizmodo shared news of an interesting experiment where a few dozen people were fitted with a 3-D printed, robotic thumb on one hand that was controlled by motors under the toes of people’s shoes. As awkward as that might sound, the participants quickly adapted and seemed to like having an extra digit, using it to extend the functionality of their hand. They were able to grasp more items and accomplish tasks such as pulling keys out of their pocket while browsing on their phone. Those with the prosthetic thumbs said that they soon felt like they were part of their bodies, and found it difficult to return them at the end of the experiment.
The journal Science Robotics noted that the findings “demonstrate that motor augmentation can be readily achieved, with potential for flexible use, reduced cognitive reliance, and increased sense of embodiment.” It may be too soon to say for sure how science views additional prosthetic fingers, but it sounds like the participants gave this research two thumbs up.
Tip of the week
Since we’re talking about web browsers in this week’s news roundup, it only makes sense to remind you of five simple things you can do to remain safe when you’re on the Internet.
- Keep your browser updated. Software manufacturers regularly release new versions of their software that have enhanced functionality but also fix various security issues. This includes your web browser. Make sure you run a current version for best performance and safety.
- Clean up your browser extensions. You should never use any browser extensions that did not come from the browser’s official website, and you should consider disabling any extensions you don’t regularly use. Google Chrome has blocked a number of extensions (including tab managers and ad blockers) due to malware, but if you’re not using one, why wait for trouble?
- Use antivirus software. Even if you own a Mac, it’s critical that you install reliable antivirus software. Most antivirus options run in the background and block any malware or viruses before they can do any damage to your computer.
- Disable saved passwords and autofill. While these are convenient features in most browsers, they do come with risks. If someone steals your device, they could gain access to everything stored in the browser. And there are examples of phishing software that can run the autofill and submit information without you even being able to see it. Think about what your browser fills in for you — your name, address, date of birth, credit card numbers… imagine if a website pulled all that data down without you even knowing it!
- Never click on links from emails or text messages. We’re seeing more and more fraud from fake websites (and fake texts!) that alert you to an issue with a package delivery, a problem with your bank account, or other urgent concerns and direct you to click on a link to get more information. Some of these messages are very convincing! Be very careful with all such messages, and if you’re not sure if they’re real, go directly to the company website and verify the information is accurate, or contact their customer support.
For more tips on keeping safe online, be sure to check out our other articles on security and privacy.