Tech Tip: Updating Dell computers to Windows 10 version 1903 (the May 2019 update)

I absorb the pain so you don’t have to. If you have a fairly new Dell computer from the Dell Business line of offerings (as opposed to the Home machines), and run into a blocking bug that prevents you from updating from Windows 10 version 1809 to Windows 10 version 1903, here’s a possible solution.

If the update fails immediately with an error that preinstall.cmd scripts could not run, it is likely that the Dell Data Security software is blocking the update. But…you will likely not be able to uninstall all of that software. Some of the elements have very deep hooks into the system, and using the uninstall programs settings page will not work. In addition, there are installed components that do not register as standalone programs, so you can’t remove them with a simple uninstall option.

The solution is that Dell makes a tool to remove all of these components, but you have to call Dell and get to the team that handles the Data Security software. They will make sure that you are not using the encryption and data security tools (NOTE: if you remove the Dell Data Security and Encryption software, you can’t access encrypted data, but unless you are in an enterprise that is managing a lot of Dell machines, odds are that you are NOT using any of those tools — this issue appears to happen only if you have ordered a Dell machine from the Business line, where data security is a selling point, rather than the Home line). The tool Dell provides quickly removes the offending data security tools, and the Windows update seems to work without a hitch thereafter.

If this has been driving you nuts, I hope it helps. I separately note that there are a lot of blocking issues that could stymie a Feature Update, like driver compatibility, etc. This is only for update failures that never start because the preinstall.cmd scripts cannot run.

COMPLEX TECH: The developer builds of Microsoft Edge built on Chromium are getting interesting

Microsoft Edge on Chromium

Microsoft Edge on Chromium

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted any tech-related items. I was just using a newer browser I’ve been testing out and thought some of you might be interested in it. Microsoft is rebuilding their Edge browser with the open-sourced chromium browser engine. Google’s Chrome uses the same rendering engine. But I distrust Google (mightily) and have decided to move away from as many of Google’s services as possible (for example, I have stopped using gmail as a backup archive and email aggregator for my personal emails, switching to outlook.com instead). So that leaves the current Edge version in Windows 10 (okay), or Firefox (better with privacy but it continues to have erratic bugs), or all the other fringe browsers out there.

So, instead, I’m looking at the developer versions of Edge on chromium. You can download versions here. The beta channel will be the most stable, but it isn’t active yet. That leaves the weekly update developer channel or the “canary” version that gets daily builds. I decided that the canary channel was too wild west even for me, so I’m running the weekly update version. Given that it isn’t even the beta channel version, it’s surprisingly stable. Features are being added almost every week, in addition to the squashing of bugs. Sites render well. I may move to it as my full-time browser when it comes out of its developer/beta state.

Edge on chromium is far enough along, that it is now ready for enterprise evaluation, as mentioned by Windows Central.

Friends don’t let friends do Google.

Nuts and bolts...

For the few interested in these sorts of things, the site template theme that I had been using for quite a while was deprecated, no longer receiving support or updates. While I put off moving to a new theme for a while, it had to happen. Unfortunately, there was no way to fully configure a new theme to match all the customizing I had done in the old theme (things like custom css controls specific to the them because they address unique labels). The only option was to take a lot of notes about style settings and then jump in with both feet. I managed to get things fairly close, even making some changes I’ve wanted to make for some time but could not because they weren’t supported in the old theme. I still have some work to do to add a few missing things, but the content is basically all there. Anyhow, just wanted to explain what motivated some of the changes (as opposed to sheer boredom with the appearance).

Moon & Yang has launched the initial portions of its new website

ML Logo1.png

Moon & Yang, APC has a “soft” launch of it’s new website well underway. There are some bugs to sort out, but it’s slowly getting there (slower, at times, than I would like, as the frustrated e-mails to the development team will attest). I will be co-managing the firm’s blog on the website.

The Complex Litigator is moving domain hosts, so there may be wonkiness...

The Complex Litigator is moving all domain services…right about now. It may be smooth, but it may cause a day or three of strange behavior. The upside is that I can install proper certificates for secure connections, which will speed things up. Also, I can manage the domain in the same place that I manage the blog, so one less trip when things need updating.

Carry on…

UPDATE: Like, OMG, it finally worked. I spent the entire day fighting to push this transfer through.

My tech toolbox will include less of the Google hegemony

“Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

This is actually a shorter version of a post I tried to put up earlier today. The gist is that I am uncomfortable with a few tech giants like Google deciding what communications can be consumed when the "soapbox” is effectively a virtual soapbox now and anything you want heard must go through the Interwebs. The First Amendment isn’t directly implicated, but a few companies now have almost total control over the digital public square, and they are putting their thumbs heavily on the scale.

I read an article yesterday that commented on internal Google emails that referred to Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson, and Dennis Prager as “nazis.” I find that both depressing and disgusting. Depressing, as it shows that the current members of society are profoundly ignorant about the Holocaust. Disgusting, since it is simply a horrible slander.

I have heard all three of them speak more than once (Ben Shapiro and Dennis Prager mostly on the radio and Jordan Peterson in interviews). While I don’t know what lies deep in their hearts, I’ve heard nothing remotely close to justifying that abusive label by Google employees. Moreover, nothing they have to say is sufficiently awful to support an effort by Google’s employees to craft ways to exclude their content from recommendation algorithms. According to the story I read, those three individuals all had relatives that were killed during the Holocaust. Now, I happen to think Ben Shapiro, in particular, is frequently an obnoxious and arrogant punk. But at least he refuses to back down from the heckler’s veto mob, so credit for having brass ones I suppose. And not liking an opinion does not make one a “nazi.” That should go without saying. Apparently, it doesn’t.

The bottom line is that, after seeing tech companies like Google and Twitter and Facebook de-platform people while hiding behind their Section 230 immunity, I’ve decided that Google doesn’t get to look at my every purchase, newsletter and interest to make money by targeting ads at me.

I have started to view these lockstep platform bans as cartel behavior. Certain practices in the restraint of trade are categorized as being automatically unlawful. Such practices include group boycotts of competitors, customers or distributors. Implicit cartel agreements to refuse to deal with a class of customers might be per se unlawful behavior in restraint of trade.

If it isn't per se unlawful, the fallback analysis is the "Rule of Reason." I don't specialize in antitrust (at all), but this seems like a theory that should be examined closely by organizations with some resources that are being de-platformed and de-monetized.

Martin Niemöller offered the right warning; if you stay quiet for too long, eventually nobody will be left to speak out when they come for you.

E-DISCOVERY: State-by-state resources to set you in the right direction

Quite some time ago, I covered a few e-discovery resources on this blog.  You can find that old post here.

I'm adding another to that list (additions being long overdue).  This list has an interesting collection of state-by-state links.  It might set you in the right direction if you have to deal with e-discovery in a state in which you don't normally practice:

Electronic Discovery Law Throughout the United States

PRODUCT SUGGESTION: Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Once again I find myself apologizing for the hiatus in blogging. I've been in depositions all over the place, dealing with massive document productions, and writing to the point of stupor. I've decided to add an additional topic that I've flirted with on this blog in the past. Specifically, I am going to mention (in short posts) some technology products that have made my life easier in different ways or are of notable quality (I'm not going to try to do comprehensive product reviews - plenty of people do that online). Some products will be nothing more than a $10 accessory, and some will be like this one, a full computer.

The product:  The Surface Pro 3 from Microsoft.

The good:  The digital pen is extremely accurate.  When you couple the Surface Pro 3 with OneNote (which I am realizing is an awesome tool) and the digital pen, you get exceedingly good handwriting recognition and a great note-taking device for hearings.  Convert your written notes to text with the accurate OCR in OneNote. The device is a full PC that is very portable, attractive, and very well built.

Where to find it: Microsoft Store or other retailers

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for any positive comments about this product, and I was not asked to review this product.

The Complex Litigator is now updated under the hood

I'm sure you missed me immensely.  All five of you.  Between the demands of work and some under the hood adjustments, I haven't had an opportunity to post anything since September.  I am pleased (or just relieved) to report that I have moved safely to SquareSpace hosting platform 7 without any major glitches thus far.  I took the opportunity to fiddle with site design to make things ever so slightly cleaner to look at and easier to read.  I may do more in the design area, but, for now, the plumbing overhaul is done.

Oh, and there are some cases begging for some special attention.  I will take care of that forthwith.

Tech Tip: Office 365 server connectivity

If you just moved to Office 365, but use Outlook on premises, or if you just bought a new computer that will run Outlook and connect to Office 365, this quick tip might be for you.  If things work during initial setup, but you lose connectivity later and can't get it back, IPv6 may be the culprit.  Office 365 does not play nicely with some IPv6 implementations (depends on the ISP, apparently).

In Network Connections, right click and choose Properties.  On the dialog that opens, scroll down in the protocols list and look for check marks by both IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4) and IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6).  Uncheck IPv6 and see if Outlook instantly connects.  Hope this saves a few people from migraines.  Note: you can find Network Connections by right-clicking the windows icon in the lower left corner of your screen in Windows 8.1.  I think you can also find it by hitting the start button in Windows 7, but it's been a while since I had a Windows 7 machine.