All posts by PCH3lp

5 Ways That Chromebooks Are Better Than Windows Laptops

Despite all the growth they’ve made in the last few years, Chromebooks still get a bad rap or are often thought of as “just a browser.” That couldn’t be further from the truth, especially now. In fact, there are several ways that Chromebooks are actually better than Windows laptops for many users.

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Grammarly launches new features to improve your business writing

Grammarly, the popular spelling and grammar checker, is launching a few new features for its paying users today that go beyond some of its traditional tools to help its users make their overall writing not just technically correct but also more legible. That means the service can now help you restructure sentences for clarity, help you improve your formatting to make your sentences more readable (mostly through suggesting bulleted lists) and suggest changes to your tone.

In addition, Grammarly is also getting a UI update with a new floating sidebar that lets you see all of the service’s suggestions in an easier to read format.

Grammarly’s Nicholas Stanford recently walked me through some of the new features. The main idea here, he noted, is to help writers put the reader at the center. That’s not something that comes naturally to a lot of writers, but that’s essential if you want to get your point across.

Image Credits: Grammarly

“For most people in the world, most of the writing they do — and certainly most of the important writing they do — is actually at work,” he noted. “And these aren’t necessarily people that are professional writers but more regular office workers writing emails, writing marketing pitches and reports. And it turns out that a lot of people feel uncomfortable with writing. It’s difficult. It’s difficult to be understood. It’s difficult to get your message across. How many times have you received a quick little email and thought: is this person upset at me?”

Based on Grammarly’s own research, 75% of its users are afraid of being misunderstood. Yet, after the pandemic started and people began working from home, writing only became a more important part of their jobs.

Today’s updates to Grammarly’s writing assistant are largely based on the company’s AI smarts, though some remain mostly rule-based, too. On the AI side, the service’s new tools for rewriting systems may be the most interesting ones. Typically, tools like Grammarly have focused on the word level — and maybe a bit beyond that for stock phrases. Now, this tool can look at a convoluted sentence and suggest rewrites to make the sentence more readable, for example. Over time, Stanford said, the plan is to make this tool even smarter so that it can understand context across paragraphs, too.

Image Credits: Grammarly

“It’s currently just at the sentence level. We’re trying to start expanding it beyond that, because you’re very limited if you don’t see beyond that what the larger context is,” he explained. The challenge here for a system like this, after all, is not just to suggest a basic rewrite or to break a long sentence into two, but to ensure that the sentence still has the same meaning in the larger context. To enable that, the team built a second system that runs in the background to ensure that the new sentence doesn’t suddenly have a completely different meaning.

As for improved readability, the focus here is mostly on making documents more skimmable by suggesting bullet points instead of long lists in a sentence. The tool can also detect dates and deadlines and bold them to make sure they stand out.

Tone detection is something Grammarly has done for a while. Now, however, the system will not just point out what a document sounds like but provide suggestions for improving it.

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How to Change Your Home Page in Mozilla Firefox

By default, Mozilla Firefox opens with a special page called “Firefox Home,” but you might prefer a different web page. If you want Firefox to open up a custom home page instead, follow these simple steps.

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Galaxy Tab Active 3 revealed with tablet feature we thought lost to time

Samsung today announced the Galaxy Tab Active 3, and this new tablet is notable for more reasons than one. As the name suggests, the Galaxy Tab Active 3 is made to be used in the field with a rugged construction and MIL-STD-810H certification. The tablet even ships with a protective cover that can “withstand drops of up to 1.5 meters,” … Continue reading

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Healthcare giant UHS hit by ransomware attack, sources say


Universal Health Services, one of the largest healthcare providers in the U.S., has been hit by a ransomware attack.

The attack hit UHS systems early on Sunday morning, according to two people with direct knowledge of the incident, locking computers and phone systems at several UHS facilities across the country, including in California and Florida.

One of the people said the computer screens changed with text that referenced the “shadow universe,” consistent with the Ryuk ransomware. “Everyone was told to turn off all the computers and not to turn them on again,” the person said. “We were told it will be days before the computers are up again.”

It’s not immediately known what impact the ransomware attack is having on patient care, or how widespread the issue is.

A spokesperson for UHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

An executive who oversees cybersecurity at another U.S. hospital system, who asked not to be named as they were not authorized to speak to the press, told TechCrunch that patient medical data is “likely safe” as UHS relies on Cerner, a healthcare technology company, to handle its patients’ electronic health records.

UHS has 400 hospitals and healthcare facilities in the U.S. and the U.K., and serves millions of patients each year.

The Ryuk ransomware is linked to a Russian cybercrime group, known as Wizard Spider, according to security firm Crowdstrike. Ryuk’s operators are known to go “big game hunting” and have previously targeted large organizations, including shipping giant Pitney Bowes and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Some ransomware operators said earlier this year that they would not attack health organizations and hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Ryuk’s operators did not.

Last week, police in Germany launched a homicide investigation after the death of a woman, who was diverted to another hospital following a ransomware attack.

We’ll have more on the UHS incident as we get it.

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