Windows 10 Fall Creators Update – new and deprecated features

Some of the new features that are installed with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (version 1709 or build 16299) include:

  • Mixed Reality Viewer app
  • Ability to highlight or add notes to e-books in Microsoft Edge browser
  • Ability to dictate an email or message instead of typing it by pressing Windows key + H key
  • Add emojis by pressing Windows key + period key (.)
  • Windows Controlled Folder access can protect folders from viruses and ransomware.  Select Windows Key -> Settings -> Update and Security -> Windows Defender- > Open Windows Defender Security Center -> Virus & threat protection -> Virus & threat protection settings -> Controlled folder access (set to On) -> Protected folders.
  • Android phone support (Windows key -> Settings -> Phone

A list of added features can be found at

Some features that were removed or deprecated include:

Deprecated Windows 10 Fall Creators Update features are found at

Apple lowers battery replacement price for iPhone 6 and higher

Apple noted that recent iOS updates caused a slowdown in older iPhone performance, but stated this was required to prevent random phone shutdowns caused by an older battery.

Apple responded to the public feedback on the battery controversy by releasing this statement.  Apple also lowered the price to replace an iPhone 6 and higher battery from $79 to $29 worldwide through December 2018.  Apple iPhone technical support can be requested at or by calling (800) MY–IPHONE (800–694–7466)AppleCare plan status and eligibility may be checked by entering the device serial number at

Apple online support for all of its products may be found at

Third-party or DIY iPhone repairs will void your warranty if not authorized by Apple.  However, website iFixit has no affiliation with Apple but maintains iPhone repair instructions and sells DIY battery replacement kits for various iPhone models.

Visual Studio 2017 version 15.5 and Visual Studio for Mac 7.3 released

Microsoft announced the release of both Visual Studio 2017 version 15.5 and Visual Studio for Mac 7.3 on December 4th 2017.  Complete release notes for Visual Studio 2017 15.5 and Visual Studio for Mac 7.3 were also made available.

Visual Studio Community is a free version designed for students, open-source and individual developers.  Microsoft has created a comparison list of the differences between this version, Visual Studio Professional, and Visual Studio Enterprise.

The Visual Studio Subscriptions Portal at allows you to manage your Visual Studio subscription, including product keys, tools, and support.

Visual Studio for Mac can be customized by selecting the Visual Studio Preferences menu.

Microsoft will release new OLE DB Driver for SQL Server in 2018

Microsoft reversed its prior decision to deprecate OLE DB Provider for SQL Server after determining that customer data scenarios would be adversely affected. A new version is also planned to be released in the first quarter of 2018. More information is available at

VIN History Reports and Vehicle Recalls

Thousands of cars were damaged or destroyed by the September 2017 U.S. hurricanes.  Vehicle history reports for a replacement vehicle’s VIN (17 character Vehicle Identification Number) should be reviewed before purchase.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that hundreds of thousands of vehicles are sold each year with mileage odometer readings fraudulently rolled back.  This fraud can sometimes be detected by reading the vehicle history reports over time.  Vehicles older than 10 years may be exempt from odometer tampering laws.    CarFax offers a free online tool to check if odometer fraud was reported.

Some of the free and paid sites available to verify vehicle history and check recalls include:

Vehicle buyers may also check VIN data at their local state’s Department of Motor Vehicles site.