New federal law allows you to freeze your credit reports for free

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that Americans nationwide can now freeze their credit reports for free.  This was made possible because of a new federal law made effective on September 21st 2018.

More information about credit freezes is at FTC also requires that credit reporting agencies give consumers a free credit report once a year at

You may also set up a security freeze at ChexSystems to prevent the opening of unauthorized bank accounts.  The National Consumer Telecom and Utilities Exchange (NCTUE) will allow you to set up a security freeze as well.  Innovis is another credit agency that also allows freezes.

Excel XLSX files and Word DOCX files are Zip files of XML data

Microsoft Office programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint create files in Open XML formats by default.   The file extensions for OpenXML format include XLSX (Excel), DOCX (Word), and PPTX (PowerPoint).

Files with names that end with “.xlsx” ,”.docx” or “.pptx” can be renamed to “.zip”.  These ZIP files can be uncompressed to reveal multiple files and folders.

Information on how to read the contents of the Open XML format for Microsoft Office may be found at

Apple announces release of new iPhone series and other products

On September 12th 2018, Apple announced the upcoming release of iPhone XS and iPhone XR series smartphones with Super Retina display, as well as the new Apple Watch Series 4.  iPhone XS and Apple Watch series 4 will be available on September 21 and iPhone XR will be in stores on October 26th.

The Apple Watch Series 4 Health app can monitor your heart rate, and also includes Fall Detection and Emergency SOS capability.   An ECG app that has output similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram will be available at a later date.  Update: the ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notification is available as of December 6th 2018.

New watchOS 5 features include walkie-talkie functionality and listening to podcasts.

iOS 12 for iPhone and iPad will be available for download by September 17th.  The iOS 12 new features list includes a Measure app that can automatically detect dimensions of rectangular objects.   Apple Books is the replacement for iBooks and allows you to read downloaded books and listen to audiobooks.

Devices that support iOS 11 generally can be updated to iOS 12.  An iOS device should be backed up before installing this update.  iOS can then be installed by selecting Settings > General > Software Update.

macOS Mojave will be available on September 24th for newer MacBook, iMac, and Mac Pro computers.

Finding and locking a Windows 10 device remotely

Windows 10 Find My Device allows you to find the approximate location of your device if this option is enabled.  To turn this feature on or off, select Settings > Update & Security > Find My Device.

To lock a missing Windows 10 computer or phone, log into with your Windows account.  Select Find my Device, then click the Lock button.

Microsoft recommends removing devices that you no longer own or use from your Windows account.