Stop the Windows 10 madness

Microsoft has become extremely aggressive when it comes to distributing Windows 10.  I have recently received reports from several users stating that Windows 10 is attempting to install itself as part of regular updates, and stopping the process is becoming more and more difficult.  As a result, I am writing this article for anyone who wants to stop this madness once and for all.

Andrew Clarke

Manual fixes are becoming less and less effective because Microsoft keeps changing the rules.  A product called GWX Control Panel, created by Ultimate Outsider, was created to protect you from unwanted Windows 10 upgrades and notifications without disabling important operating system features.  The product:

  • Disables “Get Windows 10″ nagware
  • Prevents Windows 10 upgrades
  • Restores the Windows Update control panel if it has been hijacked
  • Locates and deletes hidden Windows 10 installation files
  • Includes a monitor mode to prevent future attempts by Microsoft to install Windows 10

For more detailed information about what GWX Control Panel does and doesn’t do, visit http://blog.ultimateoutsider.com/2015/08/using-gwx-stopper-to-permanently-remove.html.

If you want to take advantage of the features available in GWX Control Panel, use this link to download and install the program:  http://nemtinc.com/support/gwx_control_panel.exe.

  • If the “Get Windows 10″ app is running, click the button labeled “Click to Prevent ‘Get Windows 10′ App.”
  • If you don’t want Windows 10 right now, click the button labeled “Click to Prevent Windows 10 Upgrades.”
  • To remove files already downloaded, click the button labeled “Click to Delete Windows 10 Download Folders.”

Enabling Monitor Mode is optional.  It runs in the background looking for unexpected signs that Windows 10 is attempting to find a way to install itself.

The items listed above should prevent Windows 10 from unexpectedly installing.  Some buttons will not be available if they don’t apply to you.  If you want to find out the function of the other buttons, click the button labeled “Click to Display User Guide…”  In some cases, you may be able to free up additional hard disk space.  The guide also include links to YouTube videos concerning the product.

 

Stop the Windows 10 madness

 

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Posted in IT | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Auditing as a management tool

As part of our HIPAA requirements, we must do a security assessment of our systems and procedures. Audits are part of that security assessment and part of our requirements under HIPAA, but have you ever thought about using the audits as a management tool?

NEMT President Linda Allard

Often we think about doing the audits to complete the requirements and make sure we are following all the protocols, but we fail to realize that they also make an excellent management tool.  Auditing how our procedures are being followed and really looking at the results can show us amazing things if we start looking at the whole picture.

By removing the mentality of right and wrong, we can start to see if our procedures are giving us the results we want. By using the audit to help educate our employees rather than punish them, we can promote an environment of learning rather than an environment of fear.

If you take a procedure and audit 10 items, and 9 items are wrong that might be the time to reevaluate the procedure and your education process about it.  Don’t get me wrong.  I know there are non-negotiable items that must be followed and sanctioned.  However, the way we educate and explain these items is negotiable.  What if you pick an area and create a separate audit plan for it?  What if you really look at what you want achieved and see if that objective is being met?  Use these results to not only help your employees and meet your requirements but to look at your management of them and see how effective that is.

Let’s change our thoughts about audits and see if we can use the results for more than just a checkmark on a requirements list.  Let’s see them as a management tool that will help our whole team.

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Windows 10 security modifications revisited

Last year, I told you to be careful if you upgraded to Windows 10 as far as HIPAA goes.  Recently, I’ve had a few users who purchased new computers that came with Windows 10, and they forgot about the needed modifications.  For that reason, I decided to dedicate this blog to reminding everyone.

Andrew Clarke

Microsoft is not furnishing concrete information on the HIPAA compliance aspects of Windows 10.  At the same time, they are pushing upgrading at us harder than ever.  Based on my research, there are no compelling reasons to upgrade if you are running Windows 7.  You should, however, be able to work more efficiently in Windows 10 if you’re currently running Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.  That being said, I am not recommending Windows 10 if you are happy with your current operating system, and you need to make sure all your programs are compatible if you decide to upgrade.

In order to protect your private data as much as possible, the following modifications need to be made:

Click Start | Settings

Click Privacy

Under General, turn off Let apps use my advertising ID and Send Microsoft info about how I write.

Under Speech, inking, & typing, click Stop getting to know me.

Click Turn off.

Click Start | Settings

Click Network & Internet

Click Manage Wi-Fi settings

Turn off Connect to suggested open hotspots and Connect to networks shared by my contacts.

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Middle-aged drug deals: the search for antibiotics

Over the last few years, as I’ve approached 40, I’ve noticed a lot of “middle-aged drug dealing” in my extended social circle. I started paying attention after an acquaintance posted on Facebook, asking if anyone had any old antibiotics in their medicine cabinet; she had an infection that was worsening by the day and had no health insurance so she was willing to take what she could get.

Tara Courtland

Communications Director Tara Courtland

Not long after that, I got a text message from a friend whose antidepressant prescription was about to expire. She asked if I knew anyone on the same prescription who could lend her some pills for a week — she couldn’t afford the time off work to see her doctor any sooner.

Then there’s the friend whose husband was recently laid off. They had signed up for Obamacare, but it hadn’t kicked in yet and so when she injured her leg, she borrowed a crutch, some bandages and some prescription painkillers. Asked whether it was broken, she responded that she didn’t know — she couldn’t afford to see a doctor to find out.

We hear a lot about the problem of the uninsured using emergency rooms for comparatively minor ailments, adding to the skyrocketing national cost of healthcare. But for those trying to get ahead, a trip to the emergency room doesn’t mean free treatment but an impending avalanche of daunting medical bills, which they will spend years paying off to avoid credit problems or bankruptcy — it’s not an option they’re willing to consider.

While the number of illegal prescription searches that cross my path seems to have decreased with the advent of Obamacare, I still see it with depressing frequency. The common threads are generally money and the amount of time and determination needed to access the healthcare system. A lack of advance planning and ability to work through a complex healthcare process sometimes contribute to the problem, but the fact remains that healthcare access — even among the varying strata of the middle class, is largely divided into the Haves and the Have-Nots.

I am admittedly one of the Haves and I can’t help but cringe at the difference between the healthcare experiences of some of my peers and my own recent experience with my concierge doctor.

While on vacation over a holiday weekend, I woke up with a urinary tract infection. An 8 a.m. Sunday morning call to the doctor’s cell phone was answered immediately. I told her my symptoms and the phone number of the pharmacy a block from my hotel. She sent in the prescription before we hung up and the pills were in my hand within 20 minutes of the time I had placed the call. I don’t know whether she charged me a copay for the service or not and I have no idea how much the antibiotics cost — it didn’t matter to me at the time.

The difference in our experiences is money and that makes all the difference when one is in need of medication in a hurry.

Even with health insurance, an hourly worker faces serious roadblocks in getting to the doctor. Hours unworked are hours unpaid. The loss of several hours of income can be a hard blow for anyone living week to week and that cost is added to the $25 or $30 copay for the doctor, plus the $15-20 cost of the prescription. Those who use the free health clinics avoid the copay and much of the drug cost, but that’s small consolation when they need even more unpaid time from work due to long wait times at the clinic.

It all adds up to a situation where a person in sudden need of antibiotics would rather take their chances on someone else’s out-of-date leftovers and a person knowing their antidepressant prescription is soon to expire finds it easier to borrow pills for awhile than to get their own renewal right away.

It’s all a minor problem in the grand scheme of healthcare issues, but every time I hear of another “middle-aged-drug deal,” I am reminded strongly that while we strive for improvements, healthcare access in America is still a privilege, not a right. Until we level the playing field, it is a privilege reserved primarily for the Haves.

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Posted in News and stories, Obamacare | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Procrastinate later

How are we individually and collectively doing on our 2016 goals and to-do lists? Mid-April is a good point to check in – we’re 3 months into the 12-month cycle, so plenty of time to assess and perhaps re-adjust goals and expectations. Have we even started to lose those pounds? Have we completed that project which was meant to be done by the end of February?

NEMT CEO Linda Sullivan

As we all likely know, if there’s no deadline, the job may not get done. I believe that. Anything on a to-do list without a concrete deadline will continually fall to the bottom.

So, yes, I believe in having deadlines. I also believe that deadlines can be and sometimes should be moving targets. I have had things on my to-do list that never got done and in nearly all of those cases, it was because it should not have been done.  I’m betting most of us have had a few of those.

On the flip-side of the equation, there are those things without a deadline which are not tasks per se but rather life-changing refinements that unless we pursue them can leave us without the success (however we define it) we are seeking in our life. Catch this TED talk and see if you feel there are some things that aren’t on your list of goals that should be:

https://www.ted.com/talks/tim_urban_inside_the_mind_of_a_master_procrastinator

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