Thurrott Daily: March 12

Thurrott Daily: March 12

A few tidbits from around the web.

3/12/2016 10:52:21 AM

Microsoft sneaks a Windows 10 ad into a Windows 7 security patch

Enough already. While I understand that Microsoft can be, and feels it must be, more aggressive in pushing Windows 10 on Windows 7 and 8.x users, this is getting a bit much. Now, Microsoft is adding a Windows 10 advertisement to a security patch for Windows 7. And that is a step too far.PC World reports:

In its description of update KB3146449, Microsoft says it “adds functionality to Internet Explorer 11 on some computers that lets users learn about Windows 10 or start an upgrade to Windows 10.” Or as we common folk call it, an ad.

Here’s what it does: It adds a blue banner to the Internet Explorer 11 New Tab page that says, “Microsoft recommends upgrading to Windows 10.” The kicker? KB3146449 is billed as a critical update. In other words, Microsoft has decided that a Windows 10 advertisement is critical, from a security perspective, to users of older Windows versions.

Since I’d handle this less diplomatically, let’s let PC World’s Ian Paul have the last word here:

Packaging Windows 10 upgrade prompts in a security update is a terrible idea and a breach of user trust.


Reminder: Yes, you can refuse the Windows 10 upgrade

And speaking of not wanting Windows 10, Mary Jo Foley has a timely reminder:

If you don’t want Windows 10 to install automatically on your Windows 7/8 PC or tablet, for whatever reason, here’s what to remember:

  • Check your Windows Update settings and make sure, if you have Automatic Updates/Recommended on, to set the time so any updates arrive when they are convenient and you are able to OK or deny them before they install.
  • Just say no to the EULA. If the auto-update begins, you can still stop Windows 10 from completing the install by refusing to accept the software licensing terms and conditions.
  • If you are savvy/brave enough to do registry edits, follow Microsoft’s Get Windows 10 blocking steps to cancel the nagware and the automatic update of Windows 10

Good advice.

Tim Sweeney needs to give it a rest

I’m trying hard not to write an article about Tim Sweeney and his crazy throwback opinions about the Windows 10 Store and games. But… boy, does he make it hard. After looking like a fool for his anti-Microsoft editorial in the Guardian last week, Sweeney is back, this time opining that all Microsoft has to do is make UWP (Universal Windows Platform) games/apps more like Win32.

[UWP is] certainly a departure from the Win32 precedent, in which any developer can compile a program, put it on a web site, and any user can install or run it by downloading and clicking on it.

[Microsoft should…]

  • Support installing UWP apps from any source, including the web.
  • Support installing UWP applications that are digitally signed by their developers using the same, open Certificate Authority services that are used for Win32 and the web, without requiring developers to register with Microsoft, nor programs to be submitted to Microsoft for approval or signing/DRM as current Windows 10 defaults require.
  • Allow third-party store applications to install (with the user’s acknowledgment) UWP applications, and update and uninstall UWP applications they’ve installed.
  • Not impose any restrictions on Internet connectivity of third-party applications or the ability for developers and users to engage in commerce directly outside of Microsoft’s store architecture.
  • Use Win32 “install” terminology to put all software sources on a level playing field. As long as non-Microsoft Store installation is referred to as “side-loading,” it’s hard to trust that Microsoft doesn’t view third-party software sources as second-class citizens, and their future role in the operating system as renegotiable.

Someone, please. Give him the memo that the very f’ing point of UWP is that it is not Win32. In other words, trustworthy and reliable trumps “open” (that nicely vague and meaningless term) when it comes to modern digital platforms. This is not the 1990s anymore.

“Apple’s iPhone SE to be unveiled on March 21: Everything you need to know”

It’s 2016, but the Apple circle-jerk just continues unabated. How much excitement can we really drum up about what we know to be just evolutionary updates to existing products?

“Google’s mobile research team will watch you use its products”

Whether you know it or not, yes.


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