Interesting story up on The Register about a business customer suing MS for sharing its data with Facebook app developers, partners and subcontractors in violation of its own privacy policies.
The allegations are:
- Microsoft shares its business customers’ data with Facebook and other third parties, without its business customers’ consent
- Microsoft shares its business customers’ data with third-party developers, without its business customers’ consent
- Microsoft shares its business customers’ data with hundreds of subcontractors when sharing is not needed to provide the services, and without requiring the subcontractors to keep the data private and secure
- Microsoft uses its business customers’ data to develop and sell new products and services—and otherwise benefit itself
I suspect Microsoft have shielded the use of Office 365 in sufficient legalese to dismiss this lawsuit.
"Windows 10 continues to gain traction in the enterprise as the most secure and productive operating system. It empowers people with AI-first interfaces ranging from voice-activated commands through Cortana, inking, immersive 3D content storytelling, and mixed reality experiences. Windows also plays a critical role in fueling our cloud business and Microsoft 365 strategy, and it powers the growing range of devices on the “intelligent edge.” Our ambition for Windows 10 monetization opportunities includes gaming, services, subscriptions, and search advertising."
So says Microsoft's annual report: https://www.microsoft.com/investor/reports/ar19/index.html
That horrible new Bing integration in Windows 10 Search is just the beginning.
There are lots of reported incidents on the Pixel reddit group at the moment regarding the back of the device lifting off, mostly likely due to the battery swelling. Rather than address the actual cause, Google are simply palming customers off with a refurbished device that subsequently develops the same fault, much like the Microsoft Surface Laptop customers who have experienced spontaneous screen cracking in the replacement laptop they received in response to the screen spontaneously cracking in the laptop they originally purchased. It would appear the strategy of Google and Microsoft to faults in their highly priced flagship consumer hardware is the very budget "grudgingly agree to replace affected devices until the customer is out of the warranty period, after which the customer can get bent".
Also in the comments was this gem, supposedly from a UBreakiFix employee:
"Current UBIF employee here! If you're looking at buying a Pixel 4 XL... Don't. Just don't. It has so many recurring issues that I can't speak on because because of contracts, but it's a trainwreck. I’m posting this from an alt just to be careful, but we try to keep 3-4 Pixel 4XL motherboards of each storage capacity because of the number of issues that require a motherboard replacement. They’re constantly giving us updates talking about changes they’re making to parts to try and remedy these problems, but a few of the issues are on their 3rd or 4th iteration. Don't get the P4XL."
If you're still after a Pixel, the same employee recommends the 3a/3aXL:
"For some reason, it seems like most of the flagships tend to have a lot of hardware issues, while the midrange phones don’t have near as many. The Pixel 3a(XL) never really comes in for anything other than shattered screens."
Skype has had ads in it for years hasn't it?
"In two years there is only ARM hardware and in 4 Intel will be ancient memory. The ecosystem will have rolled over. And Mac will be the ultimate developer PC."
Looks like Microsoft are again engaging in deceptive behavior designed to trick less aware Windows users into making Edge their default browser, similar to the 'free' upgrade to Windows 10 shenanigans, including:
- no option to exit the full screen ad/setup process for the browser after it installs itself other than by using the task manager
- unsetting your default browser
- slurping your Firefox or Chrome data without your permission
Discussion here: https://old.reddit.com/r/Windows10/comments/hct0mj/are_we_going_to_get_treated_to_spam_popups/
There is a lot of support for the Brave browser on this site but it's worth noting that its entire business model is considered #problematic by many in the tech press. The latest example of its questionable ethics is rewriting URLs that have been entered by the user to include its own affiliate code:
For those not aware, Microsoft sends all your desktop start menu search queries to their servers (because privacy). In Windows 10 20.04 there is no obvious way to opt out of this in the UI and the old registry-setting tweak to disable web search no longer works.
One way that does appear to work is to block the Windows Search app at the firewall level as illustrated in the following screenshot:
If anyone finds a better approach, please let me know.
A Dublin professor has released a paper on web browser privacy. Edge is singled out for using hardware identifiers in requests and unnecessarily sharing entered URLs with Microsoft:
"From a privacy perspective Microsoft Edge and Yandex are qualitatively different from the other browsers studied. Both send persistent identifiers than can be used to link requests (and associated IP address/location) to back end servers. Edge also sends the hardware UUID of the device to Microsoft and Yandex similarly transmits a hashed hardware identifier to back end servers. As far as we can tell this behaviour cannot be disabled by users. In addition to the search auto-complete functionality that shares details of web pages visited, both transmit web page information to servers that appear unrelated to search auto-complete"
Maybe it's an error but according to the Steam hardware stats page at https://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/directx/ Windows 7 usage jumped 14.5% in December at the expense of Windows 10. That's a significant change, if correct.
So apparently when setting up Windows 10 the option to create a local account is no longer available if an internet connection has been detected. You have to physically disconnect from the internet if you do not want a Microsoft account. Awesome.
The latest Windows 10 cumulative update borks searching and causes cortana to use a large amount of CPU in the background (hitting the Windows key and starting to type presents an empty grey box and finds nothing). The issue was apparently raised by Insiders but Microsoft have released it anyway. I encountered this on the weekend and had to roll the update back. Hopefully Microsoft pull it before it is pushed out to a wider audience and not just those unlucky sods like me who unwisely chose to 'check for updates'.
Looks like Edge may be sending full URLs and system identifier back to the mothership: https://mobile.twitter.com/scriptjunkie1/status/1152280517972299777
Google are going ahead with the Chromium changes they proposed earlier in the year to cripple adblockers because they’re in the advertising business and not the ‘let’s keep the nerds happy’ business. Enterprise customers excluded.
Seems the 1903 upgrade issues have begun:
Is there any technical reason why the words in my posts have to be automatically hyphenated at line endings instead of just appearing on the next line? It makes posts harder to read and there is no visual indication that it is going to occur until after the post is created!
It has been possible for more than a year to block all autoplaying videos in firefox, with and without sound, via a single setting using the about:config URL but with recent versions of firefox, other settings have been introduced. With the release of firefox 66, the new settings to change are:
media.autoplay.default = 1 (i.e. block for all sites by default)
media.autoplay.allow-muted = false (i.e. block video without sound as well)
They seem determined not to offer the 'block everything' option in the UI.