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Windows 8 - Deeper Impressions


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#4226
jaclaz

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Yep, and:

Try to read the string xmlset_roodkcableoj28840ybtide backwards …. it appears as “Edit by 04882 joel backdoor“, very cool.

 

 

http://securityaffai...k-backdoor.html

 

and ;):

@OSVDB: Hey @DLink. Have an engineer named 'Joel'? Fire him.

 

 

OT (cannot really say if meaning off or on topic :unsure:) some news on US government IT:

http://arstechnica.c...-hard-so-often/

A lot of pure bull§hit in the article, like the crazy idea that somehow Vista :ph34r: or 7 are actually better than XP (and even than Server 2003) and that 50ish guys should be better replaced by kids :w00t:, but interesting on the "state of the art", particularly about the new EE mail system the government uses now.

 

In this snippet:

The bottom line is that federal IT programs' success is measured by things that have nothing to do with how successful they are or by the metrics most of the world uses. While the business world (and Web companies in particular) now monitor user experience and productivity as a metric for IT success, the government keeps throwing out numbers that mask the truth: the only people who would use their systems are the ones that are forced to.

 

you can replace "federal IT" with "Windows 8" or "Surface" and "government" with "Microsoft" without losing any accuracy.

 

jaclaz


Edited by jaclaz, 14 October 2013 - 05:23 AM.



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#4227
CharlotteTheHarlot

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Microsoft Says Surface RT Branding Confused Customers ( Maximum PC 2013-10-14 )

More on that story from the other day, this time at MPC. I love the first two comments: "I wasn't confused by the branding personally. I saw it for what it was, the worst of both worlds between a tablet, and a full OS slate.". :thumbup: And part of the other comment: "wait, you're telling me that MS realizes that people were confused over the fact that RT was different than non RT... so to solve the problem they're removing the "RT"? Does anyone else see the irony in this? There's going to be even more confusion now...". Spot on.


IE11 and Bing team up to pre-render web pages in search results ( NeoWin 2013-10-14 )
 

In a blog post, Microsoft discussed the inclusion of a new pre-render tag in IE11 that will enable the web page at the top of a Bing search result list to be automatically downloaded and rendered in the background. Microsoft says this pre-rendering technology has been designed so as not to waste bandwidth or a device's battery life.

Microsoft says, "Because half of people click on the first result on the search results page, pre-rendering that page is an important addition in our quest to improve the overall task completion time."

 
:thumbdown: nah nah nah. You should have been honest and said: "Because half of people click on the first result on the search results page, pre-rendering that page will be useful one haf of the time. The other half? Oh well. Wasted processing. Wasted power. Wasted time."
 
The only reason I even mention this is because of the rationalization for destroying Windows, particularly the aesthetics like Aero Glass, for alleged power savings ( even if you don't have a battery in your wall-plugged PC! ). This is the second time now we have seen Bing spending all that saved power and CPU cycles thanks to Windows 8. Wasting power is just fine whenever they say it is. MicroHypocrisy at its finest.

And what about bandwidth. And local storage. Did they really just admit to 'background download to local storage'. :blink:  That adds wasted bandwidth and wasted disk space to the hypocrisy. And one more thing ... Let's hope that first search result isn't something dangerous! What if you search for "FBI Ransom Virus". Sounds to me like the authors of poison webpages only need to jack up their Google/Bing rank to make result #1 and get a free ride to the local hard drive, no clicking necessary.


Windows 8.1 Guide: Customizing the Start screen ( NeoWin 2013-10-14 )

Blah blah blah. They used to have this thing called Themes you know. Kind of a rolled-up collection of many different customizations of all manner of GUI elements. One click and multiple items are altered, another click and they are altered again, or reverted back to the original. But re-inventing the wheel is apparently in vogue these days, even when they re-invented nothing at all ...
 

lYuGJ3d.jpg updated


... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...


#4228
CharlotteTheHarlot

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Microsoft's Joe Belfiore: Lack of key apps still a problem for Windows Phone ( NeoWin 2013-10-14 )

Err no, sorry Joe, but it's much, much more than that. I wonder just how long this guy can keep repeating the exact same excuse to the Board before they start laughing at him ( BTW, I'm sure he is a nice guy, nothing personal meant at all, but I have this picture of him walking into a Board meeting every quarter for three or four years now and saying the same thing over and over again! ).

Anywho, as incredible as it sounds, Android has somehow become the new Windows, at least with phones, so far. How did that happen? Android is the flexible OS. It is the ubiquitous OS with many apps. It is the customizable OS with the least limitations. It even most resembles the tried-and-true desktop which the world has used for two decades. Of the other two, iOS is most locked-down with lots of apps but the most, uh, consistent interface which has now been flattened into a 2D pastel teenage girl theme. The other one, WP, has, tiles. Squares and rectangles. Lots of them. Woohoo.

If ten years ago we were asked which interface would be most flexible and user customizable in the future: Apple, Google or Microsoft? Everyone would have said Microsoft Windows, regardless of form factor or device. Sadly it was not to be. These jokers in WP ( and later Metro ) first cynically appropriated the "Windows" name hoping to capitalize on the hard-fought reputation and translating it into sales. Not content with just mis-using the name they also decided all that freedom of user customization was some weird mistake and set about killing it with a committee designed Playskool interface. However the customers saw right through this huge scam like Superman with X-Ray vision and have relegated NuMicrosoft to laughingstock status by every metric available.


Lots of Windows Phone fans want a Back button for Windows Phone 8.1 ( NeoWin 2013-10-13 )

Another story from yesterday. Man, some people are just stubbornly resistant to change. ;-)


Microsoft releases special Walking Dead TV commercial for Windows ( NeoWin 2013-10-14 )

Dead OS walking? I've said for a long time that this Windows 8.1 Blew thingie is just a do-over. A Mulligan. A cynical repeat of last year with a few little tweaks to stuff that no-one ever asked for while ignoring the huge issues that we pounded into their thick skulls for well over two years.

So now they are also repeating the strategy from earlier this spring. It's now October, but six months ago was April when the Walking Dead TV series ran their earlier half of the season ( umm Redmond, this marketing didn't work the first time ). Doubly bad idea because the first episode this week kinda sucked anyway ( IMHO ). But since we're doing it all over again, here's a graphic I made in April ...

 

fcx2E45.jpg


... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...


#4229
CharlotteTheHarlot

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Security and Miscellaneous News ...

Google's new ad policy protest has folks swapping profile photos for Eric Schmidt's ( NeoWin 2013-10-13 )

That is a great idea! :thumbup: But don't forget Page and Brin. Might as well throw in Zuckerberg. And Mayer, Gates and Ballmer too. Better yet, use photos of their children. And if anyone thinks that would be crossing some dangerous line, then make them answer a simple question: What are they afraid of?


Google Adding Photos, Comments, Names of Users in Ads ( Tom's Hardware 2013-10-14 )
 

If Facebook's new search policy wasn't bad enough to swallow, news of Google's new revision to its terms of service policy may cause you to turn off the Wi-Fi, disconnect the Ethernet and pull out a book. The search engine giant, following Facebook's lead in the advertising landscape, has decided that you should star in advertisements that your friends might see. Will you get paid? Of course not.

Beginning November 11, advertisements will begin showing Google user's profile pictures, names and comments shared on Google Plus. These ads will be visible in Search, Google Maps and Google Play, but will not affect those without Google Plus accounts, and those who use Google without signing in. The company said it's making this personalized ad move because recommendations from people you know "can really help".

 
Despite that story above from yesterday about a revolt of people using Schmidt's photo, they proceed anyway. And they have the nerve to tell us it's for our own good too! Yep, humanity is most definitely doomed.


Canadian government wants to unbundle television channels, offer a la carte programming ( TechSpot 2013-10-14 )
 

The Canadian government will soon require cable and satellite providers to unbundle channel packages and offer them a la carte. During a recent television appearance, Canadas Industry Minister James Moore said it wasnt right that Canadians have to pay for bundled television channels they dont watch. He went on to say they want to unbundle television channels and allow residents to pick and pay for the specific channels they want.

 
As long as the cable companies don't turn this into a net gain for themselves it would be great. If they use this to jack up rates so that the sum total price of all the channels you get now added up individually do NOT exceed the current bill, then all would be peachy. Even a penny more in price for them added a la carte means they are milking this.

This will never occur here in the States though. The problem is not really the cable companies at all, it is the god-forsaken network content-providers, the vampire mega-companies that own dozens of channels and bundle them for sale to cable and satellite operators ( at ransom sometimes, witness the recent CBS scam with Time-Warner ), with no way to break them up. They do this because they know their oddball channels and foreign language only channels, and home shopping channels would never be picked up and transmitted by the cable/satcos.

This is a tough one for sure. On one hand we want channels to stand or fall on their own merit rather than be propped up by bundling. But on the other, we may now see deal-making between the networks and cable/satcos to pick up this-or-that channel for some nefarious deal. ~sigh~ The only answer I can think of is to limit every company to owning just one channel. Goodbye Viacom. Sell all but one network. :thumbup:

... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...


#4230
CharlotteTheHarlot

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The Competition and Gaming ...

DICE Talks About Steam Machines, Linux Gaming ( Tom's Hardware 2013-10-14 )
 

DICE creative director Lars Gustavsson told Polygon on Saturday that one single "killer" game is all the Linux platform needs to explode its way into mainstream gaming. He pointed to Halo and how it helped make the original Xbox highly competitive despite Microsoft's "rookie" status in the console market. Thus, even though Linux is easily accessible, the platform still needs its own flagship game to really motivate player interest.

[...]

He said that the studio "strongly" wants to get into Linux, and that Valve's SteamOS and the Steam Machines initiative will be good for the console market because these products will explore new, possibly better ways of consuming games than the current Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo method.

 
More at the link, at the link. One commenter brings up a point about a Media Center, which I hadn't thought about. If Valve makes this a top priority it might go a long way to firing up interest since Microsoft took a giant dump on Windows Media Center ( and let's not forget the DVD codec issue ). A Media Center would be a potential killer app, especially since this thing ( SteamOS, SteamBox, Controller ) targets the big screen by design.


Cross-platform play between PC and Xbox One makes a lot of sense, says Microsoft exec ( PC Gamer 2013-10-14 )

Bad title unfortunately . There is no real discussion of cross-platform "play" from the Softie. Just game "saves" really. Microsoft is as interested in cross-platform gameplay between Xbox and PS as they are in Xbox and the PC. Zero. Zilch. Nada. There is way too much risk that someone on a PS or a PC will blow away the Xbox player and the reputation for the Xbox as frag-bait console would grow rapidly.


AMD's Mantle API not compatible with the Xbox One ( TechSpot 2013-10-14 )
 

Many people assumed that, aside from optimizing the performance of PC games on AMD hardware through low-level 'metal' GPU access, Mantle would allow game developers an easy way to co-develop for PC and next-gen consoles.

However this isn't quite the case as it turns out. Microsoft confirmed through a blog post that Mantle is not compatible with the Xbox One, despite the similar graphics architecture found in its custom-built AMD Jaguar APU. Instead, the console solely relies on Direct3D 11.x - not too surprising considering it's a Microsoft-developed API - with specific enhancements designed for "close to metal" performance on the system.

 
Man, the hits just keep on coming. I'm actually starting to feel sorry for the old girl ( Microsoft ). :lol:

... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...


#4231
Formfiller

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Security and Privacy ...

Skype under investigation in Luxembourg over link to NSA ( UK Guardian 2013-10-11 )

Skype under investigation over NSA links ( NeoWin 2013-10-11 )



Eric King, the head of research at human rights group Privacy International, says Skype users should no longer trust the voIP service.

"The only people who lose are users. Skype promoted itself as a fantastic tool for secure communications around the world, but quickly caved to government pressure and can no longer be trusted to protect user privacy."

 
The EU is on the job now and Microsoft is no doubt tucking away a few pennies to cover their next fine. To Microsoft it's a business expense. To Brussels, it's operating income. To me, it reminds of local counties and towns over here that have ticket quotas that the cops set out to collect, and the elected bureaucrats ring the cash register accordingly. Nothing of substance will likely come out of this, but one can hope.

 

 

Nothing of substance will likely come out of this, but one can hope.

 

Pretty pessimistic, no?

 

I am certain that the EU will be able to strike a deal with MS just like they are able to do with the NSA:

 

https://www.bof.nl/2...p-use-of-prism/

 

Today reveals that also the Dutch intelligence services make use of PRISM, the controversial US intelligence program that was exposed by the newspaper.

 

“We are shocked to learn that the Dutch intelligence services have access to the same digital dragnet that the US government has secretly deployed against millions of innocent civilians,” says Simone Halink, surveillance expert at Bits of Freedom. “We need to know exactly what is happening here and we want the Minister to put an end to this eavesdropping scandal as soon as possible.”

 

In the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, an anonymous source from within the Dutch intelligence services spoke up about the unlimited access that they have to the data of civilians and entrerprises. Although this access should be limited by internal procedures, it now appears that these services can pull information from the US program PRISM with merely one push of the button. Such unlimited and international access gives the Dutch intelligence services a whole range of extra interception possibilities in circumvention of the applicable law.

 

 

I am pretty sure the EU will get the same user-data from MS-Skype as the US does (the threath of a billion bollar fine keeps the data flowing). And everyone will be happy.



#4232
JorgeA

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Facebook starts making profiles visible in search, removes option to opt-out ( NeoWin 2013-10-12 )
 

In a lengthy post, Facebook has outlined that many of its users faced issues while finding people whom they knew personally but had disabled search listing which led to a broken search experience. Users are advised to control what they post and set up post visibility in order to maintain privacy once these changes are completely rolled out globally.

 
Ah, they're going ahead whole-hog regardless of the criticism. IMHO here's why ... I guarantee that Facebook is as up to its neck in spook collaboration as Microsoft. Just look for which companies seem the most stubborn in their paths, making the most daring and egregious moves to expand their kingdoms. Acting like nobody can touch them, like they've got nothing to lose. That's Microsoft and Facebook in a nutshell ( and perhaps Google next ). The reason IMHO is that they have tacit assurances from the government that they won't be impeded as long as they cooperate. Facebook seems to have a minimum base of about a billion sheeple despite all the privacy concerns and recent articles. They're okay with that as their bottom line, and will proceed without any fear of blowback against their business. To the Feds, a billion sheeple is essentially 1 out of every 7th person on Earth, the spooks can do the math and consequently will give a wink and nod to anything Facebook does going forward. Stay the hell out of Facebook is all I can say.

[emphasis addded]

 

Might not be a bad idea to add Facebook to the Hosts file, so that it can't track you all through the Internet.

 

Now if only we could do the same thing with the NSA's servers...

 

--JorgeA



#4233
JorgeA

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Microsoft reveals planned updates to its Fresh Paint apps ( NeoWin 2013-10-10 )
 

HCiSFj9.jpg
( original photo from theappchamp )


Somebody help me out here, isn't that GUI the literal definition of skeuomorphism? :yes: Strangely enough that word doesn't appear in the comments anywhere. I wonder why. Juvenile hypocritical children.

 

 

That's exactly what I was thinking ("hey, isn't that skeuomorphism?") before I scrolled down to see what you wrote!! :thumbup

 

--JorgeA



#4234
JorgeA

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Thought this belonged here
 
Back door found in D-Link routers


D-secret is D-logon string allowing access to everything

LOL

Reverse Engineering a D-Link Backdoor

 

 

A flaw, or a feature? At this point I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the NSA or some similar agency had a hand in this, too.



#4235
JorgeA

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IE11 and Bing team up to pre-render web pages in search results ( NeoWin 2013-10-14 )
 


In a blog post, Microsoft discussed the inclusion of a new pre-render tag in IE11 that will enable the web page at the top of a Bing search result list to be automatically downloaded and rendered in the background. Microsoft says this pre-rendering technology has been designed so as not to waste bandwidth or a device's battery life.

Microsoft says, "Because half of people click on the first result on the search results page, pre-rendering that page is an important addition in our quest to improve the overall task completion time."

 
:thumbdown: nah nah nah. You should have been honest and said: "Because half of people click on the first result on the search results page, pre-rendering that page will be useful one haf of the time. The other half? Oh well. Wasted processing. Wasted power. Wasted time."
 
The only reason I even mention this is because of the rationalization for destroying Windows, particularly the aesthetics like Aero Glass, for alleged power savings ( even if you don't have a battery in your wall-plugged PC! ). This is the second time now we have seen Bing spending all that saved power and CPU cycles thanks to Windows 8. Wasting power is just fine whenever they say it is. MicroHypocrisy at its finest.

And what about bandwidth. And local storage. Did they really just admit to 'background download to local storage'. :blink:  That adds wasted bandwidth and wasted disk space to the hypocrisy. And one more thing ... Let's hope that first search result isn't something dangerous! What if you search for "FBI Ransom Virus". Sounds to me like the authors of poison webpages only need to jack up their Google/Bing rank to make result #1 and get a free ride to the local hard drive, no clicking necessary.

 

As long as there's a way to turn off that feature (and unless they keep burying the command in increasingly arcane places, as with JavaScript in Firefox), then I'm OK with this.

 

Good to find out in the comments section that Chrome already does this pre-rendering. Talk about a waste of bandwidth and power.

 

--JorgeA



#4236
CharlotteTheHarlot

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Buying an Xbox One Console Requires Waiving Right to Class Action Suits ( Maximum PC 2013-10-15 )


Among the list of requirements to use the Xbox One, gamers must waive their right to participate in a class action lawsuit against Microsoft.

[...]

In this case, Microsoft may have been influenced by the so-called Red Ring of Death (RRoD) that affected several early Xbox 360 models. Should something similar happen with the Xbox One, gamers would have to sue Microsoft individually rather than in a class action suit.

According to Paul A. Herman, an attorney and consumer advocacy expert, the matter is "completely objectionable," IBTimes reports. Herman said clauses like the one Microsoft is using gives them a "totally stacked deck" that makes it easy to screw customers.

"Arguments can be made that would not even be considered evidence in a real court of law," Herman told IBTimes. "If they pick the arbitration company, it's easy to skew the judgment in their favor."

 
The Xbox saga continues. This one is certainly no surprise to anyone here ( it's been part of every EULA update this cycle starting with Windows itself ) but I'll bet it will get the attention of some lazy console kids. It's really doubtful that the RROD issue is behind this. They are just trying to set precedents en route to becoming a "services" company. At the end of the day when everything is subscription and all products resemble Apple toys they will not want to be bothered with petty things like consumer criticism and legal action. They will want to just receive your money as quickly and painless as possible with no backtalk, thank you very much. This is Microsoft devolving down to the lowest common denominator.


Editorial: Please, give Apple a break ( NeoWin 2013-10-15 )

Well you can just imagine how this article is going over with the NeoKids. It's quite a 'TardFest. There's way too much comedic material to cover, but a couple of comments just for fun ...
 

Windows Phone is considered a failure after having more market share in 3 year than MacOS/OS X in 30+.

 
Hard to believe they still parrot this meaningless factoid, but believing this apparently is the only way they can sleep at night. The truth? Apple does not even sell their Mac OS to anybody, nor do they license it to OEMs, and they do not have a corporate edition sold to huge companies. So right there, all of the markets that Windows fully utilizes are not even touched by Apple. They were never competitors in the same market until Surface came along. Ironically that gives them an easy way to actually do a true apples-to-apples comparison! And that means comparing Microsoft tablets vs Apple tablets since the OS in each case is distributed identically. What was that number again? Oh yeah, 2013 Q2 saw 300,000 Surfaces versus 14.6 million iPads. So Apple's iOS is actually wiping the floor with Windows when compared properly. No wonder the fanboys keep making that bogus comparison, even though it's like counting Samsung's refrigerator or washing machine firmware marketshare ( which of course matches the number of units sold ). The last thing these fanboys would want to see is Mac OS released into the same channels as Windows, especially now.
 

Windows Phone is considered a failure after having more market share in 3 year than MacOS/OS X in 30+.

What can I say? They make schtuff for tech wanna-be hipsters. If you love being told what to do, then by all means, buy an Apple device. If you'd like more freedom from the hand-holding, and the reality distortion fields, Apple is not the company to buy from. There's no innovation there, Mac OSX and iOS development is relatively static. The UX has remained essentially the same since their incarnation. But yet, somehow, we're supposed to believe this is amazing?

Also, there is something to be said about the egos of Apple users, but that's left for another day.

 
Yes, that was Dot MetroTard himself, the single most brainwashed fanboy on planet Earth, ironically talking about "hand-holding" and "reality distortion fields". No truer case of a MacTard-in-training can be found. The child is begging Microsoft to bend him over with every breath but still musters enough hypocrisy to project his cognitive dissonance against Apple. It's quite a feat of mental gymnastics.
 

Windows and Windows Phone are the perfect operating system. They're a middle ground between the Walled Garden (Apple), and trash-infested, third party all the things, run down city center (Android).

 
Completely beyond help. Rationalizations galore. For some reason I keep thinking of Sam in Supernatural who had a wall constructed in his brain to keep his damaged soul in check, and "Death" warned him not to scratch at it or else it might crack leading to a mental break. The only difference is Microsoft constructed his wall and it's holding back reality, logic and rational thought. I am watching for signs of the inevitable, though it seems to be holding up, even for now. But the next set of Surface versus iPad numbers might just do it.
 
EDIT: typo


Edited by CharlotteTheHarlot, 17 October 2013 - 10:21 AM.

... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...


#4237
CharlotteTheHarlot

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How to Recover Your Lavabit Emails ( Tom's Hardware 2013-10-15 )
 

Users will first have to go to a new Lavabit page, https://liberty.lavabit.com, to change their Lavabit passwords.

The new page reminds users that, as revealed in recently declassified court documents, the FBI forced Lavabit owner Ladar Levison to turn over the keys to the site's Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption, which is what protected all Web traffic going to and from the site.

Using the SSL keys, the FBI could see the unencrypted metadata of Lavabit email messages, which essentially meant that Lavabit could no longer be a secure email provider.

 
That deserves to be repeated. So one guy who the Feds want to nail uses a service and that somehow merits demanding the keys for everyone. Nothing makes it clearer that our "system" is broken beyond repair. This kind of precedent is most dangerous and is simple to scale up to include anything and everything. Meanwhile over at fanboys sites, they defend Microsoft to the death for collaborating with the spooks with Skype and Windows citing a variation of the Nuremberg defense, they were doing only what they were ordered to do by a national security letter. Now what will they say if Snowden used SpyDrive to store files? How would the MicroZealots feel if they demanded all the keys for everybody?


Some D-Link Routers Have Backdoor Vulnerability ( Tom's Hardware 2013-10-15 )
 

Heffner discovered that if a browser's user agent string is set to "xmlset_roodkcableoj28840ybtide," hackers can gain access to these routers if connected to the network via Ethernet or wireless, or if the router's configuration page is publicly accessible. When reversed and the numbers removed, this string actually reads "edit by joel backdoor" as if the "backdoor" in the routers' firmware was intentionally placed.

"My guess is that the developers realized that some programs/services needed to be able to change the device's settings automatically," Heffner writes. "Realizing that the web server already had all the code to change these settings, they decided to just send requests to the web server whenever they needed to change something."

 
( Mentioned above by Rick and Jaclaz ) I found that bold part to be wildly off the mark. All routers I see have uPnP ability, as does Windows since at least XP, and this is the actual way it is done in the real world. So that excuse does not hold water IMHO. Universal PnP effectively undermines LAN security as a matter standard operating procedure. This user agent string backdoor undermines it further, moving these routers from "somewhat secureable" to "completely insecureable". It has to be one of the dumbest ideas ever released into general circulation.

 

EDIT: spacing


Edited by CharlotteTheHarlot, 16 October 2013 - 06:12 AM.

... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...


#4238
Tripredacus

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I pretty much wrote off that D-Link news when I read it on twitter over the weekend. For a couple of reasons:

 

1. D-Link routers are bargain basement products. You get what you pay for.

2. D-Link routers work like crap with base firmware. Anyone who has a brain and buys one of these would put DD-WRT on it.

3. The default setting for the admin page being public is DISABLED.

 

So there ya go. :ph34r:


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#4239
JorgeA

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In a discussion of the sales and prospects for Surface and Windows RT with Leo Laporte and Paul Thurrott, Mary Jo Foley (who knows more than most about Microsoft's plans) issues a grim forecast for the future of the Windows Desktop.

 

Discussion begins around 3:50. Quote starts at about 9:15:

 

MJF: The Deskop's not going away in the near term. But Microsoft's goal is to get everyone to write Metro-style apps, and ultimately at some point they want the Desktop to go away. And so their bet for that is Windows RT -- that's kind of like the platform where they're testing that ground, how is that going to work -- it's where they really can control all the inputs. I think this is going to stick around, for sure.

[emphasis added]

 

This is not a surprise to us of course -- our deductive powers are considerable -- but it's significant to have our suspicioins pretty much confirmed by someone so familiar with the inner workings of the company.

 

If she's right, then we need to either start getting used to Tiles, or start thinking about an alternative OS that's better suited to our needs and preferences. :angrym:

 

--JorgeA

 



#4240
JorgeA

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More security/privacy news:

 

Top sites (and maybe the NSA) track users with “device fingerprinting”

 

The research, by a team of scientists in Europe, is among the first to expose the real-world practice of "device fingerprinting," a process that collects the screen size, list of available fonts, software versions, and other properties of the visitor's computer or smartphone to create a profile that is often unique to that machine. The researchers scanned select pages of the top 10,000 websites as ranked by Alexa and found that 145 of them deployed code based on Adobe's Flash Player that fingerprinted users surreptitiously. When they expanded their survey to the top one million sites, they found 404 that used JavaScript-based fingerprinting. The researchers said the figures should be taken as the lower bounds since their crawlers weren't able to access pages behind CAPTHCAs and other types of Web forms. Mainstream awareness of fingerprinting first surfaced three years ago following the release of research from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

 

[...]

 

More troubling, device fingerprinting may have given the National Security Agency and its counterparts around the world an avenue to identify people using the Tor privacy service. As disclosed in an installment of previously secret NSA documents published last week by The Guardian, the spy agency is capable of injecting script redirections into the traffic of Tor users. Slide 16 of an NSA presentation titled Tor Stinks included the excerpt: "Goal: ... Ignore user-agents from Torbutton or Improve browser fingerprinting? Using javascript instead of Flash?"

 

Down in the comments, the following website is offered as a way to check yourself for uniqueness: https://panopticlick.eff.org/. Although I have to wonder how only 1 out of every 3.5 million PCs could possibly have the same system fonts as my PC, given that I haven't installed any new fonts on it and it has whatever standard list of fonts came with it. (I did read the FAQ explanation, and I still don't get it.)

 

One data bit that serves as both irony and a warning is the following:

 

Anonymizer.com, in sharp contrast, ran largely the same fingerprinting scripts on its homepage without making any mention that it was compiling a list of fonts and plug-ins that could be used to identify an end user's computer.

 

If I understand this technique correctly, then one way to combat it would be to try hiding in the crowd by using the most common settings and features possible. Buy a vanilla PC and use IE as your browser.

 

 

Another take on this story about fingerprinting:

 

Websites use device fingerprinting for secret tracking

 

Of course device fingerprinting does have legitimate security-related uses including fraud detection and protection against account hijacking. But this study suggests it's also being used for analytics and marketing purposes via fingerprinting scripts which are hidden in seemingly innocuous advertising banners and web widgets.

In order to detect websites which are using device fingerprinting technologies, the researchers have developed a tool called FPDetective. This crawls and analyses sites looking for suspicious scripts. This tool and its source code will be made freely available for other researchers to use and build on, so we can expect to see fingerprinting detection appearing in security products in the future.

 

 

* * * * *

 

Two of our favorite companies are getting in on the fun (we'd already reported this for Google):

 

Microsoft, Google working on super cookies to track your activity on every device

 

Once the unique ID of your smartphone, laptop, TV, and game console has been linked to a central point, it becomes very easy to track your usage behavior. Microsoft (or Google or Apple or Facebook) will know what time of day you wake up (when you first check your phone), the route you take to work (via GPS), where you work (GPS), your job description (via your searches), and when you get home, the games you play and TV you watch.

 

A good argument for never getting a Microsoft or Google account. Or a smartphone, let alone one with GPS on it.

 

--JorgeA


Edited by JorgeA, 16 October 2013 - 11:01 AM.


#4241
TELVM

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MJF: ...  they want the Desktop to go away ...

If she's right, then we need to either start getting used to Tiles, or start thinking about an alternative OS that's better suited to our needs and preferences. :angrym:

 

--JorgeA

 

Well I refuse to use operating systems for ignoramuses, on general principle.

 

Being realistic, all available evidence indicates that Se7en is the last real Windows, and the last useable OS from Microsoft. Thus considering alternatives is a necessity for me.

 

 

I'd like very much if the think-tank of vast-knowledged people in this thread could enlighten the audience about alternatives, for the benefit of plain common long-time Windows users like here your servant. I'm beginning to feel like an orphan in need of a new home.


Edited by TELVM, 17 October 2013 - 11:27 AM.


#4242
Tripredacus

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Well I refuse to use operating systems for simpletons, on general principle.

 

Emphasis mine. Of course as time goes on, Windows is changed to protect people from themselves because Microsoft has no care to properly educate people. We had a discussion about this before, about why the UAC exists. No, I'd say that Windows 2000 would be the last "real" Windows. One could argue that XP would be so instead, but the building blocks were already in place when it would complain about not having anti-virus installed.


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#4243
JorgeA

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I'd like very much if the think-tank of vast-knowledged people in this thread could enlighten the audience about alternatives, for the benefit of plain common long-time Windows users like here your servant. I'm beginning to feel like an orphan in need of a new home.

 

The alternatives I'm looking at are some flavors of Linux, mainly Netrunner and Zorin OS. Zorin was my early favorite as the UI is specifically designed to ease the transition from Windows to Linux, but the most recent version has taken on the Win8 look :rolleyes: so it's fallen behind, in my book. Netrunner (so far, anyway) is visually stunning IMHO.

 

--JorgeA



#4244
JorgeA

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Well I refuse to use operating systems for simpletons, on general principle.

 

Emphasis mine. Of course as time goes on, Windows is changed to protect people from themselves because Microsoft has no care to properly educate people. We had a discussion about this before, about why the UAC exists. No, I'd say that Windows 2000 would be the last "real" Windows. One could argue that XP would be so instead, but the building blocks were already in place when it would complain about not having anti-virus installed.

 

 

I took what TELVM said to mean in terms of the interface (flat and tiles vs. 3D and windows), but your point is something that had never occurred to me. Thought-provoking.

 

--JorgeA



#4245
CharlotteTheHarlot

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MJF: ...  they want the Desktop to go away ...


If she's right, then we need to either start getting used to Tiles, or start thinking about an alternative OS that's better suited to our needs and preferences. :angrym:
 
--JorgeA

 

 
Well I refuse to use operating systems for retards, on general principle.
 
Being realistic, all available evidence indicates that Se7en is the last real Windows, and the last non-retarded OS from Microsoft. Thus considering alternatives is a necessity for me.
 
 
I'd like very much if the think-tank of vast-knowledged people in this thread could enlighten the audience about alternatives, for the benefit of plain common long-time Windows users like here your servant. I'm beginning to feel like an orphan in need of a new home.

 

 
Well we don't know what is going to be happening to hardware in the future, like if motherboards somehow go away or get locked-down or severely limited in availability. Or if CPU growth stays dead at 3.9 GHz. Maybe they get even more SoC ( kinda has been with Intel each cycle recently ). Hardware is easily the wildest variable and one can imagine any number of crazy things.
 
Any existing operating system would be reasonably functional on new hardware if at least the chipset driver INFs were updated. I have said that "flipping" either Intel or AMD to say 'screw Microsoft' and provide chipset drivers for XP for new releases would result in the other company quickly following suit. That is probably the most fruitful line of attack. Besides, it's crazy for them to write drivers and INFs for Vista or 8 when XP has a larger base than them combined times three.
 
Of course hanging on to old computers is a very productive plan too. I have working systems back to 1996 here and now, and would even have older ones if I had more room. Definitely collect and save anything from Core2 forward, about six or seven years old. They are very useful and people should be grabbing them en route to the dump. Bag 'em and tag em'. They should work fine out past 2020 and even beyond. Naturally it pays to collect CPUs ( lots of great deals ) and hard drives too. And video cards. And Windows discs. Whipping together PC's is easy, and fun. And possibly also very wise because by changing out all the parts just might keep the possibility of unique ident through hardware fingerprint minimized. ( BTW, I can't wait to see what happens next spring to XP activation servers, this should be extremely interesting if you change stuff and trigger WPA and the server doesn't respond. This was argued years ago and Microsoft avoided answering directly IIRC. If they pull a sleazy move letting XP systems die from WPA they will have a riot and possibly a legal fiasco on their hands).
 
There are lots of unknowns though and lots of other ways to proceed. Maybe the whole VM thing will be much different. VMware might be superseded by something even better and easier and faster. Or if Intel ever gets their enthusiast act together and we see chips 5x or 10x as fast, running XP ( because of pre-9/11 ) or 7 in a thoroughly secure VM that leaks no information on a 20 GHz computer would even be more pleasant to use than today.

I expect by that point, 10 years tops, that Windows itself will have collapsed like Blackberry seems to have now, and Android or some later variation of Linux will be ubiquitous on all form factors. Android is already coming to the desktop, and Microsoft will soon have to make a choice. Will they use their x86 expertise and make a workstation OS to keep that market or will they keep playing in the children's sandbox where they will lose every single time? Will Android or other operating systems target x86 chips? Will Intel and AMD even keep making x86? It's all unknown and all unimaginable really. And we have Microsoft to blame. They decided to launch a frontal assault at Russia in Winter ( mobile market ) and are leaving their flank undefended ( x86 ). They will lose on both fronts with their current strategy.

So I'd say at least stockpile computers and parts. And software. That stuff is yours to do with as you wish. Yes they plan to change that and will try to shame everyone into going subscription services on anemic toys where you own nothing. Ignore the naysayers and enablers just begging for big brother and 1984. Screw the lot of 'em. In fact take advantage of their ignorance and relieve them of their big bulky desktops when they toss them due to peer pressure.

We've seen this in so many fields, the consumerization-commercialization that ruins something. It has happened steadily in music with a rapid decent, a race to the bottom in the 80's, the 90's, 2000's. We watched it happen but also noticed that the classic stuff not only survives, but thrives. The Stones and many others are still touring while so much crap from the 90's and beyond is already collecting dust. Even in the studio and onstage we saw equipment evolve and devolve to electronic crap but hardcore Marshalls and many other tube amps, effects and guitars from 30-50 years ago are priceless.

While everybody can make a mis-step, no-one is more expert at it than Microsoft. If they made cars they would cancel the Mustangs, Corvettes, Ferraris, Lambos and Carreras and make only economical flat Chevy Chevettes. If they made guitar amps they would have chucked out the massive selling 100-watt tube lines and went to electronic mini-techno-gadgets. If they were a record label, they would have fired The Beatles and Stones and Iron Maiden and Dream Theater ( and everyone else ) just keeping Madonna and Miley Cyrus. They are the Justin Bieber of operating systems now. The solution is to ridicule them and make them suffer and expedite their fail. Or just wait it out because what goes around comes around.

 

EDIT: typo


Edited by CharlotteTheHarlot, 17 October 2013 - 10:27 AM.

... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...


#4246
CharlotteTheHarlot

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Samsung Galaxy S4 edges iPhone 5 in sales despite slump ( NeoWin 2013-10-16 )

NeoWin coverage of a report of Top 10 phone sellers via Counterpoint.

Man, they must have spent a while writing that article at NeoWin to carefully avoiding any mention of Windows Phone at all. Notice the careful wording sidestepping the facts in every way when all they had to do was print this ...

Top 10 models sold Globally in August 2013

01 Samsung Galaxy S4 International version
02 Apple iPhone 5-16GB
03 Apple iPhone 5-32GB
04 Nokia Asha 501
05 Samsung Galaxy Note II
06 Samsung Galaxy S III mini
07 Samsung Galaxy S III
08 Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini I9190
09 Nokia Asha 205
10 Nokia 105


There is no Windows Phone to be found in there, including all three Nokias. Note that Counterpoint has some kind of paywall to block the actual article statistics, this is some kind of extract. So where Windows Phone shows up we'll never know unless someone leaks the data. Is it in the Top 15? Top 25?


Review: Windows 8.1 ( NeoWin 2013-10-16 )
 
Blah blah blah. Service Pack 1 aka Windows 8.1 Blew is here ( not to mention a inexplicable kernel bump from 6.2 to 6.3 ). In a rare moment of honesty the most infamous NeoWin editor states a truth about this service pack ...

The Start button is simply a toggle to open up the Modern UI, nothing more. Right mouse clicking the Start button pulls up a context menu but is still well short of the Start menu that Windows has utilized for the past couple of decades.

 
But the rest of it is pure MicroFluff, intent on convincing ignorant readers that this thing is anything but a minor service pack. Ah well. I hope they are ready for the backlash.

Naturally the comments veer off into the philosophical, with one adult describing this ridiculous mobile GUI on large screens, with screencaps ...
 

..... Metro apps run in full screen or in split mode defeats the purpose of Windows, which is the ability to multitask. Further, it's absurd to criticise the taskbar for wasting too much space while defending Metro - just compare Mail (or any other Metro email app) to Outlook and tell me which has more wasted space and which has better functionality. A lot of the time Metro apps simply scale to the available screen size, leaving up to two-thirds of the display blank.

This is what XE.com looks like:  http://img13.imagesh...3/3669/z1c7.jpg
This is what Random Password Generator looks like:  http://img818.images...18/255/ucfu.jpg
This is what Calculator looks like:  http://img18.imagesh...8/7986/somk.jpg
This is what Travel looks like:  http://img607.images...7/2290/xpls.jpg

 
However, even that cannot penetrate the religious zealotry that drives sycophantic MicroZealots and MetroTards ...
 

Well you only have yourself to blame. Everyone who opts out of customer experience improvement program loses a voice in the next development cycle.

Change the aggregate telemetry data by contributing and you'll see the product sway in your favor.

 
Hear that? Sign away your privacy to buy influence. Could Microsoft or any other company ask for more ripe fruit to pick as customers? And I expect he truly believes they would really consider telemetry that defeats their cynical business plans.  :no:

There's a good little sheep. Now bleat for me ...
 

KNurZgf.jpg

( original photo from here )



... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...


#4247
CharlotteTheHarlot

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Rumor: Next big Windows update coming in spring 2015 ( NeoWin 2013-10-16 )

Ha! Who really believes that they will sit on this for another year and a half? There are so many variables now that nothing is certain. When this Service Pack fails to do anything except excite the fanboys, and then a possible external hire for CEO has a look at the real books and sees the sales figures they have been hiding and analyzes the cost benefit against outlays, well anything might happen.

And another comment from a typical MetroTard trying to convince an adult that he's not using his screen real estate properly ...
 

A bigger surface area is better for both touch and a mouse. It's really because you've just gotten use to navigating small UI elements via a mouse. Look at first time PC users. It takes some time for many to get use to navigating a mouse as opposed to watching people, more noticeably children, intuitively understand swipe gesture with their hands. There's nothing special about a start menu.

 
That's the latest meme too! They are saying 'what good is all that space if you don't use it?' Naturally that theory doesn't come up when talking about RAM or disk space though. Or CPU utilization. In fact, maybe they should start telling us the RAM hogging CPU killing antivirus programs are fantastic because all those resources would be going to waste otherwise. Kids these days.

The fact that he cannot even fathom what multitasking is, and the utility of a collapsible Start Menu over the childish Playskool splat-everything-on-screen approach, well, it illustrates what we are up against. If these 'Tards were listened to by Triumph and Harley-Davidson, motorcycles would come with training wheels. Note, I said "would come with training wheels" NOT "would have training wheels optionally available". That is really the dominant characteristic of MetroTards which is directly comparable to children. Up until their teenage years ( if you're lucky, else it might be mid-twenties ) they have no real moral system, no empathy, in short its narcissism that burns away with age and experience. But Microsoft has chosen to cater to this small subset of the armpit of their user base. And that is how they have lost their Mojo.


Chrome for Windows XP to Receive Support Until 2015 ( Tom's Hardware 2013-10-16 )

Chrome to support Windows XP until April 2015, one year after Microsoft ends XP support ( NeoWin 2013-10-16 )

Basically they're saying no worries, you'll keep getting your automatic updates for another year and a half ( if you're into that kinda thing, I'm not ).

Now just imagine if at that point XP is still the number two operating system, and Windows 8.1 and 8.0 and Vista are three, four and five respectively. Then you will have two surreal situations at the same time ...

{1} A company discontinuing "sales" of its product to the 2nd largest field of available customers. That would be like gasoline or tires not being sold for Fords but only GM's, as well as minor players like Dodge, Audi, Lamborghini ...

{2} A company discontinuing "sales" of a product that it already developed and needs no new design changes since the platform, XP, is undergoing no such changes. Yeah, they make it sound like it costs money to "develop" for an old OS but that's a load of horsesh!t. That development was done long ago, and this end of the cycle is the sweet spot, all gain and no pain. It is what companies live for. It's the profit end of the product life-cycle.

Yep, so that's the inexplicable world of planned obsolescence that Microsoft has pioneered. It has taken the thousands of years old concept of supply and demand and twisted it into a pretzel.


Interview: We chat with the creator of StartIsBack+ ( NeoWin 2013-10-16 )
 

There are quite a few of Start menu programs for Windows 8 to choose from but as Microsoft gets ready to launch Windows 8.1 later this week, many of those programs are now getting updates. One of them is StartIsBack, which recently released a new version, StartIsBack+, with a number of new features. Neowin got the main developer of the program, Tihiy, to talk about StartIsBack+, his reactions to Windows 8.1 and more

 
Decent interview but as expected NeoWin didn't demonstrate enough integrity to put a link to Tihiy's site or to here at MSFN. :thumbdown Jorge, you may want to add this to the Start Menu thread!

... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...


#4248
CharlotteTheHarlot

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Xbox One won't support real names for online users at launch ( NeoWin 2013-10-17 )
 

The use of nicknames on online gaming services such as Xbox Live has been the norm ever since they started, and many online gamers prefer to use their nicknames in order to protect their privacy. However, there's been a movement to use real names in online services such as Facebook and Twitter and Microsoft seems like they are still planning to offer that option for Xbox One gamers at some point in the future.

 
That sounds like another Xbox backtrack to me. They intended to do away with gamers' anonymous nicks and move towards real names. But now that is on hold. Regardless, the sheeple better wake up. There are moves afoot everywhere to hijack the personal computer space. And Microsoft is knee-deep in it.


NSA chief Keith Alexander expected to resign ( NeoWin 2013-10-17 )
 

Embattled National Security Agency (NSA) General Keith Alexander is expected to resign next year, ending his eight years in the top position.

According to U.S officials speaking anonymously, Alexander has formalised plans to leave early 2014. Reuters reports his civilian deputy John Chris Inglis is also expected to retire by the years end.

The Army Generals position was previously rocked by Edward Snowdens leaks that revealed the huge extent of NSAs spying capabilities, causing a backlash from the public.

 
~sigh~ That's the old tried-and-true Washington two-step. Happens all the time. They get a high-profile lightning-rod to resign, hoping he will take a large chunk of the controversy with him, and thus short-circuiting the public discontent and disapproval ratings. Rarely works out according to plan though, except maybe in the media outlets who trump it up to no end. If the discontent is real, it won't make a difference.

And it's kind of like what Microsoft is doing in many ways, especially the fraudulent Start Button which will receive lots of press from people not knowing what they are talking about ( Start Button returns! From where? The beta?! ). But the press will not be able to save the government this time, even if they wanted to. Nor will the tech press likely be able to lie convincingly enough about the Start Button to save Microsoft. People will rightly see this fraudulent button as a kick in their teeth.

... Let him who hath understanding reckon the Number Of The Beast ...


#4249
JorgeA

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A couple of cyberprivacy-promoting ideas out there:

 

Researcher argues for open hardware to defend against NSA spying

 

While there is no foolproof defense against government spying, snooping by entities like the National Security Agency could be made far more difficult through the use of Internet infrastructure built on open-source hardware, an academic researcher says.

In an Op-Ed piece published Tuesday in The New York Times, Eli Dourado, a research fellow at George Mason University, argued that companies using open hardware would be in a better position to detect backdoors or vulnerabilities planted by the NSA or any other government agency.

 

 

Lavabit’s Founder Has An Idea: Make His Code Open Source

 

Tightly encrypted data was among Lavabit’s selling points, so Mr. Levison said he’s considering publicizing the code that made it work to allow other developers to build their own secure email services. He isn’t interested in running the service on his own because he doesn’t think it could stay secure in the U.S.

Releasing that code, on the other hand, would allow other entrepreneurs to build “10,000 Lavabits” on their own, Mr. Levison said in an interview Wednesday. Opening the software up to developers would also allow him to build a business providing technical support for their services, a business for which he’s now seeking investors. But a resurrection of the old Lavabit looks unlikely.

 

--JorgeA

 



#4250
JorgeA

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Additional security news:

 

Judge: Google’s Tracking Not Harmful

 

Ridiculous -- so you have to wait 'til Google (and therefore the NSA) know everything about you, such that they can enforce a single-party state by threatening to embarrass all potential opposition by disclosing private information, before you can "prove" harm? Gimme a f******g break.

 

 

Microsoft security guru: Abusing data should be a felony

 

No comment, this is just too rich. Just one quote, though:

 

One technique Microsoft has been taking for about two decades to keep its friends close and potential enemies closer is to share its Windows source code with other nations' governments and their intelligence agencies, figuring these governments use its technology so they would have an interest in protecting it.

[emphasis added]

 

--JorgeA

 

 






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