Tag Archives: Microsoft

Windows 10 breaks computers

Why I use Linux, part 3,332,468: A consumer organization is calling for Microsoft to compensate people for the hardware damage caused by upgrades to Windows 10.

Microsoft needs to pay compensation to customers who have suffered after upgrading to its latest operating system, consumer watchdog Which? has urged. Since the US technology firm pushed out the new software last year, it has been flooded with complaints. Customers who moved to Windows 10 experienced a slew of issues, including printers, webcams, wifi cards and speakers no longer working with their PC. Instances of lost files and email accounts no longer syncing, and, most significantly, computer encountering such significant issues customers had to pay someone to repair it were not uncommon, Which? has reported.

The consumer group surveyed views on the upgrade from over 5,500 members in June this year. Of the 2,500 users who had been upgraded to Windows 10 from an older version of Windows, more than one in ten ended up rolling back to their previous version of the operating system.

More reasons why I don’t use Windows

A close look at Microsoft’s track record in rolling out Windows 10 suggests the company “blatently disregards user choice and privacy.”

After describing the numerous horror stories of how Microsoft forced Windows 10 updates on people against their will, there was this:

The trouble with Windows 10 doesn’t end with forcing users to download the operating system. Windows 10 sends an unprecedented amount of usage data back to Microsoft, particularly if users opt in to “personalize” the software using the OS assistant called Cortana. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of data sent back: location data, text input, voice input, touch input, webpages you visit, and telemetry data regarding your general usage of your computer, including which programs you run and for how long.

You do have to opt-in to Cortana, but even if you don’t, your privacy is still not secure:

And while users can disable some of these settings, it is not a guarantee that your computer will stop talking to Microsoft’s servers. A significant issue is the telemetry data the company receives. While Microsoft insists that it aggregates and anonymizes this data, it hasn’t explained just how it does so. Microsoft also won’t say how long this data is retained, instead providing only general timeframes. Worse yet, unless you’re an enterprise user, no matter what, you have to share at least some of this telemetry data with Microsoft and there’s no way to opt-out of it. [emphasis in original]

It is once again time for people to consider alternatives. Here again are the links to James Stephens’ series on Behind the Black for Getting and Installing Linux:

France: Windows 10 collects “excessive personal data”

Why I use Linux, part 3,443,4021: The French government has accused Microsoft of gathering “excessive personal data” from Windows 10 users, while also not insuring good security.

They have ordered Microsoft to comply with French privacy laws within three months.

Microsoft gives people another reason to dump Windows

Why I use Linux: In its effort to convince users of earlier versions of Windows to upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft is now inserting a full screen pop-up upgrade notification, often at decidedly unwanted moments.

The Redmond software giant confirmed today it will start showing dark blue screens urging people to install the latest version of Windows. The full-screen ads will pop up on Windows 7 and 8.1 desktops from now until July 30, when the free upgrade period ends.

Why I use Linux, part 3,453,333

A woman has won $10,000 in damages from Microsoft for its attempt to upgrade her computers to Windows 10, without her permission.

I suppose one could argue that this is a reason to keep Windows, as you’d have a chance to win a jackpot from them in court. I prefer to be able to do the work I want to do, without harrassment.

Why I won’t use Windows

A remote wildlife project in central Africa has been significantly hampered by the unwanted Windows 10 forced upgrades.

The Chinko Project manages roughly 17,600 square kilometres (6,795 square miles) of rainforest and savannah in the east of the CAR, near the border with South Sudan. Money is tight, and so is internet bandwidth. So the staff was more than a little displeased when one of the donated laptops the team uses began upgrading to Windows 10 automatically, pulling in gigabytes of data over a radio link.

And it’s not just bandwidth bills they have to worry about. “If a forced upgrade happened and crashed our PCs while in the middle of coordinating rangers under fire from armed militarized poachers, blood could literally be on Microsoft’s hands,” said one member of the team. “I just came here recently to act as their pilot but have IT skills as well. The guy who set these PCs up didn’t know how to prevent it, or set a metered connection. I am completely livid.”

As I’ve noted before, I have been using Linux for ten years. Though there have been some areas of annoyance (no software is perfect), I have not found myself limited in what I need to do, in any important matter. If you’ve got a spare older computer that you’re not using right now, install Linux on it and play with it. You will soon find that it does everything a Windows machine does, without the crap.

Why I use Linux, part 2

Microsoft has changed its options so that Windows users will no longer be able to refuse an upgrade to Windows 10.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 nagware campaign has entered a new phase, with all options to evade or escape an upgrade finally blocked.

Recently, Microsoft’s policy had been to throw up a dialogue box asking you whether you wanted to install Windows 10. If you clicked the red “X” to close the box – the tried-and-tested way to make dialogue boxes vanish without agreeing to do anything – Microsoft began taking that as permission for the upgrade to go ahead.

Now Microsoft is changing gears. It has eliminated the option to re-schedule a chosen upgrade time once you’ve confirmed it while also removing the red “X” close option from the screen.

The moral dishonesty here is vile, to put it mildly. Microsoft is enforcing these upgrades by offering a series of sneaky bait-and-switch options that are intentionally designed to fool the user into doing something the user doesn’t want to do. And the company is doing this while still claiming that it isn’t forcing anything on anyone.

When you find yourself dealing with a lying snake-oil salesman, you only have yourself to blame if you continue that relationship and get screwed.

Microsoft and Facebook to lay Atlantic cable

Microsoft and Facebook have announced plans to lay a trans-Atlantic communications cable from Virginia to Spain.

Running from Virginia Beach, Virgina to Bilbao, Spain, MAREA (which is Spanish for “tide”), it will be the first cable to connect the US to southern Europe, over a distance of 6,600 km (4,100 miles). From Blibao, it will connect to network hubs in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, with the goal of improving speed and reliability. For Microsoft this means improvements for users of its cloud services, such as Bing, Office 365, Skype, Xbox Live, and Microsoft Azure, while for Facebook it means improvements for users of its eponymous social network.

I find this story very puzzling. The whole reason communication satellites exist is because they have historically been far cheaper to build and launch with far greater capacity than ocean cables. Thus, the decision of these companies to go with an undersea cable instead of satellites suggests that something has changed in that equation, though I can’t see what. Have undersea cables improved so much that they have a bigger capacity than satellites, so much bigger that it compensates for the higher cost of installation and maintenance?

The death of the double click

The death of the double click.

The story includes some nice history behind the invention of the GUI.

Interestingly, I could probably count on one hand the times I have double-clicked on a computer, since I rarely use the mouse at all. Instead, I have found it is far faster to use the keyboard to access commands, files, programs, etc.

For Some Entrepreneurs, Moon Is Money

Software engineers to the Moon!

Crazy? Absolutely! Impossible? Probably not! There are a growing number of people who believe that with federal funding for our space program getting scarce, the future lies in private-public partnerships. Entrepreneur Elon Musk’s third job (after leading electric car company Tesla and acting as the Chairman of solar installer SolarCity) is heading up SpaceX, which was the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a rocketship. Virgin’s Richard Branson has a similar private space venture.