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Comment Re:So how bad it is really? (Score 1) 244

The original Ars Technica article there actually found very little troubling behaviour once the privacy settings were turned on. But yes, we should question the odd remaining instances they did find, particularly the upload with unidentified content.

Comment Re: Well, that's embarrassing (Score 1) 617

I accept the possibility of what you're saying, however I think you're being pretty presumptuous about my internal state, given that you don't know me at all.

Since the early days of Islam, our senior scholars have held that unquestioning belief is not belief. Growing up in a multi-religious environment, I questioned whether or not my religion was the right one, or even if religion at all was valid, from an early age. I concluded from a fairly lengthy process, that Islam was the correct religion. I've conversed with scholars of most major religions on this, including ardent atheists. Ironically, atheists tend to be the least willing to challenge their assumptions, and simply rest on the old "religion is based on blind faith" cudgel. As far as Islam goes, nothing could be further from the truth, despite the fact that the vast majority of Muslims alive today are unaware of the deep epistemological framework that underpins the religion, and are unaware of the fact that we are instructed, not encouraged, to ask the question: "Am I sure that Islam is the correct religion?" Without considering this question and engaging in the research and reflection required to answer it, one's adherence to the faith is considered to be deficient.

Comment Re: Well, that's embarrassing (Score 1) 617

Yes, it would have. My acceptance of the religion as true rests on my ability to verify all of the facts contained in its doctrines. To date, none have contradicted anything scientifically verifiable, even though there have been many attempts such as the clowns who wrote this article.

Comment Re:To be expected (Score 1) 244

Your bias is showing.

In many parts of the world, the majority of people don't need to use tax software or "do their taxes". For example, here in the UK many basic taxes are deducted at source and then reported and paid by the employer/merchant/bank, so many people never have to file a return at all. Those who do typically use an on-line system provided by the tax authority or work with a professional accountant who can then file on their behalf. None of these people needs to run the kind of tax software you mentioned on their own computer.

Also, your stereotypes about gamers are way out of date. For example, the ESA's 2014 report suggests that interest in entertainment software is roughly equal between the sexes.

Comment Re:How does it know (Score 1) 87

Why only Flash?

They've already gone further with Java, Silverlight, and anything else that relied on NPAPI. As of this update, these technologies will no longer work, even if they worked just fine a few months ago on some site or app you find useful and they still worked last week if you flicked a hidden option back on. Yay for mandatory updates, I guess.

Comment Re:Well, that's embarrassing (Score 2) 617

This is a joke. Full disclosure: I'm a Muslim. Nonetheless, I've read this article and it's bollocks. There are at least two major flaws that I can see:

a) Paper back then was a valuable resource, and it is highly likely that this parchment was either made and stored for several years before being used, or could have been reused.
b) Radiocarbon dating is NOT accurate to 2 years in 1400, or about 0.14% which is what they are claiming.
c) Even if we DO accept the radiocarbon dating, the date range confidence intervals overlap the historically recorded dates anyway well within one standard deviation so I don't know where all this "OMG this Koran is older" nonsense is coming from, unless some idiot journalist took the mean value and took that as, ahem, gospel.

As I said earlier, in the interests of intellectual honesty I'm disclosing the fact that I am a Muslim and that I would have to engage in significant review of my world view, were this proved correct. But as I see it, there just is nothing to this claim that warrants any time spent considering the possibility that the whole historical record to date is wrong.

Comment Re:Mainstream media reviews are baffling (Score 1) 244

It seems to me that Windows 10 moves some things forward if you have the right kinds of device to take advantage of it, but suffers from trying to treat widely differing kinds of device used for widely differing purposes as if they should all work the same way.

Incidentally, articles like this one by David Pogue are exactly the kind of thing I was mocking before, and I stand by that mockery. He summed up his own position quite neatly with this:

If you’re a PC veteran, then you’ll recognize Windows 10: It’s pretty much Windows 7, with Cortana, nicer typography, and a few new features.

Those new features seem to be at best hit-or-miss, though arguments for why he thinks they are good are rather few. He glosses over the privacy, security, stability and reliability concerns, despite these alone being reason enough for significant numbers of people not to upgrade. And he literally wrote that the best thing about it is that it's free. (So is sticking with the Windows 7 already running on my boxes, by the way.)

Comment Re:To be expected (Score 1) 244

The world is too big for personal anecdotes to be reliable in this context. None of us have a personal social circle that is a good representation of the general population in all things. That's why I was looking at industry-wide data: following the money is a neutral indicator.

Comment Re:So how bad it is really? (Score 1) 244

closed source == who knows what the heck it's doing?

Wireshark does, for a start.

The other question we should be asking in the context of Windows 10 is what it could do in the future, now that it has a mandatory update mechanism, given the various provisions as currently written in the EULA/privacy policy/etc.

Comment Re:Just bought my first Windows 10 box (Score 2, Informative) 244

Unless you're running Enterprise, it's not disabled and still spying on literally everything, including sending sound from the mic to Microsoft. I was going to list some links but I'm at work and don't have time. A little searching will show you the truth.

Perhaps you should do a little searching yourself. Perpetuating this sort of ill-informed FUD really isn't helping.

There are legitimate privacy concerns about Windows 10. There are also reasons for some of the behaviour, and settings that do turn some of the behaviour off. What we need to further this debate is facts, not hyperbole.

Comment Mainstream media reviews are baffling (Score 1) 244

I do find the positive reviews of Windows 10 in a lot of popular media slightly confusing. The pattern always seems much the same:

It's free. It's better than Windows 8. It has some new features, but you probably won't use them. (Little if any recognition of any privacy, security, reliability or stability concerns.) BEST OPERATION SYSTEM EVERZ 11/10 UPGRADE NOW LOOKS UNICORNS AND RAINBOWS!!!!11!eleven!

I can understand mainstream media not being particularly technically literate, but how does anyone qualified to write a professional review plug things like being free and not as bad as the immediate predecessor that most people never bought as solid reasons to upgrade immediately? How do they not do one Google search and at least acknowledge that there have been some serious problems in the first few weeks even if they then argue that they're teething troubles and they believe Microsoft will fix them?

I've been reassured that in the last week or two, I have at least also seen a few more balanced reviews acknowledging the problems and suggesting that it might be worth waiting to see how things go rather than installing right now. But even there, a disturbing number of professional IT reporters seem to be casually dismissing things like security or privacy risks that they don't seem to fully understand themselves or conflating important security updates with general patching and moving around of the software without questioning whether Microsoft's approach here is really in users' interests.

Comment So what *positive* things does Win10 offer? (Score 1) 244

10 is going to be big.

Why? Aside from the widely publicised problems, what actual positive things does 10 offer that previous versions didn't?

Cortana, like all the other personal assistant gadgets of recent years, seems very clever at first sight. However, I've seen little evidence so far suggesting that real users want this sort of tool or find these tools work well for them.

Edge seems to be unfinished and to have negligible adoption rates so far. This might change in time, but for now it seems to lack both the stability and reliability of IE and the flexibility and new features of Chrome or Firefox. It's not clear yet what, if anything, it will offer beyond these existing browsers to encourage users to switch.

DX12 is a gaming platform that so far has little support from either hardware or games. Again, this might change in time, but historically new versions of DX that were locked to new versions of Windows haven't been the driver for adoption that Microsoft might have hoped and in practice games have continued to support older versions of DirectX as well.

There are a few UI changes in Windows 10, but the positive comments about several of them seem closer to "this isn't as bad as Win 8" than "hey, this is actually useful". Other UI changes, such as splitting up configuration settings into lots of different places, are getting quite negative comments so far. So again, overall I don't see the UI being an advantage over other contemporary operating systems that might encourage people to switch.

So really, what is the killer feature of Windows 10 that would make a normal but well-informed user decide to install it on, say, an existing Windows 7 machine?

"Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people and that most of them seemed to come from Texas." - Ian Fleming, "Casino Royale"

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