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Submission Microsoft's Attempt To Convert Users From Windows XP Backfires->

MojoKid writes: For the past few months, Microsoft has been loudly and insistently banging a drum. All support and service for Windows XP and Office 2003 shuts down on April 8 — no more security updates, no more fixes. In early February, faced with a slight uptick in users on the decrepit operating system the month before, Microsoft hit on an idea: Why not recruit tech-savvy friends and family to tell old holdouts to get off XP? The response to this earnest effort was a torrent of abuse from Windows 8 users who aren't exactly thrilled with the operating system. Microsoft has come under serious fire for some significant missteps in this process, including a total lack of actual upgrade options. What Microsoft calls an upgrade involves completely wiping the PC and reinstalling a fresh OS copy on it — or ideally, buying a new device. Microsoft has misjudged how strong its relationship is with consumers and failed to acknowledge its own shortcomings. Not providing an upgrade utility is one example — but so is the general lack of attractive upgrade prices or even the most basic understanding of why users haven't upgraded. Microsoft's right to kill XP is unquestioned, but the company appears to have no insight into why its customers continue to use the OS. The fact that it only recently made a file migration tool available is evidence that Redmond hasn't actually investigated the problem.
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Submission Lumia phones leaking private data to Microsoft->

Albietta writes: According to the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat two independent sources inside Nokia has confirmed that the Nokia Lumia phones sends private information to Nokia and Microsoft servers around the world. At least location data, SMS-messages and browser identification is uploaded. The Nokia leadership has known about the privacy violation at least since 2011 when the Lumia phones were introduced.

In the spring 2013 after suspicions of leaks and during the negotaions for selling off the mobile phone branch to Microsoft, the Finnish state communications department sent an enquiry to Nokia regarding leaking of private data asking that Nokia assure that users private data is not leaked. Nokia did not want to/or could not provide an assurance due to the delicate business negotiations. After two more enquieries with narrower demands, Nokia assured that the phone, excluding third-party software such as the operating system, did not violate Finnish privacy laws.

Microsoft is apparently also following Lumia user accounts. On one occation a finnish parents Lumia account was closed without warning when the user uploaded pictures from the phone displaying the parents own kids playing naked on the beach at their summer cottage.

The Lumia leak has also become a big concern for the finnish political leadership that to a large extent uses Lumia phones.

Original article (in finnish) at URL provided.

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Submission Why all the paid Google Ads when searching for a browser?

An anonymous reader writes: So I was installing Firefox on a new PC ... and figured a Google search for "firefox" would be the easiest/quickest way to find/download it. While the "real" Firefox is at the top of the organic search results, there are several other paid listings above and to the right. These are all worded to "look like" the right place to download Firefox ... ;)

Similar behavior is seen when searching for Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari. One minor difference when searching for Chrome is that a Google Paid ad going to the correct location is on top of the other imitators.

If you click thru to any of these advertised websites, they claim they will provide you the requested software for free ... but they'll include a "free download manager" that will offer other assorted "goodies" such as toolbars, anti-virus programs, and other "helpful" programs ... yea, right! ;)

Buying paid Google ads for what must be very commonly searched terms can not be cheap. Obviously these websites are doing it to make money by getting people to install (basically) malware on their machine. I'd argue it pretty darn deceptive to offer up a commonly used free software and include some extra "goodies" along for the ride.

On a related note, Google's philosophy says "1. Focus on the user and all else will follow" — how can serving ads to deceive the user be a good thing? And these ads are not truly relevent or providing useful information as outlined in rule #6 — "You can make money without doing evil."

Submission Microsoft Said to Cut Windows Price 70% for low cost devices

kc123 writes: Microsoft is cutting the price of Windows 8.1 by 70 percent for makers of low-cost computers and tablets as they try to fend off cheaper rivals like Google’s Chromebooks, people familiar with the program said. Manufacturers will be charged $15 to license Windows 8.1 and preinstall it on devices that retail for less than $250, instead of the usual fee of $50. The discount will apply to any products that meet the price limit, with no restrictions on the size or type of device.

Submission Fatwa forbids Muslims from traveling to Mars-> 2

PolygamousRanchKid writes: The Khaleej Times of Dubai reports that a fatwa committee has forbidden Muslims from taking a one-way trip to the Red Planet. At the moment, there is no technology available that would allow for a return trip from Mars, so it is truly a one-way ticket for the colonists, who may also become reality TV stars in the process. The committee of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment in the United Arab Emirates that issued the fatwa against such a journey doesn't have anything against space exploration,Elon Musk's Mars visions, or anything like that. Rather, the religious leaders argue that making the trip would be tantamount to committing suicide, which all religions tend to frown upon.

Professor Farooq Hamada, who presided over the committee, explained, "Protecting life against all possible dangers and keeping it safe is an issue agreed upon by all religions and is clearly stipulated in verse 4/29 of the Holy Quran: Do not kill yourselves or one another. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful." Hundreds of Saudis and other Arabs have applied to Mars One, and the committee suspects some may be interested in the trip "for escaping punishment or standing before Almighty Allah for judgment," according to the Khaleej Times.

The committee stood firm in its belief that this approach would be a waste of time and one very long trip: "This is an absolutely baseless and unacceptable belief because not even an atom falls outside the purview of Allah, the Creator of everything."

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Submission Sony's Favorite Gadget is Kinect

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Gary Marshall writes that.Microsoft's marvellous motion-sensing device is doing really good work for Sony, helping the PS4 outsell the Xbox One in the US and rocketing it to the top of the world's console sales charts. With the Xbox One $100 more expensive than the PlayStation 4, the Kinect is the explanation for the huge difference in price between the rival platforms says Marshall. "That kind of money makes a huge difference, and I wonder: if Microsoft had kept the Kinect as an optional add-on, which we all know it should be, would the Xbox One be much more attractive?" Ben Kuchera describes the peripheral as one of the most hated pieces of equipment in current use. "The system is still new, but every Xbox One owner now has a peripheral that has little reason to exist, aids their gaming in very few real ways and costs them a significant amount of money." The common defense of the Kinect is that developers wouldn't support it unless it was forced on consumers but accoding to Kuchera pushing a product on the public with the hope that it will be useful once we have it is a cruel inversion of how product adoption should be handled. "The forced pack-in proves something we already knew at the beginning of this generation: Almost no one would want to buy the Kinect separately if they were given the choice," writes Kuchera. "It's time to make the Kinect a peripheral, not a pack-in."

Submission February 11th, 2014 is The Day We Fight Back against Mass Surveillance->

An anonymous reader writes: "Today many websites are calling on their users to Fight Back against Mass Surveillance. Using a script from it calls for the people to make themselves heard by offering a direct in the browser option to sign a petition for your country from any website running the script. As you can probably see The NAAIJ is one such site. Other sites we’ve noticed in the first few hours of Feb 11th are:

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Submission EFF Launches The Day We Fight Back 2

phmadore writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation is on a holy crusade to protect the fourth amendment. No matter how you feel about the activities of the National Security Agency as revealed to us in the last several months, you should call your representatives and tell them! The campaign is called "The Day We Fight Back" and it encourages all dutiful citizens to take a few minutes to either call or e-mail their representatives to voice their opinion on the looming possibility of or already existing Big Brother we read about in 1984 as children. Personally, I chose to call, and the process was very smooth.

Comment Re:Why the dumb name (Score 2) 142

Can we stop using these ridiculous buzz words/phrases?

Internet of things? Really?

How else would you describe items that makes themself profitable by Facebook, Gooogle and the like? Would you call them people?

When people act like things, and becomes the very products sold by Big Corporations, I think the prase is accurate.

Oh.. I just realized that this tread is about the internet of crap!

Submission Big Investors want Microsoft to Ditch Surface, Xbox, and Bing->

GuitarNeophyte writes: It's the morning after Satya Nadella's first day as Microsoft's CEO. Now that the confetti has cleared, Nadella faces tough choices about the path forward for the company. Two influential Microsoft shareholders have been pushing the Redmond software giant to abandon what they view as non-essential product lines so that Microsoft can focus on its core strength: selling enterprise software to businesses. Ballmer envisioned Microsoft as a "device and services" company and reorganized the company last year to better execute that vision. But now Ballmer is out â" though still on the board â" and with a new CEO come fresh questions about the fate of consumer tech at Microsoft. Some investors have suggested that Microsoft spin off its money-losing consumer products and focus solely on the enterprise. Even the Xbox deserves to go, Paul Ghaffari, the wealth manager for Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, said last year.
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Comment Re:I don't know why people are upset with this (Score 1) 208

They actually aren't "removing" anything. They simply aren't allowing others to sell access to it.

Yes, that is the first thing that will happen, with the new laws.

But do you seriously think they will stop there? That they will not take over the domain name if they find the site sufficiently annoying? That they will not confiscate your servers if the censorship is not efficient? Remember that these slime-balls does not need to break any laws in order to put you up against a wall and shoot you, if they so desire. They will just make it law.

It always starts with censorship - making content illegal to sell. Then illegal to possess. Then comes the times when they burn the books. And then, finally, when they burn the authors.

I'm an author. Therefore, I am concerned.

Comment Re:What criteria? (Score 2) 208

Unfortunately, we may end up with censorship that cuts off anything that may offend anyone.
So in 10 years time, you will again be able to carry the entire content of the "Internet" on a 3.5" floppy-disk.

Seriously - I will make my sites available as onion-sites before new-year.

Machines have less problems. I'd like to be a machine. -- Andy Warhol