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Microsoft

IE 5.5 Tracking Default Bookmarks 262

Paul Guinnessy writes: "Has anyone else noticed that the default bookmarks in Microsoft Explorer 5.5 do not go directly to a site such as cnn.com, but instead go via a redirection via Microsoft. I'm just a bit curious (and a bit uncomfortable) to know what they will gain in gathering this sort of personal information. " There's been a lot of slimey stuff with browsers (remember the What's Related problems not so long ago?). I guess I'm glad Mozilla is coming of age. As long as Web sites don't start doing something stupid like requiring IE... oh... wait.
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IE 5.5 Tracking Default Bookmarks

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  • Anyone paying the tiniest bit of attention, whether it be on /. or no, has seen that MS's history is chock-full of sneaky, underhanded, borg-like practices. It's hard to even figure out where to begin. Let's see, do we have to rehash the DR-DOS "error" message? The details that came out after the first trial? The MS "tax" forcing retailers to buy licenses? The Spyglass manuever that got them IE in the first place? The Halloween memo?

    And this is just the very tip of the iceberg of the shit we know about.

    Coming across what appears to be, at first glance, another MS ploy amongst the thousands that we've already seen, it's not hard to make that assumption that they're at it again. And if they appear to be at it again, it behooves /. to try to get to the details. and if there's a little backlash of any sort, it's just the Slashdaughters demanding accuracy out of /. and wanting to prove how bright they are.

    And you could have taken advantage of that by gently nudging, saying something like "Just because it's MS, don't assume the worst!" That might have prevented the next MS expose. But you went off the deep end. trying to paint MS as Apple-like and noble, which is quite frankly naive. Just a few penniless guys in their garage -- out of Harvard with rich, connected and powerful parents like the rest of us. No more dirty tricks than any other company? Pfaugghh! They tried to play dirty tricks during their own federal anti-trust trial!

    And as far as Win2000 goes, since MS-DOS 2.1, the hype always says that the next MS operating system is always supposed to be the "really good one". There are 65535 bugs that tell us to reserve granting that title to this one.

    Study history, pal, or you'd better keep good backups.
    --

  • Try this link [microsoft.com] instead? (-:
  • IE on the other hand, I've seen it take out every MS OS (including NT) on several occasions.

    But this is more of an indictment of Windows than IE. If IE ran on Linux, you'd see the same behavior as with Netscape.

    The only things I have ever seen "crash" Linux are games using the SVGAlib. Even then Linux is still running, just the console is totally fscked and you have to telnet in.

  • You can turn it off. In 5.5 (which is buggy crap and they should have stayed where they were, IMHO) you go to Tools | Options | Advanced and uncheck the Automatically Check for Internet Explorer Updates . . . etcetera etcetera. Earlier versions are similar -- they haven't rearranged the menu system that much in the last couple of releases.

  • Nah, Bill is just using this re-routing to pump up hits on M$ websites. ;-)

    What those crazy guys in Redmond won't do for a buck!

    Vote [dragonswest.com] Naked 2000
  • This is a link from a /. banner ad, and it redirects you to another site! Oh my god! Evil Andover is tracking my browsing!

    This whole thing is hardly original... everybody's darling Netscape have been doing this for years.

    This will be useful prior art for when Microsoft try to patent the idea, so let's hope they incorporate it in mozilla under the GPL.

    Of course, none of this would ever have happened if Sun had stayed out of the software business and left language development to the professionals.

  • sites are moving (or ceasing exist while new ones emerges) from time to time (some more often, som less).

    browser can be there for a long time (longer than sites).

    so to prevent broken built in bookmarks in browser it's reasonable to store redirectors in browser (URLs maintained by browser supplier which redirets you to desired functional site).

    of course, there is another question whether special bookmars supplied by browser vendor are good especialy if they have some special advantages over user's bookmarks (i.e. non removeble, better positioned, ...).

  • ...web redirects are nothing new. They can be used for a variety of legitimate features such as load balancing, randomizing, hit tracking, etc etc. Why is it inherently evil when Microsoft does it?

    I'll tell ya why. When I use Netscape and click on my /. bookmark, it takes me right there. Same with my Freefall [purrsia.com] bookmark, my User Friendly [userfriendly.org] bookmark, my news [theglobeandmail.com] bookmark, and even my play [sodaplay.com] bookmark. Direct. No redirects.

    But now Micro$oft comes along and says, "Hey, we can make money off this too!" and starts doing redirects with their strong-armed browser market. Load balancing? Hit tracking? Bullshit. Let MY ISP deal with load balancing, or the sites that I'm actually going to (notice none of them are M$). Ditto with hit tracking.

    Basically, M$ has no NEED to redirect. They just decided to do it and grab MORE information from those who happen to use IE (not me!!) and yet further bend the Internet public over and have their way with us.

  • Perhaps we should be talking about the various bugs in IE 5.5, like its inability to consistently load pages fully and its overall poor performance compared to IE 5.01.

    Microsoft has released a crappy product (surprise!) and Slashdot is using up bandwidth to talk about a "feature" that's been in IE for a long time.

    Steve Magruder

  • This is a link from a /. banner ad, and it redirects you to another site! Oh my god! Evil Andover is tracking my browsing!

    Why is it inherently evil when Microsoft does it?

    Well, you are on Slashdot. Home of the paranoid Linux faithful and poorly filtered "news" articles.

    Do you need more of an explanation?

    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
  • Check again. I ahve set it to about:blank. The browser goes to microsoft's web site and then to my blank page.
  • Erm, could it be because Microsoft are tracking which sites you visit that have nothing to do with them at all? I mean with a banner, the site you are clicking from is going to want to know how many people clicked so they can get paid... Or are you implying that Microsoft are getting paid click-through from the default favourites? I would have thought it would be the other way round, companies paying Microsoft to have their site in the default favourites. Of course Microsoft could be providing statistics back to the default favourite sites so that they can see how much value they are getting for their investment. This is shifting things from the web-page right into the app... I don't care, who are the /.ers that use IE5.5 anyway? Don't they know this is Linux country ;-)
  • this [fyrisfjadern.com] is my local badminton hall.
    this [body-armour.com] is some site selling personal protection items (don't ask how I stumbled upon that one)

    And our intranet was IE only in practice for weeks.

    I agree that a web agency who does a IE only site makes a lousy job. unless the customer specifically said "skip Netscape I'll not pay for that"

    See my other post [slashdot.org] in this thread.

    I agree that time is running out for Mozilla.

  • > Here is a typical conversation between a web site developer and a customer...

    This rings soooo true.

    I develop on linux so I'm damned well going to support netscape, and supporting ie goes without saying.. as for the rest.. well.. netscape's available for most platforms, my time is limited and my boss wants unportable features on the client side. I try to argue for the lowest common denominator, but I don't always win. Sorry, opera and lynx, I'd love to do things right but I gotta eat.

    I hope gecko gets into every nook and cranny eventually, and explorer dies an embarrassing death. How cool would it be to defeat a browser bug by going through it's source? :)
  • by dattaway ( 3088 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @04:44AM (#783549) Homepage Journal
    If you want to rig the tally counter:

    watch wget http://www.microsoft.com/isapi/redir.dll?prd=linux &target=http://www.slashdot.org

    this makes a request to microsoft every two seconds. It doesn't do the redirection, but just makes the request from microsoft's site.
  • You need to knock the WWW off the front of the slashdot link or it may drop your preferences. http://www.microsoft.com/isapi/redir.dll?prd=linux &target=http://slashdot.org
  • just put a favicon.ico in the same directory as your index.html page..

    there is a restriction of 16x16 pixels or something, and I think it only works with IE...

  • Just out of curiousity, how do you get those custom icons(like the lowercase g for geocities pages) next to your bookmarks? I always wanted to do a custom one for my site.
  • IE is not the only one then. Every so often, Windows Media Player 7 (setup_wm.exe) wants to try to connect to an MS server...

    Me being paranoid, I wonder if MS is checking for a new version or if Bill is getting an email that says, I too, am watching jenna16.mpg. So I setup my firewall to prevent that connection.
    Just ta' be safe, you know.

  • I've been using IE since version 2.something on windows and was there for `midnight madness' downloading the brand new 3.0

    The first thing I noticed when I had it downloaded is that none of the things in the links toolbar went exactly where they said they were going. Second thing I did was to delete all of them.
  • Well AFAIK, IE4 and above have always used rediriection thru a redir.dll file for all their links. In at even on the website many links go thru that. BTW is this a FP? vinod
  • There've been a few comments about the kosherness of redirection (for tracking) on banner ads, because it's important to audit/track your advertisement redirects. Well, the default links are (I'm sure) paid advertisements as well. Why wouldn't Microsoft track their usage, to know how much to bill the linkees?
  • It would seem to me that some company out there is always trying to abuse their product's market share by doing little things like this. The question that must be asked, is does anyone really expect this to change without legislation? With the community seemingly wanting the government out of ANYTHING to do with the Internet, this would not be done without resistance.. Oh well.

    Matt
  • My homepage is on an intranet also. The server does not have a fully qualified name however. My homepage is set to http://myservername/ If what you are saying is true, microsoft would not be able to redirect my browser back to the homepage. Also I still have automatically check for Internet explorer upadates check in the advanced options(although i just uncheched it) Another side note: Yahoo uses a redirect similar to this on their homepage. If you go to www.yahoo.com, then hover the mouse over the link for yahoo mail, the URL is http://www.yahoo.com/homet?http://mail.yahoo.com

    ----------------------------------------
  • Actually, the 'nice' setting refers only to CPU time. Prioritizing bandwidth is a very tricky topic. There are various methods of packet queue ordering (deciding which packet will be the next one out), and it is virtually impossible to prioritize incoming packets.

    So it would be much easier to make it sleep 10 seconds between runs.
  • Well, then they could make the client download the links every time it starts, once every day/week whatever.
    They don't have to redirect for that, but as far as I'm concerned, IE might send info about every page one visits to MS. Has anyone checked with netstat under IE on Solaris?

    THey certainly don't seem to mind looking really, really bullish.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Via http://home.netscape.com/bookmark/(browserversion)
  • I probably use the web less than you then, but I've probably looked at about 30-50 new sites a week for the last 5 years, 30% of the time in NS, and I've never been locked out. Must be lucky I suppose.

    But "arrogant crap"?! I feel fairly well qualified to talk about what clients want from a website. The view from the development side is completely different. I've worked on tons of web projects and one thing I've learned is that you have to specify exactly what browsers you're supporting. Clients don't care about NS until their aunt / sponsors / children look at the site and can't see it. Then they ring you up and demand to know what's wrong. And not just on NS, also on IE3.02, IE4.5 on a Mac, just about whatever ancient or badly written browser that's ever been made. As long as NS has more than 10% of the morket, 99% of my clients will care about it.
  • When you type a url that doesn't exist
    IE5 contacts MSN and then displays the Cannot find server page.
  • Is this the same? I've noticed that when I connect up, and go to the first site, it'll go to microsoft.com, check to see if I have the latest version of IE, then go to the site designated.

    Maybe someone's just a bit paranoid?
  • by DreamerFi ( 78710 ) <`john' `at' `sinteur.com'> on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @01:27AM (#783565) Homepage
    If that's with the default bookmarks only, the issue is not with microsoft, but with yourself. I mean, of course the default bookmarks are whatever microsoft wants them to be. If you want Yahoo as a bookmark, bookmark them yourself.
  • Are you THE Vinod, author of the Halloween Documents?
  • If we stop and think for two seconds I believe the answer is quite obvious. It is likely, though without having some inside information I cannot know, that they are using the number of visits to these sites as a way of billing their clients for what is effectively 'portal' services. Microsoft increases traffic to these sites, the sites gain more advertising revenue and so pay Microsoft per visitor. Of course it could they are using the information for other purposes....:)
  • ...I have never found a site that I can only view with IE...
    Here's another, for which all the content is not visible, except with IE: http://www.piedmontusabda.cjb.net/ [cjb.net]

  • Fuck them and the marketers they rode in on.

    Hey, don't go too hard on Marketing. They're how Netscape makes (or at least used to make) money.

    --

  • I make my bookmark file be my "display when launch" homepage (why doesn't everybody?)
    % ls -l .netscape/bookmarks.html ... 267718 Sep 13 19:13 .netscape/bookmarks.html

    Over a quarter of a megabyte loads slowly even with file:... access -- that's why!

  • FYI Netscape has been doing that for (at least) the last 5-6 versions.... thats why the first thing I do is delete the bookmarks and replace them with my own... well that and I REALLY like the del key :-)
  • Yeah, ok -- lost the thread of the discussion there. Sorry if I said you didn't know what you were talking about out of hand.

    That whole homepage discussion is off-base. I've seen IE pop up the microsoft-update location in the status bar on occasion when first launching the browser, don't think it actually does that for each and every load of your homepage. And as you say, if you had no outside net access at all, it certainly wouldn't work at all.

    Gotta read the parent posts a little more closely, i guess. :/
  • Why is this moderated "+5 Funny"? I think it should really be "+5 Sobering Reality"....
  • Hear! Hear!

    I hate MS as much as the next ./er, but this story is irresponible posting.

    Later...

  • opera [opera.com]

    1. why?
    2. faster
    3. more intutitive interface, at least for those who "drive" primarlily with the keyboard instead of the mouse
    4. smaller - less use of memory
    5. nearly fully CSS compliant - more compliant than IE - now can do 95% of all (j|java)script sites well ...
    6. easy ability to override ugly web design layouts and substitute your own styles at press of a key
    7. not made by M$
  • Anyone ever clicked on a link in a USENET article on deja.com? Ever notice exactly where that link goes?

    How about the links in Netscape?

    This is old news

    Eric

  • Risking my karma aswell (therefor switching the automagic +1 bonus off), I fully agree with you. From a webdesigner's point of view, Netscape is an utter disaster. You name tables, but frames are even worse. It's literally impossible to get frames to align correctly in Netscape for Linux. Now you may argue the usefulness of frames, and that if you use them, they shouldn't be used for pixel-precise artwork... Well, I agree, but I hate to burst your bubble: people do use frames that way, and it always makes sites (or rather, their graphical designs) break when viewed in Netscape.

    Netscape sucks, the only reason I use it is because I use Linux and it's the least bad graphical browser for it. IE rules, and the two reasons I don't use it is 1) I don't have Windows and 2) I have personal ethical objections against Microsoft's marketing tactics.

    But that doesn't keep me from admitting that MS IE is indeed the best browser out there at the moment.

    )O(
    Never underestimate the power of stupidity
  • Instead of going to "http://www.cbs.com/netshow", you are led to "http://www.microsoft.com/isapi/redir.dll?prd=Wind ows&sbp=MediaPlayer&ar=Favorite&sba=CBS& pver=6.2". Instead of directly downloading the Soldier of Fortune patch from the PlanetSoldier Files page [planetsoldier.com], it gives you a link to FilePlanet like this: "http://dl.fileplanet.com/dl/dl.asp?planetsoldiero ffortune/official/sof105patch.exe".

    There's two reasons, each similar to the other: Downloader/Visitor Tracking. FilePlanet runs a tally of how many people are downloading what files, as well as isolating which section of the world is downloading what (for bandwidth distribution and avoiding long distance downloads); both of these reasons are honorable. However, we all know what Microsoft is interested in with these "isapi" links: pure demographics for the purpose of enhancing revenue. By tracking which browser version connects, along with which version of Windows (if it is windows, hehe) and the IP (to home in on a region), Microsoft can distribute more or less copies of its software to specific regions. Personally, I started to question Slashdots exclusive use of perl scripts, but then, how else could the /. pages update so quickly? Too bad CmdrTaco never deletes stories altogether. Though this seems Orwellian, that Compaq GPL flub is one blaring example.

  • That facility does not work without some human being, who replaced the old resource in the first place, mentioning that it actually "Moved Permanently" and where. Otherwise a decent implementation of HTTP will respond with 404 Not Found. So one would wish that web admins on every site that one visits do a good job and put 301 redirection in place, but most of the time that is a wish only...
  • so here is what i think is much worse than the default bookmark-thing: all search via the address bar goes to the M$ search engine

    this happens whenever you type some unfinished url. now maybe that's just me... but i do it all the time. this behavior can be turned off, but the option is buried deeply into the preferences and ordinary people won't change it.
    of course, joe public will also use the standard msn search for all searches and have msn.com every time they open the browser.

    those things are much bigger issues than the URL redirect. i am not sure how to express my distaste for this kind of behavior - but it really pisses me off.

    not that netscape is any better. netscape IS OWNED BY AOL NOW. hello-o?!

    BTW i just read in business week that 72% of americans are annoyed about the extent of corporate power. i hope the backlash is coming.
  • Wrong again.

    Can you explain to me exactly how it manages to do this when there is NO network connection between my PC and the outside world, please?

    Not even the Evil Gates can manage to transfer TCP/IP through several thousand miles of thin air, you know!
  • Actually? If I was Microsoft, I might try to get some revenue. Think about it: something like 73% of the web uses IE according to some statistics I've seen. All those people, when they install, get those default bookmarks that are sitting right there in front of them. My thought is that new users to the net would use those links to see what is out there, get used to those sites, and use them regularly. This makes those default bookmarks, IMHO, even cooler than banner ads(at least in the eyes of a marketing person).

    --John
  • This whole thing is hardly original... everybody's darling Netscape have been doing this for years.

    Um, no. When I select a link from my Netscape bookmarks, I go right to the site. No queries or redirects from Microsoft or even Netscape, for that matter.

    Granted, banner ads are a different matter, but we wouldn't want to get too far off topic, would we ;)

  • by Darchmare ( 5387 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @03:39AM (#783584) Homepage
    "Why back in my day, we had web pages with gray backgrounds and no graphics, with 10,000 word essays about esoteric computer science topics - and we LIKED IT!

    In fact, we didn't even use bookmarks. We memorized IP addresses - no sissy domain names for us - and typed them in manually. Why, back in my day we didn't even have web pages, we had web paragraphs, because our computers didn't have enough memory. And we LIKED IT!"

    ...

    I'm all for responsible use of HTML and sticking close to standards. But there is value in an aesthetically pleasing site as well. And the sad fact is, recent versions of IE (for the Mac at least) are more standards compliant than anything Netscape is shipping to date.

    And while I can already hear the chants of 'Mozilla! Mozilla! Mozilla!', let me remind you that Mozilla defies some equally important standards - intra-platform user interface consistancy.

    Barring that, it's still not released. And it's very, very late.

    - Jeff A. Campbell
    - VelociNews (http://www.velocinews.com [velocinews.com])
  • by guran ( 98325 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @03:41AM (#783587)
    Opera
    Really nice browser, but the competitors are free(beer).

    Gecko
    Too low on features. Do you know how many sites require Javascript today? I know Javascript sucks and that you should never build a site that depends on it, but nevertheless, without it you are effectively shut out from a large percentage of sites.

    icab

    Mac only. Plus the same problems as Gecko.

    Show me a browser that is stable, supports the most frequent add-ons to html (like Javascript), is free(beer and preferably speech) AND FINISHED and I'll jump for joy.

  • As long as Web sites don't start doing something stupid like requiring IE... oh... wait.

    It's a sad day but unfortunately, if you want a site that utilizes anything more than basic HTML these days without crashing, IE is what you have to code for. Opera is ok but lacks key layout aspects that IE can handle and Netscape has mutated simply into a blob of useless crap.

    Last I checked, 90%+ people on my sites used IE, so why shouldn't I write specifically for it?

    Oh yeah, and I never use the default bookmarks.
  • it's one thing for ads - that's known by the user as a revenue source, and you have to expect that clicking on it redirects you. A *bookmark* in a browser is *not* expected to take you anywhere but the deestintion stated - who would think, "these bookmarks came with the browser, so obviously they'll take me through Microsoft's site for tracking purposes before I get where I'm going" (not to mention that it ends up being twice as slow as before...). Apparently we all *should* expect this type of thing from Microsoft, but it really is a shame that it has to happen.

    Add microsft.com to the list of banned sites in IE... find out how often you really are there...
    --
  • IE 5.5 does not reder all pages correctly. and that is what he was talking about so I think you are the MORON. Besides there was no article you dick wad.

    I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
    Flame away, I have a hose!

  • You can also put them in subdirectories. It checks in the current directory first and then the root.
  • by Tower ( 37395 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @03:51AM (#783614)
    Yup, the article title is "IE 5.5 Tracking Default Bookmarks". Notice the use of the word "Default" between "Tracking" and "Bookmarks".

    In the summary - "...the default bookmarks in..." again, we see the word "default" being used directly before "bookmarks". Strange coincidence, or ignorant, overmoderated, trolling parent post? You be the judge.

    (at least read the *title* of the article before ou post - you don't need to do this sort of crap to bash Slashdot - There's plenty of legitimate claims...)
    --
  • 65535 bugs? Untrue, of course,

    Sorry man, that's Microsoft's reported number, not mine, from a ZDNet news story [zdnet.com].

    SP1 for W2K was released to fix approximately 200 issues, many bugs and some cosmetics. That's it. That's all they could find and all anyone reported.

    So now you know: there are still about 65000 bugs in your OS. And how much did you pay?
    --

  • As for MS just copying everything and no money on research? HA! They spend BILLIONS a year on R&D.

    They are now spending billions of dollars on research because they have so much disposable cash. They didn't use to. None of their major current product lines are based in any interesting way on the results of their research, and whether they ever will remains an open question.

    Gates's attitudes towards research spending were widely reported in the press in the early 90's; you can dig it up yourself. If you were in research at the time, that was a big deal.

    Please don't tell me you are naive enough to actually think/suggest that other companies don't engage in copying or stealing other's works and/or looks and feels.

    I didn't say Microsoft was any worse than other big companies. I took issue with your claims that Microsoft got to their current position through innovation. Nonsense. Microsoft is a succesful business because of hardball business tactics, quite a bit of luck, some questionable practices, and excellent marketing.

    Technologically, what they are selling is largely still behind what was state-of-the-art in research labs in the 1980's (but, then, so are Linux and MacOS; the industry as a whole has stagnated).

    ALL I've tried to say is, report the news accurately and without obvious blatant bias and/or outright FUD. That's all.

    No, that's not "ALL" you tried to say. The story was clearly inaccurate, as I pointed out myself. But you also went off on a lengthy exposition about Microsoft's supposed innovations and software skills. That's where you are just as wrong as the original story was.

    Face it, Microsoft is a big company, no better and no worse than other big companies. Claiming that Microsoft makes high-quality, innovative software is like claiming that MacDonald's makes high-quality, innovative cuisine. In reality, both make cheap products for the masses; the good stuff clearly happens elsewhere.

  • I don't care, who are the /.ers that use IE5.5 anyway? Don't they know this is Linux country ;-)

    Back in the day, Hemos and Taco tracked web browsers visiting /. It was mostly IE. And if you've spent any time moderating, you know that anti-M$ comments are not modded well. Certainly this site has a pro-linux slant compared to most, but that comes from its editors and not from its readership. The readership is mostly using IE5.5.

  • Well, the usual place to go is Microsoft's MSDN site [microsoft.com], also an article at Web Developer's Journal [webdevelopersjournal.com]. When you want to create your icon file, you can drop by favicon.com [favicon.com].
    One last thing, there was a bug in the way IE 5 handles a bad favicon.ico file. I don't recall if it was fixed with the "Favorites fix" for IE a while back. More info can be found here [cip.com.br].
  • .. but you didn't listen.. Yes netscape sucks, but it is not doing what Microsoft does. Use Opera or any other browsers, but Microsoft.

    I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
    Flame away, I have a hose!

  • It's true that if there's something bad to be said about Microsoft, you'll probably read it here first. However, I think some of your defense is a little over-stated.

    But - IE's been out for a while and since version 4 it's been stable, fast and feature packed - Netscape and others can't hold a candle to it.

    I can't comment on the "feature packed"-ness of ie, since I don't use it. Netscape sure hasn't caught up in the number of security issues, though - Internet Explorer had about one per week for a while there, didn't it? Maybe a few less features and a little more thought would have been in order.

    MS came outta a dream of two people without any cash - kinda like Apple. They worked hard and played hard ball to get where they are. If you used any "dirty tricks" - I think no more than any other successful company (wanna check Oracle's records? Novells? Even Apple isn't lilly white. And if you think Red Hat got to where it is just cause it's being "nice" - well... just think about it and review those news stories AFTER the IPO buzz faded).

    I don't approve of "dirty tricks" on the part of any company, but there is a legal distinction in the U.S. when it comes to such actions on the part of a market monopoly. Like it or not, Microsoft is held to a higher standard (rightfully, IMHO) in its business dealings since it significantly greater power as a monopoly than if it were just one of a number of competitors in a market.

    In the hypersensitive world of free software and Linux, it would have been impossible for Red Hat to get to where it is without being "nice". Even as they are now, distributing their primary products for free and contributing thousands of dollars of hacker salary back into community Linux development, there are constant fears that Red Hat will become the next Microsoft. There is very little trust of big, unresponsive corporations in the Linux market, such that I can't believe that Red Hat has been getting away with MS-like tactics on the sly. Do you have specifics?

    -- ethereal, who isn't normally a big RH defender, and definitely has no IPO buzz goin' on (the very thought makes me chuckle :)

  • Konqueror is a GPL browser. It renders a
    lot faster than both Netscape and IE.
    It supports Netscape plugins (e.g. for Flash)
    and has a cool ftp client.

    It allows you to set your own cookie policy:
    you can make it ask whether you accept a cookie,
    and then you can reject them by site. So no
    more cookies from doubleclick - and I'll never
    be asked about them either.

    So definately: there is a serious competitor out
    there. I admit it's still beta, but this is
    something which can overtake IE. Go get it and
    submit bug reports!

  • Yeah, gotta agree with that. NS makes no attempt to hide the fact that they think you are a cow. At least in IE you can disable all these "features", in NS you're stuck with THAT GODDAMNED FUCKING *SHOP* BUTTON!!! Excuse me, I just really don't like that button. Even worse than having it at all is that they put Shop right next to Stop. This really bothers me since I generally use text only buttons in NS. I'd rather use the icons, but they're stuck at size FUCKING HUGE! Well that's enough of my ranting for today.

    Pretty please, pretty please, can I have a good browser for Linux???


    ... so TURN THE (Shop, Radio) BUTTONS OFF!
    From the Version Notes at http://home.net scape.com/eng/mozilla/4.7/relnotes/windows-4.75.ht ml [netscape.com]:

    You can disable the Shop@Netscape button and Netscape Radio feature by editing the prefs.js file (preferences.js on Unix).
    To disable the Shop@Netscape button, open the prefs.js file and add the following statement: user_pref("browser.chrome.disableMyShopping", true);
    To disable the Netscape Radio plugin, open the prefs.js file and add the following statement: user_pref("browser.chrome.disableNetscapeRadio", true);

    No comment on the buttons, they look fine to me at 1152x864 resolution.
    Andy
    ---
  • Just because Paul screwed up on this one (Netscape does the same thing) doesn't justify the rest of your argument.

    Gates is not a borg and MS isn't a huge death cube from a billion light years away - it's just a hugely successful company that started out much MUCH smaller than any of the current linux companies who rode the wave and sucked down millions/billions in IPO and VC moneys from the unwise. MS came outta a dream of two people without any cash - kinda like Apple. They worked hard and played hard ball to get where they are.

    Microsoft's success stories have mostly been achieved by copying products and ideas from other companies like Apple, Lotus, Sun, Bell Labs, IBM, and others. What they have been been "working hard" on is cloning other people's software. Gates even used to brag about the fact that he didn't have to spend any money on research--he'd just copy Apple (now that hardly anybody else is left, they have to do their own R&D). And Microsoft's pyramid-scheme-like stock option plans and accounting practices put many money-burning startups to shame--Microsoft is not the enormously successful and profitable company you seem to think they are.

    No, Microsoft is not the "Borg cube", but they are generally not an innovative company either, and they have engaged, and continue to engage, in a lot of questionable business practices.

    And, coming back to the core of this story, Microsoft clearly puts a low priority on security, quality, professionalism, safety, and privacy. The fact that Netscape isn't much better is irrelevant. Microsoft is not a startup anymore, and neither are they a fly-by-night company in the Arizona desert anymore. They are the market leader, one of the biggest US corporations, and in that position, they ought to behave responsibly in all these areas. If they don't, it's completely justifiable to take them to task. You see, with billions in revenue comes a lot of responsibility and exposure.

  • by XNormal ( 8617 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @01:34AM (#783644) Homepage
    Netscape is doing the same, and it's not exactly new either: this feature is there since version 4.0 (1998?). The default bookmarks in the Personal Toolbar Folder redirect through Netscape's site.

    The redirection URL is http://home.netscape.com/bookmark/(version)/(bookm arkname).html

    Take a look at http://home.netscape.com/bookmark/ [netscape.com] to see all supported versions.


    ----
  • My homepage is set to http://myservername/ If what you are saying is true, microsoft would not be able to redirect my browser back to the homepage.

    Um, yes, they would. Go back and read the post you replied to again.

    All they need to do is send a header saying "Location: http://myservername/" and your browser will go there. Your browser. Not Microsoft -- they don't need to connect to anything. All they need to do is send the location to your browser, which has the exact same effect as you typing it in the Address field.

    --

  • So now, the censor proxies will have to block Microsoft as they block Babelfish.

    :)
    __
  • Hmmm... pulling out my trusty old HTTP proxy spy, let's see exactly what information IE is sending to MS server:

    GET http://www.microsoft.com/isapi/redir.dll?prd=Windo ws&sbp=MediaPlayer&ar=Favorite&sba=CNET& pver=6.2 HTTP/1.0
    Accept: image/gif, image/x-xbitmap, image/jpeg, image/pjpeg, application/vnd.ms-
    powerpoint, application/vnd.ms-excel, application/msword, */*
    Accept-Language: en-us
    User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 4.0; y)
    Host: www.microsoft.com
    Proxy-Connection: Keep-Alive

    And it gets back:

    HTTP/1.0 302 Moved Temporarily
    Location: http://stream.cnet.com
    Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0
    Content-Type: text/html
    Content-Length: 145
    Age: 0
    X-Cache: MISS from x.x.x.com
    Proxy-Connection: keep-alive

    <head><title>Document Moved</title></head>
    <body><h1>Object Moved</h1>This document may be found <a HREF="http://stream.cnet.com">here</a></body>HTTP/ 1.0 302 Moved Temporarily

    In other words, it's not sending any extra information, and it's very plausible that MS would use it to 1) redirect to a current, correct URL for the given services, and 2) verify usage of the latest version of the browser. In other words, nothing sinister, even if they're keeping statistics on which links are used -- if they don't have statistics, then they won't know which URLs to keep and which to trash.

    Sigh.

    ---
  • No, of course it wouldn't. Who said it would? This is about default bookmarks in IE, isn't it? If you have no public internet access, this really isn't an issue anyway, is it? If you had NO internet connection, what are you doing clicking the 'free hotmail' bookmark anyway?

    http://www.microsoft.com/isapi/redir.dll?prd=ie& ar=hotmail
  • This is entirely optimistic and a theory I don't believe:

    MS does a lot of research into HCI (Human computer Interaction). By redirecting their default bookmarks to MS first, they can track how well their default bookmarks are used. They may also see any trends in bookmark usage. For example:

    • If a user visit one sports site, they visit many sports sites, but no business sites
    • Or someone visiting a science site tends to also visit cooking sites.
    This information can then be used to create predictions about how a majority use bookmarks and possible creeate a system to help the needs of that majority.
    Unfortunately:
    • /. won't fit the model above so this research would be useless.
    • This theory is incredibly optimistic about MS's intentions
  • Give me Linux or give me death!

    So is Death one of those newfangled embedded operating systems?

    Simon
  • I know. You're preaching to the choir here.

    But I'm not talking /. readers. I'm talking about the vast majority of web users. Their opinion on what "sucks" differ from yours and mine. The sad truth is that those flashy Javascript ridden websites *work*. When I try to explain to people that they shouldn't have Javascript turned on I get a questioned look and eventually remarks like. "Well, but I have never had any problems, and my favourite site won't work without it. (Damnit our corporate homepage demands Javascript. Quite embarassing, but not my desicion)

    In a nutshell: Geeks no longer have final say on the web.

  • >If you delete all of their default bookmarks, they come back. I figured it out once, it was triggered by the "Personal Folder" or some name like that. You could delete all the bookmarks, but not that bookmark file.

    I believe what you want to do is:

    user_pref("custtoolbar.has_toolbar_folder", false);

    If you look at the big-ass file on netscape.com that describes preferences.js, you'll see this is a "reserved" setting, with a note to the effect of "we're not gonna tell you what it does, 'cuz we don't want you fuckin' with it".

    If that doesn't work, also try adding:

    user_pref("custtoolbar.personal_toolbar.Version" , 0);

    user_pref("custtoolbar.personal_toolbar_folder", "Netscape_engineers_are_weenies");

    Fuck them and the marketers they rode in on. And that goes for Nutscrape and Internet Exploiter.

  • It's pretty simple. Microsoft sells positions in the 'default' bookmark set. They're not free. Either Microsoft uses them to keep tabs on the number of visits that result in this to 'justify' this revenue stream to Yahoo et al. or they're payed some small amount per visit.

    This should not be suprising to anybody who hasn't been under a rock for the last few years, remember how much power Microsoft seemed to wield during the DOJ anti-trust trials just by being able to keep somebodies icon on or off of the desk top.

  • How can billions of research spending not make it into products at Microsoft? Well, if you worked in industrial research, it the answer ought to be fairly obvious. Probably the same way they didn't make it into products at AT&T or Xerox. And those companies have been at it for decades rather than just a few years, like Microsoft (Microsoft didn't use to spend billions on research).

    As for all the other stuff, I'm not in the Linux vs. Windows mindset like you seem to be. As I said, I think both Linux and Windows are outdated and old technology and both have copied liberally from their predecessors. But Linux doesn't pretend to do anything else, nor does Linux cost an arm and a leg. My point is not that Microsoft is necessarily worse, my point is that they are technologically at best no better than the rest, but they sure are a lot more expensive and a lot more proprietary, and they try to lock you into their world.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I hope you know that everytime you bookmark a page in IE5.x, it automatically request a custom "Favorites Icon" from the bookmarked site.

    What this means is that the site's webmaster know exactly what page you bookmarked (plus the time, IP, etc).

  • by dsplat ( 73054 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @01:49AM (#783729)
    The URLs that they are forwarding to are subject to change under the control of other companies. Microsoft certainly may be tracking usage. However, they may have also been building in the flexibility to change the URL without having to update the client software.
  • Right on man. I've noticed that too. people arn't blindly going a long with the anti-MS FUD. It's good to see, and better to read it put so well.

    thanks,
    -Jon
  • Netscape has had another evil feature for awhile. If you delete all of their default bookmarks, they come back. I figured it out once, it was triggered by the "Personal Folder" or some name like that. You could delete all the bookmarks, but not that bookmark file.

    I recently installed a new 4.75 and it absolutely refused to let me have my old bookmark file copied in. I copied it in and chowned it root and made it user read only and they still deleted it. Fuckers. I copied my config files from another machine which had been upgraded and the problem went away. Must be a variable in prefs, but it's irritating as hell.

    However, I think MS IE is far worse as it has so many features which are sneakier.

  • by Black Perl ( 12686 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @01:51AM (#783736)
    I'm going to change my slashdot bookmark to
    h ttp://www.microsoft.com/isapi/redir.dll?prd=linux& target=http://www.slashdot.org [microsoft.com]

    and if we all do the same, it'll really throw the Microsoft statistics gatherers. "This month we got 34,432 redirections for the Windows page and 485,550 redirections in a category of 'linux'".

  • by StarFace ( 13336 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @01:53AM (#783739) Homepage
    I think there is a simple reason for this, and Netscapes redirection schemes. The links that come default with the browser are very likely purchased by websites. Think of it this way, if you have an airplane ticket sale sight, what would be the best way to advertise? Banners? Hardly anybody clicks on those, or notices them, some even filter them. Spamming your site to the top of websearch engines? That used to work with old search tech. Now with engines like Google, and human sorted directories that are big enough to be useful (dmoz.org) that doesn't work so well either.

    That leaves convincing the browser producers to use your link as a default. Microsoft and Netscape very likely get payed to put those links there, and naturally they are going to want to track the usage of those links, so that they can see which ones are beneficial and which ones are duds. The purchasers of the default link would no doubt be interested in those statistics as well.

    I have no idea if this is the case, but it seems to fit together for me.

  • I mean, come on.

    IE has had bookmarks that redirect through the MS version checker since 4.0.

    This is not news.

    I suggest that the /. team head over to Fark.com and recycle some of that; at least it's funny.
    --
  • by bfree ( 113420 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @01:56AM (#783741)
    I am running Corel Linux Second Edition (2.2.16 kernel) at present and all of its Netscape Bookmarks (and it has a relatively nice selection including Slashdot) pass through product.corel.com, as does the default Homepage which is a corel page. I presume this is to gather usage info and stats and don't really have a problem with this sort of tactic. If you don't like the extra smidge of traffic generated fix your bookmarks. If you don't know about it should you care? I don't think so. You are simply providing some usage analysis data and all that is visible is the standard CGI environment (such as User Agent, IP, etc.). It lets them (Corel, MS, Netscape) see just how many users they have, what versions they are using and how useful their bookmarks are. Personal info gathering is still down to the browser (and whether it allows javascript etc), nothing has changed. It has the potential to be about as obnoxious as doubleclick and deserves the same treatment, care and fix it or don't care and let them gather some info based on your usage. Now if anyone can prove that these redirects are used to do some form of persistent tracking and that they are gathering email addresses I will take a different view. Until then ...Dear Slashdot, please stop posting stupid argumentative stories (like InterVideo's press release dissappearing when it is sitting in plain site).
  • by jesterzog ( 189797 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @01:59AM (#783743) Homepage Journal

    I haven't read it anywhere officially, but I'm pretty sure that IE does this to check for version updates. ie. Every x times you run IE, it'll go to the redirection page instead of directly to your homepage. If a new version has been released it'll redirect to a microsoft announcement/download page instead of where you normally start.

    To turn it off, go to tools / internet options / advanced, and tell it not to automatically check for Internet Explorer updates.


    ===
  • by guran ( 98325 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @01:59AM (#783744)
    someone would even consider using a non-open source browser -- especially one that is made by the evil empire. You should be using some open source browser, or better yet, write your own from scratch.

    I'd love to. unfortunately I lack time and skill to code my own browser (if I want something more than text, at least)

    But the sad state of affairs is that INTERNET EXPLORER CURRENTLY IS THE ONLY BROWSER THAT FUCKING WORKS!

    Don't tell me about standards and how the evil empire embraces and extends. I'm talking reality here. So many sites uses MS specific code that I'll always need IE as a backup. I do web pages for a living. (or rather the heavy stuff behind the pages, not the stupid html/javascript shit) and I see why Microsoft is winning. It is easy. They give people what they want!

    People want "cool" sites. I know it is stupid, and so do you, but the other 99% of the web surfers think those flash intros and AciveX gizmos are nice. If a page renders and updates faster in IE than netscape, people will use IE. If a page is inaccessible with Lynx, nobody will use Lynx (exept hard core geeks and disabled persons) If people get a virus because of shitty security in IE and windows they will complain about "that damned Gates" and continue to use Windows and IE because they work. Someone will switch to Linux only to find that his favorite web site no longer works. (and that Netscape crashed three times) "Sorry, Linus. Nice system and all, but I'll stick to windows, since they have this working web browser."

    I'm worried, because if there is not a serious competitor to MSIE out there soon we will have a MS proprietary web.

    Boy, am I pessimistic today?

  • by daitengu ( 172781 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @02:06AM (#783750) Homepage Journal
    I've been following an interesting thread on BUGTRAQ about something similar to this, it seems that Microsoft is tracking alot of your web browsing habits, you are able to turn cookies off in IE 5+ but MS can still track your movements... a message that really caught my eye follows:

    "Guille Bisho" wrote in message

    news:39B84795.8A32DC4F@redestb.es...

    (snip possible good catch)

    Good possiblity something fishy going on there. The XMLHTTP object is installed and registered with IE5 and functions without prompt under default settings. The example code below will send an HTTP request to MS, fetch and parse as html the response:

    &ltscript&gt
    function SubmitTrackingInfo(){
    var objHTTP = new ActiveXObject
    ("Microsoft.XMLHTTP")
    objHTTP.open("GET", "http://www.microsoft.com", false)
    objHTTP.send()
    xmlDoc=objHTTP.responseText
    document.write("" + xmlDoc + "")
    }
    SubmitTrackingInfo()
    &lt/script&gt

    In the case of the search.msn.com example. There is additional data being sent back to the server: objHTTP.send("BSTR")}function fnInit(store). Clearly the name of the function firing all this: "SubmitTrackingInfo" can suggest some things. More so the recent "ballyhoo'd" anouncement by MS to allow greater control over privacy for their customers, with the addition of a "cookie" privacy control add-on for Internet Explorer 5:

    http://www. microsoft.com/presspass/features/2000/jul00/07-20c ookies.asp [microsoft.com]

    So, while _everyone_ else's "cookies" are curtailed by this privacy add-on for Internet Explorer, Microsoft's operations utilise this method of 'non-cookie" tracking?

    Conspiracy theory of course ;-) but perhaps worth investigating thoroughly by someone with experience as to what exactly is going on?

  • First of all, the probable original reason for using redirs is if the URL changes. The secondary reason is probably so Microsoft can have a hold over the companies (if you don't pay us $1 Kajillion, "My Weather" will go to....). A side-effect is that Microsoft can track how many people use each link (and maybe who those people are).

    But if you think about it, Microsoft could already do that even without using redirs. The obviously have a "partnership" with the companies at those links--they could just ask each company to send them data on people who arrive from those links (by adding some data to the URL, by sending a special header, whatever--better yet, just track ALL IE users to those companies--or why limit to IE users?). Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by slightly less malice.
    --
    Linux MAPI Server!
    http://www.openone.com/software/MailOne/
  • Netscape is doing the same

    Hell, Mozilla is doing the same thing. (Current, from CVS built about a half hour ago.)

  • by levendis ( 67993 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @02:11AM (#783761) Homepage
    check this out:

    http://images.slashdot.org/cgi-bin/adlog.pl?arti cle,tkgk0081en

    This is a link from a /. banner ad, and it redirects you to another site! Oh my god! Evil Andover is tracking my browsing!

    Sorry, just feeling a bit paranoid this morning... web redirects are nothing new. They can be used for a variety of legitimate features such as load balancing, randomizing, hit tracking, etc etc. Why is it inherently evil when Microsoft does it?
  • About once a month when I start IE I get sent to a MS page telling me there's a wonderful new upgrade. AFAIK you can't get around this behaviour, it's a "feature".

    Several others have pointed out that you can turn this off. Its under "Advanced Options", though, so 99.99% of IE users probably do not turn it off.

    I have had the dubious pleasure of being an internal IT guy at a company where the firewall would not allow connections to the outside world except from certain priveledged internal IPs.

    (Yes, this was done on purpose. Yes, I know how many ways there are to thwart this kind of policy, but I wasn't interested in getting fired).

    IE still worked on the local intranet, whether or not the PC could get to microsoft.com, except when it tried to run these upgrades. The upgrades wouldn't have worked anyway, probably, since most people were running NT with a "user" level account.

    Still, is it true that the upgrade process actually goes through the redirect, thereby informing microsoft of what your homepage is? There is no legitimate excuse for that!

  • by guran ( 98325 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @02:24AM (#783774)
    Here is a typical conversation between a web site developer and a customer:

    Customer: I want a site that looks something like this, and I want these functions on it
    Developer: OK That will cost XX $ for IE users.
    Customer: Uhm OK
    Developer: ...and YYY $ extra to get it to work with Netscape
    Customer: YYY $ extra? Why?
    Developer: Well, IE and NS have some different features. Those functions you described are easier to make for IE
    Customer: OK I guess you know what you are talking about. I assume we must support Netscape too
    Developer: And then there are some other browsers. If you want them supported you must cut back on functionality, or make a parallell low-feature site.
    Customer: an extra site just in case someone doesn't use IE or Netscape?
    Developer: Yes to catch everybody
    Customer: Guess I don't want to lose any customers. How much would that be?
    Developer: ZZ $
    Customer: ZZ $? How many are using omething else than the major two browsers?
    Developer: Less than one percent of your target group, I'd say
    Customer: OK here is the deal. Start making my site for IE users. Then you can add functionality for Netscape (if they are still around then). I don't think we'll bother with the rest.
    Developer: Are you sure? It might not look so good if some people can't even access your site.
    Customer: Yeah, but it would cost too much. And most people does have IE somewhere if they really want to get here don't they?
    Developer: Yes. Lynx and Opera users are used to being shut out. They may complain, but they'll know how to get aroud the problem.

  • by Bazzargh ( 39195 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @02:45AM (#783777)
    I actually think this MS activity is fairly innocent, but your reasoning here (that its something like Purls [oclc.org]) is all wrong. That facility is provided by a decent implementation of HTTP, to wit dealing with 301 responses as per section 10.3.2 of rfc2616 [isi.edu]:

    10.3.2 301 Moved Permanently

    The requested resource has been assigned a new permanent URI and any future references to this resource SHOULD use one of the returned URIs. Clients with link editing capabilities ought to automatically re-link references to the Request-URI to one or more of the new references returned by the server, where possible.

    (my emphasis). If MS had set things up so that the URLs were like http://www.ms.com/redir?news_service_1 , and were switching between providers, then yes I would agree with you that this was a valid argument, but thats not what they're at.

    As long as they dont mess with *my* bookmarks I don't mind, I've never yet felt the need to use the ones supplied by the browser vendors.

  • Actually folks, I wrote that ending with fake /sarcasm meta tag, as in "this is a joke". Too early in the morning to remember this thing greps out those sorts HTML streams from non-HTML text input.

    My preferred browser? IE. Has been for a long time. Never liked how slow and how much memory Netscape grabbed (esp. the java VM). Also never liked how animated GIFs used to consume 100% of the CPU. Been trying Mozilla, but it looks about 8 months away from completion.

    Goes to show ya' can't tell on Slashdot what's sarcasm, and what's zealotry. My mistake for not clicking the Preview button.
  • The aesthetics and appeal of a website (or any form of computer program) are due to the fundamental design of the program, rather than the way in which it is implemented.

    There's nothing wrong with a visually appealing website, but too many people (usually corporate types) think that in order to be visually appealing, a website must have Flash, javascript and frames. Good, pretty, functional, web design can be done without any of these evils (look at Slashdot for proof of this!).

    The best looking designs needn't be the most technically impressive - Melon Dezign's Amiga demos in the early 1990s proved that the prettiest things are not necessarily the most technically advanced. Someone with good design skills can make something useable and visually impressive, without the need for much complexity. Complexity is often added in order to hide a fundamentally poor design.

  • I'm reading all the replies and wondering, is it finally starting to happen. Everyone knows /. is ant-MS and pro-anything-but-MS. The quickest route to a good karma is a MS slam and ANYTHING even remotely bad for MS is a front page news item but it's a rare day when linux looks bad around here.

    Windows products ain't perfect but NEITHER is Linux (or any *nix for that matter).

    But - IE's been out for a while and since version 4 it's been stable, fast and feature packed - Netscape and others can't hold a candle to it. Windows 2000 proves MS can finally get it right - there hasn't been a single _true_ negative story about W2K here that I can remember. There are millions using these products who've noticed - hey... I'm not crashing. What is this BSOD people talked about? It just works. MS ain't stealing my personal diary nor is it paying me to say good things about it.

    Now this absolutely stupid story comes out from one of the biggest MS haters on-line and perhaps people have finally had enough. Come on Taco, did you take a second to notice that every other browser does this as well? Don't you know your own site tracks the comings and goings of it's users? How about those banner ads? Are you so desperate to slam MS? Your users have noticed and I wonder if enough of them were willing to risk some karma to speak out and tell the truth: Some MS products don't suck. Gates is not a borg and MS isn't a huge death cube from a billion light years away - it's just a hugely successful company that started out much MUCH smaller than any of the current linux companies who rode the wave and sucked down millions/billions in IPO and VC moneys from the unwise. MS came outta a dream of two people without any cash - kinda like Apple. They worked hard and played hard ball to get where they are. If you used any "dirty tricks" - I think no more than any other successful company (wanna check Oracle's records? Novells? Even Apple isn't lilly white. And if you think Red Hat got to where it is just cause it's being "nice" - well... just think about it and review those news stories AFTER the IPO buzz faded).

    Anyway, sorry for the long post - I just think a backlash against unnecessary paranoia might be long overdue. If you got a legit beef and can prove it - hell yeah, great, go for it. But, if you have to resort to mud slinging like this in order to make your personal enemy look bad (especially if the mud could equally be thrown at yourself) - you only make yourself look desperate and show us all that you feel you are on the losing side and going down.

    Just MHO of course, YMMV.
    db
    (now, lets see if there are any honest moderators)
  • I've not seen this mentioned and I'm surprised /. didn't make great hay out of this story but...

    http://www.pc-help.org/privacy/ms_guid.htm

    That I found linked from SecurityFocus.com

    Scary stuff, no? And if you block refers AND cookies you CANNOT navigate their sites as it supposedly gets caught into some sort of loop. If you've got cookies turned off they use refers to track you on their site using a GUID set in the URL and then hidden with a redirect! Just turning off cookies isn't good enough anymore! Thankfully for me @Guard can block refers too, a real shame Symantec bought the product and turned it into crap!

    Interesting that this came about just as IE was about to introduce tools to block 3rd party cookies isn't it? Create a feature but make sure YOU are immune from it - cute.

    Supposedly the Ad Banner folks are really up in arms about this new security feature in IE and are "meeting with MSFT". Gee, what do you think "meeting" means? Little money moving around maybe?

    It's been found that 3rd party sites can redirect through the MSFT GUID server and use the GUID just fine - wonder if the ad banners will start doing that now. And you thought being tracked with an SSN was bad?!

    Welcome to the 'net - here's your GUID and if you don't accept it you can't go anywhere. Here thought I had to worry about the Congress Critters trying to create some sort of silly Internet License - Microsoft has apparently not waited on them! Let's hope this practice doesn't spread and that bringing this slimy thing to the light of day will make it wither and die...
  • Okay, troll me all the way you want.

    But it's the truth.
  • The first key is toggled in the Advanced tab by unchecking "Check for Internet Explorer updates". However, it still doesn't work. Our copies of IE 5 came up with the message asking our 350+ users to update to 5.5. One of them did, hosing up IE entirely (because the install doesn't work with our virus scanner).

    This shows how Microsoft is still clueless about the enterprise market.

  • Just not my day... I guess I missed that little point, didn't I?

    Yup, you're right. As we are all aware enough not to be taken by this, then why on earth is this even a /. story? Oh well..

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