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Comment Re:What about EU users (Score 1) 72

Is that some sort of misplaced arrogance, or do you really not understand how easy blocking WhatsApp/Facebook would be if the German authorities wanted to do it?

People write as if the Internet is some huge network that everyone has unlimited access to, but guess what? It's not. You have an ISP, and somewhere up the line they are hooked in to a relatively small number of pipes in and out of any given country, and those pipes are controlled by a major infrastructure provider that isn't going to argue with the national government.

The political fall-out could be a different question, but somewhere like Germany the people are very cautious about excessive surveillance and profiling for obvious historical reasons, so I wouldn't bet on WhatsApp/Facebook winning the PR battle either.

Comment Re:Aha, so here's the problem: (Score 2) 307

Well, YouTube and the record labels did figure this one out a while ago. They have various forms of advertising along with the content when it's served from YouTube, they're all getting some cut from it, and listeners are free to enjoy the music.

It's reasonable to claim that the ripping tools are undermining that, reducing YouTube usage by promoting illegal copyright infringement as an alternative, and that they are doing so on a commercial scale for profit. So the businesses who have the legal rights are suing, and I can't imagine any likely ending for this that doesn't involve an injunction and significant damages being awarded.

Comment Re:Can we get something like windows 10.01 10.02 (Score 2) 221

What is effectively Windows 7 SP2 is called the Convenience Rollup instead, probably because it avoids complications about extending support dates if a new Service Pack is released, and it's found as KB3125574. See my first post to this discussion for more about how to use it, including installing it without waiting an eternity for Windows Update to get its act together.

Comment Microsoft Update Catalog is my new hero (Score 5, Informative) 221

For general information, if you're installing a fresh Windows 7 now (starting from SP1, presumably) then it seems by far the fastest way to get a system reasonably well patched is to install the Convenience Rollup (KB3125574) and if necessary its prerequisite (KB3020369) from the Microsoft Update Catalog. That immediately brings you up to somewhere around April 2016 in terms of patch level, and you can download the required files quickly from the Catalog site and then install them locally using WUSA without waiting around for hours while Windows Update does whatever its current broken mess needs to do now. The most recent time I did this was just a few days ago, and after doing that it was then another couple of hours for Windows Update to find the rest and install the remaining security updates, but at least it could be done in an afternoon instead of leaving the new PC overnight and hoping it might have found something by the morning. Spybot Anti-Beacon or some similar tool can still turn off the various telemetry junk that you can't now individually because it's all bundled into the CR update.

Incidentally, for those who would prefer to keep security patching their existing Windows 7 systems but not get anything else, there are reportedly (direct from a Microsoft source) going to be monthly security-only bundles as well, but you'll have to get those from Microsoft Update Catalog manually as well, they won't be advertised or pushed out through Windows Update. So it looks like the new SOP is to turn off Windows Update entirely (as a bonus, you get back that CPU core that's been sitting at 100% running the svchost.exe process containing the Windows Update service for the last few months) and instead just go along and manually download the security bundle each month to install locally.

Of course, Microsoft Update Catalog requires Internet Explorer 6.0 or later and won't run with any of the other modern browsers, but I'll live with using IE to access it if it means I get security-patched but otherwise minimally screwed up Windows 7 machines for another 3 years.

Also, it's been confirmed that this policy will apply to all editions of Windows 7. It's not an Enterprise-only feature and doesn't require the use of WSUS etc. Let's hope they stick to their word on this one.

Comment Re:Already compensated (Score 1) 178

Microsoft have been fined roughly $2B in Europe for various antitrust-related violations, as well as ultimately being forced to change their software. As far as I'm aware, they are still the recipient of the largest fine of that nature in history.

In the US, at one stage a court even ruled that Microsoft should be broken up because of the nature of their software bundling arrangements, though that was subsequently overturned on appeal.

Numerous sources can be yours for the price of entering "Microsoft antitrust" into the search engine of your choice.

Comment Re:The beatings will continue until morale improve (Score 1) 134

Yes, in some places that is true, but I am talking here about "minor" copyright infringement. If stealing a $1 chocolate bar is criminal theft, I'm suggesting (as a basis for discussion) that perhaps downloading a movie instead of buying a $10 DVD should be criminal copyright infringement, and therefore something that public authorities are responsible for policing in the same way that they would prosecute someone caught stealing a chocolate bar from a store.

Comment Re:Already compensated (Score 1) 178

You can't force a company to meet your standards unless you can get a court verdict against them, and that's already been tried with Microsoft and it failed.

Erm... Say what? For one thing, Microsoft has lost some of the biggest lawsuits and been subject to some of the most severe penalties in the modern corporate tech sector. For another thing, the issues around their direction with Windows 10 haven't been litigated yet, and the kind of consumer advocacy we're discussing in this very thread is often how that process starts.

Comment Re:Sounds good (Score 1) 134

OK, I'll take you at your word and ask you this, then: why is insider trading considered a bad thing? It's only acting rationally based on true facts. Regardless of the outcome for the inside trader, no other investor was ever guaranteed any particular value for the shares they hold. The business itself is still there and has still issued the same number of shares. So why has anyone lost out in insider trading, and why does the law prohibit it, in your view?

Comment Re:Already compensated (Score 1) 178

So if you want to sit around and whine about how bad MS is, go ahead, but it isn't productive and it's annoying.

Strange that you're still posting in this discussion if you find it so annoying. Also strange that you seem to equate everyone's comments here with mere whining, when at least the people I've been reading and debating with seem to be more interested in talking about actions that might usefully be taken in the real world.

The only rational solution, if you don't like the way they're treating you, is to vote with your feet.

Well, no, we could also raise awareness of the issues to put pressure on them to change their behaviour, and if that doesn't work, we could take legal action on various grounds, which is customarily how one enforces one's rights against a business that is misbehaving and refuses to do better.

or 2) you can find a better vendor.

The trouble is, if all anyone ever does it post online about how they'll take their business elsewhere, that doesn't magically create any better vendors to move to. It takes competition in the market place to do that, and part of that competition comes from holding vendors to the standards we require of them in terms of treating their customers fairly and punishing those that do not meet those standards.

Comment Re:The beatings will continue until morale improve (Score 1) 134

The commercial artists who experimented with a low-threshold access to material (by not enforcing copyright) showed us empirical data that this is in fact a more likely explanation of reality.

Really? Most of the experiments I've seen along those lines seem to have found results that were far less positive about people paying for work just out of good nature, and most of the exceptions were situations where the artist was already very well known thanks to earlier work supported by the usual payment model. Did you have any specific examples in mind where that was not the case?

Of course there are always those who will give money to support creative work that they believe in, entirely voluntarily. Charity applies in this sector as in almost any other with worthy goals. But it's a big jump from acknowledging that other forms of funding can be viable and useful in some cases to arguing that the copyright-backed model doesn't generate substantial extra revenues over relying on charity or other alternative models alone.

Comment Re:Already compensated (Score 1) 178

Where in the anti-trust trial was the part about deceiving users into installing a completely different operating system from the one they thought they were getting, even if they actively didn't want it? Either I missed that minor detail, or you're just making stuff up to support a poor attempt at trolling.

Comment Re:Already compensated (Score 1) 178

They didn't decline to use Windows in the first place.

What does that have to do with the price of fish? Obviously no-one purchasing Windows 7 back in 2010 knew what the situation would be today, nor did they necessarily give any consent to anything Microsoft today might do unless it was clearly part of their contract of sale. For that matter, someone who purchased a new PC with Windows 7 installed last week presumably wasn't expecting or asking for that PC to be "upgraded" immediately to Windows 10 instead. (You did realise that Windows 7 PCs are just about still available from OEMs today, right?)

Windows Update is an integral part of the OS, and the only way to get security updates, so of course they can also use it to sneak in stuff you don't want.

That may be true technically, but it's far from true legally. That's why they could be in trouble now.

Also, keep in mind that security updates necessarily imply that the original product was defective. The main reason big software companies get away with not being sued all the time for shipping defective products and the damage caused by those defects is that as long as there is a reasonable culture of ongoing support, in particular fixing serious defects such as security vulnerabilities for free and in timely fashion, there is a happy if somewhat informal understanding. Microsoft have long published the lengths of time they commit to giving that support for as part of their lifecycle documentation, and their customers have made purchasing decisions based on that public information. They don't get to go back on that now without taking the consequences, nor does any practical need for them to provide security patches somehow imply that they have permission to do anything else using the same technical mechanisms.

Again, if you don't like the way Microsoft treats you as a customer, stop buying their products.

Perhaps a lot of people already did, but that in no way affects what they are entitled to in connection with any purchases they already made.

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