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Windows

Underground Piracy Sites Want To Block Windows 10 Users 394

An anonymous reader writes: Some smaller pirate sites have become concerned about Windows 10 system phoning home too many hints regarding that the users are accessing their site. Therefore, the pirate administrators have started blocking Windows 10 users from accessing the BitTorrent trackers that the sites host. The first ones to hit the alarm button were iTS, which have posted a statement and started redirecting Windows 10 users to a YouTube video called Windows 10 is a Tool to Spy on Everything You Do. Additionally, according to TorrentFreak, two other similar dark web torrent trackers are also considering following suit. "As we all know, Microsoft recently released Windows 10. You as a member should know, that we as a site are thinking about banning the OS from FSC," said one of the FSC staff. Likewise, in a message to their users, a BB admin said something similar: "We have also found [Windows 10] will be gathering information on users' P2P use to be shared with anti piracy group."
Windows

A Naysayer's Take On Windows 10: Potential Privacy Mess, and Worse 485

Lauren Weinstein writes: I had originally been considering accepting Microsoft's offer of a free upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10. After all, reports have suggested that it's a much more usable system than Windows 8/8.1 — but of course in keeping with the 'every other MS release of Windows is a dog' history, that's a pretty low bar. However, it appears that MS has significantly botched their deployment of Windows 10. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised, even though hope springs eternal. Since there are so many issues involved, and MS is very aggressively pushing this upgrade, I'm going to run through key points here quickly, and reference other sites' pages that can give you more information right now. But here's my executive summary: You may want to think twice, or three times, or many more times, about whether or not you wish to accept the Windows 10 free upgrade on your existing Windows 7 or 8/8.1 system. Now that we're into the first week of widespread availability for the new version, if you're a Windows user and upgrader, has your experience been good, horrible, or someplace between?
Software

Microsoft's Skype Drops Modern App In Favour of Old-Fashioned Win32 App 186

mikejuk writes: Microsoft, after putting a lot of effort into persuading us that Universal Apps are the way of the future, pulls the plug on Skype modern app, to leave just the desktop version. Skype is one of Microsoft's flagship products and it has been available as a desktop Win32 app and as a Modern/Metro/WinRT app for some time. You would think that Skype would support Universal Apps, there are few enough of them — but no. According to the Skype blog: 'Starting on July 7, we're updating PC users of the Windows modern application to the Windows desktop application, and retiring the modern application.' Microsoft is pushing Windows 10 Universal Apps as the development platform for now and the future, but its Skype team have just disagreed big time. If Microsoft can't get behind the plan why should developers? (Also at Windows Central and VentureBeat.)
Networking

Parents' Campaign Leads To Wi-Fi Ban In New Zealand School 294

drmofe writes "Two parents in New Zealand have orchestrated the removal of a school's Wi-Fi system. They have expressed the concerns that Wi-Fi causes cancer and other health issues. The child of one of these parents died recently from brain cancer. This appears to be an emotional area and one where decisions appear to be being made without evidence. The NZ Ministry of Education provides guidelines for the safe use of Wi-Fi in schools and the school itself was operating within those guidelines."
Bug

Netflix Users In Danger of Unknowingly Picking Up Malware 153

An anonymous reader writes "Users of Silverlight, Microsoft's answer to Adobe Flash, are in danger of having malware installed on their computers and being none the wiser, as an exploit for a critical vulnerability (CVE-2013-0634) in the app framework has been added to the Angler exploit kit. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if an attacker hosts a website that contains a specially crafted Silverlight application that could exploit this vulnerability and then convinces a user to view the website. The attacker could also take advantage of compromised websites and websites that accept or host user-provided content or advertisements." You'd think something like Silverlight would automatically upgrade itself.
Firefox

Firefox's Blocked-By-Default Java Isn't Going Down Well 362

JG0LD writes "The Firefox web browser will, henceforth, require users to manually activate Java objects on sites that they visit, Mozilla has confirmed. This even affects up-to-date versions of Java, which you can see on the block list. The change is aimed at improving security and moving away from a dependence on proprietary plug-ins, but critics say it will cause untold headaches for developers, admins and less-technical end-users. "
Communications

Ask Slashdot: Can We Still Trust FIPS? 138

First time accepted submitter someSnarkyBastard writes "It has already been widely reported that the NSA has subverted several major encryption standards but I have not seen any mention of how this affects the FIPS 140-2 standard. Can we still trust these cyphers? They have been cleared for use by the US Government for Top-Secret clearance documents; surely the government wouldn't backdoor itself right?...Right?"
Security

TOR Wants You To Stop Using Windows, Disable JavaScript 341

itwbennett writes "The TOR Project is advising that people stop using Windows after the discovery of a startling vulnerability in Firefox that undermined the main advantages of the privacy-centered network. The zero-day vulnerability allowed as-yet-unknown interlopers to use a malicious piece of JavaScript to collect crucial identifying information on computers visiting some websites using The Onion Router (TOR) network. 'Really, switching away from Windows is probably a good security move for many reasons,' according to a security advisory posted Monday by The TOR Project."
Businesses

India To Overtake US On Number of Developers By 2017 157

dcblogs writes "There are about 18.2 million software developers worldwide, a number that is due to rise to 26.4 million by 2019, a 45% increase, says Evans Data Corp. in its latest Global Developer Population and Demographic Study. Today, the U.S. leads the world in software developers, with about 3.6 million. India has about 2.75 million. But by 2018, India will have 5.2 million developers, a nearly 90% increase, versus 4.5 million in the U.S., a 25% increase though that period, Evans Data projects. India's software development growth rate is attributed, in part, to its population size, 1.2 billion, and relative youth, with about half the population under 25 years of age. Rapid economic growth is fueling interest in development. India's services firms hire, in many cases, thousands of new employees each quarter. Consequently, IT and software work is seen as clear path to the middle class for many of the nation's young. For instance, in one quarter this year, Tata Consultancy Services added more than 17,000 employees, gross, bringing its total headcount to 263,600. In the same quarter of 2010, the company had about 150,000 workers."
Windows

The Black Underbelly of Windows 8.1 'Blue' 608

snydeq writes "Changes in Microsoft's forthcoming upgrade to Windows 8 reveal the dark underbelly of Microsoft's evolving agenda, one that finds pieces of Windows 8 inexplicably disappearing and a new feature that allows Microsoft to track your local searches cropping up, InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard reports. 'As Windows 8.1 Milestone Preview testers push and prod their way into the dark corners of Windows 8.1 "Blue," they're finding a bunch of things that go bump in the night. From new and likely unwelcome features, to nudges into the Microsoft data tracking sphere, to entire lopped-off pieces of Windows 8, it looks like Microsoft is changing Windows to further its own agenda.'" A lot of the stuff the article gripes about are what Google has been doing for ages with Android: requiring a Microsoft account, funneling users to their services first, tracking your system usage, etc.
IT

Why Your Users Hate Agile 597

Esther Schindler writes "What developers see as iterative and flexible, users see as disorganized and never-ending. This article discusses how some experienced developers have changed that perception. '... She's been frustrated by her Agile experiences — and so have her clients. "There is no process. Things fly all directions, and despite SVN [version control] developers overwrite each other and then have to have meetings to discuss why things were changed. Too many people are involved, and, again, I repeat, there is no process.' The premise here is not that Agile sucks — quite to the contrary — but that developers have to understand how Agile processes can make users anxious, and learn to respond to those fears. Not all those answers are foolproof. For example: 'Detailed designs and planning done prior to a project seems to provide a "safety net" to business sponsors, says Semeniuk. "By providing a Big Design Up Front you are pacifying this request by giving them a best guess based on what you know at that time — which is at best partial or incorrect in the first place." The danger, he cautions, is when Big Design becomes Big Commitment — as sometimes business sponsors see this plan as something that needs to be tracked against. "The big concern with doing a Big Design up front is when it sets a rigid expectation that must be met, regardless of the changes and knowledge discovered along the way," says Semeniuk.' How do you respond to user anxiety from Agile processes?"
Windows

Windows 8 Killing PC Sales 1010

yl-roller writes "IDC says Windows 8 is partly to blame for PC sales suffering the largest percentage drop ever. 'As if that news wasn't' troubling enough, it appears that a pivotal makeover of Microsoft's ubiquitous Windows operating system seems to have done more harm than good since the software was released last October.' According to a ZDNet article, IDC originally expected a drop, but only half the size."
Microsoft

Windows 8 Even Less Popular Than Vista 791

New submitter NettiWelho writes with even more bad news for Microsoft. From the article: "Windows 8 uptake has slipped behind Vista's at the same point after its release. Windows 8 online usage share is around 1.6% of all Windows PCs, which is less than the 2.2% share that Windows Vista commanded at the same two-month mark after release. Net Applications monitors operating system usage by recording OS version for around 40,000 sites it monitors for clients. The slowdown for Windows 8 adoption is a bad sign for Microsoft, who experienced great success with the release of Windows 7. Data was measured up to the 22nd of December, so there is still time by the end of the month for Windows 8 to claim a higher percentage of the user base."
Operating Systems

NPD Group Analysts Say Windows 8 Sales Sluggish 269

Nerval's Lobster writes "While Microsoft claims it's sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses in the month since launch—a more rapid pace than Windows 7—new data from research firm The NPD Group suggests that isn't helping sales of actual Windows devices, which, in its estimation, are down 21 percent from last year. Desktops dropped 9 percent year-over-year, while notebooks fell 24 percent. 'After just four weeks on the market, it's still early to place blame on Windows 8 for the ongoing weakness in the PC market,' Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at The NPD Group, wrote in a Nov. 29 statement attached to the data. 'We still have the whole holiday selling season ahead of us, but clearly Windows 8 did not prove to be the impetus for a sales turnaround some had hoped for.'" That seems to match the public grumbling of Acer and Asus about early sales. And though these figures exclude Surface sales, the newly announced prices on for new Windows 8 Pro-equipped Surface tablets might not endear them to anyone. Have you (or has your business?) moved to Windows 8?

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