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Comment Firefox is getting worse (Score 1) 163

I've been using Firefox since the early versions and it is only in the last couple of years that it has given me any problems. The most frustrating is strange crashes on mainstream websites, on multiple platforms. By far the worst Firefox version is on Android which really pisses me off. I like checking in on several websites on my Android tablet of a morning and Firefox crashes more than once a day and I am really sick of that stupid sorry message...

I also use Firefox on Linux and Windows - both have problems - and the only reason I keep using it is the support for plugins and extensions that I want and that Chrome does not support on Android. If Mozilla screws with those, there is no reason to just move to Chrome and forget about Firefox. While I do not think that Mozilla will care about the loss on one user, I suspect there are more people in a similar position which is why Firefox has been losing market share for a while. Maybe someone will fork Firefox and Mozilla will just fade away.

Chrome is the only browser I use on my work PC and is used at home for Netflix on Linux. It isn't terrible, just lacking some of the extension I have on Firefox that make it inconvenient to use.

Comment Result: Pissed off OEMs (Score 1) 171

MS is just likely to piss off OEMs with these demands. Windows has been a failure on mobile devices and OEMs cannot afford to build devices that will not turn a profit. Windows is only hanging on the the desktop/laptop market because everyone just sees it as the default OS, even when they hate it. If MS can convince OEMs that there is a market, by backing up the targets with tangible market research, there is a chance that they will get their way. Bullying OEMs that are already selling products with alternative operating systems is unlikely to work.

HP, ASUS, Dell, Acer and other MS OEMs have released chromebooks that are much lower priced than Windows laptops but still capable of meeting the needs of many consumers. Business customers are less likely to give up Windows and turn to a chromebooks but it does show OEMs are keeping their options open. I would not expect these OEMs to entirely abandon Windows but would expect them to only release windows with product lines that they know has a profitable market. A miscalculation in MS demands could easily result in fewer devices shipping with Windows.

Comment What else do you expect from the new MS? (Score 4, Informative) 498

I've seen Windows 10 updates make a computer unusable for hours, particularly for any application where a bit of processing power it needed. Forcing actions that interfere with the owner's use of a computer is another malware trait to add to the adware and spyware that MS bundled with Win 10. It is hard to believe that MS is actually getting away with this sort of behaviour. There are real consequences for Windows users, particularly those in small business that rely on MS products to operate their business but are too small to have the extra control that MS might allow large companies.

Problems with Windows are only going to get worse. Many businesses are unwilling to give up Win 7 and put up with the shit that MS is trying to force on them with Win 10. The same customers mostly avoided Win 8 so are using a OS that MS will abandon, without supplying a functional replacement. MS seems to be completely lost and confused, with an attitude of refusing to give customers what they want but still expecting them to buy their crap.

If Linux companies are smart about this, there could be a huge jump in Linux adoption that convinces more software companies to port their products to Linux. Time will tell. I know from personal experience that it has been very easy to get Win 10 users ready to try Linux.

Windows is losing relevancy as the shift to mobile devices continues and many people no longer need a desktop OS. A sign of just how significant this has become is MS releasing several products onto Android. There are an increasing number of large developers that have little interest in Windows, preferring to focus on other platforms. If MS loses their near monopoly of the desktop OS market, their whole world could come crashing down very quickly.

Comment Maybe the guardian article was alarmist but... (Score 1) 70

Educating the public to privacy and security issues is a worthwhile exercise. Maybe it isn't a backdoor but people seem to be increasingly concerned when it is suggested that their messages can be intercepted and read by third parties. This can only be a good thing. Our privacy has been eroded by several large corporations and a weird fascination with social media. Several companies want access to all of our data but the number of high profile breaches illustrate a significant risk in trusting others with anything particularly sensitive.

If people want their messaging to be secure and private, they need to understand that end to end encryption is required and the standard for this method must be that it is not exploitable, through poor security implementation or backdoors. Sending commercially sensitive business information through an insecure communications method is just stupid and might not be legal in some circumstances. We also have our own sensitive financial or personal information that could be misused in the wrong hands. Getting people to Consider security and privacy issues a little more is a positive.

Comment More proof that win 10 is malware (Score 4, Insightful) 172

One of the most annoying forms of PC based malware has long been adware. It is now new to have adware being bundled with applications, only to be found and removed by the better antivirus products. Now that MS bundles adware in Win 10, those poor fools with win 10 are stuck with this malware. On the positive side, it does make it insanely easy to show people just how bad and creepy Win 10 is and show that MS cannot be trusted.

Comment Windows 10 needs a lot of changes first (Score 1) 503

As others have pointed out, Windows 10 is bundled with malware right from Microsoft, in the form of spyware and adware. Forced updates happening at inconvenient times can leave a win 10 almost useless, particular if what you are trying to do is CPU intensive. There is a lot of lost productivity around the way MS has forced updates, even when they don't break something important. I know people that just gave up on the personal win 10 laptops because they just couldn't use them when they wanted. Updates on Win 7 are not entirely painless but you can at least schedule them for a more convenient time.

My workplace is on Win 7 and I cannot see them changing to 10.

I'm writing this on my Linux desktop which does not come bundled with malware and where updates can be run without interfering with using the computer. Win 10 has providest the greatest boost to Linux adoption that I've even seen.

Comment First they try to kill it and now it saves them... (Score 1) 87

The music industry fought hard against streaming music services, claiming they would destroy the music industry, and what they tried to kill has actually saved them. This is just more evidence that the music industry does not understand their customers or their own industry. They blamed pirates for the falling profits when studies has shown casual pirates to be some of the biggest spending customers of legal music. Maybe the obvious point should have been that pirates do not like to wait for their music and would happily pay for service that gives them immediate access to the music they crave.

While streaming may have saved the music industry, it is also just one technology that illustrates how the world has moved on from the traditional music distribution methods. A artist can sell directly to their customers through streaming services, leaving the big labels with less control over the industry and providing content producers with much more freedom to profit from their work. There have been many stories pointing out how little artists have been paid by their labels which kept the bulk of the profits. Successful but broke artists can be a thing of the past.

Consumers win through easier access to music and by having more music to choose from.

Comment Follow the laws to avoid fines (Score 2) 160

Companies often try to use licenses and agreements to get around laws. It can be amusing when they find out that this doesn't actually work. The laws specifying the circumstance where a refund is required are very simple and not unreasonable. A customer that just changes their mind has no legal right to a refund. A product that does not live up to the claims there were made by the seller, is defective or not fit for purpose must be refunded. A truthful seller has nothing to fear.

The ACCC regularly goes after companies for breaches of Australian corporate law and $3M is not a big fine when you consider Steam refused a lot of refunds where it was legally required to give a refund. Only weeks ago a drug company was fined $6M over misleading claims. Individual offences can be up to $10M per breach.

In Australia it is actually an offence for seller to put up sign stating that no refunds are give under any circumstances.

When it comes to software being fit for purpose and living up to the original claims there are extra complications compared to a physical product. An update that changes functionality so that the original claims are not met or that makes the software no long fit for purpose could leave the buyer with a right for a refund. It might not be a complete refund, depending on the time it was in use and actual changes but it give sellers something to consider. Again, an honest and truthful seller that does not screw their customers has nothing to fear.

Comment HRD was once free (Score 2) 177

Ham Radio Deluxe is proprietary software but was originally free to use. That changed after a change of ownership. The free versions had no restrictions and worked exceptionally well with my radio gear. I have not used the new paid version of HRD because I don't like how this played out or the tactics of the new owner. I got my ham license 25 years ago and still have radios that require a license, although I don't really use them very much. Ham radio is not dead but there are many convenient methods of communication today that it is just one option of many.

Since Linux is my main OS now, I've use a some Linux based software with my radios but nothing as user friendly as the original HRD. That does not mean that there isn't good ham radio software available for Linux, just that it can take a bit more effort to get working and to use. One day I'll get my radio gear out again and take the time to get Linux setup with some of the good software available.

Comment Stronger protections needed (Score 4, Interesting) 63

Spyware and adware were once universally considered to be malware but there appears to be some exceptions now... Many ad supported mobile apps are known to leak personal data to Ad networks with no protections on how that data or sold. This should be considered spyware but many people are willing to accept it. While the subject of this article is a more extreme example of the spectrum of spyware, it isn't clear where people draw the line. Without strong legal protections, consumers are at the mercy of device manufacturers that are driven by profit, with little interest in looking after their customers privacy. Manufacturers might be embarrassed when the a caught out with poor security practises or when they are spying on users but that is a pretty weak form of protection.

A scary escalation is the move of this sort of software from the mobile device to traditional computing platforms (laptop and desktop). Windows 10 telemetry could, and should, be considered to be spyware. After MS started displaying ads it became adware as well.

When it is law enforcement or security agencies spying on the public there is much more of a reaction than when a company does it.

Comment OMG, Arresting people that break the law... (Score 2) 212

There are very few applications for a DDoS attack that could be considered legal. The FBI, and other law enforcement agencies, should be arresting those that break the law. Maybe that will leave them less time to spy on the rest of us...

There are more victims in a DDoS attack than the target. They can include:
* The people or organisations with infected devices that launch the attack that can have actual costs due to the use of their connections.
* Internet service providers.
* The rest of us that just want to be able to surf the net without reduced performance.
* Those that have a legitimate reason and right to access the target of the attack.

I can't see any reason to feel sympathetic towards the customers of DDoS for hire that get caught. Lock them up like any other criminal.

Comment McAffee was good but is now junk (Score 1) 45

Many years ago, McAfee was a good AV product but it has been junk for several years now. Unfortunately, it is getting tough to find a reliable AV that is suitable for computer literate customers. This story is not the only example of McAfee actually reducing the security of the machines it is installed on.

In the past, I encouraged people in a business environment to used the AV product that they preferred. That diversity can help to catch threats that a single product misses. Those with McAfee installed were the laptops that were most often infected by a virus and often the evidence of infection came from other computers with different AV products that prevented an infection. It was scary just how bad it was so I had to change the policy to ban it.

Unfortunately, it is tough to find a good AV product, that is reliable and does not cause more problems than an extensive infection. Too many false positives, huge drops in performance, interruption work of productive work with forced reboots and annoying popups are widespread. I used AVG for many years, including in a volume licensed business environment, until it became crapware as well... Now I rely on other security products and systems that a virus resistant.

Comment MS is completely wrong (Score 5, Insightful) 181

Telemetry should be able to be switched off entirely, on all Windows installs, so that our right to privacy in respected. Many of the apps that I use include telemetry but I only use those that provide an option to disable their telemetry, even though I will allow telemetry from some trusted apps. MS have repeated demonstrated that they cannot be trusted and it is scary that the released an entire OS that is actually spyware. In any case, it means that Windows 7 will be the last version I allow to be installed on any computer I own.

If Windows update doesn't work without telemetry, that is a demonstration of MS incompetence and a very bad design decision. Linux is my main OS and it sends no telemetry for updates, while still managing to install updates. Those Linux updates also cover every piece of software I have installed in that OS, not just OS updates.

Submission + - Google successfully uses machine learning to detect diabetic retinopathy (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: Diabetic eye disease is caused by retinopathy. Affected diabetics can have small tears inside the eye, causing bleeding. Over time, they can lose vision, and ultimately, they can go blind. Luckily, Google has been trying to use machine learning to detect diabetic retinopathy. Guess what? The search giant has seen much success. Not only are the computers able to detect the disease at the same level as ophthalmologists, but Google is actually slightly better!

Submission + - Neuroscientists Say Simple Mathematical Logic Drives Complex Brain Computation (sci-news.com)

hackingbear writes: According to Dr. Joe Tsien, a neuroscientist at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, the brain’s basic computational algorithm is organized by power-of-two-based logic. He and his colleagues from US and China have documented the algorithm at work in seven different brain regions involved with those basics like food and fear in mice and hamsters. “Intelligence is really about dealing with uncertainty and infinite possibilities,” he said, “It appears to be enabled when a group of similar neurons form a variety of cliques to handle each basic like recognizing food, shelter, friends and foes. Groups of cliques then cluster into functional connectivity motifs (FCMs) to handle every possibility in each of these basics. The more complex the thought, the more cliques join in.”

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