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Cloud

Submission + - Microsoft Azure total outage for secured storage (sfgate.com) 2

rtfa-troll writes: There has been worldwide (all locations) total outage of storage in Microsoft's Azure cloud. Apparently "Microsoft unwittingly let an online security certificate expire Friday, triggering a worldwide outage in an online service that stores data for a wide range of business customers." according to the San Francisco Chronicle (also Yahoo and the Register). Perhaps too much time has been spent sucking up to storage vendros and not enough looking after the customers? This comes directly after a week long outage of one of Microsoft's SQL server components in Azure. This is not the first time that we have discussed major outages on Azure and probably won't be the last. It's certainly also not the first time that we have discussed Microsoft cloud systems making user's data unavailable.
Android

Submission + - Microsoft blames PC makers for Windows failure. (theregister.co.uk) 1

rtfa-troll writes: The Register tells us that Microsoft has begun squabbling with PC manufacturers over the reasons behind the failure of Windows 8. Microsoft is "frustrated with major OEMs who didn't build nearly enough touch systems". PC manufacturers have hit back saying that they "would have been saddled with the costs of a huge piles of unsold units" claiming that customers actually avoided higher end touch products which were available and instead bought lower end cheaper laptops whilst "Microsoft is not blaming itself for" the failure of it's own touch device, surface RT. The PC manufacturer's claims that touch is the problem seem to be backed by reviews, and some educational rants from users and opinion from user interface design experts, however Microsoft sees this differently . Microsoft is planning to strike back at the PC vendors in February with Surface pro; with a shorter battery life and much heavier than a normal tablet, this is being seen as a direct competitor to traditional laptops. By using it's desktop operating system franchise as a lever Microsoft will be able to enter the lower specification end of the Laptop market with a cost advantage which make make life difficult for former partners such as HP and Dell.

We've discussed previously how some PC manufactures such as Dell have failed in generational change whilst others have diversified to survive market chainges; Samsung with Android and the (still) bestselling Chromebook. ASUS with their successful Nexus tablets. We also discussed the ergonomic problems which are claimed to make touch screens unsuitable for PC use.

Microsoft

Submission + - Recycling a single software UI makes Windows 8 a productivity eating "monster" (useit.com)

rtfa-troll writes: Usability expert Jakob Nielsen has a detailed posting on Windows 8 Metro UI (sometimes called "Modern"). The article goes through the design mistakes which "strangles [the user's] productivity" and talks about the "Error-Prone Gestures" with "swipe ambiguity" included in Windows and discovered with only a limited level of usability testing. He then goes on to say that, whilst it is possible that 'Windows 9 will be "Metro Done Right"', "Windows 8 is Mr. Hyde: a monster that terrorizes poor office workers" and that the fundamental unsolvable problem is "the idea of recycling a single software UI for two very different classes of hardware devices." The saddest part of the article? Jakob is a well respected academic and when he previously criticised usability in iPad apps, one year later most of those apps had improved based on that feedback; reaction from Android was similar. In his criticism of Windows 8 he actually had to include a section "I Don't Hate Microsoft" through fear of being accused of being a "fanboy or a Microsoft hater". Will Microsoft listen or is it stuck in the echo chamber of it's online reputation managers?
Censorship

Submission + - Bad review of Windows 8 app store mysteriously disappears (theregister.co.uk)

rtfa-troll writes: One of the first reviews of Microsoft Windows 8 to include coverage of Microsoft's app store has been deleted almost before it was made available. Most reviews of the Surface tablet have focused on the base 32Gb flash memory and own brand keyboard whilst avoiding key tablet features such as screen resolution, weight, battery life and amount of space taken by the OS install. None so far have covered the details of the App store which is the only source of the "Modern Interface" (Metro) apps for the soon to arrive Surface tablets which are incapable of running traditional "Windows" desktop applications. In what seems a clear sign that the main IT media is not willing to allow criticism of Microsoft, one of the few reviews to cover Microsoft's Windows App store has been almost instantly disappeared from Gartner's blog site. The register has a screen dumped version of the review which, coming from Gartner, the Microsoft partner who predicted 20% market share for Mango (Windows Phone 7), is actually surprisingly "on message" to be deleted. With Microsoft putting well over a billion dollars into advertising, is there any chance that there will be fair reporting the failings of surface and Windows 8?
Microsoft

Submission + - Windows Phone - the Bridgehead past security. (symantec.com) 2

rtfa-troll writes: Symantec has just shown that the Crisis cross platform virus is able to spread to Windows mobile devices. Unfortunately the mobile module of the virus has not yet been recovered and analysed, however the implications for malware research are obvious. Where iOS malware is practically non-existent with complaints of 'too much security' and Android malware has had to be deliberately installed from 3rd party app stores it seems that more advance malware with fully automated distribution is going to come back with Windows Phone 8 which is going to be a relief for AV vendors frustrated by Apple's lack of need for security software

Microsoft has been very keen to stress that Windows Phone is a real Windows, using the same NT kernel and providing full integration with other Windows systems. Their hope is that corporate IT departments will push Windows Phone forward where consumers have rejected it. As mobile devices, Windows Phones will be continually exposed to varied external networks. The tight integration of Windows phone with user's existing Windows infrastructure, in contrast to the iOS and Android approach of making the phone fully independent and able to run stand-alone, makes the Windows 8 system an ideal bridgehead for attacks on home and corporate networks. Crisis uses Windows integration via the "Remote Application Programming Interface (RAPI)" to drop an unknown attack module direct to the phone. From that situation it's other major new features — the ability to attack Windows Virtual machines — and follow up into OS/X systems makes

In order to show the existence of the Windows phone module Symantec had to do full code analysis of Crisis, details given in the article. Unfortunately the Crisis attack module for Windows Phone has not yet been captured and is very likely not yet deployed in the wild, waiting for Windows 8 to start replace Windows Phone 7 in Crisis target environments. This means that protecting against any zero day vulnerabilities in the system is currently impossible. Worse; the knowledge of the almost certain existence of these vulnerabilities must inevitably lead to a scramble within the malware industry to work out how to take advantage of the vulnerabilities once they are finally discovered. Crisis is described as an "advanced threat" and seems to be part of a toolkit aimed primarily marketed to police forces.

Google

Submission + - Microsoft recommended Google privacy breach and then destroyed the trail. (computerworld.com) 1

rtfa-troll writes: Recently we reported on Microsoft's accusation that Google had been bypassing privacy controls. The story continued with Google attempting to explain the difficulties with P3P. Now, according to Computerworld, it turns out that Google was actually following a Microsoft recommendation and that prior to the accusation against Google, Microsoft deleted the support page with the recommendation (apparently still online at archive.org) which means that Google can no longer point to it to explain why they did what they did. The original article behind this (warning: PDF) goes into more detail about various aspects of privacy and P3P policies including what is wrong with Microsoft's recommendation.
Microsoft

Submission + - Windows Phone SMS of death. (reghardware.com)

rtfa-troll writes: On the very day that Microsoft openly announces a bribe for people who will smear Android security on Twitter Microsoft has managed to revive Nokia's classic 2001 SMS of death bug. Users who are willing to complain in tweets about malware they have downloaded onto their phones will be given a free phone which doesn't even need a download to be cracked wide open. For the users that may end up with a windows phone, security researchers are asking "haven't they suffered enough?".
Microsoft

Submission + - Drunkeness and sexual harassment alledged at MS UK (telegraph.co.uk) 1

rtfa-troll writes: A picture of vodka fountains, indefinite Jaegermiester and sexual harassment is emerging from Microsoft. The former second in command at Microsoft UK was accused of sexual misconduct involving at least five separate women. A Microsoft internal investigation was unable to prove the allegations but decided to fire Simon Negus for having "behaved dishonestly, and thereby acted in a manner calculated or likely to destroy trust and confidence between him and Microsoft" and sue him £75k. Now Negus, who already as a new job as COO at Upstream Systems has struck back with a £10 million false dismissal suit alleging a culture of drunken parties and claiming that other (Male) management at Microsoft were so drunk they followed a female Microsoft UK manager into the ladies’ lavatories. I guess we can now guess why senior managers go away to Microsoft vowing never to buy anything and come back with signed contracts; presumably it was just lying there next to them in the morning and they were too afraid to ask what happened.
Cloud

Submission + - 18 days out of Office 356 and still pay half price (theregister.co.uk) 1

rtfa-troll writes: Microsoft is preparing it's customers for plenty of outage time according to the Register, with a scheme for office 365 which will give customers some money back. The offer seems to be Microsoft's answer to Google offering a '100% uptime guarantee' (they even pay for maintenance time) The most interesting thing about the scheme is that you can have a one and a half day outage every month (or is that 18 solid days a year???) and still expect to pay half price. I wonder Microsoft have put the Sidekick management in charge of their customer's data.
Looking forward my expense forms have getting eaten by the cloud so I have to fill them in again.

Microsoft

Submission + - Windows 7 phones already buy one get one free (theregister.co.uk)

rtfa-troll writes: Even with the pre-Christmas buying rush, the Register writes that Microsoft is already desperately offering a new buy one get one free offers similar to the ones they gave for the KIN.. According to the register article, "Windows Phone 7 devices can't even manage two per cent of the fortnight's sales.". These aren't official Microsoft figures, they come from online shopping sites, but since Microsoft official sales figures seem subject to manipulation (also discussed on /.) this is may be one of the better guesses we will get at the success of Windows 7 until well into next year. Also this strongly backs up other reports of deeply disappointing phone sales. Even Microsoft supporters have been wondering for a while whether it's time for Ballmer to go? If the sales reports are true then it looks like he may be pushed before he jumps.
Microsoft

Submission + - MS's Ho named as side kicker; MS dodges and weaves 1

rtfa-troll writes: In an earlier Slashdot story Microsoft claimed to have restored all sidekick data; however it turns out that only contacts and not photographs, notes, to-do lists, marketplace data and high scores have been restored for affected users; the "The Danger / Microsoft team continues to work around the clock" fixing he problem.. In the meantime, Microsoft's damage limitation strategy is to blame other vendors involved for the fault whilst claiming that it's other services such as SharePointare somehow different and failing to explain why there was no adequate backup of their user's data. Unfortunately for Microsoft, it seems that information is leaking. It's already clear that the failure must have involved doing an upgrade without an adequate backup however the implication was that this was because danger was a small company staffed by IT incompetents. In the meantime an alternative explanation has been doing the rounds. According to this story there was a backup and danger's engineers had already started to make an up to date backup before the SAN upgrade failure which destroyed all sidekick user's data. However, the backup was terminated on Microsoft Management decision (supposedly from Roz Ho, Corporate Vice President, Premium Mobile Experiences) If true then there is a common factor putting all Microsoft cloud services at risk. Microsoft Management.

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