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Comment Always good to remember with Microsoft / Skype (Score 1) 176

Don't believe Microsoft ever swore off this:

https://www.theguardian.com/wo...

With the new administration getting appointments with folks who support mass surveillance and a CIC who stated he wanted to be able to spy on his political enemies, you have to wonder who will be in his crosshairs over the next 4 years. Things in this area are probably not going to get better. Best to assume any Skype communication will be stored by government forever, for future use and decide if you want to use this product from this company - whatever the "features" are.

Comment Why'd it just do that & bad luck (Score 1) 143

I believe scraping the locks is considered a sign of bad luck for the ship. You really don't want a warship that has intermittent power.

Brings to mind an old story I heard from some airline pilots as FMS Flight Management Systems (very non user friendly) were integrated into airliners. Previously if something went wrong on an aircraft in flight one or both of the pilots would say something to the effect of "Oh $^it we've got to.....", but now its "Why'd it just do that?"

Sounds like it applies to the Zumwalt as well. Hopefully they're not running Windows on it.

Comment I wouldn't be too suprised (Score 3, Insightful) 277

Microsoft probably works with every government they sell their software into as far as spying on their citizens etc. (it only makes business sense since these guys control market access and Microsoft has never been a company to quibble over morals) - so I'm sure Microsoft and Mr. Putin's Russia were great partners up till now.

Now Putin may be wary that Microsoft gives preferential treatment to the NSA (since we know they worked closely with them before thanks to Snowden) etc. or he may just be doing this for domestic consumption (he appears to do alot of this) since their economy is in a tailspin.

Comment Make backup images & new VM's now (Score 1) 405

If you're running Windows 7 & 8.x and you have kept Microsoft's backported Win 10 monitoring updates out etc., be sure and backup your machines drives with a good imaging utility now - before we see what happens in October (so you have control and can restore).

If you're wanting to setup new Windows VM's, move to 8.x (supposedly security updates through 2023, at least before all this) or do fresh installs of 7, do them now (and make backup images) before October while you still have access to the hotfix's, remember Microsoft is going to gradually roll old hotfixes into the big update blobs and presumably they'll go away.

Long term though - the writing has been on the wall since 10 came out - Microsoft is a tyrant and you need to make a plan to move off of them if you don't want your PC (and all your data and communications on it) to be Microsoft's 8itch. Moving to a multiboot Linux and Windows setup - planning on a Windows VM in Linux for most Windows only needs with direct booting for games.

Comment Incorrect, other PC OS's aren't like this (Score 1) 275

While Microsoft's PR group would agree with what you said, if you look at most other PC OS's it doesn't work this way. Over on Apple in Mac OS X, they separate their security updates out from their other patches (and they don't have back ported data monitoring patches from Windows 10 in there). Over in OS X there isn't data monitoring to begin with. And the stuff that goes up to the cloud can be turned off with 2 checkboxes. Over in Linux you can do whatever you want.

The other side of this is that Microsoft will still have to test each fix individually prior to them going into a monthly lump - this is why they got rid of the service pack because of the double testing - in the end there will be little reduction in testing costs.

This is all about turning personal PC's into Microsoft's data monitoring tool which is worth alot of money to Microsoft for each personal PC every year - giving them control over your PC's data like an Android smartphone. As someone else noted the user data monitoring in Windows 10 and backported to Windows 7 & 8 in prior hotfixes (which could be avoided) is worth alot of money every year and after the October takeover Microsoft is gradually going to roll in the old hotfixes into the monthly updates over time and eliminate them. Microsoft's recent history requires no paranoia at all - they actively choose this for their customers:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2...
https://www.theguardian.com/wo...

Comment That won't be available via Windows Update (Score 1) 275

This avenue won't be available via Windows Update & us a PR cover - most folks won't be able to do it. You have to go to a Microsoft website that consists of an empty page and a search bar and enter the security only patch you want to download. I'll do this, but most users would never what to put in to start with.

Comment Remember old hotfixes will go away over time (Score 1) 275

If you read the announcement you'll see that the old hotfixes (including the user data monitoring ones, if they aren't in the October push already) will get backported, over time, into the massive monthly update. The obvious consequence of this is that those old hotfixes will go away as they are backported and no longer be available to users.

I wouldn't count on those hotfixes being around, better create reference Win 7 / 8 images with updates prior to the October takeover for all your machines, turn off WU and back them up. As we've seen Microsoft's condensed Windows 7 up to date patch includes the user data monitoring updates, no reason to expect they'll stop that after they make everyone's PC's their 8itches next month.

Comment Keep in mind old Hotfixes will go away - image now (Score 2) 275

Not noted in the Slashdot entry is that after the October takeover of PC ownership via Windows Update is that Microsoft is going to backport the hotfixes into the mass monthly updates (and presumably remove those hotfixes from availability afterwards).

The consequence of this is that soon you will not be able to do a fresh install of 7 or 8.x and install only the hotfixes you want to get them up to (pre Oct 2016) as the old hot-fixes are going away too. If you're stuck using Windows better get your all your systems that you want to use imaged with all versions of pre Win 10 and updated (with the bad data monitoring hotfixes kept out) prior to the October updated. Windows 7 security updates were to go through 2020 and 8.1 through 2023.

It also appears there might be a method going forward for the true nutwads (like myself - I want the gaming - Linux partitions now though) and that will be to turn off Windows Update and use the Windows Update catalog site (a horrible MS site - at this point its a screen with a search window in it) to get security only updates...no details on how that will work, other than its mentioned in Microsoft's official announcement. For the general public though, Microsoft takes over control of their computers and will install user monitoring in the next months if they use Windows Update.

Comment Most planes have stringrays, they ID you by phone (Score 5, Interesting) 242

Many of these planes also have Stingray's (cell site simulators) so they ID everyone they fly over by their smartphones, they don't need to visually ID the people with the camera's. I am a pilot and saw one of these planes orbiting the Gurnee Mills Mall (Northern Chicago suburbs - could tell as it had the odd ball (where the camera is) sticking out behind one the main wheels on the 182), just cruising around and around at low altitude a couple of months ago. Felt very disconcerting to know my and my wife's phone ID had probably been swept up in that - turned them off but was obviously too late. Land of the free...

Comment Zack mistyped iMessage & WhatsApp auto-encrypt (Score 2) 99

Just to point out, Zack Whittacker who wrote the ZDNet article mis-typed, as iMessage and WhatsApp are encrypted by default. His following sentence appears to show he actually meant they were automatically encrypted. The opt-in encryption that Facebook and Google are providing will also be the preferred option of the govts / 3 letter agencies that want to keep everything for future use. Its crazy to have Facebook's app on your smartphone anyways...and tracking bracelet with a microphone and camera.

Comment Re:NSA Strikes Again! (Score 2) 59

Intel...although I'd guess money strained AMD is no better. With regards to Intel & backdoors in its chips its good to remember what we know:

http://www.infowars.com/intel-...

And don't forget what that guy at Google mentioned WRT Intel:

https://plus.google.com/+Theod...

Of course this makes all our systems vulnerable to attack by foreigners as well, but the NSA seems comfortable with that world - the country they're supposed to protect is compromised by design as long as they can spy on everyone they're okay with foreign governments being able to do that too. I would expect Microsoft's Visual Studio to be compromised by design as well.

Comment Re:What's so "unreasonable"? (Score 4, Insightful) 183

And don't forget that they can no longer raise the prices of stamps....the guys that saddled the Post Office with that giant instant Pension Obligation also made it so they couldn't raise their prices to cover extra cost at the same time. Almost as if they wanted to insure they would fail. I'm sure the UPS / Fedex lobbyists loved it...

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