Windows 10 can carry on slurping even when you're sure you yelled STOP!

Found on The Register on Thursday, 13 December 2018
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First noted in an increasingly shouty thread over on Reddit, the issue is related to Activity History, which is needed to make the much-vaunted and little-used Timeline feature work in Windows 10.

Deliberate slurpage, or a case of poor QA and one team not talking to the other aside, it isn't a great look for Microsoft and users are muttering about potential legal action. Privacy lawyers will certainly be taking a close look – after all, the gang at Redmond are already under scrutiny for harvesting data and telemetry from lucky users of Windows 10.

They just have to make a few big expensive example lawsuits to teach companies that personal data is personal and not something you just harvest left and right.

Latest Windows Insider build makes a major upgrade to, uh… Notepad

Found on Ars Technica on Tuesday, 11 December 2018
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Notepad already received a significant update in the recent October 2018 Update: Microsoft added support for files with Unix-style line endings.

Notepad is also going to support a convention that's literally decades old: when the currently loaded file has been modified, an asterisk will be shown in the title bar.

Too bad, for a short moment there was hope that it would support more than one undo step.

Microsoft can't even get a software patch right on its flagship Surface device

Found on The Inquirer on Sunday, 09 December 2018
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Microsoft has rolled back an update which was found to bork its hardware flagship, the Surface Book 2.

The official advice is to uninstall it, but we're hearing reports that doing so could actually brick your beloved premium device altogether, so be careful. A system restore might be an alternative, but we're neither recommending it, nor promising anything.

To have an crippling bug make its way on to your flagship, not to mention most expensive laptop isn't just a fail, it's irresponsible.

So, with the past update failures that haunted Windows users, fanboys didn't get tired to point out that Microsoft could not possibly test all the imaginable hardware combinations (even though some of the bugs happened with very common products); now it's their own hardware line where testing also fails. It's going to be hard to find an excuse for it this time.

Adobe Flash zero-day exploit... leveraging ActiveX… embedded in Office Doc... BINGO!

Found on The Register on Thursday, 06 December 2018
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In its current form, the attack bundles exploit code for the Flash zero-day (a use-after-free() bug) with an ActiveX call that is embedded within an Office document.

When the target opens the poisoned Doc, the ActiveX plug-in calls up Flash Player to run the attack code.

Obviously not enough people got rid of that bug-riddled piece of malware software called Flash. There isn't any need to install it, and hasn't been for years now.

Latest Windows 10 update breaks Windows Media Player, Win32 apps in general

Found on Ars Technica on Tuesday, 27 November 2018
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As spotted by Paul Thurrott, the update also breaks the seek bar in Windows Media Player when playing "specific files."

Also in the "how did that happen" category comes another bug: some Win32 programs can't be set as the default program for a given file type. So if you want certain files to always open in Notepad, for example, you're currently out of luck.

Always remember, you paid for this operating system in one way or another.

Microsoft blocks Windows 10 October Update on more PCs after Intel driver borkage

Found on The Inquirer on Thursday, 22 November 2018
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This time it's the Intel Display Driver that the new code has taken objection to, in a round of incompatibility problems we've not seen since the bad old days of Windows Vista.

Calling Microsoft Technical Support might actually be worthwhile in the short term. It is offering to turn off components that are causing a conflict remotely, allowing things to work normally, but it's not entirely clear if that will just cause more problems down the line.

Intel driver users join anyone with a small hard drive, anyone who uses ZIP files, anyone using iCloud, anyone who needs to map a network drive, anyone with an HP machine, and anyone who likes their files to be associated with installed programs.

This is just getting ridiculous. Microsoft should pay customers for using such an operating system.

Microsoft slips ads into Windows 10 Mail client – then U-turns so hard, it warps fabric of reality

Found on The Register on Sunday, 18 November 2018
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The ads would appear at the top of inboxes of folks using the client without a paid-for Office 365 subscription, and the advertising would be tailored to their interests.

A now-deleted FAQ on the Office.com website about the "feature" explained the advertising space would be sold off to help Microsoft "provide, support, and improve some of our products," just like Gmail and Yahoo! Mail display ads.

Also, the advertising is targeted, by monitoring what you get up to with apps and web browsing, and using demographic information you disclose.

After Windows 10 brought ads into the start menu, now another piece of software from them is explored for future advertising. MS products turn into adware.

Nasty Adobe Bug Deleted $250,000-Worth of Man's Files, Lawsuit Claims

Found on Gizmodo on Wednesday, 14 November 2018
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The lawsuit was filed in a California district court last week by Dave Cooper. He alleges that an update to Premiere Pro came with a flaw in the way it handles file management that resulted in the deletion of 500 hours of video clips that he claims were worth around $250,000.

After spending three days trying to recover the data, he admitted that all was lost, the lawsuit says.

That's why you make backups. His data can't have possibly been worth that much if he was obviously not interested at all in taking some precaution to data loss.

Firefox debuts experimental price-tracking feature for consumers

Found on Venturebeat on Monday, 12 November 2018
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Called Price Wise, the new feature allows Firefox users to manually add individual products to their watch list, see at a glance whether prices have fallen or risen, and click through to purchase if it’s the former.

When a price drops, a notification is automatically sent to your browser, and you can click regardless of what web page you are currently on.

Mozilla really should just concentrate on what is really required in a browser. Everything else is only a candidate for an addon.

Microsoft Launches Free AV1 Video Codec for Windows 10

Found on Softpedia on Saturday, 10 November 2018
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Oddly enough, the codec can only be installed on devices running Windows 10 October 2018 Update, which is no longer up for grabs after Microsoft pulled it last month. The October update came with several major bugs, including an issue that could have caused the removal of user files stored in libraries.

Microsoft says that while the codec should run smoothly on all Windows 10 devices, there’s a chance small performance issues may be spotted when playing AV1 videos. However, this is something that Microsoft promises to improve in the coming updates for the codec.

If they keep the most current Windows release as the minimum requirement, it will be a pretty useless release.