Microsoft tells resellers: 'We listened to you, and we have acted' – please keep making us money

Found on The Register on Friday, 12 July 2019
Browse Software

Faced with continued rumbles of discontent from its reseller network on the eve of its Inspire conference, Microsoft has climbed down from plans to pull free software licences from its channel chums.

The crux of the proposed changes was the removal of the free licences that Microsoft granted to resellers to allow them to run their businesses. With many being relatively small businesses, the proposed wholesale removal of those licences triggered shrieks of pain.

Mircosoft licensing is just horrid. It must be the Tenth Circle of Hell.

Apollo 11: 'The greatest single broadcast in television history'

Found on BBC News on Thursday, 11 July 2019
Browse Astronomy

When the Eagle spacecraft touched down on the moon's surface on 20 July 1969, a television camera mounted on its side captured the first tentative steps and words of astronaut Neil Armstrong and sent them across hundreds of thousands of miles to hundreds of millions of pairs of eyes glued to television sets.

"Nasa did a brilliant job of marketing the Apollo mission, of feeding reporters rather than keeping everything under the hood," says Tracy Dahlby at the University of Texas at Austin's School of Journalism.

With now 50 year old technology it was possible to put men onto the moon. Today, this is impossible. Think about that for a minute.

Firefox 68 arrives with darker reader view, recommended extensions, and IT customizations

Found on Venturebeat on Wednesday, 10 July 2019
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Mozilla today launched Firefox 68 for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. Firefox 68 includes a darker reader view, recommended extensions, IT Pro customizations, and more.

As part of this release, Mozilla has curated a list of recommended extensions “that have been thoroughly reviewed for security, usability, and usefulness.”

It's always funny how companies seem to know exactly what is useful to you. Recommendations on Firefox will be probably just as bad as those on Youtube.

'The kids emptied our bank account playing Fifa'

Found on BBC News on Tuesday, 09 July 2019
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In Fifa, special players can be bought in packs, but the contents are only revealed after payment is completed.

Mr Carter said his children, who are all under the age of 10, felt very remorseful and had not understood the impact of what they were doing.

However, he also said he felt that the in-game concept of buying player packs without knowing what was inside them was unethical.

So, it's nothing else but gambling; there are laws out there dealing with that.

More than 1,000 Android apps harvest data even after you deny permissions

Found on CNet News on Monday, 08 July 2019
Browse Software

If you don't want a flashlight app to be able to read through your call logs, you should be able to deny that access. But even when you say no, many apps find a way around: Researchers discovered more than 1,000 apps that skirted restrictions, allowing them to gather precise geolocation data and phone identifiers behind your back.

Lawmakers are attempting to reel that in with privacy regulation, and app permissions are supposed to control what data you give up. Apple and Google have released new features to improve people's privacy, but apps continue to find hidden ways to get around these protections.

No surprise if users install every single app they can possibly find, only to get some questionable feature, or a totally pointless game. The less brain required, the more installs.

The Netherlands’ national airline is encouraging people not to fly

Found on Quartz on Sunday, 07 July 2019
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In a June 29 open letter from its CEO, Pieter Elbers, the airline invited air travelers to make “responsible decisions about flying,” and encouraged customers to invest in the airline’s carbon offsetting scheme, CO2ZERO.

Environmentally conscious customers, especially in Europe, are increasingly opting out of flying, which contributes about 2.5% of global emissions.

When you can fly around for pocket change, then something has clearly gone wrong.

OpenPGP Certificate Attack Worries Experts

Found on DUO on Saturday, 06 July 2019
Browse Internet

The attack is quite simple and doesn’t exploit any technical vulnerabilities in the OpenPGP software, but instead takes advantage of one of the inherent properties of the keyserver network that’s used to distribute certificates.

The OpenPGP specification doesn’t have any upper limit on the number of signatures that a certificate can have, so any user or group of users can add signatures to a given certificate ad infinitum. That wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, except for the fact that GnuPG, one of the more popular packages that implements the OpenPGP specification, doesn’t handle certificates with extremely large numbers of signatures very well. In fact, GnuPG will essentially stop working when it attempts to import one of those certificates.

Some kid in a basement must be really angry there. That, or some of the usual suspects who do not like secure and private communication.

Spotify shuts down direct music uploading for independent artists

Found on Altpress on Friday, 05 July 2019
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“The most impactful way we can improve the experience of delivering music to Spotify for as many artists and labels as possible is to lean into the great work our distribution partners are already doing to serve the artist community,” Spotify said in a statement on its blog.

For example, Billboard points out Little Mix track “Bounce Back” pre-saves prompted giving Sony Music specific permissions. Among them were “view your Spotify account data,” “view your activity on Spotify” and “take actions in Spotify on your behalf.”

So everybody whines how arists go through hard times and get pirated constantly, but at the same time platforms refuse to do business with them so middlemen can step in and make an artist's life even worse.

Front-end dev cops to billing NSA $220,000 for hours he didn't work

Found on The Register on Thursday, 04 July 2019
Browse Legal-Issues

A software developer employed by two different IT subcontractors participating in separate National Security Agency (NSA) contracts has pleaded guilty to submitting false claims about the number of hours he worked, according to the US Department of Justice.

Unsurprisingly, the NSA keeps track of the comings and goings of people at secure facilities. According to the plea agreement, the agency's tally of Smego's time on-site fell short of his claimed work hours.

How stupid do you have to be when you try to cheat on the monitor-everything NSA?

Frontier customer bought his own router—but has to pay $10 rental fee anyway

Found on Ars Technica on Wednesday, 03 July 2019
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Son and his wife, Karen, still use that FiOS router with their Frontier service at their home in a suburb near Dallas, and Son says Frontier never provided him with another router. But Frontier started charging them $5 a month for what's listed as a "Wi-Fi Router" fee on their bill, and the company raised the router fee to $10 a month in April of this year.

Son filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission; Frontier responded to the complaint but stuck to its position that he has to pay the fee. A voicemail that Frontier left with Son and his wife said the company informed the FCC that "the router monthly charge is an applicable fee, and it will continue to be billed."

Time for a lawsuit. It is ridiculous that Frontier assumes it can demand money for a feature that is not wanted, needed, or used.