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Microsoft

Windows Security Circus

Filed under
Microsoft
Security
  • ApparitionSec

    Internet Explorer is a series of graphical web browsers developed by Microsoft and included in the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, starting in 1995.

  • Internet Explorer Flaw Lets Hackers Steal Your Files Even If You Don’t Use It

    Internet Explorer was already useless for most of us, but now it is dangerous to have the obsolete browser on your computer. A security researcher, John Page, found a new security flaw in Internet Explorer that allows hackers to steal data.

  • Internet Explorer exploit lets hackers steal your data even if you never use it

    Finally stopped using Internet Explorer? Good! But, now it’s time to completely delete it from your computer, too. Security researcher John Page has discovered a new security flaw that allows hackers to steal Windows users’ data thanks to Internet Explorer. The craziest part: Windows users don’t ever even have to open the now-obsolete web browser for malicious actors to use the exploit. It just needs to exist on their computer.

Latest Microsoft Openwashing and Entryism

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Microsoft

Microsoft Windows in the Public Sector Versus NASA cFS Linux

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Linux
Microsoft

Openwashing and Microsoft's Attack/Entryism/FUD Against FOSS

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Microsoft
OSS

Canonical Works for Microsoft

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Microsoft
Ubuntu

The end of the desktop?

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GNU
Linux
Microsoft

I’ve been predicting for a while that Microsoft is moving us away from its PC-centric Windows operating system to a cloud-based rental version of Windows.
Now, with the Windows Virtual Desktop beta finally showing up, we’re a step closer to the death of the PC.
I’m old enough to remember how the PC changed everything. Before it, computer users depended on time-sharing systems and dumb terminals, and the companies or schools that owned the centralized computing power called all the shots. After it, we all had our own computing power right on our desks, to do with as we pleased.
The arrival of the beta Windows Virtual Desktop is a harbinger of the end of the PC era. We’re about to take a big step back to the centralised/controlled past.
And maybe that’s OK for most people. I’ve noticed that, even as our lives become ever more centred around technology, fewer people actually are interested in the technology itself. Oh, they love using it, but understanding it at a deep level? Not so much.
Of course, at one time, to get any work done with a computer, you first had to learn a lot, about computers, operating systems, commands and more. Eventually, “friendly” became the most important adverb in computing circles, and we’ve reached the point in user-friendliness that people don’t even talk about it anymore.
Today, Google has shown with its Chrome OS that most of us can pretty much do anything we need to do on a computer with just a web browser.

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Microsoft Redefines Ownership

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Microsoft
  • Microsoft has closed its e-bookstore, and everything you purchased will vanish in July

    The answer, simply put, is that they’ll disappear entirely sometime around July 2019, and you’ll be given a full refund. If you ordered or rented an ebook before today, your order will be cancelled and refunded. Free ebooks downloaded via the Microsoft Store app will also disappear, and they won’t be available after July, either.

  • Microsoft announces it will shut down ebook program and confiscate its customers' libraries

    Microsoft has a DRM-locked ebook store that isn't making enough money, so they're shutting it down and taking away every book that every one of its customers acquired effective July 1.

  • Microsoft removes the Books category from the Microsoft Store

    Previously purchased books and rentals will be accessible until early July, but after this, books will no longer be accessible, officials said in a customer-support article today. The company is promising full refunds for all content purchased from the Books category; anyone who bought books via the Store will receive further details on how to get refunds via email from Microsoft.

  • Microsoft stops selling ebooks, offers refunds to customers

    If you have been using the Microsoft Store as your point of purchase for ebooks, you're going to have to start shopping elsewhere. Microsoft has ditched the Books category from the store, and this means that not only will it not be possible to buy books from the Microsoft Store, but also that previous purchases will not be accessible after July.

Deception, FUD and Entryism/Openwashing

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Microsoft
OSS

Has Microsoft Changed?

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Microsoft

Microsoft’s billion-dollar PR department would like everyone to know that they have shed their old ways and evolved into a hip and woke gentle giant, but have they really?

There is currency in being viewed this way in the public eye and public relations department would like you to believe this about X company because of the trust it fosters. Further, it is also the job of any public relations team to distract us from such and many others that contradict said narrative. In PR and good ol’ fashion propaganda alike, such tactics are referred to as spin. And when a company such as Microsoft employs a former marine and Defense Information School alumni to spin their web, facilitate their social wetwork, and maintain dossiers on journalists (an act of intimidation), it may be wise to remain skeptical.

As such and rather than focusing on the ambiguous notion of change popularized by zealous employees raving in unison with fan sites shilled by PC ads masquerading as media outlets, it may be wise to highlight a few mainstay behaviors that Microsoft of old has been notorious for and see if they are existent today instead. From there, we can decide for ourselves whether Microsoft is truly the woke, edgy and reformed tech company that their PR and marketing departments would love everyone to believe or if they’re the same law firm with a software problem that they’ve always been with some minor aesthetic changes.

[...]

It often goes overlooked, but legal departments can carry as much or more weight than the office of the CEO and this is certainly not an exception for a company founded by the son of a prominent attorney. However, it’s also overlooked how much lawyers generally suck at change; go work for a few law firms if you doubt this. That said and despite Microsoft’s hip new CEO, Brad Smith, one of the largest individual shareholders of Microsoft, has been working within their office of the general counsel since the ‘90s, was named their general counsel towards the conclusion of their embarrassing anti-trust case with the US, and is now their Chief Legal Officer. As a consequence of their legal victories and the billions in revenue made possible through Brad Smith’s leadership, it is almost irrational to think that Microsoft’s legal department has changed as they have no incentive to do this.

When considering Brad Smith’s clear specialty in the realms of damage control and anti-competition, even approached by Facebook recently, it is difficult to say whether Microsoft has changed much or if they just have the best (dirtiest?) lawyer in the room. After all and just as you tend to stop having to call your traffic attorney as much when you slow down and stop speeding, Microsoft wouldn’t need the Jose Baez of anti-competition on their payroll if they weren’t up to the same antics that got them in trouble in the first place.

As a result of this, Microsoft Licensing, still overseen by the aforementioned Brad Smith, is still a complex, ever-changing labyrinth that is streamlined to ensnare businesses and add cost at every interchange. Even Azure, the lynchpin of their future, is a licensing hellscape of sorts that appears to borrow heavily from these same practices.

Although Microsoft claims to be an equal opportunity company that is in the court of women now, 99% of sexual harassment and gender discrimination claims made by highly educated and accomplished women with everything to lose have been found to be meritless and are snuffed out by their HR and employee relations investigations team (ERIT) which Brad Smith also oversees. For what it’s worth, Kathleen Hogan, VP of HR at Microsoft, would like you to know that only 10% of discrimination and 50% of harassment claims are found to be hogwash, which is still garbage.

[...]

Despite their layoffs, aesthetic changes, and acquisitions though, Microsoft still appears to be employing the same people that they always have, especially within their highest ranks. In turn, these same people appear to be employing the same sort of employee required to build the same core suite of products that necessitate the same partner distribution network, the same marketing ploys, the same lock-in nature, and the same legal clout that they have been dependent on for decades to make this all possible, leaving little else to be changed beyond the paint on the walls.

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Licensing Dirty Tricks and Openwashing

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Microsoft
Legal
  • What do WLinux and Benedict Cumberbatch have in common? They're both fond of Pengwin [Ed: Benedict Cumberbatch stabs Wikileaks for GCHQ. WLlinux stabs Linux for Microsoft.]
  • The Cloud and Open Source Powder Keg

    The idea that the adoption of open source by developers within enterprises at scale had transformed the nature of procurement was consistent with RedMonk’s own views, of course. To some degree, it has been a core belief all along, and has been surfaced explicitly over the years with pieces such as this one from 2011 entitled “Bottom Up Adoption: The End of Procurement as We’ve Known It.” What was interesting about the proposed model wasn’t what it told us about the present, however, but rather what it failed to tell us about the future.

    Conspicuously unmentioned at this event was the cloud. The cited competition for both investor and commercial OSS supplier was proprietary software; no special attention or even explicit mention was made of Amazon or other hyperscale cloud providers. A question on the subject was brushed off, politely.

    Which was interesting, because RedMonk had by that point been judging commercial open source leadership teams based on their answer to the simple question of “who is your competition?” If the answer was a proprietary incumbent, this suggested that the company was looking backwards at the market. If the answer was instead the cloud, it was safe to assume they were more forward-looking.

  • Norway Joins List of Countries Canceling Elsevier Contracts

     

    Norway has become latest country to cancel its contracts with Elsevier following a dispute over access to research papers. In a statement published yesterday (March 12), the Norwegian Directorate for ICT and Joint Services in Higher Education and Research (UNIT), which represents a consortium of research institutions in the country, rejected Elsevier’s offer to lower some of its costs for Norwegian institutions because it didn’t go far enough to promote free access to published research.

  • GNU licensed KLog Logbook software v.0.9.7 released

    Jaime, EA4TV, released KLog v.0.9.7, a multiplatform free hamradio logging program which is able to run in Linux, Windows and macOS.

    The latest release allows the user to add, remove or edit satel- lites to the KLog DB allowing import or export of satellites data.
    KLog supports ADIF as a default file format.

    Additional features of KLog include QSO management, QSL management, a DX-Cluster client, DXCC management, ClubLog integration, WSJT-X, and DX-Marathon support. Several languages are supported including Catalan, Croatian, Danish, English, Finish, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.

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More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • Hardware Review - The ZaReason Virtus 9200 Desktop
  • Chrome OS 76 will disable Crostini Linux backups by default
    Essentially, this is still a work in progress feature. And I shouldn’t be terribly surprised by that, even though in my experience, the functionality hasn’t failed me yet. That’s because we know that the Chromium team is considering on a way to backup and restore Linux containers directly from the Files app on a Chromebook. That proposal is targeted for Chrome OS 78, so this gives the team more time to work that out, as well as any other nits that might not be quite right with the current implementation.
  • Andrei Lisita: Something to show for
    Unfortunately along with the progress that was made we also encountered a bug with the NintendoDS core that causes Games to crash if we attempt to load a savestate. We are not yet 100% sure if the bug is caused by my changes or by the NintendoDS core itself. I hope we are able to fix it by the end of the summer although I am not even sure where to start since savestates are working perfectly fine with other cores. Another confusing matter about this is that the Restart/Resume Dialog works fine with the NintendoDS core and it also uses savestates. This led me to believe that perhaps cores can be used to load savestates only once, but this can’t be the problem since we re-instantiate the core every time we load a savestate. In the worst case we might just have to make a special case for the NintendoDS core and not use savestates with it, except for the Resume/Restart dialog. This would sadden me deeply since there are plenty of NintendoDS games which could benefit from this feature.
  • OSMC's June update is here with Kodi v18.3
    Team Kodi recently announced the 18.3 point release of Kodi Leia. We have now prepared this for all supported OSMC devices and added some improvements and fixes. Here's what's new:

OSS Leftovers

  • A comparison of open source, real-time data streaming platforms
    A variety of open source, real-time data streaming platforms are available today for enterprises looking to drive business insights from data as quickly as possible. The options include Spark Streaming, Kafka Streams, Flink, Hazelcast Jet, Streamlio, Storm, Samza and Flume -- some of which can be used in tandem with each other. Enterprises are adopting these real-time data streaming platforms for tasks such as making sense of a business marketing campaign, improving financial trading or recommending marketing messages to consumers at critical junctures in the customer journey. These are all time-critical areas that can be used for improving business decisions or baked into applications driven by data from a variety of sources.
  • Amphenol’s Jason Ellison on Signal Integrity Careers and His Free, Open Source PCB Design Software
    Ellison, Senior Staff Signal Integrity Engineer at Amphenol ICC, gives his insight on the importance of networking, giving to the EE community, and his open-source signal integrity project. How does signal integrity engineering compare to other EE fields? What are open-source resources worth these days? What makes for a good work life for an engineer? Learn this and more in this Engineer Spotlight! Jason Ellison started down the path to becoming an electrical engineer because someone told him it was "fun and easy if you're good at math." In this interview with AAC's Mark Hughes, Ellison—a Senior Staff Signal Integrity Engineer at Amphenol ICC—describes how his career has grown from these beginnings into the rewarding and diverse work of signal integrity engineering.
  • Cruise open-sources Webviz, a tool for robotics data analysis [Ed: Releasing a little tool that's part of proprietary software so that it 'feels' more "open"]
    Cruise, the self-driving startup that General Motors acquired for nearly $1 billion in 2016, generates an enormous amount of data by any measure. It orchestrates 200,000 hours of driving simulation jobs daily in Google Cloud Platform, spread across 30,000 virtual cars in an environment running on 300,000 processor cores and 5,000 graphics cards. Both those cars and Cruise’s fleet of over 180 real-world autonomous Chevrolet Bolts make thousands of decisions every second, and they base these decisions on observations captured in binary format from cameras, microphones, radar sensors, and lidar sensors.
  • EWF launches world’s first open source blockchain for the energy industry
    The Energy Web Foundation this week announced that it has launched the world’s first public, open-source, enterprise-grade blockchain tailored to the energy sector: the Energy Web Chain (EW Chain). More than ten Energy Web Foundation (EWF) Affiliates — including utilities, grid operators, and blockchain developers — are hosting validator nodes for the live network, according to the company.
  • Pimcore Releases Pimcore 6.0, Amplifying User-Friendly Digital Experiences Through Open Source
    Pimcore, the leading open-source platform for data and customer experience management, has released the most powerful version of the Pimcore platform, Pimcore 6.0. The updated platform includes a new user interface that seamlessly connects MDM/PIM, DAM, WCM, and digital commerce capabilities to create more advanced and user-friendly experiences quickly and efficiently.
  • VCV Rack reaches version 1.0.0: free and open-source modular synth gets a full release
    VCV Rack is a free, open-source modular software synth that’s been gaining ground for a couple of years, but only now has it reached the significant milestone of version 1.0. Designed to replicate the feeling of having a hardware modular synth on your desktop, VCV Rack enables you to add both free and paid-for modules, and now supports polyphony of up to 16 voices. There’s MIDI Output, too with CV-Gate, CV-MIDI and CV-CC modules enabling you to interface with drum machines, desktop synths and Eurorack gear.
  • Flying Above the Shoulders of Giants
    Thanks to open-source platforms, developers can stand on the shoulders of software giants to build bigger and better things. Linux is probably the biggest...
  • MIT Researchers Open-Source AutoML Visualization Tool ATMSeer
    A research team from MIT, Hong Kong University, and Zhejiang University has open-sourced ATMSeer, a tool for visualizing and controlling automated machine-learning processes. Solving a problem with machine learning (ML) requires more than just a dataset and training. For any given ML tasks, there are a variety of algorithms that could be used, and for each algorithm there can be many hyperparameters that can be tweaked. Because different values of hyperparameters will produce models with different accuracies, ML practitioners usually try out several sets of hyperparameter values on a given dataset to try to find hyperparameters that produce the best model. This can be time-consuming, as a separate training job and model evaluation process must be conducted for each set. Of course, they can be run in parallel, but the jobs must be setup and triggered, and the results recorded. Furthermore, choosing the particular values for hyperparameters can involve a bit of guesswork, especially for ones that can take on any numeric value: if 2.5 and 2.6 produce good results, maybe 2.55 would be even better? What about 2.56 or 2.54?
  • Open-Source Cybersecurity Tool to Enhance Grid Protection
    A revolutionary new cybersecurity tool that can help protect the electric power grid has been released to the public on the code-hosting website GitHub.
  • Quick notes for Mozilla Whistler All Hands 2019
  • Deeper into the data fabric with MongoDB
    However, to gain access to rich search functionality, many organisations pair their database with a search engine such as Elasticsearch or Solr, which MongoDB claims can complicate development and operations — because we end up with two entirely separate systems to learn, maintain and scale.

Raspberry Pi 4 is here!

The latest version of the Raspberry Pi—Raspberry Pi 4—was released today, earlier than anticipated, featuring a new 1.5GHz Arm chip and VideoCore GPU with some brand new additions: dual-HDMI 4K display output; USB3 ports; Gigabit Ethernet; and multiple RAM options up to 4GB. The Raspberry Pi 4 is a very powerful single-board computer and starts at the usual price of $35. That gets you the standard 1GB RAM, or you can pay $45 for the 2GB model or $55 for the 4GB model—premium-priced models are a first for Raspberry Pi. Read more

Open Data, Open Access and Open Hardware

  • DoD’s Joint AI Center to open-source natural disaster satellite imagery data set
    As climate change escalates, the impact of natural disasters is likely to become less predictable. To encourage the use of machine learning for building damage assessment this week, Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute and CrowdAI — the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint AI Center (JAIC) and Defense Innovation Unit — open-sourced a labeled data set of some of the largest natural disasters in the past decade. Called xBD, it covers the impact of disasters around the globe, like the 2010 earthquake that hit Haiti. “Although large-scale disasters bring catastrophic damage, they are relatively infrequent, so the availability of relevant satellite imagery is low. Furthermore, building design differs depending on where a structure is located in the world. As a result, damage of the same severity can look different from place to place, and data must exist to reflect this phenomenon,” reads a research paper detailing the creation of xBD. [...]

    xBD includes approximately 700,000 satellite images of buildings before and after eight different kinds of natural disasters, including earthquakes, wildfires, floods, and volcanic eruptions. Covering about 5,000 square kilometers, it contains images of floods in India and Africa, dam collapses in Laos and Brazil, and historic deadly fires in California and Greece.

    The data set will be made available in the coming weeks alongside the xView 2.0 Challenge to unearth additional insights from xBD, coauthor and CrowdAI machine learning lead Jigar Doshi told VentureBeat. The data set collection effort was informed by the California Air National Guard’s approach to damage assessment from wildfires.

  • Open-source textbooks offer free alternative for UC Clermont students
    Some UC Clermont College students are avoiding paying hundreds of dollars for textbooks — and getting the content for free — thanks to online open-source textbooks, a growing trend among faculty at the college and throughout higher education. UC Clermont Dean Jeff Bauer, who is also a professor of business, said the benefits of open textbooks are many. “All students have the book on the first day of class, it saves them a lot of money, and the information can be accessed anywhere, anytime, without carrying around a heavy textbook,” Bauer said. “They don’t need to visit the bookstore before or after each semester to buy or sell back books, either.”
  • Open Source Computer Controlled Loom Knits Pikachu For You
    The origin story of software takes us back past punch card computers and Babbage's Difference Engine to a French weaver called Joseph Marie Jacquard.
  • Successful open-source RISC-V microcontroller launched through crowdfunding
    X-FAB Silicon Foundries, together with crowd-sourcing IC platform partner Efabless Corporation, launched the first-silicon availability of the Efabless RISC-V SoC reference design. This open-source semiconductor project went from start of design to tape-out in less than three months employing the Efabless design flow produced on open-source tools. The mixed-signal SoC, called Raven, is based on the community developed ultra-low power PicoRV32 RISC-V core. Efabless has bench-tested the Raven at 100MHz, and based on simulations, the solution should operate at up to 150MHz.
  • Open Hardware: Open-Source MRI Scanners Could Bring Enormous Cost Savings
    Wulfsberg explore the possibilities of open source MRI scanning. As open-source technology takes its place around the world—everywhere from makerspaces to FabLabs, users on every level have access to design and innovation. In allowing such access to MRI scanning, the researchers realize the potential for ‘technological literacy’ globally—and with MRIs specifically, astronomical sums could be saved in healthcare costs. The authors point out that medical technology is vital to the population of the world for treating not only conditions and illnesses, but also disabilities. As so many others deeply involved in the world of technology and 3D printing realize, with greater availability, accessibility, and affordability, huge strides can be made to improve and save lives. Today, with so many MRI patents expiring, the technology is open for commercialization.