Tag microsoft

Microsoft Loves You! (More Than You Know)

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you upgraded to Windows 10 yet?  By all accounts, it is leaps and bounds better than the universally-reviled Windows 8, and keeps alive Microsoft’s odd/even string of cursed/decent operating system releases.  The best part is that it is free (supposedly) to current Windows 7 and 8 users, though we have yet to test this out ourselves.

The less-than-wonderful part? Apparently the new OS is none too shy about spying on your activity — nothing new for Microsoft in terms of browser usage, but their data collection has now expanded to include the contents of messages and calendars, apps and networks, some purchases, what you upload to Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage, and use of the sparkly new Cortana search assistant.

Of course, you can opt out of all (?) of this stuff during installation, or afterwards if you’re the kind of person who never reads those Terms & Conditions screens (which means 99.5% of humanity). After all, Microsoft would never, ever want to know things about their customers without permission, right? As they have stated, “real transparency starts with straightforward terms and policies that people can clearly understand.”

Here’s the catch: that “transparency” comes in the form of 45 pages of service agreement documents. And you can believe those docs aren’t written in the King’s English, either, but rather in the kind of techno-legalese that pretty much guarantees you give up reading after three pages or so.  This comment from a terrific Rock Paper Shotgun article pretty much says it all:

There is no world in which 45 pages of policy documents and opt-out settings split across 13 different Settings screens and an external website constitutes “real transparency.”

Why all of this data collection? Two words: targeted ads.  No different than the practices of Facebook, Google, Twitter, or any other “free” online service whose end game is knowing as much as possible about you, and therefore about what you would like to buy. So, buyer-beware, and user-beware, when it comes to upgrading. Oh, and if you happen to currently use some other browser than Internet Explorer (and by all that’s holy, you should), be prepared to have that overridden by the upgrade, as well. But that’s an article for another day!

Ding! Dong! The IE Witch Is Dead!

ie-deadWord from the Internet world — and very welcome word, I might add — is that Microsoft is finally doing away with Internet Explorer, and replacing it with “Project Spartan”.  The new browser is rumored to be something along the lines of Firefox or Chrome; in other words, a piece of software that actually works as it should!

Of course, nothing so widely in use as IE will ever really be dead, or at least not for a long while. But I can heartily say that I look forward to the day when I will no longer have to program a website to look and work right on every other browser in the world, and then re-program it all to work on IE alone. So you could look at the end of IE as a mercy killing — with the mercy going to we web professionals!

In keeping with our recent them of AOL-related posts, here is a funny article from Today.com’s Money division titled “Goodbye, Internet Explorer: 7 tech things we miss from the ’90s“. Don’t forget to watch (or listen) to the included video on dialing up AOL from a 56k modem. Ah, the sweet old sound of Internet surfin’ freedom!