Software en Lenovo Promises No More Bloatware Starting with Windows 10 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/lenovo_yoga.jpg" alt="Lenovo Yoga" title="Lenovo Yoga" width="228" height="170" style="float: right;" />Moving on from Superfish</h3> <p>What a month it's been for Lenovo, the world's top supplier of PCs and generally a well liked company. The OEM put both of those traits <a href="">at risk</a> by <a href="">pre-loading adware</a> onto its consumer laptops and desktops, adware that was later discovered to be a serious security threat. We might never know for sure how savvy Lenovo was to the software's nefarious methods of serving up ads, but in the wake of it all, there have been <a href="">apologies</a>, explanations, a software tool to remove Superfish, a <a href="">class action lawsuit</a>, and now a promise -- <strong>Lenovo wants to be the leader clean PCs</strong>.</p> <p>In yet another statement, Lenovo again waxed remorse for the Superfish situation. This time, however, the OEM also said it was offering its customers affected by the issue a free 6-month subscription to McAfee LiveSafe service, or a 6-month extension to existing subscribers. More details will be made available within the next week, but McAfee? Yeah, that's not going to smooth things over.</p> <p>What might, however, is Lenovo's promise to stop installing bloatware and only including software that's necessary for included hardware, like a webcam application.</p> <p>"The events of last week reinforce the principle that customer experience, security and privacy must be our top priorities," Lenovo said in a <a href="" target="_blank">statement</a>. "With this in mind, we will significantly reduce preloaded applications. Our goal is clear: To become the leader in providing <strong>cleaner, safer PCs.</strong></p> <p>"We are starting immediately, and by the time we launch our Windows 10 products, our standard image will only include the operating system and related software, software required to make hardware work well (for example, when we include unique hardware in our devices, like a 3D camera), security software and Lenovo applications. This should eliminate what our industry calls 'adware' and 'bloatware.' For some countries, certain applications customarily expected by users will also be included."</p> <p>The bolded text for emphasis was done by Lenovo to drive the point home. In addition to eliminating crapware, Lenovo said it will begin posting information about any and all software that comes preloaded on its machines and clearly explain what each one does.</p> <p>"We view these actions as a starting point. We believe that these steps will make our technology better, safer, and more secure," Lenovo said.</p> <p>This is all well and good by Lenovo, and now it needs to follow through. It will be critical for the company to avoid another situation like this, not just because of the "fool me once" saying, but also because it's flat out saying this won't happen again.</p> <p>The good news for Lenovo is that it has an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade. What started off as a sour situation could take a sweet turn of events, if in fact Lenovo follows through and becomes a leader in clean PCs. It will have competition, of course, mainly from boutique vendors like Maingear that tout zero bloatware. Where Lenovo has the advantage is in price, assuming it can continue to keep costs down without the aid of third-party software.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> adware bloatware Hardware lenovo LifeSafe Mcafee OEM rigs Software Superfish News Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:49:34 +0000 Paul Lilly 29488 at Stardock Releases Start10 Start Menu Replacement for Windows 10 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/start10.jpg" alt="Start10" title="Start10" width="228" height="186" style="float: right;" />What's old is new again</h3> <p>Microsoft is bringing back the Start Menu in Windows 10, though it won't look exactly the way you remember seeing it in Windows 7. If that's what you're after, you might be interested to know that <strong>Stardock is putting the final touches on Start10, its Start Menu replacement for Windows 10</strong> that makes it look like it did in Windows 7. If you're an Object Desktop subscribers, you can try out the Start10 beta today.</p> <p>"Now that we know where Microsoft is going with the start menu, we will support our Windows 10 customers with a more familiar and feature rich start menu the same way that we did with Start8 for Windows 8," <a href="" target="_blank">said Stardock President and CEO Brad Wardell</a>.</p> <p>Start10 is the first Windows 10 compatible addition to Stardock's Object Desktop library. It's also a work in progress -- Stardock hopes users will provide feedback on the beta as it readies a final release for this fall when Windows 10 launches to the public.</p> <p>What's different about Start10 versus the native Start Menu in Windows 10 is that it gives users the option of simplifying the interface by removing the metro tile section.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Software Stardock Start Menu Start10 windows 10 News Wed, 25 Feb 2015 20:33:58 +0000 Paul Lilly 29473 at Microsoft Office 365 Now Free for Teachers and Students Worldwide <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/office_365_4.jpg" alt="Office 365" title="Office 365" width="228" height="86" style="float: right;" />Free Office 365 for education offer extends beyond the U.S.</h3> <p>Microsoft had already been doing teachers and students living in the U.S. a solid by offering them free Office 365 subscriptions, and now that same offer is extending beyond the border. How far? Try all the way around -- <strong>if you're an eligible teacher or a student living in a place where Office 365 is available, a subscription is yours for the taking</strong> once you provide a valid school email address.</p> <p>"That includes the 5.5 million eligible students in Australia, the nearly 5 million eligible students in Germany, 7 million more in Brazil, 1.3 million at Anadolu University in Turkey, every student in Hong Kong and millions more," Microsoft stated in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a>.</p> <p>If you're a student and you want to check if you're eligible, <a href="" target="_blank">go here</a> an enter your school-provided email address; teachers can <a href="" target="_blank">go here</a> and do the same.</p> <p>Those who qualify and take advantage of the offer will have access to the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, and Publisher, all of which can be installed on up to five PCs or Macs and up to five mobile devices. They also receive 1TB of storage on OneDrive and access to Office Online for in-browser editing.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> education microsoft office 365 productivity Software News Wed, 25 Feb 2015 19:43:56 +0000 Paul Lilly 29472 at Leap Motion Releases VR Plugin for Unreal Engine 4 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/vr_hands.jpg" alt="VR Hands" title="VR Hands" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Plugin allows developers to add virtual hands to games</h3> <p><strong>Epic and Leap Motion have teamed up to create and launch an official Windows plugin for Unreal Engine 4</strong> that's supposed to make it easy for developers to integrate virtual hands into their games. The plugin is available in the Unreal Engine 4.7 source code, which they can download from Unreal's GitHub repository to immediately start building and creating a custom VR experience.</p> <p>The plugin will, which will also be bundled with future Unreal binary tool releases, works by mapping Leap Motion input to virtual hand meshes. These can then collide and interact with other objects that appear in the game. You can already view it in action, as Cherry Pie Games was the first to use the plugin in its Hollow game.</p> <p>Check it out:</p> <p><iframe src="" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Leap Motion is billing the plugin as an "introductory release" that will evolve over the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, developers who are interested and planning to attend the 2015 Game Developers Conference (GDC) next will have access to a discout code available at the Unreal Engine booth.</p> <p>As for Unreal's GitHub respository, you can find that <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Epic leap motion plugin Software ue4 unreal engine 4 virtual reality vr News Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:47:51 +0000 Paul Lilly 29466 at Lenovo Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Superfish <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/lenovo_0.jpg" alt="Lenovo" title="Lenovo" width="228" height="170" style="float: right;" />No big surprise</h3> <p>Lenovo's been in <a href="">damage control</a> ever since <a href="">news broke</a> that it was installing a careless piece of adware called Superfish onto consumer laptops and desktops, but the court of public opinion isn't the only one it has some explaining to do. According to reports, <strong>a class-action lawsuit against Lenovo and Superfish was filed at the end of last week</strong> claiming "fraudulent" business practices.</p> <p>Let's backtrack a moment. Superfish came under scrutiny for a number of reasons, the least of which is that some users complained it would install on their systems upon first boot even if they declined the software. Furthermore, attempts to uninstall the software would leave behind a dangerous root certificate, which is the real issue.</p> <h3>New Information</h3> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>Ars Technica</em></a>, a company called Komodia is behind the dubious technology that allows Superfish to do what it does, which is hijack web searches in order to serve up ads. It uses a fake SSL certificate to do that, essentially a man-in-the-middle attack, leaving users susceptible to hackers. Komodo bundles a password protected private encryption key to prevent hackers from creating websites to spy on users, but it took Errata Security CEO Rob Graham all of three hours to discover that the password is "komodia." Try not to give yourself a nosebleed from the obligatory facepalm.</p> <p>As time goes on, the list of applications that use the same SSL-hijacking technology as Superfish is <a href="" target="_blank">rapidly growing</a>. Facebook's security team alone has identified over a dozen applications other than Superfish using the same Komodo library.</p> <p>"Initial open source research of these applications reveals a lot of adware forum posts and complaints from people. All of these applications can be found in VirusTotal and other online virus databases with their associated Komodia DLL's. We can’t say for certain what the intentions of these applications are, but none appear to explain why they intercept SSL traffic or what they do with data," <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook says</a>.</p> <p><iframe src="" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <h3>Back to the Lawsuit</h3> <p>While the full extent of Komodo's "redirection SDK" continues to be investigated, Lenovo and Superfish are the two high profile companies that are bearing the brunt of criticism. In the lawsuit, Plaintiff Jessica Bennett claimed her laptop was damaged by Superfish, which she refers to as "spyware" in court documents, and that Lenovo and Superfish invaded her privacy, <em>PCWorld </em>reports.</p> <p>The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages from the two companies.</p> <h3>Removal Tool</h3> <p>Lenovo last week provided instructions on how to manually remove Superfish, including the root certificate that likes to stick around. In an updated statement over the weekend, Lenovo tells us it has now released an automated tool that will completely remove Superfish. You can find the tool (along with its source code) <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> adware class action lawsuit lenovo malware Privacy Security Software Superfish News Mon, 23 Feb 2015 17:19:00 +0000 Paul Lilly 29459 at Lenovo Apologies for Superfish Scandal, Offers Uninstall Instructions <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/superfish.jpg" alt="Uninstall Superfish" title="Uninstall Superfish" width="228" height="170" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>World's top PC supplier admits it "messed up"</h3> <p><strong>Lenovo took to Twitter to issue an apology over Superfish</strong>, the visual search software it installed on consumer laptops and desktops without permission, and has posted instructions on how to remove it. Initially <a href="" target="_blank">Lenovo issued a statement</a> saying that it installed the software with good intentions and that there's nothing to be concerned about from a security perspective, though evidence points to the contrary.</p> <p>"We're sorry. We messed up. We're owning it. And we're making sure it never happens again," Lenovo posted to Twitter, <a href="" target="_blank">along with a link</a> instructing users how to remove the program and its digital certificate.</p> <p>The problem with Superfish is that it worked as adware by inserting ads into searches performed on Internet Explorer and Chrome (Firefox appears to be unaffected). Furthermore, it left a gaping security hole on users' systems that could allow for man-in-the-middle attacks.</p> <p>After news spread of the nefarious software, Lenovo tried to downplay the issue, saying that its relationship with the Superfish "is not financially significant" and its only goal was to "enhance the experience for users." In the same breath, Lenovo said it understood the concerns and had stopped preloading Superfish in January.</p> <p>One of our readers sent us an email to dispute Lenovo's claim, saying that "their statement that says they stopped pre-loading Superfish in January is false -- my laptop (a Y40-80) was manufactured on February 9, 2015, and included Superfish and its root certificate."</p> <p>It appears Lenovo got caught with its hand in the cookie jar, so to speak, and is now hoping that an apology and a bit of humility will win back the trust that helped it become the world's number one supplier of PCs.</p> <p>"We messed up badly here," Peter Hortensius, Lenovo’s chief technology officer, <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>Bloomberg</em></a> in an interview. <em>"</em>We made a mistake. Our guys missed it. We’re not trying to hide from the issue -- we’re owning it."</p> <p>It's not enough to simply uninstall Superfish, as it leaves behind a root certificate that must also be removed (manually). Lenovo's instructions linked above detail how to perform both.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> adware lenovo malware Software Superfish News Fri, 20 Feb 2015 16:21:18 +0000 Paul Lilly 29450 at Windows XP Holdouts Will Reportedly Pay Double for Microsoft Support <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/xp_bliss.jpg" alt="XP Bliss" title="XP Bliss" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Another nudge to get businesses to upgrade</h3> <p>Even the floppy disk would have to be impressed with how long Windows XP has been able to hold onto relevance. Sure, most of the world has moved on, but there are still a lot of Windows XP machines out there, especially in various enterprise sectors. Rather than upgrade, businesses can ink custom support agreements (CSAs) with Microsoft to continue receiving support. However, it's being reported that the <strong>cost of those Windows XP CSAs are about to double</strong>.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>ComputerWorld</em></a> and an anonymous licensing expert it spoke with, the price per PC for a Windows XP CSA will be $400 with a cap of $500,000 starting in April. Included as part of these CSAs are ongoing critical security updates for the retired OS, allowing businesses to continue using the aged OS.</p> <p>Microsoft dropped the price to $200 with a cap of $250,000 last year just days before it retired Windows XP. The intent was to give businesses a little more time to get their ducks in a row and migrate to a newer OS. It's an annual program, and those who haven't made plans to upgrade will see their costs go back up when their contracts expire, the first of which will take place in a couple of months.</p> <p>It will be interesting to see what effect that has on Windows XP's market share. As it stands, Windows XP is on nearly 21 percent of the world's PCs, according to Net Applications. That comes out to over 300 million computers, though StatCounter reports XP's market share at 12 percent.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> microsoft operating system OS Software support windows xp News Thu, 19 Feb 2015 17:42:36 +0000 Paul Lilly 29447 at Microsoft's "Windows 365" Trademark Hints at Subscription Model <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_10_4.jpg" alt="Windows 10" title="Windows 10" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Examining the different scenarios</h3> <p><strong>Microsoft has been granted a patent for "Windows 365"</strong> by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and of course, the immediate reaction is that Windows is headed toward a subscription model similar to Office 365. Indeed that may be the case, though from everything that we know, it probably won't apply to Windows 10, which will remain a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users for the first year.</p> <p>Some people took the free upgrade announcement to mean that after the first year, a subscription fee would kick in. That's not our understanding of things, though the Windows 365 trademark is certainly an interesting development. Here are three possible scenarios we see playing out.</p> <h3>1. Windows 10 Goes the Subscription Route</h3> <p>We'll say right off the bat that this is highly unlikely, at least as an all-or-nothing affair. As we understand the free upgrade path to Windows 10, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users will have a year to make the upgrade at no cost, and after that, it will cost a flat fee, just like Windows does now. This is similar to what Microsoft's done in the past, except instead of offering a free upgrade, it offered a reduced rate and discounted family packs.</p> <p>That said, we could see Microsoft rolling out a subscription pricing plan as an option, just as it does with its Office suite. So, just as you can purchase Office 2013 or subscribe to Office 365, perhaps you'll be able to choose between Windows 10 and Windows 365, the latter of which would be an ongoing subscription that ensures you'll receive all futures versions of Windows, so long as your subscription is current.</p> <h3>2. Going All-In with Microsoft</h3> <p>Similar to the above scenario, Microsoft could offer an all-inclusive package of Windows products on a subscription basis. This could include Windows OS releases, Office, Skype, OneDrive storage, and even Xbox Live, though the more it bundles in, the higher the subscription.</p> <p>Alternately, it could relate to an all-inclusive package of Windows products, save for Windows itself. Microsoft COO Kevin Turner said during the Windows 10 event that "We've got to monetize [Windows 10] differently, and there are services involved." We don't want to extract too much out of that comment, though it could mean charging a subscription fee for certain products and services that tie into Windows 10.</p> <h3>3. Post–Windows 10 Era</h3> <p>One other possible scenario is that Windows 365 will follow Windows 10. Microsoft is heavily invested in the cloud and sees it being an integral part of its future, so perhaps Windows 10 will be the last flat-fee version of Windows.</p> <p>Unfortunately there aren't a lot of hints in the trademark itself, which is <a href=";state=4809:8qhezo.2.1" target="_blank">posted at <em>Neowin</em></a>. It covers everything from computer software and operating systems to telecommunications services and providing education and training. Including all those things would seem to support scenario number two above, though it's more likely Microsoft is simply covering all of its bases.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> microsoft operating system OS Software trademark Windows Windows 365 News Mon, 09 Feb 2015 17:13:17 +0000 Paul Lilly 29402 at More Project Spartan Images, Details Emerge <!--paging_filter--><h3>Current version of Project Spartan is said to be only marginally better than IE11 in HTML5 compliance</h3> <p>When it officially unveiled the <strong>Project Spartan (codename) browser</strong> last month, Microsoft said it would not be part of “our first few Insider builds.” It is hard to say how much longer we might have to wait for the first publicly available Windows 10 preview build with Project Spartan, but one thing is for sure: leaks, whether of entire builds or images therefrom, are never far off.</p> <p>The latest set of Windows 10 leaks, or purported leaks, comes to us from Chinese site A couple of days back, a series of images, allegedly showing some new icons from an as-yet unreleased build of&nbsp; the Windows 10 Tech Preview (build 10009), appeared on the site. On Saturday, it delivered a <a href="" target="_blank">second, more interesting tranche of images, that of the Project Spartan browser. </a></p> <p>Apart from the images, which can be found below, the site has also posted the browser’s score to give us an idea about its current level of HTML5 compliance. Although nothing to write home about, the score of 360 points (out of a possible 555 points) that the site attributes to its test build of Project Spartan is marginally better than the 343 points that it says Internet Explorer 11 notched up. Curiously, however, the online HTML5 compliance tool is said to have identified Project Spartan, supposedly an entirely different browser with a new rendering engine, as IE11.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="" alt="Alleged Project Spartan HTML5 Test Score" title="Alleged Project Spartan HTML5 Test Score" width="600" height="488" /></p> <p><em>Image Credit:</em></p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> browser build 10009 html5 internet explorer 11 leaks operating system project spartan rumore Software windows 10 News Mon, 09 Feb 2015 08:09:05 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29397 at Remembering Microsoft Bob, the Precursor to Windows RT <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/microsoft_bob_cd.jpg" alt="Microsoft Bob CD" title="Microsoft Bob CD" width="228" height="200" style="float: right;" />Treating users like idiots never works</h3> <p>I've written about the <a href="">demise of Windows RT</a> on <a href="">more than one occasion</a> over the course of the last couple of weeks, and in the comments section of both articles, there's mention of Microsoft Bob. Prior to those incidents, it had been a long time since I've seen anyone bring it up. References to Microsoft Bob usually only manifest when talking about forgettable Windows releases, like ME, Vista (pre-SP1), and RT. However, <strong>Microsoft Bob wasn't actually a Windows version, it was a patronizing GUI that foreshadowed Windows RT's demise. Never heard of it? Let's take a trip back in time</strong>.</p> <p>Microsoft Bob was released in early 1995 as a desktop replacement for Windows 3.1 and Windows 95. Think of it as a GUI overlay. It was intended to make Windows less intimidating to novice users by dumbing down the interface -- instead of the traditional desktop with folders and icons, Microsoft Bob put users inside a graphical home with different rooms.</p> <p>Rooms were either public or private, the latter of which could only be entered into by whichever user account it was attached to. You could decorate each of the rooms with various objects, as well as move things around, change the theme, and even create new rooms altogether.</p> <p>What about the applications? These were integrated into the rooms. If you wanted to access Calendar, you could click on the calendar hanging on the wall. Likewise, clicking on the pen and paper on your desk would open up a word processor. These were essentially shortcuts presented as decorations.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/microsoft_bob.jpg" alt="Microsoft Bob" title="Microsoft Bob" width="620" height="465" /></p> <p>As you moved about the house, a pet dog named Rover (think: Clippy) would follow you around and offer tips and suggestions, provided you didn't turn him off.</p> <p>Microsoft Bob isn't a project that came out of nowhere, but was born out of research by a pair of Stanford University professors, Clifford Nass and Byron Reeves. It was overseen by Microsoft researcher Karen Fries, and for a short while, Melinda Gates served as one of the project's marketing managers.</p> <p>Only one major version of Microsoft Bob was ever made (not counting the Gateway Edition that came with Gateway 2000 PCs) and it was discontinued less than five months later. The biggest reason it flopped is because users had no interest in being treated like idiots, though it didn't help that it had relatively steep system requirements for the time (minimum 486SX CPU, 8MB RAM, 32MB disk space, and 256 color Super VGA) and initially sold for $100.</p> <p>These days Microsoft Bob is remembered as one of Microsoft's biggest product failures, which makes it even more interesting that Windows RT and the whole metro interface came about. Just as interesting is that as recently as 2013, Bill Gates spoke out in support of Microsoft Bob, saying it will make a comeback someday.</p> <p>"We were just ahead of our time, like most of our mistakes," Gates said.</p> <p>Here's a look at Microsoft Bob in action:</p> <p><iframe src="" width="620" height="465" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> gui Microsoft Bob Software Windows windows rt News Fri, 06 Feb 2015 21:54:01 +0000 Paul Lilly 29388 at Researchers Warn of Zero Day Vulnerability in Internet Explorer 11 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/ie_logo_0.jpg" alt="IE Logo" title="IE Logo" width="228" height="227" style="float: right;" />Hackers have a new security hole to go phishing in</h3> <p><strong>If you use Internet Explorer 11, be aware that researchers have discovered a zero-day vulnerability</strong> that could allow attackers to change content on domains remotely. The exploit could also allow hackers to inject malicious content in browsers, steal personal data, and track your online movements. That's the bad news. And the good? You're unlikely to fall prey to such an attack, according to Microsoft.</p> <p>"To successfully exploit this issue, and adversary would first need to lure a person, often through trickery such as phishing, to a malicious website that they've created," Microsoft said in a statement sent to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Inquirer</em></a>. "SmartScreen, which is on by default in newer versions of Internet Explorer, helps protect against nefarious phishing websites."</p> <p>Microsoft also said that it's not aware of the vulnerability being actively exploited at this time, and that it's working on a fix, which it will dole out in a future update. However, the Redmond outfit didn't provide a time table for the fix.</p> <p>Security firm Symantec weighed in with a statement of its own, saying that it too was unaware of the vulnerability being exploited in the wild. However, it also warned of the exploit's potential for harm, saying it "could allow an attacker to bypass the same-origin policy in order to steal from, and inject information into, other websites."</p> <p>David Leo, the researcher at Deusen who <a href="" target="_blank">discovered the flaw</a>, provided an example of how the vulnerability works. By exploiting the vulnerability, he's able to inject content that reads "Hacked by Deusen" into the <em>Daily Mail's</em> website seven seconds after opening the webpage.</p> <p>To see for yourself, fire up IE11 and click <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>. Close the popup window after three seconds, as it instructs, and then click Go. This will open the <em>Daily Mail</em> website, and after seven seconds, you'll see the Hacked by Deusen message.</p> <p>The zero-day vulnerability affects Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> browser ie11 internet explorer 11 Security Software vulnerability zero-day News Fri, 06 Feb 2015 16:37:27 +0000 Paul Lilly 29385 at Microsoft Stops Production of Last Windows RT Tablet <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/nokia_lumia_2520_0.jpg" alt="Nokia Lumia 2520" title="Nokia Lumia 2520" width="228" height="140" style="float: right;" />The final nail in Windows RT's coffin</h3> <p>For all intents and purposes, Windows RT is finally dead. That was actually true a week ago when <a href="">Microsoft discontinued</a> its Surface 2 tablets, thereby removing life support from Windows RT. But now that <strong>Microsoft announced it's no longer producing Nokia Lumia 2520 tablets</strong>, it's okay to write Windows RT's obituary -- this is, after all, the final nail in the coffin of an OS that died a slow and uneventful death.</p> <p>"We are no longer manufacturing Nokia Lumia 2520; however, those still eager to buy Nokia Lumia 2520 should visit Microsoft Retail Stores,, third-party retailers and resellers for the latest availability," Microsoft said in a statement to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Verge</em></a>.</p> <p>After other manufactures had long since jumped ship (or never boarded in the first place), Microsoft was the last maker of Windows RT tablets. But with the retirement of the Nokia Lumia 2520, nobody is left to prop Windows RT up, and that's just fine.</p> <p>Windows RT has no place in a market that's already looking ahead to Windows 10. You could also argue that it had no place in the Windows 8 era, though Microsoft tried like hell to push a gimped version of its OS with ARM-based devices. That effort turned out to be too confusing for some customers, and way too limited in functionality for others. It was also a costly lesson for Microsoft, which at one point took a <a href="">$900 million charge</a> on unsold Surface RT tablets.</p> <p>One thing that's interesting about this is what it means for Microsoft's relationship with ARM, in terms of tablet design. With everything Microsoft has revealed about Windows 10 so far, one thing it hasn't touched on is whether there will be a version of its next OS that supports smaller size ARM tablets, not just IoT devices like <a href="">Raspberry Pi 2</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Hardware microsoft Nokia Lumia 2520 operating system OS slate Software tablet windows rt News Thu, 05 Feb 2015 17:00:11 +0000 Paul Lilly 29372 at Microsoft Brings Touch Office Apps to Windows 10 Technical Preview <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/universal_word.jpg" alt="Universal Office Word" title="Universal Office Word" width="228" height="129" style="float: right;" />Get touchy-feely with Office today</h3> <p>Are you rocking a copy of the Windows 10 Technical Preview? If so, <strong>you can kick the tires on three of Microsoft's Universal Office apps -- Word, Excel, and PowerPoint</strong>. All three are immediately available to download in the new Windows Store beta, which you can gain access to if you've joined the Microsoft Windows Insider program (and if not, <a href="" target="_blank">go here</a> to become one), just as Microsoft promised they would be.</p> <p>In the coming weeks, the same apps will also be made available on phones and tablets running Windows 10, and sometime thereafter you'll gain access to Outlook and OneNote as well. In the meantime, you can start playing around with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint right now, all of which have been optimized for touch and mobile.</p> <p>The Universal Office apps look a little different than their desktop counterparts. They also sport some new features that make them easier to use on touchscreen devices, like a new Read mode in Word for scrolling through long documents. And in Excel, you can use touch to select multiple cells, format pie charts, and more.</p> <p>There's no charge to download and use the apps currently, which Microsoft plans to keep updated. If interested, here are the download links:</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Excel Preview</a><br /><a href="" target="_blank">Word Preview</a><br /><a href="" target="_blank">PowerPoint Preview</a></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Excel microsoft office operating system OS Powerpoint Software windows 10 Word News Wed, 04 Feb 2015 21:42:14 +0000 Paul Lilly 29369 at Microsoft, Google, and Amazon Reportedly Pay Adblock Plus to Ignore Ads <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/adblock_plus.jpg" alt="AdBlock Plus" title="AdBlock Plus" width="228" height="228" style="float: right;" />Secret deals come to light</h3> <p>You're not supposed to know it, but <strong>Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Taboola have been paying the developers of Adblock Plus to stop blocking ads on their respective websites</strong>, according to a paywalled article in the <em>Financial Times</em>. The deals are confidential in nature, though <em>FT</em> says it was able to confirm that they do in fact exist. If true, it raises some questions about the transparency of one of the most popular browser extensions ever made.</p> <p>Eyeo, the German outfit that owns Adblock Plus, says its software has been downloaded over 300 million times around the globe and has more than 50 million monthly active users. Each one of them is welcome to read the software's <a href="" target="_blank">FAQ</a>, which says it has "strict criteria" about what it identifies as "<a href="" target="_blank">Acceptable Ads</a>."</p> <p>Ads that are deemed acceptable must be static (no animations, sounds, etc) and clearly marked. They also have to follow a set of placement guidelines and follow a few other rules. Users of the extension don't always agree with Eyeo about which ads should pass muster, and many where angry when the company proposed whitelisting Taboola, an advertising network that's known to serve up racy content on occasion.</p> <p>Despite the protests, Eyeo whitelisted Taboola, and like Google and Amazon, the company refused to comment. Microsoft, however, did issue a statement.</p> <p>"Microsoft will always give consumers choice when it comes to advertisements. We are committed to working with partners who share our vision for relevant, impactful brand interaction and respect the integrity of consumer choice," <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft said</a>.</p> <p><em>FT</em> says Eyeo doesn't charge small websites and blogs for its whitelisting process, but that large companies must pony up. How much? Eyeo wasn't willing to say.</p> <p>Eyeo has to be careful with these deals, as users have the option of blocking all ads, which lessens the value of its whitelisting service to clients, or ditching the extension altogether.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> AdBlock Plus ads amazon Google Internet microsoft Software web News Tue, 03 Feb 2015 19:56:52 +0000 Paul Lilly 29361 at Android 5.0 Lollipop Is Finally on the Market Share Map <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/lollipop.jpg" alt="Android 5.0 Lollipop" title="Android 5.0 Lollipop" width="228" height="179" style="float: right;" />The latest version of Android climbs to a 1.6 percent share</h3> <p>Google released Android 5.0 Lollipop to the public on November 3. 2014, but in the three months that have passed since then, it never registered a blip on the Android Developers Dashboard, until now. That's because Google doesn't list any versions with less than a 0.1 percent distribution. Within the last few days, however, <strong>Android 5.0 has gone from virtually non-existent to a 1.6 percent share</strong>.</p> <p>That's still not much, but at least it's a start. I also expect to see that number grow somewhat steadily in the coming weeks and months -- HTC is working on doling out Lollipop to its One M7 and M8 devices in the U.S., the Verizon Galaxy S5 is supposed to unwrap the latest build today, and several other phone models should be receiving updates fairly soon as well.</p> <p>As it stands, Jelly Bean (Android 4.1.x to 4.3) is the most popular major version with a collective 44.5 percent share, followed by KitKat, which is installed on 39.7 percent of all Android devices, at least as <a href="" target="_blank">recorded by Google</a>.</p> <p>Out of all versions of Android, only Lollipop and KitKat gained ground compared to last month, increasing 1.6 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.</p> <p>Google gathers its market share data through the Google Play Store, so these numbers don't paint a perfect picture, though they do give a rough idea of the level for fragmentation.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> android 5.0 Google lollipop mobile operating system OS Software News Mon, 02 Feb 2015 20:58:28 +0000 Paul Lilly 29357 at