The big five – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google & Microsoft – have got a stranglehold of our digital life. Not just our digital identities, but almost all of our web experiences are reliant or connected to the technologies of these five companies.
Recently, Daniel Oberhaus from Motherboard and then Kashmir Hill from Gizmodo both experimented by completely “quitting” the Big Five, for four and six weeks respectively. Both of their stories are very insightful and definitely recommended reading for anyone. However, quitting the Big Five is exactly the kind of take on privacy that turns many people off from becoming more privacy aware.
I’ve seen this happen time and time again in r/privacy, where people who have just tipped their toes in the world on online privacy and security are getting barraged with comments like “LOL IF YOU’RE NOT USING LINUX YOU’RE SCREWED” and “YOU NEED TO DELETE ALL SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS”. But if we as a privacy community would dial back our tone just a bit, I think we could do way more good than what we’re doing right now.
One week and 46 years ago, the Internet was born. Or to be precise, its predecessor (or an earlier manifestation) the ARPANET delivered its first message, on 29 October 1969. Due to the creation of The World Wide Web two decades later, the Internet became the backbone interconnecting first the selected few and then eventually billions of people around the world. Although the amount of Internet users has grown staggering 806% since December 2000, shockingly still only 45% of global population has access to the Internet. So how do we get the rest 55% online? One answer to this is free Internet. Utopian? Not necessarily, since it’s actually closer than most of us think.
Windows 10 launches next month. The new OS represents a fundamental change on how we use the Microsoft’s ecosystem now and in future, with all the talks about software-as-a-service mindset and common code across all Windows devices. One of these huge changes is the company’s new browser, Edge. Although it will not replace the good ol’ Internet Explorer (because of obvious legacy reasons), it will be the new default browser. Way over a billion devices will get Windows 10 for free upgrade. That’s quite many devices which will soon open your web site, eCommerce store or online game with a completely new browser by default. Continue reading “Are Companies Ready for Microsoft Edge? I Fear Not.”→
During last week’s big event, Microsoft also revealed new information about the upcoming Internet browser, Project Spartan. There’s quite a bit of new features and improvements (both technical and design), and if you are running the latest Windows 10 Technical Preview build – number 9926 on my ultrabook – then you can try out the new rendering engine with this trick:
Open up IE 11 and type about:flags in the address bar.
Switch “Enable Experimental Web Platform Features” from Automatic to Enabled.
Apply changes and restart the browser.
Several browser tests already show significant performance boosts in favor of the new engine, and so far I haven’t had any stability issues with it either, so there’s really no reason not to enable it already!
Everyone who has had the pleasure of writing academic texts knows the importance of using proper referencing techniques and formatting. I did all the referencing to my Bachelor’s Thesis by hand, and with that experience still fresh on my mind, I decided to look around for better alternatives for my Master’s Thesis.
Turns out that Microsoft Word has very neat and powerful built-in referencing feature, which supports several different citation standards (including APA, which was our faculty’s choice). However, I soon discovered that although Word lists every reference only once in the automatically generated bibliography, it treats every citation in the text itself as a new and unique entity. Therefore by default it was impossible for me to write as we were instructed by my faculty: “If the original source has three or more authors, all names separated with a comma are written in the first reference: (Jauhiainen, Pirhonen & Silvennoinen, 2009). When referring to the source for the second time, it is enough to write the first author’s name and “etc.”, a comma and the year: (Jauhiainen etc., 2009).“
So the first reference can obviously be done, but here’s my workaround for the second one:
Roughly a week ago, Microsoft announced the next Windows and revealed its name will be Windows 10. Not Threshold, not Windows 9, not Windows 8.2 or just Windows. Some ridiculous rumors circled the Internet about why they decided to “skip the 9”, but I don’t really care about the name. I care about the experience. And now after a week of testing the Technical Preview I’d like to share some short thoughts about the most notable of the new features.
Inspired by an article titled “Consumers won… or did they?” by Miikka Lehtonen (original text in Finnish here), I decided to write something about the fuzz around Xbox One myself. As you might remember, Microsoft announced in the introduction of Xbox One that they would transition to a new type of owning and distributing philosophy with its games. In a sense, discs would only become a delivery method for the games and consumers would actually buy the right to play them with a digital license. Also, it was told that Xbox One would need daily Internet connection in order to “call home”: this way a gamer’s right to play a particular game could be verified (a.k.a. DRM). This meant that you could not sell your game to e.g. your friend, but only to a verified reseller. On the obvious positive side, all the games could have been played without using the physical disc by installing them on the console’s hard drive. Some consumers welcomed this renewal with open arms, but unfortunately those who disagree with change, the laggards, have a track record of being the loudest of the audience.
Yesterday was the international Safer Internet Day, and also the day that second annual Microsoft Computing Safety Index’s results were published. Research was done globally on a massive scale; over 10,000 PC, smartphone and tablet users in 20 countries and regions were surveyed. The results? Outright troubling.
Holidays have been even more exciting than usual here in Finland, but not in a good way. Apparently cyber criminals aren’t aware of the concept of Christmas peace, and multiple cyber attacks have taken place against some major Finnish websites and servers. During 20.-21.12., several Finnish Joomla-servers had been DDoS-attacked and infected with Brobot-malware. Then between 25.-27.12., at least the websites of Helsingin Sanomat, Iltasanomat, Iltalehti, MTV3, Nelonen and Yle were also under DDoS-attacks. For Finns, I highly recommend following CERT-FI in Twitter – they’re The National Computer Security Incident Response Team of Finland, and give all the official information about cyber attacks, and useful security tips too.