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Category Archives: Microsoft

Paper – Perceptions and Reality of Windows 10 Home Edition Update Features

In Control with no Control: Perceptions and Reality of Windows 10 Home Edition Update Features, Jason Morris, Ingolf Becker, Simon Parkin – University College London Workshop on Usable Security (USEC) 201924 February 2019, San Diego, CA, USAISBN 1-1891562-53-3 http://dx.doi.org/10.14722/usec.2019.23008 – www.ndss-symposium.org: “Home computer users are regularly advised to install software updates to stay secure. Windows 10 Home edition is unique as it automatically downloads and installs updates, and restarts the computer automatically if needed. The automatic restarts can be influenced through a number of features, such as‘active hours’ (the period during which a computer will never automatically restart to finish installing an update) or by explicitly setting a time when to restart the computer. This research investigates if the features Microsoft provides for managing updates on Windows 10 Home edition are appropriate for computer owners.We build a model of the update behaviour of Windows 10. The model identifies all interaction points between the update system and the users. We contrast the theory with reality in a survey study with 93 participants which establishes the experiences and perceptions of users of Windows 10 Home.Windows will not restart a computer outside active hours if the computer is in use. However, if any user of a machine sets an explicit restart time, the computer will restart at that time in order to install quality updates even if the computer is still inactive use (potentially by a different user to the one who set the restart time). While overall perceptions of updates were positive,the pattern of use of almost all users was incompatible with the default setting of the ‘active hours’ feature. Only 28% of users knew of its existence. Users are mostly unaware of quality (bug-fix) updates, perceiving that updates act mostly to add features.Half of our participants report unexpected restarts, while half also reported growing concern about the state of their device if an update took a long time. Participants who had previous negative experiences had weaker beliefs about their ability to control updates than those who had not.We recommend that operating systems obtain explicit permission for restarts consistently; there are opportunities for default features such as active hours and update progress displays to learn from usage activity.”

How tech companies use dark patterns to discourage us from exercising our rights to privacy

Dark Patterns – How tech companies use dark patterns to discourage us from exercising our rights to privacy. The Norwegian Consumer Council (the Forbrukerrådet or NCC) report criticizes “features of interface design crafted to trick users into doing things that they might not want to do, but which benefit the business in question.” “In this… Continue Reading

Microsoft really doesn’t want you to use Internet Explorer anymore

The Verge: “Microsoft killed off the Internet Explorer brand nearly four years ago, choosing Edge as its modern browser for Windows 10. Internet Explorer lived on as plumbing for Windows and for business compatibility, but Microsoft isn’t supporting it with new web standards – it’s legacy code. Chris Jackson, a cybersecurity expert in Microsoft’s Windows… Continue Reading

Visualizing Data in 3D

Visualizing Data in 3D – “Microsoft has published a free data visualization tool called Charts 3D that allows PC and Surface Hub users to create 3D visualizations of multi-axis data without knowing how to code. After users import datasets, Charts 3D generates an interactive graphic, such as a geospatial plot, scatter plot, or line graph.… Continue Reading

These are the websites your clean-install Windows PC connects to by itself

MSPoweruser: “Since the release of Windows 10, Microsoft has been accused of breaching privacy and connecting users to services without proper disclosure. The company now has released a list of websites and services that a Windows PC connects to after a clean install. The list mostly consists of Microsoft services which provide data endpoints to… Continue Reading

TIME – 100 Most Influential People of 2018

The 100 Most Influential People of 2018 [Searchable List] – “TIME’s annual list of the world’s most influential people is a designation of individuals whose time, in our estimation, is happening right now.” Thoughts about each individual on the list are written by a wide range of iconic individuals who likewise have been pioneers in… Continue Reading

Survey says – digital technology may not always improve worker productivity – surprise!

Impact of technology on productivity depends on company culture: “Economists have been puzzled in recent years by the so-called “productivity paradox,” the fact that the digital revolution of the past four decades hasn’t resulted in big gains in output per worker as happened with earlier technological upheaval. Many developed economies have actually seen productivity stagnate or decline.… Continue Reading

10 Microsoft Word Hacks For Legal Professionals

“When you’re working hard to meet tight deadlines, you don’t have time to painstakingly bold every title in your document or fiddle with mysterious formatting inconsistencies at the 11th hour. Word can do more than you think. There are plenty of options for getting the program to work for you so that you always meet… Continue Reading

Google muscles in on Microsoft using Chromebooks and Google Earth Voyager

Google: “…Recently we announced a new browser-based version of Google Earth that makes it easier than ever for teachers to bring the world into the classroom using Chromebooks. Today we are excited to introduce 10 new stories in Google Earth Voyager, our new storytelling platform, built specifically for the classroom. We collaborated with National Geographic… Continue Reading

FTC updates consumers on ransomware

You’ve probably heard about the ransomware attack affecting organizations’ computer systems around the world. It seems to affect server software on organizations’ networked computers. But ransomware can attack anybody’s computer, so now is a good time to update your own operating system and other software. And then keep them up-to-date. The ransomware in the news… Continue Reading

NYT – With New Digital Tools, Even Nonexperts Can Wage Cyberattacks

The New York Times: “The ransomware tactic behind a global cyberattack on Friday was nothing new. But new digital tools mean that hackers “don’t even need to have any skills to do this anymore.” Attack May Worsen Monday, It Is Feared – “The effects of Friday’s attack could be magnified as workers return to their… Continue Reading

Microsoft Academic Scholar Search Adds Neuroscience

Engadget – “Semantic Scholar went live in November 2015 with a focus on computer science papers. Today, the service expanded to include neuroscience, bringing the search engine’s database to more than 10 million papers. Semantic Scholar is pitched as a sophisticated alternative to Google Scholar, and it uses AI systems and natural language processing algorithms… Continue Reading