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Category Archives: Microsoft

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 report, we analyze a sample of settings in Facebook, Google and Windows 10, and show how default settings and dark patterns, techniques and features of interface design meant to manipulate users,are used to nudge users towards privacy intrusive options. The findings include privacy intrusive default settings, misleading wording, giving users an illusion of control, hiding away privacy-friendly choices, take-it-or-leave-it choices, and choice architectures where choosing the privacy friendly option requires more effort for the users. Facebook and Google have privacy intrusive defaults, where users who want the privacy friendly option have to go through a significantly longer process. They even obscure some of these settings so that the user cannot know that the more privacy intrusive option was pre-selected. The popups from Facebook, Google and Windows 10 have design, symbols and wording that nudge users away from the privacy friendly choices. Choices are worded to compel users to make certain choices, while key information is omitted or downplayed. None of them lets the user freely postpone decisions. Also, Facebook and Google threaten users with loss of functionality or deletion of the user account if the user does not choose the privacy intrusive option.The GDPR settings from Facebook, Google and Windows 10 provide users with granular choices regarding the collection and use of personal data. At the same time, we find that the service providers employ numerous tactics in order to nudge or push consumers toward sharing as much data as possible..”

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

EFF Commentary – With Windows 10, Microsoft Blatantly Disregards User Choice and Privacy

Amul Kalia – “Microsoft had an ambitious goal with the launch of Windows 10: a billion devices running the software by the end of 2018. In its quest to reach that goal, the company aggressively pushed Windows 10 on its users and went so far as to offer free upgrades for a whole year. However,… Continue Reading