More privacy issues – this time from Apple

Seems Apple has opened another can of worms. This time it is a privacy issue. Apple’s latest operating systems, OS X Yosemite for laptops and iOS 8 for their gadgets, both transmit your search terms back to Apple [and Microsoft!] by default.

If you use the Safari browser [does anyone really use it?], Apple not only knows what you did search for, but they can also see what you were thinking before you ever submitted your request.

If you type in the Spotlight box OS X Yosemite or iOS 8, it will cause your search terms to go to Apple, Microsoft’s Bing, and whatever search engine you have selected. They request goes to Apple so that you can see results from Apple properties and then the request is sent to Bing as a way of getting you quick, relevant search results based on partial queries. Once you press the Enter key, whatever you have is sent to the search engine you choose.

If you have Location Services enabled, it will transmit your location along with your search terms.

To turn off Spotlight search queries:

  • OS X: Deselect the checkboxes for Spotlight Suggestions and the Bing Web Searches in the Search Results pane of Spotlight preferences in System Preferences. [With them disabled Spotlight will search the contents of only your Mac.] There is also a third one in Safari’s preferences where “Include Spotlight Suggestions” will also invoke this behavior.
  • iOS8: Similar preferences have to be checked: General, Spotlight Search, Spotlight Suggestions, and Bing Web Results needs to be unchecked. The third option is harder to get to – in Privacy, Location Services – scroll all the way to the end to System Services and turn off many options like Spotlight Suggestions.

Some are suggesting that while Apple seems to champion privacy issues, they don’t think that this is a major concern. But others do.

New features in the next Windows Server version

This is not a complete list….

  • Rolling Hyper-V cluster upgrade: If there was one feature that was often requested. this is it. Basically, it allows a Windows Server 2012 R2 cluster to be upgraded one node at a time in a mixed-mode configuration. After all nodes have been upgraded, a PowerShell cmdlet is executed which then turns on the Windows Server 10 native clustering functionality.
  • Hyper-V Integration Services: In a guest virtual machines, they will be updated via Windows Update.
  • Hyper-V Manager improvements: They include enabling other types of authentication, the use of alternative credentials, and can also manage down-level Hyper-V servers (Windows Server 2012 and higher).
  • New Hyper-V virtual machine configuration format: The new VMCX format is a binary format file that can’t be converted back to an old format and it can’t be directly edited.
  • Hot add of memory as well as network adapters to Generation 2 virtual machines for Windows and Linux: This feature allows memory to be changed even when dynamic memory isn’t being used.
  • Ability to create production checkpoints in Hyper-V: Allows you to create a point-in-time capture of a virtual machine’s storage and device/memory state, which can then be reverted to at some later point in time.
  • Windows Defender: Now included is now included in Windows Server. The GUI isn’t installed but can be added.
  • Network Controller Role: Shows information about the network infrastructure to other management applications.
  • PowerShell 5.0: Numerous new modules.
  • DNS Client: Improvements for multi-homed machines.
  • Storage QoS on Scale-Out File Servers: This enables cluster-wide QoS to ensure that storage performance needs are met.
  • Storage Replica: Provides synchronous mirroring of data between nodes in a cluster or between standalone servers. In addition, asynchronous storage replication is also available [weith a chance of data loss].
  • GRE Tunneling Support: Enables connectivity between external and virtual networks.

The primary reason to upgrade to Windows 10 when it comes out

Well I think some people found the reason to upgrade to Windows 10 or the next server version…..

You can finally paste with Ctrl-V in the command prompt.

Kidding of course. But ever since Windows was release with the command prompt, when you tried to paste with Ctrl-V you would actually see “^V” instead. [Of course you could right click on the command line and select Paste from the short menu.]

But here is a nearly complete list of combinations while in the command prompt (but excluding some of the obvious ones):

Ctrl + Up Arrow: Moves up one line in the output history.
Ctrl + Down Arrow: Moves down one line in the output history.
Ctrl + Page Up: Moves up one page in the output history.
Ctrl + Page Down: Moves down one page in the output history.
Ctrl + F: Opens “Find” in console dialog.
Ctrl + C or Ctrl + Ins: Copy text to the clipboard.
Ctrl + V or Shift + Ins : Paste text into the command line.
Ctrl + A: If cursor is in current line being edited (from the first typed character to the last type character) and line is not empty and any selection cursor is also within the line being edited then it selects all text after the prompt. If not, then it selects the entire buffer.
Ctrl + M: Enter “Mark Mode” to move cursor within window.
Alt : In conjunction with one of the selection key combinations above, this begins selection in block mode.
Ctrl + Home: Move cursor to beginning of buffer.
Ctrl + End: Move cursor to end of buffer.
Shift + Page Down: Extends selection down one screen.
Shift + Page Up: Extends selection up one screen.
Shift + Left Arrow: Moves the cursor to the left one character, extending the selection.
Shift + Right Arrow: Moves the cursor to the right one character, extending the selection.
Shift + Up Arrow: Selects text up line by line starting from the location of the insertion point.
Shift + Down Arrow: Extends text selection down one line, starting at the location of the insertion point.
Shift + End: If cursor is in current line being edited, then the first time extends selection to the last character in the input line. After that the second consecutive press extends selection to the right margin. If not being edited, it selects text from the insertion point to the right margin.
Shift + Home: If cursor is in current line being edited then the first time extends selection to the character immediately after the command prompt. After that the second consecutive press extends selection to the left margin. If not being edited, it extends selection to the left margin.
Ctrl + Shift + Right Arrow: Extends the selection one word to the right.
Ctrl + Shift + Left Arrow: Extends the selection one word to the left.
Ctrl + Shift + Home: Extend selection to the beginning of the screen buffer.
Ctrl + Shift + End: Extend selection to the end of the screen buffer.

Bending copyright laws to suit their purposes

You have to wonder about the government of Canada with the Conservative party in control. Over the past couple of elections or so, they have been copying the US parties with what’s known as attack ads.

Attack ads are created by a party aimed usually at another individual in another party [usually the leader or closest rival]. The ad would go after the politician for his/her indecisiveness in various topics, over-spending, issues in the past, etc.

In the case of the Conservative party, they went after newly minted leader of the Liberal party [who are in third place]. I suspect they ignored the New Democratic Party because they are expected to drop in third place in the next election called for in 2015.

Why go after the new Liberal party leader, Justin Trudeau? He comes from a bit of political royalty as a son of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

They wasted no time with Trudeau. Not even a day went by when the Conservatives attached him in the ad. It shows Trudeau acting a bit like an idiot, taking off his shirt. The captions saying something like would you want this guy as the next Prime Minister?

In fact, some of quotes in the video was taken out of context and without permission by who ever took the video. Part of the video was taken a number of years prior at a charity where they were auctioning off bachelors and the quote in 1999 was taken when he wasn’t even in politics [and under 30 years old].

Let’s just say the Conservative party were red-faced. They tried other attack ads and they were either out of context or didn’t do any damage to Trudeau.

Fast forward to this week. The Conservative party decided to package a bunch of small changes to laws and a few minor changes into an omnibus bill where instead of wasting time on debating and voting for dozens of small bills, the parties would do a single debate and a single vote.

Tucked away into this 250+ page bill was a new law which would allow political parties access to any video they choose without paying for using the video or even giving credit. The changes would mandate the broadcast or publication of the political ads, even if their own content was used in a negative context.

In a sense they are throwing out part of the current [but out of date] copyright law.

Just about every group out there including broadcasters and the opposition parties are outraged at this [even though the opposition parties could use it to their advantage].

The Conservatives are probably doing this because of the election in about a year.

More types of discrimination? I doubt it.

In case you missed the story that came out this past week, a petition was created by a woman in Edmonton, Canada to make it illegal to discriminate based on tattoos or piercings.

Yup. You read that right.

She was complaining – I’m assuming here – because she has either tattoos or piercings or both and was denied a job or something like that.

She wants it to have the same legal standing as say sexual orientation, religion or skin color.

Well, let us check on this. All the anti-discrimination practices are for things that can’t be changed – in most cases you are born with it [such as skin color]. You theoretically can change your sexual orientation or religion but most wouldn’t do that to get a job.

When it comes to tattoos or piercings, these were put on as a choice by the individual. Piercings can easily be removed [holes may take time to close].

Tattoos are a bit harder to remove. But in most cases tattoos can be covered up. I know of one guy who had tattoos from his shoulder [at least] down to his wrists on both arms. He was hired at the job but was told to wear a long sleeve shirt when on the premises [must be fun on a very hot day!].

There are probably a few exceptions where tattoos or piercings may be part of a religion but in North America, that’s probably less likely.

But if you see someone walking down the street [with skulls or axes or a nasty looking snake], would you want to see that person serving you at the cash register at a store?

I can also guarantee you that the majority of people prefer dealing with someone without tattoos [piercing doesn’t have the same bad vibe, I think].

What’s in the next server version of Windows

At the same time of releasing Windows 10 Technical Preview, Microsoft also released a technical preview for the next version of Windows Server – most likely Windows Server 2015.

Changes to the Windows Server version of Windows 10 include:

  • More features for PowerShell version 5 including built in ZIP archive features.
  • The tiles are not used anymore. [Hurray!]
  • A new role, called Network Controller, which is a central point of configuration and monitoring for both physical and virtual networks, intended to work with System Center or other network management tools.
  • Another newcomer is Multipoint Services, which lets multiple users run lightweight remote sessions. Multipoint Server was previously a separate product.
  • Hyper-V virtualization is improved, with hot add and remove of network adapters and memory, provided you use Generation 2 virtual machines; these are VMs from which legacy PC emulation has been removed, improving performance at the expense of compatibility. You can also enable Secure Boot for selected Linux distributions as well as Windows Server.
  • The new Hyper-V manager can now manage down-level VMs, as far back as Windows Server 2012, removing an annoyance with the current tool.
  • Network Access Protection, a feature for protecting the network by preventing clients that are out of date or malware infected from connecting, has been removed from the new Windows server.
  • In storage, a new feature called Storage Replica does block-level replication between servers, to support both disaster recovery and high availability.
  • Windows Defender, the free Microsoft anti-malware feature, now comes to Windows Server for the first time.


Windows 10 technical preview available

In case you missed it on Tuesday, Microsoft has announced the next version of Windows will be called Windows 10.

What happened to Windows 9? According to Microsoft, the skip in versions underscores the company’s leap towards an operating system directed towards Internet services and mobile devices.

Here are some of the new features in Windows 10:

  • An expanded Start menu. The familiar Start menu from Windows 7 is mostly back. It provides a quick one-click access to the functions and files that used the most. The “new” menu includes a new space to personalize with favorite applications, programs, people and Web site.
  • Multiple desktops. Instead of too many applications and files overlapping on a single desktop, you can now create multiple desktops. This was technically already available with a free utility from Microsoft but this will enhance things.
  • Apps [tiles] that run in a window. Apps that came with Windows or are from the Windows Store now open in the same format that desktop programs do.
  • Snap enhancements. Working in multiple apps at once is easier and more intuitive with snap improvements. Windows will also show other apps and programs running for additional snapping, and it will even make smart suggestions on filling available screen space with other open apps A new quadrant option allows up to four apps to be snapped on the same screen.
  • New Task view button. The new Task view button, that will sit on the task bar, enables one view for all open apps and files, allowing for quick switching and one-touch access to any desktop created.

Where to get the technical preview? Good question. You can join the Windows Insider program. This will give you the latest Windows preview builds.

According to a report, Microsoft sold no less than 117.2 million copies of Windows 8.x in the consumer market by the end of 2013, but still lagged behind the 322 million copies Windows 7 sold. Of the 715 million copies of Windows installed in businesses around the world in 2013, about 361.2 million were Windows 7, 224 million were Windows XP about 40 million were Windows Vista and only 16 million were Windows 8.x.

Note: As it is a very early build, it will have bugs and other issues. You should not install it on a production computer but on one that you want to wipe or install it in a virtual machine [but note that some virtual machine software may not be too compatible with it as well]. You may have to play around with things. If using a virtual machine, choose the Windows 8.1 profile [if available] as it will be probably the closest compatible.


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