When rumours start, people believe anything

It still amazes me of some of the false information that floats around.  Here is an example.

Canada is trying to bring in 25,000 of the refugees fleeing ISIS. The new Canadian government under Justin Trudeau had a hard time getting the 10,000 they wanted to be in Canadian soil by the end of 2015.

They ended up missing the 10,000 by a thousand or so. This was primarily because of logistics in sending security teams over, setting things up, etc.

But right away the Conservative party opposition [stinged at the stunning loss a couple of months prior] started to hammer away at various aspects.

Then the rumors and innuendo started. Rumors had it that refugees will be accepted with little to no security checking. This was false since the UN will be doing one phase and a team from the Canadian government would handle another phase. Even after on Canadian soil, they still would be investigated.

The Canadian government was also accepting primarily families – since a parent would be less likely to be part of terrorist activities. Rumors said they would take anyone.

Even as the refugees are coming into Canada, the 25,000 promised by the end of February will be more likely to be accomplished.

But more complaining by the Conservative party [trickling down to other right wing followers] saying that there are problems once the refugees are in Canada. Issues such as cramped quarters [not quite true] in hotel rooms, no movement in trying to get them out of hotels and into homes, etc.

This is really not surprising when you have that many refugees coming into Canada – a population of roughly 36 million.

If you aren’t scratching your head, maybe you should.

I can’t see too many refugees complaining about possible cramped conditions or staying at a hotel when they came from a land where they lived in damaged homes, often gun shots or bombs falling nearby, lack of food, lack of sanitation, lost family members, lack of clean running water, etc.

Microsoft pushes “recommended update” for Windows 10

Microsoft, on Monday, switched Windows 10 from being an “optional update” in Windows Update to being a “recommended update,” according to a report.

The status change likely means that some Windows 7/Windows 8.1 users will experience this notice in the form of a surprise, namely an unexpected upgrade to Windows 10. Traditionally, Windows Update served as just a patching mechanism, rather than an operating system upgrade solution, but Microsoft switched things around with Windows 10.

This will affect workgroup computers as well as Professional SKU computers in a domain where they are relying on Windows Update and not WSUS or other updating software.

Read by blog here to see how to disable the upgrading of Windows 10.

Son racks up $8,200 Xbox bill, father upset

I’m sure this is not the only story like this out there.

A father in Ontario, Canada recently got the shock of his life when he received a credit card bill of $8,206 [CDN] from Xbox. He discovered his 17 year old son racked up the bill online.

He claimed his son though playing online was free. This even though the father’s credit card was used to play online.

The father asked Microsoft, owners of Xbox, to investigate, which they did. Initially Microsoft refused, but after learning that his son was a minor, the company did refund the full amount. They also warned that there would be no further refunds.

This brings me to a few points.

First of all, the son is 17 years old. Overwhelming number of people who replied regarding an article on a news website thinks the father has not taught his sons how to use a credit card.

Maybe the father should tell the son to get a part time job so he can learn how to use money.

The father is also at fault for letting the son rack up a large amount without any type of warnings [the credit card company could also be at fault].

Every time you make a purchase in Xbox there are several warning screens that you are going to purchase something. With the Xbox One the main account has access to purchase. The other accounts you can restrict purchasing. A password would have taken care of this as well as the son accessing only the secondary account.

Maybe even buying a Xbox pre-paid card at a store would solve things.

Finally, how many hours did the son play online? Looks like the son didn’t come out of his room for the month.

Out of control US election spending

Maybe it’s just me or the spending in US politics is out of control.

Here is a perfect example. Sarah Palin, who was the running mate to John McCain in the 2008 elections has her own PAC [political action committee -a group formed to raise and contribute money to the campaigns of candidates likely to advance the group’s interests].

In 2014, her PC received $3.1 million in donations but only 7% went to candidates her PAC was supporting. About the same amount went to administrative travel and lodging, while the bulk went to fundraising. HSP Direct of Ashburn, Virginia received a big chunk of the PAC’s money. The company handles direct-mail appeals and the company’s web site even has Palin’s endorsement.

Of course something like $220,000 given to supporters is a bad return on investors. So about $1.8 million for administrative expenses and to generate donations.

Doesn’t look good this current cycle. Only $25,000 was give out to supporters, $394,000 on fundraising, and about $72,000 for administrative costs [lawyers, accountants, travel, web site upkeep, etc.]. Also paid were three consultants for logistics, fundraising consultant and three [!] speech writers.

If you use the current data above, $460,000 used for administrative purposes, $1.35 million to HSP Direct. So sent HSP Direct $1.35 million to get back $220,000 in donations. Great ratio of return. Not.

As an unelected citizen, accountable to nobody, Palin owes the public no explanation for how she raises and spends her money. In theory, she could pocket the rest. You can therefore say that really anyone can create a PAC.

Of course in the last Presidential election in 2012, the Democratic Party raised $1.072 billion and spend $0.985 billion. The Republican Party raised $0.992 billion and spent just about the same. This excludes the money spent in the primaries and other which lasted a while. Some talk that the last election cost over $4 billion.

In Canada, there is a limit of what a candidate can spend. For example, in the 2011 elections, the Conservative Party received [just] $23 million in individual contributions. [Yes, the US has about 11 times the population of Canada.]

Even with charities in Canada, a small percentage [maybe at most 25%] must be used for administrative expenses with the remainder going to the organization [the reason why there are donations made].

Changes to Windows support lifecycle

OK. After this you may be scratching your head….. [If you are bad at logic or math, you probably will!]

  • Windows 7 will continue to be supported for security, reliability, and compatibility through January 14, 2020 on previous generation processor. For Windows 8.1, it will receive the same support through January 10, 2023. This would include the majority of the devices available for purchase today.
  • Newer CPUs coming out [such as Intel’s upcoming Kaby Lake CPU, Qualcomm’s upcoming 8996 CPU, and AMD’s upcoming Bristol Ridge CPU] will only work with the current Windows version and later. For example, a Kaby Lake CPU will not be supported with Windows 8.1 or before.
  • Until July 17, 2017, Intel’s Skylake devices [the current 6th generation CPUs], support with Windows 7 and 8.1 will be available but during the 18-month support period, these systems should be upgraded to Windows 10 to continue receiving support after the period ends. But after July 2017, only the most critical Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 security updates will be released for these devices as long as the update does not risk the reliability or compatibility of the Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 platform on other devices. [Of course, you can probably install the updates for the older CPU generations on a Skylake device – except you are at your own risk.]

From Intel: “This enables us to focus on deep integration between Windows and the silicon, while maintaining maximum reliability and compatibility with previous generations of platform and silicon.”

Enterprises with downgrade rights may have issues with this new set of policies from Microsoft.

Windows 10 to be pushed out to some domain computers

In another change, the Get Windows 10 [GWX] application will be pushed to domain-joined PCs later this month in the united States and elsewhere after that. Only organizations running the Professional versions of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 will be affected.

In addition, only those domain PCs configured to receive updates automatically from Microsoft’s Windows Update service will get the GWX application.

Oh. Windows 10 hit 200 million activations [not purchased copies – a difference].

Apple products aren’t so secure anymore

The days of buying something from Apple and knowing it is secure is now long gone. CVE Details is probably the most common site to keep track of vulnerabilities in computer software.

They claim that OSX, used on Apple Macs, are the most vulnerable software of 2015, followed closely by iOS used for iPads and iPhones.

OS X had 384 vulnerabilities followed by 375 for iOS. 2014’s “winner”, Adobe Flash Player, dropped to third place with 314 vulnerabilities.

While Microsoft’s software in total had more vulnerabilities [1561], it is only because they also have a lot more software to support. Adobe was second with 1504 followed by Apple with 1147.

Microsoft’s Windows operating system, which was often referred to as the most-attacked desktop platform out there, had one version in the top 10 [Windows Server 2008 with 155 vulnerabilities].

Internet Explorer continues to be the most vulnerable browser on the market with 231 vulnerabilities with Google’s Chrome right behind with 187 and Firefox at 178.

Of note, Ubuntu Linux had 152 vulnerabilities.

Oddly Windows 8.1 [151] had more vulnerabilities than Windows 8 [146] and Windows 7 [147]. Windows Vista was actually the lowest of the supported Windows operating systems [135] other than Windows 10, which only came out in late July [already picked up 53 vulnerabilities]. Note that as more features are added, more vulnerabilities can appear.

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