Friday 15 March 2013

Google Ordered to Pay $7 Million to U.S. States for Wi-Fi Snooping Incident


 Christo [PCD]    15 Mar : 09:39
 None    Internet

Google also agreed to destroy all of this data collected in the U.S.

Google also agreed to destroy all of this data collected in the U.S.

Google is finally settling a three-year investigation this week into a Wi-Fi incident that occurred when compiling data for its mapping service.

Google's Street View mapping cars had accidentally collected personal data, such as home wireless network passwords, between 2008 and 2010. The cars were out collecting images and data for the Street View mapping system in Google Maps, and were using an experimental computer code in the cars' software while doing so. This led to the accidental collection of personal data

The settlement orders that Google split $7 million among 38 states in the U.S. and the District of Columbia, which were involved in the incident. Google also agreed to destroy all of this data collected in the U.S. (it's still working things out with European countries, where the same incident occurred).

Google will also deploy employee education programs that fill them in about user privacy, and will also launch a campaign about protecting information on wireless networks.

While Google has now been punished for its incident, some are not happy with the amount of the fine. For instance, Steve Pociask, the president of the American Consumer Institute, said that $7 million is nothing to a huge tech company like Google and likely won't ward off any further intrusions of privacy.

Google had a revenue of $50.2 billion in 2012 and $10.7 billion in net income.

Source: Reuters



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Wednesday 23 January 2013

More Than 3 Out of 4 Enthusiasts Reject Windows 8


 Christo [PCD]    23 Jan : 09:39
 None    Software

Notably, more than half of gamers who DO pick the embattled OS downgrade within weeks

Notably, more than half of gamers who DO pick the embattled OS downgrade within weeks

Arguably the most important, but relatively underdiscussed single story at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show can be expressed in a single word -- "solidarity". Whether it was Intel Corp. (INTC) pushing customers towards touch-friendly devices or companies like Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ) and Lenovo Group, Ltd. (HKG:0992) pushing Windows 8 hybrids/laptop designs, everyone was standing firmly behind Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) embattled Windows 8 operating system.

With past releases Microsoft was blasted for not being innovative enough compared to Linux and OS X, in terms of user interface design. Windows 8 flips the tables innovating wildly -- well beyond what Linux distro makers or Apple, Inc. (AAPL) have dared do. And now the equation has flipped: Microsoft finds itself under attack for innovating too much.

Whether its DailyTech's readers or online critics, it's important to recognize that much of the criticism is coming from the enthusiast sphere. Average consumers -- who generally gravitate towards bright, colorful, touchable devices like moths to a light -- tend to react more kindly to Windows 8 when exposed, at least in my anecdotal experience.

But the numbers are troubling. Despite Microsoft playing an interesting licensing sales game selling a deluge of licenses to OEMs at a rate that would indicate Windows 8 to be outselling Windows 7, the usage numbers indicate that OEMs are only moving a fraction of those licenses. Windows 8 is only drawing around a tenth of the internet traffic Windows 7 did at a similar point in the adoption cycle; in fact Windows 8 trails Windows Vista in internet traffic.

For obvious reasons I won't name the particular company I heard this from, but during a discussion this week with a company who makes enthusiast laptops and desktops for gamers I heard a somewhat interesting and startling statistic that drives home just how much Windows 8 is indeed struggling.

According to the the source:

It's really interesting... what we see is more people selecting Windows 7 [than Windows 8]... because we offer both side by side. And we actually see more people switching [back] from Windows 8 [to Windows 7] which is interesting.

The source said that over half of the purchasers of enthusiast PCs who do take the Windows 8 drive tend to bail within a couple weeks.

Now bear in mind a couple of qualifiers:

Not all the enthusiasts desktops/laptops sold by this company come with touch monitors (hence limiting the Windows 8 UI).
The target audience is enthusiasts, who as mentioned tend to "hate on 8".

Still, the idea that 3 out of every 4 buyers of new machines are rejecting Windows 8 should be a startling one for Microsoft. Microsoft should be very thankful for the solidarity shown by its partners at CES 2013, in the face of that kind of sales trend.


Less than half oif enthusiasts give Windows 8 a try, and over half that do downgrade to
Windows 7 quickly, according to an industry source. [Image Source: Reuters]


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Thursday 03 January 2013

Microsoft Offers Free Month of Xbox Live After Outage


 Christo [PCD]    03 Jan : 09:13
 None    Software

Last Friday, Xbox Live subscribers lost the Cloud Saved Games feature

Last Friday, Xbox Live subscribers lost the Cloud Saved Games feature

Xbox Live users may have suffered an outage over the weekend, but Microsoft is offering a free month of service to make up for it.

Last Friday, Xbox Live subscribers lost the Cloud Saved Games feature, which allows gamers to store saved games online and pick them up later on a different console if they'd like. The outage lasted anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days.

As of this morning, the feature was fully restored. But to make up for the lost game time, Microsoft is offering a free month of Xbox Live to those affected. What's even better is that the subscribers don't have to contact support to get their free month; Microsoft knows who was affected and will take care of everything on its end.

Here is the statement released by Microsoft:

We want to thank all of our Xbox LIVE members impacted by the Cloud Saved Games service issue for your patience and understanding. It took longer than we expected to get back to full performance as we needed to ensure the integrity of everyone’s game saves. Whether you couldn’t access your game saves for a couple of hours or a couple of days, we sincerely apologize for the delay and inconvenience. We will be automatically applying a one-month extension to the Xbox LIVE Gold memberships of everyone who was impacted. We can assure you we’ll also be doing a thorough post mortem to help prevent this from happening again.

As always, I welcome your feedback. Game on!

Alex Garden
Email: Alex dot Garden at Microsoft dot com
General Manager, Xbox LIVE

Source: Major Nelson


(Source: cdn.toucharcade.com)


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