John Lister

Thu
03
Jun
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MS Windows Popups Push Bing Search

Microsoft is again bugging users to switch their default search engine to Bing. There's a way to get rid of the messages, but strangely it's hidden away in the Edge browser. The pop-up message seen by some users says that "Microsoft recommends ... different browser settings. Want to change them?" and then gives the not-entirely-comprehensive choice of "Yes, change settings" and "Maybe later". It's a sneaky message in a couple of ways. The first is that while it promises "Search that gives back time and money" and "Fast and secure search results with Bing", the message doesn't actually explain ... (view more)

Wed
02
Jun
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Google Accused of Hiding Tracking Settings

Internal Google documents suggest the company intentionally made it harder for users to stop it accessing their location data. The documents have become public through a lawsuit that claims Google broke data consent rules. The state of Arizona is ... suing over the way Google handles location tracking. Officials say that even when users switched off location tracking for specific apps, Google continued tracking in the background. It only stopped when users switched off a tracking setting for the entire Android system. That's led to the lawsuit, based on the logic that Google made profits from ... (view more)

Tue
01
Jun
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Microsoft Pushes Edge With Cash Back Scheme

Microsoft is offering cash back to customers who shop online using the Edge browser. The program promotes both the browser and the Bing search website. It's no secret that Edge and Bing are far less popular than their Google equivalents. Indeed, ... Microsoft even adopted an "if you can't beat them" attitude by launching a new version of Edge that uses the same open-source Chromium code that powers Google Chrome. Now Microsoft is beefing up its Bing Rebates program to make it easier to use in Microsoft Edge. The program already lets customers get cashback of up to 10 percent when they purchase ... (view more)

Fri
28
May
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$100B Gov't Broadband Expansion to be Cut Back

President Biden has offered to reduce his proposed spending on improving broadband provision by a third. It's an attempt to reach a consensus with political opponents, but the debate seems to be as much about the principle as the sums involved. Back ... in March , the White House announced plans for broadband to be a key part of a proposed infrastructure spending program. The idea was to treat it in the same way as water and electricity supplies where public money has at various times paid for extending availability to areas that private providers didn't yet serve. Budget Cut Would Slow Expansion ... (view more)

Wed
26
May
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Florida Bans FB, Twitter From Banning Politicians

Florida has banned tech sites from banning politicians from posting. The law takes effect on July 1st, 2021, but seems destined for the Supreme Court. The law was first proposed in February, shortly after Facebook and Twitter banned then-President ... Donald Trump. It's now passed the legislature and has been signed into law by the state's governor. Under the law, sites can still remove specific posts. They can also suspend a user for up to 14 days for violating its policies. No Permanent Bans However, the law bans longer suspensions or permanent bans for anyone known to be a candidate for ... (view more)

Tue
25
May
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Windows 10 Icons Get Revamp

Microsoft is downplaying the floppy disk icon in Windows 10. It's part of an overhaul that will remove some design elements that have been in place since Windows 95. The changes will appear in the second big update to Windows 10 this year, ... officially called 21H2, codenamed Sun Valley. It sounds as if the update is largely going to be about appearance rather than functionality, which is either a welcome sign of leaving well alone or an indication of a lack of ambition and a fear of screwing things up, depending on your level of cynicism. As is normally the case with design refreshes, the aim ... (view more)

Thu
20
May
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Google Maps Adds Sidewalk Info

Google is making five tweaks to its Map services. It says the differences will make it safer and more useful. The most spectacular, if arguably gimmicky, change is to Live View. That's an augmented reality feature which lets users hold up their ... phone and see the view from their camera with overlaid information from the Maps app. It's meant for pedestrians (and preferably ones standing still) and will now include information such as details about shops and restaurants in view. It will also show the direction of chosen landmarks and show virtual street signs for navigating confusing ... (view more)

Wed
19
May
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Bloggers Accused of Hacking for Opening Dropbox Link

A Californian city will pay $350,000 to two men it falsely accused of hacking its Dropbox account. Officials in Fullerton, California had actually sent a link that granted the access. The case involves two bloggers, Joshua Ferguson and David Curlee, ... who wrote about local government and regularly requested documents under public record laws. As some of these files were very large, officials would often upload them to a Dropbox folder and provide a link granting access. However, one such response in 2019 also mistakenly included a link giving access to a separate folder that included documents ... (view more)

Tue
18
May
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Security Keys Could Kill The CAPTCHA

Humans as a whole spend 500 years each day completing CAPTCHA challenges according to a new estimate. The company behind the claim says USB security devices would be a more sensible way to confirm somebody is a human. The data from Cloudflare is ... about CAPTCHAs: Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. It's tests such as recognizing a string of letters on an unclear background or picking out images that contain a particular thing such as a boat or traffic light. The idea is to limit automated visits to a web page or form submissions, for example to limit ... (view more)

Thu
13
May
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88% of iOS Users Reject Online Tracking

Just one in eight iPhone and iPad users have agreed to let an app track them online. They've been able to make the decision since Apple changed its rules, to the dismay of advertisers. The change is to the way iOS handles a tag known as Identifier ... for Advertisers (IDFA). It identifies an individual device and allows advertisers to piece together information from multiple sources and activities. While advertisers argue this allows for better targeted and thus more relevant (and less annoying) ads, users and privacy groups have objected to what they see as surveillance and snooping. The change ... (view more)

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