Microsoft Kills Off Edge Warning

Edge WarningThese warnings are not only annoying, they are disingenuous! I hope Microsoft will keep them out of the final release!

Microsoft Windows U-turn removes warning about installing Chrome, Firefox

c|net – By: Stephen Shankland – “Microsoft has apparently reversed course on a Windows 10 test feature that sought to warn people from installing Chrome, Firefox and other browsers that challenged Microsoft’s own Edge.

A new ‘fast-ring’ test version of Windows, Insider Preview Build 17760, no longer interrupts the installation of rival browsers, a CNET test shows.

Earlier this week, an earlier test version of Windows would warn people who tried to install the Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Vivaldi web browsers, ‘You already have Microsoft Edge — the safer, faster browser for Windows 10.’ The dialog box presented two options: ‘Open Microsoft Edge’ — the default — and ‘Install anyway.’

The feature raised some hackles and brought back memories of Microsoft’s strong-arm tactics promoting its old Internet Explorer browser in the first browser wars two decades ago. But Microsoft isn’t alone in such tactics: Google promotes its Chrome browser as faster and safer to people who visit its own websites with other browsers.

Microsoft didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the change of direction.

The company is struggling to reclaim even a shadow of the dominance it once held with its Internet Explorer browser. For years, Google’s Chrome has steadily eaten away at IE’s share of usage, according to analytics firm StatCounter, and Microsoft’s Edge hasn’t even outpaced IE despite its more modern design.

Years ago, IE dominance got Microsoft in trouble, with the US Justice Department and the European Commission dragging the company through antitrust proceedings. The browser and operating system markets look very different now, though, with Microsoft Windows absent on mobile phones and with Chrome dominant on personal computers.

Edge accounts for 2 percent of usage today compared with 3 percent for IE and 60 percent for Chrome, but its usage share has actually dropped a fraction of a percentage point compared with a year ago, according to StatCounter.

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The “WWW” is back in Chrome!

Due to all the user uproar and complaints Google has decided to restore the “www.” to the addresses in the Google Chrome address bar. This is only a short time fix, however, because they plan to take it away again when Chrome Version 70 comes out.

A lot of the complaints originated due to phishing schemes that would be more successful by hiding the “www.” subdomain in the address. There is also concern about the “m.” subdomain, but for the time being, both have been restored and will go away again with Chrome Version 70. The Safari browser also hides subdomains, but not very many people have said anything about that. I guess we’ll stay tuned to see what happens!

Access Your File Share From Your Chromebook

Google ChromebookThis is pretty cool! This is a feature I have wanted for a LONG time!

Windows file sharing comes to Chromebooks

ZDNet – By: Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols – “You can run Android apps on Chromebooks. You can run Linux programs on Chromebooks. Heck, you can even run Windows programs on Chromebooks. But one thing you couldn’t do natively on a Chromebook is read and write files on a Windows PCs or Windows and Samba servers. Things change. With the forthcoming release of Chrome OS 70, you can access network file shares from Chromebooks.

To do this, once Chrome OS 70 is available to all users, open Settings, look for ‘Network File Shares’, click the ‘Add File Share’ button, and enter your user name and password. Then, click ‘Add’ button and open the Files app to browse your newly mounted shared folder. That’s all there is to it.

Today, canary Chrome OS users can test it out. This version may not be the shipping one. Chrome OS developer Zentaro Kavanagh said on Google+, ‘We are still working on improving the UX flow.’

Kavanagh also wrote, ‘devices that only support the old SMB1 version of the protocol are not supported.’ SMB (Server Message Block) 1 is insecure.

Microsoft deprecated the SMBv1 protocol in 2014. Starting with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and Windows Server, version 1709 and later versions, SMBv1 was no longer installed by default. Nevertheless, many Network Attached Storage (NAS) file servers still support SMBv1. Whether or not you use Chromebooks, set your servers to use SMBv2 or newer.

The Chromebook’s code is based on the Samba file server. Samba is a set of Windows interoperability programs that provide secure, stable and fast file and print services for all client operating systems using the SMB/Common Internet File System (SMB/CIFS) protocol. Samba is also commonly used on almost every NAS device.

Chromebooks already work with Active Directory (AD). Intel-based Chromebooks have done so since the Chrome OS 61 release. But they couldn’t work with AD file resources.

It does not appear, at this time, that Google will be using Samba to enable Chromebooks to work with SMB/CIFS-compliant printers. However, while it’s not well known, Chromebooks can now use some newer local printers. This is done with the open source Internet Printing Protocol (IPP)/CUPS. To see if your Chromebook can already work with your legacy printers, follow the instructions in Google’s latest set up printers guide.

While there is an extension that enables Chromebooks to use SMB file shares, it’s — not to put too fine a point on it — bad. By fully supporting SMB/CIFS, Chromebooks will be one big step closer to being full-fledged members of Windows-based offices.”

Chrome Browser Update 69 Kills “WWW”

WWWDo we care? “www” is kinda traditional, but is it really a big deal?

Chrome 69 kills off www in URLs: Here’s why Google’s move has made people angry

ZDnet – By: Liam Tung – “With the launch of Chrome 69 this week, Google promoted new features and a new look. It gave users months to prepare for Chrome dropping ‘Secure’ from HTTPS sites and adding ‘Not secure’ in red to HTTP sites from Chrome 70.

But for some reason Google decided against mentioning that as of Chrome 69 the world’s most popular browser will no longer show the www. or m. on websites in the address bar because they’re just a ‘trivial subdomain’. As a result, www.zdnet.com is now displayed as zdnet.com.

For now, users can force Chrome to display the full address by disabling the flag ‘Omnibox UI Hide Steady-State URL Scheme and Trivial Subdomains’ at chrome://flags/#omnibox-ui-hide-steady-state-url-scheme-and-subdomains.

The HTTPS is the ‘state-state URL scheme’ while Chrome now considers the www to be a ‘trivial subdomain’ that the address bar would look better without.

You can still reveal the full URL in Chrome 69 by double-clicking the address in the address bar, and if you copy the simplified address and paste it elsewhere it will display the full address.

Chrome 69’s treatment of www in the address bar is similar Apple’s Safari, but the change in Chrome has caused greater concern over Google’s motivations.

After it all, it went to great lengths to warn users about new ways it would communicate HTTP and HTTPS in the address bar, but stayed silent about dropping an equally important indicator that users expect to see.

In a bug report spotted by The Register, critics have pointed out several instances where two different sites will now look the same, potentially exposing users to phishing attacks.

For example, m.tumblr.com, which is not Tumblr’s site, is shown as tumblr.com, and it’s not immediately clear that http://www.pool.ntp.org and http://www.pool.ntp.org are two different sites. Also, in the case of a domain like ‘www.www.2ld.tld’, the www is hidden twice.

The issue has sparked a debate on Hacker News, where some argue that the change is part of Google’s long-term plan to hide its AMP subdomain and make it indistinguishable from the actual domain.

‘And then suddenly the whole world funnels through AMP,’ the commenter noted.

Just as Chrome 69 was released, Google told Wired that URLs are failing to convey a site’s identity, so they’re looking for something else that offers more convenience and greater security.

Nonetheless, the impression it’s given is that Google is trying to kill the URL and assert its dominance over the web.

Security expert Scott Helme reckon the change is good, at least from a phishing standpoint, since most users will understand a padlock better than https:// while removing the www means there’s less information to interpret.”

Microsoft Adopts “Linux-Like” Long Term Support for Windows 10!

Well, for Windows 10 Enterprise, that is! It is about time! This is why Linux has always been more robust in the major LTS distros!

Windows 10 Enterprise customers will now get Linux-like support

ZDNet – By Ed Bott – “Microsoft’s release cadence for Windows 10 has been the stuff of nightmares for IT pros. New feature updates (the equivalent of full Windows upgrades) arrive every six months and are supported for only 18 months. When you’re accustomed to deploying major Windows versions every five years or so, the idea of having to make those large, coordinated moves every year is daunting, to say the least.

Effective this month, for enterprise customers willing to pay the Enterprise edition premium, Microsoft is granting an extra year’s support. The new changes are designed to encourage slow-moving enterprises to pick up the upgrade tempo for hundreds of millions of Windows 7 PCs, before that older OS reaches its retirement date in less than 500 days.

Today’s announcements are the latest twist in a series of changes and extensions in the three years since Windows 10’s initial release in 2015. In November 2017, Microsoft extended support for version 1511 by six months, to April 2018. (The blog post announcing that change is no longer online.)

Then, in February 2018, Microsoft announced similar six-month ‘servicing extensions for Windows 10,’ but this time with a noteworthy gotcha: The new, 24-month support lifecycle applied only to Enterprise and Education editions. If your organization has devices running Windows 10 Pro, they need to be updated every 18 months or sooner.

For all intents and purposes, Microsoft is adopting a release cadence that is strikingly similar to what Linux users are already familiar with. Ubuntu Linux, for example, has a nearly identical twice-yearly release schedule, offering Long Term Support (LTS) versions in the spring and interim releases in the fall.”

New Version of the Tor Browser is Out!

Tor LogoConcerned about security on-line? Actually, fanatical about security on-line? Then, Tor may be for you!

The Tor Project has released Tor Browser 8.0 with huge changes

NeoWin – By: Paul Hill – “The Tor Project has just recently released the eighth version of its Tor Browser. The release is noteworthy because it is the first version to be based on Firefox 60 ESR so it includes all the changes brought with the Quantum update including the updated Photon UI and more. Additionally, the developers redesigned the landing page and on-boarding process, they improved bridge fetching, and added better language support.

The new home screen has received a fresh coat of purple paint and puts DuckDuckGo search front and centre with the phrase ‘Explore. Privately. You’re ready for the world’s most private browsing experience.’ above it. In the top left is a getting started dialogue box which briefly touches on privacy, the Tor network, circuits, security, and tips. As part of the getting started process there are hotlinks to check your Tor settings to make sure everything is as you’d like it.

On the UI front too, pressing the secure HTTPS padlock icon when you visit a site on Tor will pull up your Tor Circuit information. This feature was previously viewable by clicking the onion button but has now moved into the site information dialogue box. By looking at the circuit, it should be clear to users exactly which IP addresses and countries they’re hopping through.

For those in countries where Tor is blocked, the typical way to get onto the network is via a bridge. In this release, the bridge process has been significantly improved, the project said:

‘For users where Tor is blocked, we have previously offered a handful of bridges in the browser to bypass censorship. But to receive additional bridges, you had to send an email or visit a website, which posed a set of problems. To simplify how you request bridges, we now have a new bridge configuration flow when you when you launch Tor. Now all you have to do is solve a captcha in Tor Launcher, and you’ll get a bridge IP. We hope this simplification will allow more people to bypass censorship and browse the internet freely and privately.’

Lastly, with Tor Browser 8.0, support for nine previously unsupported languages have been added, they are Catalan, Irish, Indonesian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Danish, Hebrew, Swedish, and Traditional Chinese.

You can read the full blog post and release notes and download Tor Browser now.”

Google Chrome Turns 10 Years Old!

My favorite browser is now ten years old! Wow! How time flies!

Chrome turns 10

OSNews – Thom Holwerda – “Google first released its Chrome browser 10 years ago today. Marketed as a ‘fresh take on the browser’, Chrome debuted with a web comic from Google to mark the company’s first web browser. It was originally launched as a Windows-only beta app before making its way to Linux and macOS more than a year later in 2009. Chrome debuted at a time when developers and internet users were growing frustrated with Internet Explorer, and Firefox had been steadily building momentum.

Google Chrome LogoWhen it was first released as beta, Chrome was a revelation. It was faster than Firefox, and sported a cleaner, simpler UI. I used Chrome from the very first few beta releases, but in recent years the browser has started sucking up more and more resources, and it feels – emphasis on feels – slower than ever before. On Windows, I switched to Edge, which feels a lot faster for me than any other Windows browser, and on my iOS devices I obviously use Safari.

With the new UI redesign coming to Chrome coming Tuesday – I see very little reason to go back.”

Firefox to Improve Anti-Tracking Feature

More power to them!

Firefox: changing our approach to anti-tracking

OSnews – Anyone who isn’t an expert on the internet would be hard-pressed to explain how tracking on the internet actually works. Some of the negative effects of unchecked tracking are easy to notice, namely eerily-specific targeted advertising and a loss of performance on the web. However, many of the harms of unchecked data collection are completely opaque to users and experts alike, only to be revealed piecemeal by major data breaches. In the near future, Firefox will – by default – protect users by blocking tracking while also offering a clear set of controls to give our users more choice over what information they share with sites.

Firefox continues to do great work in this department.”

Microsoft Removes Device Install Limits For Office 365 Subscribers

Microsoft Office 365

If you aren’t using LibreOffice for free, this is at least nice.

Microsoft Removes Device Install Limits For Office 365 Subscribers

SlashDot – By: BeauHD – “Starting October 2nd, Office 365 Home users will no longer be restricted to 10 devices across five users and Personal subscribers will no longer have a limit of one computer and one tablet. The catch is that you can only stay signed in on five devices at once. Engadget reports:

Meanwhile, Home users can let another person use the productivity suite through their account, with Microsoft bumping up the number of licenses per subscriber from five to six. Each user has access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote, along with 1TB of individual storage. Microsoft is also integrating Home subscriptions with its family service, so you can automatically share your Office 365 plan with people you’ve set up as family members. Elsewhere, you’ll manage your subscription from within your Microsoft account settings from now on.”

The Linux-Based ZeroPhone!

ZeroPhoneA Raspberry Pi based Linux Phone? For $50.00? Cool!

Raspberry Pi-based ZeroPhone promises ‘an open-source, Linux-powered’ handset

ZDNet – By: Nick Heath – “If you’re looking for a smartphone that doesn’t harvest data 24/7, then the ZeroPhone may be the device for you.

A project to build the $50 phone has been launched on Crowd Supply, promising to deliver ‘an open-source, Linux-powered’ handset with ‘no carrier locks, bloated apps, or data mining’ and that ‘doesn’t depend on big companies’.

Android smartphones have hit the headlines recently, first for Google tracking users who had switched location tracking off, and second for sending data to Google’s servers 50 times more often than an iPhone.

The ZeroPhone will be based around the tiny Raspberry Pi Zero, an Arduino microcontroller, and the ESP8266 Wi-Fi module.

The ZeroPhone comes with several extras not found on your typical handset, including a mini-HDMI port and a single full-size USB 2.0 port, alongside the more typical support for Wi-Fi and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

One downside is the phone will initially launch only with 2G GSM connectivity, with 3G expected to be added later. The screen is also far smaller than is typically the case, with a 1.3-inch, 128 x 64 OLED display.

‘ZeroPhone is user-friendly and will have the typical features of a phone, but will give you advanced features when you need them,’ according to the ZeroPhone’s creator Arsenijs.

‘You can modify and repair it easily, and it’s power-user and programmer-friendly. It’s also built from widely available components, so you can build a ZeroPhone independently if you need to.’

To get the most of the phone, users will need to be technically proficient. While the splash page for the project says the likes of IR receivers and the Pi’s 5 and eight-megapixel cameras can be wired up the phone’s electronic interfaces, this will require users to hook up the electronics themselves.

However, if you’re confident using the Linux terminal, you’ll be able to SSH into the device for remote access and run a wide range of Linux software on the phone.

It can even be hooked up to a keyboard and mouse and used as a desktop, although the Pi Zero’s ageing single-core processor isn’t capable of running a heavy graphical desktop comfortably.

The ZeroPhone project is listed as ‘coming soon’ and those interested can sign up for updates on Crowd Supply.”

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