Internet Browser

Windows 10 Launch Update

Not too long ago we wrote an article  regarding potential concerns you should have before updating to Windows 10. Now that Windows 10 has officially reached 45 million users per Microsoft’s estimates, it only seemed fitting to do an update on the Windows 10 release. There were some minors bugs as was to be expected, but it turns out a whole list of other features have come up that might have some users scratching their heads.

It was well known that Microsoft was going to take a more invasive role when it came to Windows 10, but there are certain areas that Microsoft’s All Seeing Eye shouldn’t be able to access from a privacy point of view. If you select “Express Settings” during Windows 10 installation you apparently give Microsoft access to contacts, calendar details, text and touch input, location and more. While Microsoft claims this information is only used for personalization and targeted ads, the reality is that it can be potentially hazardous given the nature of cyber-attacks in today’s Internet society. Even more concerning is Microsoft’s access to keystrokes, which include your user name and passwords for most of your online accounts, even online banking. The threats are easy to see, but if you would like to opt out of these settings you may do so under the privacy tab in Settings.

Microsoft has slowly watched its Internet Explorer browser wither and die over the years, and its new Edge browser was designed to reverse this. While Edge is designed to be the go-to browser for Windows 10, it really doesn’t innovate much over other iterations of Internet Explorer. What is more interesting though is the issues some users have been reporting with Mozilla Firefox not playing nicely with Windows 10. Microsoft’s deliberate push to force users into using the new Edge browser has resulted in Mozilla CEO Chris Beard writing an open letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella criticizing the lack of control when it comes to selecting a default browser. While Beard might be making a big fuss over nothing given that users can choose their preferred browser by going into Settings, it does raise concerns over the experience that Microsoft is forcing its users to have.

While not as big of an issue to some users, Microsoft has received criticism for removing its DVD player from Windows 10. In order to play DVDs, users must purchase a $15 app from the app store. There are some work around solutions by using third party DVD players, but in a time where streaming has replaced DVDs as the primary method of viewership, this doesn’t seem like a game breaking issue for Microsoft.

With a launch as big as Windows 10, it’s not surprising that Microsoft ran into a few hiccups. What users should be concerned about is the approach that Microsoft is taking to Windows 10 regarding personal information and privacy. Windows 10 is intended to be the last iteration of Windows, and all subsequent changes will be updates that most users won’t have control over. The best thing users can do is stay informed about any changes coming their way in future updates, and take all the precautions necessary to keep their private information private.

Have you updated to Windows 10 yet? Share your thoughts in the comments down below!

Another Google Oops?

If you have been keeping up with the technical news lately, Google has been making a lot of changes. By dropping support for applications, (i.e., dropping IE6 support, etc. ), and adding applications such as Google Places and Google +1.

The latest “oops” is out of the application, Google Places. Using Google Places, you may add your business listing and include information about your business, such as operating hours, photos, reviews, etc. It is similar to a lot of online directories, like Yellow Pages, but it’s a Google version. It is a very key application for mobile Internet searches.

It seems there is a built-in flaw, though, as reported by the New York Times, “Closed Says Google, but Shops’ Signs Says Open”. On Google Places, there is a section called, “Report a problem” on Google Places and if enough people report your business closed, Google also reports the same. Now, in all fairness, Google says they do not “close” a business permanently until they have completed a review, but of course, being Google, they won’t discuss the finer points of that “review”, at all.

So that leaves a problem for business owners who rely heavily on mobile searches. Anyone who uses Craigslist to advertise their business knows their competitors very easily flag their ads, making it drop off the listings. We have had our own single ad, the same one we have used for 4 years and placed on Craigslist every Wednesday, flagged repeatedly during the week. Anyone can do it, and no justification need be provided. Result – no one can find you. Of course, there are rumors that people are paid to do this against their employers’ competition, but that is just unconfirmed rumors, right now.

Google has just given competition an easy means of doing the same thing. While you can report to Google that it is an obvious error, there are some reports that Google isn’t handling those requests very well.

Google has said that they are aware of the problem and are working on changes to resolve the fraudulent closings.

So if you have been using Google Places, or are thinking about it, keep a very close eye on your business information. You might find one day that you were closed and didn’t even know it.

Internet Explorer 9

Due to the keen eye of one of our Clients, we have been doing some research on Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) and have found there are a number of problems surfacing throughout the Internet.

Problems occurring are for websites that have: JavaScript or jQuery menus, embedded videos, heavy JavaScript coding, table coding, and some search capability installed on the website. Users are reporting broken menus, unable to access videos from YouTube and other sites, problems with Flickr photos, Facebook and Zynga game play failing, shopping carts non-functioning, website pages themselves are no longer functioning or are in a “broken” format, just to name a few. Many are reportedly uninstalling IE9 and re-installing IE8.

We are not suggesting what you should use as a browser on your computer. This is only information if you begin seeing problems after IE9 has been installed. Also, it has been recommended that if you downloaded and installed the Beta version, you should install the RC version. Also, we believe that some of these problems may in fact be a result of actual website coding.

If your Windows Update is set to “Automatic Update”, there is a very good chance that Internet Explorer 9 will be downloaded and automatically update your browser on your local computer. If you do not want this to occur, you will need to change your settings on Automatic Updates within your Control Panel.

Internet Explorer 9 will not install on any computer that has Windows XP as an operating system. Therefore, if you use Windows XP on your computer, you would not need to worry about IE9 automatically installing.

Please note that Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2) on July 13, 2010. In addition, support for Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) will end on July 12, 2011.