Fresh Off The Block


Feb
23
2017

Join us on Discord!

Because Technically Motivated is designed to be the technology blog everyone can understand and get involved with, whether it’s suggesting articles, leaving comments or just chatting; and because our aim is to keep on the pulse of the latest in technology, I’m always looking into new ways to allow our readers to interact with each other.

In this vein, it is my pleasure to announce that Technically Motivated has now launched its own official Discord server! Now, by clicking on the “Discord” icon found to the right of every page; or by using our permanent quick invite link https://discord.gg/AndKNte, you can join in with a modern chat solution that lets you both text and voice chat with like-minded readers, visitors and contributors to Technically Motivated, with a variety of different channels for all sorts of different topics – whether it’s gaming, tech or general conversation. Be sure to also keep an eye on our #articles channel where you’ll get instant notifications on any new articles posted on Technically Motivated 😉

I’m still setting up the Discord in some areas, but it’s already ready to go and anyone with a valid Discord account is welcome to join. Also, if you have any suggestions for new chat channels, do tell us in the comments, or by leaving a message for Techie Jinji directly on Discord. Enjoy!

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  • Microsoft gets 561 million euro fine for missing browser ballot “oversight” by Sherman Moya
  • Microsoft gets 561 million euro fine for missing browser ballot “oversight” by Microsoft gets 561 million euro fine for missing browser ballot “oversight” | The Sanitarium.FM
  • Valve’s Steam Gaming Computer: What we know so far by Valve's Steam Gaming Computer: What we know so far | The Sanitarium.FM
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    Previous Articles


    Jan
    26
    2014

    Microsoft: “Don’t live in the US? Would you like to not store your data there?”

    That is the question Microsoft are now asking all its non-American users, after implementing a new feature that will allow users of Microsoft services who registered as outside the United States to opt to have their data stored only on non-American soil.

     

    Microsoft have become what appears to be the first United States-based company to offer those outside the US the option to store their data off of American soil; and it isn’t too surprising given how vocal they’ve been against lack of user privacy in the United States. They’ve been very unhappy with the revelations given to us thanks to Edward Snowden over the fact that the NSA have been spying on American citizens. They are also unhappy with the fact that their own networks have been used to monitor citizens in countries like Brazil and all over Europe as well. It’s also possible that the move may perhaps have an additional role as a subtle middle-finger to the Syrian Electronic Army, who have repeatedly hacked their American servers in recent months.

     

    So far, Microsoft is the only major company offering explicitly non-US data storage, despite evidence that the NSA has also broken into the private networks of both Google and Yahoo.

     

    While there’s no guarantee the NSA won’t be able to reach servers outside US borders, the move would offer an additional layer of protection, as local law enforcement is likely to respond more aggressively to agents of a foreign country. This of course assumes that Microsoft are serious about their commitment to protect the interests of their customers globally; and not just an act to maintain loyalty with customers outside of the US. There’s also still the unanswered question of what happens when data is transit – data may not be STORED on US servers, but could it still pass through one or more of them when the data is transit – for example, whenever you use a different Microsoft service?

     

    We shall see… soon enough.

    [Cross-posted to Sanitarium.FM]

    Mar
    08
    2013

    Microsoft gets 561 million euro fine for missing browser ballot “oversight”

    In 2009, an antitrust agreement in Europe ruled that Microsoft weren’t playing fair with internet browsers. By including Internet Explorer into Windows by default; making their own software prefer to use it over alternative browsers; and not providing an easy mechanism to get alternative browsers, the European Union (EU) decided that Microsoft was abusing its widespread use on European computers to favour its own internet browser. As a result, Microsoft were fined $1.44 billion US Dollars; but that’s not all. They also agreed that for five years, Microsoft would have to offer a Browser Choice screen to European users of Windows, providing a choice of the five major browsers and a reasonable amount of other alternatives, so that EU customers could choose how THEY wanted to access the internet; and if they wanted to choose other than Internet Explorer, could find out more about or quickly download any of the alternatives.

    Browser Ballot Screen

    An example of the “Browser Ballot” screen Microsoft implemented to provide European customers the required choice of browser.

    For a long time, Microsoft honoured this promise. But when Windows 7 SP1 was released over a year ago, a series of complaints – now known to have included reports from Google and Opera – were submitted to the EU claiming the ballot was no longer being shown. After discovering it had been gone for 16 months, Microsoft claimed the problem to be a “technical error” and restored it – but according to the EU, this resulted in 15 million Windows users not seeing the ballot box and instead defaulting to Internet Explorer, which broke the agreement.

    Today, the EU fined Microsoft for breaching the agreement, ordering them to pay 561 million Euros (approximately $732 million US Dollars, or £487.7 million British pounds) for the “mistake” – which may not sound like a lot for a multi-billion-dollar company, but actually accounts for 3% of Microsoft’s profits for the entire 2012. Microsoft, for its part, has claimed it will not appeal the fine and takes all responsibility, offering this quote:

    “We take full responsibility for the technical error that caused this problem and have apologized for it. We provided the Commission with a complete and candid assessment of the situation, and we have taken steps to strengthen our software development and other processes to help avoid this mistake – or anything similar – in the future.”

    This has got to be one of the more expensive “technical errors” in recent tech world history.

    May
    20
    2012

    Aomei invite public to test upcoming Partition Assistant v5.0 product – and get a free licence when it launches!

    Last year, exactly a month after Christmas 2010, Technically Motivated got word of a freebie for a then rather obscure partitioning product, Aomei Partition Assistant Professional Edition 3.0. Then, some months ago, we covered its successor, Partition Assistant 4.0, which hit headlines when Aomei claimed it was designed to be "perfectly compatible with Windows 8 first time", despite Windows 8 being pre-beta at this point in time. Aomei's Partition Assistant line has regularly attracted attention for being a frequent giveaway from the company and highly promoted; the software itself being a very competent Partitioning Software with strong resemblance to comparable products from EASEUS; but which performs its job just as adequately – however, its feature-set has lagged behind its competitors and the interfaces are sometimes poorly translated, making its value questionable in comparison.

    Fast forward another few months and the tables are turning. Aomei are soon to release a new, 5.0 version of AOMEI® Partition Assistant (PA5 from here on, for the sake of brevity); and boy, is it hitting back hard! As well as moving, resizing and generally allowing users to manage unused and Windows partitions however they like, PA5 now also handles Linux ext2/3 partitions and can create new ones of these too, finally overcoming one of its key weaknesses in the Partitioning market. More than this, the new software can Migrate an entire operating system from one SSD or HDD to another or even from SSD to HDD, something even Paragon requires specialist software for. The whole list of changes from 4.0 to 5.0, according to Aomei themselves, looks like this:

    PA5 doesn't officially release until Monday, May 28; but to show the company is committed to its customers; and to ensure no unforeseen bugs have slipped in before its release, the company is pre-releasing a test version, titled Aomei Partition Assistant 5.0 Preview, a week early for any member of the public to try out. The idea behind this release is to let people get an idea of what the product will be like before it goes on sale; to discover any unknown bugs; and to hear from potential customers just what they think about the program and if any changes should be made.

    To make the deal even sweeter, anyone who joins in testing the preview and supplies their email on the download page, will be entitled to a FREE full license of the finished version of PA5 Pro, to use on one computer for as long as they like – saving $36 (roughly £22.75) in the process!

    Joining in is easy. Between May 21 and May 28, 2012, just go to http://www.disk-partition.com/specials/papreview.html, look for this banner, and click the big green "Test now" button. Note that the button will not function outside of the testing period:

    Join us to test Partition Assistant V5.0 PREVIEW Now. You will get one Partition Assistant Pro V5.0 License Free  (Test invitation will be started on May 21, and ended on May 28, 2012) - Test Now

    Don't forget to also click the "Submit your email address" link to get your free license!

    Jun
    10
    2011

    Save money for commercial software by finding cheaper alternatives with Alternativeto.net

    It's no secret to anyone that technology can be expensive – and this is true of hardware (the stuff you touch) and software (the stuff you do on it). To give a recent example, a friend of mine who's a bit of an artist decided he needed a powerful tool to do some hardcore editing to his photos and images. So he splashed out on the latest Adobe Photoshop CS5, one of the big-market tools for artistry – at a cost to him of £200. That's a fair chunk of change in anyone's books.

    Everyone loves a bargain, and often you can find numerous other software products online that's cheaper than the brand leaders – or even free! – but does just as good a job. Trouble is, where do you find them? Google's a good choice, but it isn't always easy to trawl through thousands of websites looking at alternative products and deciding whether to put the cash down on the table.

    Enter AlternativeTo.net. Read the rest of this entry »

    Apr
    25
    2011

    Google Offers Easier Way to Transfer Video From Google Video to YouTube

    Google Video is shutting down. That’s no surprise. Having been surpassed by YouTube for the longest of time, and Google subsequently acquiring YouTube in 2006 making their own service almost redundant, Google stopped accepting new videos to the site after May 2009 and urged people to move to YouTube instead. Now Google have announced the official death of the site – videos already on the site will no longer be available after April 29, and the site is shut down completely after that.

    You’d expect, if Google’s reason for closing Google Video is that YouTube has made it unnecessary, that therefore Google would allow a quick way to move from Google Video to YouTube in order for users to take advantage of the superior platform and not be forced to lose anything. But, originally, Google hadn’t even planned to do such a thing. The original message about Google’s Google Video closure stated that users would be allowed to download their video manually until May 13 and keep it to hand to do as they wished with it; but there’d be no automatic migrations, and the service – and all data on it – would be taken permanently offline some time after that date.

    Numerous voices spoke out, asking why Google couldn’t just create a quick way to transfer videos between the two services. Google listened. And now, good news: The company’s backed away from its original plans and done just that. Read the rest of this entry »

    Nov
    16
    2010

    Windows Vista/7 Tips: Prevent being automatically upgraded to Windows Live Messenger 2011

    Microsoft have in recent years earned a reputation of being quite sneaky with regards to their popular Windows Live Messenger (formerly MSN) communication tool. In recent years, we’ve seen constant nag screens, and a few versions have even FORCED users to update.

    Recently, Microsoft launched another new version, Windows Live Messenger 2011, as part of a new Windows Live Essentials 2011 suite of applications. It introduced a brand social element to the Messenger, allowing users to integrate it with Social Networks and see updates on the right side, as well as a major interface change, but many people find the new look and various other tweaks hard to get to grips with, or don’t want social networking cluttering their Instant Messaging, and would rather avoid having the new version. Thankfully, Microsoft seems to have learnt from previous mistakes, and aren’t forcing people into upgrading their version of Messenger to the latest version – yet. However, without knowing it, many Windows Vista and 7 users have unwillingly opted in to downloading and receiving the new version. How, you may ask? Because Windows have sneakily made the latest version, and the Windows Live Essentials 2011 Suite it comes with, an “important” Windows Update. Sneaky, huh?

    So, what if you are a Windows Vista or 7 User who already has Windows Live Messenger, and doesn’t want to get the update to WLM 2011? Well, thankfully, there’s a way to disable getting the update if you haven’t already installed it. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll never have the update creep up on you without you knowing: Read the tutorial!