Unable to Update to Windows 8.1? Help is on the Way

Unable to Update to Windows 8.1? Help is on the Way

If you are one of the many Windows 8 users who have been unable to update to Windows 8.1, help may be on the way. According to a recent report from well respected tech writer Paul Thurrott, Microsoft is in the process of issuing a new automatic update which appears to be aimed at mitigating this problem.

For some reason known only to Microsoft, the 8.1 upgrade was originally made available only via the store. While this approach worked fine for many users, many more ended up stuck in a cycle of failure when trying to install Window 8.1. Until now, there has been no definitive solution for this issue.

According to Mr. Thurrott, Microsoft will begin rolling out the fix soon, so those Windows 8 users who’ve been unable to update to Windows 8.1 should keep an eye out for it in their Windows updates. <source>

Oops! Microsoft Inadvertently Takes Down Millions of Sites

Microsoft has received plenty of praise for its ongoing battle against malware and fraud but that all took a different turn earlier this week when the Redmond giant’s enthusiasm resulted in the take down of millions of innocent sites.

It all started after a Nevada court temporarily granted Microsoft control of 23 domains belonging to No-IP.com. If you’re not familiar with No-IP, it’s a service that assigns static subdomain and domain names to dynamic IP addresses, and malware authors like to leverage off such services to distribute and control their malicious software. Trouble is, millions of Innocent people also utilize No-IP to remotely access home servers.

The plan was to descend upon No-IP’s network, take out the offenders, and filter the rest of the service’s traffic so that legitimate sites weren’t affected. Obviously something went terribly wrong and, instead of affecting only the targeted thousands of malicious sites, millions of innocent sites were taken down as well.

UPDATE: Microsoft has since relinquished control of the 23 domains, with the blessing of the Nevada Court, and No-IP is now in the process of returning access to its millions of innocent users.

Google Acquires Songza

Is there ever a week goes buy when we don’t hear of yet another Google acquisition?

After weeks of speculation over a possible buyout, Google has acquired music streaming service Songza. Songza uses information about the user and context to personalize playlists, all of which are collated by music experts (DJs, magazine writers, etc.).

Very few services leverage off human collation to enhance the music experience – Pandora, Spotify, and other big players rely heavily on algorithms – making this one of the key selling points of the service. Plus, Songza has accumulated tons of data around what people like to listen to based on the time of day, weather, location, and activity, which can be immensely valuable to a company such as Google.

According to Google, Songza will remain intact for users and nothing will change about the service for now, though Songza’s expertise will be applied to other products like Google Play Music and YouTube. Songza will stay in its office in Long Island City for the next few weeks, and eventually move into Google’s NYC HQ. <source>

Aereo off the Air – Court Rules the Service Illegal

Aereo, a streaming service which allows subscribers to watch “over the air” broadcast television via the Web, has suspended service in light of last week’s adverse Supreme Court decision which effectively wiped Aereo off the map by making the company’s streaming service illegal.

CEO Chet Kanojia wrote on the web site: “We have decided to pause our operations temporarily as we consult with the court and map out our next steps. All of our users will be refunded their last paid month.”

The Supreme Court ruled that the web-based video streaming service violates the copyrights of TV networks. Mr. Kanojia responded by saying the ruling was “a massive setback for consumers. The spectrum that the broadcasters use to transmit over the air programming belongs to the American public and we believe you should have a right to access that live programming whether your antenna sits on the roof of your home, on top of your television or in the cloud.”

I’ll re-iterate what I’ve said in the past; that SOPA was never defeated, merely put on hold, and is now finding its way into law, slowly but surely, piece by piece.

Microsoft Beefs Up Security for Outlook.com & OneDrive

In a blog post published earlier this week, Microsoft announced that it has bolstered security for several products, bringing stronger encryption tools to its OneDrive and Outlook.com services.

According to the announcement from Microsoft’s Matt Tomlinson, Transport Layer Security encryption has been added to Outlook.com, allowing email sent by users of the service to remain encrypted while in transit…

Outlook.com is now further protected by Transport Layer Security, or TLS, encryption for both outbound and inbound email. This means that when you send an email to someone, your email is encrypted and thus better protected as it travels between Microsoft and other email providers.”

Plus, both Outlook.com and OneDrive will now be protected by Perfect Forward Secrecy encryption…

OneDrive has now enabled PFS encryption support as well. OneDrive customers now automatically get forward secrecy when accessing OneDrive through onedrive.live.com, our mobile OneDrive application and our sync clients. As with Outlook.com’s email transfer, this makes it more difficult for attackers to decrypt connections between their systems and OneDrive.

  • Read the full Microsoft blog post here: Advancing our encryption and transparency efforts


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