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Windows 8: What It Is and Why You May Not Want It

I’ve been away from this blog for a while. Mostly because things have been in turmoil here at Casa de Campeogni. So today we are going to unravel Windows 8; what it is, how it works, where the experts say it is going to lead us to, and more importantly…do you need to run out and get a copy or if it comes on your new computer, do you need to wipe it out and downgrade back to Windows 7.

Hardware to firmware to EFI to the OS loads

Block diagram of the Intel and Microsoft UEFI firmware interface. This is stopping people from installing Linux on brand new computers the user has purchased.

First things first, if you are putting Windows 8 on an older system with an older motherboard and know how to properly configure your firewall, you’ll be in good enough shape to use it. I’ve been playing with it now since Beta 2 and I’m okay with the way it looks and feels. If you really want (or like me need) a “Start Menu” there are a couple of excellent utilities. The first is Start8 by Windows Blinds manufacturer, Stardock. It’s a $5 investment and in my humble estimation, worth it.

Option #2 a free version of a tool called Classic Shell created by a group of developers at MIT. It’s available at Sourceforge.net (links to both will be at the bottom of this article).

Functionality aside, let’s take a look at what is in it for Microsoft if you have a newer system and choose to stay with Windows 8. The crux of this argument is a replacement for your 30+ year old basic input output system (aka your BIOS). It’s old and it’s well passed its time in the sun. In the beginning it was never meant to be upgraded or flashed. Over the years, we just figured out ways to upgrade (flash) it and with that came a whole host of users who broke their computers (that is what happened to my last Sony laptop).

UEFI, uniform extensible firmware interface, is an upgradeable, programmable piece of software that runs before anything else does. With its current design and its current schema, when Microsoft and Intel (the only two companies planning the UEFI future currently), decide to ramp up the security and close off the Windows garden, and get updates on software signatures and approved license keys you’ll hear talk about using this to stop viruses, malware, spam, botnets, and other bad things we all loathe. When that happens, and it’s not a matter of if it will happen as much as it is a matter of when it will happen), many pirated copies of software will also cease running. Many bootleg copies of music, movies, or images will no longer be accessible. The possibilities for this technology is endless.

Sure..it’ll be Microsoft and Intel who will be doing the lion’s share of the work initially but with AMD, HP, Dell, Apple, and many many others onboard and the list growing, it is simply a matter of time before all major software manfacturer’s start paying the WinTel ransom to block their pirated software from running.

So…that’s part one of my theory on UEFI. If you have one, please let me know and I’ll post your 2ยข on its own separate post. I’ll write more about this issue next week…and I promise…no more long outages.

Can you implement your own privacy notice and have it work?

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Privacy is never simple when the Internet's involved

I have seen a lot of people posting notices to their Facebook profiles similar to this one:

***PRIVACY NOTICE:
Warning–any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental, public or private structure including but not limited to the United States Federal Government also using or monitoring/using this website or any of its associated websites, you DO NOT have my permission to utilize any of my profile information nor any of the content contained herein including, but not limited to my photos, and/ or the comments made about my photo’s or any other “picture” art posted on my profile. You are hereby notified that you are strictly prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing, disseminating, or taking any other action against me with regard to this profile and the contents herein. The foregoing prohibitions also apply to your employee(s), agent(s), student(s), family or any personnel under your direction or control. The contents of this profile are private and legally privileged and confidential information, and the violation of my personal privacy is punishable by law.

UCC 1-103 1-308 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WITHOUT PREJUDICE
It is recommended that other members post a similar notice to this or you may copy and paste this one. Thank you. This is now a publicly traded site, protect yourself.

While a part of me wants to be optimistic and say that you should use this to protect yourself, I can tell you that much of this will do you very little good.

The reason is actually very simple. Whichever site that you visit is not your property. It belongs to the site’s creator and/or owners. As such, the site should have its own privacy policy.

You must understand that when you visit a website the resources made available to you on that site, reading material, news, information, files, data access, images, whatever, are owned by either that site’s creator or a 3rd party originator. By entering on to this site and accessing this data/information you are agreeing to abide by the Terms of Service (TOS) and End-User License Agreement (EULA) plus its privacy policy.

This policy takes into account the information it needs or has promised its investors, advertisers, or others, that it would acquire.

So therefore by simply visiting a site, you are giving the owner of that site permission to implement its privacy policy, EULA, and TOS and if you do not agree, then you have an obligation to leave the site immediately.

It’s a simple choice that you must make. For more information, Google search the terms ‘privacy policy’, EULA, and ‘TOS’ and you will get a better picture of how this works.