I generally use that on my browser for when I hand my laptop to someone else and don't want their activity polluting my history, but now there's the risk of the entire OS learning someone else's habits when they just need to use the computer and don't want to log in. Sometimes, guest accounts are too restrictive.
I do like having the option of a personalized experience, and Microsoft is generally one of the most restrictive companies when it comes to sharing data. With their push toward more personal cloud services, I hope they will take special care to maintain that record, although everyone knows that certain groups like government have ways of getting whatever they want if it's available.
Hopefully, some of the fine-grained permissions of Windows Phone will soon carry over to the unified platform for those who want it, but either way, I would still do any especially sensitive work on Debian or a similar system.
Who wanted that for desktop computers or laptops? This is not going to fly with business customers. Microsoft has already bombed twice in the business space, with Windows Vista and Windows 8. This looks like another bomb.
Windows 7 is still pretty good, and it will probably be the main Microsoft desktop OS for years to come, despite what Microsoft wants.
I did. Linux and OSX are still available for whoever wants them. You can stick with Windows 7 if you want, that's just fine. I like Cortana. I like my software knowing what I like and what I'm interested in. It makes my life easier, which is what computers were invented for.
I can see why some people might not, and to be fair I use Linux on my work laptop because the work I do demands it. I would never put my client data on a Windows machine.
But like I can see your side of the argument, you have to be able to see that some other people want personalization and learning and all that. Pandora and Apple Music are both heavily tailored that way. Google Now on your phone knows everything you do. Netflix can find videos for you to watch based on what you've watched before. Amazon will recommend purchases to you based on what you like. Hell, half the people on this site build these systems. You know how many machine learning articles there are on the front page every week?
So who wanted that? I did. And so did several million other people. For the people who don't want it, I mean it's not even really opt-out. They ask you up front do you want the default or do you want to pick your own privacy settings. If you still don't trust it, Windows 7, OSX, and Linux are right there, just a click away.
But that's the thing, right ? People want their computers to be more intelligent, reactive, adapted to their needs. They don't want Google, MS or Apple to know everything about them. How did the first came to automatically imply the second ?
Apple, Google, MS and others could deliver the same products (software that learn user behaviour and adapt accordingly) without sacrificing privacy, invading personal space and storing private documents on the cloud in order to parse it to deliver relevant ads.
Machine learning should keep on trying to be machine learning and not solely data scraping for marketing tuning and exploitation.
What does it bring me that MS or Google knows my search terms of the day ? I want my quad-core CPU to know that when I browse HN it should automatically split the screen in half and open my media player to listen to radio music because that's what I do most morning. Why do I have to do that by hand ? Can't it know or guess my routine by now ?
Or is all the tech just a glorified lexical parser to fine tune ads to increase their efficiency ?
Could they? My amateur understanding is that a lot of today's success in machine learning is due mainly to having enormous amounts of data to work with.
When I look at Google Now, for example, I can't imagine a way to build it without collecting an ocean of detailed personal data. Or your example of finding common behaviors and having computers do the right thing: that gets much, much easier if you have the daily behavior data of 10m people so you can start extracting concepts like "typical morning routine", testing recognizers for that, and having them not do anything in low-confidence situations.
That said, this whole thing gives me the creeps and I'm glad I'm no longer a Microsoftie.
That could be done locally, without sharing the private data. The local computing agent can then look up in the public (like the pool of those who deliberately published content for all to see) for information that may be of interest to the user. That would have been a moral solution to please everyone. What we see happening now is a nightmare!
It could be done locally, but in order to not share any data with the server you'd need to run the analysis (with all of the associated data) on the local machine, which unless I'm missing something would add some non-trivial constraints, e.g.
- Getting research-grade analysis code up to local-install quality levels, keeping that code updated
- Bandwidth and HDD space for large datasets
- The additional load on the CPU, memory, battery, and messaging that to the customer
- The legal and privacy implication of all that opt-in data being transferred and processed on thousands of opt-out customers' machines
- The need to have an entirely duplicated system because some people would rather opt-in and not have to run all this stuff run on their already-creaking-under-the-weight-of-windows-and-outlook-and-word-and-antivirus laptop
Maybe I'm misunderstanding something, but from this view I can understand why they didn't want to do it this way
Those improvements could be done with much less intruding anyway (be it for the sake of it or because johnny hacker is going to release those data someday).
Sure, although user happiness (broadly) drives market share so they need to maximise that to maximise profit.
So do I, but I don't like my software vendors knowing it too.
Philosophical question: is it really your life, if your software may be subtly persuading you in a different direction than what you would've taken if it hadn't been making the suggestions to influence you?
There is no doubt it will make things easier for you if all you do is effectively accept and follow everything others want you to with no resistance. However, that's not what I'd consider "your life" anymore.
No less so than if your friends, family, coworkers, and society at large may be subtly persuading you in a different direction than what you would've taken if they hadn't been making the suggestions to influence you.
Does only the hermit truly own his own life?
> There is no doubt it will make things easier for you if all you do is effectively accept and follow everything others want you to with no resistance.
While that may be a danger to keep in mind, that's not what's being suggested. In fact, I'd argue much the opposite is being suggested.
Instead of being told what we want and adapting to our corporate overlords, would it not be preferable to communicate what we want, and have the companies adapt to us instead? To service our wants and needs?
In spite the fact that in the case of friends, family, coworkers I can be the one persuading them in a different direction and I also know a bit about them (you cannot suggest that in the case of person-company relationship both are as strong in influencing each other, maybe in large numbers of people protesting and that's a huge maybe):
The thing is, there are 5 billion people on Earth but far less operating systems. So, when they tell you "my way or the highway" while at the same time more products support their way, you'll eventually end up stuck somewhere in the past, like the old nut in the hut living on top of a mountain, while everyone is throwing their personal data to Microsoft and friends telling me that it's going to be ok because "the functionality provided is convenient". Which makes zero sense.
Companies, in many ways, strike me as amazingly straightforward to manipulate. So easily swayed by the almighty dollar that such trite as "the customer is always right" gets dolled out as actual management policy at times.
We block company ads, our eyes scan past the ads that remain, we spam-list their emails and rip into them on our various review sites when they wrong us.
Companies realize, though, that talk is cheap, and see through our bullshit a little better. And, sadly, there's very little self control by consumers at times.
> you'll eventually end up stuck somewhere in the past, like the old nut in the hut living on top of a mountain
It's not so bad here. I don't even have a Facebook account. There's enough ad blocking options out there to kill several news companies several times over. That's before installing a proper separate firewall box.
> while everyone is throwing their personal data to Microsoft and friends telling me that it's going to be ok because "the functionality provided is convenient". Which makes zero sense.
It makes zero sense if you lack agency and choice. You have an opt out. It makes zero sense if you provide what you didn't will to. Opt ins are superior, I'll certainly grant. It makes zero sense if you haven't recognized the full ramifications and potential impact of sharing the data you share. They don't know what they're getting into.
But it also makes zero sense to dismiss "convenient functionality" as a reasonable rationale to give data freely, by choice, if you understand the impact and potential ramifications of it. There's a reason this stuff works. Ignoring that merely blinds you to the beast, and robs you of taking as much advantage of it, or to defend against it's detriments.
I'd add to that list things like Toxoplasma gondii. Who knows, maybe it is the viruses controlling us all. Maybe there are behaviour modifying viruses that cause little to no overt symptoms of infection, or maybe the viruses are changing the DNA of bacteria that impact all living creatures microbiomes. Scary stuff.
There is a difference between those and MS.
So I challenge you: How? In what way? Does it meaningfully change the calculus of your total life ownership? Why?
Your mind is wired by evolution to assess, evaluate and react to human behavior. It is equipped to defend you another humans' attempts to influence your behavior for their own ends when you interact with them in person. Software that you run daily should be able to bypass those built-in protections in a more subtle and personalized manner than traditional advertising or propaganda could ever dream of. In an untrained mind it won't meet resistance but the mind can be trained; the "bigotry against 'robots'" (really, human organizations acting at a distance) on the part of humans who read enough stories like this one emerges as a result and is completely justified.
And if it is by evolution, that immediately presents the trivial solution that we will naturally evolve to relate better to machines, making this a nonissue.
> you get presented with a customize wizard. The first screen has a large chunk of text on it, a large and clearly visible button to proceed using the default settings, and a small hard to see text link that lets you choose your own setting values instead of the defaults.
> Everything about this screen is urging me to just accept the default configuration and get on with life.
Doesn't mean those people "don't care enough" about their privacy. Those people are my parents and my friends and I know that they do.
We know our computers, we can fight back, many people cannot. I believe that when a piece of software tries to provide "sensible defaults" for people that fear they might break stuff, or simply not understand the "advanced options", that those defaults should be SAFE and TRUSTWORTHY.
Windows 10 obviously breaks that trust, and the people who can't spend an hour digging through advanced options (for many reasons) are just pounded into submission against systems they feel slowly slip from their control.
Rights and freedoms that you can only exercise by giving up any semblance of normal life are no rights and freedoms at all. The idea that the moment you step outside of your home or go on-line you forfeit any right to the slightest respect for your privacy and we should just accept this is silly.
And if you think the only people who care are a few internet warriors, please consider the likes of Google's Glass and Street View, where some people have felt strongly enough about the invasions to resort to actual criminal violence in response, and some entire countries have clamped down on the surveillance in response to public concerns.
In any case, with many of these systems, we aren't talking about public information. We're talking about technologies that systematically abuse friendships and commercial relationships by getting one party to tell the technology operators information about another party without that other party's knowledge or consent and potentially even if that information had been given in confidence.
No, I think that just because we can do something, it doesn't mean we should.
In a literal sense, you have no rights or freedoms that you are not prepared to protect with your life. You can lose anything else to someone willing to try hard enough to take it from you. Fortunately, in civilised societies, we do not generally require everyone to die to defend basic human rights that most of us think are worth protecting. Instead we adopt laws and punish those who would break them.
The alternative is the path of craziness, filled with things like the "right to be forgotten".
And as you can probably guess, I support the basic idea of the right to be forgotten as well. I have no problem with requiring companies that specialise in providing easy access to data -- and that make huge amounts of money because of the immense volumes of data they deal with -- to make it harder to access information about, say, victims of abuse or mistaken identity. When the statistics came out about who was really making use of the right to be forgotten ruling in Europe, contrary to all the naysayers, it mostly wasn't people like criminals and politicians who arguably invited negative publicity.
That said, I have no problem with reducing the profile of criminals with spent convictions either, nor those who have done things that were not criminal but which society frowned upon at some point in history. A society that never forgets, full of people who want to hold everything someone ever did against them for all eternity, is not a healthy society. I believe most people can be rehabilitated even after a dark past, and the evidence about how successful different legal systems around the world are at preventing recurrence of damaging behaviour overwhelmingly supports that position as well.
Refers to Schedule 2: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/schedule/2
Additionally, there are "Sensitive" personal data: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/section/2
So if someone were to ask your computer "Do you know any trade unionists?" and it were to reply "I know this person. His name is batou.", and you weren't covered by the Schedule 3 exceptions, that would be an offence. This is an attempt at preventing employment blacklists.
The content of our communications is the matter under consideration i.e the content of the envelope.
"If you tell me your name, I'm free to repeat that to whoever I want. If you aren't ok with public information being re-broadcasted, don't go outside."
to which you said:
"Actually in the UK it is covered by the Data Protection Act. Interesting times ahead. If you knowingly or unknowningly give personal information away without my consent this is illegal."
What you're saying now and what you said then are two different contexts.
In other words, if you consent to Microsoft tracking you, it means I cannot trust you in private communication even if you would otherwise be trustworthy person.
This is completely distinct concern from what is true public information.
That's been considered the foundation of privacy laws in the US. Europe generally has stricter laws -- for instance in Norway, until recently, it was technically illegal to keep an electronic list of names and phone numbers of parents in a school class, or an electronic membership list for a club (esp: minor members).
That's now changed, and the requirement for being granted a "data license" are less stringent -- most electronic record keeping is legal -- everyone being granted a pre-emptive licence of sorts. However, that license is subject to things like a) being responsive in giving out/responding to requests to correct data, to show what data you have on an individual to that individual, and b) making a reasonable effort to keep the data safe.
Breach of those can lead to fines, and the revocation of the implicit license -- meaning you're not allowed to keep such electronic records any more.
Understandably Germany have a stronger emphasis on privacy, being a) a fascist dictatorship under Hitler recently, and b) half of Germany being under the Stasi also recently.
Why people in the US aren't more afraid of personal data ending up in privately held data banks where they are subject to National Security Letters, hackers, anti-union organizations working with big business, anti-native American rights activists and whatever else -- I don't know.
Maybe most people think that the next group to be frozen out of the job market won't be communist but Muslims -- and, hey, I don't know any Muslims -- so why should I be worried?
 Note the electronic bit. This is due to how trivial it is to link digital data, and how trivial it is to copy/get hold of a copy without the original missing etc.
After all, if you don't want others to share the data, you shouldn't interact with them.
There are huge differences here on at least three crucial dimensions: intent of the sharer, the audience with whom it is shared, and the sensitivity of the data shared.
Sucks to be you if your relationships, be they business or personal, are as fragile as a volatile technology.
Expecting your friends not to use cloud services seems a bit unreasonable and unenforceable. Are you really going to tell all your friends they should write down or memorize your phone number instead of storing it in their phone?
What we talk about isn't.
At some point privacy is no longer a choice, not a real choice anyway. You get to chose between participating in society or keeping your privacy. It shouldn't have to be this way, but it is.
Microsoft collects your friends' names so it can spell their names correctly when you use speech-to-text or related features. I thought that's what you were objecting to. What kind of data are you talking about?
Personally, I require that all my so-called friends communicate with me in morse code over short wave radio. It works a treat.
The ramifications of the destruction of anonymity and privacy affect everyone whether or not we understand enough right now to get this.
Also, "sucks to be all these people who would benefit from interacting with me but where I may stop interacting".
This is not a problem that is a personal, individual problem. This is a social problem. Period.
Not indefinitely. It will get EOL'ed, and at that point it might not be possible to opt-out of the upgrade.
Which isn't bad given that MS isn't going to keep supporting W7 forever: It's a genuinely bad thing to have unpatched OSes with known security holes (zero-decade, I suppose?) out in the hands of non-technical users. That kind of thing was moderately acceptable when Average Windows User was behind a dial-up line, but those are going away, too.
If the OS is popular enough, once they get known, they will be fixed by the community if not MS. Look up "Windows 98SE Unofficial Service Pack" and "KernelEx". In fact the 98SE community is still very much alive... and has added support for a lot of things that MS didn't.
Gradually, I predict the same will happen with XP, and possibly 7 when MS stops supporting it.
It's always possible to opt out of the upgrade with Windows 7. I have a perpetual licence to use it, and I can turn off any automatic updates that would break it.
The worst that will happen, short of Microsoft as a business going under or similarly dramatic changes, is that I will only enjoy free security updates from Microsoft until the end of the guaranteed support period (still several years away) and then I will have to use alternative means to secure my systems against any remaining threats.
As demonstrated by the large organisations still on XP, one of those means may simply be paying more money to Microsoft to continue supporting an older platform you want to keep using.
But how many people will?
How do you handle business e-mail ? Only on the linux laptop ? Is the windows device only for personal and entertainment purposes ?
We were spun a load of marketing disguised as listening and attention. This turned out to be exactly what Microsoft wanted which was another aggressive move against customers both business and consumer. Despite all this the noise and confusion and dubious love for the products is shining out of the arses of every non technical news source.
What did we expect?
I've left the party now. Closed my MS accounts, cancelled MSDN and AP subs, rolled out CentOS 7 on my laptop and have moved the remaining windows dependencies I have to a VM. If you don't like it, now is the time to make it known.
This is after using MS products since about 1993. No more loyalty or milking.
The software industry is moving away from the model of servitude to a vendor. Good riddance.
That said, all that data harvested and used to customize the interface for you is indeed convenient.
Doesn't have data, GPS, Bluetooth or WiFi so that's not a problem. The best it gives is rough triangulation data from cell towers but I can leave it at home and do nefarious things to my own heart's content if I so desire (not that I intend to).
PS Are you sure it doesn't have Bluetooth?
I checked and it did have Bluetooth on the Nokia 103 menu.
Don't get me wrong, I value privacy, but all things in moderation, including paranoia. I personally don't think most peopke's lives are that controversial to be so concerned about their privacy that they'll avoid the grid altogether lest some lewd fact trickle out amongs the billions of other lewd facts trickling out about everyone.
Safety in numbers is only valid if it's difficult to discern facts from the flock. But it's not. The technology logs and correlates specific data for fast retrieval rather than collecting noise and then discerning the signal later on.
Oh and I'd never drink Bass; maybe an Abbots or two ;)
This sounds suspiciously like 'nothing to hide nothing to fear'.
I don't think batou is being overly paranoid at all. Especially not with the last year or more of news.
If anything, this is massive tech company overreach on the part of Microsoft, Apple and especially Google and Facebook.
More protection in law is what is needed, not for people to suck it up and accept it.
However, it will ask you first about that. And it is not actually Android, it is Google Play Services. For snitching your pictures, you have to download an extra app by yourself.
If you don't like that and you don't want to say 'no' when asked, use Cyanogen without Gapps. That way, you'll get non-spying vanilla Android. (That means without Play Store too).
Use it with a throwaway Google account to download apps from the Play Store, then use adb to install them on your device. This works fine for apps which don't rely on specific Google libraries or services being installed on your device.
I'm going to ditch Android for a free-er OS when I have the money, although if possible I want to get a [Fairphone](https://www.fairphone.com/) (tl;dr 1. no shady business practices/exploitation, 2. modular with replaceable parts (bonus points for having an integrated protective case), 3. Fairphone V2 will be 100% Free Software (or at least, the firmware/drivers will be), 4. costs $800 as a result).
I'm actually really interested in seeing the Fairphone be a thing.
I'm hopeful that Firefox OS and perhaps Ubuntu/Full GNU/Linux on phones will help. Canonical hasn't got a perfect record when it comes to privacy or openness -- but if they manage to invest the resource to develop a truly open stack that works on real hardware, I expect people to make other distributions that do pretty much whatever one wants.
Actually I installed it to test our desktop windows product against it as well as our web application in Edge.
This was a decider for us: do we move it to Windows Runtime or move it to Qt/JavaFX, to the web or something else?
We're evaluating Qt and JavaFX going forwards.
As I said I've been using Windows since 1993 as my primary operating system. I've used Unix (Solaris, HPUX, Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD) over the years but never in a desktop capacity.
Also one of our clients, a big financial company has rolled out RHEL6 as a desktop platform instead of windows 8/10. They are not trend-setters either.
You bitching that your job requires you to test a product against Windows in a VM is not the same as Microsoft holding you personally hostage to give up all your personal information, however you try to spin it.
We have to test against the lowest common denominator so we're not using Enterprise or VL for this nor are the machines domain members.
That's where the catch-22 is. There is no possiblity for us to use this and remain in compliance.
Not only that, every version of windows since 8 has called home. There is a lot of traffic outgoing from our network we block from machines. And that is with a heavily locked down GPO and custom WIM deployment.
One is having approximately equivalent alternatives. If something is wrong with a particular kind of chewing gum, I can easily switch to the next brand over. But when that's not the case, standards should be higher, because normal market forces no longer constrain players in the same way.
The other is the size of the potential impact. If one corner-store merchant keeps their credit card receipts in a box under the counter, it's a much smaller problem than, say, Target or Home Depot keeping them in a poorly secured network.
If you only have limited time and energy for activism, you have to go for the bigger targets (to make it easy to collaborate with other activists) or go for the most local targets (because you may have a comparative advantage).
Are you also free not to have your private information (personal data, trade secrets, whatever it might be) given to Microsoft by others you interact with who do use Microsoft's new operating systems?
Obviously I don't speak for everyone, but I think "no one wanted it" is a stretch.
I have a 3 desktops, 2 laptops, a NAS and 2 servers and have solved the problems transparently without any cloud services.
How so? Billions of people choose to pay for services/software with their privacy these days. Microsoft isn't to blame for that. If anything they were really late to the party
...nor with some private customers. Microsoft seems to be overlooking that not all nations are so happy about "the cloud" as the average American seems to be. Germany for one, where I currently live, is much more sceptical of sharing personal data -- potentially motivated by some of its 20th century history.
But all that aside, a lot of people only used their computer occasionally, say to write a letter (again, Germany, a lot of bureaucracy still requires paper letters over here). Transparently syncing documents with an external server that you have absolutely no control over is really nothing such a user wants.
Onedrive on Windows 10 explicitly asked me "what folders do you want to sync?" when it first popped up.
Everyone who is switching over to cloud connected OSs on their tablets and smartphones.
Why should I have to reinstall and resetup every new computer? My contacts have been following me around on my phone for 8 years now, why the heck shouldn't they be just as accessible from my PC?
My favorites, they should always be there. Chrome does a great job of this, it is nice that Microsoft has decided to catch up.
Windows 8 had some of this, having wallpapers, theme colors, and OneDrive follow me around already made my computers all seem closer together, now just a little bit more is happening.
There is so much common sense in this. If I schedule an appointment while I am at home for me to leave work early to go pick up my cat from the vet, it should show on my work PC because that damn well makes sense.
All this does is bring Windows fully into the 21st century.
> Windows 7 is still pretty good, and it will probably be the main Microsoft desktop OS for years to come, despite what Microsoft wants.
About 6 hours ago I was apprehensive about Windows 10. Now I'm using it and it is lightening fast and responsive.
why don't you all pro-MS or pro-let's-lose-privacy people don't get a single thing - as per moral standards, any kind of option should be disabled by default (meaning 95% or more people on this planet will never enable it) and you should chose only enable that if you will? It could be the first screen welcoming you on first start of OS, whatever. not even having an option to disable it on cheaper windows is just plain wrong & smells cheap, again in moral sense. As we all know, corporations, any kind, are not high on morality these days. Increasing shareholder value at all costs and similar is the mantra. that google and others are doing it doesn't make it any more right (i have all these things like google one disabled on my phone anyway, at least that's what I like to think :))
As to why we want to not use it, I do believe Mr. Snowden made a point or two in the past.
We're making a choice based on a button with a one sentence dumbed down description. But what is the full legally binding extent of what we're agreeing to with each click?
Nobody knows. "We share with our partners". What's being shared? Who are the partners? Who are their partners that will also have access? What's being done with it? Am I personally identifiable?
Etc. Even if they wrote a page for each box, which they haven't, it will still be pointless because there is probably some other waiver in the 300 page EULA.
Computing as an appliance, imagine some day logging into any machine in the world and having it setup just as you like.
Over the years, if they really make Cortana useful and seamles pdates and systems maintenance the default due to the new "cloud" nature of Windows, they might see a similar adoption or switching pattern as SaaS solutions have seen in business.
At this point most traditional or slow businesses still using licensed software with local IT admins are being outcompeted by more agile competition using SaaS solutions.
Then again, what alternative do corporates have? They could stick to an older version of Windows, and become less competitive (assuming Microsoft pulls it off), or switch to Linux, which is doubtfl for most office workers (though our entire devshop uses now Linux ultrabooks).
Good luck with that one.
I've not checked to see if it's in the more recent release EULA, but the assumption was that it was there for the beta diagnostics as opposed to the day-to-day use.
If businesses fall too far behind adopting modern software/features their employees are familiar with using on personal devices they will have to accept reduced productivity.
Why do people seem to gloss over the fact that we can implement these technologies without losing privacy? e.g. voice recognition has been possible on home computers for decades now. You don't need the cloud for it.
The experience is not quite the same. We have voice recognition since at least late 90's but you have to spend long hours training (> 20 hrs) in order to have a decent result (not even comparable). The fact that is cloud based now enable the software to fit better to different accents and pronounciations.
Another thing is that personalization is not really possible in today devices if you want more than 3hrs battery.
On the other hand, generally I'm pretty impressed with just the voice recognition/transcription by Google on my Android phones (exception: "ferociously"). Transcriptions in Google Voice on the other hand are, hm, marginally good enough to often get a general gist of a call before I return it, but if I need the actual details of the message there's no choice but to listen to it. This includes calls made by me, from my phone that I also do voice recognition on, into a Google Voice number that I use for some tracking.
It is interesting that the transcriptions in the web interface show how confident they are of the quality for each word by how dark the word is.
Microsoft could ship their pre-trained dataset with the computer, or make it available as a download. They choose not to.
It's a big, really big dataset, and things get far better the more data you have. In order to even have it, let alone keep it up to date, a significant amount of space and memory would be needed.
You don't seem to understand the size requirements for getting a good dataset. Don't you think Microsoft would have loaded up the dataset if it was easy and cheap? They didn't have a desktop cloud-based recognition service until literally yesterday, so they had many, many years to include this magical dataset that solves all your problems without cannibalizing another one of its products. They didn't because it's not feasible right now. In the future? Maybe, hell, probably.
I have 602 GB free on my first hard drive, 519 free on my second, 699 on my third, 1.06TB free on my forth, 405GB free on my fifth and 46 free on my 6th.
If Microsoft would be kind enough to release it to me, I think I can probably find a corner to squeeze it into.
>Don't you think Microsoft would have loaded up the dataset if it was easy and cheap?
No, I don't. Microsoft wants our voice data, it's extremely valuable to them. They've figured out that there's gullible people like you who will swallow the "it can't be moved onto a local computer" tale hook, line and sinker, and thus give it to them for free.
Why are you doing that? Grow some cynicism.
I never said storage is the limiting factor, in fact, I even said you need a significant amount of "space and memory".
You are assuming that they have a different model for each language and region, which I don't think is true since Cortana understand my foreign accent besides of being using USA as a region (Canadian version works really well too).
> I have 602 GB free on my first hard drive, 519 free on my second, 699 on my third, 1.06TB free on my forth, 405GB free on my fifth and 46 free on my 6th.
Good for you, but I don't have that many free space. Gee, I only have 20Gb free on my laptop. I think you might be bias about your situation but not everyone has +1Tb of free space waiting to be used for a voice command.
And seriously, Cortana would be useless without the cloud aspect. Half the things it does revolve around connecting your digital life together by accessing various things about you. Without the cloud, it's literally just Windows 8 search.
How is that? Desktop systems respond quickly, cloud systems often respond after a second - it takes time for data to do a round-trip over crappy mobile connection. Mobile latency is a big thing.
I agree wrt. Cortana (and Siri, Google Now) - most of the things you use them for will require Internet access. But there are still a lot of things that you could do with voice that shouldn't require a network connection, and we're missing the ability now. Not to mention you have zero customization options for cloud-based recognition. I could make good ol' MS Speech API recognize pretty much anything I wanted it to. No problem making it recognize a limited subset of two languages at the same time. With cloud-based systems, if the voice recognition doesn't like my accent, I'm out of luck.
I'm a bit conflicted now. My girls are 7 & 9 and they've been using Microsoft Accounts. With the final Win10 build having all this (none of these settings worked a few months ago), it looks like I've got a lot of reading and explaining to do for them.
My own children are still using computers with Windows 7. They play Spore (Windows only), Sims 3 (Windows only) Minecraft (Java, so playable anywhere), Osu! (no idea, really), and a couple of other games. I have no intention of upgrading Windows on their computers past 7. Take a look at your options, you might be surprised how easily Windows is replaced with anything else.
As a parent, I'm also not sure if an equivalent of Family Safety exists on other platforms. Windows sends me weekly overviews of our kids PC use and blocks inappropriate content. Also, our kids log into their own profiles, I don't give them Administrator level access, they have to aks me if they want to install something.
After being out of the PC scene for 10+ years -- and as a rabid apple fan -- let me say this: PC gaming is AWESOME. Games I'd only played on Mac before come to new life on a proper gaming PC. That said I would probably go into a different line of work if I had to use Windows as my primary dev box.
As a Java application, Minecraft runs perfectly fine on any operating system.
As for your parental controls, if you wish to apply them you can do the exact same thing on any GNU/Linux platform.
Hopefully, Valve OS's initiative might bend this and allow the Linux world to be at least on par with MSFT when it comes to graphic drivers. Considering that from the three main console out there, both the Playstation and the Nintendo are using a flavor or another of OpenGL, there is some hope for the future of alternative to MSFT outside the office and MSFT centric software development.
I would drop Windows in a heartbeat if that happened. There is no other reason keeping me using it other than games.
Even though I personally hate literally almost every new feature of Windows 10 and the design of the entire OS, I'm still running it, simply because I get much better performance out of it than I do on Win7 - and I can generally customize my UX.
worth the time it takes to check it out, imo...
Some kind of "off the record" mode would be invaluable for voice interfaces. Hell, it would be nice if there was a check box under the Google search box as well, but I imagine Google would never make it too easy to avoid their data mining. I feel like we never had the proper privacy conversation we needed to have with companies like MS, Google, Facebook, etc. I think some level of easy to use yet strict segregation between what I consider my public life and my private life should be cooked-in, and enabled by default, into all this software.
Isn't that what incognito mode is for? If don't want your searches in cards at all, you completely opt-out of the cards that are strictly based on your search history. Ctrl+Shift+N seems like a small, reasonable step to go off the record. What is the alternative?
There's no reason why they couldn't to the same thing Mozilla does: a) have a pretty clear account thing for "sync", b) have a pretty clear page for opt/in out on what to sync, c) Have working self-host sync solution, d) have an open source sync solution so you can easily see what's going on, and how things are encoded/stored.
Second I explained that under 13 means stuff won't work, so let's add 10 years or so to make sure they don't have trouble.
Well, maybe Child Protective Services should be involved? They intervene when children walk home alone from the park, perhaps they'll start to intervene when children are raised to use Microsoft products? http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/04/13/parents...
Just kidding, of course. But my daughters are now 14 and 17 and I don't think they know how to use Microsoft products. We've been on OS X for about 10 years.
So maybe CPS should investigate me? Am I doing my kids a dis-service by not exposing them to the dominant OS?
They already do pollute the OS history with their behaviours. Examples would be the DNS cache, the thumbnail database and the temp directory. Most people just don't know about these or look at them. But they can be very revealing. The problem I have is that the OS is so ready to upload things. I don't want my OS to upload anything at all, unless I command it to do so.
I don't know much about Windows 10, so I'm curious what features you are referring to that require heavy tracking like this.
Games are a good example. Nobody would expect a baseball player to object to tracking statistics. That's a big part of what makes the game. Online gaming is the same way. Tracking achievements adds to the fun for a lot of people.
But there are also larger social issues where tracking can be beneficial. We live in a world with a lot of diversity and an increasing amount of information. People get overwhelmed and tend to revert to tribal thinking, attacking anything that doesn't fit their group's perspective. I don't know if people on their own could ever get over this type of behavior in a world that's impossible to keep up with without taking mental shortcuts and relying on summaries of what's happening.
Personalized deep learning is an attempt to create a relatively neutral arbiter of all this information, distill it into something useful based not only on the user's behavior but also the aggregate of everyone's behavior. The algorithms don't just learn from what you like but have the potential to uncover interests and information that you might never be able to access outside your bubble.
Cortana brings that kind of aggregate information gathering to your desktop. It's an early example, and it needs lots and lots of data to learn, and the more diverse the data set it can analyze, the closer it can be to doing its job of feeding relevant information.
Windows 10 is also meant to be an Internet of Things OS. Lots of companies are working on connected devices that depend on syncing with your account. A common example for today is telling Cortana to remind you to pick up milk when you're at the store. The reminder goes to your account, and when your phone detects you're at the store, it reminds you to pick up milk.
Of course, there are people who are going to try to use this to sell you things, but that's always been the case. The hope of people working on these things is that it can bring you actually relevant suggestions instead of just the products with the largest advertising budgets. Old advertising models were very centralized and only the largest ones could really win. Personalized advertising might be able to bring the smaller but more relevant products to your attention.
Personally, I don't like advertising, and I'm not especially excited about this part of it, but that's definitely the monetary angle for it. The part that does excite me is the possibility that we can start to break down some of the communication barriers between people, get people outside of their bubbles, and bring relevant information to people based on large trends instead of isolated social groups.
There's plenty to be skeptical about here. Money tends to push things in directions that only benefit the ones with money. Microsoft and all the other IoT companies have a lot to prove before their products can be considered actually relevant for people. There's a good chance most of them will be no better than the old way of doing things. But there's a lot of potential there too.
Privacy should always be an option, but having a public online life can be good for people too.
If you do go through the installation/setup screen you will see that you have now a "advertizing ID". This made me feel edgy and I cannot shake the memory of the tattoo on the victim's forearm from the Nazi solution of its undesirable population, powered by no less than state of the art technical solution, provided by a top technical solution provider at the time.
That's an interesting statement considering how most recommender systems tend to suggest things related to your interests, further keeping you within the confines of your bubble. How is Cortana different?
If leveraging a lot of data allows for better speech recognition, why can't your computer access a remote speech recognition data set that stores and shares the results of its machine learning algorithms rather than uploading actual audio data? Instead of sending actual audio, send and receive very non-personalized non-specific derived model data to/from a repository somewhere (or even peer to peer).
And did you ever use it? Forget sentences, it used to even struggle on a handful of keywords. Even now offline recognition are way far behind the online ones. I have pocket sphinx installed on my raspberry pi and even in a quiet room it has false positives with just a list of 10 keywords. Ohh what I would do to have an offline recognition system that is on par with Cortana/Siri/Google Now.
In the 90s we had slow voice recognition that took a long time to train, that would only ever work for a single user, in a silent room... If it worked at all... Which wasn't very common.
The point is, some of us don't believe that this was an engineering choice.
> In the 90s we had slow voice recognition that took a long time to train, that would only ever work for a single user, in a silent room... If it worked at all... Which wasn't very common.
And in the 2000s we had fast voice recognition that took a little bit of time to train and that would work over a crappy microphone with loud music playing in the room, all of that running along other software on a $500 PC. I know because in 2007 I made my own Star Trek-like (with proper computer sound and voice feedback) voice recognition system I used to control music that was played on Hi-Fi speakers. It took me like 20 minutes to train it and it worked pretty much flawlessly from anywhere in the room. The voice was captured by a crappy mic I soldered myself from parts and placed on a wardrobe.
And the single-user-only mode? That's actually a feature, not a bug.
If we did it that way, then Marketing couldn't datamine their customers lives to find better ways to extract money out of them.
But I gotta say, I have the feeling that the pendulum is gonna swing back pretty soon. I'm noticing more and more (regular) people being fed up and creeped out with the massive harvesting that Google, Facebook and Microsoft are doing. Opportunity awaits!
Nobody's answered my question as to why The Cloud is the magic pixie dust that solves this problem, and why it could not be solved locally with modern compute power and modern ML techniques.
Firstly, the models (particularly the language models) needed for state of the art performance are huge. It's not atypical for papers to discuss using a billion n-grams, for example ( https://wiki.inf.ed.ac.uk/twiki/pub/CSTR/ListenTerm1201415/s... ). That's several gigabytes of memory and storage at the very least, and you'd need a copy of that for every spoken language you'd want to support. Plus you need to keep that up to date with new words and phrases; it's much easier to keep models fresh on a server than on everyone's computer.
Power and CPU time are also a concern. Big beefy server farms can have trouble keeping up with state of the art speech recognition algorithms; a laptop, tablet or phone is going to struggle, especially when running off a battery, is at a huge disadvantage.
But the biggest advantage to server-based speech recognition is indeed that more data is critical to improving accuracy and performance. There's no data like more data. And you don't just need more data, you need a lot more data. You can get big gains from just doing unsupervised training on 20 million utterance rather than 2 million: http://static.googleusercontent.com/media/research.google.co... There's simply no way you're going to get anything like 20 million utterances without getting data from millions of real world users.
The large data size affects the training, but the model itself is pretty small now (after some hard work on Google's part).
The thing everyone seems to be missing is that Android's (English) voice recognizer is offline. While you can use the online model I suspect that is more about continual update of the model (so it understands new words and changing accents etc) rather than recognition.
... and people think sentient AI is on the horizon. :P
Machine learning algorithms haven't changed that much since the 90s, what's changed is the amount of data we have access to, and the amount of data we can process.
When you're training it yourself the data is what's limited. The fact that we can process more data doesn't matter if we don't have access to more data because you can't speak any faster.
But if you have millions of people speaking to it, then we can take advantage of the fact that we can process so much more data.
And why not have all the features that can be done locally be done locally. If it's possible for my computer to understand me entering an apportionment, why should that go to a MS sever to be stored forever?
There's a lot more that goes into understanding than JUST speech recognition. First of all, speech recognition by itself isn't exactly trivial, and that's become more and more obvious as we've seen the smallest accent mess with the digital assistants on all the major phones. Yes, technically, Dragon Naturally Speaking existed a decade ago and worked somewhat, but needed a LOT of training, and was dumb as a brick. It doesn't compare.
But beyond that, understanding the meaning of the spoken word is difficult too. Yes, NLTs exist, and they can be very good, but you really need something that a team is administering. They can identify pain points and do regular updates to help... things like an odd band name that is ALWAYS misunderstood, some odd combination of words that confuses a question with a 911 call, etc., otherwise you're just going to end up frustrated.
I should also mention that a digital assistant really needs the power of a full search engine behind it. This allows for auto-correction of mispronounced words, but it also allows near-instant lookups for relevant information. If this was running on your local machine, not only will the processing be slow for some things, it will also be more limited in it's ability to fully process all possible meanings, and it will need to be updated CONSTANTLY.
These companies, by putting the language processing in the cloud, are throwing teams and hardware at the problem, and yet they STILL have embarrassing difficulties when it comes to actually understanding sometimes. Consider that for a moment... hundreds, even thousands of servers running the latest software for processing natural language for multi-millions of people aren't capable of getting your meaning 100% of the time.
Incidentally, I realize that there some open source projects out there that do some rudimentary voice recognition and processing, however they suffer from the same issues addressed above and are MUCH more limited in many many ways. Many of them still make use of cloud-based services for processing the audio, btw. The one advantage, I will say, is that you have to ability to add your own custom commands and actions, which the major systems obviously don't allow.
I mean more of my problem has to do with the fact that it's an open door than what they will actually do. It doesn't say they will send audio data, it at most says "associated input data" which for all I know could be a database from their algorithms, or it could be a live 24/7 stream from my webcam and audio device.
I guess the thing is that some things are not acceptable, and whether there's a disclaimer or not, people aren't going to like it if we find out that all of our audio is being recorded and uploaded to Microsoft. But it's not, not as far as anyone can tell yet.
The question is are you willing to trust the OS. I mean, hell, Ubuntu Linux went and sent all of your search information to Amazon without even giving you the option to opt out in the install process at one point. It could be disabled, but unless you knew about it in advance there was no option to do so. And Ubuntu is open source.
I can see use cases for it, and one actually ties into the location services. Say you're from a region with a specific accent. If the system can tell how you speak, and how other people speak around you, it might be able to create an accent subset for you based on the collective data from all of those speakers. It might be able to guess from a few sentences and your location that you're Glaswegian and start to understand you, not because you trained it, but because across the region many people have trained it a bit. Then with the location to tie the regional accent together, even if you're in the US once you've spoken a few phrases it might be able to identify you as belonging to that regional language group.
But uploading of all spoken data to Microsoft would be silly, not just because it would piss people off, but because it wouldn't be something you could hide, and it would end up being quite a lot of data that's really not that useful.
But could it be possible? Sure. But they could also do it without tipping you off or giving you the ability to opt out.
As for incognito, can you sign into windows as guest now? Or even have multiple accounts on the same pc? If so you could create a guest/dummy account if you are interested in giving the personal assistant pure data.
Is it? I haven't tried the release build yet but this was removed from the preview.
What do you mean by that? Not only you can't set any access rights for applications (they get what they ask for and you can either accept all or not install the application), but the OS also synchronizes your main account's contacts and calendar to THE CLOUD without asking you, telling you, and even without a way to opt out of it.
Where's that utopian future where we bounce between a dozen purpose-built VMs, each customized to the task we're doing?
Sounds like switching to a guest account. Not as quick as a simple "toggle data recording" button, but that functionality is definitely already in Windows.
It would be fine if they were defaults if you actually saw them.
I mean, I agree with the article that the layout is definitely pushing people who don't care to just pressing "agree", but if you care about privacy, it's not like it's hidden from you.
Really? You expected what is basically a built-in keylogger?
They should have called it "Clippy's Revenge"
I have personally used the feature several times to recover my drive keys.
There's no evidence here that Microsoft has installed a "back door" for the FBI.
Just sort of saying..."How can you trust MS NOT to have backdoored bitlocker just use Linux. Suck it NSA." Won't actually make you secure.
For instance, in Android, Google tracks with GPS accuracy your whereabouts constantly. This isn't just what IP your desktop is attached to. Furthermore, there is no prompt telling you this happens with a very easy way of undoing. In fact even if you knew about this it is very hard to find a way to disable.
Secondly, Chrome send every website you visit to their servers to be logged. Again, this is not explained in some easy opt-out screen and in fact the only way to get around this is to use SRWare Iron, where they removed that code.
But Microsoft makes it easy for you to choose the privacy options even telling you about them on install.
For me it's because I control my interaction with Google. I don't use their search for things I don't want them recording, I don't use gmail for conversations I expect to be private. Once your talking about the private files I store on my hard drive and access with the OS, the keystrokes I enter on my keyboard for every application, then the reach is far greater. Having a company like Google say "You can use these services, but we're going to spy on you" is not the same as MS saying "we will be watching and have access to everything on your computer, oh and you can't disable all of this spying without an enterprise license."
For another thing, Chrome doesn't log every website you visit. The closest thing they do is suggest autocompletions for searches/URLs you type in the URL, which is a straightforwardly-explained checkbox in Chrome's privacy settings.
But it does. If you get a new android phone and log in with a google account then it updates your browser history on chrome. Which could only be done if your non-incognito history is stored in google's servers.
To be fair, that feature also isn't very hidden; the sync settings let you turn off history sync or use a sync passphrase which prevents Google from seeing your browsing history.
I find it shocking how hypocritical Microsoft was towards Google all these years only to find out their even worse than Google because they baked these privacy "violations" into their browser.
>Secondly, Chrome send every website you visit to their servers to be logged
Utter bullshit. I don't login to Chrome when I use it and none of my URL's are sent to Google.
A while back I put together a Linode server for a small project. Because I was lazy I made a private page of web links for the site logs and made the URL something long and obscure with plenty of backslashes that couldn't be spidered or guessed. The main site had no Google analytics and barely any traffic.
When I checked the logs a couple of days later my private log page had been accessed externally. The visitor's IP address was in one of the ranges that belongs to Google.
So... I changed the URL, looked at the new URL in Chrome, and checked again a day later.
Same thing. Someone - or something - from Google was accessing my private URL, based on my Chrome history.
I changed the URL again and switched to Safari.
Clearly, Chrome phones home and Google feels entitled to check new URLs that it can't spider. Safari doesn't phone home. (Or if it does, no one at Apple cares enough to check weird URLs).
I don't think any other conclusion is possible.
Yesterday one of my friends bought a mac. He needed a credit card before he could install vim... vim needs brew, which needs xcode, which needs the istore, which needs an appleid, which needs (well, wants) a credit card on file.
While I don't disagree that Google does consume a lot of user data, I'm pretty sure most of these are opt in or at least explained fairly up-front, and that their resultant policies are no worse than Microsoft's.
Can you give an example of where their policies are clearly worse?
Well, I thought Google already tracked you whichever browser you use, via its advertising networks.
However, it does offer good control and opt-out cookies for the (whatever) 0.0001 percent of people who find out about this and actually give a damn.
I mean I cannot possibly verify what exactly goes on in the annals of the operating system and what happens to my data, where it is logged and where it is stored and how it is sent.
So regardless of the settings, I always assume that my data is logged and read by some creepy agent in the Ministry of Truth.
If it's not, then I'm just lucky.
Having grown up in a totalitarian state, that's the default way I think about this stuff and no amount of promises (except the source code which I can personally compile) can make me trust any 3rd party corporation.
You mean besides the fact that collecting personal data without your consent is illegal?
> Having grown up in a totalitarian state, that's the default way I think about this stuff and no amount of promises (except the source code which I can personally compile) can make me trust any 3rd party corporation.
He does not trust corporations or governments to act within the confines of the law.
I can't imagine any company in the pockets of the NSA getting in trouble for over-collecting user data.
There would federal CFAA, Economic Espionage Act, etc., investigations plus antitrust abuse investigations.
The corporation itself might behave like an angel, but there are agencies which can force it to open or install backdoors.
Given that the number of such requests is relatively small, the probability of it being detected is low and even if the victim does notice it, then the corp can always say - "they twisted our hands".
Legally, the heart of the NSA legal basis is the 3rd party doctrine that states that data held by a third party isn't private. It would be a very illegal search to have Microsoft invade your privacy under NSA order.
Of course, there is also some risk that the NSA or some other party goes rouge as does it anyway. But you have that problem with essentially all software and hardware.
You'd have to compile your own OS from source code you inspected thoroughly. And even then, the NSA is almost without a doubt sitting on linux 0-days.
And literally (and I don't mean figuratively) nobody knows whats on all the firmware in all the components in all your devices.
The risk of being an NSA target is super low. The harm in being a false positive target is pretty low too. Even if the NSA hacked your windows install, they won't find any plans to blow up the Sears tower and then go about their business.
Compared to risk that a car accident will destroy your existance, who cares about this tiny risk.
I probably wouldn't windows if I were a KGB agent, but other than that, why worry.
This is just a restating of "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear". That's already been discussed recently  already so I won't re-tread.
> Compared to risk that a car accident will destroy your existance, who cares about this tiny risk.
Because it's not about the risk, it's about the intellectual climate the situation creates. Notice that because of car accidents there is a lot of focus on car safety, stopping drunk drivers, texting while driving, etc?
Surveillance is like that. As in a panopticon , when there's a chance you're being surveilled, certain conversations and ideas feel dangerous. Sometimes because they're antiestablishment but other times just because you're worried they'll be misconstrued. The net effect is censorship through fear.