* Posts by big_D

2253 posts • joined 27 Nov 2009

German minister seeks facial recognition at airports, train stations

big_D
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Re: Wow! In Germany?

The German government has a track record of implementing surveillance, only to have it revoked in the consitutional court or in the normal courts by data protection law.

They tried the "Bundestrojaner" a couple of years back (State-Trojan), which was state sponsored malware, which they wanted to install on every PC in the country. Luckily the courts told the government in no uncertain terms that such an action was illegal.

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big_D
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And the German constitution and data protection laws would make such a system illegal, so he will have to do a lot of work to get such a thing legalized.

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Paper mountain, hidden Brexit: How'd you say immigration control would work?

big_D
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Re: Propaganda by CEO's

@Peter2 here, in Germany, there is a huge influx of migrant workers every year for picking fruit or harvesting vegetables - white aparagus, for example, is a labour intensive job that cannot be automated.

Likewise, Amazon employs hundreds of migrant workers for peak times, such as Christmas, to work in their warehouses, usually underpaid and poorly housed; a documentary last year showed that the sub-contractor responsible for luring the workers from Spain, Portugal and points East, offered them decent pay and accomodation and flew them to the warehouses in Germany, where suddenly the promised wage was halved and if they didn't sign, they had to make their own way back home... The accomodation is often off-season summer bungalows in holiday parks, where a dozen workers were stuffed into a bungalow designed for a small family. It caused quite a scandal here, when the documentary was aired.

Likewise, the food industry, especially slaughter houses often uses vast numbers of unskilled workers on their production lines at much lower wages than they would pay for local workers. The same for the building industry, anyone remember Aufwiedersehen Pet? That still goes on and a lot of the workers are so-called "black" workers, meaning that they don't have any papers, no contract and no residency permit. If they are caught, they are deported and the employer gets a fine.

This also applies to a lot of restaurants, nursing homes, cleaning companies etc.

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Google AdSense abused to distribute Android spyware

big_D
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Re: no additional clicks

If it was a silent install, then the story should mention which exploit it uses to get around the standard settings of only installing from approved sources (Google Play Store) or signed files.

If it is getting around the standard security, then the article should state this, as this would be a real problem. If it requires the user to turn off the safety features to install the .apk (which they would normally have to do), then it is a bit of a non-story, but the article should warn that users who have deliberately disabled the standard policy to install an app from an unknown source should turn the setting back on afterwards...

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Thieves can wirelessly unlock up to 100 million Volkswagens, each at the press of a button

big_D
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Re: Quick Release or build it like it is in my head

So, you want to replace a small, pocketable key for a big one that people will just leave in the car? I can't see people wandering around the local supermarket, steeringwheel in hand.

The problem isn't the form factor of the key, but the fact that the serial numbers in the keys are based on a very small number of master serial numbers, which means they can be easily cracked. Whether you put the serial number (generator) in the key or the steering wheel doesn't make any difference, you would just need a steeringwheel with the software hack, as opposed to a key with the software hack.

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big_D
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Re: So long and thanks for all the fish

It is the regional state governments that hold shares in VW, the investment is not at the Federal level.

Oh, and the German courts have given the OK for those investors to sue the board for misleading them and trashing their investments.

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Firefox to banish hidden Flash files – and kill off sneaky ad snoopers

big_D
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I don't have Flash installed on any of my machines and the BBC site just says that I should use a modern browser (I'm using Edge, Chrome and Firefox, all on the latest versions)... No BBC, you need a modern website!

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Huge double boxset of Android patches lands after Qualcomm disk encryption blown open

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Re: Everything is just

The only safe computer is one embedded in a block of concrete, in a locked room, with no power...

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Kill Flash now? Chrome may be about to do just that

big_D
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Re: About to?

Yes, until the end of the year is a long time. I killed it on all of my machines over 18 months ago and I haven't missed it yet.

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Germans set to make schnitzel out of controversial Wi-Fi law

big_D
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I've stayed in two hotels in Magdeburg in the last 12 months and both had free wifi.

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big_D
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Re: The Law of Unintended Consequences

The law states that if you have an open (i.e. not passcode protected) Wi-Fi spot and you do not log who used it and when, then you are responsible for any crimes committed. If you can say at the time of the offence who was accessing your network, then you are not responsible.

For commercial premises there are solutions, where users are logged as they attach to the network and a log of their activities is recorded, this means that the network provider is off the hook.

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Lyft, Uber throw Texas-sized tantrum over Austin driver law

big_D
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So, basically, they are saying that they don't give a fig about passenger safety... Makes me really want to use their services!

But not really a surprise, they are letting most of their drivers in German drive with no valid insurance! (A criminal offence)

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Android's security patch quagmire probed by US watchdogs

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Cheap non names? Like Samsung and LG you mean?

Both my Galaxy S3 and my LG G2 stopped getting updates before the 2 years of the contract were up. In fact the G2 still has a couple of months left on contract, but it is so old that some apps (MS Word and Excel, for example) refuse to load as the OS is too old to be supported.

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Getty Images flings competition sueball at Google Image Search

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Mushroom

If Getty don't want them to appear in search results, don't sell them with web usage rights...

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America edges closer to get-a-proper-warrant-to-read-my-email law

big_D
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The 180 days is also bad, given that often business emails have to be kept for 10 years for tax reasons...

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Not OK, Google! FTC urged to thrust antitrust probe into Android

big_D
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Re: "Freezing out third-party apps"

and 3rd party maps, search, browser, mail, etc.

If a manufacturer takes Android with Google Store (as opposed to AOSP), you need to install the Google apps and you aren't allowed to bundle competing apps with the phone.

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US-CERT advice says kill Quicktime for Windows, quickly

big_D
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Re: Next

I haven't had Flash on my machines for over a year and I can't remember the last time I used QuickTime, probably around 2009.

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Apple assumes you'll toss the Watch after three years

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Re: Four years?!?!

My 2007 iMac is still going strong as well - running Linux, as Apple stopped providing OS security updates about 2 years ago.

My original AppleTV is also still working - although we only use it for viewing photos now.

The last time I spent Apple Watch type money on a watch was 20 years ago, and it is still going strong...

I put an SSD in my 2010 Vaio notebook and it feels nearly as fast as my Surface Pro 3...

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Microsoft sues US DoJ for right to squeal when Feds slurp your data

big_D
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Re: Hat's off

Microsoft representing the masses, the MS of the 90s is shuddering in its grave.

Meanwhile, I've heard that cats and dogs are now having a love in and Beelzebub is offering cheap skiing holidays.

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Google yanks Chrome support for Windows XP, at long last

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Re: Chrome for 32 bit Linux is also dead....

On my 32-bit Atom processor? Not really an option.

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Bay Area man forced out of his $400 box home

big_D
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Re: Street Living

It makes my old 110M² loft for $450 a month sound like a bargain!

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Would you let cops give your phone a textalyzer scan after a road crash?

big_D
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I thought that police have used carrier meta data for years, in order to find out if the driver had sent / received a text at "around" the time of the accident?

With the advent of Whatsapp, Telegram, Threema and Co. it is not as easy to use carrier metadata. As long as the search is restricted to looking to see if messages were sent/received at the approximate time of the crash, then I'm OK with that. If it is a cart blanche to actually read those messages, then no...

Having been rear-ended by somebody too busy texting to see that the traffiic lights were red and we had stopped, I'm not totally against such a rule.

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Windows 10 with Ubuntu now in public preview

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Re: It is like a dog's walking on its hind legs.

@nijam they work on Linux Servers exclusively with command line tools. They need a web browser, an Exchange client and the telephone client - the latter of which only runs on Windows (there is an OS X version in Beta, but it isn't very stable).

Up to last year, they were running on thin clients, but with the event of the new telephone system, the thin clients had to make way for real PCs running Windows.

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big_D
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Re: It is like a dog's walking on its hind legs.

I can see a lot of uses for where I work - although we are currently mainly CentOS and SUSE based for server side.

But most of our devs are Linux server devs and don't like being forced to use Windows (the client software is Windows based and our telephone system is Windows based). They spend 90% of their time working in bash. If they have the bash command line in Windows, it is one less thing for them to moan about.

It might also make rolling out new installs easier, as it is one less 3rd party package to install (E.g. Cygwin or NX).

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big_D
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Re: Hmmmm???

It could be useful for us, we do support on Windows, but our server software runs on Linux, so we have to have Cygwin or NX installed at the moment, if the bash shell can save us having to install that, depending on how tightly it is integrated, it might bring some benefits.

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Huawei's P9 flagship: There's a lot to Leica

big_D
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Exactly cambsukguy, we have bought phones in the 100€ - 200€ range for the last couple of generations. They are fine and last 3 or 4 years. I did buy the Lumia 950, as an exception to that rule, but unless something radical happens in the market, it will be the last mid-priced phone that I buy.

The high end, expensive phones often don't get support for 2 years, let alone 3 or 4 years, so they just aren't worth the extra money over the cheaper devices.

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Nest's bricking of Revolv serves as wake-up call to industry

big_D
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Re: What sort of wake-up call?

The problem isn't whether the device still works or the onboard software is still secure, the problem is relying on cloud services.

Even if the cloud server software is open source, if the company goes tits-up or just turns off the server, because you are the only person left using the device, you still need to find a replacement for that cloud, which means providing your own cloud based server.

For the average reader of this site, probably not that big a problem - assuming the IoT device lets a new server address be entered - something usually blocked for security reasons - but the average home user won't have a clue where to start.

I still haven't seen an IoT device that makes me say, that is more useful than a dumb device.

IoT toaster that I can turn on remotely? Yeah, but who is going to put the bread in it?

IoT fridge that tells me what is running out? I tend to buy fresh produce and what is in season or rotate products, so that I don't eat the same thing every week. So a list and looking at the shelves is better.

IoT lights that I can turn on remotely? Why? If I'm not at home, I don't need light or I'll turn them off, when my family is sitting around the table... If I'm away from home, then I'll put the lamps on a timer - or lower the roller blinds...

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Microsoft's Brad Smith on encryption: Let the politicians decide

big_D
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Look at the current MS vs. US Justice case.

Here, there is a server in Ireland, owned by an Irish company operating under EU and Irish Law. The US Justice Department says, that that is all null and void, because the Irish company is a subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. USA and therefore the Irish company doesn't have to follow Irish law, it can damn well hand over the data that US Justice wants, because AMERICA!

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big_D
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Leaving completely. Moving the HQ isn't enough, currently, with FISA, even a presence (a single office, with a single employee) in the USA is enough to get press ganged into helping the US Government.

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Ransomware scum sling PowerShell, Word macro nasty at healthcare biz

big_D
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Re: Job recruitment offices

The default configuration in Office since at least 2010 is that macros are disabled by default and the user must specifically enable them, when opening the document.

The user can override the setting in the Security section of the Option in Office applications, but they are warned that this is a bad idea.

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big_D
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Re: errm...

Exactly and since around 2008/9, Microsoft have set Macros to be disabled by default and the user is asked if they should be enabled when opening the document...

If you open a document in an email and it wants to run macros, you should just say no!

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Thin client market gets even thinner, down seven per cent in a year

big_D
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My thoughts exactly. Ours are around 10 years old and still going strong...

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Microsoft beefs up defences against Office macros menace

big_D
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Re: Not really a fix. .

Macros are very useful in a lot of situations.

I've written macros over the years, from simply applying new functions for spreadsheets (one that calculates hours worked and reports hours, not days, for example), selecting relevant boilerplate text when creating documents or complete sales invoicing and budgeting systems in Excel.

The latter is not so relevant today, given the number of open source and cloud based solutions, but "back in the day", such a system was quick and cheap to implement.

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Microsoft files patent for 'PhonePad', hints at future Windows plans

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I've been saying

for years, we just need a small hockey-puck sized device, that provides CPU and storage and it seamlessly (wirelessly) connects to whatever I/O is currently convinient - audio (a la Echo), a watch or smartphone sized display and wireless headset, tablet sized display, with loudspeakers or a desktop monitor, keyboard and mouse.

The "puck" would provide consistency and provide you with the processing power, but how you access your data depends on what you are doing and what you need. That means all apps and data remain consistent and don't necessarily rely on a network connection - there are still enough times where a net connection is non-existent or too slow to be useful (many of our customers are based out in the countryside and have ISDN speeds, if they are lucky, and you might get a GPRS signal on your mobile, if you are lucky.

Day-to-day I use OneDrive for syncing my data onto devices - and I tend to permently sync the stuff I need regularly on those devices, so that even off-line, it is available and I can work on it. But the Surface Pro 3 shows that having a tablet, notebook and desktop (desktop dock and external monitors, keyboard and mouse in the office) is a great solution, it adapts to my needs on the move and has all of my data to hand, but in the office, it turns into a "proper" and comfortable experience - all with the same apps and data everywhere.

If that could be moved right down to the "puck", with wireless displays, then you only ever need to take it out of your pocket / bag for charging.

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Labour: We want the Snoopers' Charter because of Snowden

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Black Helicopters

Shirley

Snowden is the reason why they should be against such a thing? :-S

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Computer says: Stop using MacWrite II, human!

big_D
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Re: OS X Server

We still use LTSP to remote boot PC in the production at many customers.

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big_D
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Re: Viruses

At the time, Macs were often virus ridden. We spent much more time cleaning Macs than the PCs on our network... Then it suddenly changed.

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big_D
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Re: You had it easy

My first personal computer had 8192 hard earned bits of memory! And a whole 1 Mhz clock speed!

Outside karzy? Luxury! We had to dig ourselves a hole!

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big_D
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My first PC had a 10MB hard drive - which was enough space for the ACT GUI, 2 C compilers, a C interpreter(!!), Basic compiler and interpreter, dBase, Multimate, Multiword and Multicalc, as well as source code and documents, and there was still about a third unused! (Act Apricot Xi).

Our Mac was so old, it was a Mac, not a Mac Plus, which meant the external hard drive (20MB) was driven over the external floppy disk connector!

I took a spare 40MB external SCSI drive from Apple home and ran it on my Amiga 500 for a while (attached to an A590 unit).

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How a Brexit could stop UK biz and Europe swapping personal data

big_D
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Re: Nice that someone else realized it

No Irish in the last 4 or 5 generations. I think there was some German in there, back at the end of the 19th Century.

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big_D
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Re: Nice that someone else realized it

I'm not coming back! I'll be staying in Germany. Luckily married to a German woman and have been here long enough to apply for citizenship.

I don't want to do it, but I may be forced to...

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Stop whining, America: Your LTE makes Europe look slow

big_D
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Re: Speed not the problem

That is about $80 more than we pay for the same thing! :-O

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big_D
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Yep, although my European 300mbps LTE is a little limiting, so the 390mbps in America would be welcome. ;-)

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Data protection: Don't be an emotional knee jerk. When it comes to the law, RTFM

big_D
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But the Bundesdatenschutzgesetz, the German data protection law, does not prevent transfers of data outside Germany.

The BDSG maybe not, but the Finanzamt (the equivalent of Inland Revenue) says that any tax related information cannot be stored on servers outside of Germany.

There are certain get-arounds - you can apply for an exemption certificate, but you need to prove that the data is safe and won't do a disappearing act or be changed, and that it conforms to German accounting practives.

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We tested the latest pre-flight build of Windows 10 Mobile. It's buggy but promising

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I didn't realise it was released in such a bad state either - and I got my 950 on release day... I certainly haven't had any problems with it chugging through the battery and it has been stable - no crashes, although I've had to restart the phone a couple of times since November, because FitBit was complaining that it couldn't communicate with my Charge HR - although I've now discovered that deleting and reinstalling the app seems to have the same affect as rebooting the phone.

The .164 upgrade yesterday is the monthly update, same release number as WIndows 10 on the desktop and it went out to users of the final code (650, 950, 950XL) and those on the slow and fast ring - it is allegedly the same as .122, but with a few bug fixes.

Mine updated this morning (my 950 isn't on the development rings, my 1020 is). Afterwards both Cortana and Hello were still activated. Not sure what happened to the author's phone.

Generally I find it better than WIndows 8.1, although the hamburger menu isn't as easy to use as the old ... menu at the bottom of the screen.

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Microsoft: Ditch your phone biz and do crazy hardware experiments

big_D
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Re: Microsoft

My old Lumia 1020 has been running W10 since the summer. Most x30 and above devices should get W10 as well, along with some x20 devices, althouhg the 520 probably won't, due to memory and storage restrictions.

The nice thing about Windows, as opposed to Android and iPhone, is that anyone can decide to take part in the preview programme and get the latest version.

And I've had my 950 since it was release back in November.

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big_D
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Windows phones don’t talk nicely to cars. Windows phones don’t work with wearables, except for Fitbit and Microsoft’s own Band. There is no Windows phone payment infrastructure.

Good, I have a FitBit Charge HR, but it works very nicely with my 950 (Band 2 is not available here and Amazon UK and Microsoft UK refuse to deliver to mainland Europe).

But my 1020 and now my 950 both work well with my car. Connected to my 2012 Citroen, it plays audio and reads SMS and I can dictate SMS back to it and give it voice commands. It works nicely with all of my bluetooth kit as well, including my bluetooth mouse!

Give up on Windows for mobile devices? I hope not. Having been through iOS and Android, Windows Phone 8.1 / Windows 10 Mobile is the best of a bad bunch, IMHO.

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Facebook paid £4k in tax. HMRC then paid Facebook £27k – for ads

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Headmaster

Re: Don't do it ...

Don't do Facebook...

FTFY

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'Dominant' Facebook hauled over coals by German competition authority

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The "un-agreed" data slurp in Windows 10 is the same as it was in Windows 7 and 8.

The "agreed" data slurp can be opted out of - things like location, data for Cortana etc.

With Facebook, the terms are illegal and can't be opted out of.

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Re: About time too!

And those terms are actually illegal in Germany and therefore cannot be enforced...

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