I think this is missing the point. The study finds that the tide of quick-and-dirty malware is increasing to the point where a bulk-analysis approach becomes worthwhile, probably as an adjunct to conventional anti-malware techniques. The study doesn't show that Google is screwing up - more that the playing field has shifted, and Google needs to broaden its approach accordingly.
130 posts • joined 29 May 2012
Read the PDF. The researchers have done quite a bit of analysis on this exact topic. I'm not qualified to evaluate their statistical math, but it looks pretty reasonable.
Well put, P. Lee.
Privacy violations are particularly egregious in the case of Windows. If I don't trust Facebook, I don't use Facebook. If I don't trust my smartphone, I use my PC. But if I can't trust my PC... where do i go? (Yes, Linux. But it's a painful transition, and not realistic for many of the billions of users who've relied on Windows for decades.)
Facebook has been Facebook right from the start. Suddenly altering the world's most ubiquitous OS from being (reasonably) trustworthy into a data-gobbling 'service' like Facebook is a sell-out of historic proportions.
Re: Mediocrity and poor secutiy are Windows middle names
Windows 7 is actually a pretty reasonable system. There are faults, but they're well-known and manageable. Most importantly, it has a library of software unmatched by any other platform. Including applications that many of us came to rely upon, decades before GNU/Linux came close to being a viable alternative. Sure, I'm working more and more in Linux Mint. But if Linux were a perfect solution, I'd have abandoned Windows even before Windows 10 descended upon us.
I do agree that Valve offers a ray of hope. Gabe Newell foresaw the coming win-pocalypse, and did the only thing he could: started to build a viable alternative. SteamOS could be a turning point. Microsoft continues to undervalue PC gaming. If a significant fraction of PC gamers moves to SteamOS, it will do more to validate Linux as a platform than anyone expects.
Re: Instructions on how to increase privacy in Windows 10
Nuke it from orbit - it's the only way to be sure.
Re: The more I read about 10 the less I want it.
Sooner or later I'll likely "upgrade" my secondary operating system, Windows 8.1 to 10; but it looks very much like it will remain my secondary OS behind Linux Mint.
I'm starting to feel the same way. Linux Mint is looking better all the time. Reminds me of what I used to like about Windows. The tragic thing is, I was a huge fan of Microsoft through the 1990s and early 2000s. Now, Microsoft is literally driving me away, as hard as they can.
The blame has to be shared by those nothing-to-hide sheeple who downloaded Windows 10 even before they knew if it was any good. And those who continued downloading it, even as it became apparent that it was the Spawn of Hell, a Trojan aimed at destroying the very concept of individual privacy. And especially those who, even now, continue to make apologies for what Windows 10 is doing, as if it was unimportant, inconsequential, nothing to be upset about. (In between gushing about how wonderful DirectX 12 is - despite the absence of any games that actually use it.)
It's astounding what some people value... and what they don't.
Re: Ka Blam! There goes the other foot.
And this data slurping "it's not your machine" stuff started a while back...
The first inkling I recall, that things were going bad, was when Microsoft infested Windows XP with Windows Genuine Advantage DRM via Windows Update. (I never trusted them again.) The next big milestone was video DRM baked-in to Vista. After that it's hard to pick out individual instances.
Clearly, the moral decay is accelerating on some kind of exponential curve.
Re: I wonder....
I pay in privacy for the use of a service. Generally I think I am getting a good deal.
You may not have noticed, but (contrary to Microsoft's contention), Windows is not "a service." It's a desktop operating system. We accepted tracking on the Web. We accepted endless privacy shenanigans on Facebook. We accept that the use of debit cards and loyalty cards lets corporations and the government track our every move, our every thought. And on top of all that, we've seen governments and corporations starting to use that mass of data in truly despicable, totalitarian ways.
When, might I ask, were you planning to get worried?
Windows is on over a billion devices around the world. If it's allowed to be just as riddled with privacy holes as Facebook, then we have no refuge left. Our work, our most private thoughts and activities are no longer private. Essentially, there's no privacy left other than locking yourself in an unlit broom closet and hoping that there's no IR camera in there with you.
Windows 10 offers almost nothing of any value. A few miserable and badly-implemented new features. Is it excessive to suggest that maybe we could be just worried enough to resist giving up a huge chunk of our remaining privacy, in exchange for so little?
Re: I wonder....
I dont like the massive invasion of privacy, but there is little I can do, or really want to do tbh im too lazy
There is a lot you can do, and all it requires is that you be just a bit lazier than you already are. JUST DON'T INSTALL WINDOWS 10. Pretty simple, huh? Be just lazy enough to not jump when Microsoft tells you to, and a year from now, the world will be a better place.
Re: Some steps
Excellent list. Thanks!
But with some adjustments, you can reclaim your own computer.
I'd say this statement is premature, unproven and astoundingly optimistic. At this point, we have no idea what may lurk in the closed source of Windows 10, nor how persistent Microsoft's (forced) auto-updates will be in (re)opening privacy holes.
What we do know is that by accepting Windows 10, in exchange for a few miserable new features, you are giving Microsoft carte blanche - you're happily volunteering to accept Redmond's electronic anal probe. The only real solution is to avoid installing this nightmare, and uninstall it immediately if you've already made a horrible mistake. JUST SAY NO to Windows 10. If you're not willing to tell Microsoft right now that its behavior is unacceptable, you are part of the problem, and you guarantee that things will continue to get worse.
Re: not so free
I'm no fan of the Mac UI, and I find iOS unusable. But you have to at least give Apple credit for creating a separate OS for its mobile toys. Mac OS X remains respectful of a UI tradition that goes back 30 years, and charges users up-front, instead of trying to surreptitiously 'monetize' them.
Re: Guess I'll stick to 7 until 2020...
I know a guy called Linus who did just that...
You're probably thinking of Richard Stallman. Linus wrote a kernel.
Re: A must have upgrade for many
- launch speed
A trivial improvement. On an SSD, my Win7 system boots in 10-15 seconds. Which is irrelevant, because I only shut it down about once every 3 months.
- DirectX 12
Vulkan is the smart solution. Open standards are always preferable to proprietary lock-in. From the developer's point of view, Vulkan will open up more platforms. From the gamer's point of view... well, there are no DirectX 12 games at this point, so any 'advantage' is theoretical at best.
- better security (admittedly)
Any gains are more than offset by Microsoft's numerous privacy invasions.
None of this stuff adds up to a compelling case for the disruption of an upgrade, re-learning the UI for no gain in productivity, adding a whole new API and new type of 'app' so that Microsoft can further its agenda of gaining market share in mobile.
Of course, if you see Cortana as a big thing, you are indeed the target customer for Windows 10. Personally, if I were forced at gunpoint to use Windows 10, Cortana is the very first thing I'd want to disable (or better yet, rip out by the roots).
Re: Why not?
Microsoft has talked about creating a 'Modular Windows,' but its traditional approach has always been to produce monolithic products so it can "control the user experience" - i.e. create lock-in. The more bizarre and idiosyncratic the UI you can force people to use, the less able they are to migrate to some competing solution.
Yes, I know it doesn't make any sense, but it's true. Try to imagine someone saying it in a Redmond boardroom...
Re: overall I prefered the UI of XP
Why can MS not give customers what they want ?
They are. The problem is you're no longer the customer. As in Facebook, you are the product.
Re: Screw Windows 10!
CBMVic20 - all good points, with the exception of
Inevitable subscription model to "rent" the OS after a year? Check
If you're going to torpedo the point about paid subscriptions, you really should substitute this:
Pervasive advertising and privacy-destroying 'monetization' of the user? Check!!
Re: only reason I upgrade
I still have Windows XP on a couple of systems. It's really pretty nice, for a certain subset of tasks. Doesn't feel particularly antiquated, or restrictive. Of course, Windows 7 does give me advantages for my heavier chores. But by comparison, WIndows 10 offers me absolutely nothing I really need (and a crapload of stuff I don't want.)
I'm glad you brought up Steam. What will it be like, in the middle of an online multiplayer death match, when Win10 decides it's time to restart? Is the OS really just allowed to restart whenever it takes a notion to? If so, I wonder how well the collective howl of Steam users will be heard in Redmond.
No problem: if Microsoft has its way, and game developers switch from the Win32 API to UWP, then Steam will be out of business. (The Windows business, anyway. A lot of us will probably support SteamOS, as opposed to living in Microsoft's walled garden... with the sniper towers and razor wire.)
Re: 4000 browser tabs
For every article I am currently researching and/or writing there is a browser window open with potentially huge numbers of tabs. I don't have to track all tabs; only what each window in the stack's "topic" is.
I'm in much the same situation. I'm working on several articles, plus several other longer-term projects, plus a bunch of personal stuff. At a quick count, I have 4 Cyberfox windows open, with a total of 791 tabs in 72 tab groups. Many of those tabs are in an 'unloaded' state, but just clicking on them in-place is a whole lot faster and more natural than pulling up a bookmark. I have 37 add-ons installed, to help me manage all this stuff (and, of course, keep me reasonably secure). In particular, I use Session Manager to save inactive project windows, and there are maybe a half-dozen of these that I might pull up on any given day.
Obviously, I'm still far short of your 4,000 mark! But it's a big Internet out there. Browsers that work best with about 4 tabs (like IE and Edge) are great for my 97-year-old Mom. People who work with information need more power and more features than any browser offers at present.
Re: What about 8.1?
I find the 'Modern' (sic) interface an unalduterated POS. That's my personal opinion. This is probably because I'm an old codger with only 42 years of experience in the IT Industry.
The really serious problem with Modern/Metro/TIFKAM is that it's not just a UI - it's essentially a new mobile OS that's been stapled onto desktop Windows. A new and very scary OS called UWP (formerly WinRT), which tries to turn Windows into an iOS-like 'walled garden,' limiting what 'apps' can do, and limiting where you can buy them to just one place: Microsoft's own Windows Store. If UWP catches on, it would also accomplish something that Microsoft has wanted for years: making WinXP and Win7 (as well as Win8x) truly obsolete. Win32 support is not only an annoying expense, it no longer fits the Microsoft corporate agenda.
UWP should have been a separate OS, launched to sink or swim on its own merits. Microsoft is trying to leverage the vast Windows user base to give it an undeserved leg-up.
Microsoft's stock response to any criticism of UWP is: "Don't worry, you can still run Win32 software." True... for now. But, meanwhile, Microsoft's relentless message to developers is "UWP is the future of Windows development!" All the bundled apps in Windows 10 have been converted to UWP equivalents - even IE has been replaced by Edge. This is a one-way street I'm not willing to go down. Win32 is old and creaky, perhaps, but it's the only reason most of us still use Windows.
Most of my customers are Local Authorities, Universities, NHS and the like. Most of them, Local Authorities and NHS in particular, have only just finished (or are STILL) migrating to Win7 from XP.
An important point. Microsoft still makes more money off its enterprise business than from individual users. So Win7 (not to mention XP) support will have to continue to some extent.
By the way, I noticed the other day on the NASA channel that Mission Control still uses Windows XP. (Some joke about this not being 'rocket science' would be appropriate here, but none occurs to me.)
Anyone running an enterprise with a lot of Win7 boxes should be looking *very* seriously now about how, not when, they are going to migrate them.
Right now, Microsoft seems to be trying very hard to make sure my next OS migration is to Linux. If I were an enterprise, I'd have switched some time ago.
Re: "You'll get used to it"
Me too. But I found Win8 raised that to about once per minute.
Re: As another sysadmin...
* A far better task manager.
Much better still: Process Explorer - ironically, an independent project by someone who is now a Microsoft employee. And it doesn't even require a complete OS update. Amazing.
Re: Firefox still the best choice for tabaholics
At this moment I have 500 tabs open in 2 Firefox windows. But today is kind of a slow day...
I do exactly what you're describing: keep many tabs 'unloaded.' I also work on multiple projects at once, using one Firefox window per project, plus one for personal stuff - each window with as many tabs and groups as seems convenient. Cyberfox 28 (64-bit) handles all this just fine. I haven't noticed my Core i7 system melting down at all, and performance is plenty fast enough.
Re: Chrome sleek and fast, Firefox bloated and slow
I have 16GB of RAM doing damned little at the moment. I'll take the browser that gives me features, options, power. Not the one that uses 0.5% less of my RAM capacity.
Edge s most definitely a new codebase, since it's been developed using the new UWP API. (Formerly known as WinRT, Metro, Windows Store Apps and about a dozen other names.) That's exactly the problem - it's an app that supports only this one mutant mobile ecosystem that offers no advantage to anyone but Microsoft. Doesn't run on other platforms, doesn't even truly run on Windows. Ugh.
No Tab Groups = no Pale Moon for me.
Cyberfox is a better option. They've built in the User Interface Restorer, without needlessly ripping useful stuff out.
As for "bloat" - are you kidding? Cyberfox is a 40MB download. I'd be just fine with 400MB, if I could have ten times the functionality. We're talking about PC browsers here, not smartphone apps.
Re: That is (hopefully) good news
It's all about the add-ons for me too. There needs to be at least ONE browser that delivers maximum power, not minimum UI. Microsoft's IE and its new Edge, for instance, seem perfectly designed for people who open exactly one Web page at a time. I typically have several hundred open at one time, and what I need are more tools to help me manage the information overload.
Unfortunately, when Mozilla talks about Great or Dead, I assume that means it will dump indispensable features like Tab Groups, based on the logic that it's easier to kill them than to make them Great. (Pale Moon already ditched Groups, making it a certainty that I'll never move to that particular Firefox fork.) Surely I'm not the only one who wants MORE features, rather than less??
"No significant issues"...?
Except, of course, for the very significant issues explicitly described (and ignored) in the article:
"…after set-up seemed complete the Store still had 20 downloads to do, including key built-in apps such as Music, Camera and Photos…"
So the Windows Store is now replacing things like Windows Update, and becoming the only source of essential (formerly built-in) software tools. Not a good thing. Especially since Microsoft had originally said a Microsoft log-in would be optional (to use Windows 8). But you can’t access the Windows Store without a Microsoft login. I suspect that all UWAs (Universal Windows 'Apps') will come from the Store, and Win32 code (in ever-diminishing amounts) from Windows Update. Bottom line, you are now using Microsoft's flavor of iOS. Congrats!
"Cortana’s “Notebook” (the database of personal information which informs Cortana’s suggestions) is now in its final stage…"
Windows 10 basically wants to know everything about you.
"Now Cortana can be activated with “Hey Cortana”
And it listens to everything you say. Can you ever be sure this is truly turned off?
"When you type "Calc" in the Start menu, only the new app is listed…
Most of the core utilities are now UWAs. So using ‘Metro’ (i.e. the Universal Windows Platform) is no longer optional. Start throwing away all your existing software, because, as Microsoft has explicitly stated on many occasions, "UWAs are the future of Windows." (I'm not sure why they can say this over and over and still have nobody believe them...)
"…marked as a "Trusted Windows Store App"…. The same trusted note appears for other Microsoft apps, such as Music and Photos, which is a hint that the company would like users to perceive the Store as the safe way to install apps."
The Store is gradually becoming the only way to get Windows software. Sorry... Windows "apps." And Windows "users" are gradually becoming obedient, carefully-watched mobile 'monetization' fodder. Microsoft has been quite forthright about this in recent announcements. They even merged their Windows OS division and Cell Phone divisions! How can they possibly be more explicit: Windows is becoming a mobile "devices and services" platform, as carefully locked-down as iOS, as disrespectful of privacy as Android.
No thanks! Even Apple knew better than to screw up its desktop OS this badly. Windows 10 needs to fail, or basically Windows as a desktop OS is finished.
But on the positive side, it is "free" (as in beer, that is)...
Re: Thanks for spamming me Microsoft
Nigel, I agree absolutely that truly vital updates should never be confused with other junk, such as advertising.
However, I disagree with your point about auto-updates. Most of these scare-mongering vulnerabilities are not that likely to bite you in a week. If you're behind a decent firewall, have scripts turned off in your browser, and avoid opening unknown email attachments, you're already 99.9% safe. That other 0.1% can be deferred.
The downside of auto-updates is exactly what we're seeing in this thread. You've given an outside agent, with a very poor record of trustworthiness, blanket permission to do anything it likes to your system. If that's not the definition of a security vulnerability, I don't know what is.
Re: Thanks for spamming me Microsoft
You nailed it, Len. It's not that Windows 10 sucks - it just offers nothing I want or need.
What virtual-desktop software are you using? I've tried several, had various problems with each.
Re: DVD Playback
I'm sure the plan is to obsolete DVDs entirely, and get everyone to stream their movies from the Microsoft Store.
Vulkan (glNext) is going to offer the same performance improvements as DirectX 12. It's also likely to be the more tempting development target, given that it will be freely available on every OS, including Windows 7, Linux and the Mac, fully open-source, with no Microsoft licensing or lock-in.
Re: Why are Microsoft giving this away?
This is THE key question everyone needs to be asking. Microsoft is not a charity. It's safe to assume it's doing this "free upgrade" for ITS OWN benefit, not ours. In fact, we know that Microsoft benefits in several massive ways:
1. Windows 10 has advertising built into the Start Menu, the Lock Screen, and elsewhere. (Microsoft refers to these as "opportunities" for "spotlighting" apps you might like.) Cortana, in particular, is designed to return not just your desired search results, but also suggestions for things you might want to buy. (Microsoft showed a demo of this at Build.) Windows 10 is free for the same reason Facebook is free - because we've shifted from being the customers, to being the product.
2. Windows 10 moves everyone closer to Microsoft's dream of running Universal Windows Apps. These are far more constrained than previous Win32 applications, they offer new opportunities for monetization, and most importantly (despite the "Universal" moniker), they don't run on Windows 7 or Windows XP, currently the most popular versions, which Microsoft would dearly love to eliminate so we'd have no further reason to resist future updates.
3. Microsoft HOPES (vainly) that UWAs will be its foothold in mobile.
4. UWAs are sold only through the Windows Store, giving Microsoft a tasty 20% of all third-party software sales going forward. (The 'dev switch' allowing 'sideloading' in the preview builds is not guaranteed to be in the final release, and Microsoft has recently reiterated several times that it will be retaining exclusive rights to sell UWAs, as it did in Windows 8.)
On the plus side, the benefits of this "free upgrade" are... well, negligible. A Web browser is still a Web browser when it's programmed as a UWA. A few tweaks under the hood, an ugly new look, Ribbons in Explorer, a revived Start Menu that looks like it was designed by Barnum & Bailey, no DVD playback, no Media Center. More privacy intrusions, more attempts to get us all on to Microsoft accounts. And, as usual, new hardware drivers to find, new problems to shake down. Zero increase in productivity. Zero new capabilities. Zero fundamental architectural improvements (other than UWAs, which are a downgrade from Win32 in many ways). Even if you absolutely adore UWAs and the new flat look, a negative ROI.
Sometimes, "FREE" is not nearly cheap enough. In fact, it's almost inevitably cheaper to pay with MONEY than in some other way you may not even know about.
Re: I'm confused
"I'm confused by all this talk of 'apps' - I run Windows 7 on one machine and Win 8.1 on another. Both run programs, not apps."
On the contrary - the shift to 'apps' is the truly insidious thing about Windows 8 and 10. These releases represent an intensive, ongoing effort on Microsoft's part to shift users from 'applications' to 'apps.' These new apps run in a brand-new walled garden that's sealed even more hermetically than iOS. And Microsoft really is attempting to force us to switch. Office is being app-ized. Their new Edge browser is an app. Some of the built-in utilities of Windows are being replaced in Windows 10 by apps. Microsoft has stated repeatedly that Universal Windows *Apps* are "The Future of Windows Development." THE future, not one part of some mixed application/app future.
The vast difference between 'apps and 'applications' is the main reason I will NOT be upgrading to Windows 10. EVER. I have, however, been shifting my work to Linux Mint, and it looks really great so far. Not an 'app' in sight, and just as free as the Windows 10 upgrade. (Only without the numerous advertising "opportunities" that have been built into Windows 10.)
Re: @ Senshi
Mike, judging from the workflow you describe, you are the poster child for software as a subscription. Yes, there are some users who benefit from this model, chiefly in large organizations like yours. There are also a great many (millions) of individual users and small graphics shops who most emphatically do not benefit.
I have nothing against subscriptions as an option, provided outright sale is also offered. That's what we used to have, with various sorts of corporate discounts and long-term licensing arrangements. What Adobe did was not so much to invent the subscription model, as to abolish the purchase model. My response is that it's high time we abolish them.
Re: Bring out the GIMP!
> It's also second rate compared to Photoshop.
True, for many users, it may not be possible to abandon Photoshop - yet. But it is possible to stick with an older version. It is possible to learn GIMP and gradually move more work over to it. It is possible - and vitally necessary - to promote GIMP and other tools at every opportunity - to take a bite, however small, out of Adobe's extortionate business model.
I used to sing the praises of Photoshop to anyone needing an image editor. Now, I point out how GIMP can provide 90% of the functionality (for most users), at 0% of the price. And as a bonus, you get to keep your self-respect.
Re: that's one way of looking at it, here's another
Hard to believe, but some of us really resent being coerced by an unabashed monopolist, and will gladly accept considerable inconvenience just to spite them. And it's not a matter of price, it's a matter of basic logic. You invest your time and training in Photoshop, you've just given Adobe more power over you. You put your precious images in an Adobe format, and Adobe owns you forever.
No thanks. I was a huge fan, but Photoshop is dead to me now. I eagerly await the day when I can dance on the smoking ashes of Adobe's graphics empire.
Re: Communication with users?
So you think we should give them a pass because the competition is just as bad? Sorry, no can do. The standard we need to aspire to is "good" not "less bad."
There are companies that do better, by the way. Recall the recent instance of Gabe Newell responding personally to a tech-support question at Valve. That's more like the comparison we should be making.
Re: Sounds like Windows Phone 3.11
The primary reason for 'updates' is to benefit the vendor, not the user. I stopped updating the first time Microsoft shoved an anti-feature (WGA) down my unsuspecting gullet. The trend has continued. Nowadays, I update very sparingly, and very cautiously... if at all.
Re: In my case
This is the scariest thing about the 'new' Microsoft. I originally chose Windows over other options (such as the Mac) because I don't want to "love" my OS, or my PC, or (especially) my phone. I just want it to be quietly, efficiently useful. But that's getting eroded away, as Microsoft keeps larding on idiotic 'user-friendly' features designed to make me love the frigging thing.
My betting is that for every one person who loves, loves, loves their WinPhone with an unholy passion, a whole bunch of people like me hate and detest the silly thing, for its gaudy non-standard UI, its lack of apps, its locked-down proprietary file system... and most of all, for its insipid, infuriating, perverted attempts to make them love it.
It's like having some degenerate stalker in your pocket.
Re: What is the Swahili for
Earlier this week, I might have said "Samsung."
Why is everyone bent out of shape about a TV that listens to your conversation, but perfectly cool with mobile devices that literally brag about analyzing your every thought and action, and sending that information back to Apple or Microsoft?
Re: Yes But...
To turn Cortana off, open Cortana's NotebookCortana's Notebook icon > Settings, turn Cortana off Toggle off icon, then restart your phone.
Isn't it just a bit disturbing that Cortana can't flush herself out of your system without a reboot? Typical MS design: monolithic instead of modular, intrusive instead of respectful.
Re: it is customers you want
All your data will be stored in the MS cloud so if you want to access it you'll have to pay MS for the privilege.
Adobe already does this with Creative Cloud. You can store your files locally, but you have no way of opening your own Illustrator or InDesign files if your subscription lapses. Amazing how many users are signing on for this voluntary extortion scheme.
I'm sure marketing geniuses in Redmond are watching closely, and salivating.
You can't fix stupid.
"This is what Microsoft should have done two years ago with Windows 8."
No it isn't!
Microsoft should have touch-enabled Windows, and/or come out with a mobile OS. NOT crammed a whole new UI, a new programming model, a closed company store, and a new set of totally redundant 'apps' down users' throats.
What's more, Windows 10 doesn't change any of that. Unifying 'Metro' and the desktop only paves the way for even greater confusion, as users try to figure out whether they should be swiping or clicking - or just cruising over to Apple.com to check out Macintosh prices.
Re: Love him or hate him...
No you don't.
Re: Wait, what?
Glad that somebody pointed this out. Oliver isn't that funny, his personality gets annoying over a full show, and he's been on the case with net neutrality for, what was it, five minutes?
I tend to like Reed Hastings, but he's not being very bright, singling out one Johnny-come-lately celebrity endorser rather than the battalions of campaigners who've been fighting this fight on his behalf, day in and day out for years on end.
Re: Call George RR Martin!
I think it's WordStar he uses. (WordStar 2000? Not the best version, anyway.) Personally, I was wooed away from WordStar 3.3 by Borland's Sprint, which picked up WordStar's UI, ran faster (even in text mode under Windows) and added a mass of new features.
Of course, this was back when there was actual innovation going on. Word essentially stopped evolving in the mid to late 1990s. After Word 2003, the product actually started to backslide, becoming harder to maintain, more buggy, uglier, and far more annoying to use, while offering no meaningful advancement whatsoever.
Re: Clippy is gone in name only.
Very true. Microsoft can't wrap its collective brain around the idea of giving working writers really powerful tools. Instead, they target some 'dumb' user, and do everything they can to make them even dumber. They're like that person who tries to help you by taking over. "Here, let me do that - it'll be quicker."