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Friday, April 26, 2013

Google getting more and more requests to remove content

Posted by David Bernstein

 As you may or may not know, some countries don’t have the same freedom of speech that others do and don’t like people posting negative comments about leaders and politicians on things like websites and blogs. And when it comes to sharing information, Google is one of the kings of the practice.

Google has released some numbers on how many requests it gets from other businesses and government agencies requesting that certain content be removed from its sites and databases. In the second half of 2012 they have received 2,285 requests from government agencies to remove items such as blog posts, videos and links to Google+ content which is up 25% from the first half of 2012. And Brazil for example sends an average of 3 requests a day to Google to have content removed from one place or another.

Some of the requests are on the strange side such as British police asking for a picture of an officer in a racist uniform and India asking for a map to be removed that showed a disputed border in Kashmir. One of the most famous incidents is when several countries asked Google to remove the Innocence of Muslims video that led to deadly protests in some countries. Google removed it from some countries because it broke national laws or resulted in violent riots.

On the other hand Google will remove content that is proven to be illegal or is a threat to national security. Google started releasing what it calls semi-annual transparency reports 3 years ago with the intent is to "shine some light on the scale and scope of government requests for censorship and data around the globe."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Windows 8 may get the Start button back

Posted by Jim Bernstein

 For those of you who have been using Windows for a while most likely got used to clicking on the Start button to access your programs or other Windows components. And if you made the switch to Windows 8 or even played with the new operating system the first thing you most likely noticed was that the Start button was missing and you were stuck using “tiles” to open your programs.

There was a registry hack going around that would bring the Start button and menu back but Microsoft disabled that hack from working in later versions of Windows 8 to many people’s disappointment. There is also some third party software out there that can add a Start button feature to Windows 8 but of course you will have to pay for that.

Now it seems that Microsoft may bring back the Start button in a later release of Windows 8 or even in a service pack. Plus they may make it where the OS boots right to the desktop rather than the tiled “Metro” screen.  If this does happen then you may be stuck with one or the other and the Start button feature most likely won’t be enabled by default. This Windows update will be called Windows Blue or Windows 8.1 which is set to have the preview version released in June so we will have to wait until then to find out for sure unless Microsoft tells us otherwise.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Office 2010 SP2 Beta Released

Posted by David Bernstein

 You may or may not know that Office 2013 is finally out and that Microsoft is pushing you to upgrade along with Windows 8. But for the rest of us who are “happy” with Office 2010 there is a new service pack on the way and you can test it out for yourself now if you can’t wait.

Microsoft has released the beta version of Service Pack 2 for Office 2010 that will fix some issues as well as help with performance. Although they haven’t listed exactly what it will do or fix, it is meant to improve compatibility with Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, and Internet Explorer 10 as well as bundle some unreleased fixes into the service pack itself.

We are not sure when the final service pack will be released but the beta is set to expire on December 31st of this year so we assume the final will be out before then. Service pack support for Office 2010 ended in July of last year and support for Office 2010 itself is set to go through October 2015 for mainstream support and up to 2020 for extended support.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Windows Live Messenger soon to be dead

Posted by David Bernstein

Instant messaging has been around for almost as long as the internet and is one of the most widely used forms of communications today, especially when it comes to chatting with friends while at work. There are many instant messaging clients out there and many have been around for as long as we can remember. Many people even use multiple clients or a client that supports multiple types of IM connections.

Now it seems as though the ever popular Windows Live Messenger is going to be dying off and being replaced with Skype since Microsoft recently purchased the company and is pushing the Skype service with Windows 8. And speaking of the number 8, April 8th will be the day when Microsoft starts the phase out process.

How it will work is that you can download Skype and sign in with your Messenger ID and click on upgrade and it will uninstall Windows Live Messenger and get Skype up and running for you. Whether or not the migration will go smoothly when it comes to contacts and so on remains to be seen. English speaking countries will be migrated first and the whole process should be finished by the end of April.