Archive for May 4, 2018

Microsoft Working On Fix For Windows 10 Issue That Freezes Some Apps

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 4, 2018 by itnerd

Earlier this week I reported that Chrome was freezing after you installed the Windows 10 April 2018 update. Both Google and Microsoft were investigating the issue, and it seems that Microsoft has responded, saying that it is aware of the issue and is working on a fix. What’s interesting is that Cortana which is the virtual assistant for Windows 10 is affected by this too. Assuming that nothing else goes sideways, the fix should be delivered in the May 8th Patch Tuesday dump.

So, now you know.

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Ex-CEO Of VW Charged By US Over #DieselGate Scandal

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 4, 2018 by itnerd

It looks like the US is really lowering the boom on Volkswagen as the news is out that ex-CEO of the company Martin Winterkorn has been charged by the US with conspiracy and wire fraud over the fact that 11 million or so diesel cars were set up to cheat on emissions tests.

Winterkorn is the highest ranking VW official to be nailed by the US after the guy who ran VW USA got sent to the clink for seven years, and an engineer got sent to the clink for 40 months. It should also be noted that VW cut a pretty big cheque to the US Government to make this go away and they pled guilty as a company to a variety of criminal charges too. This latest bit of news will make life somewhat difficult for the new CEO of Volkswagen Herbert Diess who promises a culture cleanup.

Good luck to him.

UPDATE: Steven Howard who wrote the book Leadership Lessons from the Volkswagen Saga just Tweeted this:

It makes for very interesting reading. I encourage you to take a look.

Petition Calls On Apple To Recall All MacBooks Made Since 2016 Because Of Flaky Keyboards

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 4, 2018 by itnerd

Apple’s butterfly keyboard design is something that has caused users of Apple’s newer MacBook and MacBook Pro models grief since it was released. In fact, I’ve avoided buying one of Apple’s latest and greatest keyboards even though I am due for a new MacBook Pro and I Tweeted about why recently:

Then it came to light that these keyboards fail twice as often versus the previous keyboards:

Now the bad press for Apple continues with news that a Change.org petition has been posted to force Apple to recall the butterfly keyboard and replace it with a “different working keyboard.” Now as I type this, just over 4400 people have signed this petition which is far from a trivial amount of people. Plus tech blogs around the planet have picked up this story which means that this will get more exposure. But the real question is, will Apple do anything about this keyboard?

My guess is no. Apple rarely apologizes for anything with the only examples that I can think of where they have used the word “sorry” in a sentence is for the Apple Maps fiasco and the #BatteryGate fiasco. Because after all, the folks at Apple Park don’t ever do anything wrong. Such is life in the reality distortion field. The thing that I see happening is that these butterfly keyboards get replaced by a new “innovation” from Apple when they refresh the MacBook and MacBook lines. Likely in June at their World Wide Developer’s Conference.

In the meantime, I will continue to nurse my mid 2015 MacBook Pro which has its AppleCare expire in August until a suitable replacement is available. And by suitable I mean one that doesn’t have a keyboard that is prone to failure like this one is.

Is Apple Forcing iPhone Owners To Make Unnecessary Repairs Before Addressing #BatteryGate Issues?

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 4, 2018 by itnerd

That’s what the BBC is accusing Apple of doing. In short, Apple is allegedly telling people in the UK that they need all sorts of repairs done to their iPhones before they can replace the battery as part of the #BatteryGate fiasco:

Josh Landsburgh sent his phone off to have the battery replaced in February.

Two days later, he received an email from Apple pointing out a small dent to the edge of the phone, and quoting a cost of over £200 before it would make good on its battery promise.

A furious Josh had the phone returned from Apple. He had the battery replaced without an issue at a local repair shop – which meant he voided his Apple warranty.

“They’re trying to regain trust and they come back to you with, ‘Give us more money than you were planning to initially.’ I think it’s just shocking, they’ve got enough money, they’re Apple,” he told the BBC.

And:

David Bowler also contacted Watchdog.

His phone was in perfect condition, but needed the battery replacing. This time, with no apparent damage outside, Apple told David there was damage inside the phone.

The firm said the front microphone and speaker were faulty, quoting over £250 to resolve the issue.

But David is adamant these components were working perfectly. He asked for his phone back, and Watchdog took his device to a mobile repair specialist.

It told the programme: “Obviously these things are working; they shouldn’t say that they are faulty.”

The specialist also replaced the battery with no issues, something Apple had refused to do without fixing the microphone and speaker first.

The implication is that Apple is making money off the #BatteryGate fiasco by forcing repairs that are not required upon iPhone owners. That’s shady. Apple denies that it’s doing this. But I for one question that given my wife’s experience when she got the battery in her iPhone 6 replaced earlier this year. You’ll recall that they actively tried to dissuade her from doing so. And then we watched another person get dissuaded from doing a battery replacement using exactly the same arguments that were used on my wife. I also wonder if this is being done else where because I would find it difficult to believe that this is strictly a UK thing. If that’s true, then the apology that Apple gave when #BatteryGate came to light is incredibly meaningless.

If you’ve had the sort of experiences that’s described above, please leave a comment and make sure you say where you’re located.

Phone Maker BLU “Settles” Unauthorized Data Collection Charges With FTC….. Sort Of

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 4, 2018 by itnerd

Android phone-maker BLU Products agreed to a proposed settlement on Tuesday with the Federal Trade Commission, over allegations it allowed the third-party Chinese firm Adups Technology to collect detailed consumer data from users without their consent. Now if name Adups sounds familiar, it’s because I covered Adups and the threat that they posed back in 2016.

What the FTC is accusing BLU of doing is sharing the full contents of their users’ text messages, real-time cell tower location data, call and text-message logs, contact lists, and applications used and installed on devices. That’s not trivial to say the least. But the problems don’t end there. I’ve read the proposed settlement, and I find it worse than useless. Here’s why:

  • It does not include any financial penalty or consumer restitution as this is a first offense. And the FTC lacks the power to levy such financial penalties in this situation. However, if BLU violated the final FTC settlement order, it could face a civil penalty of up to $41,484 per incident.
  • The proposed agreement would subject BLU to third-party security assessments every two years for 20 years, as well as require it to maintain compliance-monitoring requirements.

So, in other words it’s a slap on the wrist. #Fail

My advice, if you have one of these phones, dump it now. There’s zero reason to trust them as they are very unlikely to get fixed. And ironically enough they’re likely way more dangerous to Americans then the Chinese made ZTE and Huawei phones that has the Trump administration is worried about. And keep in mind, BLU is an American company. The fact that an American company teamed up with a Chinese company to access user data should make alarm bells ring. No?