Don’t be shocked now, but this hardcore Slackware Linux user does still have an MS Windows operating system (Win 7) installed on a partition on my main system and one on my office laptop.
I know some of you are highly disappointed to hear this, but fret not. The only reason I have Win 7 on my main system is for gaming. I don’t use it for anything else. Slackware is most definitely my daily production OS, but the PC games I play perform much better in Windows. It’s just easier for me to play them that way than in any kind of virtual environment. Also, I do need to stay up-to-date on MS Windows in order to be tech support for my family and friends whom I haven’t converted to GNU/Linux yet.
Anyway, tonight I was bored, so I consolidated my Microsoft login credentials and signed up for their One Drive (formerly Sky Drive). It was fast, simple, painless, etc., as is most Windows point n’ click world these days. One Drive is basically MS’s Dropbox; works pretty much the same way, too. However, you get more space (7 Gig) with your initial One Drive account than with Dropbox (2 Gig).
I like the way MS has tied in all their services and connected them to the unified login. I do have one complaint, though. They’re trying to improve security with two-step verification and all that, but they still do not allow passwords greater than 16 characters. What’s up with that MS?
The Office Online service is pretty neato, too. You just go there and start using Word or Excel or whatever. It’s all saved to your spiffy new One Drive account. Ah… computering in the clouds. Ain’t it all grand? Till it gets hacked or crashes. This stuff is all pretty cool, but I probably won’t ever use it for anything of any importance. I don’t trust cloud computing. I want my important data on my own SECURED GNU/Linux systems, not swingin’ out there in the breeze on someone’s cloud servers.
Well, they want ALL of your Internet usage data, anyway.
In yesterday’s news, stories were published all over the Internet regarding Google’s new upcoming NO-OPT-OUT Privacy Agreement due to hit the streets in early March. Google, in their ever widening, ever more frenetic feeding frenzy to control every bit of data on the Internet, has decided that they will now combine ALL of your data across all of their apps, that you are already so addicted to using, into one nice and easily (for them) accessible pile.
BIG BROOGLE, er… I mean Google will now be able to track your activity online from your Gmails to Auntie Em all the way to that stash of Uncle Bob’s tinfoil hat designs that you have sitting in your Picasa account. So, is that cool or what? Google is a giant seine net that scoops up every bit of cyber data that you so kindly make available to them on a daily basis. They use this data to ENRICH themselves, their shareholders, and their business partners. If you ain’t in any of those categories, you ain’t seeing any $ showing up in your bank accounts, even though it’s your data providing them with that money.
So, is there something wrong with making a buck? No, of course there isn’t. That’s the capitalist way, comrades. It’s what has made
America China great! I don’t have an issue with companies and individuals making money. Hey! Money makes the world go ’round. Commerce is good. However, when you are forced to agree to terms by a bully in the schoolyard who takes your baloney sandwich that mom packed for you, well… that just ain’t right.
I’m not naive. I know that Google isn’t the first evil empire to do this stuff. There was Microsoft before them, forcing folks buying computers to use their OS… or at least pay for it. Once you got the system home, you could wipe that OS off the drive and put something good, like GNU/Linux on there. ;) You still had some choice, if you were knowledgeable enough and had the motivation. The sheeple just used Windows; just like the sheeple will continue to use Google. That’s the way of the world, I s’pose. Doesn’t mean I can’t bitch about it, though.
Choice is yours folks. Remember the saying, “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.” Free minds, free knowledge, FREEDOM! Only the greedy feel the need to use profit/loss columns to determine something’s worth.
Google announces privacy changes across products; users can’t opt out – Washington Post Business
Google Privacy Police Change: How Does It Affect You? – International Business Times
Google Won’t Pwn Me! – Nocturnal Slacker v1.0
Image credits: Google is watching you – ownership unknown. If you own the copyright to this image, contact the author to amend usage here.
The above is a link to an article at the Free Software Foundation regarding the latest brouhaha over Microsoft’s use of UEFI and Secure boot to possibly restrict the use of other operating systems on manufacturer’s new hardware using MS Windows 8.
Microsoft has announced that if computer makers wish to distribute machines with the Windows 8 compatibility logo, they will have to implement a measure called “Secure Boot.” However, it is currently up for grabs whether this technology will live up to its name, or will instead earn the name Restricted Boot.
I’m not sure whether this is a bunch of FUD or something that users of alternative operating systems should really be considering. Either way, you should be informed about it.
The potential Restricted Boot requirement comes as part of a specification called the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), which defines an interface between computer hardware and the software it runs. It is software that allows your computer to boot, and it is intended to replace the traditional BIOS.
Please read more about this at FSF’s site. Also, please sign the statement and show your support.