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That Single, Seemingly Random Letter J in Some Email is Outlook Trying to Smile

How many times have you seen a sentence in an email that looks like this: “I’m really looking forward to seeing you tonight! J” Or “I know what you’ve been up to! J”, or any other variation, but ending with the cryptic letter J, all on its own, and wondered “What’s up with that letter J??” Does it stand for “just kidding”? (That would be ‘j/k’.) Joking? Jump? It turns out that it’s caused by Outlook, and Outlook doesn’t, apparently, have a sense of humor. It’s Outlook trying to smile – or, more precisely, it’s Outlook’s version of a smiley face.

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Continue Reading Actually Created to Scrape Your Photos Metadata

That Microsoft website that guesses your age, (hashtag #HowOldRobot ) is actually a cleverly disguised system designed to grab your metadata from your photos so that it can be used to advertise to you. Some of the data that has been grabbing while guessing how old you are includes your gender, your age, and your location (along with your User Agent string). Exactly the type of data they need for targeting marketing.

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Microsoft Kills Internet Explorer

Internet technology news sites are reporting the death of Internet Explorer (IE), following Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela essentially announcing as much last week.

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Skype Translator Brings Us One Step Closer to an Actual Babel Fish

While Skype Translator was announced last year, Skype is now accepting Skype Translator registration signups. The first roll-out of the Skype voice translation tool will be Skype Translator for Windows, with Skype Translator for Mac to follow. (For a Skype Translator demo, see below.)

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Urgent Microsoft Vulnerability Update Patch for All Versions of Windows

Microsoft has released a critical update to patch a “privately reported” Microsoft Secure Channel (“Schannel”) vulnerability which affects all current versions of Windows and Windows Server. Says Microsoft, “This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in the Microsoft Secure Channel (Schannel) security package in Windows.”

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Does Microsoft Windows 10 Technical Preview Really Include a Key-Logger? Yes

Microsoft has released Microsoft Windows 10 as a “Windows Technical Preview”. That means that it is sort of like a beta version of Windows 10, out for testing in the real world. And yes, as part of this, they include what can be described as key-logging, or a key-logger, meaning that your keystrokes – the characters that you type – are recorded as you are typing them.

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Myo Wearable Gesture Arm Controller Frees Up Your Hands

Imagine a bracelet-like armband device that you wear on your arm, that lets you control your Mac or PC, iPhone iOS or Android phone, with a mere flick of your arm. Actually you don’t have to imagine it, because it’s here, and it’s called Myo.

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Microsoft Fights Federal Warrant to Access Email Data in Ireland

Yesterday we told you about how Microsoft is one of several companies who are encrypting their services and hardening their systems against the prying of nosy agencies like the NSA. Now Microsoft is fighting a Federal court order that they turn over the data for a user’s email account whose email data resides on a server outside of the U.S. (in Ireland, to be specific).

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Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook Fight Back to Thwart NSA

Coincident with the Reset the Net effort, in which they are taking part, Google and Yahoo, along with Microsoft and Facebook, and others, are moving at speed to block the NSA’s snooping, and to tighten up their systems to make it more difficult for the NSA, and others, to eavesdrop on their data.

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Microsoft Intentionally Failing to Patch Critical Vulnerability in Explorer IE 8

The Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) has revealed a critical vulnerability in Microsoft Explorer 8 (IE 8) that Microsoft was first alerted to more than 7 months ago, and never bothered to issue a patch for or to fix. Here’s the scoop, and what to do to protect yourself from the CVE-2014-1770 vulnerability.

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Stop Using Internet Explorer Immediately, Warns Homeland Security

Both the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the UK analog are warning users around the world not to use Internet Explorer. The pointed warning to not use IE (any version of Internet Explorer) follows the discovery of “active exploitation of a use-after-free vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Explorer,” and comes from both US CERT (Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team), and the UK’s CERT.

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Yahoo and AOL DMARC Reject Policy Leads to Disabling of Microsoft Email Addresses on Mailing Lists

Now that Yahoo and AOL are both stating through the DMARC p=reject that any email coming from a yahoo or aol address that isn’t sent from a yahoo or aol server should be rejected (bounced), problems are cropping up for Hotmail, Outlook, and MSN users, who are finding their own email addresses being removed from mailing lists for no apparent reason. But there is a reason.

google special hiring non poach policy
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Employees Hurt by Illegal Non-Poach Agreement Between Apple, Google, Intel, IBM, eBay, Microsoft, and Others to Get Day in Court

Employees of more than a dozen high tech giants were subject to a secret agreement (see the smoking gun documents) between the companies to not poach each other’s employees. The deal, labelled “Techtopus” by journalist Mark Ames, included Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Dell, IBM, eBay, Microsoft, Comcast, Clearchannel, Dreamworks and Pixar, and British public relations company WPP (which stands for Wire and Plastics Products – they started out as a manufacturer of shopping baskets).

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The Difference Between a Smartphone, a Feature Phone, and a Dumb Phone

With the news of Microsoft acquiring Nokia, there has been a resurgence in the news of the terms “feature phone” and “dumb phone” (both as contrasted to a “smartphone” – and why is “smartphone” one word, but not “featurephone” or “dumbphone”?) So, some of you may be wondering “just what is a feature phone? And how is it different from a dumb phone or a smartphone?” We explain.

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Did Microsoft Plant Nokia CEO Stephen Elop to Ensure it Could Acquire Nokia?

Call us conspiracy theorists, but the first thing that we thought of when we heard that Microsoft and Nokia had inked a deal for Microsoft to buy Nokia – and with it Stephen Elop, who left Microsoft three years ago to become the CEO of Nokia – was that this was an inside job. Are we the only ones who are suspicious?