Paul Thurrott's Short Takes: December 18

Paul Thurrott's Short Takes: December 18
What’s old is new again? HP could be plotting a return to phones!

Because I’m always jolly, this week’s other news includes Microsoft’s over-insistent efforts to get customers upgraded to Windows 10, a rumored HP Windows phone, Blackberry attacks Apple, the FCC investigates zero rating, and you’re never going to believe how easy it is to hack Linux.

Microsoft accused of “nagging” users into upgrading to Windows 10

I’ve been surprised by the all-out FUD attack on Windows 10 in some quarters, and have consistently railed against the false claims that this OS in any way is a privacy concern. But this complaint is valid: Microsoft is overly-aggressively pushing the free Windows 10 upgrade on Windows 7 and 8 users. And as the complaints have mounted, Microsoft has only gotten more aggressive. And it’s going to get worse: Starting in January, Microsoft will redefine the Windows Update-based Windows 10 upgrade from “optional” to “recommended,” meaning that millions of Windows 7/8 users will simply be upgraded automatically. This is unacceptable, and Microsoft needs to scale back its ambitions, which in this case are coming at the expense of the explicit desires of its customers.

“Microsoft’s Rumored Surface Phones to Change the Fortune of Windows Phones”

Sponsored Content

What is “Inside Microsoft Teams”?

“Inside Microsoft Teams” is a webcast series, now in Season 4 for IT pros hosted by Microsoft Product Manager, Stephen Rose. Stephen & his guests comprised of customers, partners, and real-world experts share best practices of planning, deploying, adopting, managing, and securing Teams. You can watch any episode at your convenience, find resources, blogs, reviews of accessories certified for Teams, bonus clips, and information regarding upcoming live broadcasts on our website.

Right. I can see no reason why a name change won’t be all it takes to completely turn things around.

Is HP planning a return to phones … to Windows phones??

Since HP’s aborted plan to go its own way in phones with webOS, I’ve wondered when—or if—the firm would come running back into the waiting arms of long-time partner Microsoft. It would have happened already, I think, if it weren’t for one sad fact: Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform hasn’t exactly been a huge success. OK, it’s not a success at all. But a benchmarking web site recently noted the appearance of a new Windows 10 Mobile-based handset, called the HP Falcon, suggesting that a comeback is possible. Could it be? And if I threw salt over my shoulder and sacrificed a chicken, would that help? I’m here for you, HP.

“New Windows 10 phones now come with Office Mobile preinstalled”

As they always have, yes. So do upgrades. And, hey, thanks for writing about our platform. You should try using it sometime too.

Blackberry attacks Apple for providing encryption to criminals

When you have zero market share and a similar amount of mindshare, you need to make some noise. And Blackberry has done just that this week, accusing Apple of “putting their reputations over the greater good” by providing encryption capabilities in iOS that benefit criminals as well as normal customers. Of course, Blackberry is Canadian, so as attacks go, it was pretty polite and didn’t even identify Apple by name. “One of the world’s most powerful tech companies recently refused a lawful access request in an investigation of a known drug dealer because doing so would ‘substantially tarnish the brand’ of the company,” Blackberry CEO John Chen wrote. “At BlackBerry … our privacy commitment does not extend to criminals [and] we reject the notion that tech companies should refuse reasonable, lawful access requests.” Normally, this kind of pandering is of little interest to me, but I bet it will resonate with law enforcement and governments. Too bad it’s too late for Blackberry.

“Struggling Apple names Jeff Williams COO — Tim Cook’s old slot”

LOL. Headline of the year.

F.C.C. is inquiring whether new carrier content deals violate net neutrality

Allow me to cut to the chase: They do. AT&T, Comcast, and T-Mobile have all struck deals with content providers like Netflix in recent weeks which allow their customers to access streaming services without taking a hit against their data limits. Which sounds consumer-friendly until you realize that these deals are subsidized by content providers that can afford to do so and, in doing so, they are shutting out competition. This type of deal, called “zero rating” streaming, is the perfect ploy because you can see where consumers would love such a deal while not understanding the wider, long-term ramifications. If you’re looking for a monoculture where only Netflix and very few other well-funded services survive, please, do make that short-term play without thinking about the future, F.C.C. Or, just do the right thing. And put a stop this to pay-for-play baloney.

“Call your next Uber using Facebook Messenger”

Nope. If I’m going to pick up my phone to “call” an Uber, I’m going to use the Uber app. Obviously. What’s next? “Buy something on Amazon using Skype?”

Security researchers discover just how easy it is to break into a Linux-based PC

Years ago I was amused to watch a Linux expert break into a Linux PC that was locked with a password-protected admin-level account. And it seems like not much has changed all these years later: Security researchers from the Cybersecurity Group at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) in Spain have discovered that it’s possible to bypass any kind of authentication and take control of a locked-down computer that runs Linux just by hitting the backspace 28 times. This laughable fact—which I’ll now refer to as “28-bit encryption”—would be damning for Linux if it weren’t for one other fact. No one uses Linux on the PC desktop, where physical access is more readily available, so this doesn’t matter in the slightest. I’ll also point out that that myth about “a million eyeballs” hasn’t exactly been paying off either, has it?

“Humans are slamming into driverless cars”

It’s only a matter of time before they realize the problem is people, and figure out the obvious solution. Isaac Asimov foresaw this.


Related Topics:


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Sign up for a Petri Account

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Paul Thurrott is an award-winning technology journalist and blogger with over 20 years of industry experience and the author of over 25 books. He is the News Director for the Petri IT Knowledgebase, the major domo at, and the co-host of three tech podcasts: Windows Weekly with Leo Laporte and Mary Jo Foley, What the Tech with Andrew Zarian, and First Ring Daily with Brad Sams. He was formerly the senior technology analyst at Windows IT Pro and the creator of the SuperSite for Windows.
External Sharing and Guest User Access in Microsoft 365 and Teams

This eBook will dive into policy considerations you need to make when creating and managing guest user access to your Teams network, as well as the different layers of guest access and the common challenges that accompany a more complicated Microsoft 365 infrastructure.

You will learn:

  • Who should be allowed to be invited as a guest?
  • What type of guests should be able to access files in SharePoint and OneDrive?
  • How should guests be offboarded?
  • How should you determine who has access to sensitive information in your environment?

Sponsored by:

Office 365 Coexistence for Mergers & Acquisitions: Don’t Panic! Make it SimpleLive Webinar on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 @ 1 pm ET

In this session, Microsoft MVPs Steve Goodman and Mike Weaver, and tenant migration expert Rich Dean, will cover the four most common steps toward Office 365 coexistence and explain the simplest route to project success.

  • Directory Sync/GAL Sync – How to prepare for access and awareness
  • Calendar Sharing – How to retrieve a user’s shared calendar, or a room’s free time
  • Email Routing – How to guarantee email is routed to the active mailbox before and after migration
  • Domain Sharing – How to accommodate both original and new SMTP domains at every stage

Aimed at IT Admins, Infrastructure Engineers and Project Managers, this session outlines both technical and project management considerations – giving you a great head start when faced with a tenant migration.the different layers of guest access and the common challenges that accompany a more complicated Microsoft 365 infrastructure.

Sponsored by: