E-mail is dying, while social networking and media is increasing as a communication tool

Do you use e-mail for communication between friends and family anymore? The likely answer is no, even though e-mail was once a very popular communication method that people used every day to communicate with friends and family online

Instant messaging came along.

Instant messaging has been around for a very long time. It was likely popularised by AOL’s messenger service, AIM. AIM has been around for a very long time – since 1997 and was used more in the early 2000s than now. AIM still has a good market share in the United States today, but in Europe, Windows Live Messenger has, by far, the largest market share of them all.

Instant messaging is fast.

Unlike e-mailing, instant messaging is both and instant. It’s a great way to communicate with friends because it is instant. Some folks may not even use Windows Live Messenger anymore. But it’s not because instant messaging is going away any time soon, it is rather because people use Facebook for messaging. But I don’t agree that Windows Live Messenger is going to die anytime soon, because I think for the users who use the Internet a lot during the day still use Windows Live Messenger or another instant messaging network, such as Skype, Google talk or XMPP. Never heard of XMPP? XMPP is an open-standards communications protocol – it’s the opposite of Microsoft’s Windows Live Messaging protocol which is proprietary and therefore not open-standards.

If anything, more people are using Skype for communication – so it’s a good thing for Microsoft now they have acquired Skype (and Microsoft are very serious about Skype – they have an entire Skype Division at Microsoft’s campus).

Social networking.

Yes, there has been a sharp rise in social networking, and it is proof to everyone that anything can become wildly successful if you have the right product or service, and Facebook is one of them. Why has Facebook become phenomenally successful? Because it is all about socialising and communication. These are things people have always done – in person, texting, what have you – so I am not surprised how much revenue Facebook is now making because their service has become incredibly successful in just the space of five years or so.

So, is e-mailing dead?

Everyone has different opinions on this and this is just my opinion. I don’t believe e-mail is dead (and there are interesting services such as Shortmail.com), but I do think the use of e-mail is simply changing to more long-term e-mail communication. For example, we all still use e-mails to get updates on orders we’ve placed for online shopping we do, or e-mail updates or newsletters from online companies, reminders of service invoices and e-mailing someone we know when they’re not online on instant messaging and so forth.

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This article was brought to you by Ben Stones, a partner of DPS Computing Limited producing regular articles for DPS Computing. I believe in providing the very best professional, unbiased and high-quality editorial content you expect as a reader of DPS Computing. I’d like to thank David for providing me the opportunity to write articles for DPS Computing. You are welcome to send your suggestions and feedback regarding my articles by e-mailing me.  Original

Original Publication – September 2012.

Stop Windows 10 Spying On You

 

SSLConcerned about your privacy?  Fed up of paying a fortune for a computer that then spies on your shopping habits (after all, you don’t even let your husband know how many pairs of shoes you’ve bought this weekend, so why the hell should Microsoft get to find out?!).

Sorry, that sounded like the start of a corny ad, but stick with me, you’ll be glad you did.

Now lots of people have taken the plunge and got the upgrade to Windows 10 – particularly as it was provided for free (thanks Microsoft!).  But in the post-Snowden leak era, people are understandably getting a bit more picky about who they share their data with and where over the wondrous Internet it is transported to – particularly as data protection laws outside the EU aren’t necessarily as strict as we’re accustomed to.  And Windows 10 likes data – your data to be specific.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Windows 10 isn’t suddenly going to publish your files on PasteBin – but it probably is, as you’re reading, collecting information about your computer (and therefore you) to “make Windows better” and to offer targeted advertising.

If, like me, you go by the premise that you already do enough to “make Windows better” and that if you wanted to purchase something you’d Google it rather than wait for an advert to pop up feel free to read on – you no longer have to share your personal information with Microsoft.

Now the default options, which many people stick with, while installing Windows 10 are not privacy orientated.  There more “share you info so we can provide some cool features” orientated.  Cool features are nice, an over familiar friend (read stalker) not so nice – I’m looking at you Cortana!

Thankfully, there’s no need to wade through 3,000 menus in control panel and try to decrypt Microsoft techno-babble. There’s a fantastic tool by Safer Networking, the creates of the acclaimed Spybot – Search and Destroy software.

Spybot Anti-Beacon provides a light-weight, easy to understand, simple interface that helps you share only what you want to share – in most cases, that’s probably nothing.  Don’t worry, even if you block everything Windows 10 will still full work – you may just notice things like Cortana doesn’t seem as creepy by knowing your office extension or when you’re going to be home from work.

For most people, on the ‘Protection’ tab, you’ll just want to Immunize all.  You can take a look at the ‘Optional’ tab as well if you like but read the caveats to deactivating each one and things that it may affect.

After you’ve immunised all you should see:

spybot-anti-beacon-protection

And then you’re all set – no more Windows 10 spying!

Don’t Make Sharing Files So Difficult – Embrace The Cloud!

Back in the day, we used to have to make do with 1.44 MB capacity floppy disks to pass around often only a word document or two.

Now without doubt, the storage devices have got bigger (in terms of disk space), smaller (in terms of physical size), more reliable and convenient.

But in the tens (is that what follows the noughties?), the 2010s that is, we really should be embracing the cloud.  Its ultra convenient, ultra flexible and with prices starting with free – well you can’t argue with that can you?

Stop using memory sticks that you know you always leave plugged into a public computer and have to scurry back to see whether its been lifted or not – embrace the cloud, its the future!

The Options

Of course there are both paid and free versions of cloud based storage services.  We’ll explore a couple of the free options – the most popular ones.  To start off with (or even as an addition to a paid plan if required), the free plans out there should be enough for anyone to get started – and there aren’t that many downsides to be honest.

Firstly…. the industry leader….

Dropbox

Dropbox is probably the most popular and leading free online cloud storage provider.  And with a generous 2GB of free space, which you can top up to 16GB for “free” (by completing certain actions), its a great place to start.

Also, with a handy app that sits in your taskbar available you can treat your Dropbox folder (basically a folder that is uploaded, well at least the changes to it are, to Dropbox so that you can login via apps, programs or the website and access the folder wherever you are) like any other folder on your computer.  Well worth it and gets our recommendation.

SkyDrive

And in a fairly close second place is SkyDrive, by Microsoft.

Similar concept, offers 7GB of space to users for free, which can initially make it more appealing that Dropbox – however don’t forget with Dropbox you can upgrade for free your initial 2GB offering up to and including 16GB.

SkyDrive, as you might expect, ties in nicely with Microsoft products such as Office, so it may be seen as having a slight advantage in professional circumstances.

Again, there’s a desktop app for this beast which can be easier to manage than using the website.

Conclusion

Without a doubt, DropBox gets our vote every time, although it can be a matter of personal preference – and how much you initially need to store – obviously with the initial SkyDrive offering being slightly higher.

However, the one thing that is abundantly clear is that whatever you do, its faster, easier and more secure to embrace the cloud.  Plus, you might as well, it is most certainly the future of many many things!

Microsoft Apologises for it’s Rather Large Linux Based Breasts

Windows Server 2008 - HyperVWait, before you ask, we’ve not been hacked – and the story is real!

Microsoft has managed to get itself in trouble with the Linux community again after inserting it’s ‘big boobs’ into Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualisation software every time a Linux OS is loaded up into it.

A little storm and outrage seems to be snowballing into a bit of a public relations nightmare for Microsoft after Paolo Bonzini reported finding the hex code ‘0xB16B00B5’ (aka ‘Big Boobs’ hex) .

Matthew Garrett, a linux developer, stated in his blog post “At the most basic level it’s just straightforward childish humour, and the use of vaguely-English strings in magic hex constants is hardly uncommon. But it’s also specifically male childish humour. Puerile sniggering at breasts contributes to the continuing impression that software development is a boys club where girls aren’t welcome. It’s especially irritating in this case because Azure may depend on this constant, so changing it will break things.”

So it looks like ‘Big Boobs’ is here to stay – well that is until Microsoft release the patch that they have promised after receiving multiple complaints.

Microsoft, after being made aware of the issue (as if they didn’t know ;)), quickly issued an apology and promised to rectify the error in judgement.  Although just speculation at the moment, it is likely to have been a bit of a childish joke by one of the programmers at Microsoft.

Microsoft issued a short statement saying “We thank the community for reporting this issue and apologise for the offensive string”.  It is believed that a patch to remove their ‘Big Boobs’ out of Linux was released two days ago.

This comes barely a month after the previous Microsoft gaffe, a dance routine and song performed before its Windows Azure presentation in Norway which included several references to illegal Class A drugs and the phrase “The words Micro and Soft don’t apply to my penis (or vagina)”.

You can watch the “Developer Song” from the Microsoft conference in full below.  Please be aware that some viewers may be offended by the content of this video.