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  1. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Active Member

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    Microsoft's Change of Terms & Conditions

    Discussion in 'Software' started by Martin Beerbom, Mar 30, 2018.

    Anybody has noticed this here: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/03/28/microsoft_services_agreement_bars_offensive_language/

    Short gist: If you uses a private license for Microsoft's online services (which includes Office 365, all of it), share/publish something there that someone else find offensive and reports it to MS, MS reserves the right to investigate, and to suspend your MS account.

    Personally, I find this a worrisome intrusion on privacy. Nor surprising – MS is on this path for quite some time – but still worrisome. Even though MS makes it clear that they do not routinely spy on their users, they make it clear that they CAN.

    As The Register writes in the article: "But the new agreement is problematic because it hints at far broader and frankly creepy interventions involving rifling through people's private files, if someone is upset at another user. Which in light of recent revelations about abuse of personal data on the internet, just isn’t a good look no matter that the agreement was probably drafted with good intentions."

    I have said it before, and say it now again, that one should think hard about using MS products for producing commercial products, like novels or such. If you insist on using MS, one should make sure using commercial licenses (including for Windows 10). This might seem harsh and overly cautious to some, but it means to be on the legally safer side.
     
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  2. Wreybies

    Wreybies Arroz Con Admin Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

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    No need to think as far as I am concerned. I abhor their products. I detest being made to feel like I'm walking into Home Depot and all I want is ONE phillips head screwdriver, but nope, if I want the screwdriver I have to buy THE ENTIRE FUCKING AISLE, BOTH SIDES. Also, any time I want to use that screwdriver ($199.99, thank you), I literally have to drag that whole aisle of shit I never wanted anyway to wherever it is that I need to tighten a screw.

    Yeah... No. Mac+Scrivener is life.
     
  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Yeah I'm going to Mac .... currently I've got an iMac and a windows laptop but the laptop is dying (the wireless adapter keeps having to be reset) so I'm going to get a Macbook next. Not just because of this issue, but partly.

    (I originally got the Imac because I wanted to run Vellum)
     
  4. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    even for those staying with Windows, you can give office a swerve and use OO or LO instead
     
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  5. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Active Member

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    Microsoft still sells stand-alone installable single components of Office without a subscription. I.e., just Word 2016 alone (which is a slightly different version than what you get with Office 365, despite often called the same name). They do not make it obvious. You'll have to search specifically on the web store for it (i.e., use "word" as the search term; "office" will push you to the Office 365 subscriptions). It currently costs €135 here in Germany (which makes it one of most expensive word processors for the Mac, and the Mac version is crappier, buggier, and less features than the Win version for the same price), and MS makes it abundantly clear that they do not want you to buy that (you don't get the same updates, same themes, same help, same support, same whatever, please consider a Office 365 subscription, it's oh so much nicer). It's not entirely clear from the wording on the webpage what kind of license you'll get, but after perusing various 3rd party web forums I'm fairly certain it's a commercial license.

    The thing is that most publishers require a .doc file for submission and review work (per exchanging .doc files with tracking and comments). While it has become quite stable in recent years to do that with non-Word programs (such as directly by compiling a .doc from Scrivener, and doing the review things with LibreOffice or some such), you may be forced to use the real deal. (If you don't use MS Word, and the exchange won't work, it's YOUR fault. If you DO use an up-to-date Word, and it fails, it's Microsoft's fault). I don't see the publishing industry to change to something else soon... it's too much of a low-profit business as it is, and from their perspective, they have just managed to get their workflow digitized by accepting .doc.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
  6. Wreybies

    Wreybies Arroz Con Admin Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Oh, don't get me wrong. I have MS Word (pronounced /ˈʌgli ˈfʌkɪŋ bist/). I have to use it for my day job, who also provides it to me. Its presence is like a big lumbering dump truck I park in the backyard so the neighbors don't see it. It's ugly and inefficient and about as sexy as cement. Just getting it to crank up is an infuriating ordeal. It's 2018. Who waits for an ap to load up?? In the garage I keep my little Scrivener (pronounced /ˌmæsɛˈrɑti/) to actually get about.
     
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  7. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Active Member

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    :)

    I hope everyone here knows by now Charlie Stross' epic rant from 2013... (http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2013/10/why-microsoft-word-must-die.html)

    Last year he posted some tweets that he abandoned Word for the correction of a manuscript he got back from his publishers/editors/proof-readers or so in a fit of rage, and managed to get it done with LibreOffice...

    He's a Mac user, and while he uses a wide variety of tools (down to some classic simple plain-text editors like Vim(!)), his main tool is Scrivener (only way to keep track of the multitude of characters and storylines in his latest books and series).
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
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  8. Wreybies

    Wreybies Arroz Con Admin Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Never actually read this, but now that I have, I'm sending him an email to enquire as to the possibility of a polyamorous relationship twixt him, my hubby, and myself. ;)
     
  9. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I self publish so i tend to write in open office and save as a PDF for beta and editor. I write non fiction in scrivener but I'm yet to come across a good reason to use it for fiction work (in fiction I'm a linear writer so a lot of the scriv functionality is wasted).

    D2D who i use for formatting and conversion as well as an aggregator can take an .odt file - but even if they couldn't OO can output a .doc
     
  10. Wreybies

    Wreybies Arroz Con Admin Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Much as I do love Scrivener, it is true that it shines brightest for those of us who are less linear in our writing process.
     
  11. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Microsoft (or any OS) can only spy on your information if you're connected to the internet, though, and even then it's only through the telemetry data that Windows computers send too Microsoft servers. While there's no simple option in Windows 10 to turn off telemetry, you can do so if you know how to modify registry keys. Also, switching to Mac doesn't eliminate this kind of spying. In 2014 (a year before Windows 10 launched) there was controversy about OS X Yosemite collecting user data that sounded a lot like what's going on right now with Microsoft. Not to mention that Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc. all collect ridiculous amounts of data from us on a regular basis. Personally, I don't like Word and I mostly only use Windows because of compatibility issues, so I have no particular love and absolutely no fangirlishness towards Microsoft, but is seems unfair to direct all of our perfectly legitimate anger at one company for doing something that's pretty much an industry standard.
     
  12. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    This isn’t peculiar to Microsoft. These are private entities—you don’t have a right to their services. Any subscription service can suspend your account for just about any reason, including that they’ve received complaints about offensive material, whether it is in their terms of service or not.
     
  13. Wreybies

    Wreybies Arroz Con Admin Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

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    My personal un-fan status with Microsoft products doesn't really stem from the issue mentioned in the OP. I worked for the military intel world for many years. I assume that I have no privacy. Not real privacy, anyway. When the whole thing with NSA went down, I was like, "What did you think they were doing in there?" Two weeks later, when all our first party countries were done moralising at us because they discovered their own governments were doing the exact same thing to them, I was like, "Told you. Get a clue."

    No. I don't like MS products because of their fundamental nature. Because each is a behemoth. Because they are intrinsically inelegant, slow, beasts.
     
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  14. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    @Wreybies yep. MS Office product line is bloated. Much prefer something lean. I’m stuck with it at work to some degree, though at least I’m usually working on my Mac.
     
  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    tbh even Mac is bloated more than it needs to be - when you think how small Linux is compared to either of the others.
     
  16. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    My MacBook still boots in an instant and runs fast, though. Boots faster than Linux Mint for me.
     
  17. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    IMO boot time is more about how much its trying to do on start up (and how fast the HDD/SDD is)
     
  18. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    It runs fast even after boot. I guess I don’t care, technically, whether an OS is bloated in terms of code. I just care how it runs.
     
  19. Wreybies

    Wreybies Arroz Con Admin Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

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    My last word on the paradigm, then I'm out.... ;)

    comparison.jpg
     
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  20. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Yeah to be fair my Mac is a lot faster than any of my PCs (although a stripped down ex windows box running tiny linux comes close enough that you'd have to do bench mark tests to tell them apart).

    My writing laptop is positively slothful - I can make a cup of tea while it boots up, including boiling the kettle - but to be fair to MS i suspect its dying (as I said above its replacement will be a macbook - though not a new one)
     
  21. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    I had a laptop running Archbang. That was pretty damn fast. My Chromebook is also fast, and it’s a few years old. The MacBook has become my go-to.
     
  22. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Tiny Linux is a 16MB desktop ... I only really have it because i used it off a stick to recover files from machines with failed operating systems, but when my windows box (which is an i5 with 32GB of ram and a 60GB SSD) had a systems failure I installed tiny on it for web browsing and never got round to taking it off. (because i got the iMac as a replacement desktop machine)

    In the long term i'll probably sell that box, and i'll probably put W7 back on it because not many people do linux,
     
  23. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Active Member

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    1) If you read MS Terms&Conditions for Windows 10 Home, those telemetry data can include anything you have on your computer. Including private data, like parts of documents written with any program. It's better (but not much) on the Pro Edition, and can ostensibly only controlled by a user/local system administrator with certain Enterprise Editions. The privacy settings on Windows 10 Home are messy, confusing, change with updates, and require lots of work to keep as you want them (mostly. Some settings cannot turned off. All this is intentionally, methinks). macOS telemetry can be turned off with one central option.

    2) It's true that Macs do send similar telemetry data (again, this can be turned off, though sometimes there's a bug, at which time pundits cry a lot of "Apple's just the same"). Here's why I believe it is less problematic: Apple has a different business model. They sell HARDWARE at premium prices, and make most of their profit from that. They have no need to intentionally collect data, or sell those data further to 3rd parties. I gladly pay the premium price (which, as it turned out for me, was a high first time investment that paid itself over in the long run) for this reason (and some other, like an easily accessible, reliable service network). So if they say they only collect data for the purpose they state (for diagnostic, or to provide a certain service that will not work without it [like location services] etc.), I am much more inclined to believe them than MS (which for me, is currently even less trustworthy than google, who at least never pretended to not do it).

    3) MS has acknowledged with the recent change in T&Cs that they can (and will, if certain conditions are met) access private user data (including email, and documents deemed private. It's not clear if this means just data in the cloud, or on a private device. Besides, the way Windows 10 Home behaves, this distinction is probably moot). Apple has explained (to law enforcement agencies) that they only can access if the data is in the cloud, and they CANNOT decrypt (in the cloud, and on the device) if the user has set the built-in encryption, because they do not hold the key (which resides on the user's device)(with currently sold devices and software. Older devices and software may be different). Note that this is currently a (primarily US) legal CANNOT, not a technical one. Again, Apple's statements and actions appear a lot more trustworthy to me. (From my own private observation, it is a lot easier on macOS to control what gets send to the cloud, and what's not, compared to Windows 10. Though there are some services which make it easy for people to forget that they send data through the cloud, mostly for photos, because it is so damn convenient).

    If you have privacy concerns, and you are free to choose (you're not if this your work computer as an employee), Apple appears to be the most convenient solution to both get the services you want, and to have the most trust and control over what happens with your data, if you can afford it. For PCs, some Linux distributions are even better at privacy, but they come with problems that certain services, apps, and procedures do not work as easily. Windows 10 (Home or Pro) are a distant, not choosable option. Windows 10 Enterprise, maybe, but this is difficult to get for a private person.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
  24. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Active Member

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    That was the reason I got a Mac some years ago (though privacy has become a very important issue for me recently).

    From what I see how MS behaves, and how their products evolve over time, it became clear to me at some time that MS has, and never had, any interest in the quality of their products. Their one and only interest was, and remains, saleability and install numbers. What angers me is that do not see that trying to make good products would provide a much stabler business foundation for them – their current business model appears unstable and may crash.

    I am not saying this out of spite, because I hate MS, or because I want them to die, or because I am an Apple fanboi. In fact, I want them to be there as an alternative. I believe firmly that both economically and security-wise, an environment which has wide variety of options to chose from to be more stable than a monolithic block.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
  25. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    So you'd rather trust an agency that has been known to do this in the past but continues to deny it over a company that fully admits to what they're doing. Also, encryption is encryption, whether it's on Windows or Mac. If you have encrypted data on a Windows machine, Microsoft will be just as unable to decrypt it as Apple would be able to decrypt the data on a Mac device.

    Either way, for anyone that's interested, here's an article on how to disable Windows 10 telemetry. A lot of helpful technical information is in the comments, too.
     

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