Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Avira makes me WannaCry

It's humbling when you perform due diligence and still get it wrong. For years I've used Avira as my anti-virus product since it is consistently in the top 3 or so in detection and performance rates according to various antivirus researchers.

But the free version of Avira did not detect WannaCry. Not from any lack of ability but rather because Avira wanted to differentiate their "Pro" version from the free version by limiting the ability to handle ransomware to the Pro version.

Screenshot of Avira failing to stop WannaCry

Why would ransomware ever be considered outside of antivirus' basic scope? The free version of Avira almost certainly has ransomware protection now but I have switched to BitDefender. Kaspersky's AV also has a good detection and performance rating while also having protected against WannaCry. NewEgg runs sales on Kaspersky all the time so that's probably what I'll be using later.*

I've paid for Avira before because I hate the ads, but I manage a lot of computers and there's too much competition to really pay for a dozen licenses as insurance. And not extending protection to "free" users is a major failing in my opinion so I doubt I will use Avira again.

* Uninformed people think Kaspersky is some kind of Russian backdoor but any top intelligence agency can easily break into any typical PC, antivirus or not thanks to "features" like Intel's Management Engine. WannaCry itself shows that the Russians shouldn't really be our top concern.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Windows Creator's Update

The hits just keep on coming with Microsoft Windows 10's new Creator's Update! Despite having Windows 10 Professional and disabling forced updates, Microsoft decided to helpfully throw me out of my fullscreen application and remind me anyway. Nagging the user is just the sort of behavior I expect from amateur shovelware, which, to be honest, is what Windows is. I can console myself in knowing that non-Americans, once again, paid more than I.*

Not only did this new update reset my sound configuration, it re-enabled XBOX GameDVR because I mean, maybe I really didn't mean it the first time when I went out of my way to disable it with the Anniversary Update. And what is this?

Just as with the forced updates and telemetry that remains on even when disabled, to make settings hidden or "managed by your organization" is another slap in the face of the user. It's too bad because Windows previously behaved as a background environment to control devices and run programs, i.e., an operating system. Now it feels like Apple software in that it limits user control, constantly tries to integrate with the Cloud, and tries to force a certain experience on users.**

At least it didn't change my wallpaper this time around. That and my software volume seems to have returned to a logarithmic scale (though it still mutes at 5). Good job, Microsoft.

* At current exchange rates that is $285 USD for UK buyers and $307 for EU.

** Maybe MSFT looks at AAPL's market cap enviously and figures if they can't copy Apple's amazing hardware (Microsoft's hardware and peripherals were good but just not Titanium Powerbook/iPad/iPhone/Air etc., good) they can get away with copying Apple's horrific software.