Skype pushing bloatware

In a previous blog post I complained that Microsoft is allowing deceptive adds (the kind that drives our grandparents crazy) in Skype. This seems strange as one would expect Microsoft to protect it’s good name.

However it seems Microsoft could still do worse. So they didn’t give up and changed the Skype installer to install bloatware. And Yes, MSN and Bing plugins are just that, bloatware. My Skype told me that there was an update so I ran it and look what the Setup screen is showing me:

Skype-bloatware

Yes that’s right. To enable or disable two options I get half of a checkbox. Thank you guys! It seems I’m not the only one that noticed this as there is a slew of threads on this on the Skype community forums. Here is just a sample, there are many, many pages of threads about this issue:

lame upgrade tries to force msn.com and bing on me
Bing search box hidden during Skype install
update window doesn’t permit me to unclick MSN
How do I get rid of Bing?

Looking at the dates on those threads it looks like the bloatware shoveling has been going on for years now.

First of all… MSN??? Why??
Are *any* of the ‘views’ msn.com gets actually real? Because it seems to me that that site is only frequented by people who are unable to fix their browser, which comes pre-installed with MSN as the homepage. People get pushed to MSN when they log out of hotmail. They get pushed to MSN by updates to software such is this one. But are there any actual people that actually voluntarily visit msn.com? Post a comment if you do, I really want to hear from you (because I don’t believe you exist actually).
Why oh why does Microsoft f*ck up good products (such as Skype and Hotmail) to push some mediocre news/community site/portal on us that no one cares about?

Second of all… This DPI thing. According to MSDN this scaling feature has been a part of Windows since XP (2001). It’s now 2015 and even the products owned by Microsoft itself are STILL not behaving correctly with it. I can only hope that 4K panels come onto the market soon. They will force people to run at absurdly high DPI settings (300% – 400%) to be able to read text. At that point screens such as the Skype setup screen will become totally unusable, forcing the techs to FINALLY fix it.

Sigh.

When I heard that Microsoft was buying Skype I actually, naively, thought this might make my life better as a Skype user. Tighter integration with Windows and Exchange seemed an obvious enhancement that Microsoft would add… Silly me. Instead MS has used it’s resources to add deceptive adds and drive-by installers to Skype, whilst neglecting known issues that could have been easily fixed by now.

Computing is in a sad state. The leading tech companies are driving their users mad with business tactics that one would expect from scammers instead. Start focusing on building good products again please!

Microsoft, why allow these deceptive ads??

Microsoft, Skype is your platform. You are the one who decides which adds get to be shown…

So why oh why do you allow deceptive and abusive adds like the one in this sreenshot?
These adds are tricking people into believing there Windows computer has problems that aren’t really there. These adds are bad for the reputation of Windows. That other companies don’t care about this I understand, but I would have expected Microsoft itself to be more protective of it’s own good name.

Please stop allowing adds like these!

Skype-deceptive-add

SEE ALSO: Oracle turns Java into malware!

I joined a startup

It’s been a while since I last posted here. That’s because I’ve been very, very busy. I joined a startup company mid december and things have been very hectic.

The company is named Brautschloss (which is German for ‘Bride Palace’) and we are organizing a bridal fair where bridal stores can purchase the dresses for in their store from the various brands.

logo-brautschloss-black-compact

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Max. bytes in a UTF-8 char?

4.

There are a maximum of 4 bytes in a single UTF-8 encoded unicode character.

And this is how the encoding scheme works in a nutshell.

Bits of code point First code point Last code point Bytes in sequence Byte 1 Byte 2 Byte 3 Byte 4
7 U+0000 U+007F 1 0xxxxxxx      
11 U+0080 U+07FF 2 110xxxxx 10xxxxxx    
16 U+0800 U+FFFF 3 1110xxxx 10xxxxxx 10xxxxxx  
21 U+10000 U+1FFFFF 4 11110xxx 10xxxxxx 10xxxxxx 10xxxxxx

Source: Wikipedia (also confusingly showing 6 possible bytes when truly 4 is the maximum)

Wait, I heard there could be 6?

No.
You heard wrong.

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How Java’s text Formats can subtly break your code

Today at work we found a subtle issue that will sometimes break your code in very difficult to find ways. Read this if you don’t like days of bug hunting for mysterious issues only occurring on high-load production machines.

Ever wrote code like this?

private static final DateFormat FORMAT = new SimpleDateFormat("yyyy-MM-dd");

prevent-debugging-headache
Most of us did. It’s the most intuitive way to use a DateFormat to format some Date object as a human-readable String.

Unfortunately, it’s wrong.

When used in a multi-threaded context (e.g. in a Servlet), this will end up breaking. Sometimes. When you least expect it.

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The Breaking Float Bug is back!

Back in september of 2010 I wrote a blog post about the Breaking Float rendering bug I found in WebKit, the rendering engine backing the Safari, Chrome and Opera browsers. In april of 2013 the WebKit team landed a patch which would eventually end up in the browsers relying on WebKit. Case closed right? Well, not quitte…

Blink brought it back

blinklogo

Coincidentally, in the same month that the Breaking Float bug was fixed, Google forked WebKit into a new project called ‘Blink’. And the fix to the Breaking Float bug was not in the fork. Over time, the Chrome browser switched over to using Blink instead of WebKit, bringing back the issue in all it’s breaking glory.

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