I Hate to Say I Told You So…

But you probably know I’m gonna.

Many years ago, Midas Muffler used to air commercials where they had a mechanic come on letting you know that, no. You didn’t have to have them work on your breaks, tune your car or install one of their premium mufflers and exhaust systems for you. You could save the money; for now. But if you didn’t use their preventive and premium services, it would likely cost you more money in the future. Their slogan was, “you can pay me now…OR, you can pay me later.”

I LOVE that slogan. I use it often in life and at work.

I test software for a living. Many organizations spend a great deal of money on development but don’t always invest in a robust testing operation, as testing is a cost center, where development is a profit center. QA organizations burn cash but can save your bacon when something ugly is found before it hits production. In many cases, it’s an insurance policy, and I don’t know about you, but insurance is expensive, and you don’t always make use of all of its benefits.

The same can be said of testing and other quality organizations. The good QA manager or director knows how to sell an organization on the team’s value and insures that value is delivered and the services used and used often. This is one of the reasons why I have a huge problem with the news I saw on 2013-08-15 of Microsoft pulling previously released patches it released two days ago in the August Patch Tuesday.

patched_microsoft2

Actually, it really grinds my gears.

In summary, Microsoft has removed a series of updates issued during yesterday’s Patch Tuesday because they could stop Active Directory Federation Services from working.

Microsoft released 3 patches related to KB 2843638, KB 2843639, and KB 2868846. The updates were for Windows Servers 2008 and 2012. They were intended to block vulnerabilities that could reveal information about the service account being used by Active Directory Federation Services.

This is the second batch of updates from this month’s Patch Tuesday to be pulled by Microsoft. An earlier patch reported to have caused damage to content in Exchange Server 2013 was also pulled.

To be blunt, this is inexcusable. Microsoft’s test plans obviously need to broader and more robust. They need to catch critters like this, before they escape into the wild and cause problems for users in the enterprise.

It’s been widely reported that Microsoft’s revenues are down and their latest earnings call revealed a near $1B write off for Surface products that haven’t sold. Issues like the patch bug issues I’m speaking of here are totally preventable and well within Microsoft’s ability to catch prior to release. The testing and release processes at Microsoft are quite complex. There are a number of different testing cycles and reviews in place. Many people had to be asleep for this to have happened…and as I mentioned, it’s not the first time this month or ever, for that matter. It’s happened with other Windows Update/ Patch Tuesday releases.

I use Microsoft software every day at work. I use it to write for Soft32 and other publications. My kids use it in school and Windows powers more than 90% of all corporations worldwide.

This… is simply inexcusable. It looks like there are other changes besides the recent reorganization that need to take place at Microsoft; and if I were responsible for testing organizations there, I’d be asking some very, VERY tough questions right now…

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iOS 6.1 Update Released – Issues and Confusion

ios-6.11As with any OS update, confusion and issues are popping up with Apple’s release of iOS 6.1

As a member of Apple’s iOS Developer Program I was made aware of their rare weekend beta 5 release of iOS 6.1. The release, among other things was supposed to help resolve issues with Apple Maps as well as a few other issues. The update officially addressed the following:
LTE support for more carriers
Purchase movie tickets through Fandango with Siri (USA only)
iTunes Match subscribers can now download individual songs from iCloud
New button to reset the Advertising identifier
The full release notes can be found here. Where the API updates for Apple Maps, originally made available to developers on 28-Jan-13, one of the original components thought to be a part of this update are, no one knows. As you can see above, the official release notes make no mention of it. Though honestly, that’s a developer feature and not something that many consumers might understand the value in.

ioserror-130128

Apple recently had said that “many updates” to Maps have already been “released.”  The reason why you haven’t heard anything about them is because the “updates” weren’t programmatic. They were data related.

So, you “got” the most recent Maps “update” when you downloaded the map data as you were navigating from A to B or searching for “X marks the spot”.  Apple doesn’t normally tout data updates like this, so you never would have known, if Apple Maps and its data wasn’t such a freakin’ train wreck to begin with…

iOS 6 also introduced the Advertising Identifier. This non-permanent, non-personal hardware identifier is used by advertisers to track users. iOS 6 gives you the ability to control this with an On/Off button at Settings-General-About-Advertising. iOS6 introduced the switch. iOS 6.1 introduced a way to reset the identifier. Its effectively the same thing as clearing out your browser history and cookies on your Mac or PC. It’s really as simple as that.

It seems as though iPod Touch users are also experiencing issues related to iOS 6.1 The latest report from Apple Insider indicates that “iTouch” users are having problems downloading the update. When they try to pull the update down, many are receiving an error message stating that their “iTouch” isn’t connected to the internet and the update “failed verification,” even though they appear to have a strongly connected device. According to Apple Insider, this issue was encountered during Saturday’s beta 5 release as well.

From what TeamBYTE sees out of this update, some of us aren’t entirely certain the update warrants a full point upgrade. There’s something going on over at Apple related to software development. They wanted to take a longer time with iOS 6.1, and they did. Beta 1 was released in November 2012. However, as a seasoned and experienced software development and testing professional, its clear to me that Apple needs to do more in this area; or at the very least needs to market the update a bit better.

The “need” for this update was the sucky release of Apple Maps. If Apple’s iOS 6.1 update didn’t resolve this, they need to say something about how and when they will address it. Appearing more proactive than they are here can only help them. Ignoring the issue – mashing it down into a hard, cold little ball in the pit of your stomach isn’t going to make you forget that the app sucks or that there’s a huge disconnect between what I’m searching for, and how I want my iPhone to take me there.

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One year of Windows 7 Service Pack 1

It’s a long established practice that Microsoft have continued – releasing critical updates, security add-ons and new features to their operating systems through a series of additional ‘packs’. The latest operating system is no exception, with Windows 7 Service Pack 1 being released in February 2011.

Twelve months since the launch, Service Pack 1 (SP1) has met with mixed reception. The pack includes the standard security coding patches and improvements, which affect very little of the user end experience – in contrast to, say, the Windows XP Service Pack 2, which introduced a series of new facilities and functions that dramatically changed how you interacted with your computer.

While most users found that there were no issues installing this latest SP1, some running ‘mature’ copies of the system found initial difficulties with compatibility of third-party software. This is nothing new and tends to affect all service pack roll-outs. As a result, many experienced users decided to sit tight and hold off, allowing other PC consumers to be the guinea pigs.

The biggest criticism to be leveled at SP1 is that it does little to improve the experience of using your PC. Yes, there may be a host of back-end coding adaptations that further bolster the security of your machine, but these aren’t particularly exciting for day-to-day users.

read full review | download Windows 7 SP1

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Internet Explorer New Auto-Update Plan

Microsoft Internet Explorer is one of the most established and popular web browsers, with more than one in five people globally choosing it to surf their favourite sites. While the software is no strange to updates and developments, Microsoft has announced one of the biggest changes in its setup to date which will come into effect from January 2012.

From next month, Internet Explorer (IE) will introduce automatic browser upgrades across PCs operating Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. According to the official Microsoft’s Ryan Gavin, users will automatically be upgraded to latest version of IE available for their systems, “to make sure that Windows customers have the most up-to-date and safest browsing experience possible”.

Why is Microsoft introducing automatic updates?

Currently, Microsoft issues Internet Explorer software changes on an opt-in basis, through the Windows Update service. This, however, means that many users are running old versions of the browser – after all, everyone is guilty of ignoring notifications now and then.

While some updates are introduced for aesthetic purposes or to make navigation easier, many are developed as patches to security vulnerabilities that have been identified. As a result, previous releases could leave users’ systems open to abuse. On the firm’s official blog, Gavin explained: “We want to make updating to the best protection possible as fast and simple as we can for Windows customers.” To achieve this, updates will be forcibly patched onto browsers from now on.

What versions of Windows will automatic updates be applied to?

All PC users running Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 will receive automatic updates for IE. Older Microsoft operating systems – including Windows 98 and Windows 2000 – will not be affected, as they are not capable of running the newer incarnations of IE. Windows XP users will be upgraded to IE8, while Windows Vista and Windows 7 users will be given IE9 – the most recent release.

How will the changes affect IE6 and IE7 usage?

IE6 was introduced in 2001 on Windows XP and can still be operated with the Service Pack 3 version of that operating. However, Microsoft no longer updates IE6 and has officially declared it “time to say goodbye” to the iconic software version, as it is incapable of running more developed coding.

IE7 was released in 2006 and is still available for download on operating systems up to and including Vista and Windows Server 2008.

Windows XP users who still use IE6 and IE7 will be upgraded to IE8, meaning usage will drop significantly. However, if customers have opted not to upgrade previously, they will not be subject to an automatic upgrade.

How will the changes be rolled out?

From January, customers in Australia and Brazil who have turned on automatic updating via Windows Update will receive the new upgrading system. It will then gradually be extended to include users in other territories.

Microsoft says it recognises that businesses and organisations may have reasons for introducing browser updates at their own pace and, alongside the planned rollout, have introduced the IE8 and IE9 Automatic Update Blocker toolkits. In addition, all customers can uninstall updates retrospectively.

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Valve announces second Portal 2 DLC featuring in-game map editor

Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress, and Counter-Strike), just announced that the second game add-on for Portal 2 is in development and targeted for release early next year.

The major update will feature an easy-to-use in-game map editor that will let users design, build and share their own single-player and co-op test chambers with the community, who will be able to view, play and vote on them with a simple click.

Portal 2 was released April 19, and currently holds a Metacritic score of 95%, making it one of the top-rated multiplatform game of 2011. Its first content update, “Peer Review”, came out two weeks ago. Peer Review is a free DLC which comes with an all-new co-op adventure starring Atlas, P-Body and GLaDOS and takes takes place after the events of Portal 2. You and your co-op science partner are once again awoken and assembled for a dangerous new mission.

Let’s take a look a trailer showcasing the Cooperative aspect of the game…

A hilariously mind-bending adventure that challenges you to use wits over weaponry in a funhouse of diabolical science, Portal 2 features expansive single and cooperative multiplayer game modes.

For more information on Portal 2 and its downloadable content, please take a look here. Source http://www.thinkwithportals.com

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Take a look at the top new features included in the iOS 5 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

As announced yesterday, Apple just released iOS 5 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The new operating system for Apple’s mobile devices includes cool new features, such as wireless syncing, improved notifications, PC-free setup, Twitter integration and over 200 other new features.

Let’s take a look at the best new features…

Notification Center

No more annoying blue box in the middle of your screen. Rather, a smooth little bar (quite the same as the one on the Android devices) will spin at the top of your screen. If you drag it down, you’ll see all the notifications you received and also your emails, weather and stock information. Tap any to access the appropriate app. The Notification Center also appears on your lock screen.

iCloud

This is what I personally consider one of the most important feature. iCloud stores your music, photos, documents, etc., and wirelessly pushes them to all your devices. You can get a free email address, 5GB of cloud storage, syncing for all your contacts, calendars and yes, much more. Also, you can now download your past iTunes purchases.

iMessage

When you’re texting or sending an MMS to another iOS 5 user, the operating system will save you money by sending your message (or pictures) using the internet, rather than your carrier. If you don’t have an Internet connection, the sending button will be green and it will be through your carrier, if it’s blue, it will use iMessage and it will be free of charge. The best part is that you don’t have to do nothing at all about it, iOS 5 will take care of everything in the background.

Newsstand

You can get now your newspapers and magazines delivered on the iPad. The new OS organizes your magazine and newspaper app subscriptions in Newsstand: a folder that lets you access your favorite publications quickly and easily. There’s also a new place on the App Store just for newspaper and magazine subscriptions. And you can get to it straight from Newsstand. New purchases go directly to your Newsstand folder. Then, as new issues become available, Newsstand automatically updates them in the background — complete with the latest covers. It’s kind of like having the paper delivered to your front door.

Camera

Apple understands that people use their iPhone camera quite often. In this manner, they made the camera app faster and you can now take pictures using the volume-up button. You can launch the camera app right from the home screen by double-pressing the home button. You can use grid lines, pinch-to-zoom gestures, and single-tap focus and exposure locks to compose a picture on the fly. Also, if your Photo Stream is enabled in iCloud, your photos automatically download to all your other devices. Moreover, you can now easily crop, rotate, enhance, and remove red-eye without leaving the Photos app in the new iOS.

Safari

Safari it’s not only much faster, but it now allows you to read online content with a “reader” button more easily , that strips out the ads and makes the text look nice. Also, you can save text for later using a feature called “Reading list” which you can find in your bookmarks.

Twitter integration

With the new OS, you only need to sign into Twitter once through the settings. Then you can tweet directly from Safari, Photos, Camera, YouTube, or Maps. Want to mention or @reply to a friend? Contacts applies your friends’ Twitter usernames and profile pictures. So you can start typing a name and iOS 5 does the rest. You can even add a location to any tweet, no matter which app you’re tweeting from.

Reminders

Reminders lets you organize your life in to-do lists with due dates and locations. Let’s say you need to remember to pick up milk during your next grocery trip. Since Reminders can be location based, you’ll get an alert as soon as you pull into the supermarket parking lot. Reminders also works with iCal, Outlook, and iCloud, so changes you make update automatically on all your devices and calendars.

Independence

With the new OS, you no longer need a Mac or PC to own an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. You can now do everything wirelessly, right out of the box. You can download iOS software updates directly on your device and you can now back up and restore your device automatically using iCloud.

Wi-Fi Sync

Every time you connect your iOS device to a power source, it automatically syncs and backs up any new content to iTunes wirelessly. So you always have stuff synchronized everywhere you want them.

Note: iOS5 can be installed on: iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 4 CDMA, iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch 4G, iPod Touch 3G, iPad, iPad 2 Wi-Fi, iPad 2 Wi-Fi+3G and iPad 2 CDMA.

iOS5 is free and the only thing that you have to do in order to update your device is to connect it to iTunes and it will begin the update.

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IObit Uninstaller 2.0 the overall cleaner

Do you want to clean up the mess left behind by other programs? With IObit Uninstaller 2.0 You can uninstall and remove any unwanted program and folder from your computer easier than ever. Where “Windows Add or Remove Programs” option fails, IObit Uninstaller works and does the dirty job.

IObit Uninstaller comes with a simple and compact interface. Most part is occupied by a list of your (installed) programs, followed by size and the installation date of each. In the left-hand side interface you can find a menu that will help you change what’s listed: All Programs, Toolbars, Recently Installed, Large Programs, Rarely Used, and Windows Updates. At the top of the interface you’ll find the commands to: Uninstall, Forced Uninstall Batch Uninstall and the Search option.

You can remove programs that don’t want to be uninstalled in the old fashioned way, or you can find and remove hidden entries in the registry catalog, left over by already uninstalled programs. For these you can either use the “Powerful Scan” option that gives you a deeper and more secure scan, especially for the leftover items in the Registry catalog or search the program’s name in “Forced Uninstall” section and remove it directly from the search results. In this way IObit Uninstaller guarantees you that the program has been completely removed from your system.

With IObit Uninstaller 2.0 you can remove multiple programs with just one click by using the “Batch Uninstall” option. The efficiency of this app goes even further giving the user the option to remove the so annoying toolbars almost instantly. You don’t have to bother anymore with your browser’s hidden add-on modules in order to remove any toolbar from there. All these tasks can be performed automatically by IObit Uninstaller from its interface.

Another good thing about this app is that you can download it and use it for free. All you have to do is to click the link below.

download IObit Uninstaller 2.0

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It’s time to update, WordPress 3.1.2 security update now available

WordPress 3.2.1 is a security release and all WordPress users are advised to upgrade to this newest version right away.

From the WordPress blog:

WordPress 3.1.2 is now available and is a security release for all previous WordPress versions.

This release addresses a vulnerability that allowed Contributor-level users to improperly publish posts.

The issue was discovered by a member of our security team, WordPress developer Andrew Nacin, with Benjamin Balter.

We suggest you update to 3.1.2 promptly, especially if you allow users to register as contributors or if you have untrusted users. This release also fixes a few bugs that missed the boat for version 3.1.1.

Download 3.1.2 or update automatically from the Dashboard -> Updates menu in your site’s admin area.

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