Software developers listen up: if you want people to pay attention to your security warnings on their computers or mobile devices, you need to make them pop up at better times.
A new study from BYU, in collaboration with Google Chrome engineers, finds the status quo of warning messages appearing haphazardly—while people are typing, watching a video, uploading files, etc.—results in up to 90 percent of users disregarding them.
Researchers found these times are less effective because of "dual task interference," a neural limitation where even simple tasks can't be simultaneously performed without significant performance loss. Or, in human terms, multitasking.
"We found that the brain can't handle multitasking very well," said study coauthor and BYU information systems professor Anthony Vance. "Software developers categorically present these messages without any regard to what the user is doing. They interrupt us constantly and our research shows there's a high penalty that comes by presenting these messages at random times."
Microsoft yesterday announced that beginning in October it will offer only cumulative security updates for Windows 7 and 8.1, ending the decades-old practice of letting customers choose which patches they apply.
"Historically, we have released individual patches ... which allowed you to be selective with the updates you deployed," wrote Nathan Mercer, a senior product marketing manager, in a post to a company blog. "[But] this resulted in fragmentation where different PCs could have a different set of updates installed leading to multiple potential problems."
Instead, only cumulative security and performance updates will be offered. "Individual patches will no longer be available," Mercer said.
The new maintenance model for Windows 7 and 8.1 was a direct transplant from Windows 10, which has always relied on cumulative updates that include the contents of all previous releases along with the new fixes.
Facebook can’t win the war it started on ad blockers last week.
So say Princeton assistant professor Arvind Narayanan and undergraduate Grant Storey, who have created an experimental ad “highlighter” for the Chrome browser to prove it. When you have Facebook Ad Highlighter installed, ads in the News Feed are grayed out and written over with the words “THIS IS AN AD.”
Facebook announced that it was taking measures to prevent ad blockers from working on Tuesday last week. On Thursday the largest ad blocker out there, Adblock Plus, informed users of a simple tweak to their settings that would defeat Facebook’s blocker blockade.
Google is working on a new operating system — and it has nothing to do with Android.
A page has surfaced on the code-sharing website GitHub about the new OS, called — for now, at least — Fuchsia.
It's not based on Android, the California-based technology company's mobile operating system used in billions of smartphones around the world, nor does it build upon the Linux kernel.
The GitHub page is pretty sparse on explainers: Its description is simply, "Pink + Purple == Fuchsia (a new Operating System)."
There has been no official announcement from Google, and it sounds as if the open-source project is in its early days. "The decision was made to build it open source, so might as well start there from the beginning," Google employee Brian Swetland said in an IRC chatlog shared on Hacker News.
Microsoft released Windows 10's Anniversary Update last week, but it's already getting ready to unveil new features for its next major update. The software giant has started testing its "Redstone 2" update to Windows 10, with an initial build available for Windows Insiders testing public beta copies. The new update doesn't have any big new features for public testers yet, as Microsoft is in the early stages of making structural improvements to its OneCore shared code of Windows across PCs, tablets, phones, HoloLens, Xbox, and IoT.
The first few builds available for testing "may include more bugs and other issues that could be slightly more painful for some people to live" according to Windows software engineer Dona Sarkar. Microsoft has released Windows 10 build 14901, and the company is testing out new notifications within File Explorer to provide tips on what's new in Windows 10. You can opt out of the notifications, and they're just a test for now.
Google has been hit by a $6.75 million antitrust fine in Russia for requiring phone manufacturers to preinstall its apps on Android mobile devices. The majority of smartphones and tablets solid in Russia run on Android, and domestic search engine rival Yandex filed a complaint last year that the US company was abusing its position. The fine itself is small — less than what the company makes in an hour, notes Recode — but the decision shows increasing enmity to Google in Europe.
One of the many antitrust complaints currently being levied against Google by the EU focuses on the same issue: accusing the company of abusing its dominant position in the market by forcing manufacturers to preinstall its services on Android devices. Unlike the rest of Europe, though, Russia has a viable competitor to Google — Yandex has about 60 percent of the search market in the country. With the shift to mobile, though, the company seems worried it's being out-maneuvered by Google for the future of search.