Ewan Spence

I talk about tech n' stuff


Patch Tuesday Being Eliminated

patch tuesday supportIf you’re a Windows user, you’re probably already well familiar with “patch Tuesday.”  If not, a refresher: the second Tuesday of every month, Microsoft releases all of the programming patches released over the last month.  This has allowed users to fix security issues on a regular basis and to (almost) keep up with security breaches and hacker innovation if you didn’t already have managed IT services.  With the release of the new Windows 10 OS, users will no longer have to wait a full month between updates.


The Details

First and foremost, the new technology applies only to Windows 10.  This means that users who opt out of upgrading to the new OS won’t get the same perks.  Fortunately, at least for a while, they will be able to continue to use the old system.  No one’s really sure how long the back-up will be available.  Microsoft tends to phase out obsolete tech pretty quickly, so no new patches may be one way they steer reluctant users toward the new Windows 10 version.

Those with Windows 10 will be able to update and patch as soon as they’re available, which can save users from weeks of vulnerability.


The Downsides

While this may seem like a universally beneficial plan, experts believe there could be some drawbacks as well.   One of the biggest is that enterprises will choose when to apply patches.  This could mean that if someone’s not paying attention, vital updates may get missed.  Windows Update is striving to prevent this from becoming an issue, but at this point it could result in uneven application of patches.

Why not just patch entire enterprises at once?  In a word: compatibility.  When you have an intricate back office system, it’s always possible that a patch is going to be incompatible or otherwise cause you functionality issues.  If a patch is applied to the entirety of an enterprise and something goes wrong, you can find yourself suddenly and totally out of commission.  This is why the standard operating procedure is to start small and work out bugs before changing the entire system.


The Resistance

Despite Microsoft’s concerted efforts to keep their programs safe and efficient for users, hackers have long-exploited any known vulnerabilities.  Every month, as new patches were released, hackers spent the next few days exploiting the now-known discrepancies and trying to stay one step ahead of users.

Concerned consumers worry that with this new delay in updating and patching security issues, hackers will have an even better opportunity to get in the back door, so to speak.

Consumers will likely find themselves dealing with a learning curve, particularly business consumers.  Of course, internet security is never 100%.  For this reason, it is always advisable to keep your internet firewall and antivirus software up to date.


Apple’s UDID deadline looms for 3rd party App Developers

apple udidThird party computer support  and app developers are under the gun to meet the fast approaching deadline for UDID compliance that Apple set out earlier in the year. Miss the deadline and they face a ban from the iTunes App store. There is big business at stake for both sides, and many independent developers feel like they have been caught in between the two giants.


On one hand, Apple owes respect to their customers

The revelation that the PATH app was tracking UDIDs and using the information to lift contact books off Apple products shook consumers. With a rise in mobile hacking and issues of privacy still at the fore of the news – the knowledge that their friendly and free apps were tracking the equivalent of their social security numbers did not sit well with consumers. Apple responded swiftly issuing a moratorium on app acceptance that actively tracks UDID, and issuing a deadline for removal from the store of any apps that currently track the number.


Why do apps need your UDID?

Your UDID is the unique signifier on your iPhone that is often referred to as its social security number. It allows developers to see where you go and what you do. It can also allow them access to your private data that may be stored on the phone which can contain identifying information and financial information. On one hand it is easy to say they have no need for this information, but from a developing and marketing standpoint that information is vital to understanding consumer behavior. Poor PATH got caught in the middle because they were doing something that everyone was doing for reputable reasons, but got caught in the storm of customer awareness of just how their information can be used of illegal purposes.


What happens next?

apple marketingApple knows that tracking consumer behavior is essential to apps so they have offered up a compromise. App developers can no longer track UDIDs, but they can track the CFDID. That number is not as unique to the specific phones, but it also does not allow access to any of the user’s information. That sounds like a decent compromise until you figure the cost of converting apps to track this number. For many small developers, there is no budget for creating an update so their app can meet these standards. Consumers may also get the unpleasant surprise of seeing more apps start to charge fees in order to cover these revised development costs.


Still an issue is left standing

The real issue has been missed in this event. The issue isn’t that apps were tracking UDIDs, but that some apps exist for the sole purposes of capturing unique identifying information for sale to the highest bidder. Apple may have made a wiser choice to placate the consumer while investigating more stringent application processes to weed our malapps from their store, but that would have cost the company money. Better for them to push the cost on the consumer and 3rd part developer while getting the press that they did good by all.



YouTube’s Gaming Channel announcement has players twitching

youtube gaming

The successful acquisition of the game channel Twitch by YouTube is about to enable the giant to take on a whole new dimension in live streaming entertainment. Owned by Google, YouTube’s move into live gaming comes from two different sources. The first is the stellar performance of Twitch as an independent company, the second is the success of the gaming videos on YouTube. High rates of viewers have been showing up to watch live video broadcast of players playing games, while on Twitch they are showing up to do that and play the games themselves.


Over 25,000 portals leading to one dedicated page

The size of the gaming channel is going to be stunning. YouTube currently lists that there will be near 25,000 gaming access portals that will funnel gamers to one central channel. This radically increases the size of the live community. It also increases the potential for independent producers of games and game videos to make more money.


tip jarBringing the tip jars together

If you have ever seen a gamer video you may be impressed at the amount of planning and production that goes into one. You should be, as these videos of gamers playing games are moneymakers. Both YouTube and Twitch use “tip jars” that allow viewers to give money to the producer to encourage them to make more videos. Add in some pay for play options and member only features and you have the potential to make a richly successful online channel.


Is it a direct challenge to Amazon?

Amazon is in the midst of announcing their own dedicated game channel that could rival Twitch. Once again, Amazon seems to play the role of the quiet cousin with surprising strength. The only thing that threatens all of these parties is Facebook’s move to return gaming to the living room. The announcement that Oculus is going to partner with Xbox for a 2016 release has a lot of people wondering which style of gaming is really going to take hold.


Either way, it’s the independent producers that win for once

With the YouTube channel and Amazon getting into dedicated gaming channels it is going to be the independent producer that wins in the end. This is what leads many people to assume that the RIFT will get a share, but there is no going back to one home game system being the dominant part. Too many people make videos about games, and want to watch them for that type of community to be broken. Both Amazon and YouTube offer ways for independent producers to get their voices heard – and that’s what consumers want.

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