This site is “taking the edge off rant mode” by making readers pass a quiz before commenting

The team at NRKbeta attributes the civil tenor of its comments to a feature it introduced last month. On some stories, potential commenters are now required to answer three basic multiple-choice questions about the article before they’re allowed to post a comment.

Source: This site is “taking the edge off rant mode” by making readers pass a quiz before commenting

The goal is to ensure that the commenters have actually read the story before they discuss it.

With Windows 10, Microsoft Blatantly Disregards User Choice and Privacy

The tactics Microsoft employed to get users of earlier versions of Windows to upgrade to Windows 10 went from annoying to downright malicious. Some highlights: Microsoft installed an app in users’ system trays advertising the free upgrade to Windows 10. The app couldn’t be easily hidden or removed, but some enterprising users figured out a way. Then, the company kept changing the app and bundling it into various security patches, creating a cat-and-mouse game to uninstall it.

Source: With Windows 10, Microsoft Blatantly Disregards User Choice and Privacy: A Deep Dive | Electronic Frontier Foundation

And while users can disable some of these settings, it is not a guarantee that your computer will stop talking to Microsoft’s servers. A significant issue is the telemetry data the company receives. While Microsoft insists that it aggregates and anonymizes this data, it hasn’t explained just how it does so.

Philips Hue Excludes 3rd Party Bulbs With Firmware Update

Philips just released firmware for the Philips Hue bridge that may permanently sever access to any “non-approved” ZigBee bulbs. We previously covered third party support in January 2015, when Philips indicated it was not blocked – and have since benefited.

Source: Philips Hue Excludes 3rd Party Bulbs With Firmware Update

Sometimes it’s better never to upgrade firmware.  Don’t fix what isn’t broke.  As a general rule firmware should never need upgrading.

Microsoft is downloading Windows 10 to your machine ‘just in case’

Microsoft told us: “For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they’ll need if they decide to upgrade.

Source: Microsoft is downloading Windows 10 to your machine ‘just in case’

From: The Appeal of Free: 75 Million Users Download Windows 10 in First Month

Free Windows is proving to be a very attractive price indeed. Seventy-five million users have downloaded Windows 10 to their personal computers and tablets in the first month of its release, Microsoft announced on Wednesday.

How a Massachusetts man invented the global ice market

To this day, Europeans rarely put ice in their drinks, but Americans do. Thanks to the low price of ice in the United States, Rees said, people here “developed a taste for cold drinks faster and stronger than anyone else.” This required active involvement from Tudor, who sent operatives to go from bar to bar trying to convince owners to incorporate his product into drinks. To make the sale, Tudor committed to giving some bartenders free ice for a year, figuring that customers would so enjoy the clink in their glasses that other local bars would feel pressure to put in orders. “The object is to make the whole population use cold drinks instead of warm or tepid,” Tudor wrote in his diary. “A single conspicuous bar keeper…selling steadily his liquors all cold without an increase in price, render it absolutely necessary that the others come to it or lose their customers.” According to Gavin Weightman, who wrote a 2003 book about the New England ice trade, Tudor was celebrated for half a century after his death by scholars at the Harvard Business School, who “admired him for creating a demand where it didn’t exist before.”

via How a Massachusetts man invented the global ice market – Ideas – The Boston Globe.

Turning Customers Into Cultists

A number of Bay Area companies have come to incorporate this insight into their marketing strategies. In 2004, shortly after launching the restaurant-review site Yelp, the founders were struggling to grow the company. They decided to convene a gathering of about 100 power-users. The get-together “was a big success,” Ligaya Tichy, who later served as Yelp’s senior community manager, told me. “Bringing users together to share what they loved about the site led to a huge spike in activity. What we realized is that people aren’t really motivated by companies. They’re motivated by other people. We needed to get the message across: you are what makes this product cool.” The number of reviewers on the site grew from 12,000 in 2005 to 100,000 in 2006.

via Turning Customers Into Cultists – The Atlantic.

The history of the cheat code

“Of course, least positively of all, another angle for many publishers is in-app purchasing – why provide a feature as a hidden cheat when you can get people to pay money to unlock it?” Seavor has also noticed this trend. “Bigger publishers have now realised you can actually sell these things to players as DLC. Want that special gun? Think you can unlock it with a cheat code? Nope! You’ve got to give us some money first!”

via The history of the cheat code.