Bill Gates’ One Windows Regret: CTRL, ALT, DELETE


It’s a series of keystrokes that pretty much everyone who has ever used a Windows PC knows well. It is, after all, your escape hatch. When the program starts misbehaving, it’s a user’s go-to keystroke command to force-quit the issue, and surprisingly, Bill Gates said in a recent interview that it’s one of his few regrets.

While that might surprise some, it’s important to note that he wasn’t saying he wished the keystroke command had never been offered – it would be difficult to imagine Windows without it, or something like it!—but merely that he wished it had been included as a single-key function, rather than a three-key function that made it difficult to issue.

Part of the blame for its current form, though, lies with IBM, which initially implemented the function as an interrupt command. Their goal, back in the 80’s, was to make it an inconvenient function that required two hands to issue, so that users wouldn’t execute it accidentally, and it stuck. We’ve had Control-Alt-Delete ever since.

When Gates sat down with Bloomberg recently, he was asked a lot of questions about the arc of his life and the role he played in making Windows the dominant OS in the computing world. Part of the reason Gates said he doesn’t have many regrets is that to change even one minor detail about the way things developed would have an enormous butterfly effect that would ripple throughout the entire industry with unpredictable consequences.

Still, the relative inconvenience of the three-key interrupt command sticks out in his mind as something that he’d change if he could get a do-over today. By introducing it in Windows 3.x, it became an enduring fixture in the computing world, one that remains with us to this very day.

It’s an interesting interview, and well worth the time to read. Check it out on the Bloomberg site.

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Apple Safari Browser May Have Security Issues According To Google

Google’s Project Zero Team has created a new tool for testing web browsers in order to gauge how secure they are.

The team recently conducted an extensive test on the top five web browsers in use today:

• Chrome
• Firefox
• Safari
• Edge
• Internet Explorer

The results weren’t pretty.

The new tool, called “Domato” specifically looks for security flaws in the DOM engine, which is used by all of the major browsers, making it the most logical attack vector for hackers once Flash reaches its end of life in 2020. The goal of the team is to start identifying weaknesses in each browser’s DOM engine now, so that companies can begin addressing those issues before they get used against the public at large.

Their tests revealed that Chrome had two critical DOM Engine security flaws, Firefox and IE both had 4, Edge had six, and Safari took the dubious top honor with seventeen.

The tool was created by Ivan Fratric, who contacted all the companies responsible for the browsers and shared his results with them. He also made Domato’s source code available on GitHub to encourage researchers from those companies to test and experiment for themselves.

So far, none of the companies responsible for maintaining those different browsers have formally responded, but you can bet plans are already being drawn up to begin addressing the security flaws found before new lines of attack can be drawn up using them.

Perhaps the biggest surprise coming out of the recent test was how poorly Apple’s Safari browser fared. Apple has long been known for having a relatively more secure operating environment, which is a point of pride among the company’s loyal user base, but as this latest test shows, that’s no longer something the company can take for granted.

In any case, this is a sign of things to come. Once Flash goes away forever, you can bet hackers will begin gleefully exploiting any weaknesses in a web browser’s DOM engine code that haven’t been shored up.

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Three-year old startup Vera scores huge deal to protect all of GE’s IP

 When Box landed GE as a customer in 2014, it marked a turning point for the cloud content management company, giving them momentum ahead of their IPO. Three years later, Vera, a data rights management startup is getting a similar feeling, announcing GE’s 300,000 employees would be using Vera to protect the company’s intellectual property as it moved through the world. “This… Read More

Facebook partners with ZipRecruiter and more aggregators as it ramps up in jobs

job listing Facebook has made no secret of its wish to do more in the online recruitment market — encroaching on territory today dominated by LinkedIn, the leader in tapping social networking graphs to boost job-hunting. Today, Facebook is taking the next step in that process. Facebook will now integrate with ZipRecruiter — an aggregator that allows those looking to fill jobs to post ads to… Read More

Google Compute Engine now lets you play nesting dolls with your VMs

 Here is a cloud computing feature that may seem a bit odd at first but that does actually have its uses. Google’s Compute Engine today launched the beta of a new feature called “nested virtualization.” As the name implies, this essentially allows you to run VMs inside of VMs. But why would you want to do that? “Nested virtualization makes it easier for enterprise users… Read More

BlackBerry, yes BlackBerry, is making a comeback as a software company

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Accela gets acquired by Berkshire Partners as it looks to move govtech services to the cloud

 Boston-based private equity shop Berkshire Partners announced this afternoon that it is acquiring Accela — a nearly 20 year old startup that sells regulatory management solutions to government clients. Accela has gone through a troika of CEOs in the last year. Previously acting CEO Mark Jung replaced Maury Blackman last October who had managed the company for about a decade. We… Read More

More Medical Devices Are Found To Be Vulnerable To Hacking

Things continue to worsen on the smart medical device front.

Recently, the USDA issued a recall order on six different models of pacemakers, all of which were vulnerable to hacks that would have allowed the hackers to literally kill the patients who relied on them.

This is hardly a new development, and the government has been slow to get involved. The reality is that since the rise of the Internet of Things, security experts have been warning that smart device manufacturers were being grossly irresponsible by not building robust security features into their devices.

Nobody cared, few listened, and the size of the Internet of Things exploded.

Now, we’ve got literally billions of “smart” devices connected to the internet with little or no security, including many medical devices which, if hacked, could cause serious damage, death included.

The most recently discovered unprotected medical device is a syringe infusion pump that’s used by hospitals in acute care settings. Like so many other smart devices, it lacks robust security protocols, and hackers could easily take control of it and use it to deliver a fatal dose of medication to the patient who’s relying on it.

Even worse, it’s not just a matter of lax security. Researchers have found a total of eight critical security failures on the syringe infusion pump alone.

If you or someone you know is using the Medfusion 4000 Wireless Syringe Infusion Pump, made by Smiths Medical, then be aware that it is vulnerable if running versions 1.1, 1.5, or 1.6 of the firmware, and even a moderately skilled hacker could take complete control over it.

This is one of the rare cases where the manufacturer has proved to be somewhat responsive. They’ve indicated that a firmware patch is coming, although it won’t be ready for release until early 2018. Even so, Smiths Medical stands apart from the crowd if for no other reason than they actually seem interested in making their devices more secure. Now we just need to get the rest of the smart device manufacturers to follow their example.

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Legion raises $10.5M to roll out an automated employee scheduling tool

 There’s a lot of talk about employees wanting much more flexible work schedules, and a lot of that is thanks to the emergence of companies like Lyft and Uber that allow people to work on their own schedules. But that ability still doesn’t exist for the rest of the world, especially when it comes to hourly jobs with rigid schedules. But that doesn’t mean that employees… Read More

Adobe wants to make every online retailer more analytical

 In its most recent earnings report, Adobe reported record revenue, but CEO Shantanu Narayen admitted he was a bit disappointed with the Experience Cloud results. That’s the part of Adobe that includes the Analytics Cloud. Today, the company is announcing an update to the analytics product aimed specifically at the lucrative retail/ecommerce market. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence.… Read More