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Microsoft To Add A Black Box To Windows

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the we're-going-down dept.

Privacy 514

An anonymous reader writes "According to ZDNet, Microsoft plans to add the software equivalent of a 'black box' flight recorder to Windows. According to the article, 'The tool will build on the existing Watson error-reporting tool in Windows but will provide Microsoft with much deeper information, including what programs were running at the time of the error and even the contents of documents that were being created.'" Commentary available via C|Net as well.

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514 comments

What's In Your Box? (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349752)

"Think of it as a flight data recorder, so that any time there's a problem, that 'black box' is there helping us work together and diagnose what's going on," Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates

Except the blackbox on a jet won't (unless I'm woefully uninformed more than usual) tell what you were doing in your own seat when the plane went down.

"occupant of 17A was eating peanuts, doing inflight magazine crossword and had dirty underwear"

"Our stance on this is that the user is in control," Sullivan [Windows lead product manager] said. "In the consumer environment, you will be presented with a dialog that clearly gives you the choice whether to share the information and then also provides exactly what the detail is so you can parse character by character what's being sent."

Sounds reasonable, so long as it doesn't hide anything from view. Of course, if you have Visual Studio you can hit Debug and lookie yourself, which is usually more helpful than anything I've ever got back from Microsoft.

The probablem was likely caused by a faulty driver

And consumers could have a tough time knowing just what information they were sending. Though they'll be able to see the contents of a document, they may not recognize the significance of the technical data--such as register settings--that's being sent.

Consumers stick with what works. If hitting Don't Send works, they stick with it. If the problem persists then they'll probably send.

It said, "what we have here is failure to communicate." What's that mean?

Hmmmm... (4, Funny)

Seoulstriker (748895) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349802)

Except the blackbox on a jet won't (unless I'm woefully uninformed more than usual) tell what you were doing in your own seat when the plane went down.

Pleasuring yourself one last time before you die?

Re:What's In Your Box? (5, Insightful)

SIGALRM (784769) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349844)

cat /var/log/* | less and you'll find some interesting and even personal stuff. The accumulation of diagnostic data isn't the real concern, it's the transfer to external sources. I question the legality of sending document data if, for example, it contains protected heathcare information (as many of my documents do) it may violate HIPAA.

Re:What's In Your Box? (5, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349956)

The accumulation of diagnostic data isn't the real concern, it's the transfer to external sources. I question the legality of sending document data if, for example, it contains protected heathcare information (as many of my documents do) it may violate HIPAA.

Which is an excellent point. So where does this diagnostic data go?

Suppose I was some insensitive clod sitting around a computer lab at school, experimenting with my wargame stuff, trying to figure out whether the US could invade India or China, in some far-fetched scenario and my process died... next thing you know someone sifting through debugging data in Bangalore or Shanghai gets the idea that the US has the Theo Roosevelt off the coast just for that actual and imminent purpose and it gets forwarded to all the necessary wrong parties ...

Or maybe closer to the pocket book, didn't we just see something in the news about some outsourcing thing in India playing around with people's bank accounts in New York? Can't find the story right now...

Re:What's In Your Box? (5, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349850)

Except the blackbox on a jet won't (unless I'm woefully uninformed more than usual) tell what you were doing in your own seat when the plane went down.

It does, however, record exactly what the users (the flight crew) was doing at the time of the crash.

Re:What's In Your Box? (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349862)

"occupant of 17A was eating peanuts, doing inflight magazine crossword and had dirty underwear"

See.... Bill Cosby's mom *was* right.

Re:What's In Your Box? (1, Funny)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349877)

It said, "what we have here is failure to communicate." What's that mean?

Oh, man, how old are you ? :D It's from Guns'n'Roses' Civil War, "what we've got here is failure to communicate, some men you just can't reach" and so on. Great stuff. And no, I won't go into what it could possibly mean in there.

Re:What's In Your Box? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349943)

Oh, man, how old are you?

That's a quote from _Cool Hand Luke_, from 1967.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061512/ [imdb.com]

try again... (4, Informative)

circusboy (580130) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349944)

it was from "cool hand luke"

the prison guard talking to/about paul newman

http://imdb.com/title/tt0061512/quotes [imdb.com]

Re:What's In Your Box? (2, Insightful)

maxbang (598632) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349949)

How old are you? It's originally from Cool Hand Luke.

Re:What's In Your Box? (1)

alcmaeon (684971) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349951)

And the snippet in "Civil War" is an audio clip from the Paul Newman movie, "Cool Hand Luke." Doesn't that just make you crave boiled eggs? :-)

Re:What's In Your Box? (1)

vf123 (244292) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349957)

Actually it's from Cool Hand Luke. Gnr just sampled .

Just like the real black boxes (5, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349758)

It will record your screams as your computer crashes.

Re:Just like the real black boxes (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349823)

It will record your screams as your computer crashes.

Does the wavelength of background light vary with pitch of your scream?

aaaaaiiiiiiiiieeeeeee ooooh! Indigo screen of death!

Re:Just like the real black boxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349834)

Or a short WMA file of the frustrated user introducing the computer with to the business end of a 12 gauge...

In the interest of fairness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349759)

From the FA, but not in the rather sensationalistic blurb:

"For consumers, the choice of whether to send the data, and how much information to share, will be up to the individual. Though the details are being finalized, Windows lead product manager Greg Sullivan said users will be prompted with a message indicating the information to be sent and giving them an option to alter it, such as removing the contents of the e-mail they were writing when the machine crashed. Also, such reporting will also be anonymous."

Granted, the "unfinalized" details could be an issue and we don't know how straightforward the implementation will be, but this blurb is pure demagoguery.

Privacy Alert! Maybe not. (4, Insightful)

toofast (20646) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349760)

At first I was tempted to do like most: yell out that this was a privacy issue. Microsoft has no right knowing what software I'm using! But there are so many instances where I could claim that my privacy is invaded that I'm afraid I'm becoming more accepting of it.

The latest of these instances occurred when I fired up Half Life 2 last night. "Logging on to Steam as ...". So Steam/Valve know each time I play half-life. Interesting stats for them.

Every time I browse a web page, I'm telling everyone I use Firefox/1.0.3 on x64 Linux. Sure, I could hack my user agent string, but really. Most people don't, right? So now the slashdot editors know what I run, what my IP address is, ...

I only boot to Windows to play games like Half-Life, and it bothers me that Microsoft would know about everything I'm running on that Windows box, but how else are they to fix issues if they don't know what I'm running and what I was doing when it crashed? When do we draw the line between normal computer use and invasion of privacy?

Re:Privacy Alert! Maybe not. (1)

BannedfrompostingAC (799263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349891)

You send much worse information when you surf. Like the last page you visited in the Referer: header.

Re:Privacy Alert! Maybe not. (5, Insightful)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349899)

Personally, I'd draw the line at the point where "opt-in" becomes "opt-out". If the customer is being asked whether they want to send this information to M$, and told just what is being transmitted, then I don't see that much of a problem.

However, it's important that you actually have to acknowledge this - so, for example, the default button (the one that has the focus) should be "No" rather than "Yes", so users actually have to make a conscious decision instead of just saying hitting return because that's what they always do when an error pops up.

In other words, consent is required, but it also has to be informed consent. Someone who just says "Yes, do this" because they don't understand what's going on and what the implications are does not consent IMO.

Re:Privacy Alert! Maybe not. (2, Insightful)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349915)

I only boot to Windows to play games like Half-Life, and it bothers me that Microsoft would know about everything I'm running on that Windows box

Well, there are some of us who run a load lot more than that, and no, not willing to let anyone trustworthy get their hands on anything. And no, I don't consider some MS developer browsing through crash data trustworthy.

Anyways, I don't care what their boxes' color will be :P if there will be the option to disable the error reporting service, as it is there now. That's all that counts.

Re:Privacy Alert! Maybe not. (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349958)

"anyone trustworthy"

Re:Privacy Alert! Maybe not. (2, Insightful)

file-exists-p (681756) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349925)


So they have to invade your privacy because they did not write a robust OS in the first place ? What an argument!

--
Go Debian!

Re:Privacy Alert! Maybe not. (1)

bmw (115903) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349929)

But there are so many instances where I could claim that my privacy is invaded that I'm afraid I'm becoming more accepting of it.

I find this quite disturbing. This seems to be the case with every aspect of our lives as of late and it is only going to get worse. The more often these sorts of things happen the more accustomed to it we become and the further such invasions of privacy can be expanded. Where does it all end?

I'm really starting to worry about the future we're creating.

Re:Privacy Alert! Maybe not. (5, Insightful)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349934)

"When do we draw the line between normal computer use and invasion of privacy?"

When information is reported without your consent.

Re:Privacy Alert! Maybe not. (3, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349947)

When do we draw the line between normal computer use and invasion of privacy?
Well, you have a vendor, a market, and a consumer.
When the vendor leverages the market information to make the decision for you that you should upgrade, I daresay you may feel invaded, while falling short of concluding whether or not Daddy Knows Best.
Time will Tell.

Privacy on the job (5, Insightful)

bmw (115903) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349761)

The biggest issue I see with this, at least in the short term, is the possible use of this feature in the corporate setting.

With businesses, however, IT managers typically set the policy. If they wanted total information, they could configure systems so that they'd know not only that a user was running Internet Explorer, for example, but also that he or she was watching a video from ESPN.com. Or, they might find out not only that a worker was running Instant Messenger but also that he or she was talking to a co-worker about getting a new job.

This is a major invasion of privacy if you ask me. Of course, while at work you are using company resources so they really do get to say how and when they are used but I feel there is an important difference between monitoring your employee's resource usage and actually reading their emails and instant messages. You don't have to totally invade everyone's privacy to enforce your company policy of internet usage.

But Sullivan pointed out that businesses can already install third-party software to monitor workers' computer usage and some do.

While the above is most certainly true, having something like this built into Windows by default just makes it that much easier and thus inviting for a company to implement this sort of monitoring. I just can't wait for the day when all employees have a tracking system attached to them at all times and are reprimanded if they spend too much time going to the bathroom or chatting to a coworker. What great fun that is going to be!

Another issue with this that is mentioned in the article is the fact that while you will be able to look through all the data being reported, most people will not have the knowledge to determine how much of it is sensitive.

And consumers could have a tough time knowing just what information they were sending. Though they'll be able to see the contents of a document, they may not recognize the significance of the technical data--such as register settings--that's being sent.

Not everything is totally obvious, such as personal emails or credit card numbers. Not to mention the fact that it will very likely be buried among a lot of other unintelligable data. Also, given the habit of most Windows users of just clicking 'OK' or 'YES' to anything and everything that pops up on their screen, I doubt many people will actually review the information being sent in the report.

Re:Privacy on the job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349845)

Company proxy servers do a good job of monitoring what sites you visit and what data goes through it, and when your email enters and leaves through a corporate server, having your messages is read is trivial. When your documents are stored on the network, it's also not a difficult matter for them to be read by those who aren't you.

Re:Privacy on the job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349898)

>> I just can't wait for the day when all employees have a tracking system attached

If I understand the service correctly, it will only capture information at the time of an application crash. As an employee tracking system, this would be totally useless, unless you make sure the employee crashes an application every time they do somthing wrong.

Re:Privacy on the job (3, Insightful)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349931)

The biggest issue I see with this, at least in the short term, is the possible use of this feature in the corporate setting.

I'm sure this new "black box" will be controllable via Group Policy. The management and IT can decide if they want to use it and if not turn it off for everyone with a fewer than maybe 15-20 mouse clicks.

I think this is probably a good step forward in trying to diagnose and prevent crashes for home users, as long as they don't start digging too deep. I don't really mind them knowing what processes were running, but sending them more than just a mini memory dump is too much. I'd also want to make sure they don't grab anything from memory that's supposed to be protected like passwords. Really, that's the only place I see issues, for example if I'm running some financing software which crashes. They grab a memory dump of the program which just happens to contain my SSN, birthday, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, etc. There is the possibility this information could be misused by an employee at Microsoft.

Microsoft's Online Crash Analysis, the current version of this type of thing, has helped me a time or two. I've had Windows shoot a BSOD at me and after submitting the dump to MS, they readily told me which driver was the culprit and saved me perhaps an hour of troubleshooting.

wow, (1)

circusboy (580130) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349764)

didn't people complain about the one in the corvette?

unbelievable.

But (3, Funny)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349766)

Will it survive after I kick the shit out my computer and then throw it off a cliff?

Re:But (1)

chucks86 (799149) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349859)

That's a good question, but I think the better one would be: Will it survive after I install an alternative OS?

So... (2, Funny)

Upaut (670171) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349767)

'The tool will build on the existing Watson error-reporting tool in Windows but will provide Microsoft with much deeper information, including what programs were running at the time of the error and even the contents of documents that were being created.'

So one mans spyware is another mans "helpful utility"?
Right, now many of you will call me a Mac fanatic and mod me down, but seriously: Apple does not think of shit like this... I can just see the new virus' composed to utilize the flaws in this feature... Wait, I got it, they will use it to compete with Apple's Automator in Tiger:
"Tired of having to go to the store to buy the latest Microsoft product? Now you will never have to again! The windows automator(tm) scans all your messages, emails, text documents, and computerized purchase orders for your credit card information, bank number, PIN numbers, etc; sends the data to the Microsoft data servers. Your information is then carefully protected, until the newest Microsoft product is ready for shipment. Then your accounts are drained, and everything you needed, even if you didn't know it, will be shipped to your door. Remember: Microsoft works...."


And yes, I read the article, and the passage: " "Our stance on this is that the user is in control," Sullivan said. "In the consumer environment, you will be presented with a dialog that clearly gives you the choice whether to share the information and then also provides exactly what the detail is so you can parse character by character what's being sent."

But it kinda hurts the joke... That and with Microsoft's record of error, would you really trust this?

Re:So... (1)

kokoloko (836827) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349846)

So one mans spyware is another mans "helpful utility"?

Exactly. Why should that seems so strange.

Futhermore, from TFA:

For consumers, the choice of whether to send the data, and how much information to share, will be up to the individual.

Another revolutionary new concept. You can TURN IT OFF!

Great (1)

Tebriel (192168) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349772)

Now I've got some MS techie looking through the contents of my text editor when an error log gets sent.

Thanks guys!

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349883)

If you don't like it, turn off that specific feature. Shit -- you Linuxtards are so clueless sometimes.

I don't care... (5, Insightful)

Admiral Ackbar 8 (848624) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349775)

as long as I can shut it off!

Re:I don't care... (1)

aldousd666 (640240) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349838)

agreed. I think that's the issue that will make or break this concept. Then again, microsoft doesn't ask your permission to install XP sp2 anymore like they used to.. unless you don't want any more updates in the future..

Re:I don't care... (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349922)

I'm in favour of this tbh. Major upgrades like XPSP2 should be given a 'testing period' then forced upon everybody.

No, I mean it. XPSP2 is the biggest leap forward in terms of basic Windows security for ages.

Your realize what this means? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349776)

If you are running some "non-approved" app, or driver, or whatever, MS will simply blame somebody else's code. And now they'll have a "black box" to prove it.

Nice.

Re:Your realize what this means? (2, Interesting)

Cat_Byte (621676) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349836)

Uh...wouldn't the same pertain to any software company where a dependency of their app/OS isn't tested or approved? I work in a Linux shop and we do the same thing with log files. "Oh I see here you were running a non-standard library when you compiled. This was not tested in-house so try putting the original/latest back on and it will work.".

If they can do that (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349778)

Why not make the Whole OS out of the black box stuff? Then nothing can damage it!

Do you want to send this information to Microsoft? (0, Troll)

tquinlan (868483) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349781)

Too bad! This time you have no choice. ;)

Re:Do you want to send this information to Microso (0, Flamebait)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349927)

Wanna bet. It's called don't buy it. Last time I checked MS hadn't bought out all the hardware vendors yet. I bet you this thing is mostly being developed for the new Xbox to rat out people who mod their rig.

On the PC side of the house the only place this will take hold are those that think Dell's are computers, and personally those people need all the help they can get.

Who Else Loves Dr. Watson? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349783)

He's been a real asset to Windows over the years.

Re:Who Else Loves Dr. Watson? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349830)

He didn't spend 7 years in Evil Medical School to be called Mr.

prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349784)

This will be less used that the current error reporting tool. One of the first things to turn off after an install.

asdf (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349787)

asdfhopawer

Also in the news (1)

Kipsaysso (828105) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349791)

Microsoft will provide important customized personal advertisements right on your desktop. [/sarcasm]

Re:Also in the news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349910)

"Messages" not "advertisements." Get the vocabulary straight! ;)

..deep information (1)

Kratos (782381) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349792)

I wonder if it will have the links to all the porn sites I had up at the time of the crash as well.? Dan - western NC

More effective logging (5, Funny)

clickster (669168) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349799)

Wouldn't it be faster for them to sift through the logs of what was happening when the system was stable? I mean, dear God, imagine the size of the log files if they logged crashes.

Welcome to... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349801)

1984.

Don't worry!! (1)

sleighb0y (141660) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349805)

All data will be sent unencrypted! So if your system does crash, someone (besides MS) will have partial a copy of that document you need to recover.

See what value they offer.

And some still thinks Windows isn't a spyware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349807)

It could tracks every mouse move, every key stroke (does that count as a key logger? Isn't that illegal?) Of course, M$ probably indemnify themselves with some legalese hidden in their multi-page 6 point font EULA...

McSpy. (1)

chucks86 (799149) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349810)

How much would you like to bet that the default settings has constant stream of activities to FBI/RIAA/MPAA Headquarters?

Everything falls into place now... (2, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349812)

As soon as you can no longer get support from M$ because you are not using the 'black box' crash creation application, they will start blaming Linux and Apache for the crashes... quickly creating a patch to prevent users from going to sites that are 'bad' for their Internet experience... thus protecting the world from all sorts of evil... spam, spim, worms, joy, information, and other evils like that

Not on my system you don't (4, Interesting)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349817)

Talk about an invasion of your privacy and a HUGE hole to reveal corporate IP. It won't be long until someone invents an hack or virus to exploit this and capture all of what you are working on. I'm supposed to trust that MS won't use any of my info they captured to debug thier software?

Why call it a black box? (2, Interesting)

OneBigWord (692129) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349819)

A plane crash is a bit more severe (and much less common), than a Windows crash.

Re:Why call it a black box? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349901)

Well, unless the plane is running Windows!

Re:Why call it a black box? (1)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349950)

Perhaps they should call it a "Black Eye"?

Re:Why call it a black box? (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349953)

Why call it a black box on planes? The damn things are flourescent orange.

Time to add another service to the disabled list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349821)

I can see how this would be useful in businesses. I work in IT in the Air Force and I'm sure it would be useful to inhouse technicians. But I do not want to share any of that data on my home computer with anyone.

Spybox? (2, Insightful)

janek78 (861508) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349824)

...including what programs were running at the time of the error and even the contents of documents that were being created

...not only that a user was running Internet Explorer, for example, but also that he or she was watching a video from ESPN.com.

So everytime my windows crashes, the stuff I worked on gets sent to MS. Everytime IE crashes, MS gets to know where I browse. How does this motivate them to make crashes less frequent? I don't like the idea at all. Another reason to leave MS products completely (already switched at home, still have to use them at work).

So let me see.... (1)

kniLnamiJ-neB (754894) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349826)


Microsoft Sucks *ERROR* You must have been trying to type "I love Bill Gates. Would you like to..."
http://www.apple.com *ERROR* This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down...

Theories! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349827)

"With the information it does get, Microsoft could, in theory, identify a problem the first time it appears and push down a patch so that no other person encounters the error."

Usually theories are supported by real-world evidence...

Microsoft will make sure it's secure (1)

old-lady-whispering- (602967) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349828)

I understand that they need better debug tools but this is going to turn alot more people off from using it. This may be good news for Linux because Microsoft cannot be trusted with protecting your information.

They key point here really is (4, Insightful)

screwballicus (313964) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349829)

That there's nothing compulsory about this, obviously. And furthermore, it appears that the system will be suited to provide for the customer's preservation of personal privacy:

For consumers, the choice of whether to send the data, and how much information to share, will be up to the individual. Though the details are being finalized, Windows lead product manager Greg Sullivan said users will be prompted with a message indicating the information to be sent and giving them an option to alter it, such as removing the contents of the e-mail they were writing when the machine crashed. Also, such reporting will also be anonymous.

The only concern, one might suppose, is for people who don't want this information accumulated should their computer later be searched by others (the law? An employer? A relative?). This is perhaps a legitimate concern, but hard to argue for, as a reason to cripple error reporting.

It's really funny (1)

mcc (14761) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349835)

How Microsoft is the one who gets all this information. On other operating systems, it wouldn't be assumed that the operating system vendor for some reason needed bug and crash reports for every single application running on the system (Including. Y'know. The crash reports for software by competing companies.).

But then, I guess, now that I think about it, on Windows these days, every single application either is written by Microsoft or mere support or widgets for Microsoft applications. I seem to remember a time when there was more than one windows word processor, but those days are long gone.

Is Microsoft admitting they are too dumb...? (0, Flamebait)

helioquake (841463) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349840)

...to set up the lab to do debugging by themselves?

Let's see, instead of writing a cleaner, leaner code that can be debugged relatively at ease, they wrote a bloated suite of codes that cannot be audited easily. They don't seem to be able to run regression tests to spot the majority of software triggered failures with some generic hardwares. So MS says, "we are too incompetent to set up our testing beds. So let's have users' computers do it for us!"

I can't believe anyone trust a company with that attitude.

Age Old Question... (1)

MudButt (853616) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349841)

I just have to ask... Why don't they make the WHOLE OS out of the black box?

Slightly Illegal (1)

jefedesign (869140) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349842)

I get the impression that this will violate man people's right. Correct me if I'm wrong though. I think that this added 'feature' will encourage more informed users to migrate to another OS... Is this the straw that breaks Microsofts back? Time will tell.

No privacy at work (1)

dotslashdot (694478) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349843)

Unfortunately, there is no privacy at work. If you are using the company's computer and/or their network, they pretty much can monitor you no matter what. And since MS gives you/companies the option to send the information, it may not matter. It sounds like users might become new beta testers.

microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349854)

That is why I love microsoft, always thinking of innovative methods of helping the user with their problems. Microsoft means customer care and quality.

Next thing you'll know, apple will have implemented the exact same thing in their Windows operating system.. and the Linux communists too, of course.

required 90s standup (1)

IronicCheese (412484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349855)

begin seinfeld

What is the *deal* with the black box...? If they can keep the black box software from crashing, why don't they make the rest of the operating system out of the same material? am I right, people?

end seinfeld.

Is it safe? (1)

FhnuZoag (875558) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349860)

For those with more technical knowledge, what are the security implications of this?

I mean, suppose a hypothetical malicious program artifically induces a crash. Then, if the program finds a way to divert this information, then a cracker would be able to access all sorts of sensitive information.

Strange press... (4, Insightful)

shrapnull (780217) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349863)

I think it's awfully interesting that Microsoft has begun announcing tiny feature announcements one by one in a nice string of succession throughout the month of April. And slashdot's just eating it up! They wouldn't be, say, announcing one feature plan at a time for the next 30 day to steal some of Apple's thunder while rolling out OS X Tiger would they? Not a friendly entity like Microsoft?!?!

Thank god.. (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349864)

...now I can simply tool back the trojans I write so they just interface with this "feature" of windows.

Thank you, Microsoft, for thinking of the little guys.

Little korean guys. Who's job it is to write trojan and key loggers.

error reporting and no-fixes (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349865)

"For consumers, the choice of whether to send the data, and how much information to share, will be up to the individual."
Just like the WER error pop-up box that appears when Windows crashes asking you to send information to Microsoft? Who knows if they have the time to research all of these crashes.
That worked wonders for creating a more stable XP according to Bill Gates...."One thing that's been amazing at Microsoft is the impact that our monitoring data has had on how we prioritize our software work. I'm sure you've all seen in Windows XP that whenever an application or the system malfunctions, you get the ability to send a report back to Microsoft. We get a lot of those reports, and we've created very good data-management systems to go in and look at those things, and therefore understand what drivers aren't reliable."
Bill Gates, Los Angeles, California October 27, 2003

We're getting there... (1)

SamMichaels (213605) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349872)

Clippy to the rescue [oldeenglish.org] (not work safe)

any ideas what they do with these reports? (1)

LiquidMind (150126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349875)

anyone know if they just look at statistics of crashes, etc or is there a team of people that actually goes through them and sees how to 'improve' upon the system?

maybe it's just to give the users a false sense of feedback...

kinda like some recycling programs, they tell you to seperate colored glass from the regular transparent type, only to find that the same dumpster truck is used to pick them up (in the same trash compartment i might add)

FUD?

Re:any ideas what they do with these reports? (1)

MrP-(at work) (839979) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349913)

"kinda like some recycling programs, they tell you to seperate colored glass from the regular transparent type"

racist recycling programs

It just works! (1)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349878)

What a terrific quality control idea. Finally an innovation out of Redmond that has nothing to do with licensing, marketing, or increased profit margin.

After all, there's no way they could have the "black box" record whether or not you have a duplicate license key. Hmmm....

But we know that spying on users is not the purpose of the "black box". Right?

Maybe they'll release the source for the "black box". Then all we have to do is recompile Windows and ....

It's getting really difficult to believe what I'm supposed to.

Prevent MS from getting these logs... (1)

OldManCoyote (596110) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349880)

What ports can I block off so MS will never get these logs?

I suppose one can only hope... (1)

circusboy (580130) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349881)

that the volume of messages could do some damage...

although, having RTFA, this doesn't seem much different than the crash reporter that mozilla or apple use. And we all dutifully report crashes to them, no? (is it just me?)

I have to admit being much more nervous about MS doing it than those others, but I am probably just a victim of somebody's marketing...

(I also don't use a PC anymore, so what do I care...)

Errr... (1)

Raynach (713366) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349887)

Did anyone else read this wrong and think, "Blackbox [sourceforge.net] ?? Being added by Microsoft? Wha?"

Although I have seen some alternate window managers for Windows. It'd be cool to see an actual Blackbox port for Windows.

Spyware? (1)

newbie65536 (628512) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349888)

Is it just me or does this scream SPYWARE?

I guess the submit button wasn't working properly (1)

UlfGabe (846629) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349890)

I know that i never allow programs that have crashed to send debug info to microsoft. I am worried about my privacy, so will there be a way for me to disable this, I have purchased a program with the expectations that it is complete enought for use, however i have been bitten by several incomplete programs.

Onenotes: unbearably shitty, it works well for a time, but eventually it just runs into a bloat baloon and steals all the resources

Windows explorer: huge ramsteal on attempting to open corrupt avi files,

Macafee spam killer: again with the ramsteal, and 99% pc utilization on a 3 GHz machine.

and a couple more

poor MSFT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12349892)

This is just because MSFT can't find useful features to impl. The need to find 'excuse' for business users to update/upgrade to the next generation Windows. So far, we haven't came up with any useful features that it can copy.

At least the data ... (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349896)

is encrypted right? ...

What's to stop people from just flooding it with nonsense data?

I mean EVEN if it's "MS signed" or whatever... it's made by a program on your computer.

I say people should reverse engineer the program and make a bot that spews nonsense into it.

Tom

What's next (0, Troll)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349900)

"MS is installing key and web loggers to help improve customers' experience"

Me: "I cannot log into my yahoo email account anymore"
MS Overlords: "We changed the password for you to improve the security of your email and to provide a better customer experience. Send us a payment of $100 and we'll deliver your new password"

Well, I, for one, welcome our new MS data logging overlords.

I better not hear any whining about privacy (1)

Serveert (102805) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349903)

Because you know that in the commercial unix world it's common to send core files around, core files which can contain email messages, documents, you name it.

So please, let's only whine when we need to.

yet another reason to switch. (2, Funny)

Robocoastie (777066) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349912)

as if we needed anymore reasons to switch to Linux or Mac.

visions of 1984 (4, Funny)

dingbatdr (702519) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349923)

I can just see it. Clippy will get replaced by a stern man's face watching you. The power switch to the monitor will no longer work...

Hmmm, nothing new... (1)

Emperor Shaddam IV (199709) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349937)

This has been around for years on the IBM Mainframe. Its called the syslog.

The Mainframe logs almost everything in MVS. Thats why Mainframes and AS/400's are so much more stable. They log everything and there has been 40 years to analyze it...

If MS would just do decent logging, there would not be a need for a "Black Box"

Just thought of something really creepy (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349939)

If you agree to this ( EULA I'd assume ), then once the data leaves your computer, it then belongs to MS, right?

So, then, if a government wanted to see what you were up to, they could cause a crash ( power outage ), wait for you to upload the data, then sopena ms for the details.

Ya ya, I know, tinfoil hat and all that. However, if that tool did exist, that's what would happen. Were I a cop, that's what I'd do.

ugh i knew it... (1)

ohzero (525786) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349940)

finally, the M$ Borgbox.... I can't wait to see how they try to handle the "portions of your documents" part in the EULA. "Microsoft hereby reserves the right to become the largest acredited repository for confidential, secret, top secret, and any other information which resides in any document generated via it's software...ever. The lube provided in the installation kit is intended for human anuses only. Failure to use such lube may result in a "non frictionless transaction" between microsoft and the user."

Need more black box software! (1)

hellfire (86129) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349942)

Most people worry that Blackbox software is a privacy concern. Coming from Microsoft, I believe it would be, but in general, I feel very strongly about black box software. Some black box software can go as far as trace the executable C or C++ code that is running and provide a step by step look at what the code was doing when, say, an error occured. When aprogrammer steps through it, they easily see the problem and can correct it. For support reps like me this is huge in correcting problems.

However, not all languages are supported by black boxes. I hope over time a black box software type comes out to support Powerbuilder [sybase.com] , because this would make my life so much easier. I could have this black box running on the user's system and simply "trace" their activity. When a problem occurs, they send the log and I send to programmers.

This of course would leave me the rest of the day to read slashdot and take the occasional "how do I click a mouse" case ;)

Blackbox Virus? (1)

ka9dgx (72702) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349954)

Someone will then run a program that infects the black box, making it invulnerable to all the virus/spyware scanners out there... 8(

--Mike--

Another feature, eh? (1)

dauthur (828910) | more than 9 years ago | (#12349960)

This sounds familiar. Anyone know of DCOM? Exploit. ActiveX? Exploit. Being-online-at-all? Security issue. I think we're seeing a trend here with Micro$oft and their constant persistance to give us "features" that end up biting us in the ass.
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