Finds of the Week: Block telemetry in Windows 7 & 8.1 / EPIC NASA satellite images / Gmail now blocks JavaScript / Knowledge Stew

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Finds of the WeekFinds of the Week is a list of web sites I've come across lately that are interesting, fun, or useful (or all three). I hope you enjoy them. -Rhiannon

Blocking Telemetry in Windows 7 and 8.1
Telemetry is "an automated communications process by which measurements and other data are collected at remote or inaccessible points and transmitted to receiving equipment for monitoring." In this case, telemetry refers to the data that Microsoft automatically collects from your computer. Microsoft collects various kinds of data on usage, programs, and other areas. If you'd like to block collection of your data, this article outlines how to do that in Windows 7 and 8.1. Windows 10 is a somewhat different story, for more information on Windows 10 telemetry, have a look at this article by Ed Bott: Windows 10 telemetry secrets: Where, when, and why Microsoft collects your data.

NASA's Home for EPIC Photos of Earth from Space Just Got Better
If you like views from space, NASA's Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) provides views of Earth every day, in enhanced or natural views. The enhanced view shows land and cloud features  in greater detail. You can "zoom in on specific areas on the globe, scroll through the latest views of Earth as it rotates and download spectacular photos of the planet's beautiful landscapes and blue oceans."

Your Gmail is now a little safer
Google has started blocking .js (JavaScript) files in Gmail, as they are often used in email based malware attacks. Google has blocked several other file formats (.cmd, .exe, .jar, .lib, .scr, .vbs) in the past for safety reasons. If you need to send one of the files that Google blocks, you can upload it to Google Drive or another cloud storage service.

Knowledge Stew
I like random tidbits of trivia that may (or may not) be of use, and the Knowledge Stew site provides a wide array of the tidbits I enjoy, the kind my brain tends to veer off into when I'm not paying attention. One of the things I like about the site is that they do their best to find three verifiable, independent and reliable sources for the information they present, so if you go around quoting them, you can be reasonably certain that what you're saying is true. As the site says, make yourself a little smarter today.  :)

You can find more Tech Treats here.

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Comments

The info on the Telemetry and info gathered is interesting but more guidance is needed to configure this.
Finding the Group Editor policy area to change is not easy after reading the article. It seems like other downloads may be needed to enable this on many systems.

I found more info on this here:

hxxp//technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh147307(v=ws.10).aspx

hxxps://www.itechtics.com/enable-gpedit-windows-10-home/

hxxp/:/www.isunshare.com/windows-10/5-ways-to-access-local-group-policy-editor-on-windows-10.html

What most commentator are missing is that Gmail now forbids .js as like .exe
Yes u can send a renamed file but they are unexecutable by default.

I am a developer and I have to send .exe files to our client and I send them renamed with instruction on how to rename back and run the exe.

Many spammers where sending files like "very good.jpg.exe" and people where falling in seeing the .jpg and clicking on the attachment to open the image file, instead were getting spoofed. These spammers switched to .js for it and most people do not understand what harm a nasty .js can do.

Gmail has now blocked that too, to protect its users.

Regards,

Anand

Rhiannon, all the recipient has to do is rename the extension back to the original (.exe or whatever) and it will now execute. Pukkie's trick has been used as a workaround for many years for IE.

Yes indeed, that is very true, and quite useful for those of us who want or need to do such things for various (non-nefarious) reasons. :)

What I was referring to was Google not letting certain files types through in case people click on them, thus making Gmail safer for most users, and that changing the file extension wouldn't allow a file to execute if sent via email and someone clicked on it. Sorry I didn't make that clearer.

Thanks very much for the link to Knowledge Stew. I too love finding out diverse facts.
Staggering to read of the cost of running a Hot Dog Stand in New York -Ground Rent only.
Yesterday I was at a Café in Auckland, NZ where a large sum had been spent on Fit Out costs and I was told Monthly Rent was NZ$38000 which seemed horrendous to me.

I'm glad you like it. I would never have guessed how much you'd have to pay for a place to park a hot dog cart, in New York City or anywhere else. I bet you'd need to sell a lot of hot dogs to cover the cost......... :)

Yes, you can surely rename files. If I recall correctly, renaming a file without keeping the original file extension makes it non workable - e.g. if you rename an .exe file to .old then the file, if clicked on, won't execute.

I don't think any program or application is entirely safe. I think this was put in place so that people don't inadvertently or unknowingly click an infected file. :)

Gmail safer? Just rename the extension in e.g. ".old", ".eee", and still it is not recognized as unsave.