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Windows 11 will roll out from October 5th as Microsoft hypes new hardware • The Register

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Microsoft has named October 5th as rollout day for Windows 11, but the company’s determination to support only relatively recent hardware will limit adoption.

General manager Aaron Woodman posted the new date, and said that it is “the first version of a new era of Windows,” highlighting its refreshed design, new Microsoft Store, and integration with Teams and Microsoft 365.

The rollout will be gradual, with the free upgrade coming first to “new eligible devices,” then to existing compatible models based on “hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, age of device and other factors that impact the upgrade experience.”

All supported devices should be offered the upgrade by mid-2022, he said.

Windows 11 will be available from October 5th

Windows 11 will be available from October 5th

Most of Woodman’s post is dedicated to hyping new PCs from Microsoft and its OEM partners, including models from Acer, Asus, Dell, Lenovo, and the company’s own Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 4.

Dell said in a press release that “starting October 5th, most PCs for sale on Dell.com will come with Windows 11 pre-installed. Business PC users may purchase Windows 10 Pro preinstall with Windows 11 Pro license included, allowing you to upgrade to Windows 11 Pro when ready.”

Last week Microsoft released build 22000.168 to its Windows Insiders community, with new features including a Microsoft 365 widget, which brings “relevant documents, news and meeting recordings to enterprise users.” This widget will appear only for PCs where the user has signed in with an Azure Active Directory account.

Freshen up… or else…

The sting in the tail of Woodman’s post, though, is the note that says “certain features require specific hardware; see our Windows 11 specifications page for more information.”

In this case, “certain features” includes not being supported at all on PCs which lack a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) 2.0 chip or which do not have a supported processor, with most 7th generation Intel CPUs excluded. Intel introduced these in early 2017 and discontinued them in April 2020.

“For customers who are using a PC that won’t upgrade, and who aren’t ready to transition to a new device, Windows 10 is the right choice. We will support Windows 10 through October 14, 2025 and we recently announced that the next feature update to Windows 10 is coming later this year,” said Woodman. Many users will want to be on the latest version though, and the insistence on recent devices sits uncomfortably at a time of both component shortages, and increased awareness of the ecological benefits of extending the lifetime of hardware.

Microsoft has also caused confusion with its mixed messaging on whether enthusiasts can in fact install Windows 11 on unsupported PCs by using the Media Creation Tool or downloading an ISO image. It seems that this will work, but possibly at the expense of not receiving security patches, a dealbreaker for many.

Windows Insiders have observed that the preview versions work fine on many older PCs, making the Redmond company’s refusal to bend its hardware requirements puzzling. In a recent post on the subject, Microsoft focused on security, but unless users do in fact bin their existing PCs, users that cannot run Windows 11 will simply run Windows 10 instead and perhaps be even less secure.

Unrealistic system requirements, along with doubts about capabilities missing in the new Start menu and taskbar, are the most persistent complaints from those previewing Windows 11, though it has also won praise for its fresh appearance and cleaner design. ®

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NFT trader OpenSea bans insider trading after employee rakes in profit | Non-fungible tokens (NFTs)

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A non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace has introduced policies to ban insider trading, after an executive at the company was discovered to be buying artworks shortly before they were promoted on the site’s front page.

OpenSea, one of the leading sites for trading the digital assets, will now prevent team members buying or selling from featured collections and from using confidential information to trade NFTs. Neither practice was previously banned.

“Yesterday we learned that one of our employees purchased items that they knew were set to display on our front page before they appeared there publicly,” said Devin Finzer, the co-founder and chief executive of the site.

“This is incredibly disappointing. We want to be clear that this behaviour does not represent our values as a team. We are taking this very seriously and are conducting an immediate and thorough third-party review of this incident so that we have a full understanding of the facts and additional steps we need to take.”

NFTs are digital assets whose ownership is recorded and traced using a bitcoin-style blockchain. The NFT market boomed earlier this year as celebrities including Grimes, Andy Murray and Sir Tim Berners-Lee sold collectibles and artworks using the format. But the underlying technology has questionable utility, with some dismissing the field as a purely speculative bubble.

The insider trading came to light thanks to the public nature of the Ethereum blockchain, on which most NFT trades occur. Crypto traders noticed that an anonymous user was regularly buying items from the public marketplace shortly before they were promoted on the site’s front page, a prestigious slot that often brings significant interest from would-be buyers. The anonymous user would then sell the assets on, making vast sums in a matter of hours.

One trade, for instance, saw an artwork called Spectrum of a Ramenification Theory bought for about £600. It was then advertised on the front page and sold on for $4,000 a few hours later.

One Twitter user, ZuwuTV, linked the transactions to the public wallet of Nate Chastain, OpenSea’s head of product, demonstrating, using public records, that the profits from the trades were sent back to a wallet owned by Chastain.

While some, including ZuwuTV, described the process as “insider trading”, the loosely regulated market for NFTs has few restrictions on what participants can do. Some critics argue that even that terminology demonstrates that the sector is more about speculation than creativity.

“The fact that people are responding to this as insider trading shows that this is securities trading (or just gambling), not something designed to support artists,” said Anil Dash, the chief executive of the software company Glitch. “There are no similar public statements when artists get ripped off on the platform.

“If Etsy employees bought featured products from creators on their platform (or Patreon or Kickstarter workers backed new creators etc) that’d be great! Nobody would balk. Because they’d be supporting their goal,” Dash added.



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British home computer trailblazer dies aged 81 • The Register

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Sir Clive Sinclair died on Thursday at home in London after a long illness, his family said today. He was 81.

The British entrepreneur is perhaps best known for launching the ZX range of 8-bit microcomputers, which helped bring computing, games, and programming into UK homes in the 1980s, at least. This included the ZX80, said to be the UK’s first mass-market home computer for under £100, the ZX81, and the trusty ZX Spectrum. A whole generation grew up in Britain mastering coding on these kinds of systems in their bedrooms.

And before all that, Sir Clive founded Sinclair Radionics, which produced amplifiers, calculators, and watches, and was a forerunner to his Spectrum-making Sinclair Research. The tech pioneer, who eventually sold his computing biz to Amstrad, was knighted during his computing heyday, in 1983.

“He was a rather amazing person,” his daughter, Belinda Sinclair, 57, told The Guardian this evening. “Of course, he was so clever and he was always interested in everything. My daughter and her husband are engineers so he’d be chatting engineering with them.”

Sir Clive is survived by Belinda, his sons, Crispin and Bartholomew, aged 55 and 52 respectively, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. ®

A full obit will follow on The Register.

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UN human rights chief raises concerns over AI privacy violations in report

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‘AI tech can have negative, even catastrophic, effects if they are used without sufficient regard to how they affect people’s human rights.’

The UN’s human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called for a moratorium on the sale and use of artificial intelligence technology until safeguards are put in place to prevent potential human rights violations.

Bachelet made the appeal on Wednesday (15 September) to accompany a report released by the UN’s Human Rights Office, which analysed how AI systems affect people’s right to privacy. The violation of their privacy rights had knock-on impacts on other rights such as rights to health, education and freedom of movement, the report found.

“Artificial intelligence can be a force for good, helping societies overcome some of the great challenges of our times. But AI technologies can have negative, even catastrophic, effects if they are used without sufficient regard to how they affect people’s human rights,” Bachelet said.

“Artificial intelligence now reaches into almost every corner of our physical and mental lives and even emotional states,” Bachelet added.

Japanese multinational Fujitsu caused a stir when it announced plans to implement AI facial recognition technology to monitor employees’ concentration levels during meetings.

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The report was critical of justice systems which had made wrongful arrests because of flawed facial recognition tools. It appealed to countries to ban any AI tools which did not meet international human rights standards. A 2019 study from the UK found that 81pc of suspects flagged by the facial recognition technology used by London’s Metropolitan Police force were innocent.

Earlier this year, Canada banned Clearview’s AI facial recognition technology after the company violated Canadian privacy laws by collecting facial images of Canadians without their consent.

Bachelet also highlighted the report’s concerns on the future use of data once it has been collected and stored, calling it “one of the most urgent human rights questions we face.”

The UN’s report echoes previous appeals made by European data protection regulators.

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) and the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) called for a ban on facial recognition in public places in June. They urged EU lawmakers to consider banning the use of such technology in public spaces, after the European Commission released its proposed regulations on the matter.

The EU’s proposed regulations did not recommend an outright ban. The commission instead emphasised the importance of creating “trustworthy AI.”

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