Author Topic: Maybe I can learn from this...  (Read 395 times)

Mario

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Maybe I can learn from this...
« on: December 12, 2020, 03:09:46 PM »
<rant>
I've just noticed that the integrated help via <F1> etc. in my Office suite (Office 365) is no longer working.
I only get a generic "This command is not available. Your administrator has disabled a service that is required...".

WTF?

A bit of go-o-gling reveals that somebody at Microsoft has decided to link the help with their "connected experiences" feature and to force this change during an automated update.

File menu > Options > General > Privacy Settings

These feature "analyze" my content (aka what I write in Word or calculate in Excel) to provide rich experiences and improve their service and yada-yada.
It appears that if you don't want to send your content to the Microsoft AI for analysis, you are no longer allowed to use the integrated help system. Even if you use a paid/leased Office license!

Furthermore, they went all the way to make this extra funny:

There are 3 options:

Connected Experiences:

1. Allow Experiences which analyze your content (by sending your data to Microsoft)
2. Allow Experiences which download online content like templates and images (and what else)
3. Allow All Connected Experiences

1. and 2. are disabled until you enable 3. Wait. What?

When you enable Allow All Connected Experiences, you can enable/disable 1. and 2 individually.
But since have to tick "Allow all connected experiences" to disable them, which rule is in effect afterwards?
I'm unable to tell from the text on the page.

As as an act of pure sadism, they provide a link to the Microsoft Privacy Statement.
I've printed this to a PDF file. It produces a 70 printed pages (!) document in best lawyer language - which means that a team of lawyers can spend a week on each paragraph to figure out what it actually means for you in your country and situation...and how fu you are when it applies.
And there is a ton of links to related documents, and information about how this applies to the EU GDPR and the now illegal safe harbour agreement etc.

Interesting. So much to learn from these big tech companies...

Maybe I should give access to the IMatch help only for

- logged in users (so I know who you are)
- users who have telemetry enabled (so I know what you did)
- users who have no add blocker installed or disabled for photools.com (so I can make some extra money)
and
- play adds before showing the help page and also on the help page itself (selling information about you to ad networks and "partners" and make some extra money)
- ...

JUST KIDDING:

IMHO, forcing users to enable all kinds of telemetry and "spy on you" (phrased as "analyze your content") options in order to access the help/documentation for a software product they paid for must be made illegal.

</rant>
« Last Edit: December 12, 2020, 03:12:58 PM by Mario »

Carlo Didier

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Re: Maybe I can learn from this...
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2020, 04:22:34 PM »
I just checked this. As the third option was checked, I was able to un-check the first two and then the third too.
Effectively disabled F1 ...
Oh well, for the 0.5% of the features I use, I don't need F1 anyway  ;)

Mario

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Re: Maybe I can learn from this...
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2020, 04:54:21 PM »
You now get help for MS products easier and with more privacy  ::) by googling instead of pressing F1.
Strange times we live in.

StanRohrer

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Re: Maybe I can learn from this...
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2020, 05:30:24 PM »
Yes. But. Now Google is collecting all that info!  ;-)

DigPeter

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Re: Maybe I can learn from this...
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2020, 06:12:46 PM »
Is it necessary to use Office suite 365?  I do not.

Mario

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Re: Maybe I can learn from this...
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2020, 07:28:21 PM »
Is it necessary to use Office suite 365?  I do not.

Many do. When you work with commercial clients. When you have to exchange complex layouts.
I use LibreOffice as well. Scribus even. But my main workflow is Office, from Excel to Word to PowerPoint.

loweskid

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Re: Maybe I can learn from this...
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2020, 09:10:01 PM »
I've always used Lotus Smartsuite - still runs perfectly* on Win10 and does everything I want.  I've always found MS Office products to be over complicated.

*Except they've nobbled the old help file system but I still have an old computer running XP if I have to check up on anything.

Carlo Didier

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Re: Maybe I can learn from this...
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2020, 09:58:15 PM »
You now get help for MS products easier and with more privacy  ::) by googling instead of pressing F1.
Strange times we live in.
That's not new  :D
Many years ago already, when I was searching on Microsofts own Technet site, I often couldn't find anything. Entering the exact same search in Google usually found the right page on the Technet site within the first 3 hits ... go figure ...

Jingo

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Re: Maybe I can learn from this...
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2020, 02:03:52 PM »
For the limited number of times I need to access pure DOCX or XLS files - I find Libreoffice to be quite reliable and nice.  For everything else, notepad++ fills the bill.  I gave up on OFFICE a long time ago when it started to become bloatware and they switched over to the ribbon which I really do not like.  I have zero issue with companies gathering data about usage so long as a) they make it very clear exactly what they are gathering  b) they make it clear what they are doing with the data c) there is an easy way to opt in/out  and  d) your answers don't affect software use.  D is the big one in this case!!

Carlo Didier

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Re: Maybe I can learn from this...
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2020, 10:15:53 PM »
... the ribbon which I really do not like...
I don't like it either, though you get used to it and you don't have to use it. Switch it off and use the menus and keayboard shortcuts as before. At least, they left us with that choice.