Disable Java’s “Sponsored Offers” Automatically for All Users

The only thing worse than Java and its many security issues, is its incredibly crappy and outdated update scheme. The lack of an automated background update service as well as requiring user intervention for every Java security update is simply unforgivable in 2016. I mean, if Adobe can do it with Flash… anyone can do it, guys.

But, what really adds insult to injury is the fact that Oracle is still up to their old tricks of trying to trick unaware users (who are in a hurry) into installing crap ware, and/or changing settings during the update. Security updates that include opt-out “Sponsored Offers” is really just a fucked up and unprofessional business practice.

Thankfully gone is the Ask Toolbar bundled software. Replaced now with an offer to make Yahoo your home page and default search engine. I could go into rant mode about this at this point, but I won’t…

Any IT manager will tell you that keeping Java up to date on your network is a nightmare alone without having to worry about clueless users installing garbage by mistake.

Now, there an option to check in advanced settings that will disable these offers, but this setting seems to now be user specific now rather than PC specific. And who has the time or inclination to worry about that check box on hundreds of PCs?

There were also registry keys that worked well to change this setting in the past, but no longer do. In fact, it seems like Oracle has intentionally made automating this setting change more arcane with the hopes of duping a few more users.

After battling with this for a while I finally discovered a way to automatically make the change on the PCs in my Windows 7 domain so that the so-called sponsored offers are disabled. The change I am now pushing out is surprisingly simple, which made me surprised that I did not find it on the internet, but rather had to mostly figure it out on my own.

Anyway, the suppress sponsor check box under advanced options is currently controlled by a single config (.CFG) file. I found it after finding many other files and registry keys that have what looks like an option to suppress sponsors, but don’t actually do anything when modified.

The file that worked for me was C:\ProgramData\Oracle\Java\java.settings.cfg

The file is literally a blank document, until I check the box to suppress sponsored offers, it was then filled with a very simple SPONSORS=0 line. Copying this updated config file to the same location on other PCs checked the box for me and seems to even work for all users that log into that PC after that.

At that point, it is a simple matter of copying that file onto all the PCs you want to make the change on via the user’s login scripts or whatever other method you would like, and they will not get the Yahoo offer any more! At least until this is changed around again…

It is a simple fix, but as I said I found nothing out there about it while searching on how to disable the sponsored offers programmatically on the newest Java releases, so hopefully this will help some other IT specialists out there and keep a few pennies out of Oracle and Yahoo’s pockets.

Because seriously, fuck them for this still being a problem I have to deal with.

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Another reason to not live in California

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten to bust out the “reasons the world should end” tag:

California is currently being pinned down by a massive $19 billion state deficit, and as a result, the financially stricken state has introduced a bill that would allocate resources to research electronic license plates as a possible revenue generation source.

The bill at this time is far from being an approval of the technology, but rather the first official step at determining several factors, including whether the technology would be viable, if it would be cost effective and especially if it would be safe, according to the Associated Press.

The plate, in theory, would function like a normal license plate while the vehicle was in motion by displaying the normal license plate numbers and letters – albeit digitally – but once the vehicle was stopped for four seconds it would then begin to display an advertisement in a portion of the plate. For law enforcement reasons, the plate would still display the license plate number in a smaller portion.

“We’re just trying to find creative ways of generating additional revenues,” said Democratic Sen. Curren Price of Los Angeles. “It’s an exciting marriage of technology with need, and an opportunity to keep California in the forefront.”

In addition to being a revenue source, the plates would also be capable of being used to display Amber Alerts as well. Price also suggested that other states are also looking into the technology as well, but the Senator suggested the California Department of Motor Vehicles would likely be the first to implement its use.

Electronic plate already in the works?
According to the AP, at least one firm is already hard at work developing a plate to fit the bill. Smart Plate, based in San Francisco, California, says that they have begun development of an electronic plate, but have not yet reached production. They said if the bill were to be passed it would allow them to team up with the DMV to continue development.

M. Conrad Johnson, Smart Plate’s CEO, also told the AP that he saw potential in the plates for other uses, such as giving drivers the ability to display their own custom messages such as their favorite sports team or alama mater. “The idea is not to turn a motorist’s vehicle into a mobile billboard, but rather to create a platform for motorists to show their support for existing good working organizations,” he said.

This is an enormously stupid idea. Not just from the point of view of a person who loathes the pungent sea of advertisements we already have to wade through in our daily lives, but also from the point of view of anyone with half a brain. Let me see if I understand their train of thought… “Our state is leaking money like a fucking fire hose, let spend more money on stupid crap!” I know that throwing our tax dollars haphazardly at stupid shit we’d never spend it on ourselves is basically the definition of government, but this one is comical.

Via LLN

-Dave out

No more Linux support for PS3

On April 1, Sony will release the next firmware update for the PS3, bringing it to v3.21. It seems the sole purpose of this update is to remove the “install other OS” feature from pre-Slim models of the console. SCEA’s Senior Director Corporate Communications & Social Media, Patrick Seybold, says the move is “due to security concerns”.

Sony is quick to point out the install is “optional”, but then, if you refuse to upgrade, you’ll no longer be able to sign into the PlayStation Network or play any PS3 games (or Blu-Rays) that require v3.21 (or higher). So no, for many people, it’s not really optional.

This of course doesn’t affect owners of a “Slim” PS3, as the feature was never present in that model in the first place.

People who already have Linux installed and choose to receive the v3.21 update should move any relevant stuff somewhere else, as they “will not be able to access that data following the update”.

Via Kotaku

This doesn’t really mean anything to us, but it sucks for those that used the feature. I suspect that Sony discovered a security hole, or just are concerned by even the slight possibility of opening up the system to hacking and bootlegging of the games.

The PS3 is a notoriously secure system to date, but clearly Sony fears people using Linux for evil purposes either way. I wonder how long until the first string of popular games require this firmware update for no other reason than to slowly force it on the masses. Granted, for the majority of players, loss of PSN access is already enough to force their hand.

-Dave out

Gene Simmons’ son rips off Bleach

Yep you read that title correctly, Kiss member Gene Simmons’ son Nick Simmons draws a graphic novel. One with a very heavy manga/anime art style. That seems pretty badass, right? Only one problem, fans are claiming (with some pretty damning evidence) that his graphic novel, Incarnate, is a blatant ripoff of Bleach, Hellsing as well as other manga titles:

According to ANN, the publisher of Incarnate, Radical Publishing, has halted production of Simmons’ graphic novel to investigate. Viz Media, who publishes the English language version of Tite Kubo’s manga Bleach says it will be investigating. Kinda funny really. The dude clearly has some talent (assuming he actually hand drew all these),  so why plagiarize  these other works?

-Dave out

Chrysler dealer sues customer over low price

A Chrysler dealer has filed a lawsuit against a customer that purchased a Pacifica from them – for allegedly paying too little. The dealer alleges that the price paid was due to a clerical error, and is seeking the full price in their lawsuit.

Wasler Chrysler, a dealership in Hopkins, Minnesota, has filed a lawsuit against a customer that purchased a 2007 Chrysler Pacifica at the end of her two-year lease for $11,639. The lawsuit claims that the price the woman paid was $7,000 lower than what they wanted, and they are seeking either the difference in price, or that she returns the car.

The deal took place in October 2009, and the dealership claims that it notified the buyer two weeks after the sale that it had discovered a clerical error. According to James Eli Shiffer, of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the papers the buyer signed were for a deal that priced the car $6,000 below KBB value. Wasler Chrysler is seeking not $6,000, but an additional $7,000 from the buyer in order to complete the sale, according to their lawsuit.

“She was told several times what the [correct] price was,” said Doug Sprinthall, vehicle operations director for Walser Automotive Group. “We made a clerical error.”

The owner doesn’t see it that way, and said, “You can’t sell someone something and then come back and say: ‘Whoops, I made a mistake. You have to pay more.’ ”

Since the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran the story both the dealership and the vehicle’s owner have been inundated with phone calls according to a New York Times article. The owner of the car says she has been receiving calls from strangers offering their support – and the dealership has been getting similar calls – also backing the vehicle’s buyer.

Sprinthall, a spokesman for the Chrysler dealership said, “We don’t make a habit of suing customers. I think we’ll work it out, and we’ll move on.”

Sprinthall added, “We’re attempting to negotiate this out with Tammie right now.”

The vehicle owner says an attorney from the dealership contacted her this week, but no resolution has been reached.

Via LLN

I don’t see what the legal recourse is for the dealer coming after her after all the papers have been signed. They fucked up, the fuck up was on all the papers signed by both parties. End of story, she got away with the money. Do you think if she had paid $7000 too much, she would be able to sue the dealer after all is said and done?

Don’t buy Chrysler

-Dave out

End of The “Tonight” Show?

Conan O’Brien released a statement Tuesday saying that he no longer wanted to be the host of “The Tonight Show” on NBC if it appeared at 12:05 a.m.

Mr. O’Brien’s brief run as host at 11:35 p.m. is to be cut short next month, as NBC decided to restore his predecessor, Jay Leno, to that time period. Mr. O’Brien has been growing increasingly upset in recent days about how he believes he was treated by NBC’s management.

A representative for Mr. O’Brien said Tuesday that the issue came to a head for the host on Monday and that he had “sat up all night drafting the statement.” NBC, whose “Tonight Show” has been broadcast at 11:35 p.m. for decades, declined to comment. Mr. O’Brien was scheduled to do “The Tonight Show” on Tuesday night.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Mr. O’Brien said, “I sincerely believe that delaying the ‘Tonight Show’ into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. ‘The Tonight Show’ at 12:05 simply isn’t the ‘Tonight Show.’”

Mr. O’Brien’s comments came two days after NBC formally outlined a plan to move “The Jay Leno Show” to 11:35 p.m. in March, elbowing Mr. O’Brien’s “Tonight Show” back half an hour. Mr. Leno seems supportive of the plan. In his statement, Mr. O’Brien rejects it outright.

After 16 years of making a name with his distinctive brand of intellectually silly comedy on the “Late Night” show on NBC, Mr. O’Brien replaced Mr. Leno as the host of “The Tonight Show” a mere seven months ago. He is just the fifth man to lead “Tonight,” after Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson and Mr. Leno.

Mr. Leno, meanwhile, moved to prime time in September as the host of “The Jay Leno Show.” But the 10 p.m. experiment was a bust for many NBC affiliates, which have seen the ratings for their late local newscasts plummet.

Amid mounting pressure to scrap the talk show, NBC announced on Sunday that Mr. Leno’s last show at 10 p.m. would be Feb. 11, and indicated that “The Jay Leno Show” would be shown at 11:35 p.m. instead. NBC will begin showing the Winter Olympics the next day, setting the stage for a new schedule on March 1. But the network acknowledged that day that Mr. O’Brien was not yet on board with the move.

Ever since the Leno-to-11:35 move was described in the news media last Thursday, people close to Mr. O’Brien have said privately that he is upset with the plan.

So Leno fails, and they want to change the time slot to accommodate him? Not that I really watch either show, but it just seems like a d-bag move to me. Not only are they screwing over Conan, but they want to change a time slot that has been as such for so long?

Read the whole thing (including Conan’s statement) here

– Dave out

Nissan sues former NFL star

Only in America:

A new report reveals Nissan is in currently in a legal battle with former NFL star Deuce McAllister over a failed dealership in Jackson, Mississippi.

According to court records, Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. is suing McAllister and his company, Deuce McAllister Motors LLC, for more than $1.5 million. NMAC claims McAllister’s dealership defaulted on a number of payments in 2008 and also exceeded its credit limit.

In response, McAllister has filed a countersuit against NMAC, claiming Nissan did little to help the dealership survive and allowed McAllister to open the store in an area that was primed for failure. McAllister’s court filing, unearthed by the Associated Press, claims Nissan knew he “was a young professional athlete inexperienced in the motor vehicle sales business”. McAllister operated a used car dealership prior to opening his Nissan store.

It remains unclear how much cash McAllister is countersuing for, but his court filing says he is seeking money for “incurred damage to his business relationships and reputation, and mental anguish and anxiety.”

Neither side seems to be backing down, so expect to hear more on this court case in the coming months.

Via LLN

So, Nissan is responsible for telling a dealership where a “bad” area to open is? If some random jackass (in this case some famous random jackass) that doesn’t know shit about selling cars opens a dealership that fails due to poor business practices, the parent company has to eat the loss?

I don’t claim to know exactly how the dealership-corporation relationship works, but normally you are suppose to pay what you owe when you fuck up. Oh wait… that’s right, in America you are rewarded for being a dumbass with your money. Never mind. Carry on.

-Dave out