HP “Extended Capabilities”

I’ve just installed some printer drivers for an HP Officejet at work. Half way through, the installer popped up a question: Do you want to install HP Extended Capabilities? Well, I have no idea what they are, so I clicked on “More information”. This is what it said:

This software can help you get additional benefits only available to HP printer customers.

Once this software is installed, you will have an opportunity to help HP design new and better products by participating in brief surveys. An invitation will appear later on your screen and you can choose whether or not to participate.

You may receive invitations for special programs designed to help customers who do a lot of printing.

HP highly recommends that you install today since this will not be offered at a later date.

Participation is completely voluntary. This program will provide a full disclosure at the time of invitation. If at that time you choose to participate, the software may occasionally connect to HP when you are online, but will have a negligible impact on processing and connection speed. Personal information is never sent to HP unless you give permission. IP address will be used only to enable the connection and for security purposes. This software is governed by the HP Privacy Policy

So it transpires that “Extended Capabilities” is marketing speak for “Spam Me Harder, Please!” I don’t think so.


OpenSSH & zsh misfeature

For a while, I’ve been using a little trick that I found on the zsh wiki (CompletionExamples) to automatically turn my known_hosts file into a set of host names. Unfortunately, the latest Ubuntu upgrade has turned on a new feature of OpenSSH, HashKnownHosts (detailed in ssh_config(5)). Unfortunately, this breaks the parsing because the hostnames are no longer stored in the known_hosts file.

The simple workaround, in my case, was to stick HashKnownHosts no into /etc/ssh/ssh_config. And now everything’s back to normal.

Update: As Aristotle points out below, this is definitely a trade off of security vs convenience. Don’t do it if you’re not happy with the consequences.