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  • Patch Lady – why can’t Surface devices have the BEST experience?

    Posted on Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Patch Lady – why can’t Surface devices have the BEST experience?

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      • #2297701 Reply
        Susan Bradley
        AskWoody MVP

        So why can’t Surface devices have the absolute BEST patching experience EVER? Instead… After installing driver updates from Intel, offered up to me
        [See the full post at: Patch Lady – why can’t Surface devices have the BEST experience?]

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady

        7 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2297790 Reply
        AngryJohnny75
        AskWoody Lounger

        It’s probably the Surface Firmware update that caused the BitLocker prompt. One would think that if the firmware is being updated, the system should be smart enough to automatically suspend BitLocker first. I know from experience that tools from other manufacturers such as Dell Command Update and HP Support Assistant automatically do this. I guess in 2020 Microsoft still hasn’t figured out how to do this through Windows Update yet. If this always happens with Surface devices, I feel for the user who doesn’t know what to do when they get this prompt.

        • #2297804 Reply
          zasdman
          AskWoody Plus

          I came here to say this too…

          When the firmware is updated it actually regenerates a new TPM code thus breaking existing Bitlocker relationship.

          Had a tech where I work that decided to update the BIOS in the middle of a Bitlocker encryption…  that was fun…

      • #2297806 Reply
        nvaert1986
        AskWoody Lounger

        This is definitely caused by the Surface Firmware. Most other vendors suspend BitLocker before upgrading the system firmware and re-enable it after the firmware update is completed, due to this misery. I’ve had to re-install my old machine 2 or 3x in the past due to this happening on an old Lenovo ThinkPad W530, which didn’t perform such a check either when performing a firmware update (via Lenovo System Update or installing the update manually) and the recovery key simply didn’t work (luckily I make back-ups of my files on the regular).

        This is one of the many (and main) reasons that the company I work for does not recommend using this software and we’re recommending customers to use other 3rd party encryption software (ESET Endpoint Encryption Pro in our case), as BitLocker is nice for very basic encryption, but as soon as you want a bit of flexibility or want to have a back-up method to access your files, you’re simply locked out, when you’re using the device in standalone mode.

        Using Linux with a LUKS2 /home partition myself, which does work and which I can mount universally on any Linux distribution, by simply entering the password or using my key file.

      • #2297829 Reply
        John
        AskWoody Lounger

        The expectation is that when you design a devices and are responsible for the OS that it runs and even some core apps. That you would be similar to Apple where you can provide a premium device experience because you control so much.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2297865 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Check PCR 7?

        Cause

        This behavior can occur in the following scenario:

          • BitLocker is enabled and configured to use Platform Configuration Register (PCR) values other than the default values of PCR 7 and PCR 11, for example when:

            • Secure Boot is turned off.

        PCR values have been explicitly defined, such as by Group Policy.

        You install a firmware update that updates the firmware of the device TPM or changes the signature of the system firmware. For example, you install the Surface dTPM (IFX) update.

        Note You can verify the PCR values that are in use on a device by running the following command from an elevated command prompt:

        manage-bde.exe -protectors -get <OSDriveLetter>:

        Note PCR 7 is a requirement for devices that support Connected Standby (also known as InstantGO or Always On, Always Connected PCs), including Surface devices.

        Prompted for BitLocker recovery key after installing updates to Surface UEFI or TPM firmware on Surface device

        • #2297976 Reply
          Susan Bradley
          AskWoody MVP

          I’ll check but it’s a machine not on group policy.  Then for my PERFECT experience in patching anytime it sees a firmware update it should check and say “Hey, I need to probably have your bitlocker key handy…”  A little communication goes a long way.

          Susan Bradley Patch Lady

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2298110 Reply
          Susan Bradley
          AskWoody MVP

          PCR Validation profile:  7, 11 and again, no group policy. So as I read it nothing (in theory) should have triggered this.

          Susan Bradley Patch Lady

      • #2297912 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Maybe because MS is putting too much effort into silliness such as convincing users the word “experience” can be plopped into any sentence and can be used as any part of speech. It’s misused so badly and so often, I overlook correct usage.

        It’s impossible for any company to sell or provide an experience.  Trite, yes but MS should be focusing on devices that work correctly and not techspeak gibberish.  Encryption is a big problem if you have to jump through hoops to be confident it will do what it’s supposed to do.  Just one of myriad issues MS’s thin, hot notebooks experience (there, it belongs!)

        In decades of using numerous Windows business laptops with encrypted drives, I never experienced (!) a BitLocker issue. None of those laptops were made by MS; they have been IBM, Dell and Lenovo machines.  Not a fan of what seems to be middle schoolers making decisions at MS today; too much phone culture nonsense.

      • #2297926 Reply
        Noel Carboni
        AskWoody_MVP

        Security is the antithesis of convenience.

        If you don’t want to protect your system/data from yourself, then don’t use encryption.

        Yes, I understand that the above is too simplistic and that there are reasons you want to use encryption. You just have to weigh the risk and cost of such failures against the risk of loss.

        There is a difference between what could be and what is. The golden age of computing, where making things work was job 1, has come and gone, unfortunately.

        -Noel

        • #2297977 Reply
          Susan Bradley
          AskWoody MVP

          By default when you set up a Surface device with either a 365 account or a Microsoft account bitlocker is turned on during the OOBE process.

          Susan Bradley Patch Lady

          • #2298053 Reply
            Noel Carboni
            AskWoody_MVP

            All the same (good) reasons for using a local account still seem to exist. It is most certainly possible to run a system from a local account, even in a corporate environment. And of course no one in authority is going to tell you not to encrypt your data! More security is always better, right?

            W/regard to doing things Microsoft’s way by default, well, that has never been the best way, at least not in every case. One still has to think for oneself to take one’s own computing to the next level.

            FWIW, I use local accounts on all my systems, even corporate ones. It’s quite doable, much as Microsoft tries to hide the option. You just log into the services you use separately. Office works. Corporate servers work. It simply doesn’t suit Microsoft’s business goals for everyone to work independently of their account management. Whether it suits one’s own goals is an entirely different thing. They clearly don’t want you in control of your own system at all at some future time. “As A Service”

            It certainly DOES require some effort to maintain multiple computer systems that you use. I haven’t tried synchronizing settings using a Microsoft account. I presume there may be some advantages on the face of it, but given the fact that a one computer system IS invariably physically different from another, a hope that a roaming profile is just going to make everything magically work in an integrated way is false at some level.

            My opinion on this issue is that if you feel you must have Bitlocker level security on your boot volume, then you should be prepared for some extra trouble. It’s no surprise that making system updates within such a constraint isn’t perfectly integrated.

            I imagine that Microsoft might say that their implementation is good enough – you overcame the problems yourself, after all!

            -Noel

            1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2297943 Reply
        Bob99
        AskWoody Plus

        Situations such as this one are the single biggest reason I have never taken advantage of full disk encryption…just a little too easy to get inadvertently “locked out of” your data with a PITA (as Susan described) to get back in.

        I have encrypted files on an individual basis, and they’re kept off the main computer once encrypted. I have also backed up my encryption key to a different medium separate from the encrypted files.

        Because of this, I currently have no real need for full drive encryption…too easy to louse it up when you’re not thinking just right, let alone when a vendor doesn’t set things up right like MS did with the Surface device of Susan’s.

        At least MS “fessed up” and provided the article mentioned in anonymous’ post number 2297865 above. Problem is,es how do you find it when you’ve got a computer that’s locked up because of this snafu (especially if it’s your only computer)??

        Bit locker sounds like it’s so seamless when it’s working, you could forget it’s running until it’s too late to recover from your temporary lack of sanity.  😉

        • #2297978 Reply
          Susan Bradley
          AskWoody MVP

          Rule of working with Windows computers – you never have just *one* computer.

          Susan Bradley Patch Lady

        • #2298569 Reply
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          Because of this, I currently have no real need for full drive encryption

          But what if you have to use it? In the personal PC, its not required, but imagine top managers travelling a lot and their devices could be stolen. In this case, we are obliged to encrypt the disk. Otherwise auditors will be very disapointed..

          I dont use bitlocker at home, I use it only in corporate environment. And I print out the key on paper and store it into locker. And also save it on the backed up network drive.

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

      • #2297991 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Our dear Patch Lady asks: “Why can’t Surface devices have the best experience? And then goes on to tell her own tale of Surface woes.

        The answer to her question is really very simple:

        Because if MS Surface devices gave the best experience, they would be called Macs.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2298064 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          Our dear Patch Lady asks: “Why can’t Surface devices have the best experience? And then goes on to tell her own tale of Surface woes. The answer to her question is really very simple: Because if MS Surface devices gave the best experience, they would be called Macs.

          I think she was asking why Surface devices can’t have the best experience of any Windows device.

          I think the answer to that is that Microsoft doesn’t write Windows for Surface devices the way Apple writes MacOS for Macs. Microsoft still has to engineer Windows to work on a broad variety of hardware, a burden that Apple does not share, so there will be “universal” solutions in code in many places where a Mac would have something written just for the hardware.

          MS could create a special branch of Windows that aims to be specifically aimed at giving a Mac-like level of synergy between the OS and the hardware, but that would represent a great deal of development cost for a small slice of the Windows devices sold, and MS has been all about cost-cutting when it comes to Windows. I mean, they got rid of their professional beta testers! What better example could there be?

          If MS ever did decide to create such a special branch of Windows for Surfaces, I can imagine that the other OEMs that make Windows devices would be annoyed that MS would be pushing such a poor patching experience for the non-MS devices, then making a special improved one for their own hardware. MS already ticked off a lot of OEMs by getting into the hardware market and competing with its own direct customers and supposed partners, an obvious conflict of interest, and now they would be doing just as the other OEMs feared– they’d be favoring their own hardware products with a better version of the OS than any of the other OEMs could have. It would not be long before the other OEMs would be making claims of illegal monopolistic behavior to the various governments of the world.

           

          Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux, User Edition).

          2 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2298085 Reply
            ve2mrx
            AskWoody Plus

            I think it shows that MS handles Surface devices like any other manufacturer device would be handled.

            They seem to have no privilege above other manufacturers, and the Surface unit is less experienced than other big name manufacturers hence the issues?

          • #2298229 Reply
            OscarCP
            AskWoody Plus

            Ascaris: “MS already ticked off a lot of OEMs by getting into the hardware market and competing with its own direct customers and supposed partners, an obvious conflict of interest, and now they would be doing just as the other OEMs feared– they’d be favoring their own hardware products with a better version of the OS than any of the other OEMs could have.”

            Quite true, except that given a, by now, long-established precedent, I would dare say that MS favoring their own hardware with a better version of their OS (i.e. Windows) than they allow other OEMs to install in their own machines would mean that, at MS, they are able to make an actually better version of Windows… Hmmmm.

            Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

          • #2299555 Reply
            Still Anonymous
            AskWoody Lounger

            I think this sort-of touches the core issue, but not quite.

            To me, it comes down to how Surface fits into Microsoft’s overall product mix.  Not counting what they’re doing with peripherals or XBox, Microsoft is still a software company, and their view of the world is that they are producing Windows systems, and outsourcing the hardware to other vendors.

            Some of it may be related to the issue of myriad of hardware combinations available, and that’s not trivial.  However, my impression of  Surface is that it belongs predominantly to the marketing people, and where their vision of Surface is more similar to what Google is doing with Pixel — as an example of the state-of-the-art of Microsoft offerings, and what they want other manufacturers to emulate.  That’s very much in line with the “windows as a service” and short life cycles of Windows semi-annual releases, where the trailing edge is pretty recent, and where developers can’t ignore new features and capacities for long, using the excuse “nobody has that feature”.

            For Microsoft, I’m convinced that the customers that they’re selling Surface to are predominantly not end-users, but the major manufacturers, as a way of getting them to implement Microsoft’s vision.   In that perspective, what comes out the door *is* the finished product, and it’s not entirely surprising that commitment to ongoing support lags.  If Marketing owns the product, they’re focused on the user experience out of the box, and by the time that support issues come along, they have already moved on to the Next Big Thing, and pretty indifferent about supporting (or providing resources for support)  what’s already been sold.

      • #2298010 Reply
        Fred
        AskWoody Plus

        Our dear Patch Lady asks: “Why can’t Surface devices have the best experience? And then goes on to tell her own tale of Surface woes.

        The answer to her question is really very simple:

        Because if MS Surface devices gave the best experience, they would be called Macs.

        This leaves a next question: when will computing become about quality & safety? Will we live the day this becomes the main driver of computing business?

        ~ ~ ~
      • #2298013 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        when will computing become about quality & safety?

        …and Privacy.

      • #2297997 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Because if MS Surface devices gave the best experience, there would be antitrust lawsuit from other PC vendors, or no 3rd parties would license Windows. MS is a business enterprise, not a tech enterprise.

        • #2298177 Reply
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Anonymous: “… there would be antitrust lawsuit from other PC vendors …“I find some difficulty understanding this point already made more than once here, so perhaps it needs to be explained a bit more for my benefit and that of those who might share my limitations:

          When it comes to “Surface”, MS is the OEM, same as Apple is of Macs. Why there should be grounds for suing MS (except for the usual frivolous time-waster ones) if MS made a different proprietary version of Windows meant only for its own devices? And it is not like “Surface” is even fated to be a big deal amongst laptops. What is the difference here between “Surface” and any other computer some business might want to make and sell running its own proprietary OS optimized for the devices? What if MS called the software “Swodniw” instead of “Windows”?

          And if the OS still is bad old Windows and called this way, do all the bits and pieces of software needed to fine tune the OS to the “Surface” laptop need to be a part of the OS?

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2298570 Reply
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          Because if MS Surface devices gave the best experience…

          …then they could prove themselfs as really valuable and able company! This patching failure shows the real face of Microsoft.

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

      • #2298044 Reply
        Fred
        AskWoody Plus

        when will computing become about quality & safety?

        …and Privacy.

        to me:  privacy is automaticly a part of safety [GDPR & Safe Computing (f.i. https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/10-tips-for-safe-computing) ]

        ~ ~ ~
        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2298108 Reply
        ve2mrx
        AskWoody Plus

        I steer very clear of BitLocker because of what I read here and a few other places.

        I prefer to use a BIOS password/fingerprint with a disk password on an always-encrypting SSD. Check if your drives are self-encrypting and use that instead!

        My Lenovo ThinkPad P52 came with an always-on self-encrypting SSD and a non-encrypting password-able HDD. I just enabled password protection on them! It is transparent to the OS.

        To me, BitLocker is antiquated technology that was useful when self-encrypting drives didn’t exist.

        • #2298163 Reply
          mn–
          AskWoody Lounger

          Meh, BitLocker isn’t bad for a basic-level thing… as long as you set it up right and take care of your recovery key.

          BIOS password protection is nice until you lose the BIOS half of the thing, for a firmware upgrade or just plain hardware breakage (in the latter case you’d use some other PC to get access to your storage devices).

          Since in many cases the SED key is actually stored in the TPM, anything that overwrites or breaks the TPM may lose the data. (Keep good backups…)

          So… yeah. Can you hard-deactivate the TPM on those Surface devices so it can’t do that?

          BitLocker can at least be told to not use the TPM, even if the setting is hard to find. Security-conscious organizations around here tend to have that as a policy. (And may also have a policy to hard-deactivate the TPM – hardware where that can’t be done may even be disallowed.)

          • #2298314 Reply
            ve2mrx
            AskWoody Plus

            For self-encrypting drives, the encryption key is internally generated and kept in secure storage inside the controller. When you pass the right password to the drive, this key is unlocked and the drive can be accessed. If you don’t set a password, the controller fetches the key on power on. The data is still encrypted, only the key isn’t locked by a password.

            The key isn’t accessible except to the controller.

            I’ve updated my ThinkPad BIOS a bunch of times without having to re-register my fingerprints or BIOS passwords. Switching Windows 10 installation (I multi-boot sometimes) messes up the fingerprints, but not the BIOS passwords or disk passwords. I guess Lenovo knows something Microsoft doesn’t?

      • #2298167 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        So why can’t Surface devices have the absolute BEST patching experience EVER?

        Because nothing MS did/developed since day one was ever the BEST.

        KIN, ZUNE, Danger, Band, Windows CE, Windows Phone, Windows RT, Windows Mobile, Windows 10 Mobile, Window 10, Kinect, Surface…

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2298572 Reply
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          Agreed. The last thing MSFT did right was MSFT table. Does somebody remember this device? 🙂
          Search youtube for the video, its called “Microsoft Surface Parody” (prepare to laugh) I dont want to post youtube link here. But the truth is, that this device really existed! 13 years ago, and they still cant do it right! Shame on you, MSFT.

          This was predecessorof todays device. 13 years ago!

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

          • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 6 days ago by doriel.
      • #2298226 Reply
        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        too easy to louse it up when you’re not thinking just right, l

        Yep , my buddy at work (a linux wiz) wanted to install a Linux distro on a Usb HDD using the ‘company’ laptop with full machine ? disk encryption (why I have no idea) and LILOed (a Linux boot manager) to oblivion. Had to send it in to the IT dept. ssshh

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #2298233 Reply
        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        Because nothing MS did/developed since day one was ever the BEST. KIN, ZUNE, Danger, Band, Windows CE, Windows Phone, Windows RT, Windows Mobile, Windows 10 Mobile, Window 10, Kinect, Surface…

        But the original Microsoft Mouse was good. That’s the last bit of MS hardware that I remember was any good. It’s a software seller with little or no experience in hardware, IMO.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2298251 Reply
          mn–
          AskWoody Lounger

          Some of the later mice were also quite good. (MS Comfort Mouse 4500 tends to be well liked, for example.)

      • #2298246 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Rick_Corbett: “It’s a software seller with little or no experience in hardware, IMO.” And perhaps with no interest in and, or no idea of how to, employ competent people that already have that experience, give them what they say they need and let them do their work largely as they see fit.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

      • #2298369 Reply
        LoneWolf
        AskWoody Plus

        Over the years, my opinion of the Surface is that it is the worst execution of one of the better recent ideas Microsoft has had.

        Given the battery issues, the battery that can’t be replaced by a user, less-than-stellar keyboards, a display I’ve found to be too high of a resolution for its LCD size, Marvell Wifi on a premium device, a kickstand that’s worthless for use sitting on a hotel bed (unless you get a lapdesk; an Ultrabook ends up being more functional there) and the price, I just can’t recommend them to anyone.

        It’s a shame too.  With proper quality control, a 1080p screen (higher res on external monitors), better keyboard/trackpad setups, and appropriate pricing for RAM and storage levels (considering those aren’t upgradeable either), and I could be impressed.

        We are SysAdmins.
        We walk in the wiring closets no others will enter.
        We stand on the bridge, and no malware may pass.
        We engage in tech support, we do not retreat.
        We live for the LAN.
        We die for the LAN.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2298383 Reply
          NateHillX86
          AskWoody Lounger

          We briefly tried the Surface book internally in our IT department. There were too many cons for us to consider rolling them out beyond that. Many of the same complaints you have are shared by us.  The biggest issue is the scaling problems that come with an ultra high resolution tiny screen when you dock it to 1080p screens. You’re forced to log out/in again to ensure all apps look good. The contacts on the detachable tablet get dirty and need cleaned to prevent the keyboard/gpu from disconnecting when you move the lid, and my Marvell wifi sometimes isn’t recognized for 1-2 minutes after boot. Those are just the ones I remember

          If they made the screen a standard res, ditch the gimmicky detachable keyboard, and revise the wifi hardware it would be a great machine.

      • #2298385 Reply
        plodr
        AskWoody Plus

        Because nothing MS did/developed since day one was ever the BEST.

        I just had to add MS has had a sketchy past developing hardware. They do great on software.They should stick to Windows and forget about going into the hardware business.

        I usually avoid any hardware that is “made” by MS. The one exception, I do prefer my MS mobile mice to Logitech’s. We own three model 3500. I have two Logitech M317c for backups.

        Got coffee?

      • #2298433 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        They do great on software

        No, they don’t and never did. Just look at the state of Windows 10 and look at any simple Windows build-in function. Microsoft can’t write a proper file search (something like Everything). Microsoft can’t write a proper install and uninstall (something like GeekUninstaller). Microsoft can’t write a proper file copy (something like TeraCopy). Microsoft can’t write simple functions like TreeSize, Unlocker, ControlUWP, …..
        I don’t know what Microsoft should concentrate on because they fail in everything hardware/software.

        • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by Alex5723.
        • #2298475 Reply
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Something, I think, that at MS are good at: retaining the users that, for different reasons, have no better choice than to keep using Windows.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2298500 Reply
        RTEsysadmin
        AskWoody Plus

        I have used the same Dell keyboard on one of my main workstations for 6 years. The labels on every key look fresh. The last two Microsoft keyboards I had on other machines lasted maybe a year before I lost the M. Other letters followed shortly thereafter, except for the keyboard that stopped connecting to the receiver (while the mouse that came with it still connected). It didn’t last a year, so I don’t know how long the key labels would have lasted.

        Speaking of mice: The rubber wheel on Microsoft mice will melt if you eat too many potato chips. It’s hard to clean a melted mouse wheel off of your fingers.

        A road warrior was almost in tears when he begged me to fix his bricked Surface. I split it apart, got the data off of the drive, and gave him a new Dell Precision.

        I recommend against trusting any Microsoft hardware.

        Group K(ill me now)
      • #2298568 Reply
        doriel
        AskWoody Lounger

        How is it possible to mess so much your own devices? This seems very amateurish to me. Dont tell me, that nobody tried this before deploying it to the wild. This is the downside of testing amongst the public. Who will buy these devices, if comapany who makes it ruins it for you? You want to ruin it yourself, riht? 🙂

        Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

        HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

        • #2299036 Reply
          Noel Carboni
          AskWoody_MVP

          Ever consider that Marketing may be playing a long game and doing things on purpose to make us all numb and get us used to feeling out of control? Once we all accept loss of control (and I say this as though we haven’t already), how can we solve problems? I know! Just throw money at them.

          Who benefits from that?

          -Noel

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