Microsoft: Genuine Windows Can Revert to Become a Fake Copy Behind Your Back

August 28, 2008

Microsoft has apparently released a new version of their “Windows Genuine Advantage Notification Tool”, a tool that runs continuously in the background to check that your Windows is genuine. It’s interesting that it has to run all the time, and not just once, to check that your windows is a legit copy.

By releasing such a tool, Microsoft implies a few things:

  1. Microsoft believes you are an idiot. After forking out hundreds of dollars for Windows, you somehow still don’t know if your Windows copy is genuine. Not only that, their belief in your stupidity is such that they actually think you’ll believe their spin about the usefulness of having the notification tool installed.

  2. A genuine copy of Windows that you paid for, can unexpectedly revert to being a pirated copy behind your back. There would be no need for repeated checks otherwise. Neither would there be a need for people who have paid for a genuine copy to install it.

    One can also infer from the fact that they placed the notification tool in the Critical Updates that the moment you buy Windows, it is in imminent danger of reverting to a pirated copy. It can happen any time, that’s why you need to monitor it all the time. When it happens, the hundreds of dollars you paid will go down the drain, and you’ll have to pay again.

It’s times like these that make one think that the gradual move of PCs, starting with the ultra portables like Eee PC, to Linux is a good thing.

Filed in Outraged, Opinion, Software, Windows.


Space-Borne Computer Viruses

August 28, 2008

BBC reports that a computer virus has made it to space. Apparently laptops carried by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) were found to be infected with a virus that steals passwords and login ids for certain online games. The laptops do not have any antivirus software, so I’m not sure how they discovered the virus in the first place. Speculation is that one of the astronauts brought an infected USB drive and plugged it into the laptop.

Don’t get excited though. According to NASA, this is not the first time computer viruses have gone into space.

Filed in News.

XKCD’s Take on Diebold’s Blaming Voting Machines Problems on Antivirus Software

August 26, 2008

XKCD has a hilarious commentary on Diebold’s attempt to blame its voting machines flaws on the antivirus software installed.

Commentary on Diebold blaming antivirus software for its voting machine flaws

If the image is too small on this post, see the original at the XKCD site. I like their implication: while putting antivirus software may be good security for a normal desktop, on a voting machine it’s like a teacher at a parent-teacher conference assuring you that he “always wears a condom while teaching”.

Filed in Humor.

Google Tresspasses on Private Property Again

August 25, 2008

Google’s drivers, gathering photos for Street View, have again ignored someone’s “No Trespassing” sign, gone onto yet another private property to take photos. This is not the first time they have done this. Remember the lawsuit a few months back when Google’s van drove up a private road, taking pictures? What was their defense? Some spin-doctoring and smoke-screen.

I suppose we’re going to get another round of spin-doctoring. Maybe they should employ literate drivers, who can read signs. And brief them thoroughly about respecting laws. Otherwise the drivers may feel that Google is the Law, and can do anything with impunity.

Filed in Outraged, News, Opinion.

Opera 9.52 is Still Crash-Prone

August 24, 2008

In the last 5 minutes, Opera has crashed 4 times. And this was just normal surfing. It’s really very irritating. It often occurs while I’m either typing, or Alt+Tabbing to/away from the browser, Ctrl+Tabbing within the browser or otherwise using the keyboard. I notice that this was the case in the previous x.0 and x.01 releases of Opera as well. Are they doing something weird with their keyboard handler?

And now the Opera team are working on a 9.60 development version instead of fixing the unstable 9.52.

I have blogged about Opera 9.52’s crashes before, as well as its other shortcomings.

If not for the fact that Firefox is slow and lacks the many useful features of Opera, I would have migrated to it long ago, after facing 9.50 and 9.51’s bugs for so long. As it stands, I still need to find a lot of plugins for Firefox before it is even remotely comparable to Opera. And some of the things I need just don’t exist. But quite frankly, the temptation to switch is very strong, and I’ve been playing around with Firefox a lot more.

Filed in Opinion, Software, Browsers.

EA: Tiger Woods Can Walk on Water. Really! (Humor)

August 22, 2008

Techdirt points to EA’s response to the criticism about EA’s golfing game, where due to a bug, players can make Tiger Woods stand in the middle of a water trap to take a shot. They put out a commercial that shows that the real Tiger Woods can really do such a thing. It’s hilarious! And a brilliant PR move.

The Youtube video can be found here.

Filed in Advertising, Humor, Video.

Missing Features in Opera: Lessons From My Brief Sojourn with Firefox

August 21, 2008

As mentioned before, Opera is my primary browser. However, since 9.50 and 9.51 had been so buggy, I used Firefox for a lot of my surfing. As a result, I had to get a number of extensions or plugins to give it some of the functionality that Opera has. One of these plugins was FlashBlock. And now I’m spoilt.

In Opera, I used to disable all plugins when surfing. It’s really easy to do this in Opera, just hit F12 and uncheck “Enable plugins”. For the sites that I want plugins enabled, like, I add to my site preferences in Opera, and allow plugins for that site. I can thus whitelist on a site-by-site basis, not just for Flash, but JavaScript, cookies, and so on.

FlashBlock on the other hand blocks all Flash from playing. If you click a button, the flash will run. It’s also possible to add a site like YouTube to the whitelist. If a site is not in the whitelist, you can still play a flash object by clicking the button.

I miss this facility of being able to click a button to play a specific flash object in sites that are not whitelisted. I wish Opera will add this to their feature list. The third party FlashBlock for Opera just doesn’t cut it. It works for some sites, but for others, clicking the button doesn’t work. Very irritating.

Filed in Software, Opinion, Browsers.