Wednesday, April 26, 2006

If anyone thought I was paranoid....

Following my earlier post on Microsoft validation, below is a long quote from CNET (click the link for the full article):

"Starting Tuesday, the software maker will push out a test tool that checks whether the copy of Windows a PC is using is properly licensed. It will be sent to millions of people in the United States, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand, Microsoft said Monday.

Following download and installation of the "Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications" tool, users of a pirated copy will see alerts at startup, login and during their use of the operating system. The alerts read: "This copy of Windows is not genuine; you may be a victim of software counterfeiting."

Those who use a legitimate copy of the software won't see any messages, Microsoft said.

People will be able to decline the tool download, said David Lazar, director of the Windows Genuine program at Microsoft. Once installed, the alerts can be suppressed by right-clicking on them when they appear during the running of Windows, but the tool can not be uninstalled, according to Microsoft.

In addition, Microsoft this week is kicking off Office Genuine Advantage, which checks on installations of the productivity package, which includes Excel and Access. The plan is to test out the program initially in seven languages: Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Greek, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Russian and Spanish.

The efforts are part of Microsoft's antipiracy fight. Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) was launched in September 2004. Since last July, Windows XP users have had to validate their operating system to be able to download additional Microsoft software, such as Windows Defender, Windows Media Player or Internet Explorer 7. Hackers, however, have repeatedly found ways around the checks.

The alerts include a link that goes to a Web site that explains what people with pirated versions of Windows need to do, Lazar said.

Earlier, Microsoft confronted people with the piracy checks when they attempted to download such add-ons. The switch to desktop alerts was introduced on PCs in Norway and Sweden in November 2005, then expanded to the Czech Republic, Denmark, Israel, Poland, and Taiwan in February. Tuesday's move is a further expansion of the trial program.

The WGA expansion is a precursor to the antipiracy features Microsoft is building into Windows Vista, the update to the operating system expected in January 2007. In Vista, certain operating system features will only work as long as it is a properly licensed copy.

Microsoft isn't pushing Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications out to all Windows users, but to a random subset, Lazar said. It is using its Windows Automatic Updates feature to deliver the tool. Automatic Updates, typically used to deliver security fixes, is enabled on the PCs of most Windows users, according to Microsoft."

IT or rather computer OS thoughts

For starters as a follow-up on the previous post we had a great meal at restaurant Armanzi, I strongly recommend a visit should you be in Harare and have the money and something to celebrate. Fabolous food with a strong asian influence, excellent surroundings, really good service!

Topic of this post is however a very different one. I have just tried out the beta version 7 of Internet Explorer and yes, it looks way better than the existing v6. HOWEVER you can not install unless you first validate that your copy of Windows XP is an original, this is done online with Microsoft.

I am not really objecting to Microsoft trying to stop the use of pirat copies of their software but I HATE the system now set up for validation and license restrictions. I, who constantly tinker with my computer, basically need to reinstall 3 or more times a year. the computers performance slowly grows - slower... due to all install/uninstall/upgrades and experiments that I do.

This is near impossible with an ordinary license as it will be seen as I am installing on several computers. Moreso, if I change the hardware too much I will have to "re-validate" online that I am not installing on a new PC, something that cost me several working days a while ago on a server installation here. Because it did not work, in short.

So I am using a so-called Corporate version instead of the one I have actually bought. It can be installed x times without any further questions than a license number but will not validate online. So I am stuck. Either I reinstall my "proper" version and go through reinstall hell every now and then or I live with the fact that I can not update to newer versions of certain software such as Internet Explorer.

From what I read I understand next version of Windows, Vista, will be even more tied up this way. I think MS is making a huge mistake here.

Why? Because I am already toying with the idea of installing a Linux desktop version without any such problems and just keep Windows XP as a small "must have for business" portion of my computer. And I believe that many users of illegal copies of Windows XP will go that way instead of buying a, in many parts of the world, expensive license for a software that have an increasing number of built-in restrictions. It could backfire badly, actually promoting the use of desktop Linux as a serious contender for Windows XP and Vista.

It is in many ways more interesting than it has been in a long time to work in the ICT sector because a near-total domination of Microsoft is starting to dissolve. I look forward to next version of Kubuntu Linux with great anticipation actually, I think that might be the one I choose to put on my Dell notebook.

For now I just note that I will stay with Firefox as browser instead of new Internet Explorer...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Soccer and birthdays

It has been rather hectic lately for many reasons so no postings for a long time. And today when I sort of decided to take some time for this then internet decides to have one of those "fun" days when the international link goes down frequently. Blogger is not exactly lightning fast when you sit in Harare and connection breakdowns does not make things any better.

Why soccer? Well, I am very likely to be one of the few male persons in Harare with access to TV that will not sit glued to the Villareal - Arsenal game tonight, though quite a few uninterested will be at the HIFA opening show.

Would have loved to see it but it is Mia's birthday and I am taking her out big time, she (especially but also me) deserve an evening without kids and with some degree of luxury.

Wish her the best day today and many more to come!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Where is Clint?

Old friend Clint showed up last Friday and claimed he had posted a comment on the "eRider"-post. Where is it? Can't get hold of you on the phone. This must be one weird way of communicating while living in the same city.

Otherwise life just too busy to have time for pet projects lately. Easter coming up and am looking forward to it though a "banking-mistake" means we are likely to have to stay at home and live off whatever we have in store whether we like to or not.