38 posts • joined 14 Sep 2007
Intelligent, defensive strategy
Yes, Google needed something to fend of the nastiness of Apple + Microsoft patent attacks.
No one ever accused The Reg of being a reputable, neutral IT rag, but all the venom and instant-negativity of this article seems more than a little biased. Google has shared its wealth, innovation, and IP in the past (for example: Android, VP8, web services, open source projects, and their web advertising exposure has helped may companies grow), they have done very well as a result of this, so it seems reasonable to expect that they will continue to behave this way, as a good corporate citizen should. If they said they will use their patents to help others, that is probably exactly what they will do.
On the other hand, the "proprietary twins" (Apple & Microsoft) seem intent on killing off every other corporation (including each other) with their constant patent threats and anticompetitive lawsuits. However, it is kind of funny to watch them trying to "band together" against Google (contrary to their natural predatory instincts). Just imagine how hard it must be for Jobs or Ballmer to mouth the words "trust" and "cooperate".
So, unless Apple and Microsoft are paying the bills, perhaps the Reg could give Google the benefit of the doubt, or at least write articles from a slightly less biased viewpoint?
One interpretation of these results:
Those who use computers as "appliances" are more likely to be used as "appliances" themselves by the marketing efforts of big companies like Microsoft (and the media industry, etc.).
One way to look at intelligence is as a measure of one's ability to evoke change to realize one's goals. The ability to discern the difference between one's personal goals and those of external agencies (like Microsoft, etc.) would be a prerequisite for this kind of definition of intelligence.
Then the ability to realize one's own goals (in this example, to realize the advantages of other browsers, and to learn how to install and use one of them) would be the second prerequisite.
If you can't tell the difference between what you want, and what someone/something else wants you to want (and/or are unable to accomplish simple goals like installing and learning to use a non-default browser), you are probably less able to think critically or effectively, and thus test lower on IQ measurement instruments.
Aggressive company = loser company
Apple and Microsoft are quite the tag-team, taking turns attacking Google in particular and open-source and other hardware manufacturers in general. If this "sue everyone else" strategy is allowed to continue, soon they will be the only two IT companies left. Then, they can squander all of their ill-gotten loot in a final battle for mutual annihilation. A "legal arms race"; THAT'S real innovation at work. . . . . .
Continuing to purchase the products of "corporate legal predators" like Apple and Microsoft is effectively condoning (and supporting) these anticompetitive practices. Consumers are certainly free to make up their own moral rules for purchasing products (for example, to reject doing business in any form with companies that show an anticompetitive pattern of aggressively attacking others). That way the "nice guys and girls" of the business community could be helped to finish first, not last.
It's the Patriotic thing to do!
I am sure the world will beat a path to Microsoft's cloud, knowing that all their data will be handed over to the US government (aka the media MAFIAA) as soon as they ask for it. So it makes perfect sense to use Windows phones and Windows cloud services, as this will result in some savings of tax dollars (as no expensive court costs would be incurred by the government when Microsoft just hands over all your data). This will no doubt make Uncle Sam and the MAFIAA very happy indeed.
I think there is a reason Microsoft is now happily working with China.
The "concerns" that the US politicians are expressing include those of rich, powerful monopolists/lobbyists like Microsoft, which seems to be behind most attacks on Google. The main argument seems to be that Microsoft should be able to have free "inside access" to Google's products such as YouTube. Yes, this is the same Microsoft who is trying to crush the distribution of free products such as Android in the marketplace.
This boils down to a question of morality and ethics, IMHO. How can unethical corporate behavior be discouraged? To start off, one could ask questions, such as.
- Which companies act as corporate aggressors, openly threatening others/demanding extortion money, regularly initiating anticompetitive lawsuits, colluding with others to crush specific competitors, and manipulating governments for corporate gain?
- Which companies make consumers pay dearly for nearly all their products and services? Which companies give away most services, much of their expensive development work (such as video codecs, mobile phone and other OS's)?
- Which companies stand up for user and human rights (i.e. China, other government requests to invade user privacy), and which ones seem to flush ethics down the drain to make a sale?
- Which companies cooperate with other companies for prosocial ends, and which try to eliminate competitors?
Microsoft and Apple do not pass this test of corporate ethics, however Google has been largely an exemplary example of a good corporate citizen. This brings us to consumer morality: which companies would be the more moral choice for receiving the support of consumers? People are not forced to turn a blind eye to barely-legal corporate aggression, manipulation of governments for corporate profit, and openly anticompetitive business practices. People (like us) can vote with their wallets. If similar products are available from two companies, we can pick the product from the company who demonstrates the higher standard of ethics. This can encourage companies to act in an ethical manner, or risk going out of business due to consumers rejecting their products and services.
For example, Apple initiated a lawsuit against Samsung, and now their fellow patent-pool member Microsoft is also now attempting to extort "royalties" from Samsung for the free Android OS on its phones. So bypassing all Apple and Microsoft products in favor of Samsung (and Google) products would seem to be the more ethical choice here.
This is a perfect fit for Microsoft's Mickey-Mouse security track record. Perhaps they can get Mickey as a mascot for their "security essentials" software (and ever-recurring patch system)?
MS obviously figures:
1) That Nokia customers (and Skype users) are a fixed quantity that can be bought and paid for with the almighty dollar, and
2) That people -- customers -- are just a bunch of automatons who will naturally purchase the most heavily-advertised products, and happily hook their wallets up to the Microsoft Milking Machine.
Unfortunately, Microsoft is the most unpopular major company on the planet in mobile, and nearly all companies and governments (and many consumers) are now beginning to look into open source options for servers, desktops, phones and so on. People do not seem to like to be controlled (except for Apple users, but even many of them are beginning to smell something bad about proprietary lock-in...and I think a lot of people use Apple just to avoid Microsoft). So Microsoft can keep spending its last remaining billions in large, desperate chunks on companies that sink under its own titanic corporate bulk. They have lost the battle, and unfortunately are dragging down others with them, while causing loss of good-paying jobs in the process. Too bad that all they care about are the dollars they are hemorrhaging.
Wallet location tool
This is no big deal to Apple...their users are just wallets/purses to be emptied by Apple (& friend$).
Microsoft - the Antisocial Company
The mark of an antisocial personality is preying on and manipulating others to for one's own self-benefit (such as capitalizing on others' misfortunes). If "caught" doing this, they typically just try and distract their victim(s) hoping they will forget about their latest transgression, and then get back to the "business" of victimizing once again.
Corporations are considered as legal "persons". Therefore it would seem that Microsoft has a bad case of antisocial personality disorder. Unfortunately one of the only ways to reform people (or corporations) with ASPD is to change something they can understand, namely their own self-interest.
So, instead of allowing Microsoft to "distract" you by dismissing their opportunistic marketing stunt while millions suffer -- or by their latest "strings-attached" donation of some cash and "temporary software licenses" (aka crapwear) to Japan, remember who/what you may be dealing with in the future, and just do not deal with them (and instead deal with companies with prosocial motives, like Google). THAT is the only thing that could possibly snag the attention of the self-interested Microsoft, in terms of perhaps shifting its predatory behavior.
Microsoft has at least 2 reasons not to patch IE before the PWN2OWN contest:
1) So, after they are instantly PWNed, they can say "we could have released last-minute patches, too!", and spin things around so it looks like they are on even footing with the other browsers. Which they are not.
2) Because quite frankly, they do not KNOW what to patch until the PWN2OWN hackers TELL them which of many security holes they have attacked. This is the very same approach they take with all their software products: just release them into the wild, and "see what happens" to those foolish enough to use them. Then patch a couple of the most obvious loose ends, and repeat until they go out of business.
Not worth the effort...
Even if WP7 did support HTML5, releasing software designed for a platform that has sold perhaps a couple of thousand phones in total would be a waste of effort.
It just shows you what a "together" company Microsoft is...one end does not know what the other is doing. Also reveals how serious they are about the Kin2 -- I mean -- WP7 phones.
BUT what about the user's rights to know what is going on with THEIR computer and THEIR data?
Oh, I forgot, they all agreed to the EULA, meaning they have no rights, and the Redmond boys and girls can monkey around all they want with their software. That's the beauty of it. Even if they screw up their latest band-aid "security patch", they can usually blame it on the huge plague of w32 and w64 Windows viruses circulating in the wild, OR on some "weakness" in another manufacturer's software.
Actually, this kind of makes me glad I run Linux.
I am sure that people working at Yahoo and Novell also thought they had a future. Unfortunately, the W32.ELOP.worm infection at Nokia seems to have preempted any future but the one dictated by Microsoft.
I guess Nokia really should have updated its virus/trojan scanner running on its HR computers. A particularly nasty infection -- capable of destroying their entire company (as well as any scraps of employee personal integrity) -- seems to have run rampant through their organization.
Symptoms of W32ELOP.worm infection include:
- Hallucinations of tall, bald, pot-gutted ogres, combined with sudden-onset hearing loss.
- Hallucinations of billions of easy dollars arriving at your doorstep. Hallucinations usually resolve in a 12 month period, as lack of sales and customer moral boycotting -- combined with MS-authored lowbrow advertising -- cause onset of bankruptcy. This may be accompanied by suicidal ideation (AKA the Yahoo/Novell syndrome).
- Depression and social alienation of all those to whom the Nokia name previously represented open-source and user-hackable open innovation (now replaced with locked-down, remote-controlled, DRM-encumbered, poorly-coded software). No more "user-serviceable parts" inside.
There is no presently-known cure for W32.ELOP.worm infestation. The best practice is to quarantine all known infected systems and products. In particular, users are advised to strictly avoid all Nokia, Microsoft, and WP7-containing products.
Anyone and everyone who has arthritis or tendonitis that could be related to having to click twice whenever you want to execute any important action should get together and SUE Hopewell Culture & Design for pain, suffering, and loss of ability to enjoy their lives (and after they go under, continue after the dominant OS-maker Microsoft, with the addition of a mental cruelly clause for their insecure OS that constantly gets infected, needs rebooting for patching, or just crashes).
Land of the rich and powerful
So the important thing is that a few people in America become extremely rich and powerful? It doesn't matter if they become communist-style dictators who control customer, employees, other companies, and media? It doesn't matter if they use the resources of their wealthy companies (out of the pockets of Americans) to attempt to destroy other competing companies via lawsuits and patent cartels, to enforce their monopolistic economic dictatorships? Well, I am glad Obama cleared up that whole "land of the free/land of opportunity" misconception.
What to buy?
WHY would I suddenly use my hard-earned money to BUY a phone running Microsoft software? Right, after the Kin failure, everyone is supposed to now line up for the privilege of giving Microsoft their money?
Based on the "security" (NOT) of their other software, just imagine what hackers will be able to do, combining 1-900 numbers and your Microsoft-powered phone. $10,000 phone bills, anyone?
So let me get this straight...
So Hurd had sex with a porn star and ex-playboy bunnie, and grafted her a job to keep her handy as a sex-toy at shareholder's expense.
So Hurd lied recently, and repeatedly during his employment at HP.
So, what is the point here, role models? As far as I can see, most CEO's aren't SUPPOSED to be moral exemplars; CEO's are supposed to be ethically-impoverished, randomly-fornicating, morally-bankrupt, blood-thirsty, lying psychopathic corporate piranhas.
Thus, I think Hurd actually fulfilled his HP CEO role-model-role quite well. But he sure could never work for Google.
(Paris...because she should have applied to HP BEFORE Hurd got canned).
Why the lawsuit, then?
So why are they suing Google, exactly? Oracle (and now IBM) are "stewarding" a free, open-source version of Java, for which they receive exactly nothing from users. This OpenJDK does exactly the same thing as the version that Google (and Apache) are using. Therefore, "Larry Ellison and the Sycophants" should be allowed to sue Google? Why? They are obviously not losing any money.
Ahh...Larry's EGO, almost forgot about that.
(PS: Dear Reg: please supply a horned Ellison caricature to be used while posting these messages...I have a hunch this will be needed more and more as time marches on...).
There is no problem here...
Steve Jobs says everything is hunky-dory at Foxconn. Those workers who kill themselves are really "not important", as the total numbers of lost lives are "below average". Besides, the idea of cutting off their life-insurance benefits is sure to help.
And of course, nothing is as important as even one of Steve's "magical, super-fantastical" iphones or ipads...according to Steve.
But, if you find yourself looking at Apple products, thinking of the workers who may have perished immediately after making the shiny Apple-toy you are looking at might make you want to keep on walking.
Secure Windows Servers in action!
No wonder people are giving the Windows Server OS the boot, and are running Linux on their servers instead. Even Microsoft can't keep Windows Server secure.
In the off chance that Microsoft "patches" this glider thing up and offers to take paying passengers, I am sure they will have to sign an EULA which limits Microsoft's liability to the (possible) refund of the ticket price. But then, if the passengers all perish, it would be kind of hard for them to "collect" their ticket refunds...Ballmer would be dancing with glee, and loving his job as usual.
I guess is what a BSOD looks like when translated into physical reality, yet another Microsoft-related "crash". Hopefully this video will go viral as a prophecy of the fall of the glitch-riddled Microsoft empire.
Evolution (the stock email client of Ubuntu) works well on both Linux and Windows. I have an Asus netbook (1001PX), and this runs Evolution very well on both Win7 and Ubuntu (faster on Ubuntu, as would be expected). Also has calendaring and MS Exchange support.
No such thing as "unlimited money" (or a free lunch)
Microsoft does have lots of cash, but one of the provisos for staying in business is to bring in more money than you dump into "incentives" like this.
They seem to be shooting themselves in the foot lately with their "also-ran" strategy (if you can call it a strategy) of coming out with competing products to other companies successful innovations at enormous cost, then using their piles of marketing cash to force it down consumer's throats (again, at enormous cost). Google just comes up with useful products and gives them away (in return for advertising exposure, or just to be nice as in their VP8 video codec). Their products sell themselves on their own merits; they do not have to bribe people to use them (as does Microsoft -- who always attach many strings to their "free lunch" giveaways).
To Microsoft, money makes the world go round. To them, there is nothing wrong with people being paid for holding "Windows 7" parties, or being paid for using their search engine, or partners being paid to eliminate a competitor via targeted anticompetitive business practices (another lawsuit brewing as we speak?). Microsoft seems to view all people and politicians as "prostitutes" who can be bought for the right price. But when dealing with people, whom do you trust more, those earning a "commission" for selling only one company's product, or someone who has the customer's best interest at heart? I think that Microsoft's manipulative business practices are self-defeating in the long run, placing other companies (like Google) who seem to respect and value their customers (and treat them as people, and not just as wallets or chumps that can be bought) at a competitive advantage.
Patent the entire web experience and force the rest of the world off the Internet unless they pay patent royalties! What a lovely vision Apple (and their psychopathic leader Jobs) has of the future!
It is so reassuring that they obviously are a trustworthy company that knows how to play nice with other businesses. People should feel great about supporting Apple's efforts to oppress everyone. Remember, every Ipod, Iphone, Itunes (or other Apple product) purchase goes toward supporting the "cause"!
Apple -- deny everything!
Apple seems to be good at denying everything, and at not supporting people who are unfortunate enough to become its customers.
Notice that they are not offering to refund the funds lost though THEIR marketing service, Itunes. People are left to quibble with their credit card companies, and if more than 24 hrs have past, most of them are now stuck paying for the fraudulent apps.
Also notice that Apple absorbed 30% of the sales of these fraudulent apps, and is not even offering to refund their "proceeds from crime", so to speak.
This, and the handling of the over-priced Iphone 4 antenna/prox sensor/screen, etc. fiasco ("just hold it a different way" "just buy a bumper case from us" "just don't use it near a window") show Apple to be a company that is concerned with only one thing -- obtaining and keeping your money.
Yes...the "camouflage" Iphone 3GS case was a bumper...
The Gizmodo Iphone 4 prototype DID have a plastic bumper case on it. So perhaps Jobs and his sycophants knew all along that this was necessary in order to actually "use" the phone . Alternatively, perhaps their penchant for top-secret field testing with this camouflage coating did not allow them to discover the folly of their crappy Iphone 4 antenna design...combined with their new admission that they were misrepresenting the actual signal strength by showing too many bars on the signal strength display.
What a well-run, reliable company.
The article Steve Jobs referenced (from an H.264 developer -- perhaps not the most impartial judge of things?) is fallacious as it uses "straw man" arguments to try and convince people that the patent-encumbered H.264 codec is "better" than the free, open-source VP8 codec from the WebM project.
- The H.264 developer is comparing the performance of a beta release of the VP8 code to the current H.264 code.
However, the WebM project page specifically states that “there is more work to be done...some features of the WebM format are not yet complete...we expect to achieve better visual quality and performance in an official release soon...the performance of VP8 is very good in software, and we’re working closely with many video card and silicon vendors to add VP8 hardware acceleration to their chips”.
- The H.264 developer states that the VP8 specification is *final*.
However, the WebM project page specifically states that “the code and tools can evolve and improve for many years without requiring changes to the core specifications. We’ll maintain a separate branch of the code, however, for bold new ideas that could alter the specifications. If there are significant improvements to warrant a new revision we might adopt them, but only after careful consideration and after discussing suggested changes with the WebM community.” Open source code really never is “final”, and group consensus can agree to improve things while retaining as much backward-compatibility as possible. Google asks for code improvement suggestions on the WebM project page.
- The H.264 developer avoids mentioning the royalty penalties associated with using the H.264 codec, and that all these royalties are subject to change in 2015. And there is nothing “free” about H.264 -- someone somewhere is always paying royalties to MPEG-LA. Thus, MPEG-LA is effectively asking the world's citizens to slip the H.264 noose around their necks by allowing H.264 to become a web standard, with absolutely no guarantees that H.264 royalties will not skyrocket in 2015, or be preferentially enforced to effectively exclude certain people or agencies from being able to exchange information using that format.
In any case, MPEG-LA is obviously worried, as WebM including VP8 – combined with the recent announcement of a Digital Agenda by the EU for open, interoperable digital standards -- has the power to completely wipe proprietary, patent-encumbered file formats off the world-wide web. And that would be a good thing IMHO,for the sake of free and open communication between all the world's peoples. I think that Apple, Microsoft, and other MPEG-LA special-interest groups may continue their half-hearted FUD attacks against WebM, but would think more than twice about attempting a patent attack (and thus remove themselves from the ability to support and use a codec that will most likely be supported by the EU and the rest of the world, according to the clever license chosen for VP8).
Apple has a history of attacking competitors (and even ex-business partners like Adobe) with any tools at hand, so allowing a time bomb like H.264 to be adopted as a "rich peoples' club" web video standard would probably not be in the world's best interest, again in IMHO.
There is a simple way around this problem for MPEG-LA: just open-source H.264 with a BSD-style license similar to what Google used for VP8. Get rid of the royalties, and provide it free to the world. But the money-grubbing patent holders and MPEG-LA seem to be too greedy and too power-hungry to follow Google's example and make a gift of free speech and free communication to the world. So I for one will look forward to a WebM-centric web.
Microsoft's latest plan for world domination...
Ballmer: "Bill, every time we get into hot water, we turn to you. Again we need your help, as the world seems to be flipping us the finger...we are losing customers to open source and cloud computing, and failing miserably in our mobile products".
Gates: "Well Steve, the problem is obvious; people are growing BALLS (and this does not seem to be restricted to only genetic males of the species). What we need to do is to convince them that it is a good idea to let us cook their balls with a "MicroSOFT" sonic blaster for the purpose of "population control". That should neutralize any trace amounts of testosterone production, and make them easily dominated and apathetic, i.e. the sheep-like consumers that our business model demands. As well, they won't be interested in shagging anymore, so no one will be able to say our plan is not working as advertised."
Ballmer: "Excellent! Might as well call up the media and start the "balls" rolling. Just one thing, we Microsofties won't have to volunteer for the procedure, will we?"
Gates: "No, I'm the only one with any balls in this company, you know that!".
Ballessmer: "Oh, right you are, Bill, he he!"
Google on the right track...
The overpowering (and rapid) success of Google's Android platform and marketplace shows that Google knows what it is doing, and is doing it well (as does the size of Google's net worth). For example, they apparently know how to COOPERATE with other companies, such as hardware manufacturers, advertisers, and so on. Apple, on the other hand, apparently feels the need to absolutely control and bully all those they do business with (including their customers).
Saying that "Apple respects them (the copyright holders) enough to do business" I would argue is a false statement. Apple demonstrates little respect for anyone, and they "strong-arm" publishers, media companies, app developers, and wireless carriers to drastically reduce their "cuts" in favour of forking much of the profits into Apple's bank accounts.
Google, on the other hand, is comparatively benevolent; they give things away (like multiple web and cloud-based services, operating systems, free ebooks, and so on). Advertising pays their bills, so they do not have to gouge their customers and business partners mercilessly (as Apple does). But above and beyond that, Google uses a "nice guy" business model and serves as an example to other businesses that mutual trust and cooperation CAN be tools that allow various companies to coexist and prosper. Google is not suing others for using or modifying Android, it is a gift. Sure, some companies are changing the default web services in Android, but this gives Google a reason to compete with these other services on the merits of its own products, NOT by using litigation (as Apple would most assuredly do, eg: the "Psystar" issue).
Being "nice" is the best advertising any business could hope to have. Apple and Microsoft do not get this, but Google does. People -- customers and business partners -- like to feel respected, and that they can trust who they invest time and money with. You cannot trust a company that is like a pit-bull, unpredictably ripping other businesses apart (and sending threatening legal communications to talk show hosts who "dare" to humorously depict its product, aka Ellen Degeneres). Or a company which turns a blind eye to the use of child-labour, employee abuse, and the high suicide rates at the factories which make its shiny gadgets...what's "good" about that?
Just my two bits worth as to why I think this article is so much Apple-funded hogwash.
This is The End
This will just not equate to the Apple Faithful:
P1 - Steve Jobs is our infallible Leader, Who can do no wrong.
P2 - But Steve Jobs has broken Articles 18 and 19 of the UN declaration of human rights.
C - Therefore either the world must be wrong, and Steve must be right, or Steve must be...no...does not compute...the Apple Empire must be perfect in every way...does not compute...
He could accept what passes for an "apology" from Apple, and then immediately post cartoons showing Apple and Steve Jobs in a politically-humorous light, perhaps as a Prophet, dictator, or a school teacher. What a great opportunity to see how open-minded Apple actually is in terms of free speech!
Please edit Steve Jobs' picture....
...perhaps photoshop a little black moustache. A black comb-over might also help people better understand his motives and apparent respect for humanity. This could be used on the main Reg page (and also in the postings). The horns just do not do him enough justice.
Its amazing that the Apple corporation (and customers and developers of the same) continue to blindly follow Jobs' increasingly-insane power-mad rantings.
Microsoft hears the heards of thin clients thundering over the horizon
Individual software for individual fat-clients running Windows? That's so 2009...in 2010+ we don't need no stinkin' fat clients (well, except for certain power-users). Normal IT users can be satisfied by thin clients, and Novell and Red Hat (and perhaps other Linux companies, such as Google) are just the people to fill that need.
Hence the fire-sale prices for MSOffice.
They're scared already
@ Ash, re: want to scare Microsoft?
I have previously done exactly what you suggested about a year ago. I only use ODF, and build complex documents containing macros which I cannot be bothered to translate into M$'s proprietary protocols. I sent out some ODF forms to about 300 people at work, and included a note that if they wanted to try this out they could download OpenOffice from www.openoffice.org. Guess what? Hundreds of people wound up switching over to OpenOffice. So your suggested technique works well, to their benefit in obtaining free supported software (instead of using unsupported possibly copied MSoffice, with the associated security risks and vulnerabilities).
Just one correction: Microsoft is ALREADY scared, hence their disastrous rush to ram the ridiculous OOXML though ISO. Shot themselves in the foot again. Stupid, that.
@Thomas Vestergaard: instead of being so indignant upon receiving an ISO standard, editable format that actually works and is in common use throughout the rest of the world, here are some options you could consider:
1) just use GoogleDocs to open it, and edit it and read it on-line, without installing anything. Google supports and uses ODF. Google is a pretty big company, isn't it? And IBM? And Sun? Canonical? Novell? And so on?
2) Download the ODF converter for MSoffice from http://sourceforge.net/projects/odf-converter/ Boy, I wonder why MS didn't write that little ap? And why they tried unsuccessfully to reinvent the wheel with OOXML?
Of course, OpenOffice or IBM Symphony, or Abiword are all free, support ODF as well as MS formats, and work great, but M$ will always be ready to take hundreds of dollars from those who want to support their worthy cause (to make you poor, and them rich).
I had the same problem with Vista. First it ran sooo slowly I thought I was running a 486 (on a recent HP Turion dual-core laptop). Then something killed the USB mouse (SP1 patch?). So I called up HP, and they would not give me XP, but they did give me some great advice which fixed the problem completely.
They told me to install Kubuntu Linux (actually I asked about this, as it is rumoured to work well, and they said go for it, as it would not affect my hardware warranty coverage).
So I installed the free Kubuntu 7.10, and it fixed the problem. I elected to purge Vista, as it never really worked anyway. Now I have lots of room that was previously used up by the nonfunctional vista bloatware, and the whole laptop runs very, very fast and well. HP gave me the best information to fix the problem, and now I have a brand-new machine that I love working on, as well as unlimited free software. And, the USB mouse even works!
Read the whole thread...some entertaining and colorful comments for sure. I think that I might have the answer to the point that was raised re: why MS-related issues seem to get a "lot of exposure" compared to *nix-related issues. It has to do with the transaction and ownership process: when software is purchased (actually, more like rented if you get right down to the EULA) from MS, the customer's involvement is to hand over the cash, and then use the product. They depend on MS to take care of them, and have no recourse if and when things "go south" but to complain (and possibly submit an error report).
The *nix group, on the other hand, usually gets their software for nothing, and tends to be a bit more self-sufficient as they provide much of their own support via web support sites. So if and when things go south, they take action themselves and need to vocalize less, having taken more ownership of their system. The big issue with this flaky MS update is that it requires MS-users to take some action (system restore or system rebuild). Just my theory...
Time to cut out the parasitic middle-man...
Time to cut out the parasitic middle-man organism that is the RIAA. Its initial purpose was to supply the technology that enabled production and transmission of artistic content to the customer, enhancing their enjoyment of life. This parasite has spiralled out of control, now taking the majority of artist's profits, driving up the cost of their works, and unilaterally treating their *customers* as criminals.
We now have the technology for artists to easily record, mix, and distribute DRM-free audio and video media themselves for reasonable prices through a storefront the web (excluding iTunes, another fat cat...). All profits go to the artists (who can donate a portion to charity if they so wish instead of lining some RIAA fat cat's pockets). Artists win through more cash, tax deductions, and advertising benefits related to supporting charities, charities win, consumers win by being involved in a non-toxic transaction and by being treated as a person of value (not a criminal).
People would most likely participate in such a scheme, particularly for artists who do some donation to charity (what dedicated fan is too lazy to type their favourite artist's name into Google?). It's time to purge the disease, it is out of control.
They are only acting in character...
I do not see why people are acting all surprised by this latest violation of personal privacy rights by Microsoft. Just off the top of my head, historically they have:
1) Shipped software to end users that is so poorly designed that over 10 years of constant patching is still unable to render it *secure* (cases in point, Windows 95, 98, 2000, Windows XP, MS Office, Internet Explorer...).
2) Instead of actually fixing the problems, they turned the insecurity of their software products into another *cash-cow* revenue stream with their $50USD/year *Windows OneCare* subscription service (the customers of which, being the cow)...
3) Knowingly hid their *Windows Genuine Advantage* datamining spyware in windows updates, which collected and sent your HD serial number, MAC address, BIOS checksum, computer make and model, MS product keys, locale, your language, and more back to Microsoft's servers without your permission. Then it passed automated judgment on all users (resulting in a 20% *false positive* rate, i.e., 20% of MS users who had legitimately purchased their products were treated as criminals via this fully-automated, rights-removing trial). The nice WGA tool then inserted a time-bomb, causing nag screens to pop up and disabling open access to all updates (which are constantly and urgently needed as discussed in the first 2 points). Many of those contacting MS by phone concerning validation problems were similarly treated as criminals, and many paid even more money using their credit cards to *re-validate* their legitimately purchased software, instead of continuing to be subjected to harassment.
4) Delayed distribution of many patches for glaring security holes which had been identified and published by security researchers, and which were known to be causing harm to their customers via viruses etc. designed to take advantages of said security holes. Instead, they rushed out patches to shore up comparatively harmless breaches of their "windows media format" DRM to satisfy their moneyed friends in the recording industry (proving that, at Micro$oft, it's *all about money*).
5) Greased the palms of hundreds of key people to get them to vote and sign MS-penned form letters advocating the wisdom of fast-tracking the adoption a 6000 page non-open *Open XML* document format as a proposed international ISO standard document format (a format which they could then control and alter at their whim, wiping out their competitors while continuing to bleed the world into their bank coffers). All the while coyly ignoring the possibility of supporting and contributing to the existing and truly open ISO standard ODF format. Luckily, sanity prevailed, and this harebrained idea was shot down, so far...gee, I wonder if there could be any more security issues in that 6000 + pages...
I could go on, but you (hopefully) get the drift. Complaining about these repeated violations of respect, your security, and your rights does nothing, at least according to this historical reckoning. The easiest (and only) way to protect yourself is to JUST STOP USING MICROSOFT PRODUCTS. PERIOD. Dell is doing it, HP, Lenovo are selling great Linux-powered PC's fully loaded with secure open-source software like OpenOffice, etc. Lots of people are starting by giving MS Office the boot off of their windows PC's and installing OpenOffice instead. Then they download and try Ubuntu or some other popular free version of Linux and never turn back. Myself: I got fed up with Microsoft's antics years ago, switched to Linux, no more virus problems, lots of great free software...like a (long-overdue) breath of fresh air...
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