If you’re looking for deceit and misrepresentation, then those good ole boys at Redmond take a lot of beating. Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) has been pushed on customers as a really splendid thing, and I quote:-
“Genuine People, Genuine Stories. Each year, millions of consumers worldwide are victimized by software piracy. In July of 2005, we launched Windows Genuine Advantage to help consumers quickly and easily identify whether their copy of Windows is genuine or not. Since then, WGA has assisted thousands of customers who have discovered that their copy of Windows is not genuine.”
Oh yes! All very genuine I’m sure! Of course anyone with any sense would ask, “Genuine advantage to whom?” If you are foolish enough to believe the hype and actually install the blasted thing then this is the information that Microsoft admits it routinely collects about you and your PC:-
- Computer make and model
- BIOS checksum.
- MAC address. (unique number of your network card)
- A unique number assigned to your computer by the WGA (Globally Unique Identifier or GUID)
- Hard drive serial number.
- Region and language settings of the operating system.
- Operating system version.
- PC BIOS information (make, version, date).
- PC manufacturer.
- User locale setting.
- Validation and installation results.
- Windows or Office product key.
- Windows XP product ID.
Now personally I bitterly resent anyone routinely pilfering data from my machine. But the notion that one is tricked into allowing a foreign corporation in a foreign jurisdiction to do this renders me speechless! Which is one of the many reasons I don’t use Windows any more. But it’s actually far worse than that because WGA can be used to collect all sorts of other data. Moreover it can even be used to disable your machine remotely – so that if Microsoft thinks you are usiing pirate software – or something else it that disapproves of, then it can shut you down – though it claims it has disabled that particular “feature” now! In fact its spyware-like qualities has forced one US citizen to sue Microsoft for invasion of privacy. The suit is ongoing:-
Meantime I just done its new advertising slogan. What to you think?
- “Windows Genuine Advantage, genuinely one of the great lies of our time!“
America, indeed much of the world heaved a sigh of relief today as “Dubbya” walked down the steps of the White House for the very last time aided by the 44th President, Barack Hussein Obama.
Â¨This way Mr. ex-President,
down those steps, and just keep walking…
Now the real work starts because Obama has one heck of a mess to sort out. As the full extent of “Dubbya” and his posse of Neocon crooks’ incompetence and dishonesty becomes apparent, Obama’s job will seem increasingly more difficult. After all, many observers agree that Bush has done far more harm to the US (and to the rest of the world) than Osama Bin Laden could even dream of.
For example, the US debt situation is indeed truly staggering. The war in Iraq is currently haemorrhaging the US economy at an estimated $5000 per second, according to the New York Times (and many other sources):- http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/23/opinion/23kristof.html. That’s a little under half a billion dollars a day (well $432,000,000 actually). So it is not entirely surprising that the proverbial cupboard is a tad bare.
Of course there are those who argue that the war in Iraq was a really good idea and that a jolly good war always boosts the economy. The occasional nutter will even try to tell you that it is a “crusade“, “God’s will” etc! Certainly a few of Bush’s buddies (e.g. former vice president Dick Cheney) have done rather well out of it. But for the rest of the country it is disastrous because the Bush administration has actually financed a significant chunk of this bloody business in a way that actually seriously undermines the economy and could even compromise US national security – by borrowing from China and other foreign countries!
As an innocent, naive little web-footed waterfowl, I cannot help wondering if humanity may be expecting more than just a new president? Seems to me that perhaps we’re somehow wishing for Superman to fly in and use his superhuman powers save us from the bad guys? Sadly, real life is not a Hollywood movie and the current mess may take years or even decades to fix. Nevertheless, Obama seems an intelligent, thoughtful and resourceful fellow and like millions of geese and humans all around the planet, I wish him all the very best.
Couple of folks have sent messages to my pond suggesting that all the nasty things that people say about Microsoft are purely motivated by jealousy. “…so many people just hate a successful company!” said one such response on a forum that I honk on from time to time.
Well, I can’t speak for anyone else but my views have nothing to do with hatred of Microsoft’s success. But I do dislike the dubious methods that were deployed to achieve this success. But that pales into insignificance when one considers Microsoft’s paradigm of total indifference to its customer’s security c/w it’s pathetic mantra of security through obscurity:-
Example: COFEE (sic – just one “F”). This is a USB stick Microsoft has flogged to over 2,000 “law enforcement” officers in 15 countries around the planet which basically makes any Windows PC completely defenceless to those using the tools. Microsoft won’t say who else has access to COFEE. But you can bet your bottom dollar it will only be a short while before all the relevant code is in the hands of hackers and cybercriminals – if it isn’t already:-
The only folks who won’t be informed regarding how it works or told how to defend against it are… yes you guessed it… Microsoft’s customers!
Also has anyone noticed how Microsoft’s “Malicious Software Removal Tool” has become a “Malicious Software Reporting Tool“. With an estimated 450 Million users, this must make it the biggest backdoor trojan of all times! Check this out:-
Still if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear! Or so we are led to believe.
Don’t have nightmares! Honk! Honk!
This will certainly be the year of bad news for the corporate sector. After the massive bailout of the banks at the taxpayers’ expense on both sides of “The Pond”, the US Government is attempting a bailout of its ailing car industry, with Ford, General Motors and Chrysler being given a share of a $17.4 billion hand out – again from the taxpayers’ already depleted pockets.
Now it seems even the mighty Microsoft is falling on hard times. OK, I have no great love for Microsoft. IMHO to me it typifies all that is wrong with corporate America. It’s big, greedy, uses unethical business practices to kill its competition, whilst locking its punters into a succession of overpriced, poor quality products. But one has to feel sympathy for the estimated 15,000 employees that are rumoured to be scheduled for the boot later this month. After all, I thought that frequent booting was purely for Microsoft’s hapless customers, not its staff, surely?
Up till now, Microsoft staff have been led to believe everything was all rosy and that Microsoft was really a hip, fab, groovy, going-places sort of company. Seems many really bought into the Microsoft American dream. Now 17% of its staff could be sold down the river. Because, as we in the open source community have known for some time, Micro$haft is in fact a hideous, greedy dinosaur that is just as happy to crap on its own staff as it has done for many years on its customers.
Interesting to see if there are any plans to bail out Micro$haft at the taxpayers’ expense, eh? Best wishes, G.