Sunday, January 29, 2006

New Computer Hell 

I spent the afternoon helping a family member set up a new computer. It was not a fun experience, and I don't know how any regular person can stand it. The system shipped with no printed user guide or CDs, Windows XP kept popping up windows asking so many questions that it was overwhelming. Register this or that, do you want this or that Internet service, do you want the firewall to allow this program to connect to the internet, did you notice the status bar and do you want to allow the popup? There were so many icons on the desktop that it was crazy, and I think every single Internet Service Provider has software installed. Logging off seemed to take forever, and one time it even gave us a blue screen of death at the end of the shutdown process. We had to update the anti-virus and spam killer software, more windows popped up telling us to update Windows, and we had to register a bunch of software online. This was a "fresh" Dell machine out of the box.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Broadcast Flag Keeps Coming Back Like A Bad Rash 

Congress keeps coming back to the broadcast flag issue, and they were up to it again last week. Earlier, the FCC had caved into the content creators, only to have the decision reversed by the courts due to the FCC's lack of authority under current law. Now Congress is considering extending the authority of the FCC to allow them to issue a broadcast flag ultimatum. I hope Congress will remember to protect our Fair Use Rights.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Microsoft Update Hell 

I really don't know how Microsoft expects people to keep their systems patched. Given the recent security problem with Outlook and TNEF attachments, I thought I would give Microsoft Update a try. Microsoft Update is a new service that combines Windows Update with Office Update. I tested it on a variety of configurations, and Office seems to be a problem because it often asks for the original install CD when installing updates. Office 2000 and Office 2002 (XP) are the real problems, although it seems that they mostly fixed this in Office 2003. Most people are not willing to dig through their Dell Box from a year ago to find their office CD. Get it right Microsoft.

Friday, January 13, 2006

I guess anyone can be an engineer 

I just had to post this tech support reply from a "Tier Support Engineer, Gold Support" for a particular company that shall not be named. Their site used to work with both Internet Explorer and Firefox, but recently they had regressed. I just had to laugh at the support engineer's strange attempt to string some words together into a sentence:

"Well i get your point that you are using NON IE Browser where reports does not display any graphics. And what we suggest you to us the IE Browser and this is the only browser which is supported to be used."

Monday, January 02, 2006

I can't borrow that book 

Not all books are created equal. Buy a book in the store, and you can lend it to a friend. Buy a book in electronic form, and you cannot lend it. This happened to me, and I think we are getting closer to the world that Richard Stallman describes in his essay: The Right to Read

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