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Nicodemus

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Microsoft and Vista Antics [Sep. 11th, 2007|01:06 pm]
Nicodemus
Only two weeks ago, MS had server problems which screwed up the Vista registration process. This locked out legitimate users and caused all sorts of problems. This is part of the (mis)named "Windows Genuine Advantage" program.

Now there's another interesting wrinkle. Vista is, of course, highly pirated. But all installations check in with MS through this WGA program in order to determine if it's legitimate. Up until now, there haven't been much in the way of consequences.

A memo sent out recently indicates that MS will enable anti-piracy features for unlicensed installs, rendering the computer unusable after an hour and requiring a reboot. (As an admittedly cheap jab, one could argue Vista does this already.)

What will happen when those pirated copies go dark? What will happen the next time WGA gets bollixed and legitimate installs get downed? Or is this all (as I suspect) a bluff and MS won't really pull the trigger on it? Fun times!
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2007-09-12 05:36 pm (UTC)
Very true. There really isn't a strong enough motivation for people to upgrade. If they deliberately set up roadblocks, I'm wondering if it'll finally divert some users. (Let alone liability issues if they get their process mucked up and shut down some business' machines.)

For years now, I've expected MS to move towards a subscription model just because I could see this plateau coming. It seemed, to me, a less painful route than the enforced copy protection.

While there would definitely be resistance if it were just presented as "leasing the OS", I think they could get sneaky and build in some clever services. They have OS extensions (e.g. gadgets, themes, virus scan) and office applications features (e.g. backup, master documents, calendaring) which could be easily networked. I expected these things to be recast as special "live features" which required a subscription. The subscription connection could serve as a path to check the OS license, if they even cared about it at that point.
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2007-09-13 04:58 pm (UTC)
.Mac is $99 per year! I had no idea. Now I'll have to bug Kit to switch... There's other companies offering 10GB for $18/year*. Paired with some $20 software, you get the backup and syncing.

On the OS thing, Microsoft has included virus scanning in Vista. And, yes, it did tick off McAffee but MS didn't really care. It turns out MS's virus scanner is a bit anemic (surprise, surprise) so McAffee still has a market as the high-end virus protection option.

Good point on Exchange. I think that, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint really give them a vice grip on the business market. But it will be interesting to see if a lot more home users start looking at Macs as Vista gets more burdensome.

* Parking cost. There's also transfer which is mostly upfront for backups. So not quite apples to apples but still way cheaper.
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2007-09-12 05:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, and I was pleasantly surprised to see a post from that roommate. I hope that he likes his new Mac!
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[User Picture]From: ysengrin
2007-09-11 08:39 pm (UTC)
I have exactly three pieces of legacy software that require windows to run. I have no intention of ever installing Vista.
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[User Picture]From: ashkitty
2007-09-12 12:55 am (UTC)
One of the many reasons I wiped vista off this thing when I bought it and put xp on.
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[User Picture]From: annamaryse
2007-09-12 07:32 am (UTC)
Wait, so are you saying that this new annoyance of WGA thing is only going to affect Vista users? That sounds a lot like what WGA is already doing with my XP install.
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2007-09-12 05:38 pm (UTC)
Really? I wasn't aware they'd built WGA into XP. I know it wasn't in the original release. Was that part of the SP2 upgrade?
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[User Picture]From: annamaryse
2007-09-13 06:23 am (UTC)
I have no idea where it came from, but it is spurious as all get out. It is designed to make your life a living hell until you give up and go legit. It tries to trick you all the time and if you activate it accidently (there's a way to avoid activating it when it rumbles to life) then it freezes up your system and forces a restart and then it takes close to an hour to ungoo altogether.

What happens is this little star-shaped icon embedded itself in the apps tray in the bottom right corner and every now and then it pops up a dialog box that reads "Stop! You might be the victim of software piracy. Click here to get Windows Genuine Software..." - something like that. And, if you click it, it opens a browser and then takes you to a wordy page explaining how to correct the issue.

That is one ruse, but there are 2-3 others. Windows tries to auto-update itself sometimes and then that's the worst. When it tries to call the mothership, it gets that command to freeze you up and then you have to turn everything off and reboot and hope it doesn't take too bloody long again.

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[User Picture]From: captpackrat
2007-09-13 07:34 am (UTC)
Vista already requires a reboot every hour, so it's no big change.
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