Friday, March 30, 2007

Windows Vista bug starts restart loop

Odd as the title may sound, Vista has a bug that will send it into a perpetual restart loop. Simply moving a file on the desktop will start the loop, where it will then continuously restart itself.

Well Bill Gates, so much for your secure operating system. Gates previously said on security "I dare anybody to [find security flaws] once a month on the Windows machine" (quote). Microsoft isn't secure period, and Vista isn't as good as they would like to think. People like to control their computer.

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10:06 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Fedora Core review: postponed

There are apparently more people bidding on 128MB sticks of ram than I thought (more than just me). I thought this would be much easier, but it seems that there are plenty of people who want to fight me for it. In both cases, the price was pushed too close to retail price for it to be worthwhile buying used. I will continue looking over spring break (starting today after I get back from school). Until then, the review I wanted to continue will be postponed for a little while longer.

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8:21 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Gay? You can't stay at this hotel

Another unfortunate business blunder. A couple was refused from a hotel because they were gay. Just more inconsiderate people. From the article:
"We were inquiring about the price, deposits, extra person fee, and she asked who the room was going to be for, and I said for my partner and I," Pickel said. “She said, 'Oh we don't rent to multiple people of the same sex.' I said, so you don't rent to gay couples? She said, 'No, we don't rent to gay people at all.'"
It is ridiculous that people think that it is alright to do such a thing. They are not allowed to discriminate based on sex, race, or many other criteria, but how is being gay any different? A little tolerance would be nice.

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9:16 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

RIAA backs away with stern letter

One lawyer has the idea. This lawyer was able to fend off the RIAA with a wordy, yet convincing, letter. The letter, basically, says that the RIAA has no evidence other than the IP address. Sample of the letter:
In an age of Wintel-virus created bot-farms, spoofs, and easily cracked WEP encrypted wireless home networks (among other easy hacks), the only tech-savvy response to such a request is, "You've got to be kidding." The extensive press that has been generated over computer security (and the insecurity of Windows XP and its predecessors) underscores the complete absence of facts on which probable cause to sue my clients could be established and your clients' willingness (even insistence) that others be implicated in Big Music's speculative, "driftnet" litigation tactics.
I like how they incorporate the fact that all the RIAA has ever had is the IP address, and they live on the fact that many people think that that is essentially your name, which it is not. The letter also incorporates the insecurity of Windows and a hijacked machine as the possible cause. This is the lawyer you want if you get sued.

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7:01 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

HP refuses warranty for Linux computer

[Image: HP Logo]If you have Linux on your HP computer, they might just refuse to honor your warranty. A woman contacted HP because her keyboard acted up. She was told they wouldn't help because she was using Linux. From the article:
When she called Compaq -- the unit comes with a one-year warranty on the hardware -- they asked what operating system she was running. When she told them Linux, they said, "Sorry, we do not honor our hardware warranty when you run Linux." In order to get warranty service, she was told, she would have to remove Linux and reinstall the original OS.
This doesn't bode well for HP's thought preloading Linux (link: mentioned at bottom). They can't sell something they outright reject. Overall though, that is terrible customer service. The way I see it, they do that because the documentation they sift through only work in Windows.

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10:37 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Google blog gets fresh new look

[Image: Google Blog redesign]
The Google Blog just got a redesign so it is now similar to some of its counterparts. I like the redesign, not that I ever actually go to the blog itself (RSS for me). The only thing that bothers me is the amount of "stuff" thrown into the sidebar. To be honest, I don't care about other Googler's websites, otherwise I would already be reading them. [via Google Blogoscoped]

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7:18 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Moscow: Amazing UFO-shaped building

[Image: Moscow building]
In Moscow, the newest development idea appears like something that could take off at any moment. The planned structure looks like a UFO. The whole idea reminds me a little of the "tent" idea in Kazakhstan.

I am little perplexed by the location of the building though. Going off the image, it looks like the thing will be built on top of a highway. In our paranoia-stricken world, I thought that they would worry about the hazards of being over a road. like that. For one, a car in an accident could catch fire and set fire to the rest of the building. Who knows? This does look cool nonetheless.

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10:32 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (1)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Fedora Core review: Coming soon

[Image: Fedora Core]
The review that I started nearly a month and a half ago is about to get into gear again. I can't wait to get the review started again. And I can't wait to be able to use the computer.

The trouble before was the lack of memory in the computer. I just put a bid on an ebay auction, so I should be getting some memory sticks soon. If I win, it will triple the amount of memory currently installed. It is costing me about $12 in total, and then I can use the computer.

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11:34 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Dell service response dissected

[Image: Dell logo]After my troubles with Dell, I got the attention of some employees. I received two emails to date from Dell representatives. I give them a little extra respect for the fact that they are actively seeking to fix the problem. Here is the last email I received, posted because I feel that it sheds light on some of the inner workings of the company.

My name is John, I work at Dell headquarters in Round Rock. I came across the blog posts you wrote about you latest escapades with our support technicians and our return to depot service. Obviously, what you wrote did not reflect the best that we have to offer in support. You did bring up some interesting points, a couple which I would like to address.

The first is our return to depot service. Please note that any repair service offered by Dell is through third-party service providers, as Dell is not a service company. The phone technicians and online support technicians you speak with are Dell representatives, but the repair center is actually the third party company that owns the support contract we sold you, much as Microsoft is the third party software developer of the operating systems installed on most Dell systems. Our return to depot contract is actually owned by Solectron, who does repair for us and several other computer vendors as well. Why do I mention this? Primarily to inform you that changing computer vendors doesn't necessarily mean you'd be rid of the people who actually caused this problem. There are several service contracts we offer with the purchase of a new system, with a Solectron contract being the least expensive "baseline" contract.
[Image: Dell logo]I now know that Dell didn't work on the computer themselves, but I do still need to say that the service that this third-party did reflects upon Dell's name, so no passing the blame here. They are passing their business to this third-party, so it is in their best interest for the service to be at its best.
When you embark on your college adventure within the next few years, if you choose to go with a new Dell, I would highly recommend puchasing directly from us so that you could select the service plan that best suits your needs. We have many to choose from, including up to a 4-year in home repair service contract from several vendors, depending upon your area. These service offerings are more robust than any of our competitors, to my knowledge.
[Image: Apple logo]With much respect, I will say that my decision to move to an Apple computer is not based entirely on this experience. While this still does not bode well for Dell in any way, I have had it with Microsoft and others in general. Apple computers look nice (which Dells, HPs, Compaqs, etc do not). Apple has a high-quality product that I have only heard good about. I am moving to Linux and Apple, period (and Dell doesn't sell Apple).
This also indirectly responds to the packaging issue you mentioned. It is quite possible that the deficient packaging by the depot rep caused the memory problem. If jostling during shipping was severe enough, it is possible that the system's memory could have slightly unseated itself, causing the memory error you noted. Before the system is packaged, the repair technician runs a boot test with a diagnostic hard drive, and it shouldn't have left their door without it passing this test.
Again, this falls straight back to the fact that Dell is doing business with this third-party company, and everything that this company does reflects upon Dell's name. Dell gets this reputation because it is the way they handle it, not because of another company.
Please feel free to let me know if you need any assistance with this system in the near future. I would be happy to assist you myself to make sure there are no further mishaps. Also, if you have any questions, I would be happy to field them.

Dell Customer Advocate
To Dell's credit, this was one terrible experience, but I have had better from them. I have a desktop that I bought from them which has gone nearly four years with no trouble at all. This time was just so bad that I couldn't ignore it.

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6:45 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (8)

Google Maps doesn't like Microsoft

[Image: Google Maps doesn't like Microsoft]
I don't blame them. Link. [via digg]

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1:06 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Spring is officially here

[Image: Flower]I don't care what the calendars say, today marks the first day of spring. The temperatures have finally risen and are steadily above freezing. Earlier this week I was out playing soccer in shorts even. Just this morning, I swapped the snow tires on my car for my summers (that makes it much quieter). The ice is gone and the snow mounds are rapidly diminishing.

[Image: Wordpress logo]I am still working on the Wordpress move that I have been planning since... well, a long time ago. I have a copy maintained on my computer so that once things are ready, I can upload it and be ready within a few days (links will surely break for a while). I still don't have any plausible way to pay for anything online, but I am working on solving that issue. I trying to get this done as soon as possible, but not guarantees as to when this will be.

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12:59 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Where the industry lost their money

[Image: CD]Ars Technica reports that they music industry is not failing because of increases in piracy, but rather the fact that people can now buy songs one at a time. This is an interesting conclusion that I never even thought of. It makes perfect sense.

Back in the days of the CD, people bought songs in groups of ten or fifteen. Recently, with the rise of music sales online, people can buy individual songs. There is no longer a need to buy the full album of crap for the one good song that you want. Too bad the recording industry will never come to this conclusion.

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10:07 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Microsoft Windows is 'most secure'

[Image: Microsoft logo]I severely question the validity of this statement, but Windows has been called the most secure operating system by Symantec. The claim that this is because it had the least vulnerabilities and the shortest time to fix it. I beg to differ.

The article says that Windows had 39 vulnerabilities, of which 12 were considered severe. On the contrary, Apple had 43 vulnerabilities, but only one was considered to be severe. That results to Apple having 4 extra problems, but Microsoft with eleven more 'severe' problems. Besides, even if there are vulnerabilities with Apple computers, nobody is attacking them. I would much prefer an Apple computer over a Windows box.

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9:32 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (2)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Teacher suspended for pro-gay article

Against any and all logic, a teacher was suspended for two months for allowing a pro-gay article to be published in the schools newspaper. The article in dispute is written by a student who promoted tolerance for gay teens. From the article:
Ten students attended the county’s school board meeting last Tuesday to get the newspaper on the next meeting’s agenda. They were then directed to assistant superintendent Andy Melin, who claimed that the opinion piece was biased.
Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't it alright for bias in an editorial? Isn't editorial opinion? Why does it matter? If you ask me, it is this type of behavior that the student wrote the article for in the first place. Not only are the other students harsh on gay teens, but also the faculty. Gay teens have just as much right to be heard as any other person.

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7:48 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (1)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Viacom in ackward position for lawsuit

After the initial lawsuit against Google/Youtube, the dirt is out against Viacom. One of their own properties, iFilm, could potentially hamper their copyright lawsuit. The site in question, iFilm, also contains copyrighted material to which Viacom doesn't not own the rights.

This is turning into one of those sorts of things where the verdict is practically expected before any progress is made. In this case, Google is in the best position. Viacom is already looking like the antagonist because of their overly aggressive attack on the video-sharing site. Everything comes down the the media companies demanding the far-reaching control of everything.

Viacom admits that they want to "show our content in an environment we control" (read in TIME). TIME magazine makes a point that people enjoy the neutral platform that is YouTube. YouTube works with all operating systems, typically free of annoying ads, and lets you share them. Media companies don't want any of that. They don't wan to share.

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9:45 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Monday, March 19, 2007

The MPAA, RIAA are causing a stir

The MPAA has taken the last tolerable step for some people. At a screening of a recently released movie, one man recounts the hell involved just to get in the theater. There were security guards intended to stop people from recording the movie. This particular man did the respectable thing to do: kept walking. It is ridiculous to have to subject yourself to the security worse than that of an airline, just to watch a movie. Also, as he points out, the guards walked the aisles, getting in the way of the screen.

The NPR has started a noble war against the RIAA. The NPR is fighting the royalty increase that the RIAA is pushing for. Not only is the RIAA pushing for this increase, but making online radio companies pay for all of their use in the past. It's almost as if the RIAA wants to put all the radio stations out of business so nobody ever hears of a new song they want to download.

Other than the astronomical price to radio stations, the DRM mandated by the RIAA is a considerable cost to customer service departments. Ars Technica reports that 75% of customer service calls are related to DRM issues. It is obviously not saving anyone any money. Why can't the people at the top realize that? [all stories via digg]

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7:47 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (4)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Put a speed limit on the autobahn?

Germany is know for the autobahn. There are some environmentalist groups that say there should be a speed limit on the autobahn. The group asserts that because high speeds waste energy and burn more fuel, there should be a speed cap. From the article:
The poll for ZDF television published on Friday showed 54 percent of Germans favor a speed limit of 130 kph (80 mph) while another 10 percent would like a limit below that level. Some 35 percent said they did not want any speed limit.
Wait; did they say a limit of 80mph? I would love it if the roads in the US had speed limits that fast. Michigan, the highest posted that I have seen is 70mph, and in on the Ohio Pike it is only 65mph. The fastest in my area is 55mph for most roads. I have gone up to 70mph, but that is only in more remote areas. I would love to take my parents' Audi A6 up to 80 or 90mph. One thing on my list of things to do before I die is to drive the autobahn at over 100mph.

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7:02 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Some things just fix themselves

The audio problem seems to have fixed itself. The Dell support rep said that they would call back at one earlier today, but that call never came. Before all is said and done, I have one last thing to say: Dell doesn't know how to package computers.

Whoever packed my computer prior to sending it back should be assigned a different job. The box had some plasticy-foam stuff around it to protect it, as well as a few layers of soft foam, but the person who packed it didn't understand the concept of computers being fragile. There was no foam on top, and the computer was directly touching the cardboard box. Not safe.

To any Dell employee who reads this (one emailed me about the previous post), I don't want any compensation other than for you to crack down on the quality of your support so that other people don't have to deal with this shit. If I relied on this own computer for a business (hypothetical), I would be screwed because of all the trouble they have caused me.

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6:07 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

More cleaning up after Dell's mess

[Image: Dell broke my speakers][Image: Dell broke my speakers]
The initial booting problem was fixed, but now I have noticed that the speakers don't work. In the image above, that is the error that I get when I tried to play some of my music. Right now, there is now sound coming from the speakers, nor is there any coming from the headphone jack. I am awaiting a call back from Dell to try to finish troubleshooting the issue. Hopefully it won't require sending it out again.

Every place that I look at settings, it is grayed out, most likely because there is no device. I think that Dell forgot to reconnect everything when they "fixed" my computer. It seems like there is a missing connection internally, as the computer seems like there is no sound card:
[Image: Dell broke my speakers]

I am getting fed up with this computer. It had one problem prior to sending it in: battery charging. Since I sent it in, I have had the memory messed up, and now the sound doesn't work. One step forward, two steps back. I don't intend on buying a new laptop until I am getting ready to go to college, but at the moment I am fairly sure that it won't be a Dell (most likely an Apple).

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2:04 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Hell of Dell support

[Image: Dell support is Hell]Yesterday, I mentioned that I received my laptop in a non-functioning condition. At first, my dad called them. He wasn't connected to a support rep, and the line ended up being on for 3 hours and 47 minutes and they never did answer the phone. Phone support sucks at Dell.

I was unable to get into their online chat because it said that there were too many users online already. Coming back later, I was able to connect. I was put in line. After about a fifteen minute wait, I was connected. Five seconds later, the support rep disconnected me, requiring that I reconnect to chat, which set me back further. (See transcripts posted at the end of this post.)

After the wait, I was able to talk to a support rep who stayed on the line. I went through the session with relatively no problems, but I was annoyed at the fact that the rep overlooked many of the things I said and continued to ask questions to which I already gave answers. In the end though, they were able to solve the problem.

The problem, as it turned out, was that Dell screwed up. In the week that they held my computer hostage, they messed up the memory. The problem was that they dislocated one of the memory sticks, and that prevented the computer from booting. The only people who touched the memory was Dell, and then me to fix their problem.

We bought this laptop a few months used on ebay. The guy we bought it from apparently had a three year warranty on it. So far, we have saved quite a bit of money, almost enough that I may consider the extra insurance to be worth it if it covers shipping. Dell has paid to ship my laptop four times (two repairs, sent both ways). That's not even considering how much they pay in parts.

I was going to get nasty with them, but I figured that wouldn't get me anywhere, and I knew after the first one that I would post these. The transcripts of the two chats are as follows:

07:24:49PM System: "Thank you for choosing Chat support. The next representative will be available to assist you shortly. While waiting, check some of our self support options above. No fear, you won't lose your place in line!"
07:24:59PM URL Shown: "<link>"
07:25:09PM URL Shown: "<link>"
07:25:19PM URL Shown: "<link>"
07:25:29PM URL Shown: "<link>"
07:25:39PM URL Shown: "<link>"
07:34:34PM Session Started with Agent (Pooja_143454)
07:34:39PM Session Ended

07:36:30PM System: "Thank you for choosing Chat support. The next representative will be available to assist you shortly. While waiting, check some of our self support options above. No fear, you won't lose your place in line!"
07:36:40PM URL Shown: "<link>"
07:36:50PM URL Shown: "<link>"
07:37:00PM URL Shown: "<link>"
07:37:10PM URL Shown: "<link>"
07:37:20PM URL Shown: "<link>"
08:04:29PM Session Started with Agent (R_59418)
08:04:36PM mike: "hello"
08:04:38PM Agent (R_59418): "Thank you for contacting Dell Technical Support. My name is Uma and my rep ID number is 0159418. How may I assist you today?"
08:04:42PM Agent (R_59418): "Hi mike"
08:05:30PM mike: "We just recieved our computer today, back from warranty repairs, and the computer no longer works."
08:06:07PM Agent (R_59418): "Thank you for the information. I’ll be glad to assist you. Please give me 2 to 3 minutes to pull up your account information."
08:06:11PM Agent (R_59418): "In the meantime, May I also have your telephone number, along with the area code to update our records?"
08:06:21PM Agent (R_59418): "I understand your concern and apologize for any inconvenience."
08:06:37PM Agent (R_59418): "Please let me know when what happens when you power on the laptop ?"
08:06:54PM mike: "Phone: ***-***-****"
08:07:30PM mike: "When turned on, the computer gets as far as the dell logo, then freezes. That's as far as it gets."
08:08:42PM Agent (R_59418): "mike have you removed the hard drive and shipped only the laptop to Dell ?"
08:09:35PM mike: "Yes. It was just returned today, and it no longer works. It still worked prior to sending it in."
08:10:02PM Agent (R_59418): "mike have you installed the hard drive again ?"
08:10:14PM Agent (R_59418): "and then check if windows is loading or not ?"
08:10:20PM mike: "Yes."
08:10:38PM Agent (R_59418): "Remove the Battery -- disconnect AC adapter --hold the power button for 10-12 seconds --- plug in only AC adapter ---Restart the laptop."
08:10:56PM Agent (R_59418): "Please perform the step and then let me know if it is still freezing in the Dell logo or not ."
08:11:58PM mike: "Still frozen"
08:13:56PM Agent (R_59418): "mike I request you to run diagnostics on the hard drive, this will help us to determine if hardware is working fine or not ."
08:14:01PM Agent (R_59418): "I will provide you steps ."
08:14:42PM Agent (R_59418): "Restart the system , the moment you see Dell logo press F12 and you will get option boot to utility partition, select diagnostics from the drop down. You will get list of device, select hard drive and click on custom test"
08:14:58PM Agent (R_59418): "Please perform the test and let me know if you get any error code or message on the screen ."
08:16:35PM mike: "The computer does not get far enough for F12 to work. The bar at the bottom is only about one tenth."
08:16:57PM Agent (R_59418): "You see the Dell logo right ?"
08:17:10PM mike: "yes"
08:17:17PM Agent (R_59418): "At Dell logo press F12"
08:17:59PM mike: "I do, and for as long as I hold it (up to twenty seconds), nothing happens"
08:18:39PM Agent (R_59418): "Okay, please follow this procedure then ."
08:18:43PM Agent (R_59418): "Press and hold the key, and then press the power button to power the system on. Release both buttons. The PSA diagnostics sequence begins. Follow any on-screen instructions. Record the sequence of beeps and/or make note of any error codes that may appear. "
08:21:15PM mike: "On the dell logo screen, it says "diagnostic boot selected" and freezes there. The bar at the bottom still only goes about one tenth."
08:22:30PM Agent (R_59418): "mike did you the Fn key procedure which I mentioned above to run diagnostics ?"
08:23:38PM mike: "yes, i followed the steps, but it froze at "diagnostic boot selected" other than that, it is identical to the way it was before"
08:24:12PM Agent (R_59418): "Okay, give me 2 minutes time frame."
08:26:30PM Agent (R_59418): "mike I request you to remove the memory module and reseat it once, so that if there is any connection issue, it will be rectified ."
08:26:46PM Agent (R_59418): "I will give you link which has instructions to remove the memory modules."
08:26:49PM Agent (R_59418): "Give me 2 minutes ."
08:28:52PM Agent (R_59418) sends page: "<link>"
08:29:22PM Agent (R_59418): "Please remove the memory modules wipe it with plain cloth and then put it back in and then reboot the laptop and let me know if it is working fine or not ."
08:29:28PM Agent (R_59418): "I will be online, please take your time ."
08:32:30PM Agent (R_59418): "Incase if you face any trouble in removing the memory modules, do let me know ."
08:33:20PM mike: "That seems to have been the problem. Thank you for the help"
08:33:37PM mike: "The computer works now."
08:33:42PM Agent (R_59418): "Great ."
08:33:45PM Agent (R_59418): "Is there anything else that I can assist you with ?"
08:34:09PM mike: "No, thank again."

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8:49 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Stupid people don't belong on computers

Every once and a while, something hilarious comes from stupid people. In this case, it is a person pretending that they know about computers. Excerpt:
If [Linux's ability to run without windows] were true (and I doubt it), then companies would be selling computers without a windows. This clearly is not happening, so there must be some error in your calculations. I hope you realise that windows is more than just Office ? Its a whole system that runs the computer from start to finish, and that is a very difficult thing to acheive. A lot of people dont realise this.
This person seems to believe that because it is not mass distributed through vendors, that it is not an operating system. He also seems to think that there is possible way that Linux can run without windows because a there's no way Linux "could just snap into existence overnight."

There are also comical responses to this posting:
Wow this is the funniest thing I've read in literally days.... I mean.. you were able to form complete sentences and avoid most spelling errors so I'd imagine you're not mentally handicapped, but GOD DAMN you missed the mark on that one....
Even my dad laughed at the article, and he has limited knowledge of computers. It's incredible that people can use computers, but not even be aware of the existence of alternatives.

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6:14 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Dell ships laptop back still broken

[Image: Dell logo]Last Friday, March 9th, I sent my laptop to Dell for additional warranty work because it stopped charging. Today, it came back, but it won't boot. It will get as far as the boot page, where it presents you to the Dell logo, but the progress bar only goes about a tenth of the way and freezes. It won't even go far enough to get to BIOS.

At the moment, I suspect that when they "fixed" it, they must have forgotten to reconnect all the internals, or else broke something else in the process. It could it least boot prior to us sending it to them. Besides that, it took six days for them to get it back to us. My dad is currently on hold trying to talk to tech support (currently over an hour). I don't have the patience to deal with indian tech support people that I can't understand.

Update 8:41pm: The computer works now. I will post more about the ordeal tomorrow afternoon.

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7:58 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

[Video] Parody: the iRack and iRan

Introducing Apple's newest products, the iRack and the iRan - a parody of Bush and his questionable war "tactics":

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7:14 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

No internet access? You're still guilty

The Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) has made another landmark case for why they should cease to exist. The RIAA is now suing a family who has no internet access, and doesn't even own a computer. The strange case is be blamed on the fact that the "illegal" act may have been from the previous owner of the house.

I find it baffling that a such corporate giant could be so careless in the way they handle their business. It seems like the RIAA is so hit or miss (more often miss) that the government should make them more accountable for themselves. Then again, the FBI doesn't even live up to that.

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10:12 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Gov't workers threat to national security

The United Stupidity Patent Office (USPO) has decided that file sharing programs are a risk to national security. The USPO seems to miss the point; the threat is not the program, it's the person using it. From the document:
For the Federal Government, this threat became manifest during 2005, when the Department of Homeland Security warned all Federal Agencies that government employees or contractors who had installed filesharing programs on their home or work computers had repeatedly compromised national and military security by "sharing" files containing sensitive or classified data.
Right here, on page ii, they practically admit that it is the people working in the government that is the problem. They are installing programs notorious for spyware and other bundled crap, and to top that, on government computers. Nice to see that they are passing the blame instead of fixing the problem. [via slashdot]

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9:27 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Microsoft admits piracy is good

[Image: Microsoft logo]Microsoft has backed away from their harsh attraction to fighting "pirates" in court because pirates turn into potential clients. They have admitted that pirates are more likely to eventually purchase software if they are left alone.

Also, another point in the article is retaliation. Once Microsoft sues, they lose customers. Take, for example, the story of a school sued for pirating Windows. After all was said and done, Microsoft got nowhere, and the schools in Russia then switched to Linux. Maybe the Recording industry should follow suit.

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8:05 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Viacom sues Google for $1 billion

Viacom, a leader in TV broadcast, has sued YouTube/Google for copyright infringement. They should be happy the stuff is on YouTube. I don't watch TV (except select shows), so the internet is the only way I would see anything from them. They should make a deal with Youtube already. From the article:
Their business model, which is based on building traffic and selling advertising off of unlicensed content, is clearly illegal and is in obvious conflict with copyright laws. In fact, YouTube's strategy has been to avoid taking proactive steps to curtail the infringement on its site, thus generating significant traffic and revenues for itself while shifting the entire burden - and high cost - of monitoring YouTube onto the victims of its infringement.
Viacom says that Google isn't doing anything to stop infringement, but that is false. Google has announced a plan to deal with this. The whole problem lies in the fact that no program can be 100% true, and not without false positives. It also doesn't recognize fair use. The media companies just need to make content available themselves if not through YouTube; that is what the consumers want.

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7:02 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Bush to cut programs for troop surge

The president has announced a plan to send 8200 more troops to Iraq. The proposal also asks for $3.2 billion, much of which is coming from controversial places. From the article:
Some of the deployments can be financed by cutting "lower priority federal programs," according to a document issued March 9 by the Office of Management and Budget.
Sounds fine and dandy, right. The real problem is what "lower priority federal programs" are:
Most affected by the cuts are the departments of Education, Agriculture, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.
Yes, let's cut funding to our already struggling schools, cut funding to those who provide us food, cut funding for new highways, and heaven forbid should you provide housing for the poor. This has to be one of the stupidest ways to fund a pointless war.

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9:17 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Study: Net neutrality would be beneficial

While many companies are against net neutrality, a new study has shown that the creation of a net neutrality law would spur the growth of networks. From the article:
The study argued that the killing net neutrality would result in fewer infrastructure investments and service upgrades rather than more. Even worse, ISPs that require content providers to pay for preferential access on their networks run the risk of losing customers whose favorite sites aren't on the preferred list.
The last comment would be me. If Charter blocked one of the sites that I like, I wouldn't hesitate to take my business elsewhere. The reason that there is no improvements now is because so many corporations are too busy managing the tiers that the forget about the actual service.

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7:27 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (3)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Dell makes low quality laptops

[Image: Dell logo]I just sent in my laptop for the second time. It's only been two months since I last sent it in. Last time, the charger had a bad connection and would only charge some times, but now it doesn't charge at all.

Right now I am stuck to using the family computer, which is somewhat inconvenient for me to use. I really need to get a new computer, then I can finally finish my Linux/Fedora Core review. I also want to try going to Best Buy to look, and when they ask what kind of computer I want, tell them "something without Vista" since they only carry Vista, just for shits and giggles.

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10:35 AM | Posted by mike | Comments (2)

Thursday, March 8, 2007

More bad news for Microsoft

The news is out that Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage phones home, even when the program is aborted. It is reported the Windows contacts Microsoft and sends registry information, cookie, and language even if you terminate before the installation. Even my tech-illiterate father can see that Microsoft has become too focused on piracy that it forgot about actual customers.

Not only is Microsoft's pushy ways annoying, but it also hurts the environment. Linux computers have a lifespan twice that of Windows. How can you possibly deny a computer that Lasts twice as long. Also, HP is trying to get a hold of Dell's customers by offering Linux on their computers.

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4:55 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

More bad news for Microsoft sales

[Image: Tux]Microsoft has been facing trouble with many schools. Another school has switched to Linux to cut costs. This is one of many times a school has switched. With so many schools switching, that has to be a big hit for the software giant. Schools, just recently, have taken away thousands of potential sales of Windows which translates to millions of dollars. Microsoft is just too expensive for schools to use it. Schools should get free software.

The FAA is considering a move to an OS other than Vista. This is the second government agency, after the USDOT refused to buy it. When agencies with bottomless pockets refuse to use your product, you know things aren't great. This is also a double hit because they are considering using Google's web-based apps.

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7:32 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Microsoft shows some jealousy of Google

Microsoft and Google are starting a battle over copyright infringement, but the kick is: neither infringes on the other's copyrights. Microsoft is suing because Google makes money from other people's work by adding advertisements or affiliate sales for books. The way I see this, Microsoft is saying: "I don't think it's fair that you are making more money than us." I see nothing wrong with the way that Google does business.

Google searches shows snippets; a whole article requires you to go to the site to read it. You can tell Google not to cache your site easily with robots.txt. Book searches only show a few lines at a time; Google also gives a link to Amazon where you can buy the book- they are promoting further sales of the book!

In other Google news: Google CEOs take $1 salaries like Steve Jobs. They make more than enough money in stocks.

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7:18 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Monday, March 5, 2007

USDOT bans use of Vista OS

Even the United States' Department of Transportation refuses to use Windows Vista. It's one thing that Microsoft is rejected by many consumers who were on the last straw, but the government as well? The USDOT cites incompatibility as the reason for the ban on Vista. Too many critical applications won't work on Vista.

Perhaps this should be a nice, blaring message to Microsoft. There were a little egotistical and forgot about the important aspect of things, working parts. The USDOT is considering Linux and/or Macs as an alternative that will run the same programs. Linux seems like what they should have been using all along seeing how unreliable every Windows platform is.

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9:27 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Bush reconsidering previous decisions

[Image: George Bush]George Bush is finally coming to his senses and is now changing his mind on many ideas that he previously rejected. Perhaps it is the fact that nobody has ever cared for the war in Iraq, or that he has relatively no public approval of what he is doing, either way, change is in the air. From the article:
For President Bush, last week's decision was the latest of several reversals on issues on which he once refused to budge. Since Democrats captured Congress, Bush has fired Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, authorized direct talks with North Korea, sent more troops to Iraq, agreed to discuss the contours of a Palestinian state in Middle East peace negotiations, and even proposed a tax increase for millions of Americans — all ideas he rejected earlier.
It previously seemed that his entire goal in life was to get into office and do what ever he pleased, because what he learned in school was that the president was always right. Of course, it's getting harder to convince the gullible public that there is a terrorist threat, I mean a bomb could look like anything. I cannot quote exactly, but in Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore, Bush says that a police state would be much easier to control. Is that where you would want to live?

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8:18 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Poorly designed Windows Vista ad

Look closely at the advertisement below:
[Image: Vist ad]

Now, look at the image of the side of a Macbook, from Apple:
[Image: Vist ad]

It is obvious that the people who designed the advertisement are Mac fans. It doesn't seem like they are promoting the right product. [via digg]

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8:15 PM | Posted by mike | Comments (0)
Barack Obama for President