Archive for July, 2007

Be wary of “double-V” domains

Monday, July 30th, 2007

Just like an F can be easily turned into a B on a particularly bad one-off report card, two Vs can look an awful lot like a W and scammers are taking advantage of this and registering scammy Microsoft related domains. 

Here are a few examples:


Be wary of links sent to you in emails and IMs. 

(Thanks to Sunbelt Software for the heads-up)

What I’m playing this weekend – DEFCON

Friday, July 27th, 2007

DEFCON.  This is a simple yet addictive game.  Described as the “World's first Genocide 'em up” … but it’s not as violent as the tagline makes out!

Introversion Software presents its third title, DEFCON, a stunning online multiplayer simulation of global thermonuclear war.

You play the role of a military Commander hidden deep within an Underground bunker. Your mission - to successfully exterminate your enemy's civilian population whilst disabling their ability to attack your own. Start by launching your battleships, subs and bombers in order to decimate your opponent's defences. Scramble together your alliances but remember only one can stand victorious.

Prepare your pre-emptive strike before one of your supposed allies gets the same idea. Choose the perfect moment for betrayal, obliterating your opponents with an apocalyptic thermonuclear barrage, but get it wrong and their devastating counter attack will bring you to your knees!

It's Global Thermonuclear War, and nobody wins. But maybe - just maybe - you can lose the least.

Blackle … um, it won’t save the planet

Friday, July 27th, 2007

Heard about Blackle?  It won’t save the world:

Apparently it takes more energy for your computer monitor to display a white web page than a black one. So while the modern web standard of white and bright colored backgrounds with dark text is great for readability, it might not be great for the planet.

Heap Media decided to do something about it by creating a custom version of one of the most popular white-backgrounded sites on the web. Blackle is basically Google, but black. It's powered by Google, so you should have pretty much the same user experience when using Blackle as you do with Google. Only darker.

Here’s the deal.  CRT monitors have been replaced by flat screens.  These have a backlight that illuminates the whole screen irrespective of whether while, black or a rainbow of colors is being displayed.  In other words, it won’t make a difference if most of the screen is black or white.  In fact, because LCD pixels are normally transparent when no current is flowing through them, a black screen is consuming more energy.

Oh, and it could well wreck your eyes – I certainly don’t like it.


Pirates can now make hologrammed Windows DVD

Friday, July 27th, 2007

Don’t rely on the hologram on the Windows discs are reassurance that the software is genuine – the pirates are making hologrammed discs.

I thought I would share this story because I think it really highlights the true purpose of WGA: to help people identify counterfeit software to protect themselves and Microsoft products from this type of activity.  WGA's goal is not to punish the people who purchased these programs; they, of all people, are the most victimized.  The goal is to give these people a tool to let them know they have been victimized and can do something about it.  

 Here's an example of the quality of the counterfeits being manufactured (the left one is genuine):

Vista pirated disc

Buy your software from a reputable source.

Another reason to dislike Vista

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

Ed Bott gives me yet another reason to dislike Vista:

Last month I began hearing rumblings of problems with the product activation system in Windows Vista. Last week I got to see the problem firsthand. The bottom line? The simple act of updating some hardware drivers – without making any changes to the hardware itself – can result in the Software Protection Platform code in Windows Vista deciding that the system requires reactivation. And a simple Internet activation won’t do; you’ll need to call Microsoft’s activation hotline, enter your product ID over the phone, and then type in the 48–digit code the operator reads back to you.

I've come across this issue, and while the reactivation process might only take a few minutes to solve, but it's yet another issue that gets in the way of using software that I've paid for.  The more I roll Vista out at the PC Doc HQ, the more I'm feeling like Microsoft is getting in the way of me doing the work I want.  Five minutes here and there reactivating is five minutes of my time that's being wasted that Microsoft isn't paying me for.

If you're affected by this, a fix is in the pipeline but could be months away.