Microsoft ‘Genuine Advantage’ – Kill Your PC ?

Boy am I glad I don’t use Windows! I don’t have to worry about another company deciding that I don’t have the right to use my computer..

There is a ZDNet blog article relating a conversation someone had with a Microsoft support person which was posted to the interesting people list in which the MS support person said:

“in the fall, having the latest WGA will become mandatory and if its not installed, Windows will give a 30 day warning and when the 30 days is up and WGA isn’t installed, Windows will stop working, so you might as well install WGA now.”

I don’t think this is actually likely to be true as the only way they could be sure to disable Windows it if WGA wasn’t installed is to have planned this from the first release of Windows XP, otherwise they’d have no guarantee that the code they need to do this would be installed.

However, the ZDNet person questioned Microsoft and only got this in response:

As we have mentioned previously, as the WGA Notifications program expands in the future, customers may be required to participate. Microsoft is gathering feedback in select markets to learn how it can best meet its customers’ needs and will keep customers informed of any changes to the program.

Now given that MSFT is already being sued over WGA for violating the Washington Consumer Protection Act, Washington Anti-Spyware Laws, California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, California Anti-Spyware Laws, California Business and Professions Code and California’s Unfair Competition Law you would think that they would take this opportunity for a good PR exercise about it..

Space Titbits

Some interesting space stuff just spotted – double vortex spotted at Venusian south pole by Venus Express as well as imagery from Venus Expresses first orbit released by the ESA.

Also Saturn now has nine new moons discovered by a team using the Subaru 8.2-meter telescope. The Planetary Society blog post goes on to say:

If you’re keeping score, Jupiter is stil in the lead with 63 moons, but Saturn is running a close second now with 56. Uranus has 27 known moons and Neptune has 13, but both of those planets almost certainly have a lot more than anyone has spotted yet.

New Blog Anti-Spam Tools

Recently I’ve added a three new tools to my anti-spam arsenal. A few weeks back Rich gave me a heads up that he’d gotten the time to modify the WP 2.0 Akismet plugin to allow you to simply ban spamming IP addresses to your blog based on what Akismet classifies as spam.

Basically you get a top-10 of comments ordered by IP address and URL allowing you to quickly dispatch (and ban in the case of IP addresses) those evil posts. It works rather nicely, I must say.

This evening I’ve just added the Did You Pass Maths plugin from Aussie Steven Herod which is kind of a numeric captcha plugin for comments.

But this won’t stop trackback spam which seems to come in bursts, so I’ve also added the Trackback Validator Plugin from the Computer Security Lab at Rice University which visits the referrers of trackbacks received to ensure that there is really a link to you from that site in that page.

It’s not infallible as spammers can still configure a fake blog with links to your site, but they believe that when that happens it is no longer completely a spam trackback as it does originate from a real posting somewhere – just that you may disagree with the content and agenda behind it.

So, we’ll see what happens!

RIP Harriet the Tortoise, 175 years old

The oldest known living animal, 175 year old Harriet the Tortoise has died of a heart attack following a short illness at Australia Zoo in Queensland.

Harriet the Tortoise in 2002

Whilst it was long thought that Harriet was collected by Charles Darwin on his visit to the Galapagos Islands, genetic testing has shown that although she was born prior to his visit she actually came from a population that lived on an island that Darwin didn’t visit.

Doctor Who meets Dangermouse, almost..

This is interesting, the BBC is going to replace two episodes of missing Doctor Who video footage from the series The Invasion with animation by the award winning Cosgrove Hall company. They’ve got a 30 second teaser up at the moment.

Sounds great, but I’ve been conditioned into thinking of Cosgrove Hall doing Dangermouse and so I can’t help but think that perhaps they might introduce a new character..

Penfold: Oh crumbs Doctor, there’s them nasty Cyberwotsits again! Help! Ahhhhhhh!


Via: Sandra

An Unfortunate Headline

From the BBC:

Fans lose trousers to gain entry

Before you fear too much for the decorum of old Auntie Beeb, this is what it’s about:

Around 1,000 fans arrived for the Ivory Coast tie in their traditional bright orange trousers – but bearing the logo and name of a Dutch brewery.

To protect the rights of the official beer they were denied entry, so the male fans promptly removed the trousers and watched the game in underpants.

Talk about a strict dress code..