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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » MicroSHAFT Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA)

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Author Topic: MicroSHAFT Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA)
drewmie
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Well, yet another brick in the wall of Gates' operating system world domination strategy. Introducing Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA), the pretty name for the new XP update that won't allow you to download any more security updates unless Bill likes your CD key. So for people like me, who actually install and re-install regularly, our time gets wasted even more by this crap. More time on the phone with some Microsoft boob to explain I'm legit. More time every time I update. And more tracking my moves by Bill.

According to the link, the technology sends the following information to Microsoft:
quote:
OEM product key
PC Manufacturer
OS version
PID/SID
BIOS info (make, version, date)
BIOS MD5 Checksum
User Locale (language setting for displaying Windows)
System Local (language version of the operating system)

The information is used for three purposes: Web page flow, demographics, and to confirm user input. Web page flow means tailoring pages presented based on the user's responses. Demographic information helps Microsoft to understand regional differences in Windows usage, and helps us tailor responses appropriately. User input is often compared against data collected from the PC in order to determine whether to grant a user’s request for additional access.

Are they kidding? Are users really going to live with this crap? The three categories are so broad as to allow them to basically track you on an ongoing basis for their own purposes. What a load of garbage!

It's one thing to make this an up-front part of software. But it's just slimey to start doing it after the fact. This kind of technology is why I switched from Norton Internet Security to McAfee Internet Security, when Norton decided to put activation as part of their latest version. With McAfee? I don't even need a key. But at least Norton waited for the new version before implementing it, unlike Microsoft.

Does this bother anyone else? More importantly, do you think this will stand? Or will consumers and businesses cry foul? There is no getting around the fact that this creates completely new impositions and privacy issues for users of Windows XP. I just hope they get enough bad-will to change their collective ubermind.

[ August 11, 2005, 06:12 AM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

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JoshuaD
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quote:
More importantly, do you think this will stand?
Sadly, yes. Too many people don't know enough about Tech to care.
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TomDavidson
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This isn't actually new, y'know. They've been doing a version of WGA since XP came out, but initially chickened out of turning off updates. (And, in fact, they're still permitting "critical" security updates; it's only updates that fix non-critical bugs and/or improve functionality that won't be available.) With the new Windows Update site, they're finally implementing the last piece.

*shrug* And you know what? It's no big deal. I'm a hobbyist; I install computers all the time. And it's never been much of a hassle at all. Of course, I've never stolen a Windows license, either.

(And businesses aren't going to cry foul at all, since businesses get volume licensing keys.)

[ August 11, 2005, 06:49 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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LoverOfJoy
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I just hate how most computers come with "bundled" software that only works with that particular computer. This makes it so I have to keep paying for windows again each time my old computer dies and I get a new one.

I had a computer that I needed to reinstall windows on. I couldn't find the old cd to reinstall it. I still had a lot of old recovery cd's from past (dead) computers laying around but those wouldn't work with this different branded computer with different specs.

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TomDavidson
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This is why you should always make sure to only buy a computer without bundled software -- either by making your own, or by only purchasing from a vendor that will give you your actual Windows installation CD.
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EDanaII
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Microsoft and its strategies have always bothered me. I have always supported alternative computers. We had alternatives in 1985, we need them again, _now._ And, no, I don't just mean Macintosh, I mean in addition to Mac. Linux is too difficult to support, so it's not a good alternative... unless you're a nerd... Like me. [Smile] A thriving alternative market, using Java (and other cross platform languages) would go a long way denting Macro$hafts monopoly.

Ed.

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TS Elliot
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And STILL you people don't vote Democrat ... tssss I can go 'Told you so'!

The thing I loved, was Passport: With this MS wanted you to save you the "hassle" of remembering all your passwords you used to log in at shopping sites etc.
They would replace with just logging in ONE time, into the Passport thingee with .NET technology. The killer was in the small print: MS retained the right to move, copy, delete and manage ALL you private info like passwords and credit cards numbers at their discretion!!! I wonder how many people really fell for that one.

Small tip: make your password up out of the first letters of the words of a particular sentence, like :

Bill Gates has too many dollars for ten persons.

your password would be:
BGhtm$f10p.

To make it easy to add uppercase, use names, like "Mary likes Charles 3 times better than Susan:
MlC3tbtS

Etc.

there's a reason I still have win95, dudes ....

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The Drake
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People have been ripping Microsoft off for years, did you expect they would lie back and take it? If people paid for every functioning copy, it never would have come to this. The solution is ridiculous, however. They should have a hardware USB key that activates the software. Reinstall? Fine. New computer? Fine. Second computer? Nope. Won't work.
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halfhaggis
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EDanaII says
quote:
Linux is too difficult to support, so it's not a good alternative... unless you're a nerd...
I prefer the term "geek." Nerd implies no social skills. Or, do you have no social skills? [Smile]

But yeah, basically this is a big part of why I only use Linux.
The other bits being:
  • Better security
  • Better price
  • Better control
  • Better source code
  • Just better

It could be easier to learn, but once you've learned it there's no turning back.

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EDanaII
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quote:
I prefer the term "geek." Nerd implies no social skills. Or, do you have no social skills? [Smile]
Hmmm...

Nerd:
quote:

1. A foolish, inept, or unattractive person.
2. A person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept.

Geek:
quote:
1.
1. A person regarded as foolish, inept, or clumsy.
2. A person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept.
2. A carnival performer whose show consists of bizarre acts, such as biting the head off a live chicken.

I'll take "nerd," THANK YOU VERY MUCH. [Big Grin]

quote:
But yeah, basically this is a big part of why I only use Linux.
The other bits being:
  • Better security
  • Better price
  • Better control
  • Better source code
  • Just better

It could be easier to learn, but once you've learned it there's no turning back.

I don't disagree, Haggis, but it does nothing to change the fact that it is not for general consumption.

That said, I anxiously awaits the release of Mac OS X on Intel...

Ed.

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Godot
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Any chance of restraining Microsoft, in any meaningful way, seems long since lost.
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halfhaggis
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Don't believe everything you read on dictionary.com
And anyway, biting heads off chickens is character-building, and certainly makes for show-stopping dinner conversations.


But more importantly, wikipedia explains the differences between nerds and geeks (you'll need to scroll down a bit).

Plus, there's the glorious ThinkGeek.com and no ThinkNerd.com
Thinknerd.org exists, but it's in German so I couldn't figure out whether it was a good or a bad thing (I'm assuming it's a bad thing as this better suits my purposes).


Back on topic though. Couldn't this kind of behaviour from Microsoft encourage consumers to more actively search for alternatives? Even if Linux seems more difficult.

Imagine that the first time you ever encountered a computer it ran Linux. You'd never seen Windows before. You needed to use the computer so you learned how to use Linux to do your work.
Then one day you heard about Windows and gave it a try. It was so different and difficult to use. The learning curve of getting used to using Windows was too great to overcome. Heck, I'd just stick with Linux because it's what I know.

Getting masses of people to switch to an operating system they are unfamiliar with is a big ask - probably impossible.
Introducing children to Linux when they first encounter computers is a lot easier - at least, this would be the case in South Africa where most people don't have access to and have never used computers. If children first encounter computers in schools and the PCs are running Linux, that's what they'll learn to use.

Although short-term there is likely to be no effect on MS, I'd say that Mr Gates is running a serious long-term risk with these annoying validation initiatives of his.

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EDanaII
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What??? Yer actually gonna argue with me about Geeks bein' better than Nerds? [Wink]

Even the Wikipedia Dictionary states that Geeks are "head biters." And my definition comes from my father (he's 82 years old) so, since his definition's been around a lot longer than those web sites, I'll take "Nerd" thank you very much! [Smile]

Seriously, though...

I've used many alternatives, Haggis. I know what they are all like. And I know there are better alternatives than Windows, but, unfortunately, when Linux breaks, it's even more difficult to fix than Windows. Not because it can't be, but because, at the very least, there's a better chance of finding someone out there that can fix it.

Ed.

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