Archives August 2009

Windows 7 Crippling, On The Big Screen

windows7sins_(3)_270x390

A few weeks ago I wrote about how Microsoft was artificially crippling “lesser” versions of Windows.

Blocking you from running software you have a right to use, simply because you didn’t buy their more expensive version.

Well, it looks like the Free Software Foundation is launching an attack against Microsoft, pointing out just that…

“Microsoft is up to their usual tricks again — only this time, they’re also inserting artificial restrictions into the operating system itself. While not the first time they’ve done this, this is the first release of Windows that can magically remove limitations instantly upon purchasing a more expensive version from Microsoft.”

I for one am glad to see this.  This mentality over at Microsoft of “we wrote your OS, so we control everything on your computer” needs to stop.  Unfortunately Microsoft has done this shit since the early days of Windows… they always want to control what you can and can’t do on your own machine and it seems like a constant fight with Microsoft and Windows just to be able to do what you want on your machine.

They’re pushing Linux based software of course, and I wouldn’t be opposed to switching to such a platform if it weren’t for one major issue, which is gaming.  A lot of my home PC use is gaming, of which almost none of the modern games run on Linux platforms.

Maybe in time Linux will mature enough and get a large enough market share that developers will pay more attention to it.  If this would happen we could finally switch off of Microsoft and their bullshit strangle hold on our machines.

Why is Windows 7 Media Player So Ugly?

I’ve been using Windows 7 for a few weeks now, and it’s alright I guess.  It would’ve more appropriately been named Windows Vista SE (Second Edition) though.  It does not feel like a new OS.  It feels like Vista SE.

While a lot of changes are good, there are some changes that just make me go “WTF?”

One such WTF change is the new Windows Media Player.  It’s freaking BUTT UGLY in Windows 7.  I mean it looks like Microsoft just completely forgot to develop any kind of skin for it.  I am completely dumbfounded by this.

First, lets look at Windows Media Player in Vista…

pretty

Nice pretty transparencies, a nice defined playback window.

Now lets look at Windows Media Player in Windows 7…

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Vista and 7: Easily Disable Ease of Access

Ease of Access on the login screen was always something I disabled on my Vista machines… and of course Windows 7 hasn’t added any built-in option to disable this useless and annoying feature, so I’m here to show you how.  As far as I know you can’t remove the button, but you can disable it.

I call it useless and annoying because it is… it allows people to mess with YOUR computer settings even when your machine is LOCKED!  The entire point of locking your machines is so people CAN’T mess with it.

All you need to do is replace 1 executable file it is:

c:\windows\system32\utilman.exe

This file is what controls the pop up when you click the Ease of Access button.

I have taken a replacement file from an older version of Ease of Access Disabler.  This was a useful utility in it’s earlier versions, but the new version throws a bunch of shit-ads on your screen for their site, and if there is something I really can’t stand, it’s ads on MY computer.

So here you go…

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UPS Mutilated My Parcel

Well, it’s a mystery as to what the hell happened to my parcel, but it looks like it has been to hell and back…

When I received it it was folded in half and covered in packing tape.  Upon closer inspection, it looked like someone has cut it in half and taped it back up.

Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that my goods were rifled through to see if there was anything worth stealing in it (there wasn’t to the average joe)?  Maybe I am just being paranoid?

So I cut the tape and dumped out everything in the envelope.  My paypal receipt and the plastic baggie my product came in were completely mutilated.  Corners cut off and missing, pieces sliced away…  I know UPS opened it because I couldn’t find all of the pieces cut out of the plastic baggie… and my item was not in the plastic baggie, it was just sitting in the envelope.  Luckily my item was not damaged durring whatever destruction happened to my envelope on its journey from California to here.

This folks, is why UPS should go out of business:

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UPS Should Go Out Of Business

When you’re a company who has ONE job… delivering packages reliably and on time… and that is the ONE thing that is impossible for you to do, you should probably just fucking close up shop.

Every damn time I am shipped something UPS it is a fucking disaster.  Today was no different.  I had been waiting for this package all week, and it was finally scheduled for delivery for today.  I was excited to receive my precious goods I had purchased from the magical world of the internets.

When it became late afternoon and I still hadn’t seen a UPS truck, I decided to check their tracking site… my heart sank

SPRINGFIELD , IL , US 08/07/2009 9:35 A.M. MULTIPLE ERRORS EXIST IN THE ADDRESS LABEL. UPS IS ATTEMPTING TO DETERMINE THE CORRECT INFORMATION TO COMPLETE DELIVERY / THE ADDRESS HAS BEEN CORRECTED. THE DELIVERY HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED

Fantastic.  Now instead of having my goods on Friday as I should have, it will be Monday at the EARLIEST.

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Windows 7 Home: Your very own crippled OS!

With Windows 7 RTM hitting official Microsoft channels, I figured I’d load up the final version of Windows 7 and check it out.  I’ve commented in the past about being completely unimpressed with 7 and for the most part, that is holding true, with some added hatred for the big-wigs over at Microsoft for arbitrarily deciding what I should be allowed to run on MY machine.

I upgraded from Vista Home Premium to 7 Home Premium.  The upgrade process itslef took around 3 hours, but it did go off with out a hitch.  I was happy for the most part, until I went to fire up one of my virtual machines in Virtual PC 2007.

This is when my joy turned to pure black hatred for 7 and all it represents.  It is a step backwards in technology.  It is Big Brother watching over your every single move tell you what you can an can not do.

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Changing Antivirus Programs, so long NOD32

For the last couple years I have relied on NOD32 to protect my systems from the nastiness of malware, viruses, and all the like.

For most of that time it was a good program.  It had it’s little hiccups along the way, but they always seemed to be resolved by Eset rather quickly.

That was until Vista Service Pack 2 came along and changed everything.

Don’t get on me about user error as I did everything in my power to ENSURE no issues.  I uninstalled my old NOD32 (version 4), downloaded the LATEST version/build direct from Eset’s site, installed SP2, then installed the new NOD32 I downloaded.

This is when things started to fall apart.  Ever since then I was plagued with system lockups and hangs ESPECIALLY at the login screen or going in to or coming out of standby or hibernation.  This wasn’t just happening on 1 machine either.  Both my [aging] Desktop and my [new-ish, 1 year old now] laptop were having CONSTANT issues.  I initially didn’t pin it down to NOD32.  I thought I was having some other issues until I jumped on to the Eset forums and found hundreds upon hundreds of other people having issues with their Vista SP2 machines.

I uninstalled NOD32 from both of my machines and they both became rock-solid.  My desktop went from locking up every 2-3 days to being up for 2 weeks straight.  My laptop has been in and out of standby/hibernation at least 2 dozen times without a single problem.  I checked as recent as last week and Eset has still not issued any newer versions of NOD32 to rectify the issues I and many many many other NOD32 users were having.

After nearly a month running with nothing, I decided it was time to hunker down and find something.  I began my trek to find an antivirus solution that didn’t suck so much balls.   I spent many hours combing over all kinds of performance benchmarks, detection ratings testing, and over all features I have now installed my new protection system…

avira

Avira AntiVir’s detection rates were among the top rankings, often times beating out NOD32’s detection rates… and get this… IT’S FREE!!!  Everyone loves free, right?

Does it play well with Vista SP2?  I have no idea as of right now.  Only time will be able to tell me that.

So far my initial impression is good.  It is definitely light weight.  It definitely has A LOT fewer options then something like NOD32.  It is very basic… but really complexity doesn’t always mean better.  It’s about the programs ability to detect and protect.   I may not put it to that thorough a test in that regard as I am usually very careful about what I’m doing and am not your average user that would be more careless, but I still think that everyone should have SOMETHING.  You never know when you might accidently hit a malicious web page or a site that has been hacked and infected and get hit with a Java-based worm or something.

I will write a follow up article about AntiVir after I’ve got some play-time in with it and see how it plays with my systems.

Until next time.