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2001 Dec 30 16:46

The following is an archive of a post made to our 'vox mailing list' by one of its subscribers.

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Re: [vox] Latest Microsoft Tricks
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Re: [vox] Latest Microsoft Tricks



On Wed, 4 Jul 2001, Robert G. Scofield wrote:
> The following information is taken from a review of the Microsoft Office 
> XP Suite in the July issue of California Lawyer magazine.  Note that 
> part of the reason the reviewer does not recommend the suite is because 
> of the nice little tricks that I set out below.  Given the fact that 
> Microsoft is essentially winning its anti-trust suit, maybe it will 
> eventually lose by turning off the public.

Time will tell, but I think after the complaints are made, businesses will
still buy it, and computer vendors will still ship it and once one person
in your organization has and uses it to create files for sending as
attachments, others will desire to have it as well so they can see the
attachment sent out by the person with the new Office product.

Criticism will exist between one company and another looking to make a
sale. The company looking to make the sale will not tell the consumer
company to re-send their RFP in RTF, or MS Office 95 format. Choosing to
do so may make the sales-based company appear low tech:

 "What? You mean, you guys dont even know how to use the product we use
all of the time? Why should we do business with a technically illiterate
company using 6 year old productivity software? If you casnt communicate
with us efgfectively by using our native tools, we will find someone who
can offer us better service!"

Remember, for most marketing and sales people, they are not paid to care
about politics of Linux vs. OS in their job. They are paid to focus on
marketing and sales. Anything that add more work to them or slows their
productivity is an issue. They do not want to learn how to use another
productivity product if that product has any chance to not show them
something in the original document if the document could be seen
"as-typed" on the same version of Office used to create it. (Issues of
legality: what if there is an OLE image or spreadsheet thingy that does
not show up in Star Office, but is part of the RFP? If you agree to the
terms of the RFP, then you agree to this unseen OLE resource and
disagreement of this may lead to court time. They do not care if the
techies must work harder, or the company must buy a new version of
productivity software.

People complain, but if they still buy the product and/or use it, their
complaints are empty. [more below]

> You must register the suite within the first fifty times it boots or 
> else the program will cripple itself.  This means among  other things 
> that you won't be able to save any files that you've opened and saved, 
> and you won't be able to begin new documents.
> 
> You're given two easy installations; one for a desktop and one for a 
> laptop.  On the second installation you are told that the product has 
> already been activated and you have to call Microsoft and talk to a 
> person who will give you a number for you to enter into the "Product 
> Activation box."  Here's what the reviewer says if you have to install a 
> third time:
> 
> "You're a good little soldier.  But try to install it on a third  
> computer and bingo, Big Bill's gotcha.  LHB (this stands for "live human 
> being"; this is the person you have to call at Microsoft) tells you 
> you're out of luck: If you want to activate Office XP on this third 
> computer, you must uninstall it from one of the first two and then call 
> back for an ID."
> 
> "Heaven forbid you should upgrade your hard drive or someone should 
> steal your computer.  You have to call LHB and reassure him or her that 
> you're not trying to cheat--that this really is your laptaop or that a 
> lightning bolt really did hit your desktop computer square on its on 
> button."

There has been discussion on the possible issues with MS Windows XP and MS
Office XP in the future. Presently, newer windows systems are updated with
that nifty "windows update" process while using MSIE and clicking
check-boxes for what you need to patch/upgrade and install.

A nifty message comes up with MS Windows 95,98,ME,NT,and 2000 that says
something like, "Windows is determining what software is needed for your
system. This is done without sending any information to Microsoft."

Of course this is incorrect. You tell MS about your machine in the Browser
connect/GET stream request for the pages. Perhaps they mean nothing about
the *other* installed programs (beyond MSIE version etc.)

Now with Windows XP with Office XP, perhaps MS will move to send the
unique IDs for software installed and verify keys and update requests for
keys. It would be trivial for *them* to add another check to see how many
times key "XYZ" requests update to service pack 34565. If they show 3
completed updates with only 2 registered copies of keycodes, they might
think you cloned your sytem install.

This might cause image programs and utils to generate uniqe SIDs for
machines to "break" or become useless/ineffective. What do you do when
your lab of 30 clones machines (from one install and activation station)
need to be upgraded with MS pacthes? Do you upgrade the main machine and
re-clone the images out to the machines? Ewww...

I think NIC MAC addys were used to generate windows SIDs as well as other
information from the system for uniqe SIDs. If they build their activation
challange code for your machine upon your SID, what happens when you
change your ethernet card? Do you need to reinstall? What about laptops
when you use many different ethertnet cards and must eject different ones
and insert new ones with different MAC addresses?

> The reviewer really loves Word, so maybe Microsoft will turn its fans 
> against itself.

People (including me) complain about MS products and MS licensing.
However, MS is richer now than before, and other people still buy their
products. I suggest ignoring the complaints made by people. Wait until MS
reports earnings and profits of their new OS and office productivity
suites. This should illustrate that old saying, "actions speak louder than
words" but we shall soon see what happens.

Mildly amused by MS licensing schemes with the new XP products,
-ME

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decode: http://www.ebb.org/ungeek/ about: http://www.geekcode.com/geek.html
     Systems Department Operating Systems Analyst for the SSU Library


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