Monthly Archives: October 2007

IBM patents patents

Found this pearl of wisdom:IBM patents making money from patents | The Register

I wonder if it passes the straight-face test?

Doubt it.

The Dangers of Software Patents

IFSO: Richard Stallman: The Dangers of Software Patents

Richard Stallman speaks out on Software Patents and why “intellectual property” is an oxymoron. I don’t agree with him on everything, but he’s dead on here.

I listen, therefore iPod

If you had told me three years ago that mine would be a two-iPod household, I would have doubted your sanity. I would have told you that Apple’s dedication to DRM would forever render the presence of an iPod in my life as an impossibility.

That was before a relative gave Milady a 2GB black iPod Nano that he wasn’t using. Funny how deeply-held convictions can melt in the face of free stuff, isn’t it?

When the CD player in my car quit working, I took to borrowing her iPod for trips to work. I got quite attached to the little gizmo. It soon reached the point that she rarely got to use it anymore, and when she did, she inevitably found out that it was full of the weird stuff that I preferred. We both agreed that I needed an iPod of my own. But 2GB was not enough. Neither was 4 or even 8.

You see, my music collection weighed in at about 27GB.

The problem was that the big iPods cost a lot of money; too much for me. After a few weeks of research, I snagged a used 40GB one from eBay for $71+shipping. I hope to get two good years out of it before upgrading again.

The purists among you may point out that I have sold out to Apple’s DRM lock-in, but I would point out that of my collection consists of approximately 2800 MP3s and precisely three songs purchased from the iTunes Store. Songs I could not easily get legitimately from elsewhere.

Like the iPod itself, the iTunes store “just works”. It is easy to purchase and download a song – even if I still think that 99c/song is too high (and the record companies think is too low). And if the DRM does prove too onerous, it is easy enough to break – for my own use, of course. Problem solved.

And Milady has her iPod back.

Show us your papers…

While attempting to install SQL Server 2005 Express (free) Edition on a computer running Windows 2000, I was instructed to upgrade a component of windows called MDAC.

Microsoft has the latest version of MDAC, along with an MDAC version checker, available at their website. Unfortunately, in order to access these downloads, I have to submit to the ignominy of Windows Genuine Advantage.

For some reason I thought that WGA was only applicable to XP and Vista; somehow they have decided that Windows 2000 users are untrustworthy as well. I don’t know when they started doing this, but it’s news to me.

No, no, a thousand times no. I will NOT give Microsoft permission to go sniffing around my system to see if it is “legit”; it was legit six years ago when I bought it, and it still is today; that’s good enough for me, it should be good enough for them.

Windows 2000 and XP are very similar under the skin (Just look at the version numbers: Win2k=5.0, XP=5.1). However, that similarity does not stretch to running Internet Explorer 7 or the Media Player 11 – those products are unavailable to Windows 2000 users.

So the latest generation of tools are unavailable to me, but is is ok to saddle me with the latest generation of DRM.

Don’t get me wrong… I do not hate Microsoft, but I do feel that they have been allowed to get away with a lot of stuff we would not put up with from anybody else. That’s why I say “no” to XP and “hell, no” to Vista.

I didn’t sign up for WGA, and I don’t want it now.