Vista is still not an option

Had a further little email chat with Jennifer about Vista’s licensing.  She pointed out this article on ZDNet, so I wanted to make sure I bring it to everyone’s attention.

It’s clear to both of us in our discussion, however… that these modifications just aren’t good enough.  It doesn’t solve the “ick” factor of knowing that Microsoft is watching how you compute – every day, every night, every boot.  To me, that makes it the ultimate deal killer.  The general distrust is the nail in the coffin.

I don’t think anyone here would disagree when I say that in the past, Windows experience has been “bought and paid for” through some… uhm… not necessarily proper copies of Windows and Microsoft software.  We all know that.  Microsoft knows that.  What Microsoft apparently doesn’t know is that there are large contingencies of IT workers out there that cannot afford their crack legitimately, even when they need it to learn how to do their jobs.  In the small business world, you’re certainly not going to see Mr. Tightwad tossing copies of Vista at his IT workers, begging them to install it at home and learn how to use it (which… if you think that an education on ANY new Microsoft product relies on the classroom or a Boot Camp, you should be fucking shot).

If Microsoft thinks that masses of IT workers are going to be able to shell out the actual big bucks that it takes to run legitimate copies of Office 2007 and Vista at home to learn how to do their jobs… they’re sorely mistaken.  Microsoft… bad call.  It’ll bite you in the long run.  You’ll see people diving off to Linux or Macs.  Yeah, Macs are expensive… but hey, it’s all about the hardware and software engineering and how it works together for a good experience.  That’s worth a little extra money to me.

Besides – by the time I build a PC that can run Vista well, I’ll have spent the same amount of money anyway – just to get Microsoft breathing down my neck to make sure I’m legit.  What-tha-fark-evah.  Not on my home machines, guys.

Vista is not an option

Here’s a good article on the Inquirer about why Microsoft Vista is not an option for at least 1 tech worker.

I’d imagine others are coming to the same realization. I already did several months ago.

Obligatory New Year’s post

Well, tonight is another night for that New Year’s thing. First off, let me say… Happy 2007!

Today we ate/socialized with Whitey and Vo0 at Cheeburger Cheeburger in Providence. Funtastic time! Thanks for the Christmas gift, guys! I can hardly wait to play it! I’m glad you guys are back in town and enjoying it so far. This town has become so much more interesting lately – and it’s only getting better. Besides, you’re just keeping with the trend of everyone moving away… then coming back… heh.
2006 was a stellar year for me and my family career-wise. It’s been fast-moving, crazy, full of advancement and excitement. The downside? I’ve worked far too hard. Probably my New Year’s resolution would be to stop working so much and do other things like… spend more time with my son and daughter… read books more often… write more often… exercise more often… do all of those things to better my personality. I’ve spent a lot of time bettering my career. It’s time to stop and better my personal life for a year.

I’ve planned several adjustments at the workplace to help that out. It starts with moving my office to a new location – one that can afford me some time away from the operations side of things. I know myself – if I’m near it, I won’t keep my hands off of it. I need to stay hands off. I need to be doing Powerpoint charts, Visio drawings, etc.

At home, I need to be learning more about Linux, PHP/MySQL, learning Chinese, buying Macs, reading and writing, photographing, videoing and creating. I want this to be the year I regress back to my artistic side.

Lastly (and this is where I need your help, Jennifer and everyone else)… I need to be exercising. Vo0 has lost 55 pounds or so… I should be able to do so too.

Let’s have a great year!

Merry Christmas, ya pirate (from MSFT)

So on Christmas Eve, Buckshot calls me and says his Windows is calling him out for being a pirate.

It seems that a few days after arriving home from Florida, his computer decided he was running a pirated copy of Windows XP, thanks to Windows Genuine “Advantage.”  The “Advantage” utility had decided that because he left the regional settings set to the eastern time zone, but had modified his clock by hand to the correct time, that he was a pirate.

Yep, it’s a known issue… if your computer’s time settings are off, Microsoft thinks you’re a pirate.

Now Buckshot is using words like, “Fuck Microsoft” and “They can screw off and die” to describe how he feels about Microsoft’s mistake.  I feel the same way.  The mistake even gave Taitai the willies – so much so that I’ve proudly stood up in front of all of them and declared, “That’s why this family is going Mac!”

Microsoft, you’ve made some fatal mistakes in 2006.  Purely fatal.  If you can give my Microsoft-loving family the feeling of malcontent, you’re in for a big problem.

Linux badass

You know you’re a Linux badass when you’ve got everything working… and I mean everything:

  • Printing works with cups over USB, shared to another Windows desktop with IPP
  • VPN server works with PPTPD
  • LDAP
  • Webalizer
  • Postfix/SpamAssassin/Courier/ClamAV/AmavisD-New
  • Squid
  • DHCP
  • DNS
  • Dynamic DNS registration for said DHCP/DNS
  • Shares with Windows and Linux machines alike
  • Backup jobs
  • Mailman lists
  • Apache
  • MySQL
  • DVD playback
  • DVD record
  • CD record
  • DVD ripping (har!)
  • Music playback of entire 9.4gb library
  • Rich-media plugins for web browsers

It’s all working.  The only thing that doesn’t work… and it’s because I’ve purposefully not put any effort into it… is my TV card.  That TV card is going to end up in a MythTV box somewhere.  Just because.

Deprecating webdav

Aquatix was asking on a post or two ago about, “How is deprecating webdav a good thing?”

The problem with webdav is that while webdav is meant to be a standard, I’ve rarely met a client that handled it properly.  I would also point out that some of these problems were not implementations with the client, but implementations with the server side and the relation to the client.

The new model in Exchange 2007 is to deprecate webdav support in favor of web services (via SOAL/XML, etc.).  This is a boon for clients because it uses a standardized model to feed data and the response is just XML.  How badly can a client screw that up?  That means the server-side is no longer an equation in poor Exchange support.

Exchange 2007 web services – Evolution, anyone?

I hope the Evolution developers are sitting up and paying attention to Exchange 2007.  Exchange 2007 is intended to be a bridge toward a web services model for communicating with the server for all functions external to the system.  WebDAV is deprecated.  I’ve seen it, it’s true, it’s exciting, and it’s a boon for Evolution and other webDAV clients that currently suck.

One blogger talks about it here.

Microsoft falling

(info: this post was started several days ago)

There’s so much more that can be said about Microsoft and the mistakes they are continuing to make. In my experience, product quality is going down… regression bugs are coming back into some products (Exchange 2003 and clustering!)… many enterprise products are a mishmash of spaghetti code… argh, it’s a tough time to be an enterprise admin with Microsoft products.

There’s been a renaissance of Linux here in my house, led by the Mac issue and Not Having Money.  I intend to replace all of the workstations with Macs, but in the meantime, I’ve dual-booted my system with Ubuntu Edgy and Windows.  Now here’s the kicker: I’ve not booted into Windows in about three weeks, maybe longer.  Taitai’s system is still on Windows because Linux is pretty rough around the edges, but she will be the first recipient of a new Mac when the first one is actually purchased.

On the server side, I’ve gotten rid of my lab Windows servers and converted everything to Linux.  It was a hairy migration project – I moved all websites (including this one) to Linux, all databases converted to MySQL, all pictures backed up, etc… then wiped out the box and put it on Dapper LTS Server.  Hoo, boy… does a dual-proc Athlon MP and 2gb of RAM run fast on the server.

So then I migrated everything back over to the new Linux box.  I learned a lot in the migration project and now have one seriously nice setup on the Dapper install.  The only thing I’ve not gotten around to is pptpd, but I intend to fix that one day soon.

Anyway, back to Microsoft.  I actually have zero interest in Vista – which means something has definitely bitten me in the rear in regards to them.  Vista finally feels to me what I hear a lot of complaining about: bloated, overbaked, complex, wasteful (new UI with too much rearranging again), sad use of hardware resources, insecure, incompatible and finally… distrustful.

Distrustful, did you say?

Why, yes I did.

The whole Windows Genuine Advantage thing was a real nail in the coffin for me.  Same goes for Office Genuine Advantage.  I understand that a company like Microsoft who makes a living on software as a base business is concerned about piracy and needs to consider ways to stop it, but this was just going too far.  I do not think that trying to do this in the “interest of security” was a good way to market it.  The end result of Microsoft’s play for WGA/OGA was that I felt like that just distrust me and my users.  Completely.  Regardless of how much is shelled out, the operating system must phone home every week, even if you’re a volume licensing enterprise customer.  Granted, you’re setting up the home that they are writing to, but still folks… bad call.

It leaves a terrible taste in my mouth.  It makes me feel like there’s someone waiting nearby to shackle me when… WHEN they feel there’s been some kind of violation… not if.

Take the Zune for instance.  Incompatible with that WMA library I had built up unless the whole damn thing gets DRM’d.  Come on – I wanted to avoid DRM.  Forget it.  Not interested.

Microsoft clearly distrusts their customer and is producing even buggier software than before.  No longer interested, am I… run away screaming to Apple, I shall.

Apparently, type like Yoda I will.

What do you do with a day off?

So what do you do with a day off when the system still manages to go down?

Well, you spend most of the day on the phone, honestly.  That gets old.  We had the day planned to spend running around town knocking out personal business that has been put aside for far too long.  It was little things like – setting up bank accounts, scoping out schools for BunBun, stuff like that.  But still, somehow… we end up on the phone together.

It’s like a second family we can’t get away from.

Here’s to hoping that bottle rocket gets launched tomorrow…

Nothing much else to say, really.  Oh, wait – yes, I do.  I actually helped someone with a GRUB/booting problem in #morphix tonight!  Now how awesome is that?  Maybe I can get AlexTreme to elect me to become a morphix MVP.  Har.