ciscoguy01 (635963) writes "The Microsoft WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) antipiracy program aims to reduce software piracy.
I needed a driver for my Microsoft hardware.
I went to Microsoft's download site, found the needed driver and started the download. As a Firefox user I was prompted to download the genuinecheck.exe program to verify I hadn't pirated Microsoft Windows. No problem. It's a PITA but what the heck. I needed the driver. The genuinecheck.exe program I downloaded is here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/exe-validation.aspx?id=7716
I ran it, and it said "This version of the Windows Genuine Advantage Tool is expired. Please download a new version". The problem is there is no new version.
This program failure prevents all Microsoft customers from downloading needed software without using the IE ActiveX solution which I am not willing to use.
This has been going on for several weeks and there are a number of posts on the Microsoft support forums about this, but Microsoft either has not woken up to the fact their standalone tool has expired.
I tried but was unable to reach anyone at Microsoft that can update the standalone tool, but I did get an offshore support tech who offered to charge me $99 to solve the problem. Heh.
I told him I would help Microsoft solve the problem of an expired file on their web server for $99." Link to Original Source top
The Microsoft WGA Antipiracy Tool Is Expired. Is this intentional?
ciscoguy01 (635963) writes "We've talked about the controversial Microsoft WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) program.
I needed a driver for my Microsoft IRDA keyboard and eHome USB receiver.
I went to Microsoft's download site, found the needed driver and started the download. As a Firefox user I was prompted to download the genuinecheck.exe program as I had many times before, run it and put the verification number in to verify I hadn't pirated Microsoft Windows. No problem. http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/exe-validation.aspx?id=7716
I downloaded it and ran it, and it said "This version of the Windows Genuine Advantage Tool is expired. Please download a new version". The problem of course is there is no new version.
If you are on Windows 7 (maybe Vista) a silent activeX solution performs this function and you wouldn't have this problem.
This prevents all Microsoft customers from downloading needed software without using the activeX solution. I am not willing to run the activeX solution.
This has been going on for several weeks and there are a number of posts on the Microsoft support forums about this, but Microsoft either has not woken up to the fact their standalone tool has expired or they are trying to get as many people as possible to install the full WGA on their system.
I am not willing to do that because some time ago I changed the motherboard in a customer's system with an identical one from another system and the WGA started complaining. I called Microsoft about it and they couldn't fix it even though they admitted this was not a case of software piracy!
Is Microsoft doing this intentionally? What does/. think?" Link to Original Source top
ciscoguy01 (635963) writes "I just moved, and at my new place AT&T is the telco. I check online and they offer 1.5mb ADSL at the address (naked dsl) but no faster. Some problem with no remaining "high speed slots". The $20 price is pretty cheap.
I don't much want a slow 1.5 mb line, but there are few alternatives. The only CLEC is dslextreme.com, but they have the same speeds, no better. I would also have to pay ATT for a phone to use them, no naked dsl- so it's much more expensive overall.
The only alternative is Time Warner Cable and they are really expensive.
There doesn't seem to be any real competition in these residential DSL lines and I have nowhere to go for better service. The few providers have no reason to improve without competition.
Should the government regulate these data lines now that we all consider them essential and it seems the few monopoly providers are running roughshod over us? This is crying out for some regulation, some standards. I should be able to get a 3 MB line at least. If there were any real competition they would be knocking on doors trying to sell us. As it is we kind of have to beg for good service." top
ciscoguy01 (635963) writes "Like many people, I long ago bought a Panasonic Showstopper ReplayTV PVR, nearly the first Personal Video Recorder- one month after TIVO. Mine came with "lifetime service", so I expected to never have to pay for it again, or until if failed. It called into their servers nightly and downloaded it's electronic program guide.
Last week a popup appears on the screen saying "Important Announcement!
The ReplayTV Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) Service will be permanently discontinued on July 31, 2011. After this date, owners of ReplayTV DVR units will still be able to manually record analog TV programs, but will not have the benefit of access to the interactive program guide. Effective immediately, monthly billing for the ReplayTV service to remaining customers has been suspended."
Some people were paying $12.95 a month for the EPG service. Some like me had lifetime units.
The company is not bankrupt, nothing like that. They just decided to call it quits, leaving me and however many others are still using these old standard def DVRs with nothing. It's been a long time, but how long should lifetime be? Should they be able to just dump us?" Link to Original Source top
ciscoguy01 (635963) writes "We discussed a lawsuit by the state of Washington against DirecTV a year ago about their business practices. http://yro.slashdot.org/story/09/12/21/1513253/DirecTV-Sued-By-Washington-State/
I have subscribed to Directv satellite since 1997.
Through 2009 my bill was mostly stable, about $43 a month.
Then, in mid 2010 they charged me $63, then in February 2011 raised it to $83 a month.
The funny thing is I get promotions in the mail from them weekly offering me much more programming than I get from them now, and for $45.99. This isn't some special deal, they apparently mass mail it to everyone. I have received it myself 4 or 5 times in the last couple months.
So I called them in February after they raised my rate again and said I wanted that deal. Nope, new customers only. I said I'd cancel.
They then transferred me to the retention department. The guy first offers me $10 a month off. Then $20, then $27. Apparently their prices are quite flexible In each case I told him nothing would be satisfactory except the promotion they are mailing me in the mail, or better. We ended in a stalemate.
I paid the $83 bill again this month but I gave them cancellation orders for the end of my paid period. Naturally they want me to call in again and negotiate with their retention department but I have about had it with them so I am going to switch.
Better watch these recurring bills and watch the promotional offers from the same company. I will never understand why some companies think they can charge their current customers extra. I don't think you can keep your customers with that strategy." top
ciscoguy01 (635963) writes "It's no secret that AT&T has lobbied the FCC about net neutrality. Naturally, they are against it.
A couple of weeks ago I got an email from AT&T with changes in terms.
It said they were going to meter my uploads & downloads and if I went over 150GB I would be charged for overage. If I subscribe to their UVERSE IP Video service I would get 250 GB/month.
I wondered how they could have IP Video users get by on 250 GB a month?
It turns out they don't have to. UVERSE traffic is not metered and is not a part of your bandwidth.
If you subscribe to any of AT&T's IP Video competitors, watch TV shows online from a broacaster's site, use Netflix, Boxee, or any other video that would be metered.
This is the essence of discrimination on the basis of traffic. If you use AT&T's offering you won't have to pay for the bandwidth- it's FREE. Any of their competitors, you will. So this raises the cost of their competitor's offerings. I'm not usually a fan of government regulation but this is discriminatory and I think AT&T should be stopped by the government from discriminating based on traffic type.
What does/. think?" top
ciscoguy01 (635963) writes "I just got the email from AT&T with subject:Updates to your AT&T Internet Terms of Service. Among the nifty changes are the 150GB monthly usage cap starting May 2, 2011. There's even a web tool to track your usage.
I don't consider myself a big user, I don't subscribe to Netflix, for instance. But according to them I have used 73GB in 16 days. That's up and down. So I may be getting their notice of too much usage when this goes into effect. I think this is way too low and I will be looking for another provider, though in my area there are only AT&T and Time Warner Cable, and CLEC DSLExtreme which has very cheap prices but unless you pay a lot you get a pretty inadequate throttled speed IMHO, just like AT&T.
This low limit and that they are charging us for uploads and downloads is going to limit a lot of their users internet activities. In today's world internet service is getting pretty close to becoming a public utility. I think it's essential.
With the telcos owning the copper wires all over town and there being no practical alternative, we are stuck with a few big, bad companies who are trying hard to keep us from getting what we want. What can be done? Should congress get involved? The FCC?" top
ciscoguy01 (635963) writes "ATT formerly had "unlimited data" on their smartphone dataplans, like most other cell carriers. They have quietly changed to a metered data plan. Now, you pay $15 for 200 MB/month, and if you use even 1 mb more it's another $15. I have an android phone and with all the ads the "free" aps are supported by my background data usage is over 100 MB/month, and I hardly use it.
I realize the "free" aps are paid for by the ads and that's fine, but since they are using our data, the aps are not really free, especially with all the stealth data usage.
Should we be charged for loading ads in the background, or should phone carriers not meter that, or should the carrier allow us to block that data leakage, especially since they sold us a phone that leaks data? Ah, heck. I don't think anyone wants metered data at any time. What does/. think?" top
ciscoguy01 (635963) writes "Adobe sent me a popup today with a flash player update to 10.1.
I always update flash right away because of all the exploits and how flash in general behaves horribly.
This update required me to agree to an EULA that was 280 pages in every language you can imagine: http://www.adobe.com/products/eulas/pdfs/PlatformClients_PC_WWEULA_Combined_20100108_1657.pdf
It goes on and on about it being a binding agreement and all.
Special care is taken in section 4 to prohibit use of flash in any set top box or media player.
AFAIK all media online (youtube, hulu) plays with flash.
Why would Adobe ask users of their "free" software to agree to all these terms?
Is Adobe's real goal to get license agreements out of media player manufacturers?
Is there a reliable replacement for Adobe Flash Player, maybe open source?" top
Privacy Groups Want Feds to Investigate Target Ads
ciscoguy01 (635963) writes "From Wired: Privacy Groups Want Feds to Investigate Targeted Ads
There is no online privacy in the US, and hardly anyone seems alarmed at these advertising companies tracking our every move online,
They are compiling out information and using it to try to sell to us, and likely for other nefarious purposes.
What does slashdot think?" Link to Original Source top
ciscoguy01 writes "An email arrives today with the ominous subject line: Changes to your AT&T Internet service
And the also ominous message:
Your Terms of Service will be updated. The new Terms of Service will take effect at the time of your upgrade on or after 11/02/2009.
You can preview the new Terms at http://att.yahoo.com/terms. By continuing to use the Service, you signify your continued agreement
to the terms and conditions set forth in the Terms of Service document.
The new TOS is a number of pages of fine print, but nowhere does it show where to see the *old* TOS or what the changes are.
I subscribe to ATT DSL service, mostly because it was only one available.
Should companies be able to change their TOS without explaining clearly what the changes are?
How would I be expected to know whether the changes proposed are material to me or not?
I don't think so. What does Slashdot think?" top
ciscoguy01 (635963) writes "AT&T just sent me an email announcing the end of USENET service for AT&T customers, and advising me that paid subscription services are available.
Important Updates to Your AT&T Internet Service
Dear AT&T Internet Service Member:
Our records indicate that you have accessed our Usenet newsgroup feature in the past 90 days. We are writing to inform you that this feature will be available through July 15. On or around July 15, 2009 we will no longer provide access to the Usenet service. If you wish to continue accessing Usenet newsgroups, please be aware that many Usenet services are available for a subscription fee.
Your AT&T Internet Service Customer Care Team
Some months ago AT&T discontinued binaries access to USENET, their reason being "there is no possible use for binaries except to download kiddie porn."
No word if they are going to reduce my ATT DSL bill by the amount of the cost of a third party USENET subscription.
There is no practical alternative the ATT DSL in this area, and in most areas this is the case. I admit I am an old guy, and only 1/100 of 1% of the current users of the internet are even aware of the existence of USENET. I assume this percentage is much larger among the technically clued, readers of/. . I also admit that USENET is a shadow of it's former self. 15 years ago I called Dejanews the "source of all knowledge, and it was!"
Should internet services keep providing USENET for their customers who want and use it? Should the fact that ATT is a practical monopoly in nearly all areas they provide in since they are the phone company have bearing on this? If there were another provider I could switch to I would consider it but there aren't any.
What does/. think?"
ciscoguy01 (635963) writes "We talked last September about the 65 MPG diesel car that Ford has introduced in Europe,
URL: http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/09/15/2049252 "Ford's 65MPG Due In November, But Not In the US"
and how it won't be made available in the US and all the reasons why, some of which seem a little hokey to me.
URL: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_37/b4099060491065.htm "The 65 mpg Ford the U.S. Can't Have"
But are the REAL, unsaid reasons the UAW union work rules, wherein they'd have to make the cars here to placate the unions? This has all been in the news lately about the automakers bailout and someone mentioned something like that, it made me reflect.
I'd buy a 65 MPG car if I could fit in it, drive it & afford it, but I can't here in the USA.
I'd like to know the *real* reason why not. Union rules doesn't seem like a good enough reason." top
ciscoguy01 (635963) writes "We discussed Firefox sending us a nag screen for upgrades a couple weeks ago. Firefox To Get a Nag Screen For Upgrades
I had upgraded to firefox 3 some time ago and rolled back to 188.8.131.52 when I had troubles with the new version, my favorite extensions and a few sites.
I often like to let a few million others test upgrades before I do.
Well, I got the upgrade notice today, and I wouldn't' call it a "gentle nudge".
When I walked in my home office my computer had rebooted. I first suspected a power failure, but I don't see any other evidence of that.
I launched the stuff I usually run, one being firefox 184.108.40.206. It immediately started downloading an update, no ask permission, nothing. I quit updater.exe with task manager and relaunched it and was then asked if I wanted to re-download the failed update. I said no, and then started looking around.
All the "check for updates" selections were now checked and I sure never leave them that way.
My adblock plus extension had no subscriptions and all the things I had added were now gone.
I have to say I don't call this a gentle nudge, Mozilla didn't ask me if they could update my system and by leaving the "check for updates" set to off my intentions should have been abundantly clear.
Who said they could remote access anything at all on our systems?
Has anyone else noticed this type of hacking by the Mozilla developers?" top
ciscoguy01 (635963) writes "In my local paper today there was an article by the Associated Press about "Gas-saving devices".
Gas-saving products boosted by high fuel prices http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iViBqZdaZNfs99wGz4Co_kTHmTLwD91PS4BG0
It's more than a little hard to believe the automakers wouldn't have already done whatever they could to get the milage as high as possible, especially considering consumer demand and also given the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) government rules. But the AP article wasn't really that negative and it did list a few users who claim some measure of results with one of them, a thing called a Vortec Turbo. Can anyone on/. corroborate any of these devices or even others I haven't heard of as far as saving fuel? I have to say the $4.60/gal. gasoline I bought yesterday is getting awfully expensive." top
ciscoguy01 (635963) writes "On the O'Reilly Factor radio show yesterday there was an interview with Ben Stein about energy speculators.
We all know Ben Stein is a comedian and movie maker, but he is also an attorney and was once a staff attorney at the Federal Trade Commission.
BEN STEIN: I was just in a room with a whole bunch of speculators who are former Enron traders that are now trading natural gas and oil. And they're laughing their heads off about how much they're manipulating the price of oil. They couldn't care less.
There's a transcript and maybe an audio clip at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,369005,00.html
Should energy futures speculation be curtailed?
How much is pure speculation and contrived shortages affecting our gasoline costs and our lifestyles and will this kill the economy?
I have to tell you, I have noticed a giant slowdown in the last two weeks since gasoline reached $4 a gallon.
People are staying home, not spending money, the southern California freeways are much less congested than they were even a couple weeks ago.
If as has been suggested this runup in the price of gasoline is caused by manipulation to make more profits from fake shortages I am against it.
You may recall that's what Enron did to the California energy supply years ago, maybe these same guys.
They leased out the natural gas pipeline capacity to a subsidiary of their own company to make the pipeline capacity falsely scarce thus raising the prices they could charge. It turned out to be contrived and some of those Enron employees went to jail." top
ciscoguy01 (635963) writes "I heard an ad on the radio for Bank of America's new mortgage program, "NoFeeMortgagePlus". I took a look at their site,
and was immediately bombarded with an animated blaring flash ad. It was late at night and my computer was talking, and LOUDLY, and others were sleeping!. I couldn't mute the speakers quickly enough!
The animated character was basically reading the website to me, as if I couldn't read it myself. I have to give B of A the award for the most obnoxious web design I have encountered. My personal feelings are that websites should be seen and not heard, and if I want to view media or hear sounds I want to invoke them myself, but maybe I am a purist. What does Slashdot think? Does this nonsense ever add anything to your web experience? Or like me do you consider this just obnoxious?"