Product Activation Thoughts …

As I talked about in my last post, I moved to Windows 7 over the weekend.  As I was installing things, I had problems activating several applications.  Some of the companies were pretty easy to go fixed with a quick email, but some still have not been fixed.

One application that I use is locked to a hardware key that is generated when it is first installed.  The key is transferred it the vendor, and if you reinstalled the application it compares the keys.  The funny thing is that the keys NEVER match, but a quick email to the vendor and they send a new key within a hour most times.

Three companies allow five activations before they disable your software.   Two of the companies, Nero and Diskeeper, reset my account with a simple email.  Both companies took about two days, but the problem was fixed.  One company has basically said, too bad that is the terms of service.  I do not recall ever purchasing something that said you could not reinstall if needed on the same hardware.  That program was ScanSoft PDF Converter Pro, which has been purchased by Nuance.  I’m not sure if that has something to do with them not reactivating it or not.

I have to say that this will make me think twice about continuing to purchase software from companies that require activation, because one day they may not be there and you will be out whatever application it was.  I know this was a large point of contention when we were getting ready to release our 911 dispatching software.  My partner wanted to lave the software call home to check and make sure that the users service contract was current.  If it was not, he wanted to shut the application down.  The problem was that were selling them a license to run the program, if they didn’t want a service contract they would not receive updates.  What he wanted was more of a SAS, software as a service, type plan.  I do believe in getting paid for commercial software, and have always used software keys to unlock applications that I have developed.  I have always tried to embed the department/dispatch centers name in the key, and used that name on any reports that are generated from the application.  It will not stop piracy, but it will look fun if every report that Town A files says Town B at the top of the report.

I also feel to this day that I would be sitting in a prison somewhere if a dispatch center tried to dispatch apparatuses to a fire and the program would not let them, because there service contract was expired.  That idea never set right with me.

Entitlement Issues …

What is it about employees and entitlement.  I think that I have talked about the fact that we will let people bring in home computers and we will work on them as we have time.  We currently have a manager who always has their home computer, work computer or both computers in being worked on.  Today he decided that we are not taking his home computer problems serious enough and he wants it fixed now.  You would have had to be there to understand the utter stupidity of this comment.  He is standing in my office demanding that I fix his computer today, while we have one of our three primary switches down and a third of the building has no network access.  The only other person that has been a pain about stuff like this is the person he was hired to replace.  Makes me wonder if this entitlement issue is just something that comes with being the being a sales manager.

Microsoft Patches

I guess this a rant about some Microsoft issues that I am starting to have. When Microsoft first started their patch Tuesday it seemed like a good idea, however it is a idea that no longer seems like such a good idea. Microsoft has been being hit with zero-day exploits every Tuesday after they release their patches for the month. The logic behind the once a month patch release was to make things easier for companies to test and deploy patches. When we test patches at work, we install them on two production computers and then beet on them for a day before pushing them out to everyone. To me I think it would be better to get the patches when they are ready and have to do the testing more often instead of knowing that I have 75 computers with known vulnerabilities. The other reason I keep hearing is that it takes a lot of time and effort to roll out the patches. With all the tools out there like Numara Deploy, TriActive and Microsoft WSUS I find it hard to believe that there are still companies out there with a group of people running around installing patches.

The other part of this that bothers me is how Microsoft will not release out of cycle patches unless you are using their Windows Live OneCare. I guess I have problems with them charging people to get updates faster for problems they they are responsible for.

Ubuntu Dapper Drake 6.06

I have been using Dapper for two months now and I have to say that they have nailed this release. It has been stable from the word go and Ubuntu has added some really nice improvements, I like the new version of Gnome, power management has been improved and the networking has been much easier as well. I am going to be moving a production server to this build within the next couple of days, so we will see if the stability continues on the server, That will be running several things that the notebook is not and will also not be seeing the reboots that a notebook does as it is being transported.

Still Around …

Hello Everyone,

Just want to let everyone know that I have not fallen off the face of the Earth yet. The last couple of weeks have been spending finishing remodeling the babies room. That should be done by the end of next week, so that I can get back to working on the new project that I have going. In my spare time I have still been looking at the different open source licenses. Personally I think there are way too many licenses; we could all do with the number being reduced to just a few. Of course I doubt if anyone really cares what I have to say on that matter.

As a note of humor, I just ordered a new notebook. I have not purchased a new computer in about three years. I swore I would never purchase a Dell notebook, because everyone that I have used has sucked. So I purchased an Alienware, and who buys up Alienware the day after I ordered it? None other than Dell. Go figure…