Kill Microsoft with Ubuntu, not BitTorrent

Techdirt: How Pursuing Software Piracy Hurts Proprietary Software Firms

After all, as Microsoft and others have long admitted, you’re much better off if someone is using an unauthorized version of your software, than if they’re using the competition (especially if that competition is free). If they’re using an unauthorized version of your software, then at least there’s a chance that they’ll either buy it at a later date or convince others to buy it. However, by putting such a big effort into cracking down on software piracy, all the industry has done is highlight why people are better off going with free alternatives.

This is a big reason why I’m using Ubuntu as my only operating system.  I dislike Microsoft, and have no interest in Vista.  But I’m not going to pirate it.  I dislike stealing, as well.  I won’t say that I’ve never pirated software or music or movies.  But when there is a free, open-source equivalent that fits my needs and I can live with the drawbacks (Ubuntu is obviously rougher than Windows.  But nothing deal-breaking for me.  YMMV.), I’m going to go with that, even though I know I could get a cracked copy of Vista or Photoshop or whatever expensive software I wanted.

Of course, I kind of shot myself in the foot with my last computer – I paid for the computer with Vista because I couldn’t get it without, and then overwrote it with Ubuntu.  But I remain hopeful that my next computer won’t have the “Microsoft Tax” on it.  I’d love to see Dell or someone start shipping all their computers with full hardware warranties and then some stripped down version of Linux.  When you boot up, it tells you, “This operating system is not supported by us.  It’s up to you to put whatever OS you want on there.  We promise the hardware will work, and we’ll replace it if it doesn’t.  Otherwise, you’re on your own.”  Or something to that effect.

Anyway, it’s great to see that the use of open source is expanding.  Maybe soon we’ll also be able to convince people that jumping to Apple because you hate Microsoft is like running from the hyena and getting eaten by the tiger.  Sure, the tiger is prettier and impresses your friends, but you’re still dead.

Someone complains about Vector Security

Complaint Hub » Blog Archive » Vector Security – still cool This is a comment left on the above post (I get about 30% of my Google search traffic from people looking for Vector Security and finding that post).

Vicky Says: December 29th, 2007 at 12:40 pm eDon’t be fooled. Vector Security in North Carolina is renewing our contract WITHOUT NOTICE OF ANY KIND FOR A THREE YEAR PERIOD. In order to cancel, we are required to buy out the contract for the entire remaining period plus pay a penalty of 80% of that amount. This, after we experienced a false alarm, and could not get the system checked for six weeks. Buyer beware. An additional note: my mother’s Vector carbon monoxide detector malfunctioned. It alarms every five minutes, a shrill, piercing alarm, 24 hours a day. She called the Saturday before Christmas, and was told nothing could be done until the Wednesday after Christmas. The Saturday after Christmas NO ONE HAD CALLED HER TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM, DESPITE REPEATED CALLS FOR SERVICE. It is still alarming every five minutes.

As I’ve mentioned, I can’t speak to how Vector responds to problems because we haven’t had any. Nor do I think that one incident is enough to condemn a company. And certainly this time of year is tough for everyone. However, ignoring “repeated calls for service” is not a good way to endear yourself to your customers. I hope Vector fixes this problem quickly so I can continue to recommend them to people.

Please, stop the quarterback worship

Tony Romo. Brett Favre. Tom Brady. Matt Ryan. Anyone starting for USC. It never ends. I just listened to ESPN’s announcers for the Michigan State – Boston College – Champs Sports Bowl heap praises on Matt Ryan, BC’s quarterback, for completing a touchdown pass where the wide receiver clearly pushed off, blatant offensive pass interference that wasn’t called. The announcers acknowledged that this was an illegal play, but STILL talked about how great Matt Ryan is.

Now, here we are, BC is running out the clock. And by running out the clock, I mean not running at all. And Matt Ryan drops back, gets sacked, fumbles, and it’s the offensive lineman’s fault. “Matt Ryan was expecting the block!” So because BC is up 11 in the fourth, but still throwing because their running game is totally nonexistent, and Michigan State is all over the pass, it’s the offensive line’s fault.

The Michigan State QB just made one of the best throws I’ve seen all year. Touchdown, Michigan State, and they are almost covering the spread. If you weren’t watching that, you missed an absolutely fantastic touchdown pass. And now they got the conversion and it’s 24-21.

Matt Ryan can go jump in a lake. He wishes he could make that play. Sure, he’ll go in the first round of the draft, and Michigan State’s Brian Hoyer will definitely not. But that was a sweet play.

However, Hoyer also has three picks. That’s not going to cut it.

Anyway, I don’t want to heap too much praise on Hoyer – that would be a little hypocritical. But this has been a fun fourth quarter. If you aren’t watching, you should be.

As an aside, if you punt on 4th and 1 while losing in the fourth quarter, you deserve to lose. Do you hear me, Michigan State? You DESERVE to lose.

Edited to add: Ryan just fumbled. Clown. Way to be a winner on 3rd and 1 with 2:45 to go.

Edited again to add: Hoyer throws a pick on the first play. Nice job. Both of these quarterbacks seem to want to lose.

Merry Christmas, jerk! Love, U of Michigan

Dear me:

Thank you for your application for the HEAD FOOTBALL COACH position in the department of Athletics, requisition number 13431. This position was posted 11/26/2007 through 12/19/2007. The department has completed their activity on this position, and it has been filled.

You are encouraged to continue your career search by using the University’s automated employment system at If you have questions about this email or your application(s) for positions, please call the HR/Payroll Service Center at [].


The University of Michigan

Please do not reply to this automated email. Direct responses and inquiries to the HR/Payroll Service Center at []


Jerks.  They email me Christmas Eve to tell me that they hired someone else.  They crushed my hopes and dreams.  I thought maybe that guy from WVU would fall through at the last moment.  But it wasn’t meant to be.

Totally unacceptable workplace environment

I had a bit of a scary moment this morning – I walked into the office, and suddenly the unmistakable smell of cat urine hit me like a ton of bricks.  At first I thought maybe it was me.  I mean, I do have an occasionally salty cat who quite possibly might decide to urinate on some of my clothes.  Although she’s never done it.  She usually likes to express her displeasure by just barely missing the litter box.

But no, it’s not me.  It’s the office.  My office smells like cat urine.

How this happens is beyond me.  I don’t work in a place that should ever contain a cat.  I don’t think a cat could pass the security clearance.

This was cool until I read that

Striking writers in talks to launch Web start-ups – Los Angeles Times

“It’s in development and rapidly incubating,” said Aaron Mendelsohn, a guild board member and co-creator of the “Air Bud” movies.

Shoot, you had me until “Air Bud”.

Seriously, I think this is very cool.  If the writers can’t get what they want from Hollywood, they should remind Hollywood that their monopoly on the distribution of video entertainment is taking a big hit from the internet.

It will be very interesting when some of these writers start making real money.  It will not only strengthen their position by making them more independent, but also by demonstrating the power of the internet as a revenue stream.  If the writers can go to the studio and say, “Look at all the money our work made online.  Now do you see why we want you to pay us when we do it for you?”.

In the meantime, I eagerly await “Air Bud Online!”

Not sure what this is supposed to accomplish

FCC OK’s cross-ownership of papers, TV – Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal:

The Federal Communications Commission voted Tuesday to let one owner control a newspaper and a television station in Denver and other large markets, a change long sought by The Denver Post’s principal owner, William Dean Singleton.

So, now, if you are not one of the top four television stations in the market, you can own a local newspaper.  Let us count the things wrong with this.

First, what if I’m number five, I buy a newspaper, and then I pass number four?  Do I have to sell the newspaper?  Do I get grandfathered in?  I can’t imagine a scenario that isn’t either ridiculous, or defeats the purpose of the rule.


The cross-ownership ban was adopted in 1975 with “the twin goals of diversity of viewpoints and economic competition,” the FCC said at the time.

In the age of blogs and the internet and instant access to all sorts of viewpoints, the issue of “diversity of viewpoints” is a little misleading.  An increasingly smaller number of people get their news only from newspapers and television.  I know the older generation still does to a large extent, but most people my age don’t read newspapers because they’re outdated by the time they get to your door.  And then you have to recycle them, and it’s just a huge hassle.


“You take the high cost of news gathering and spread it across multiple platforms and you get multiple revenue streams,” Singleton [publisher of The Denver Post and head of MediaNews Group] said in a 2006 interview.

THIS is what competition is about.  Innovating, saving money, providing a better product at a cheaper rate.  When you stick these stupid restrictions on who can own what, you make it relatively more expensive to provide news.  Who does this help?  Certainly not a new company with a great idea about how to get news to people.

When the barriers to enter a market are low, diversity is nearly guaranteed.  If I see the market and say, ‘Hey, that one company is the only one providing the service, and they aren’t reaching half the customers”, then I have a great opportunity in that market.

It’s things like this where I tend to clash with the Democratic party.  I want the government to stop sticking its fingers in where it isn’t needed, based on what the world was like in 1975.

Anyway, this new law is a step in the right direction, but it’s not far enough, and I doubt it will change anything.

Orioles move on, I hope

Apology accepted, O’s say —

“I wish I could sit here and say, ‘Wow, this was a great day as I got this off my chest.’ But I would be lying. I don’t really have any hopes of what other people will do. I asked for forgiveness and I hope people are willing to do that.”

Sorry, commenter Zac Boyd.  Looks like Brian Roberts did take steroids.  But, he did it before it was officially banned by baseball (Nice job, Bud Selig.  You are truly an asset to the game of baseball). And he only did it once.  And now he’s apologized.

I know I came out and said that everyone on the list should be released, but I’m taking that back.  Everyone who takes responsibility and seems to honestly be sorry can stay.  We’ll just wag our fingers at them.

I’m inclined to believe Roberts, in part because I like him and I want to believe him.  And he hasn’t done anything to make him untrustworthy.  He hasn’t been in the news getting in trouble, he has a reputation as a nice guy.

Roger Clemens, on the other hand, is a big jerk.

The DMV has betrayed me

Or am I misremembering?  I could have sworn that they asked me if I wanted to register to vote in DC when I got my DC license.  Now, I know me, and I would have said, “Yes, I would like to register to vote while I get my DC license”.  I’ve known me a long time, and I feel qualified to speculate on what I might have said in that situation.

It turns out that either they didn’t ask, or they didn’t act on my request, because I’m not registered to vote in DC.  With primaries coming up, and a whole gaggle of clowns on both sides of the ballot, this is just not acceptable.  Now, I still have to figure out who to vote for – there’s no one I really like, and every time I try to eliminate the people I absolutely can’t bring myself to vote for, I’m left with a write-in for either Abraham Lincoln or Donald Duck.

In any event, downloaded and printed the PDF, filled it out, and I’ll mail it on my way to work tomorrow.  It’s actually quite easy for DC residents to determine if they’re registered to vote.  If you aren’t, you should be, and you should vote.  If you don’t vote, you can’t complain, and if you can’t complain, I’m not really sure what else you’re doing, but it’s probably un-American.

How could you do this, Brian Roberts?

So the Mitchell Report is out, as I’m sure you all know.  The only current Oriole on there, I think, is Brian Roberts.  I’ve always liked Brain Roberts.  He’s a little tiny second baseman who gets on base a lot.

I suppose we should have seen this coming – his yearly OPS numbers are .625, .605, .704, .720, .902, .757, .809.  Does one of those numbers look, perhaps, way higher than the rest of them?

The year his bat exploded, 2005, is also the year he started wearing the Nike MaxSight contact lenses, which could explain it.  The Mitchell Report simply states that former Oriole Larry Bigbie said that Roberts told him that he took steroids “once or twice” in 2003.

It figures:  after I call for releasing all the Orioles on the list, one of my favorite players is the only guy who would get released.  At least it wasn’t Bedard.