11 September 2007

New Blog Elsewhere

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I've started a third blog here, mainly because I liked the look of the hosting service:

  • No "bad cookie" alerts, unlike here
  • Richer feature set
  • Better suited to "normal" web site structure

Normally, each blog has a "theme"; this one is general, the other blog is about Vista, and the new one might be about Linux if I get traction with that.

I've checked out Linux from time to time, and this time I'm prompted to do so by what I see as deteriorating vendor trustworthiness, coupled with tighter vendor dependence; activation false-positives, WGA service failures that triggered (in this case, mild) DoS effects, OEM MS Office 2007 sold as "air boxes" i.e. no installation disks, and poor responsiveness and documentation on these issues.

I'm also checking out Linux as a potential maintenance OS (mOS) for Vista; possibly one that can service all Windows versions plus Linux itself.  The newest Ubuntu 7.x claims safe writeable support for NTFS, and until we see RunScanner functionality for Vista, that evens the playing field compared to Bart and WinPE (in other words, none of them can do for Vista what Bart can do for XP).

I expect it will take a year to build satisfactory skills in mOS for Vista, and longer to get a handle on Linux - which means if I want to be positioned to switch to Linux in a few year's time, the time to start studying it is now. 

The standards I set for myself as a PC builder require custom-installable disks to ship for all installed software.  Failing that, unrestricted and anonymous download is an acceptable alternative only if that is compatible with systems that have either no Internet connectivity, or slow and costly dial-up access.

OEM MS Office 2007 already fails this standard, and I refuse to sell it accordingly.  Given the stealth with which Microsoft has manipulated OEM MS Office 2007, I cannot assume similar changes impacting on Vista will occur only when the next version of Windows is released.  So starting on a years-long mOS development path may be a waste of time, if such work is applicable to Windows alone.

The first prize would be a Windows that isn't chained to sucky vendor politics, and I will continue to work towards that where possible.  If Windows becomes unacceptable, it would be quite a setback in many ways, but that lump may have to be swallowed... let's hope cooler heads kick in an Microsoft, so that we can still stay with the platform we already know and use!

6 comments:

Dan Weiser said...

Hi Chris. I currently am considering trying out Unix/Linux as well due to Microsoft's failures with not extending the 9x source code and the consumer operating system 98 Second Edition is still my favorite. Microsoft has been foolish to stick with only business NT (New Technology) because it lacks the protections that 98 Second Edition had. If you examine the secunia.com website you will see that 98 Second Edition has 3 less critical vulnerabilities compared to many in XP Professional. Vista is fairly secure for now but I think it will only be a matter of time before hackers are able to exploit one of the many services Vista offers. The appeal to me of 98SE is that it is not that big, if configured properly it is an awesome backwards compatible operating system that can run educational programs like Space for Windows 3.1 that XP and Vista cannot run and is important to the Albuquerque Public Schools where I currently work. The computers at Painted Sky Elementary were messed up big time while I was gone working at Camp Stoney, a Christian camp as a camp counselor. During this time all the 98SE computers were taken out of commission and it ended up that a fraudulent account was set up via remote access of a help desk employee at building 6400 of APS where Ken Cole the director of technology works. I am in frequent contact with him regarding web issues and security issues of the computer network. Anyway, I investigated this account and my email at weiser_dan@aps.edu was hacked even though it was protected by 128 bit encryption. Thus my great appeal of Mozilla Firefox with its ability to support 256 bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). Now only if more web sites would support it like Bank of America and Citicards and not just Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Charles Schwab. It gets worse. An ethernet cable was removed from the IDF (substation) room according to a help desk technician that diagnosed why the Windows ME computer I was using could not access the Internet. In addition, someone hacked through my custom-built dual boot 98SE on C:\ drive in Fat32 and XP Professional on D: drive in NTFS. I now have a Toshiba Laptop with Vista Home Premium that I am using while I am on paid leave from work until September 24, 2007. I think my home computer got hacked via the Cisco VPN (Virtual Private Networking) which I installed on my computer with Ken Cole's permission because I wanted the convience of accessing the APS intranet from home. I will not make this mistake again. Have a nice day!

Chris Quirke said...

Ah, I think we met at the other blog?

On VPN, the main risk is failing to really "get" what it does, which is to act as a wormhole from the core of one system to the core of another, bypassing any perimeter defenses.

This messes with your head, in that those nice comforting flat geometries become torus bottles.

Unless I have a really good reason to do that (as many do; there's no doubt VPN is essential for such folks) I would stay away ;-)

Dan Weiser said...

I talked with Verizon Wireless today and they replaced my LG 3450 cell phone because the phone was messed up. It appears someone hacked the new phone I got just a few weeks ago and that is just crazy because according to Thom the service code was changed. DOD has arranged for me to have a secure line on my cell phone and the number I do not want to reveal to the public but please email me at

dewspace1975@hotmail.com

for further details. I look forward to hearing from you and just remove the space from the email address. BTW, I don't care about spam, use plain text, reported lots of spam to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) in the past but now I just delete it or you can tell me how to email you Chris and I greatly appreciate all of your help and advice.

Chris Quirke said...

Hi, Dan!

I don't "do" phones (costly, real-time interruptions, no logging... why would I want any of that?) so I can't help you there, but I'll ping you via email and set a filter to catch your replies.

Dan said...

Thanks Chris! I replied to your email. I await your reply when you get a chance. Things on my end are really busy due to identity theft and taking an Intel Essentials Teaching Computer Class on Wednesday evenings.

Dan Weiser said...

Well, I was forced to leave Albuquerque Public Schools today do to improper email. APS just wants me out so they can do more house-cleaning and sees my ideas as too radical for fixing their computers and not just go the default not secure routre.