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Windows

Journal: Draconian Behavior in Windows 7

Journal by TechForensics

A few days' testing of Windows 7 has already disclosed some draconian DRM unrelated to media files. A legitimate copy of Photoshop CS4 stopped functioning after we clobberred a nagging registration screen by replacing a .dll with a hacked version. That's not so much a surprise, but what WAS a surprise: Noting that Win7 allows programs like Photoshop to stealthily insert themselves in your firewall exception list. Further, that the OS is crippled towards allowing large software vendors to penetrate your machine. Even further, that that crippling is responsible for disabling of a program based on a modified .dll. Remote attestation, anyone? And then finding that the OS even after reboot has locked you out of your own Local Settings folder; has denied you permission to move or delete the modified DLL; and refuses to allow the replacement of the Local Settings folder after it is unlocked with Unlocker to move it to the Desktop for examination (where it also denies you entry to your own folder). Setting permissions to "allow everyone" is disabled!

This may be the tip of the iceberg. Something *really nasty* is lurking under the surface of Win7. Locking your own files away from you is a device so outrageous it may kill the OS for many persons. Many users will not want to boot up under a Linux that supports ntfs-3g just to control their files. (You never seem to know in Windows 7 when the "Access Denied" message is going to strike.) It is certainly beginning to be crystal clear why the coming WinFS will not be a good thing for userland, and a Very Good Thing for Microsoft and its partners.

User Journal

Journal: Have mp3s ruined our appreciation of music? 1

Journal by TechForensics

I always wondered why I never enjoyed listening to my favorite music played from an mp3 file on my computer. I guess I was just thinking that as I got older, my youthful passions were fading.

Long ago, I had decided that at least I ought to preserve my LP collection (about 400 records, mostly classical). Then last week, I finally got around to installing the FLAC codec on my machines and the project began. Listening to the music as it was encoded (live from my turntable) was an entrancing, emotional experience as I remembered. What's more, so was listening to the music played back from a FLAC-encoded digital file.

So I did an A/B comparison of the same music from mp3 and from FLAC. I could distinctly hear the comparative dullness and lack of airiness in the mp3s. Then I started berating myself. How could I have been so blind (or maybe deaf is the better word) for so long? How could I not have noticed the difference? Probably I put it down to listening on small computer speakers rather than my expensive stereo.

But I was wrong. Mp3 has been important and useful, and music on computers and music-to-go could not so easily exist without it, but for me-- it stole away my enjoyment of music for over ten years.

I'm not bitter, however. Now I get to hear it "fresh"-- all over again. If you have been subsisting on mp3s, maybe it would mean something to you to try conversion of your CDs and LPs to files encoded with a lossless codec.

Businesses

Journal: Verizon Wireless blocking Google Directory Assistance

Journal by TechForensics
It seems that Verizon likes to enhance revenue by making sure their cellphone users have to use Verizon's fee-per-call directory assistance service. A number of times over the past month I have tried to send a text message to 46645 (googl) with a name and address. Normally this gets you a text message back with the phone listing for about five cents. Lately text messages to this number simply don't work. Anyone else with similar experience?
User Journal

Journal: IQ in action 1

Journal by TechForensics
After five years of trying to find the right lapboard for my keyboard and mouse, as I recline in style in my office chair, and after finding them all so cumbersome I gave up, locked the chair upright, and suffered, I found out my optical mouse can rest on top of my pants leg and move and work very well there. Is there some kind of IQ award I get for this? Duh.

"Right now I feel that I've got my feet on the ground as far as my head is concerned." -- Baseball pitcher Bo Belinsky

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