Concerns over this and other issues such as copyright laws, digital rights management issues, the Digital Divide, and privacy have prompted the Chebucto Community Net and the Dalhousie Student Union to hold a public Internet Town Hall meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Monday, October 26th at 7 pm in the McInnes Room of the Dalhousie Student Union Building. I saw the notice on their website here: http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Current/CourtesyCCN.shtml
Their main speaker is Laura Murray, co-author of Canadian Copyright: A Citizenâ(TM)s Guide, and they've got speakers on the other issues too. They're calling it "Who's Shaping Your Digital Future?" and it's noteworthy for being the only meeting of its kind in the Atlantic Provinces. I don't know why they're not promoting this better, maybe they don't have the money or something, but I know I'll be going to it.
I wonder if anyone from the government or the mainstream media will be showing up.
I did suggest it. Seniors in my experience rely a lot on other seniors for support and while I agree with you that Linux is a good solution, in this case, it doesn't have the market penetration in this demographic it would need to in order for all her friends to be running it. Also, and I speak from experience here, setting up dialup internet access on Linux is a freaking nightmare since it is all but impossible to set up the vast majority of modems. Linux works great if you have highspeed but if you can afford highspeed, you can also afford Windows and new hardware.
It also needs to be said that support for Linux bites hard. When it's been set up properly and works great it's wonderful. When it isn't working properly it can be very user-hostile and difficult to trouble-shoot, especially for the novice computer user who already has a hard time grasping the difference between left and right mouse clicking, let alone figuring out using terminal and finding and typing in long strings of arcane commands.
I had this very conversation yesterday with a senior who insisted that left mouse is the one that always double clicks was too complicated. They said it was easy for people like me who knew computers but for someone like them it was impossible to grasp. I should send them to RTFM and decypher man pages? R-i-i-g-g-h-h-t But hey, maybe you know a sharper class of seniors than I do.
I'm not trying to start a Linux-Windows flame war, but Linux is not a one size fits all solution, at least not yet.
I don't see that many pirated Windows installs but the ones I do see are all from poor people who were given a bootleg XP or Windows 2000 disk with no product code and no questions asked. I mean, fair is fair and Microsoft is selling a product as a business not giving away their OS as a charity but in my experience the people they're hurting are the ones least able to help themselves.
The poor people I'm talking about here are usually seniors with little computer knowledge using out of date hardware and single parent families with few resources. They're not buying new computers and $150 for a Microsoft OS is too steep for their budget.
They're not leet hackers laughing at Microsoft, they're simple folk. One little old lady who had her computer in was completely horrified when I told her that her Windows was pirated, she literally had no idea. Our policy is we don't help you once we discover your Windows is pirated for the simple reason that we have no way of knowing what has been done to the OS or what has been corrupted or is missing. In that case she came in a couple of months later with a legal Windows disk she'd saved up and bought and I installed it for her gratis. I know the price tag hurt her though but she would have no truck with illegal Windows.
Anyway, my point is that these folks are for the most part clueless and are ripe targets for botnetting since they lack the knowledge to acquire and keep an AV updated on their own. Free Avast and Free AVG are available to them but without handholding they'd never figure out how to jump through the hoops to download, install and set these up. The beauty of Microsoft Security Essentials is that they've made it pretty much self-running and idiot-proof. Like I said in my post yesterday, I'd push it out to everyone not already running an AV if I were Microsoft. It increases the general health of the Windows eco-system, makes Windows more secure and run better as a result, which in turn makes the Windows experience better for everyone and increases the likelihood of Windows purchases down the road through good word of mouth.
The leet hackers have the tools to look after themselves. If it were just them running pirated Windows, I'd agree with Microsoft and say stuff 'em. It's not though and things look a lot different on the bottom of the food chain; it's those most unable to protect themselves who get hurt the most.
It's a sweet little anti-virus program. A well designed and simple user interface, updates unobtrusively, doesn't bog down the computer and it is very effective at detecting all threats I've thrown its way. It also is easy to tell when it is unhappy thanks to a well designed and simple system tray icon. Credit where credit is due, Microsoft has put together a good program. I've tested this on dozens of machines and have not a single bad thing to say about it, which is not something I would have thought I'd ever say about a Microsoft product.
If I do have a quibble, it's that it requires a validated Windows. If I were Microsoft I'd throw this on automatic Windows Update and push it out to everyone not already running an anti-virus.
Symantec can blow me. I've seen more hosed computers where the owners thought they had current updated Symantec AV just to have me discover that their definitions had last been updated in 2007 or something with no indication from their Symantec AV they were vulnerable.
Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith