This morning I reported on Vista activation and validation problems I’ve been hearing and reading about in the last few weeks. This afternoon I have a firsthand report.
When I installed a beta version of Acclaim’s 9Dragons role-playing game (protected, apparently, by nProtect’s GameGuard anti-cheating software), Vista dropped a bomb on me. A time bomb, that is. The software convinced the Windows Software Licensing service that the operating system was being tampered with, deactivating the system and starting a 72-hour countdown to “reduced functionality mode.” This image gallery documents the process:
I’m baffled that this Windows error message doesn’t actually mention Windows. It just says “your license” and “your software.” How am I supposed to know which license and which software. And in the left-hand-meet-right-hand department, where’s Windows Defender in all this? I’m installing a piece of software that is tampering with my operating system, according to the Windows Software Licensing module. So why is Windows Defender looking the other way while this dastardly deed is being done? Why doesn’t it detect and block this software?
In this case, closing the game and restarting the computer allowed me to reactivate over the Internet, but other people haven’t been so lucky, based on reports filed at Microsoft’s Vista Validation Issues forum.
One of the reasons people give me for not buying a Mac is ‘you can’t play games on it’. Well, I guess I can do without.
Note to self:
Do not enroll my kids in any daycare center that knows it needs to have bullet proof glass.
Copy: If you’ve always dreamed of flying, now you can. Gol Airlines. Low-fare flights throughout South America.
Some of you might remember my earlier post about photographer Jan Von Holleben and his Dreams of Flying series. Very imaginative stuff. Well, it seems his work has been picked up by agency AlmapBBDO, Brazil and used to sell Low-fare flights. Really makes advertising look easy, doesn’t it? Too easy. See the other two: here and here. Also, notice all the color correcting they did to the original photo.
A woman who lost her husband in the 2004 Madrid train bombings displayed an infamous cartoon mocking the Prophet Mohammad on her T-shirt in front of 29, mostly Muslim, suspects on trial for the attacks on Monday.
The woman’s white T-shirt showed Mohammad wearing a bomb as a turban — one of a series published by Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten which unleashed violent protests by some Muslims last year.
Ten bombs ripped through four commuter trains on March 11, 2004, killing 191 people — attacks which public prosecutors blame on a group of Islamist militants inspired by al-Qaeda.
The woman sat in the front row of the court wearing the T-shirt for around half-an-hour before getting up, walking up to the glass cage containing the defendants and finally walking out of the court, judicial sources said.
The lead judge in the case, Javier Gomez Bermudez, asked security staff to identify the woman as she left the court. She later received support from psychologists drafted to help victims’ families through the trial, Spanish media reported.
Checkpoint security screeners at Denver International Airport last month failed to find liquid explosives packed in carry-on luggage and also improvised explosive devices, or IED’s, worn by undercover agents sources told 9NEWS.
“It really is concerning considering that we’re paying millions of dollars out of our budget to be secure in the airline industry,” said passenger Mark Butler who has had two Army Swiss knives confiscated by screeners in the past. “Yet, we’re not any safer than we were before 9/11, in my opinion.”
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners failed most of the covert tests because of human error, sources told 9NEWS. Alarms went off on the machines, but sources said screeners violated TSA standard operating procedures and did not hand-search suspicious luggage, wand, or pat down the undercover agents.
In one test, sources told 9NEWS an agent taped an IED to her leg and told the screener it was a bandage from surgery. Even though alarms sounded on the walk-through metal detector, the agent was able to bluff her way past the screener.
Morris says other agents, not with the Red Team, test and train screeners every day at the nation’s 450 airports and says screeners pass most of those tests. In those kinds of tests, he said Denver has done well in the past.
However, tests done by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Government Accountability Office in 2006 found widespread failures. According to the GAO, screeners at 15 airports missed 90 percent of the explosives and guns agents tried to sneak past checkpoints.
Also, a Denver woman who carries a Taser for personal protection, told 9NEWS she carried it on board airplanes last year six times. Her Taser shoots 500,000 volts of electricity. She says the TSA never caught it and stopped her.
Most test results, including results from the Red Team, are secret, classified as SSI or sensitive security information. Morris says they do not make them public because they could point out holes in the system.
Feel safer yet?
Fired U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins writes at Salon:
In recent weeks, I have been asked continually whether I think any number of specific prosecutions and other activities by the Department of Justice around the country reveal “politicization” of the department by the Bush administration. The answer is: I have no specific information about that. But the question goes to the most important issue highlighted by the controversy over the dismissal of myself and seven other United States attorneys: the credibility of the Department of Justice.
The president had an absolute right to fire us. We served at his pleasure, and that meant we could be dismissed for any reason or for no reason. And we all accepted that fact without complaint. When challenged by Congress, the leaders of the Department of Justice could have refused to explain. Or, they could have explained the truth. But apparently the truth behind some or all of the firings was embarrassing. So, instead, they said it was because of “performance.” We didn’t accept that, because it wasn’t the truth.
In spite of statements and representations to the contrary, there was no credible performance review process prior to the firings — at least, not using the definition of “performance” known to most people. There is not one document to evidence such a review. The department’s leaders did not consult any of the reports or the people that could have provided information relevant to the performance of the U.S. attorneys they fired. In fact, in the case of my seven colleagues, they actually fired some pretty damn good U.S. attorneys — and knowledgeable people in those attorneys’ communities back home know that to be the truth. Nobody seems to believe the department’s explanations.
Put simply, the Department of Justice lives on credibility. When a federal prosecutor sends FBI agents to your brother’s house with an arrest warrant, demonstrating an intention to take away years of his liberty, separate him from his family, and take away his property, you and the public at large must have absolute confidence that the sole reason for those actions is that there was substantial evidence to suggest that your brother intentionally committed a federal crime. Everyone must have confidence that the prosecutor exercised his or her vast discretion in a neutral and nonpartisan pursuit of the facts and the law.
Being credible is like being pregnant — you either are, or you aren’t. If someone says they “kind of” believe what you say, they are really calling you a liar. Once you have given the public a reason to believe some of your decisions are improperly motivated, then they are going to question every decision you have made, or will make in the future. That is a natural and predictable phenomenon.
You only get one chance to hold on to your credibility. My team, which holds temporary custody of the Department of Justice, has blown it in this case. The Department of Justice will be paying for it for some time to come. Lots of sound investigations and convictions are now going to be questioned. That is a crying shame, because most of the 110,000 employees to whom the attorney general referred in a recent news conference, are neutral, nonpartisan public servants and do incredible work. A lot of President Bush’s political appointees have done a lot of great work, too. Sadly, because of the damage done by this protracted scandal, which the administration has handled poorly at every turn, none of that good work is currently being recognized. And more ominously, the credibility of the Department of Justice may no longer be, either.
Iraqi children look at the hole made by a mortar round on a school roof in Baghdad, Iraq, on Thursday, March 29.
The first EU directive aiming at harmonising national criminal law was backed by the Legal Affairs’ committee, when it adopted on Tuesday a first-reading report on a legislation imposing criminal sanctions for the infringement of intellectual property rights. The issue now goes before the April plenary session.
Nicola Zingaretti (PES, IT), Parliament’s rapporteur, said: “We are turning a new page: this is the first directive where criminal law is included. […] To harmonise criminal codes will be a radical new thing”. If approved by Parliament and the Council, the proposed directive would oblige all Member States to consider as a criminal offence all intentional infringements of an intellectual property right carried out on a commercial scale. The text proposes, as a deterrent, measures ranging from fines to imprisonment, according to the gravity of the crime.
Members of the Legal Affairs’ committee backed the overall aim of the Commission proposal, while amending some of its provisions. They excluded patent rights from the scope of the Directive, and decided that criminal sanctions should only apply to those infringements deliberately carried out to obtain a commercial advantage. Piracy committed by private users for personal, non-profit purposes are therefore also excluded.
The federal agency that tracked pork-barrel spending during the 12 years of the Republican congressional majority has discontinued the practice since Democrats took power, riling lawmakers suspicious of the timing and concerned about the pace of fat being added to bills.
“To me, something doesn’t smell right,” said Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican. “I just hope no one is pressuring” the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
While not blaming the Democratic leadership, Mr. DeMint added: “I guess if you’re looking for a motive, you’d have to look in that direction.”
In the 1980s the Cathedral, with National Geographic World magazine, sponsored a competition for children to design decorative sculpture for the Cathedral. The third-place winner was Christopher Rader of Kearney, Nebraska who submitted a drawing of this futuristic representation of evil. Darth Vader was placed on the northwest tower with the other winning designs: a raccoon, a girl with pigtails and braces and a man with large teeth and an umbrella.
This is how far he, and his argument for continuing the slaughter in Iraq, have fallen: President Bush today was reduced to quoting two anonymous bloggers from Baghdad.
He cited them as evidence that his surge/escalation is working. One problem: their posts were written weeks ago, and re-published in the Wall Street Journal on March 7.
To back up his point that pulling out of Iraq would be a disaster, President Bush had said on Wednesday, “They have bloggers in Baghdad, just like we’ve got here,” in a speech to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Well, it’s good to know he is keeping his eye on “the internets.”
Then he quoted two of the bloggers: “Displaced families are returning home, marketplaces are seeing more activity, stores that were long shuttered are now reopening. We feel safer about moving in the city now. Our people want to see this effort succeed.”
Only hours later did the White House reveal that the bloggers were brothers, Mohammed and Omar Fadhil, and these supposedly little-known average Joes had met Bush in the Oval Office in 2004. They are dentists and write an English-language blog from Baghdad called IraqTheModel.com, also available via Pajamas Media.
The White House admitted that Bush had plundered the lines from an op-ed that the brothers wrote for The Wall Street Journal way back on March 5. The White House couldn’t even get the date right, as it turned out it actually appeared on March 7.
I wonder why Bush didn’t quote Riverbend.
Michael found his doctor by doing a search with no parameters. Of course, Dr. Null (which is a real last name) is not set to an instance of Dr., so occasionally patients are referred to Dr. File Not Found. I got a million of ‘em!
I had the misfortune to be asked to do something on an Exchange server.
Something simple. Just add the email address “firstname.lastname@example.org” as an alias to an existing account. Now that’s simple enough that somebody who avoids all microsoft products, like me, can do it. Just open the administrator tool that lists all the users, right click on the user that needs the new alias, click the right tab, click add address, and fill in the details.
Except I got the error message that the email address in question was already in use on the system. Asking around had no results – nobody claimed the address. Right clicking every user in the system (less than 20, lucky me) found zero users with the email address.
So the nonexistent email address was already in use. Nice.
I found a way to query active directory and discovered that the email address was given to a public folder in the Exchange system. A public folder is something like a public calendar in Outlook. If somebody can tell me how to access the mailbox for a public folder, that’d be great, because I haven’t found a way.
So, how to proceed. Looking at the properties for the public folder shows a tab with all the exchange info, including email addresses. In that dialog, you can create a new email address, set that as primary, and remove the address you want to assign to a user, without any error messages. Except, when you then try to add the email address and get the same error as before, you find out that, despite the lack of error messages, none of the changes to the public folder took hold. Renaming the public folder to free up the address also won’t work.
I had to delete the public folder to get hold of the email address.
And people pay money for this?
The late pope John Paul II has moved a step closer to sainthood with the completion of the first stage towards his beatification, Rome diocesan officials said.
A dossier containing proof of his miraculous intercession to cure a French nun of Parkinson’s disease will be submitted to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of the Saints next Monday, the second anniversary of the death of the charismatic Polish pope.
The “miracle”, if certified by the Vatican body, will qualify John Paul II for beatification, the main stepping stone to becoming a saint.
Monsignor Slawomir Oder, spearheading the process, said the Rome diocese was “spoiled for choice” among dozens of reported miracle cures attributed to John Paul II, of which about 20 warranted serious consideration.
Wanna bet there are no amputees healed among those 20?
Shonda Aires bought a Diet Pepsi at the Walgreens on Sunday night. Then she left the store with her daughter, Simone Barnes, 13.
“Before I knew it, two cops were on the side of us demanding that we stop,” Aires said. “They had the guns pointed at us. … I didn’t even think a gun of that size existed.”
Aires and her daughter were ordered to get against the wall and be quiet. “So that’s what we did,” Aires said. “I thought they would have shot me if we hadn’t done it.”
The Pinellas Park police officers spoke into their radios and, without explaining, left Aires and Simone standing against the wall.
It turns out the officers, who had received a report about a woman with a gun, were at the wrong Walgreens.
And they should have been looking for a white woman. Aires and her daughter are black.
Agent Anthony Panucci dives in between the president and a hostile reporter.
DC—White House Secret Service Agent Anthony Panucci is being called a hero after intercepting what could have been a critically damaging question aimed directly at President Bush during a press conference in the Rose Garden Tuesday.
According to eyewitnesses, the press conference began with Bush fielding routine questions about March Madness and the dedication of a World War II memorial near his home in Crawford, TX. However, approximately seven minutes into the event, a lone reporter somehow managed to maneuver to the front of the press corps group and fire off a loaded, highly charged question concerning Bush’s role in the controversial dismissal of eight federal attorneys last year.
“I just followed my training and did what I was supposed to do—put myself between the president and irreparable harm,” said Panucci, who is credited with safely deflecting the attack away from Bush, as well as acting before the reporter had a chance to get off a follow-up question at close range. “And let’s not forget my colleagues who rushed the president from the scene.”
Six months after resigning from Congress, former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley remains under criminal investigation for sexually explicit Internet communications with underage boys but has not been charged, authorities said Wednesday.
“I can’t really give any more detail other than to say we’re still in the preliminary investigative stance and we are working with state authorities,” said Debra Weierman, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Washington field office.
Weaverville – When you’re a pirate, some dangers just come with the territory: scurvy, grog hangovers, a walk down the plank at sword point.
But being kicked out of school for a day?
Bryan Killian doesn’t think that’s a fair reaction to his decision to come to North Buncombe High School wearing an eye patch and an inflatable cutlass.
The sophomore spent Wednesday at home after an administrator took issue with his accessories.
Buncombe County Schools says the eye patch was disruptive to classroom instruction. The student’s refusal to take it off after four warnings led to discipline, the district said.
“I feel like my First Amendment was violated,” Killian, 16, said. “Freedom of religion and freedom of expression. That’s what I tried to do, and I got shot down.”
Freedom of religion?
Yes, Killian says, his “pirate regalia” is part of his faith — the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
The parody religion, whose “Pastafarian” members worship a sentient, airborne clump of noodles and meatballs, originated in a letter to the Kansas school board urging it to add the religion to its plans to teach evolution and intelligent design side by side.
It became an Internet phenomenon, spawning a belief system that holds pirates to be divine beings and blames global warming on the disappearance of the buccaneers.
Satirical though it may be, Killian isn’t laughing.
“If this is what I believe in, no matter how stupid it might sound, I should be able to express myself however I want to,” he said.
An eye patch is no more disruptive than a Christian cross around one’s neck, he said.
CNN’S JOHN ROBERTS: I wanted to talk to you about the situation in Iraq. Yesterday in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room. I want to play this back for you. You had this to say about the situation there.
[McCAIN CLIP]: General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed humvee. I think you oughta catch up. You are giving the old line of three months ago. I understand it. We certainly don’t get it through the filter of some of the media.
ROBERTS: Senator, did you mean to say that, that General Petraeus goes out every day in an unarmed humvee?
SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): I mean that there are neighborhoods safe in Iraq and he does go out into Baghdad and the fact is there has been significant progress and people are stuck in a time warp of three months ago. Of course, it’s still dangerous. Of course it’s still very dangerous. We only have two of the five brigades there and we are already seeing significant progress.
ROBERTS: Because I checked with General Petraeus’s people overnight and they said he never goes out in anything less than an up-armored humvee. You also told Bill Bennett on his radio program on Monday. You said there are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhood today yet retired General Barry McCaffrey said no Iraqi government official, coalition soldier, diplomat reporter could walk the streets of Baghdad without heavily armed protection. We’ve got two different stories here. Who’s right?
McCAIN: Well, I’m not saying they could go without protection. The President goes around America with protection. So, certainly I didn’t say that.
Midway through the Senate debate yesterday over the “emergency” spending bill for Iraq, Barbara Boxer rose to speak in favor — of strawberries.
“There’s a song called ‘Strawberry Fields Forever,’ ” the California Democrat declared on the Senate floor, as an aide displayed a poster of an icy berry patch. “This is a strawberry field,” Boxer continued, seeking funds for frostbitten fruit farmers. “It looks like an ice rink. The strawberries are somewhere in there; they are destroyed. I also want to show you oranges. . . . Here you can see the icicles near the avocados.”
The relationship between crops and troops was lost on Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who backed an amendment that would remove spending for sugar beets and other agricultural pursuits. “I don’t see how the asparagus-spinach problem helps us win in Iraq,” he argued at a news conference. “This is a bill designed to help people that are getting shot at.”
Oh? Immediately after this righteous plea in the Senate television studio, Graham went downstairs to the Senate floor and voted in support of an amendment to the Iraq bill directing an additional $5 billion to rural schools and counties — right here in the U.S. of A.
It’s common for lawmakers to complain that a spending bill is “loaded up like a Christmas tree” with pet projects. But the Iraq Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act going through the Senate this week is unusual in that it is loaded up with Christmas trees.
Specifically, it includes $40 million for a Tree Assistance Program that provides help for Christmas trees and ornamental shrubs. Also in the Senate’s version of the Iraq bill: $24 million for sugar beets, $3 million for Hawaiian sugar cane, $13 million for the Ewe Lamb Replacement and Retention Program, $100 million in compensation for dairy losses, $165.9 million for fisheries disaster relief, and money for numerous other “emergencies.”
This offended the patriotism of a few senators, such as Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who called on his fellow citizens to “stand up as Americans, not as spinach growers, not as milk producers, not as tree farmers.”
Most of his colleagues disagreed. They voted, 73 to 24, to keep the agricultural goodies in the Iraq package — and that doesn’t count the provisions for shrimp and peanuts in the House’s version of the legislation.
De stichting Thuiskopie moet geïnde heffingen zo snel mogelijk verdelen onder rechthebbenden, de jaarrekening en het jaarverslag worden openbaar en de tarieven worden de komende jaren bevroren. Dat heeft minister Hirsch Ballin van Justitie besloten naar aanleiding van een kritisch rapport over de stichting.
Thuiskopie int de thuiskopieheffingen op blanco informatiedragers, zoals lege dvd’s, cd’s of cassettebanden. Het geld wordt gebruikt om artiesten te vergoeden voor de kopietjes die consumenten thuis van hun werk maken.
De stichting ligt echter al geruime tijd onder vuur. Het College van Toezicht Auteursrechten (CvTA) constateerde dat de financiële verantwoording niet in orde is, en dat veel van het geïnde geld bij de stichting op de plank blijft liggen.
Hirsch Ballin heeft de stichting opgedragen de gelden zo snel mogelijk te verdelen. Volgens het CvTA zou de stichting nog enkele tientallen miljoen euro’s aan niet verdeelde heffingen bezitten. Geld dat niet aan artiesten kan worden uitgekeerd, moet terugvloeien naar de fabrikanten van de informatiedragers, schrijft de minister.
Mooi zo. Volgende stap, als blijkt dat ze dit gewoon niet nakomen, is natuurlijk opheffen.
Er waait een nieuwe wind door Nederland, nog steeds. De Nederlandse Publieke Omroepen, de organisatie die boven Ned 1, 2 en 3 staat, hebben een fundamentalistische christen Hoofd Programmeringen van de publieke zenders gemaakt. Ad de Boer is de machtigste man achter de christelijke schermen. Hij is voorzitter van de anti-abortusclub VBOK, hij is de baas van 93 gereformeerde kerken, als voorzitter van de NGK. Was hij moslim geweest, dan had ‘ie de titel Ayatolla gehad. Wij kennen Ad vooral als voormalig directeur van de EO, in de tijd dat hij des zondags niet-christelijken inhuurde om toch live-registraties van kerkelijke evenementen te kunnen doen. Politicus Ad de Boer heeft zeven kinderen, is raadslid namens de ChristenUnie/SGP in Nijkerk.
Hij is bevriend met Rouvoet en defensieminister Eimert. Was hoofdredacteur van het Partijblad van de RPF waarin hij ‘homofilie bestreed’. Een paar jaar geleden riep hij op tot een boycot van Fanta, omdat hij een harde paal kreeg van Xtina Aquilera’s Dirty op MTV back in 2005. Een ministers/staatssecretarispost liep hij op het laatste moment mis, dit nieuwe -voorlopig- tijdelijke directeurschap is de troostprijs. Kinders opgelet, zo iets noemen we nou een Politieke Benoeming. Oh ja, handtasjes daar op het MediaPark, Ad vind jullie tegennatuurlijk. Hoe dan ook. Tijd voor een autochtonenschotel!