The "We Are Microsoft; You Will Be Dissembled To" Rants

 

September 24th to November 10th 2002
    Okay, now, this is just strange.  After fred booted me off of his lame Gruntose site, he (of all people) wants to write a rant.  Since I have done nothing furthur to further the cause of world harmonica, bringing all nations under sway of the mastermind conspiracy of APE (motto: do nothing at all), as exhibited here at Rantose.COM, and with so many amazingly corrupt corporate fish to fry, and with run-on sentences to curdle any fourth-grade English teacher's non-dairy soy beverage, I have decided, conditionally, to let him.  The conditions being: (1) that a rant is produced.  That Is All.
  -- Abel Plunkett


my feculent journey with windows
by fred t. hamster

not sure how much i need to elucidate here...

    this is a folder named "crap" which i would like to delete:

    please excuse my color scheme.  i know it exhibits some out-of-kilter aesthetics, if any.

    back to our story, i am now hitting the shift-delete key on the junk folder, since that deletes without saving an "oops" copy in the recycle bin.  boom, i get the following message from windose:
arf arf aroo
i get the same results with regular delete and even from the explorer application.
    finally, something is clear--this operating system needs its crap.  i guess i won't try to delete it again (i'm not convinced i would be able to; i think it might be an integrated feature).
    let's just see the DOJ and congress try to separate this function from windows!  we won't let them!  taking the crap out of windows would be like taking the corruption out of politics--it's here to stay and/or back bigger than ever.
    note that i have not altered these bitmaps besides cropping them; ms-w2k really gave me that special message.  (this is easily reproducible, write me for details and include $27.38 USD plus a self-addressed, stamped, homing pigeon in a vat of venusian churl butter.)

    well, a footnote on my sad story is this bizarre control panel i got from that same w2k system.  this was days later and reboots aplenty in-between...
nice one
    no. i didn't cause this by going spelunking in the bowels of the registry.  not that there's anything wrong with that.  i just don't play that way.
    this is genuine windoze nerve rot.  we all know it happens.  the dirty little secret of the registry, which is that it's an ever-decomposing single point of failure.  sure, it sounds like a great idea,.. let's put all our configs in one basket, they won't break that way, even if we go traipsing along the gnarled lane of random applications crashing, falling down around our ears, and noses, and pinky fingers.
    can you disprove the statement: "since no programs ever go crazy on windows, the registry never gets corrupted"..?  i can, i can!  and then we all go WHEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!
    "your table for one is ready, mr. clue."
--fred

update:
    it took abel so long to post even a pre-written rant that i've started using windborg-XP, which i think stands for eXtra Problems.  i am really glad that the DOJ has protected our god-given right to run wingows, complete with all features.  they have in fact utterly failed to force microsoft to remove the C.R.A.P. (Constantly Repeated Advertising Pap?  i still don't know what it stands for).  were it gone, oh, what a different world it would be.  i just don't even want to think about it.
--fred

[posted 9/24/2002]
(^^^ New feature!  Hoo hah!  Now I can feel guilty about how long it's been since an update.  D'uhhh... maybe... erm.  Whatever.  Maybe I can get fred to write some more.  *Ow*, quit it!  Damned biting rodents.
    Like your rant made any damn sense.  Are you talking about a bridal registry?  And you gave up your editorial control willingly... HAHAHAHAHAAA...  What a bonehead.  -- Abel)

(Okay, okay, he's threatened not to do a Rantose logo.  Fine, I apologize sincerely from the bottom of my feet and promise I will never ever ever touch or alter these scintillating pearly drops of divine wisdom that you deign to emit in textual form here.  Much.  I want that logo soon though.  -- Abel)

(Great, the editing never ends.  As an alert reader has pointed out, the posting date feature above is _not_ a new feature.  You all have the right to a free refund.  That's right, no money back, free of charge or lien or encumbrance.  In fact, from this moment on, your mind is entirely free, no charges apply. Thanks to your mental powers, no shackles hold your consciousness down and it functions perfectly--exactly as you intend it to.  No, don't thank me, you did it all.  Free everythings for everyone, party in your own mind, my treat.  -- Abel)


 

January 26th 2002 to June 19th 2002
Abel Plunkett here again.

Can you believe that fred has let me back on this pulpit to pump it, partly formed ideas slopping over onto this page, just because I was brimming over with things to say about Microsoft's new security initiative?

Hmmm, how to keep it real while yet maintaining my edge, diving straight into the heart of the hypocrisy without being touched by the slime molds and the itchy trolls, gently wanking while singing to the moon of things unknown?

Okay, let me paint you an analogy here, by way of illustrative word smithereens:

It is the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  The city is still massively embroiled in flame, with much melting and burning and charring, hoy!  Acrid smoke is what you'll breathe should you visit the beautiful City of Chicago (on fire)!

Roswell B. Mason, the mayor, is standing in the very middle of the incandescing Bigelow House (which had been slated for opening the day after after the fire started)...  He furrows his brow and proposes to his aide Chester, who is ducking and skipping around various red-hot embers and falling beams, that "It might just be time, dear lad, to propose to the City Council that we have some regulations for management of lamps in cow stalls.  Yes, a good idea indeed!"

Okay, I note that there is some dispute as to whether Mrs. O'Leary's cow really started that fire or not, but there's really not too much dispute about this:

       Microsoft's Security Sucks.


If their default installations were actually capable of anything at all, then Microsoft security could suck very large cows through very narrow urethras.  I've seen it done.

And in yet another way (thanks to frequent reader Bart Simpson for pointing this out):

       Microsoft's Security Blows.

Microsoft's security blows armadas of galleons and dreadnoughts carved from rhino dung backwards from its sulfate-encrusted intestinal hoses, up through its bloated gas bag of a stomach (hey look, there's a piece of Netscape stuck on that refulgent purple ulcer!), and washes these feculent ocean-going vessels down on a veritable Niagara of spewage erupting from its falsehood gibbering, pyorrhea infested, slanty-toothed, forked-tongued, pucker of a gobby mouth.

"Hey, but we've solved all our past and future problems this time with Windoze QP!  It stands for 'the QuacksPerience'.  And now with all new and improved Security Consciousness (TM) !"

Gip...  Brp...  Bwahhhahahahaaahahahahahahaa!  Hahhahahheehehehhehhahhahaha...!  Hrfffff...  HOOOhhahahahoeeeeehaaa...!  Ooohhhg...  Heh heh.  Wow, that's a good one, Bill.  Tell us another, please...  please?

 

 

April 6th to April 23rd 2001

Abel Plunkett's therapeutic invectives are apparently nearly complete. She is presenting the following rant as a grab bag of theories that could lead to many interesting possibilities, but none of which fattened into ripe, sweet and juicy rants of their own... As always, believe anything at your own risk--of becoming confused. And certainly disbelieve anything at your own risk--of missing the theories that are actually factual.

Microsoft Is the "Big" in "Big Brother".
Dateline: I Am Abel Plunkett's Irritable Bowel...

Microsoft's Only One Operating System Battleplan:

  • This is exhibited in pretty much every thing they do... and it is the official religion of Microsoft.
  • For example, all of their conversion software is a one way street trapping you in Microsoft's back alley. Just ask some database experts about their ADS (Active Directory Service) conversions from NDS; data goes in, but it doesn't come back out. Or ask anyone who's tried to export Word documents to any other format and then open the exported document in the program that actually owns the other format; can you say "flayed alive"? That's how the converted documents look afterwards, even if they originally started out in that other format.
  • Plus those flatulents would love it if they could make all people draw a blank stare when the terms "portability", "reliability" and "maintainability" come up. That's already what those terms get in Microsoft's Sales & Marketing groups... Hence, their rapidly revolving teams of temporary programmers are inculcated with the belief that nothing they do needs to be truly reliable or robust, as long as it meets today's narrow needs.
  • The most precious thing for a Microsoft Enslaver (ME) is when the general populace gets it into their minds that there are no other options than Microsoft... when the delusional might think, "everybody has Windows and a Pentium to run it on." The more deluded people there are, the happier the MS accountants get.
  • And make no mistake, this is slavery. When one is forced to interact with a whirring, clanking box all day long at the office, and a Particular Operating System (POS) is mandated on that box, then that is definitely a form of enslavement. The computer is the most direct interface to the mind of a human being, and that is why Microsoft clutches at their monopoly so stridently; it is their means of control over millions of people at a more visceral and real level than the government itself possesses.
  • And when your mind turns to mush from playing with these pretty-colored rectangles, ornamented with flashy doodads, on your desktop all day, that is tyranny at its worst because you don't even realize what's been stolen from you.
  • How would you like it if someone else controlled the TV channel in your home while you were watching, forcing you to endure endless episodes of "Three's Company" interspersed with "Richard Simmons Dances to Country Music" and "Open Heart Surgery (With Complications)"? If you would absolutely hate that, well, that's how a lot of people feel about Microsoft controlling the interface to their computers.
  • Microsoft really does seem to want to train us away from using our own brains; the electric shock jolt you get when you try to understand why they've done certain things in certain ways prods the drugged cattle through the gates to the wallet slaughterhouse. Redmond Uber Wallets!
  • What is the number one emotion engendered by using Microsoft products? Annoyance.

Microsoft Announces Products While They Are Still in Vapor Format:

  • That is, the products won't exist for months or years still... but they're announced like you're a stone age grunt if you haven't already installed the product and prostrated yourself to their licensing agreements.
  • They do this in order to twist people's thoughts toward what great stuff will soon be around. In a word--mindshare. If only there was Mindware, you can bet we'd soon all have chips in the back of our heads with "Microsoft Inside" stamped on them.
  • Meanwhile, Microsoft's initial product is always a roach hotel and usually doesn't meet the production standards one would expect at a 12 year old virus writer's workshop, at least until the third service pack is released.
  • Further, they have a huge, hitleresque PR engine that is aimed at making themselves look very normal, wonderful, stable, etc... while simultaneously attempting to make other companies' software look immature and featureless. Unfortunately, the opposite situation is most often true, in this author's opinion.

Microsoft Monopolistically Keeps Secrets:

  • They use secret, internal interfaces to ensure that their software runs better than anyone else's CAN on the Windows platform. Only Microsoft knows the real functions that get work done even reasonably efficiently on Windows.
  • This happened to the office suite competitors that Microsoft used to have. Corel, for example...
  • And it happened again when they were beginning to compete with Netscape. This was brought out during the trials and supported by e-mail and other evidence (see the link starting at about paragraph 69, then picking up again at paragraph 79).
  • Not to mention when Microsoft was trying to keep Borland from shipping the MFC windowing libraries unless Borland removed its own OWL windowing libraries. Huh, maybe "you can't play there, we called squatters on it" sums this attitude up.

The MS Internet Exploder (IE (aiieeee!)) Theory:

  • Microsoft attempted to use the theory of the drug dealer with Internet Expletive--distribute the product for free at first, hook the customers, then start making them pay after they're hooked.
  • But Microsoft made some kind of marketing claim that IE would be free forever or until hell rejects a lawyer or something.
  • We know they didn't really mean IE would be free free, more like "free, with strings attached (to your wallet)."
  • But as a result of their assertions that browsers were now to be considered a part of the Windose Operating (Remotely Multithreaded) System (WORMS), they had to stop selling Internet Exploiter as a separate product package.
    • Since, like, they say it's like part of the operating system, dude, so why would I ever need to like buy it, man?
  • A good question that they found they had trouble answering, so they yanked the separately packaged IE product from the shelves.

Will Program for Food:

  • Microsoft is feeling the hard times lately with the bears slashing and maiming the gentle people on Wall Street, both just recently and continuing back into last year.
  • As a result of the economic squeeze, Microsoft has started totally hassling their best (and biggest) customers to try and shake loose some more spare change for supposed license violations.
  • Check it out... Will Microsoft be begging in the streets next?
    • "Optimize your hard disk for a hamburger?" or "Please help a penniless ex-billionaire veteran of the OS wars" might be the next slogans for Windows (instead of "Please Wait").

Microsoft DOES NOT Play Nice With Others:

  • Contrary to their new marketing campaign telling the big lie (dang, more like the HUGE GIGANTIC BLAZING SEE FROM FIVE THOUSAND YARDS AT NIGHT WHEN YOU'RE A BLIND SEA CAPTAIN LIE) that Microsoft's software never gets confused and that it plays nice with others, the truth is that Microsoft interoperates with other software like Muhammad Ali's fist might interoperate with your cheekbones.
  • And as far as their software never getting confused... OH MY GOD!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...! Whew. If you believe their software never gets into states that could best be described as confused, then I think you may possibly be somewhat dumber than plankton.
  • But the interoperability issue is really more like this... Microsoft uses their new OS releases and their OS update capabilities (see the prior Security and SMS rant) to derail other operating systems remotely.
  • One aspect of this is the turbulence the people in the Samba community were feeling when Windows2000 came out. Multiple important details had been changed in the Windows peer-to-peer protocol (Server Message Block or SMB) such that the Linux implementation of Samba was rendered unable to interoperate with W2K, whereas the official Microsoft Windows implementations of SMB were still able to function just fine with W2K... Imagine that! This is what Microsoft interoperability is really like--"we hose you down with the big fat pipe of our apparatus!". Can you imagine them taking the trouble to change their protocol just so they could try to shut the door on the Linux community? Yet it appears that's what they intended.
  • Plus, with the Windows Update functionality, Microsoft doesn't even need for you to upgrade your OS now. They can attempt to hose the other machines on your network by downloading a "patch" that adds this pugilism functionality whenever they want to. You'll be infected with the "patch" the next time you choose to update (or the next time your computer does it automatically).

Microsoft Is Certifiable:

  • Wow, one of my previous rants was slightly prescient... See the recent .NET rant. (Holy futuristic technologies that never were, Batman!)
  • Certificates are a form of authentication that was presumed very secure and high tech and all that, until recently... when Verisign corporation issued two certificates in Microsoft's name to a random hacker. (Spectacular Throbbing Mistakes, Robin!)
  • The best thing though was that Microsoft's security advisory was forced to state that you should avoid downloading software that originates from Microsoft because of the potential security threat. (Super Radiant Ironies, Batman!)
  • And then they even botched the security patch apparently. (Priceless, Robin!!!)

Microsoft's Guts Are Rotten:

  • The biggest and longest standing gripe is this: the vodka's tasty but the code is spoiled meat.
  • All effort at Microsoft is expended on making things look cute and on having the bumpers and flippers of the Windows Active Graphical User Interface (pronounced "WAGOOEY!" accompanied with a sneeze) moving prettily and swooshingly, but behind the scenes it's a rat's nest of bad code and snarled support APIs.
  • The source code produced by the "wizards" in Visual Studio just sucks the hairballs out the cat's rear. Read through that code sometime if you want to learn how not to program.
  • Further, the code that can be seen inside the Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) is truly hideous. One needs a debugger to check out those horrors and disasters of angrineering though.
  • To continue, any example code provided in the MicroSoft Deviltry Network (MSDN) Library is bound to be so frail that it needs to be completely rewritten before it could serve any useful purpose... Say, do you think that's why they completely rewrite their Operating System every couple of years too?

In summation, it's been fun. I feel like I've gotten a huge load off my chest. Homage to my therapists and to the true virtues--in the hope I could tell the difference between truth and falsity. Damage and destruction to all who abscond with the rights of the people as human beings and as sentient sapient experiencers of existence. Be Peace.
    -- Abel Plunkett, Dallas / Fort Worth Airport, Locker 817-Q.

 

March 17th to April 5th 2001

[Gruntose guest editor Abel Plunkett delivers the next steam-driven, turbo-powered expulsion of chatter in her series...]

Now look people, I wouldn't want anyone to consider me as wholly negative towards Microsoft. It's more like how a burning itchy spot in the small of the back where one cannot reach it is not wholly negative. Sometimes it just feels good to rub against the door frame of your co-worker's office to scratch it.

With their participation in the development of the SOAP protocol, Microsoft is supposedly trying to turn a new leaf. Gone supposedly are the days of rampant monopoly exploitation to crush competitors, and supposedly gone are the efforts to divide standards which Microsoft dislikes because they imply the existence of a world of computing beyond Microsoft's proprietary realm. Supposedly. We are watching this carefully.

The "new" Microsoft has contributed to the SOAP standard as a simple method for XML data exchange over the web, and as a rallying point around which web services can be developed. Now, that's a pretty good thing. Even IBM is playing along with this standard, since it is now administrated by a standards body and should be set in stone so that everyone can use it and no participant can be excluded. That's all fine and laudable. But it's laudanum you're on if you think that's all there is to it...

One might wonder how long will it be before the standard Microsoft policy of "embrace," "extend," "extinguish" is carried out on SOAP? Well, maybe never. They are relying on this standard also, so they probably will not try to extinguish it... But will they extend it in ways that require use of Windows? Jury is still out on that... But are they going to be bound by the specification so that any vendor can interoperate with Microsoft software delivered via SOAP? Nope, not at all.

If Microsoft wants to, it can still prevent the riff-raff (read, "you and me") from using SOAP based services. In fact, it becomes a whole lot easier for them to restrict who can play with their tools than before, because there are more ways to do it... SOAP may have authentication built into it in the next version, possibly via certificates. This means that one could easily be required to provide a certificate to a SOAP service before one will be allowed to use any of the functions it provides. The managers of the web site in question can choose which certificate authorities to accept authentication from. Once this is the case, a site could easily choose to honor only Microsoft based certificates. Or only Verisign. Or whomever. Thus, the general public can be kept out of the service at the whim of the web site owners. Maybe only Microsoft-friendly companies will be included in the default, shipped set of certificate vendors who are permitted to provide authentication. Fragmentation of the web via certificates could be the result...

All Microsoft has really done is give us part of a still unreliable product which they are going to deliver in a year or two (and have mostly working within five). SOAP is just part of their planned ".NET" system. Another part is the hope that their services will dominate the web and afford them yet another monopoly opportunity. Another part is ensuring that web services are most easily developed on the Microsoft platform. This will draw some of the same developers who thought MFC was just dandy to the MS fold, but that's not such a big loss.

However, it is almost certain that they will require clients of the ".NET" framework to be running the approved Microsoft code, regardless of the platform. Thus they extend their licensing grasps into the Linux arena as well, since one will not be able to speak DotNet without the netted dollars that Microsoft extracts for licensing fees. Since they are offering Linux ports of their ".NET" system, no one can claim that they are trying to keep us out of the game. But an obvious anticipated slight to the Open Source community might be that we will be prohibited from developing services for this new baldgame without forking up the green to the cashivorous MS dinosaur.

How can we be excluded from ".NET"? Step one: certificates (see above). Step two: SOAP-based protocols that require users to be running Microsoft-specifc Win32 services on their machine, such as Win32 security (which is already an option provided in their IIS product... why not over SOAP as well?). Step three--litigation, based on the provisions of the DMCA, against people who try to develop open versions of those protocols. Voila, the web has been gradually spooged into becoming property of Microsoft.

And seriously, could they have chosen a worse name for this new product? At least when they were pushing the COM product, one could look for Distributed COM (DCOM) at the search engines. But searching for just "COM" itself matches, well..., every commercial web site out there. Golly, is this just stupidity in the marketing department or is it a nasty comment on how user-friendly they want to be today? Perhaps it's because they want to force people to search for these products only in Microsoft's MSDN, where the only company you'll hear about is Microsoft.COM anyway. But now with ".NET", they've helpfully included a period character in the name to snarl things up even worse. Be prepared to see the names of lots of random ISPs and other network sites at your search engine when you're trying to look up Microsoft's newest ".NET" bunkware (or go to Microsoft's MSDN web site knowing that you are right where they want you to be (today)). Choosing those names (in apparent disregard for the two top-level domain names) was so very nice of you wannabe-slacker geeks up there in Redmond... Now here's a view of my exposed backside hardware, including that metaphor for your arrogance.

 




March 10th to 16th 2001
  • Abel Plunkett has been our itinerant guest editor in the Gruntose Rant Box these last few weeks. She continues her guarded praise of the Microsoft Corporation for its efforts to own the world, as is every corporation's real goal, of course.
  • Microsoft does not seem to understand the term "backwards compatibility". I am reminded of this repeatedly... whether I want to be or not.
  • One example of their lack of understanding (or perhaps lack of caring about) this property occurred during an upgrade of my Word95 documents to Word97 format. Danger, noble consumer...
  • All of the templated items in the older format document got completely hosed up in the new format. The worst hit was paragraph indentation... suddenly every paragraph was dis-aligned in a wacky manner. To fix such a problem, the one approach I know is to fiddle with the rulers for every single paragraph, vainly trying to get them lined up again. Applying a new template to the document did not help! Thanks for valuing my time, Microsoft troglodytes!
  • ~
  • This brings up a more poignant backwards compatibility blunder in that same product, MS Word97. The new product was initially unable to write documents in the Word95 format. And this is a real problem, since Word95 cannot and will not ever be able to read Word97 documents. Sharing files between the versions is thus tossed out the window(s). Apparently Microsoft's assumption was that everyone would rush out and buy Word97 and that this would eliminate any "need" for saving documents in the old format. Bravo, you pustulent mammonites!
  • Eventually Microsoft was required to heel by those weapons of the little guy consumer; the enraged phone support call and the fiery letter of condemnation. They did eventually provide a patch to Word97 that could write out documents in the Word95 format. But the patch of course had numerous bugs that prevented it from writing out the documents properly.
  • ~
  • Yet another example of their inability to respect their own formats and interfaces is Microsoft's Visual Basic language. The new version 7 of VB is very different from VB6. This has angered countless Visual Basic developers because their understanding of the language has been broken by the only vendor of it--Microsoft.
  • Many of the new features of the language are incompatible with the old features. These differences prevent many programs that were functional in VB6 from working properly in VB7. Does Microsoft provide a converter of any sort? Not to my knowledge. Do they respect their existing customer base in their endless pursuit of new customers? Apparently not.
  • ~
  • Okay, one more example... Gee! How about Java? This is more of an example of their inability to implement a standard, but that's okay, we're flexible here.
  • The Java case has been in and out of the courts, and thankfully Microsoft lost this one. The basic storyline is that Sun Microsystems brings out a language intended to provide platform independence for applications--Java. Microsoft initially ignores it, but then jumps on the bandwagon when they realize developers are learning and using the new language. They fear that programmers and users will be able to use any operating system and hardware platform that they desire, rather than just the Wintel platforce interferum.
  • In typical Microsoft fashion, they bring out a variant of Java that is incompatible with true Java because (1) it is not Java, it is MS-MudGlub, and (2) it relies on specific implementations that are Microsoft's property only and (3) those implementations require MS-Windows. They tout this as making the most of their operating system, rather than admitting the obvious--that they wish to derail the main goal of Java, platform independence.
  • Now luckily Microsoft signed that pesky licensing agreement, but they assumed that their pack of lawyers could fend off any lawsuits that would keep Microsoft from having its own way with someone else's toys. Wrong, not all judges are bought yet. The courts found against Microsoft and required them to either follow the letter of their contract or remove all pretense of supporting Java. In the end, Microsoft paid a 20 Million Dollar settlement to Sun because they realized they could not bulldoze over this issue.
  • These days, Microsoft is licking its wounds and trying to reconquer the computing world with their "new" language called C# (or Sea Shark). This language is a blatant rip-off of Java. No developer who is honest will try to say otherwise. So, Microsoft continues tilting at the windmills and wishing we would love them and shower them with money. Well, I for one can say I will not do this. I will never buy another Microsoft product, just as I will not by choice buy another Chinese product while the Communist murderers of the Tibetan people are in power there. What Communist China does for human rights, Microsoft does for computers, and I will not put up with this any longer.
  • ~
  • Wow, got a little wound up there. However, I challenge the non-believers to find errors in the few facts presented in this rant. For example, read the findings of fact against Microsoft here. You will find repeated examples of their perfidy and arrogance. Anyone buying a Microsoft product inherits this disregard for basic human consideration and will surely be judged appropriately when the Big Robot in the Sky reboots the Earth to the higher plane and equalizes the injustices of this mushy physical world, sometime in the not too distant future.





March 4th to 9th 2001
  • Our virtuous rants cannot be stopped from demolishing software tyranny; Abel Plunkett the juggernaut rolls on, crushing all bad corporations in her words' wake.
  • Why Microsoft really hates the GPL:
    • A Microsoft puppet recently came out with a statement of how he felt that Open Source Software was "bad", as in, he hated it because his boss told him to.
    • Why would this be? Are they really starting to feel the heat of competition? Perhaps... but my theory is much nastier and possibly even partially true.
    • The reason that Microsoft cannot stand the Open Source requirements of the GNU General Public License is that they are already breaking this legal document.
    • Many of the drivers and services and APIs produced by Microsoft mimic the venerable Unix interface. Any programmer can easily determine this just by comparing the names in the C standard library with those that were prevalent on Unix for years before Microsoft sold their first lame product.
    • They achieve this partial compatibility by using Open Source code that is already released by numerous people under the GPL. However, since Microsoft is totally proprietary (as in, they consider everything and everyone to be their own personal property), they cannot follow the terms of the GPL.
    • One of the requirements of the GPL is that changes made to the source code be made available to everyone in the world. Since Microsoft protects its code tighter than some televangelists protect their sphincters, they are not about to publish any improvements or changes they've made.
    • Also, code covered by the GPL must itself be released under the GPL if one builds substantially on that code (and no other legal agreements apply besides the GPL license). If GPL code were to be found deep in the Windows operating system, then legally Microsoft would be required to release the entire operating system as Open Source Software. Let's see, how likely is that to happen? Not.
    • Therefore, they must escalate their marketing efforts aimed at law-makers to try to destroy or invalidate the GPL. Otherwise, they will sooner or later be caught with their pants down in the cookie jar... And the bad code of Windows might actually have to be made public. Yuck.





February 20th to March 3rd 2001
  • Gruntose yields the floor to the eloquently muttered curses against a corporation grown too flabby and arrogant to persist, grunted by our to-date favorite Guest Editor, Abel Plunkett, US Marshmallow in good standing.
  • The Documented Evidence...
    • This is actually a totally true story.
  • The other day, I was feeling good because I was converting this design document of mine to html. It was especially juicy because the document had been in Microsoft Word format. Getting rid of DOC files is like scratching a bad itch, but without the inflammation. Verbal inflammation maybe.
  • Now, I know instinctively that html is a lot more space efficient than Woid (not to mention faster to render, easier to edit and actually defined by a standard). I just never quite realized how large that difference in file size could be...
  • I checked after converting my document... The original in MS DOC format was 2.13 megabytes. When the same text was converted to html, it was instead 45 kilobytes, including the same pictures that were in the DOC file. I was astounded at the huge difference (about 2.09 megabytes). But I quickly realized that I could use this in a rant and was most pleased.
  • Just in case you're wondering how these two compare numerically, this is about a factor of 48. So, if this were a pretty common situation, then the Microsoft DOC format is around 48 times less efficient than html format.
  • Assuming that this scaling factor applied to documents of any size, then a file that is 200 kilobytes in html would be about 9.4 megabytes in MickeySlush format. A 1 megabyte file in html suddenly becomes 48 megs in Microsoft Worried. I am so thankful I am no longer using MS-Wyrd for anything important...
  • But I am also truthful enough to say that this is the worst inefficiency I have seen so far. My other documents only shed about a factor of 10-15 times the html size when they were converted from MoneySoft, which is more like 1,000 to 1,500 percent less efficient, rather than the whopping 4,800 percent flabbiness of this particular document.
  • Still, I've got to congratulate them for being able to make money with this crap. Bravo, you magnificent carny bastards.
  • More Information:
    • Not leaving well enough alone, I decided to check on the image sizes and take them out of the picture. The originals were much larger than the gifs that I used in the html version, so I figured I could give Microsot the benefit of the doubt and calculate just the difference in the document size. This still turned out to be a factor of 48 larger! Go figure... The uncompressed bmps were both about 47 or so times larger than the gifs, so image sizes really don't come into the picture at all (hee hee har). Thus... When considering just html against the nefarious ms-doc format, Word files can still be about 48 times larger than they should be.





February 15th to 19th 2001
  • Gruntose guest editor Abel Plunkett, CTO of the Conger Elastic Band Working Group, expounds upon its thesis more fully...
  • Deee Deee Deee Deeeeeeee. Ahem. Just clearing the brainwaves after that nasty scare I had when I nearly encountered a web dweller. Frothy mouth, long white fangs and red, bloodshot eyes were characteristics I had imagined; instead a smell of feet.
  • The following may or may not be theories. They are absolutely true to form, truly colorful and true thoughts, but they may or may not be "true". Read them at your own risk of selling all your Microsoft stock.
  • It is well known among operating system afficianados that the "Windows Update" feature opens a few very interesting security holes in Windows when it is used. The update program undoes any security settings you may have established regarding software updates from Microsoft, presumably to make their job easier in updating your computer. The real impact though is that your security settings are no longer under your control and that any product purporting to come from microsoft.com is considered "okay to install".
  • Having realized that Microsoft has silent update access to your computer when running the Windows Update, it is not hard to imagine that they could install arbitrary drivers and programs in the operating system during the update process. This could easily give them access to your computer from then on, and one would have no idea that this had happened.
  • The theory here is that this has already been done by Microsoft. It is even likely that such spyware actually ships on the Windows CDs themselves now. Considering the extremely precise knowledge of the operating system that Microsoft alone has, it is possible that such remote control worms could go undetected until they are activated. And even then, who but the most savvy of computer security professionals would realize what was going on?
  • Microsoft already has the big brother system in a product they call "SMS". This stands for Systems Management Server and it is a well known computer administration system for IT professionals. What is not necessarily well known is that the owner of the SMS support has fairly complete control over every machine that is SMS administrated. One can catch a bad case of SMS just by logging into a Microsoft domain in which the login script installs the SMS support.
  • So, one cannot question that Microsoft already possesses software support for controlling computers remotely (because SMS exists and is used daily in many businesses). Now, given that the Windows Update opens the door for arbitrary installation of software from Microsoft, it is not so hard to conclude that Microsoft does indeed hold the keys to every copy of Windows95, NT, and so on that exists in the world. All it takes is one Windows Update, and what's yours is theirs...
  • Who but a fool could question Microsoft's motives? Well... Everyone, perhaps. But leave TinyFlaccid out of the picture for a second... Suppose your machine receives an invalid DNS entry for microsoft.com from a hacked DNS server (see the recent BIND controversy for more details). Now, software from Microsoft is no longer necessarily actually from Microsoft. Voila! Hacker orgasm. They can download anything that they want to onto your machine (if you've even once run the Windows Update) and they're in business inside of your business.
  • Giving this kind of control to anyone is dangerous and foolhardy in the extreme, but Microsoft has already taken permission without our consent.





February 13th to 14th 2001
  • Our guest editor Abel Plunkett continues her worthy tirade...
  • Note to self: remember to remind people that these are wild and possibly unfounded accusations and theories, not absolute facts...
  • So why is it that every third product at Microsoft has a capital X somewhere in the name? Active X, Windows XP, Direct X... It seems like they're desperately trying to cover up that there might be any other products with an X in the name... Such as the X Window System, the windowing software that is vastly superior to Microsoft Windows?
  • Alright, here's something that's not totally Microsoft's fault, but they sure break their own rules about it. Try to have a dark background scheme in your Windows display appearance, using a light colored text. Make sure that all the folder colors have dark backgrounds too. Now this is a perfectly reasonable scheme and it's even possible to specify it using Windows... but it's not really supported by very many programs, including MS Orifice and other crapplications. These programs insist on using black text and/or black lines throughout their interface, disregarding the assigned text and background colors. That's really pretty putrid. I use dark backgrounds because my eyes tire faster with the bright white style of background... But the failure of applications to follow the standard definitions for colors means that I can't use my own color scheme in many cases. Score one for Big Bill's Irritation Farm, and take one point off from user customizability.
  • PS: White backgrounds with black text suck ugly, hairy rhinoceros butts. This is just true, face it. The computer is not a piece of paper; learn how to tell the difference. Paper reflects sunlight (or bulbed light), whereas CRT screens generate their own light. When the screen is very bright, photons are bombarding your eyes from a fairly unnatural source. This is a source of eye fatigue and causes those bleary red monster eyes that many of you scare me with. Stop it.





February 4th to 12th 2001
  • Okay.  New Topic.  Gruntose has successfully challenged the legitimacy of the dangling dingaling state's problematic election of G. Dumbyeah Bush whose overthrow of the American People's will was vetted by the arch-conservative controlled, ultra-partisan, arguably traitorous, artery-hardened, "driving this country off the road and into the rat-infested ditch of fascism", this so-called "Supreme" Court, and Congress has obligingly responded to the will of the people and thrown the cad out.  Oops...  Well, in a better reality anyway.  And that's all I've got to say about that.  --ed.
  • The next few rants are being contributed by our guest editor, Abel Plunkett, the editor of the always outrageous Liberaligasm Magazine...
  • Don't we all just love the great software that Microsoft has given us to play with?  Isn't it great that their target audience for Windows is the 4 year old human child?  Here are some conspiracy theories that may or may not have any basis in fact....
  • The Wretched Refuse Theory:
    • When I was in school, Microsoft was hiring the smartest people they could.  However, their standardized tests can't strain out every lunkhead who doesn't belong working for any company at all.  For example, one student told me he got a bunch of the questions right on their "let's hire only geniuses" test because he had read a book of tricky computer science problems the week before.  Apparently Microsoft was using the same book for their test.  Lucky for him, and for them, because this guy was actually pretty smart.  One wonders how long a secret like that gets kept though...  ("Hey man, memorize this book and you can get a manager job at Microsoft!")
    • So, anyway, the theory is this: when Microsoft's evil masters detect that they've hired a complete imbecile, they give him a super secret briefing.  He is to be a spy at another company (say... Borland or Netscape maybe), but secretly in the pay of Microsoft.  Occasionally he will be told to sneak a horrendous bug into that company's software...  the implementation of the bug being written by the dark overlords at Microsoft (remember, the spy is a dunce and needs adult supervision).
    • Since the spy has been sending back the complete code tree from the target company, it's easy for a killer bug to be created.  The spy puts on all his cool gear from "Soldier of Fortune" magazine, screws his courage to a post (or maybe just the post), and gets the bug in.  Next release, Oh, what a disappointment... 
    • The other company's reputation and software base is thereby damaged, with little or no danger to Microsoft at all.  Hey, they officially fired this dumbass anyway, right?  This theory conveniently explains part of the toppling of Microsoft's competitors.  It's probably healthier to be a wing walker on jet airplanes these days than to compete against Microsoft.
  • The Bugs Become Features Theory:
    • Despite having what must be the largest collection of programmers and programmer wannabes ever assembled, there are still ten billion bugs in the various odors of Windows.  Microsoft re-learns every day the wisdom that having a thousand cooks doesn't make the food a thousand times more tasty, and then promptly forgets it again.  Business as usual!
    • However, if enough people really despise the same bug, they are prone to complain.  It is excellent when the customer phones in to report the bug, because it costs Microsoft money to have their drones pick up the phone and attempt to cajole the now angry dupe into not buying a Macintosh instead.  That's the only reason Microsoft ever fixes bugs; bugs actually cost some amount of money to not fix.  One thing Microsoft likes is money!  If people would pay their Windows tax without ever complaining, you can bet that it would still look a lot like Windows 2.0...  That is, it would rot on ice.
    • Here's the spin though.  Since Microsoft also has to pay their programmers (peanuts and mountain dew, I expect), it is important for the company to feel that fixing bugs is useful somehow.  Concerns of quality and reliability float over their heads like nymphs, bouncing off the shield of evil that covers each manager's brain to keep good ideas from getting in.  Instead, rather than pump up the quality issues, since they know there is no corporate commitment to it, they call the bug fixes "Brand New Features".
    • An example of this is the pathetic Windows shell.  It came out with Windows 95 and was a reasonable improvement over the Windows 3.1 Program Mangler.  However, it has just about as good a memory as your average politician does.  Suppose you have folders on your desktop.  You place them very carefully on the desktop and make sure that they all open to the right places when you double-click them.  You set the sorting properties on these folders the way you like.  And then, thank you Minkeysoft, all those settings are conveniently forgotten for you.  ARGHHHHHHH!!!!
    • The Microsoft solution?  Bring out something called "Active Desktop".  Never mind that Active Desktop requires their Internet Exploder product as well.  Because, HEY!, it remembers your folder settings for you!!!  Isn't that so cool Rufus?  And when you install IE, it inextricably burrows into the operating system and it only takes 10 to 50 megabytes on your hard drive!  All to fix a problem that would never have escaped the Software Quality Department at a real software company in the first place.
  • There are more...  but I've run out of space for now.  Until next time kids!