Thursday, May 31, 2012

Windows 8, Oh How The Blunders Continue...

Just when you thought Microsoft couldn't make any more mistakes, the company has announced some new changes in its products that should make all its customers so much, happier. (Go on, feel the sarcasm!)

Microsoft has announced that effective immediately all products will feature a new End-User License Agreement (EULA) that denies plaintiffs the ability to file class action lawsuits against the company for any damages they might incur. Instead a person who has been wronged may sue in small-claims court, or seek arbitration in which Microsoft will make an offer to settle of $1,000, or pay whatever the arbitrator suggests, whichever amount is actually higher. The XBOX Live EULA has already seen this change made, but the first new product to feature the new EULA will be Windows 8.

It's kind of interesting to me that the first new product to feature this new EULA will be the product most people would likely want to file a class action lawsuit over. Seems like Microsoft is gearing for what they know to be a full on shitstorm after this piece of dogshit called "Windows 8" is released. Of course, Microsoft isn't the only company to feature such an agreement, as you may know AT&T have also included such agreements with their phone contracts. The purpose of class action lawsuits are so that average plaintiffs with a grievance against a corporation can stand a fighting chance. A corporation that is sure to have billions of dollars and hundreds of lawyers would be a daunting task for any average person to take on. Thus the class action lawsuit was designed to allow plaintiffs to pool resources together in order to bring claim against a corporation and stand a chance of winning in a court of law.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Malware 101: My Own Experiences and Successful Endeavors in The Removal of Shitware

I first want to explain that some of this article may contain some technical jargon, and I will try to explain as much of it as possible, and include links when I feel it is necessary. I apologize ahead of time for anything technical that cannot be easily explained or for which I felt no explanation was necessary.

Although the term spyware didn't make an official appearance until the year 2000, accounts of possible reporting software seem to have occurred in the early 90's. In a ZoneAlarm press release, the term found its footing and became synonymous with technology that could be used to report information secretly back to the software publisher. Although many software publishers were in fact doing this as a matter of analysis, the use of such software became a tool of malicious agents soon enough. Later that year, Steve Gibson of Gibson Research Corporation (GRC) found his own personal computer seemingly infected by two pieces of software that he didn't install himself, and could not be easily removed.

Gibson disassembled the software and was able to track it back to two companies Aureate and Conducent. Gibson alleges that these two companies had designed software that was capable of being installed in secret and able to report information about the user, his or her habits and the kinds of data that user kept on their computer, back to the companies. Although no proof of this could be ascertained, the allegations led security firms to begin looking into the problem, and the information world would never be the same.

Although there are many different types of malicious software out there and I will take some time to explain a few of them, none are more pervasive than spyware but for the purposes of simplifying things, I will refer to all of these kinds of software as malware, and only refer to them as their specific class when needed.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why I am an Atheist (part five)

This is part five of this article, here you can find parts onetwothree and four.

Throughout this article I have tried to show justification for my thought process, through some of the events of my life as well as through some of the conclusions I have reached over the span of that life. I will now continue to show some of the causes for my way of thinking as well as try to sum up the rationale behind them.

Part V: The Perceptive Brain

I can't go about daily life without being bombarded by advertising, someone trying to sell cars, soft-drinks, or medication. We live in a world where someone is always trying to convince someone else to buy into the product they are selling. I understand the rationale behind it, but I fail to see how it is useful in changing a person's mind. I don't often see an advertisement for Pepsi and think to myself, "I'd love a Pepsi right now," or "I do prefer drinking coke, but this commercial makes me want Pepsi instead." I fail to see the reason in advertising products that we all know exist and have an already-established opinion on.

For example, if a person drives a four-door Honda Accord, I fail to see how a commercial advertising a GM truck is likely to make that person consider selling their Honda, and buying that GM. It makes little sense that a person who has driven such a car and enjoys the car they drive, evident by the fact they purchased the car in the first place, would be swayed by an advertisement offering them a different choice. It is certainly possible that a person could become disenfranchised with their purchase and seek an alternate choice, but its not likely that advertising a new car is more likely to sway their decision than simply seeing a vehicle at a dealership or driven by someone about town.

The same is true of many products. For example, I have been drinking coke for a long time and enjoy it, and I prefer it to Pepsi. It is unlikely that any kind of adverting would make me switch from a brand I have enjoyed my whole life to another based entirely on the opinions of someone else, and I believe this to be true of anyone. So it seems to me that any kind of advertising that involves an established product is seemingly useless.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Why I am an Atheist (part four)

This is part four of this article, here you can find parts one, two and three.

Part IV: The Elegant Universe

When I was a boy, I looked up at the sky and wondered about all the amazing things that could be out there, all the life that must fill our universe and how it was only a matter of time before we would find someone, somewhere, who would have all the answers to all the questions I could ever think to ask. Maybe the biggest questions that have plagued us as people, center on questions of our origins. Why are we here? Where did we come from? How can we come from nothing? How can the universe and everything in it come from nothing? These are not new questions, they have been around as long as people have existed.

Long before we had modern astrophysics and cosmology, theologians attempted to answer the questions of our origin. And although the answer invokes little mystery, such are the ways of the faithful. You may have heard the old adage, it takes more faith to be an atheist than it does to be a believer. This, of course is meant to point out a conflict that does not really exist. Believers maintaining that an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, deity creating the universe, betters explains the existence of everything, than the Big Bang, which came from nothing.

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