The Sony saga just keeps getting better. Firstly, Sony finally owned up to distributing harmful software on their music CDs in pursuance of their rampantly paranoid corporate aim to prevent music piracy. Perhaps they have finally realised that all they are really succeeding at is alienating their paying customers by limiting what they can do with the product they actually paid for, whilst having zero affect on dedicated music pirates. I doubt it though, based on their track record the Sony upper management appear to see nothing beyond their own navel.
Is it me, or does ‘Windows Live’ cry out for an exclamation mark at the end? This is Microsoft’s new initiative of online, dynamic services in their attempt to take on the Googles and Yahoos of this world in the online space. You can see a small demo site here. Now, let’s be clear about terms. When I say ‘new’, I mean ‘new to Microsoft’ - since the concept of a user-customisable portal system, pulling in content such as RSS feeds, shared documents and webmail, and paying for it through either subscription or advertising is very very old indeed.
I have a confession to make. Sometimes - just occasionally, mind - I fancy trying a massively multiplayer online game. I know, I know - I shouldn’t, but occasionally I can’t help myself. Back when I was in my late teens / early twenties, access to that nebulous cloud called the ‘Internet’ started to become available to the general public. It was all text-based in those days - I remember the first time my fantastically overpriced non-local internet provider, which I used for only telnet, ftp, and occasionally archie and gopher services (remember those?
It looks like SAP has thrown it’s hat in with Microsoft by viewing open source as akin to socialism (Gates went even further and suggested it was communism, I’m sure McCarthy would have liked to have him on his side back in the 50s). There argument is that if there is no financial incentive to invent, ie strong IP laws, then nobody will. On a very simplistic level they have a point.
After 2 weeks of constant distractions ranging from security updates, through a couple of major OGRE issue reports that needed investigation, and learning how VS2005’s release affects us, I finally managed to spend some time on Kadath today. Most of that time was spent with a pencil and paper, chewing the former in between trying to draw something sensible on the latter. Basically I was planning how I take what I have now, and perform yet more automated magic to turn it into something more useful.
After some initial double-takes and discomfort over some of the things that were changed in VS 2005, I’ve become convinced enough of the benefits of the new version to cough up for the Professional upgrade. The free Express edition is an extremely good deal, but there are definitely things that I miss from the Pro version of Visual Studio, and given that I spend a very large part of my time indeed in this environment it’s worth spending the money.
I’m sure you’ve already read about how Sony has effectively turned hacker by installing a rootkit on your PC just because you wanted to listen to some music that you paid them for. That’s customer service for you. Sony’s little tyke of a copyright protection device (developed presumably by a bunch of monkeys at First4Internet who just wanted Sony’s cash and didn’t realise they were doing something really, really dumb) likes to squeeze itself deep into your Windows system calls, intercepting everything you try to do with your CD drive, before sneakily trying to hide itself, cackling manically all the while and rubbing it’s hands with glee.
As you can see, I’ve given the site a bit of a makeover, simplified the theme somewhat and switched from PostNuke to WordPress; PostNuke hasn’t been my software of choice for some years but I never got around to moving to anything else. I had considered Mambo, which I’ve used for other sites, but I only use this site for blogging now so I thought I’d use something simpler for that purpose.
Well, the inevitable happened this morning and my Granddad passed away, peacefully and surrounded by family. Upsetting though this is, in one way it is a relief since he is at least no longer in the pain he was near the end. Now the emphasis has to move to looking after other people, especially my Gran, who has been incredibly strong throughout all of this, despite illnesses of her own to contend with.
I’ve been back of sorts, posting a bit here and there in the forums and joining IRC sometimes. I hear that the OGRE website was briefly down again this week due to a DNS outage, which I am sorting out longer term prevention for, but please bear with me. The unfortunate situation is that my Grandfather was diagnosed with a terminal illness only last week, and has been fading distressingly fast since then, so OGRE has not been high on my list of priorities.