End Microsoft Piracy

I’m actually giving Microsoft some love it deserves. I bash Microsoft OS sometimes. There is no denying it. But in this post, I am actually defending Microsoft. Gasp! Sort of. After all, piracy is scourge for all software and media companies. Even with a well-guarded release of a movie or a software, it takes just a matter of hours before an illegal copy turns up somewhere in some forum, IRC or file sharing site. Que Pasa said, it’s not worth the risk installing pirated software. And I agree. He argues in his article the following points:

  • It’s Illegal – who is going to find out you may ask? Well I for one wouldn’t want to find out.
  • It’s a security risk – In this day and age, the security risks are many. Specially if you manage your finances on your computer.
  • Pirated software is not safe – many of their sources can’t be trusted and often lead to infections with worms and viruses that look to compromise more than your HW.
  • Lack of support – the internet is a good source of info, but while searching for solutions, you risk getting or soliciting help from scam artists.

Installing a pirated Microsoft OS, to me, is not an option. First, you’ll have problems getting security updates from Microsoft. It will only compromise your computer even further because the lack the security updates. If you really can’t afford to buy a Microsoft OS, then perhaps, it’s time to turn to something different, something free, something better than you have ever anticipated.

There are many reasons why people switched over to Linux. The main draws are obviously the price. Another is security. For me, part of the reason I switched over to Linux is, I couldn’t get myself to buy an operating system that I already owned. I own a valid Microsoft XP Home Edition license. My problem was, I couldn’t find a CD set to install the operating system. My laptop didn’t come with a Rescue CD.

I tried installing Windows XP Professional Edition with a Home Edition product key. It doesn’t work. I asked ask friends if they have a Home Edition CD set. No one has it. And I’m not about to go out and  buy something that I already owned. So, I turned to Linux because it was free.

If cost was the reason you’re installing a pirated Windows OS, then you should really consider installing Linux. It’s not only free, but superior in many respects. And you never have to worry about viruses and security. In addition, you also have many distribution choices, something you will not have with Microsoft. There at least 20 or so major Linux distributions.

Download several and find one that suits you.

Maintenance Page Using .htaccess

If you own a website, there are times you need to bring your site down for maintenance or repair. Instead of the ugly 404 page not found, a nicely crafted maintenance page is ideal for your users to see. Enter .htaccess, a powerful Apache configuration file capable of many powerful functions. It can perform authorization or authentication, redirects, custom error messages, and cache control. This article explains how to create a custom error message. The  .htaccess file contains code to redirect your users to your maintenance page. In short, it uses .htaccess rewrite rule and even restricts viewing to a certain IP addresses. In this case it allows the admin to see the website as he would normally, while the rest will get a visually appealing maintenance page.

Linux Saves The Day

Here’s an interesting article about a user having problems booting into Windows. The laptop was getting the dreaded blue screen of death. The technician tried booting from ‘safe mode ‘and from ‘last known good’, but still, it will not repair.  The technician tried booting from a Windows installation DVD, Vista and even Windows 7. Still can’t boot. Then, Ubuntu 8.04 came in to the rescue. The system booted just fine in Linux. The technician was able to access the files. All the technician did was restore the backup registry files. Presto. Windows rebooted like nothing happened. Why can’t Vista, Windows 7 boot CDs make this repair is beyond me.

Linpus Lite

One tiny Linux distribution worth checking out, is Linpus Lite. It’s a distribution based on Fedora especially written for netbooks and targeted for the Asian market.  My laptop, a Lenovo S10 actually is sold in Asia with Linpus Lite. Mine came with Windows XP. So, I wasn’t a surprised when my Lenovo S10 manual came with a Linpus Lite manual. Linpus, the company provides 3 products: Linpus Lite, Linpus Desktop and Linpus Media Center. I’m very curious how this distribution will work with my laptop since my hardware is an officially supported by Linpus Lite.

Here’s some of the features of Linpus Lite:

  • Kernel 2.6.20 or higher
  • Supports a wide range of resolutions – 800×480 (7), 1000×600 (10), 1280×800 (12), 640×480, 800×600
  • Desktop mgr: xfce 4.4 or higher
  • Supports easy mode and normal mode, both fully compatible w/i generic linux
  • Web 2.0 & well modularity (html/css, java, flash plugin, …)
  • Supports in’tl open standards w/i lsb/gb18030/ cns11643 certificates
  • Utf-8 environment w/i 18+ languages support
  • En/tc/sc/fr/de/it/es/pl/pt/hu/ru/cz/no/fi/dk/sv/ko/jp
  • Journaling file system w/i efficient algorithms to extend ssd life cycle for intense write-in ops
  • Unifs+ ext3 + squash fs (read-only)
  • Ssd (solid-state drive)(nand flash ide interface), hdd (ide & sata) non swap swap file
  • Fine tuning & efficient power savings
  • Hot-key system recovery in case of crash
  • Easy for maintenance through on-line update
  • (Option) opengl + 3d desktop
  • (Option) touch panel + pen-based environment & apps
  • (Option) connectivity supports through gsm, gprs, 3g, 3.5g

Snow Leopard

For Mac OS fans out there, here’s a list of enhancements and refinements of the new Mac OS Snow Leopard. What happened to the word `features`? Maybe, it’s not as hip as enhancements and refinements anymore. I guess it’s outdated. I always laugh how marketing folks come with old words and make them new again. Enhancements and refinements. Next up. Polish. Check out the new `polish` of the new Mac OS at the Apple store. Snow Leopard looks really good. I’m not much of a Mac user, but when I do, I’m always impressed. If you want to pre-order, you can get one for only $29. Compare that to another operating system I know that’s about 5 times as much.

Twitter is Down Again

It looks like Twitter is down again. I can’t get to the main page or to my own page. It showing a Server Error 503 which means the website is currently unable to handle the HTTP request due to a temporary overloading or maintenance of the server. I doubt Twitter is doing maintenance in the middle of the business day in the US, which leads me to believe the service is down again. Sigh!

Oh, it’s back up again. It was down for a good 15-20 minutes at least.

Xbox 360 True Failure Rate

As much as I love the Xbox 360, the graphics, the games, and the online play, I still think it’s a piece of crap. You’ll be surprise if I tell you the failure rate of the Xbox 360. It’s a whopping 54%. The Xbox 360 has some serious hardware issues particularly with overheating. How long will Microsoft support this product because it currently bleeds red?

In my own experience, I had to return the Xbox 360 twice for repair. On both occasion, I had the red ring of death. If you’ve experience this problem, you only have one option for repair. You need to send it back to Microsoft. This is preferred way without breaking the warranty. Speaking of warranty, Microsoft has extended the warranty for 3 years because of many complaints. Because of the long wait, some have tried the towel trick, the heatsink fix as well as adding an extra fan.

No one can hide the fact, he Xbox 360 and its hardware particularly, has had a grade of F. Surprisingly, the Xbox operating system has been stable enough considering it’s based on Windows 2000. The main issue is really with overheating. Microsoft would have been better off contracting out the hardware to Dell, HP or to any hardware vendor.

Microsoft should have stuck to what they do best, that is, writing software and operating systems instead of producing hardware, although venturing out with a Microsoft OS can sometimes be a hairy experience. Finally, here is a damning story about the Xbox mess.

Don’t Forget The Uploads

I recently moved a WordPress blog from root to a directory below it. I decided to use the export and import WordPress function. By the way, it works great. The only issue I had was the missing the upload directory. I forgot to move it. I blew it up. It’s gone. I have 20+ pictures I have re-upload. It’s a lesson to be learned. I have to be a little bit more careful next time.

STRLEN

There is another great command in PHP similar called STRLEN. The command counts the number of characters in a string. In our previous example, we were using a string called $post with a Lorem Ipsum content.

$post="Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit,
sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna
aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud
exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea
commodo consequat."
$count=strlen($post);
echo $count;

The result is a character count of: 276.