The MS spyware experiment, moving calendars...

...and the cyber appliance nightmare continues

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Letters There is a wide range of opinion out there on Microsoft's entry into the anti-spyware market...we wouldn't have it any other way:

As long as the anti-spyware firms were external to MS, MS had an incentive to fix the holes in its OS.

But with updates by paid-for subscription, MS loses the incentive and in fact profits by holes left in the OS which can be 'patched' by the subscription app.

Maybe this is the way to what they've always wanted us to do - a monthly subscription fee to use their OS. Kind of reminds you of IBM in the Old Days.

Regards, Mike

Microsoft anti-spyware. If this does indeed prove to be profitable for Microsoft as a revenue stream, then is Microsoft going to want to fix all the problems with its products, and their new much delayed operating system, thus ending the need for their anti-spyware solutions? ok, yes, cynical i know, but this is Microsoft we are talking about...

regards Ashley Black

You're forgetting the software consultants guiding principle.

There's more money to be made out of prolonging the problem than solving it.


Hi Kelly,

Interesting read - one comment: "By offering it for free now and soon bundling it with every new computer, similar to Internet Explorer, two years from now Microsoft Anti-Spyware could easily own the lion's share of the market, at which point they can choose to start charging for those weekly updates you have come to rely on."

And risk another series of law suits and fines for anti-competitive behaviour?

Not likely, methinks.


A question worth asking is if the European Union will permit Microsoft to bundle anti-virus and anti-spyware software with Windows. As a convicted monopolist, fined and required to produce a Windows version without Windows Media Player. Unlike the US courts, the EU will continue to seek remedies to stop Microsoft Monopolistic habits.


I think you're being slightly unfair to Microsoft. After all, not all of the Spyware which "their" "new" product deals with gets onto people's machines via security holes and browser exploits; in fact, much of it is there because people are pathologically incapable of clicking "No" when the little box pops up offering them Gator or Comet Cursor or whatever else.

Also, when I used the original GIANT Anti-Spyware, it identified and offered to quarantine RealPlayer, which I thought showed class.

Regards, Mark

"The ink is barely dry", and you've already told me where your column is headed...

Why take penicillin when our immune system should just work no matter what? Why have a do-not-call-list when the telephone company should just fix the problem? Why should credit card companies be offering fraud protection when they should just prevent it? Why can't people be fair?

Guess what -- there are people in this world (dubious and otherwise) who are going to take advantage of any system (with or without holes). Think about that the next time somebody beats you handily at chess, or poker. If it were so easy, the company you work for wouldn't be able to charge big bucks to protect people.

People don't want to read an ideologue's rant in a product review or column. Just discuss its merits and whether or not it solves a problem rather than gratuitously slamming the company. At least in the interest of full disclosure, say that you hate Microsoft no matter what they do, or that the company that owns SecurityFocus has a competing product.


The proposed new calendar has caused a few giggles and a few raised eyebrows. Apart from the letters kindly flagging our oversimplification of the Gregorian calendar counting system (we've updated the piece so that it is now correct), the over-arching sense we got from the postbag this week is that no one is particularly keen on swapping to a 364 day calendar:

The moving week PROBLEM? - are you kidding?!! When did this become something to worry about. How many pub quiz fans sweat over whether 23rd October 2014 is a Tues or Weds??? This guy is a fu*king idiot. Oooh ooh here's a thought - keep a 365 day calendar, just come up with another 348 names for days hehehe that'd be cool. ...or or I know, get rid of days altogether and have "stardate" like they do in star trek. Fu*kwit.


Regarding 'Use my 364-day calendar', I need to express my severe disgust with "Dick Henry". I already feel sorry for those born on the 29th January in a leap year - they have to wait four years for another birthday. Now I happened to be born on 31st December 1982 - I'm not going to wait SEVEN YEARS for my next birthday! The day we adopt is system is the day I go looking for a 12 gauge, either for me or for him...


"a new calendar in which every date would fall on the same day of the week, year after year". Hmm ... so your birthday will ALWAYS be Friday the 13th. Yeah, I can see _that_ catching on!


Mike H

I find Mr. Henry's proposals very interesting. One time for all is an especially interesting idea. I think we can extend that idea to other domains : like lets declare everybody Catholic. That way all religious wars will be over. And lets declare that the entire planet is French, that way every citizen in the world will benefit from the French medical and social system. And everyone will speak French, which is a wonderful language, and will dispense with the unpleasantries of inaccurate translations occurring all over the world daily. Also, it will bring the French voting system to the world, which has been exempt from the truly ridiculous ballot issues of some other democratic countries, and is much more democratic then some other lands since the President is elected directly by every citizen and not just a panel of few that are subject to corruption. Of course, that means that Chirac will become President of the World, but that is a small price to pay, is it not ?


... A-a-a-a-and this is why we generally don't let physicists run things.

Mike M

Too true, Mike.

Build a nano-propellor, prepare for silly vehicular suggestions:

So how many of these nano-propellers would it take to fly a disembodied rat brain around?


And speaking of silly; here is the next installment of the saga that is the rise of the cyber appliance:

Dear Lucy,

First, thank you for your intrepid reporting on the inevitable Rise of The Machines, and keeping us abreast of the largely ignored, but inevitable, eventual takeover of human kind by rat-brained, alien-controlled, cybernetic overlords.

I am sure you must be aware, but I feel that in good conscious I can only reiterate, that Toyota has now declared themselves to be at the forefront of the mecha-sympathizers, as is made clear in the following news article.

Please, spread the word. It is NOT too late for your readers to throw away their internet-enabled toasters...save humanity!


Help - my coffee machine is attacking me.

My wife bought me a coffee machine for Christmas 2003 and it has given good service until just before Christmas 2004 when I filled the espresso maker and turned it on a short while later the green light came on to say the coffee was ready but there was no coffee - that's right NO COFFEE, now if you knew me you would realise that this is a direct threat to my wellbeing - I NEED a minimum of a mug of strong coffee per waking hour to function! Anyway I waggled (that is the correct technical term!) the strength control even turning it all the way to Steam and nothing happened for a few seconds then with the control at the weak end of the coffee strength setting (Why do they bother with a 'weak' setting?) the machine started pumping high pressure steam out through the coffee dispenser - now the steam should only come out through the milk frothing pipe (another useless item for those pansies who can't take their coffee neat!) so I knew something was wrong - the only good thing was that it was coffee flavoured steam and when enough of it had condensed I managed to get half a cup of coffee...


I actually read that article about the Killer Dyson out to my girlfriend, emphasising the satirical note at the bottom.

"Readers are advised to keep all electrical domestic appliances under lock and key this Xmas, lest they take advantage of the drunken Yule debauch to launch a concerted and co-ordinated attack on humanity. Be safe out there."

She said "oh my god, what a total pile of shit. Are they serious? I bloody hope not."

I, on the other hand, laughed.

Name withheld, to protect the innocent

Keep 'em coming - there'll be more later in the week. ®

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