Large Brother Sees They (11/19/01)
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Get ready to cross "Don't need to mess with Microsoft's evil Orwellian forced product activation scheme" off your list of 1,001 reasons to be a Mac user, because that fun little anti-piracy measure is coming soon to a Mac product near you. If you're blissfully unaware of how this works, basically users of Windows XP or Office XP need to register their products with the Redmond Mothership or else said products abruptly stop working. And since registration involves transmitting all sorts of interesting details about one's computer that one might consider to be none of Uncle Billy's business, lots of people aren't overly thrilled with this strategy.

So far, Mac users have been spared this indignity, but according to faithful viewer Horst Prillinger, if you're a fan of Microsoft's Mac products, you shouldn't get too comfortable with your privacy. Horst pointed out an article at Heise Online which quotes Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit bigwig Kevin Browne as saying: "Wir hätten die Aktivierungsmechanismen schon in Office v. X implementiert, wenn wir die Zeit und die Leute dafür gehabt hätten." For those of you who, like us, don't read German, that sentence translates roughly (by BabelFish-- you can't get much rougher than that) as: "We would have already implemented the activation mechanisms in Office v. X, if we had had the time and the people for it."

That surprisingly coherent translation means that at some point in the not-too-distant future, Mac users who opt for Microsoft products (at least, the products that aren't free) are more than likely going to have to surrender some details about their Macs to Microsoft's servers. We mention this for two reasons: firstly, to warn you all that if you're Office junkies, the most recently-released version is almost certainly the last that will ship sans required registration; and secondly, to have an excuse to play with the happy mangling effects of automatic translation. To wit: "Users of Windows XP and Office XP must within the first 30 days respectively after 50 starts an installation identifier, which is attached to the package, at Microsoft transmit, in order to receive thereupon from the manufacturer a special de-energising code." Mmmmpphhwaaahahaha!! Now that's comedy!


 
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The above scene was taken from the 11/19/01 episode:

November 19, 2001: Is Adobe up for sale-- and is Apple trying to rustle up the cash for the purchase? Meanwhile, a new wireless standard has been approved, paving the way for faster AirPort implementations next year, and Microsoft announces that forced "product activation" is coming to its Mac products soon...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3403: Microsoft Photo™ 2002 (11/19/01)   If you're a graphics professional and a Mac user, chances are you've expended a lot of aggravation and tears during the long wait for a Mac OS X-native version of Photoshop. Statistically speaking, these days you probably spend 1.28 hours each and every day praying to the gods of Gaussian blurs, begging for divine intervention to give Adobe's developers a proverbial kick in the pants so you can finally upgrade to Apple's next-generation operating system and still get some work done...

  • 3404: Faster Runways Next Year (11/19/01)   Speed freaks rejoice; if you're willing to lay out the cash, air traffic around your local wireless network may pick up a dose of extra zip come this time next year. We're well aware that a certain sector of the population was a bit disappointed when Apple introduced AirPort 2 last week and it still ran at "only" 11 Mbps, thus rendering the technology impractical for the quick transfer of immense data sets-- like, say, uncompressed real-time full-motion broadcast-quality video (roughly 18.6 MBps), or the complete works of Stephen King (more words than you can shake a stick at)...

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