Tag Archives: Windows

Warning: Do Not Use Windows CDs

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Linux DVD Conversion with HandBrake

HandBrake is a handy open source free application for converting video from DVD to MPEG.  Part of what makes this program great is that it will handle so called encrypted movies (provided they are utilizing CSS).  Plus, it works on Linux, Mac, and Windows.  I won’t go into great detail about this project, but its worth a try.

HandBrake Encoding

If someone has some free time, please convert this into a DEB and get it into Ubuntu/Debian repos.  Its promising but useless for a lot of users if its stuck as a Tarball.


Under Microsoft’s Grip Again

Since I’ve decided to go back to school for computer programming, I’ve had to switch back to Microsoft Windows most of the time. I’ve opted to take my classes online this semester and much to my surprise, a couple of classes actually require me to use Windows for specific software.

I’m taking a basic math class for starters. It’d be fine except I must use Course Compass which relies on an interesting combination of Internet Explorer, ActiveX controls (which I had to specifically ease up my security on), Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Adobe Flash player. Then to make it worse I had to install a program specifically from Course Compass to use it. Finally, I had to use Apple’s Quicktime Media Player (which makes no sense to me).  While I can understand the security aspect of this class to prevent cheating, let us type out of our answers or even the whole problem/solution set in a word processor. For that matter, I should be able to use Firefox instead of IE. Argh.

My other issue is C++ programming. While I am given the option to use any compiler I see fit, the book suggests that there are special settings involved and that everything is designed around Microsoft Visual C++ Studio Express. Of course it only works under Windows.

So while I still dual boot and keep my Ubuntu install going, I’ve become an incidental Windows boy again. And I don’t mind. I’ve added as much open source as I can. I use Clamwin Antivirus. I use Firefox for all my regular browsing. I turn in all my assignments using OpenOffice Writer saved as Word Documents. Still I can’t help but feel that I’m betraying my open source views by resorting to a mostly dysfunctional operating system.


Buying Linux Preloaded

Looking for a new system? Time to upgrade? Skip the Microsoft Tax and buy Linux preloaded. Often the most difficult part of buying a new computer is finding reputable companies that sell Linux based systems. Even then, some still buy Windows systems, wipe them, and load Linux (thereby still buying a Windows system and paying Microsoft).

Why does it matter? For starters, if you don’t want to use Windows then don’t you shouldn’t have to pay for it let alone buy it. Very very few computer manufacturers are going to refund you the famed Microsoft Tax now. Many have EULAs that state you are buying the computer and preloaded software together. They go on to say that if you refuse the software to return it the whole unit for a full refund and that the software is not specifically eligible for a refund.

Another good reason for buying Linux preloaded? It tells the computer companies that people want Linux. Big names Dell and Lenovo started offering Linux options only after enough people petitioned. Now it entirely lies upon enough people buying these computers for the manufacturers to keep offering them and eventually pushing/advertising them.

I think it is entirely critical for Linux to get it preloaded and out there for consumers. I don’t believe in the Year of Linux or any such nonsense. I do believe there can be a year when Linux dies and I don’t want to see that. I believe the future of Linux relies on taking over the desktop now with all the bad press that Vista has.

So finally, I present the preloaded Linux options. This isn’t a review per se, only a listing of the computer manufacturers selling Linux preloaded.

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Cracking Vista Activation

This is for Educational Purposes Only!  While I am an ardent advocate of free and open software, I do not recommend pirating or cracking software in anyway.  This post is solely for education purposes so that readers may learn what they can.

The application Windows Vista Activation and OEM Information tool allows you to install an OEM (those much less expensive copies of Windows) Vista on your computer without it actually being an OEM system.  The especially helpful aspect is that you can pick any of the manufacturers (16 to choose from!) and the program will automatically fill in the correct OEM product key information.

This is helpful for security experts as it something new to learn from.  Perhaps someone can design a better Windows Genuine Advantage tool from all this.  Or you could just install Linux and learn all that mess behind.


Personal Torrent Protection

Sorry, this has moved to my new site.

This new article is expanded and worth the trip.


Ubuntu + Dell = Pretty Slick

Dell has cautiously offered Ubuntu Linux powered computers for a few months now and I’m extremely disappointed. Dell has yet to put any serious marketing into them. If you want Linux, you probably already know about them. If you don’t know what Linux is, you’ll never look for them and find them.

On the plus side, I just ran a basic comparison between the Inspiron 530N (Ubuntu edition) versus the Inspiron 530 (Vista version) and found a great surprise. I managed a $816 difference. The Vista system was that much more expensive. I included Vista Home Premium, Roxio, PC-Cillin, Office Pro, and others as those titles are all well represented under Ubuntu for free. Even when I removed all the software from the Vista system, I still had an astonishing $180 difference in the hardware. To top it, the Vista system would be unusable for basic tasks. Wow.

Check out Dell’s Ubuntu Computers.