There's been much written about Microsoft's Vista Kernel Mode Security, especially the Kernel Patch Protection scheme for Windows Vista 64-bit, more commonly known as PatchGuard to the rest of us. Microsoft is selling these security enhancements as the best thing since sliced bread, telling us how much safer our 64-bit PCs will be. The security companies, on the other hand, are up in arms and claiming that Microsoft is locking them out of the kernel so that the Redmond giant can gain greater momentum in the security arena. I'm here to tell you that it has very little, if anything, to do with security - it's all to do with DRM and locking down your hardware.
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes sifts through the marketing hyperbole and casts his critical eye over the latest technological innovations to find out which products make the grade and which don't.
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology.
The news that Apple shipped iPods containing malware came as a bit of a surprise yesterday. After all, you expect a company like Apple to have plenty of safeguards and checks and balances in place to prevent this kind of thing happening. The truth is however that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link and putting your trust in someone else's chain is rarely a good idea.
Finally, the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) might be starting to realize that their attempts to control and reduce piracy might actually be having the opposite effect, and are driving honest consumers to piracy.
Microsoft has made a real mess of explaining their Windows Vista licensing agreement terms. If professionals who are familiar with navigating their way around press releases and complex EULA agreements find the wording complex and ambiguous, what chance does a regular user have of coming up with the right answer?
Let's put DRM, WGA and SPP behind us for a little while and look at some cool new gear that's getting ready to hit the streets. And it doesn't get much cooler than the liquid cooled TOXIC X1950XTX and the limited edition X1950 CrossFire Edition graphics cards by Sapphire Sapphire: "The fastest add-in board on the planet"Technology. If you want power, Sapphire claim that these cards are the "fastest add-in board on the planet". and they are aimed squarely at enthusiasts who want power without noise.
"Sell the sizzle, not the sausage" and "bury any bad news" are some of the oldest but best marketing clichés in existence and they are as applicable today as when they were fresh. Microsoft applied both these principals yesterday when it released details of software licensing terms for Windows Vista.
I've never hidden the fact that I consider rebates to be nothing more than a legalized scam. The customer pays full price for a product and is then faced with all the fun of filling out paperwork and jumping through a series of hoops (a bit like completing a tax return while running an assault course). If the customer completes all the challenges, there's a chance that they'll see their rebate check. If they stumble at any stage in the game, it's tough luck. Things are about to get worse - just in time for the holiday season.
The movie industry seems determined to continue on a course where it happily erodes the rights of legitimate users, all in the name of securing profits. The latest example of this comes in the form of a DVD copy protection technology called Protect DVD-Video which actually prevents a DVD being played on a Windows PC using Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center Edition or any software players based on DirectShow.
The 802.11n WiFi standard is a long way off being ratified ("sometime" in 2008 is the best guesstimate at present), but this hasn't stopped manufacturers from cashing in on it by releasing hardware based on draft 802.11n specifications. ASUS has taken this a step further by offering purchasers of their Broadcon Intensi-Fi Draft N-based WL-500W gateway and WL-100W adapters a guarantee. On the face of it, it sounds like a good deal, but examine the press release a little deeper and you quickly realize that it's not much more than a publicity stunt.
Is SPP more accurate than WGA? How many systems fail the WGA validation test? What should you do if you paid $149 for a Windows Genuine Advantage Kit but think that your copy is genuine? Get answers to these and other questions - direct from Microsoft.