Today is: Unpredictable Mac

Chris's Unpredictable and Occasional Newsletter

About Unpredictable

BackIssues 2006- 2008
BackIssues 2005
Back Issues 2004
Back Issues 2003
Back Issues 2002
Back Issues 2001

Commerce

Geek Speak Review

Resources

Blog

 

 

Art Prints

iTunes_MacWin_RGB_9mm


 

Apple iTunes

 

 

 

BackIssues

< PreviousNext >


CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for MAC USERS #22,
06/27/01 Bloated Microsoft Issue
Contents Copyright 2001 by Christopher Plummer
===============================================

THIS ISSUE
----------
How could a 'Microsoft issue' be anything but a GIGANTIC MONSTROUS
MONOPOLISTIC BEHEMOTH? It would have to use all the letters in the
alphabet, be full of meaningless words created on the fly, be too long to
read, take up too much disk space to store, be about everything, but not
cover anything accurately or in detail!!

As OCCASIONAL readers may know, I sometimes pick on Microsoft. This time
I'm going to DUMP it all in one issue. Worst of all, I write quite a bit
about WINDOWS. Hey, like it or not MICROSOFT is WINDOWS! If that bothers
you, STOP NOW, because I'd like you to come back to the next U&O when I'm
done. Now, back by popular demand, I DON'T leave Microsoft alone. :-)


UPDATES - Microsoft Security Vulnerabilities
NEWS - The latest virus to take advantage of Microsoft Outlook
UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK - Can they get the Ampersand right?
GEEK SPEAK REVIEW - What is the 'Evil Empire'?
COMMENTARY - What is Microsoft Up To??
Tips
HANGING AND CRASHING - The Microsoft DLL Factor
Know The Difference
OCCASIONAL Favorite WEB SITE
Dirty Little Secrets - A Bush photo on Every Desktop Keeps the DOJ Away?
Special Bonus Keyboard Commands



UPDATES
-------
MS Word 98 - 2000 RTF Macro Security Patch:
This patch was created to prevent macro (viruses) inside an RTF document
from running free when opened by Word. I will SAVE YOU SOME TIME if you
have Word 98 (and not 2000). I found the MacTopia site pretty confusing
but YOU DON'T HAVE TO, just go to the SECOND URL below if you have 98. Be
sure to read all the info. If you haven't applied the 'Combined Updater'
you need to apply that first.

<http://www.microsoft.com/mac/download/office2001/wordmacro.asp>
<http://www.microsoft.com/mac/download/office2001/wordmacro98.asp>



NEWS
----
Simpsons Virus:
Technically a 'worm', this Applescript virus takes advantage of Microsoft
mail clients Outlook Express and Entourage in the way that has become
ROUTINE in the Wintel world. Disguised as a message about unseen Simpsons
TV episodes, when activated, it sends a copy of itself to EVERY person in
your address book. It also puts itself in your Startup Items folder, and
might possibly DELETE your 'Sent Items' (which, if you're quick, you can
retrieve from your 'Deleted Items').

If you receive a message about the Simpsons, JUST TRASH IT. TOO LATE FOR
THAT? First prevent the worm from running at Startup by holding down the
[Shift] key as you restart your Mac. Check your Startup Items folder
(inside your System Folder), and delete a file there called "Simpsons
Episodes". To *prevent* the worm from getting in your Startup Folder,
create any locked file with the same name, "Simpsons Episodes." By
putting a file in there of the same name as the worm, the worm cannot be
copied to the Startup Folder! (But of course this 'protector' file will
be launched at Startup. A locked 'folder' was suggested in one article,
but I don't have the capability to lock a folder. Did this disappear in
9.1??) How do you 'lock' a file? See "Tips" below. Now you must write a
short note to everyone in your address book apologizing for sending them
the Simpsons Virus, advising them not to open it, and referring them to
this issue. [You can just send them this article if you like, but be sure
to give credit to UNPREDICTABLE AND OCCASIONAL.] The Symantec virus
protection site has info and 'definition' updates if you use virus
protection. Personally, I don't.

<http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/mac.simpsons@mm.html>
<http://db.tidbits.com/getbits.acgi?tbart=06139>

THE MOST EFFECTIVE PREVENTION METHOD? DON'T USE MICROSOFT MAIL CLIENTS.
YES, there actually are plenty of mail programs out there besides the
DEFUNCT Claris Em@ailer that I use. Check out this great site, the
Macintosh Email Resource Page:

<http://www.macemail.com/index.shtml>

BTW, this virus can't run on Windows machines, because they don't have
Applescript!
:-)



UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK
-----------------------------
U&O Reader 'Bob', wrote in with this timely feedback, which could just as
well be posted under 'Know the Difference'.

"I recently registered for both PC Expo and MacWorld at the Javits
center in NY.  Both exhibitions seem to be managed by the same group,
as the badges looked remarkably similar. However, since my company's
name is B & L Associates, on the PC expo badge it is of course listed
as  B _L, since the PC seems never to have been able to understand what
an ampersand really means. (I have had this problem many times over the
years with Microsoft's PC software registrations as well, and have
always reported it as a bug during my beta testing. It rarely gets
fixed. I wonder how Microsoft deals with AT _T?) Anyway, my badge for
MacWorld of course correctly lists the company as B & L  Associates.
Just one other trivial example of how 'we' have always done things the
right way."


'Pam' wrote that she downloaded the new version of Internet Explorer;
without even asking for it, the new version of Outlook Express came with
it! Her question:

"If I install the new one [Outlook] will I be wiping out the address book
for the
old one?"

I don't use Outlook (for reasons mentioned elsewhere in this issue). But
the guys who write the MS mail software are real sharp. After all, one of
them, Judd, wrote Em@iler first! Express SHOULD be smart enough to handle
an update of its own address book. BUT NEVER ASSUME, so I would suggest
using your current version to EXPORT your address book to a file that you
can save as a backup. This should be fairly easy to figure out. If the
new Outlook isn't smart enough to use the old address book, you can
IMPORT the old address book into it manually.

:-)



GEEK SPEAK ALERT: ME, OPEN SOURCE, BORG, EVIL EMPIRE, NETIZEN


GEEK SPEAK REVIEW 'ME' (Microsoft Edition):
-----------------------------------------
For a change of pace, this issue our GSR definitions are borrowed from
<WWW.DICTIONARY.COM> (using Apple Data Detectors).


Borg:
In "Star Trek: The Next Generation" the Borg is a species of cyborg that
ruthlessly seeks to incorporate all sentient life into itself; their
slogan is "Resistence is futile. You will be assimilated." In hacker
parlance, the Borg is usually Microsoft, which is thought to be trying
just as ruthlessly to assimilate all computers and the entire Internet to
itself (there is a widely circulated image of Bill Gates as a Borg).
Being forced to use Windows or NT is often referred to as being "Borged".
Interestingly, the Halloween Documents reveal that this jargon is live
within Microsoft itself. (Other companies, notably Intel and UUNet, have
also occasionally been equated to the Borg.) See also Evil Empire,
Internet Exploiter.

<http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=borg>


Microsoft:
The new Evil Empire (the old one was IBM). The basic complaints are, as
formerly with IBM, that (a) their system designs are horrible botches,
(b) we can't get source to fix them, and (c) they throw their weight
around a lot. See also Halloween Documents.

<http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?db=*&term=Microsoft>


Halloween Documents:
A pair of Microsoft internal strategy memoranda leaked to ESR in late
1998 that confirmed everybody's paranoia about the current Evil Empire.
These documents <http://www.opensource.org/halloween/> praised the
technical excellence of Linux and outlined a counterstrategy of
attempting to lock in customers by "de-commoditizing" Internet protocols
and services. They were extensively cited on the Internet and in the
press and proved so embarrassing that Microsoft PR barely said a word in
public for six months afterwards.

<http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=Halloween%0ADocuments>



WHAT IS MICROSOFT UP TO???
--------------------------
Why do I pick on Microsoft? If you can't answer that, all I can say is,
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? Assuming that the answer is either 'ASLEEP ON THE
FLOOR' for the last 15 years, or 'NOT ON THIS PLANET', I will FORGET THE
PAST and just look at THE PRESENT. I've provided lots of URLs for
reference, many from the mainstream PC press. Now, today, and for the
remainder of 2001, what is Microsoft up to??


CONFUSED ABOUT OPEN SOURCE
The Internet was designed around 'open standards' that belonged to no big
corporations and would work on all sorts of hardware and software. In
that same spirit, Internet denizens, sometimes called Netizens, created
the concept of 'Open Source.' This is a movement to develop applications
and operating systems by 'consensus', making the code available to
everyone to use and enhance. Microsoft has launched a campaign to attack
and discredit 'open source'. They say, Open Source is a BAD IDEA. After
all, if Microsoft doesn't own it, how can they charge you for it? And
shucks, there goes the whole economy! But at the same time MS attacks
open source, they also use it in some of their products!

"Microsoft acknowledged its repeated use of open-source code Friday, in
response to questions about the matter. Just two days earlier, it had
specifically denied the existence of any such software at Hotmail."

<http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2776342,00.html>


SUBSCRIPTION LICENSING
Still using Excel 5? Still happy with Word 6? TOO BAD. One of the things
Microsoft attacks about Open Source is the license for it. They would
like US to adopt their NEW licensing scheme based on the 'Subscription'
concept. With this license, after a certain date, you no longer have the
right to use the software on your computer. You 'Subscribe' to use the
software for a limited time. With this new plan you'll have to pay MS
for the newest BLOATWARE version whether you want the unnecessary
features or not! That way they can keep adding features that lock you in
to their concept of the Internet, to their tools and plug-ins, and to
their browser, and require you to keep UPGRADING your operating system,
uh, that is, if you're using Windows.

How will they enforce this? With a GIANT DATABASE OF EVERY MICROSOFT
CUSTOMER ON THE PLANET, AND WHAT KIND OF COMPUTER AND SOFTWARE THEY HAVE.
Here's what they're doing NOW in the WONDERFUL WINDOWS WORLD with the
latest FEATURE RICH EDITION of 'OFFICE XP':

"Order now and you'll also receive: A never-ending bill for your software
through Microsoft's .NET 'software-as-a-service' plan, for which Office
XP is the vanguard. Now how much would you pay? Don't answer yet, because
you'll also get the privilege of Microsoft assuming you're a criminal
through their WPA (Windows Product Activation). First, Microsoft insists
that you register, and they scan your PC to get a profile to associate
with your XP. And if your PC crashes (but that never happens, right?), or
you put in some new hardware and need to re-install too many times, then
you have to call Microsoft and plead your case before you can re-install
software for which you have paid. I guess "XP" stands for "eXtremely
Pushy."

<http://www.zdnet.com/downloads/geeks/0601/index.html>


WINDOWS XP
In addtion to many interface improvements that make Windows look more
like a Macintosh running OS EX, Windows XP also opens up the TCP-IP
environment to 'Raw Sockets'. This is way TOO GEEKY to explain in detail
here. It's not a good idea. It means that any kid up the street can
orchestrate a 'Denial of Service' attack on the Internet target of his
choice, using the same tools that brought Yahoo and AOL - and MICROSOFT -
servers DOWN TO THEIR KNEES in the last couple years. I can only conclude
that MS has somehow set this up in a way that this kind of vandalism
will affect the competition and not their BORG MOTHER SHIP.

Read it here: "THE DENIAL OF SERVICE Exploitation Tool of Choice for
Internet Hackers Everywhere" <http://grc.com/dos/winxp.htm>


'SMART' TAGS
The new Windows OS, being TOTALLY tied into the Internet Explorer browser
so that WINDOWS users CAN'T USE ANY OTHER BROWSER, offers a 'cool'
feature called 'Smart Tags'. Smart Tags is a Windows perversion of a
terribly OVERLOOKED AND UNDERUSED Apple technology called APPLE DATA
DETECTORS. [Which I WILL cover soon!! - Chris]

With Smart Tags, Microsoft can put the LINKS it wants into ANY web site.

Read the sentence above again until you understand it. It means, if your
web site has the word 'travel' in it, and you have NO LINK set up in your
HTML, now INTERNET EXPLORER will show a special link there. Click it, and
go to a MICROSOFT approved TRAVEL RELATED web site, such as MICROSOFT
EXPEDIA. The judges in charge of the DOJ appeal are clueless, but do you
begin to understand the idea that WHOEVER CONTROLS THE BROWSER, CONTROLS
THE INTERNET??

But why stop there? XP puts 'Smart Tags' in every Microsoft Application!!
Can you see the dollar-signs glowing in Steve Balmer's eyeballs as he
thinks about EVERY POSSIBLE LINK to EVERY POSSIBLE WORD, and what he
could charge companies in FEES to have THEIR link appear on a MICROSOFT
CONTROLLED 'link list'??? You think advertising on the web is bad?? This
brings advertising right to the Browser level, to the OS level even. Soon
everything you do on your computer can bring up an ADVERTISEMENT or a web
page!!

Right now this is just one of the big 'advantages' of Windows over the
Mac. But WE KNOW that this could all be buried in the browser, and will
be coming soon to a Macintosh, with Microsoft Explorer on it, near you!

Wall Street Journal article:
<http://public.wsj.com/sn/y/SB991862595554629527.html>
Naive response from ZDNET:
<http://www.zdnet.com/tlkbck/comment/465/0,10732,112984-840216,00.html>

If any of this BUGS YOU, consider sending an email to the automated
response machine in the White House at <president@whitehouse.gov>.

:-)




Tips
----
TO LOCK A FILE:

1) Select the File.
2) Do a 'Get Info' on it.
3) Go to the File menu
4) Select 'Get Info'/General Information
5) Put a 'check' in the 'locked' box.

That's it! Remember that to UNLOCK the file you have to do the same steps
and UNCHECK the box. :-)




HANGING AND CRASHING - THE MICROSOFT FACTOR
--------------------
Microsoft tends to LITTER your Macintosh with 'Library' files. This is
true not just of MS Office, and Internet Explorer, and Outlook Express,
but of vertical market database products developed with Microsoft Foxpro,
and programs such as Mavis Beacon 'Teaches Typing' and educational
programs written with Microsoft C development tools. You would think that
ONE VERSION of the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications or OLE Library
would be enough for EVERYBODY TO SHARE, but NOT SO. These Libraries often
have the same exact names, but the programs are rarely intelligent enough
to either check for, or run with the most current version of the Library.
An application may store the Library in its 'own' folder (which is
probably the safest way to go, although the duplication of these files
will eat up tons of disk space). Or when installed, sometimes the
application will write the Library to the System Folder, overwriting any
other file there of the same name, without even checking to see who is
'newer'. Then the application that requires the missing Library will no
longer work, usually crashing or hanging when it needs the library.

If you have LOTS OF TIME, and want to do what Microsoft should have done
in the first place, you might try to HUNT DOWN every version of the
like-named Library and find A SINGLE ONE that works, and then TRY TO
FIGURE OUT where to put it so EVERYBODY can play nice together. If you
actually do this (NOT RECOMMENDED) make sure you WRITE IT ALL DOWN,
because the next time you apply a patch or upgrade to a new version, all
your work will be blown away.

Should it be like this on a Mac?? OF COURSE NOT! This absurd scenario
re-creates on the Mac the nightmare of DLLs (Dynamic Link Libraries)
that is familiar to Windows users. This is WHAT BUGS ME ABOUT MS
APPLICATIONS ON THE MAC, the usual 'Microsoft think' - in other words,
if it's good enough for Windows, it's good enough for Mac! It's another
reason to use software that is HONEST TO GOD written for the Macintosh
on sophisticated development tools such as Metroworks Code Warrior, not
some GRUESOME WINDOWS PORT that still contains error messages that MAKE
NO SENSE on the Mac, and doesn't even use the AWESOME capabilities that
are built into the Mac OS.

The 'accepted' solution is to re-install until whatever you're working on
more or less works most of the time. [UGGGH. I choke, just writing that
last sentence!!]

The third, 'Mu' alternative is to maintain a MICROSOFT-Free Mac. I admit
this is a difficult goal, but there are a number of people out there who
do it. They use AppleWorks to meet most of their needs and are willing to
use an alternative mail program to Outlook, and a browser other than
Explorer. If this issue weren't already 5 times too large, I'd include
some info on ALTERNATIVES. Think OUTSIDE THE Mr. BILL BOX!! :-0



Know The Difference
-------------------
"What Apple has going for it - and what I think Microsoft can never
replicate with Windows - is the hyper-informed and interested
Macintosh user and developer community. We care about what happens
to Apple and to the Macintosh, and only by continuing the kind of
feedback that flooded into Apple during Mac OS X's beta cycle can
we help ensure that Mac OS X evolves an interface we want to use
in favor of anything else."

Adam Engst, TidBits #585

And That's The Difference.



OCCASIONAL Favorite WEB SITE
----------------------------
See this issue's GSR, above!

<http://www.dictionary.com/>



Dirty Little Secrets:
---------------------
Microsoft sends bug fixes in what they call 'Service Packs'. Service Pack
number Two for Windows 2000 installs a bunch of 'desktop pictures'. One
of them is called 'Bush'. Guess what? It's a photo of President Bush! Can
we say, 'sycophantic'?



Special Bonus Keyboard Commands
-------------------------------
Everyone should know this by now, BUT MAYBE YOU MISSED IT:
'Getting Information' lets you find out the file size of the item
selected. It lets you lock it, if it is a file, and set the memory
allocation, if it is an application. It also let's you rename it, label
it, share it, and write comments about it, in addition to giving you
information about dates, file kind and location.

To 'Get information' on a file or folder or volume (usually called,
'doing a Get Info'), select it, then:

[Command] + [I]

You can also do this with the O&U Contextual Menus, which we'll get
around to discussing some day!!

:-)

I FEEL BESMIRCHED AFTER THIS JOURNEY TO THE DARK SIDE - NEXT ISSUE WE WILL
LEAVE MICROSOFT ALONE!! TFSB!

=========================================================================
** CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for Mac Users **
Oriented towards, but not exclusively for, Mac Users in Beautiful Western
Central New Jersey. Published Whenever - About Whatever!
=========================================================================

Non-profit, non-commercial publications may reprint articles if full
credit is given. Others please contact the editor. Accuracy of articles
is UNPREDICTABLE and not guaranteed. Caveat lector. Publication,
product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their
companies.

Sample Issue - email with "Sample Unpredictable" in the Subject.
Subscribe - email with "Start Unpredictable" in the Subject.
Unsubscribe - email with "Stop Unpredictable" in the Subject.

Back Issues available to subscribers upon request.
**


 

Apple Logo Contact Me: AIM
All contents copyright 2000-2008 by Christopher Plummer, ZebraTale LLC, except where noted. Accuracy of articles is UNPREDICTABLE and not guaranteed. Unpredictable was published from 2001 to 2008. Although updated occasionally, this is a historical archive - expect dead links. Caveat lector.
Publication, product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their companies. TFSB :-)