FryUp: What a OneCare

Microsoft drops its badly-named antivirus product, iiNet gets monstered

Fredagsuppstekningen Ragnarök is here Fear not, weaklings. Viking Metal will save us from the flood of bad news, with much synchronised headbanging, belching lyrics and jackhammer guitars. Brœðr muno beriaz

ok at bǫnom verðaz

muno systrungar

sifiom spilla.

Hart er í heimi,

hórdómr mikill

—skeggǫld, skálmǫld

—skildir ro klofnir—

vindǫld, vargǫld—

áðr verǫld steypiz.

Mun engi maðr

ǫðrom þyrma.

Amon Amarth: Runes to my memory

From MSAV Mk II to Morro

When Microsoft launched the OneCare antivirus some two years ago, most of its English-speaking subsidiaries outside the US squealed “Please don’t call it that!” to the mothership. They must be heaving a sigh of relief now. No more having to pronounce OneCare gingerly in front of a tittering audience, as the unfortunately named product will be dead and gone by June next year.

To be fair, OneCare isn’t as bad as its name. Microsoft put on the thinking cap, and added a broad range of protection measures in OneCare, like system backups, drive defragging, decent firewall and automated updates, plus the AV component earnt ICSA and West Coast Labs certification, for what they’re worth. Some reviewers jumped on the lack of anti-spam protection in OneCare, but that’s hardly a reason to write it off.

OneCare didn’t however change the fact that most people hate antiviruses and security suites because they get in the way of their computing. So much so that Microsoft estimates almost half of Windows users don’t use an AV. In markets such as Brazil, India and China, the share of unprotected users is even higher, so no wonder the botnets keep growing.

Clearly, the threat of malware takes second place to the inconvenience of using AVs. Even with a free AV like the OneCare successor, Morro, that situation isn’t likely to change. Protection and security needs to be built into the operating system, and not added afterwards as a bolt-on, free or paid for. Err, what’s that? OpenBSD? Oh yes, 4.4 is out now.

Microsoft drops OneCare antivirus product

OpenBSD 4.4 released

Malcontent distribution deal

Did you know that using BitTorrent is illegal? And, if your ISP allows BT on its network, it is complicit in “copyright theft” , that heinous crime against humanity that various studio-funded FACTs around the world is vigorously suing people for.

In Australia, ihug’s former owner, iiNet is being sued by Village Roadshow, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Disney and Channel 7 because… iiNet knows that its customers are “engaging in continuing infringements of copyright by using BitTorrent file sharing technology.”

The studios are cross with iiNet because it hasn’t done anything about it. That is, the studios think that under Australian law, iiNet has to police its customers. If they use BT, that’s like illegal y’know, and action has to be taken.

Facing unspecified damages, iiNet is understandably exasperated. On the one hand, it doesn’t want to get involved in snooping on its customers traffic. This would expose iiNet to customer wrath over privacy issues and either way, it’s probably not technically feasible or humanly possible to monitor thousands of people at any given time.

On the other hand, it could be sued to smithereens for aiding and abetting above-mentioned “copyright theft”. It’s not an enviable position to be in for iiNet or any other ISP. Luckily, in New Zealand, we will have a law in place that permits studios to get ISP customers disconnected based on allegations only, so the Australian situation with litigation won’t happen here.

Interestingly enough, Commsday reports (and I would link to it, but the story isn’t up on the web yet) that iiNet is in ongoing content distribution negotiations with several of the studios suing it. The idea is to come up with a legal method of providing content, at a price customers are willing to pay.

Silly iiNet. Did it really think that by being reasonable and trying to negotiate a solution that would stop the lawsuits, it would get somewhere?

Film industry sues iiNet over BitTorrent downloads


Secretary part 4


Robert X Cringely

The once and future Geek King

Obama has yet to fill the position of the nation's CTO, despite plenty of help from Cringesters. Here are a few more suggestions from the land of the geeks. Obama has yet to name the nation's first CTO, but as I suspected, the residents of Cringeville have a few good suggestions for him. Many worthy nominees were named, but a few stand out. Three Cringesters voted for Bruce Schneier, founder of Counterpane and now chief security technology officer of BT. Schneier is one of those guys who's got so much brainpower that when he enters the room all the fluorescent lights explode. Doesn't that mean he's too smart to take the job? Cringefan DH nominated Mark Cuban for his keen business sense in dumping on Yahoo during the height of dot-com hysteria, though not so much for his success with sports franchises. He's also a heckova dancer, I might add. DB offered up the yin-and-yang, you-say-proprietary-I-say-open-and-free combination of Bill Gates and Richard Stallman. Gates already has a partner, but apparently Seinfeld wanted another US$10 million just to consider it. Carly (don't call me "gnarly") Fiorina got the thumbs-up from a couple of readers as a bipartisan nod to the woman who might have been McCain's veep, if only she knew how to kill and clean her own food. Because who knows better how to steer a sinking ship than the former captain of the Titanic? A few misguided souls even nominated me for the job. It appears sniffing glue has not yet gone out of style. Meanwhile, there's a website called where you can vote on what policies the CTO's office should pursue. (As I write this, the leading priority is ensuring Net neutrality, followed by repealing the Patriot Act and axing the DMCA.) Which brings up my next question: Once Obama finds someone to take this thankless job, what do you think he or she should do?

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