Archive 1

Even being the richest man in the world doesn't stop you from getting a pie in the face.

"But godliness with contentment is great gain."
1 Timothy 6:6 (NIV).


W.I.N.D.O.W.S.: We'll Install Needless Data On Whole System.

M.I.C.R.O.S.O.F.T.: Most Intelligent Customers Realise Our Software Only Fools Them.


Microsoft's ad slogan for Windows 95 was "Where do you want to go today?"

Here are alternative slogans for the bloated OS:

  1. Windows: The colorful clown suit for DOS.
  2. Double your drive space: Delete Windows!
  3. Windows and DOS: A turtle and its shell.
  4. Microsoft gives you Windows - OS/2 gives you the whole house.
  5. A computer without Windows is like a fish without a bicycle.
  6. Bang on the left side of your computer to restart Windows.
  7. Error #152 - Windows not found: (C)heer (P)arty (D)ance.
  8. I still miss Windows, but my aim is getting better
  9. I'll never forget the first time I ran Windows, but I'm trying.
  10. My lastest screen-saver: Curtains for Windows.
  11. OS/2 ... Opens up Windows, shuts up Gates.
  12. Out of disk space. Delete Windows? [Y]es [H]ell Yes!
  13. Windows 3.1: The best $89 solitaire game you can buy.
  14. Windows NT: Insert wallet into Drive A: and press any key to empty.
  15. How do you want to crash today?
  16. What do you want, toady?


The box said "Windows 3.1 or better," so I bought a Macintosh. - Anon.

"This drive cannot be formatted because the drive is not formatted." - Windows 95.

"If you can't make it good, make it look good." - Bill Gates, 1995.

"Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning." - Bill Gates.

Sheer Stupidity

Ever notice that in Windoze 95 "Close" means both "Close the current document" and "Quit the whole stupid program," depending on which menu you select it from, and "Close this dialog box" as well, but only sometimes. And what use is a "Cancel" button when it's already irrevocably done half of the thing (or all of it) you would be cancelling?

Secret Conversations

By Ric Ford, 11 June 1998.

A new, subtle and apparently undocumented mechanism in Microsoft Office 98 raised a few other concerns about system intrusion. The easiest way to see this is to open an HTML file in Word 98. This action triggers Word to attempt a hidden conversation over the Internet with a Microsoft Web server. If you have an Internet connection, Word checks your software against the server's database and reports back with a dialog if it finds a newer version than you have. (You then can download it.) If no new version is found, Word remains silent.

This "AutoUpdate" mechanism does not appear in Word 98's online help system, nor could I find it in the printed Word documentation. It apparently works only with certain Word modules - opening an HTML file triggers the invisible conversation, but opening a regular Word document does not.

Also, when you open an HTML file or template, AutoUpdate appears in Word's Tools menu, and you can manually trigger the process by selecting this item.

A detailed packet analysis shows that Word sends Microsoft your computer's host name (or IP address) and Word version information, using Web (HTTP) protocols. Microsoft's server, in turn, sends back any dialog text and URLs in its HTTP response.

Not Just Word 98

From: "Michael F. Maggard"

Subject: AutoUpdate in Word97 on WinX.
Date: Thu, 4 Jun 1998 11:11:03 -0400

Just a quick note: That HTML-AutoUpdate 'feature' was also included in Word97 [for Windows]. There it's notorious for causing crashes when it attempts to auto-update itself. Luckly there haven't been any new 'updates' released in several months, as each release causes waves of support calls.

-- Michael

Update Posted

Office 98 Fix - 29 July 1998.

Microsoft Office 98 has a bug where portions of supposedly deleted documents may be appended to Office documents. These portions couldn't be seen within Word or PowerPoint but could be viewed with a text reader such as Tex-Edit or BBEdit. Microsoft has now issued a fix for this problem. It's called Microsoft Office 98 Updater. [Link removed. Go figure.]

By Chris Breen.

Office Security Warning

By Ric Ford, 29 June 1998.

I also have mentioned a relatively innocuous privacy issue with Microsoft Word 98 in which the application silently contacts Microsoft Web servers, looking for software updates.

A far more serious security issue has come to the fore, however, and this one demands immediate attention: Microsoft Office applications can pick up random information from your hard disk and deposit it invisibly within your Office documents. If you then send one of these documents to someone else, it carries the unrelated, private information from your hard drive without your knowledge or permission.

Using Bare Bones Software Inc.'s BBEdit, I examined several Word 98 files – documents I had created and documents received from other people. I discovered hidden within the files private e-mail, URLs and directory path names taken from elsewhere on the disk or in memory.

Readers reported similar findings with Word 6, Word 97, Word 98 and Excel 98, and the security bug probably involves other Microsoft Office applications on Mac OS and Windows. The information is invisible within the Office applications but is easily revealed using utility programs. In my experience and that of readers, the data frequently includes recent, sensitive information.

What To Do

How can this happen? According to developer Chuck Shotton, it is simply a long-standing Microsoft bug that ignores normal end-of-file markers and appends extra disk data in Office documents.

The simplest immediate work-around is to use Save As to put any Office document onto a newly erased volume, such as a floppy or RAM disk, before sending it to anyone else.

This type of bug may also affect other, non-Microsoft applications, but there is no excuse for it anywhere.

DOJ vs MS Update

Group drops investigation of Office to prepare for Sept. 8 court date.

July 17, 1998: 4:34 p.m. ET

NEW YORK (CNNfn) - State attorneys general preparing an antitrust case against Microsoft Corp. filed an amended complaint Friday, refining their case in advance of a Sept. 8 court date.

New York Attorney General Dennis Vacco said the amended complaint, filed Friday in Washington, D.C., sharpens the focus to concentrate on alleged anticompetitive practices used by Microsoft in marketing its Windows operating system.

In the amended complaint, the states dropped a claim that centers around the way Microsoft markets its Microsoft Office productivity suite. The states had alleged that Microsoft uses its desktop dominance to push other products, including word processing and spreadsheet software.

"This allows the states to devote their full resources to preparing for the trial on Microsoft's conduct relating to Web browsers and operating systems," Vacco said in a statement.

A Vacco spokesman said the states are continuing the Office investigation but did not have time to prepare that part of the case adequately before the September court date. It is possible the Office portion of the case could come up again, she said.

Subpoenas are being served on Microsoft this week to get more information into the Office allegations, the spokesman said.

The states are investigating whether Microsoft uses its strength in the desktop operating system market to drive competitors out of business.

The states involved are New York, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.

Some are comparing the case to the earlier breakups of Standard Oil and AT&T Corp. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates contends the case is a "step backwards for America, for consumers and for the PC industry" and vowed the Redmond, Washinton-based company would prevail in court.

Gates has gathered some senators in his corner. Three senators have accused the Justice Department of improperly encouraging other nations to start their own antitrust investigations of Microsoft.

Justice has denied those allegations.

Micro Message

Recent reports stated that tens of thousands of PCs were sold last year containing Intel Pentium chips on which are inscribed the words "bill sux" (sic). The two engineers responsible were both former employees of Motorola, which makes the chips on which Macintoshes are based. They are now, understandably, also former employees of Intel!

Don't go opening up your new PC in search of the note - it was discovered by researchers examining the chips with an electron microscope.

Yes, it's a con. See the Humour/Pictures page for an explanation.

Windows NT Leaves Navy Smart Ship Dead in the Water

The US Navy's so-call "Smart Ship technology" left the Aegis missile cruiser USS Yorktown dead in the water off the coast of Cape Charles, Va. for several hours. The shutdown of the ship's propulsion was credited to a database overflow in a Windows NT system. The crash was caused by the inability of the OS to properly handle division by zero. Said Anthony DiGiorgio, a civilian engineer with the Atlantic Fleet Technical Support Center, "Using Windows NT, which is known to have some failure modes, on a warship is similar to hoping that luck will be in our favor." The Navy is still expected to spend $138 million expanding the "Smart Ship" program to the entire Aegis class, and to other ships in the fleet.

(Government Computer News, 13 July 1998.)

There's also a longer article available.

Let's see... Small neutron bomb... Electronics onboard ships knocked out of action... Not defensible due to extensive sail-by-wire systems... US Navy destroyed... Smart ships, dead crew...

Netscape Navigator & QuickTime

Microsoft failed to include the most up-to-date version of the QuickTime Plugin in the recently released Internet Explorer 4.5 for Mac. The older QuickTime Plugin included with IE 4.5 doesn't offer some of the niftier elements of QuickTime -- streaming, for example -- and therefore should not be used. If you have a copy of the newest version of the QuickTime Plugin (2.0.1) on your hard drive, be sure to substitute this for the ancient version supplied by Microsoft. If you don't have the latest and greatest QT Plugin, download it along with the rest of QuickTime 3.0.

This coming after MS's attempts to eliminate QuickTime as competition in the digital video streaming arena is really no surprise.