Thunderbird: It’s as if they want to lose users!

Infuriating: Working on Linux Mint, I regularly update my system. The last update included a Thunderbird update (60 -> 68), and an important plug-in stopped to work, the incredibly useful Quick Folder Move. After spending an hour on this, I decided to downgrade – of course some plugins that were updated in the meantime stopped to work.

It’s 2019: These problems should not exist any more, after the last big update that broke almost all plugins. It’s scary to say, but by now, I find Outlook more user-friendly than Thunderbird. For a long time it was the other way around. It’s so sad to see such an important project go to waste.

Excel in 2017: The same problems as 20 years ago

After relying on Open/LibreOffice (and Latex) for roughly ten years, I am forced to use Microsoft Office again. Sadly enough, it’s still not possible to undo deleting sheets, or to open two files with the same name. Sad state of affairs.

Windows Refund for Laptops…?

The short answer is no.

The long story: I looked on the web, but there was suspiciously little information available. The best I found was this Linux Journal Article, and going to court sounded like too much trouble for me. I also Asked Slashdot, and while the discussion was interesting, there was little useful information there.

But here is the interesting twist: I went to Microsoft’s web site and checked out the Windows XP Professional License, which definitely sounded like I could return the software and keep the computer:

“This EULA is a legal agreement (…) for the Microsoft software product identified above (…) (“Product”). (…) IF YOU DO NOT AGREE, DO NOT INSTALL OR USE THE PRODUCT; YOU MAY RETURN IT TO YOUR PLACE OF PURCHASE FOR A FULL REFUND.”

However, when I actually looked at the license of the laptop I bought, it turned out that it had a different license! And it was very specific about not being able to return the software without returning the computer at the same time:

“This EULA is a legal agreement between you (…) and the manufacturer of the computer system or computer system (“HARDWARE”) with which you acquired the Microsoft software product(s) identified on the Certificate of Authenticity (“COA”) affixed to the HARDWARE. (…) IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO THE TERMS OF THIS EULA (…) YOU SHOULD PROMPTLY CONTACT MANUFACTURER FOR INSTRUCTIONS ON RETURN OF THE UNUSED PRODUCT(S) FOR A REFUND. (…) The SOFTWARE is licensed with the COMPUTER as a single integrated product.

How twisted! Not only do they explicitly state that I cannot return the software, they also state that the software is “bound” to this computer. Well, on the other hand, by using a license like this, they probably only payed a fraction of the official XP price for the software. I’ll keep Windows around on a small partition, as a backup, but this license still bothers me.

The Table of Equivalents

The table is neatly organized by category, and there are easily a few hundred programs listed. No excuses!

Test the latest Internet Explorer Bug

Impressive, eh? What you’re experiencing is the latest Security bug (as reported by ZDNet and many others). This is very severe, as it would be easy to direct you anywhere, when you think you’re accessing, say, PayPal or your online banking account

This Exploitation takes advantage of the fact that a username and password may preceed the domain name for http authentication. The following URL, for example, would authenticate the user foo with the password secret on the site 

Still, you would see all that information in the URL. But you may ommit the password; and the username may look like a URL: 

May still look confusing, and may actually mislead users, but still, the information is there. However, if right before the “@” you’d insert an ASCII 1 followed by an ASCII 0, everything after (and including) the “@” will be ommitted. Of course this happens only if you use IE. So go ahead on download Mozilla today!

Virus on Windows-based ATM

Running Windows XP on an ATM strikes me as a pretty stupid idea! What’s even scarier than that is the company behind all this – Diebold. They’re the ones who are supposed to deliver the e-voting machines for the next election. They already had a number of issues with their voting machines. Fortunately, advocates are paying attention, and there is a strong push for more security. Check Slashdot for the latest scandal.

Munich decides for Linux

Well, initially both offers where very similar, but the Linux offer made strategicly more sense. And then Microsoft lowered their price twice, and Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer even showed up in person! No luck, the council voted 50:30 for Linux.