I Hate Microsoft, Volumes 9 & 10

Last night, I was playing Bioshock 2 when my 360 froze with a funky patterned screen of blue herringbone. After a few reboots I determined that it was now just booting to display a 3/4 red flashing ring. Is this the Red Ring of Death™? I can't keep track anymore. I sort of think 3/4 is different from the full red ring but whatever. The main point is that Xbox #4, old stalwart that it was, has bit it. Well, you can buy a new 360 "slim model" with 4Gb of flash RAM for about what MS charges to service an old model, so let's do that! Off I went to Best Buy.

First note: the new "slim model" has a bare SATA port, and thus won't take the OG 360 hard drives. Really Microsoft? You decide to shaft the early adopters? Well, you decided that years ago, but I guess the shafting is still ongoing. Turns out it's pretty easy to open the case of the old hard drive, extract the bare drive and stick it in the SATA slot. Google it to find the relevant Youtube videos and have your Torx drivers ready. OK, done. (But wait, I hear you saying. Does the SATA drive slot *only* take laptop drives? After all, that's the been the whisker-thin justification all along for the hard drive gouging! No, it takes a full-size drive. The laptop-sized drive I freed from the enclosure just sort of floats in that larger space. But I'm sure the high performance of the drive is well worth the cost! (rolls eyes))

 Second note: Did you buy a memory card to store your account on? Oh sorry, the new 360 can't actually connect original memory cards! D'oh! You'll have to recover your account, which takes about 15 minutes. I don't know what the fuck you do if there is real data on that thing. Sucker! In 2010 people use flash drives like real computers. If you bought the previously gougy memory card than Microsoft will laugh at you all the way to the bank.

 Third note: You need to transfer your licenses to the new console. For whatever reason, Safari didn't work for me and I had to use Firefox. Visit http://www.xbox.com/drm and follow the instructions there.

 Fourth note: Yes, that "4Gb model" you just bought only has 3Gb of storage available. Sucker!

 In conclusion: if you've bought more than zero Xbox 360's? Sucker!

Oh for crying out loud!

Look, there's a standard for what happens when you buy a software upgrade. Either that's just done on the honor system or the upgrade install asks to see your original software disc. Not so Windows 7 (which I'm learning to hate just as much as you might think). No. The plan for installing a Windows 7 upgrade on a freshly formatted hard drive is to install XP or Vista first and then install Windows 7 over top of it.
The product key is for an upgrade version of Windows 7 and a previous version of Windows wasn't on your computer when Windows 7 was installed. To install an upgrade version of Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP must be installed on your computer. If you formatted the drive before starting the installation process, you won't be able to use the upgrade product key to activate Windows 7. To activate Windows 7, you'll need to install your previous version of Windows, and then reinstall Windows 7. For help with the activation process, go to the Microsoft Support website.
- from the Windows support site If only XP and Vista had a bullshit registration system such that Microsoft could identify product keys for those products ... then this could simply ask for two 25 character strings - the original license and the upgrade. But nooooo. I'm going to try copying an old XP virtual machine and see if I can upgrade that. We'll see. Grrr.
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Upgrading from Windows 7 RC

Are you somebody who has been running the Windows 7 RC until its last gasp like me? Were you troubled to find out that you can't upgrade from the RC to a release copy of Windows 7? Well, here's a site explaining how to talk the release version into upgrading a RC machine. This saved me several hours this weekend as well a probable trip onsite to get domain & admin stuff sorted out. (And a hat tip to Lifehacker, where I saw the link.) If you did go read that you might be shaking your head to yourself and going "it can't be that easy". It is - I just finished the upgrade and everything is working fine. I had to reinstall some system-level tools - the VMWare Fusion tools and the Cisco VPN client but after that it looks great. The reason you can't upgrade Windows 7 RC to a legitimate purchased copy of Windows 7 is that there's a text file listing a minimum version number that blocks it. Edit that text file to include the RC version number (7100) and there's no problem at all. Microsoft deliberately chose to screw over the RC users. Note that even as it was it took several hours to install. I bought a legal copy of the software, my RC install was completely patched. It really should have been a simple "Oh OK here's a legitimate license key that I paid for. We cool?" five minute thing. Really the whole mess is just hostile. Fuckin' Microsoft ....
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Welcome to the social. For life

So guess who spammed me Friday with useless information about their service that I'll never use? Did you guess Zune? If you did you win!
Screen shot 2009-09-15 at Sep 15, 9.42.49 AM.png
Gosh I'm so excited to experience the "whole new world of Zune", especially if I can experience one where I can unsubscribe from their goddamn spam! Actually this time around I may have. There's no unsubscribe link here but when I clicked the "Privacy" link there was a link to "Communication Preferences". Clicking that got me a page where I had to agree to new "Terms of Service" (What. The. Fuck. I can't unsubscribe without agreeing to "Terms of Service" on a service I don't even use, for hardware I don't own?) and then finally I got to a page where I could unclick something about sending me a Zune newsletter. Maybe now it will finally stop. We'll have to wait and see, won't we? In the meantime I'm still reporting it as spam, because it is. I don't want Zune email, I didn't ask for Zune email, and Microsoft has no legitimate reason to send me Zune email.
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Microspam!

Oh look, Microsoft decided to spam me (again)!
Zune System Maintenance Beginning June 16, 2009 - tsanders@hiddenjester.com - HiddenJester Mail.jpg
Know what you don't see there? You don't see an unsubscribe link! (See this post if you want to see me complaining about the same goddamn thing last September or here's where I explain why I ever even touched the Zune software in the first place.) So yeah, I reported it as spam to Google. Fucking Microsoft sends emails I don't want about a service I don't use and I can't unsubscribe? That's spam. By any definition. And you know what? Ever time I see the damn spam I'll blog it. I'm doing my little part to make sure Google hears that if you ever download Zune you get emails about it for life, even if you were tricked into downloading the software under false pretenses. Microsoft can add all of the "HD" you want to their media player, but as long as they are spamming about Zune I wouldn't even think about dealing with the damn thing. I get email from Apple about iTunes as well, but at least that has an unsubscribe option, like a modern, responsible company.
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