Dear Microsoft: F Lock sucks!

I’ve complained about this before, but it just bit me again.  The implementation of the F Lock key on newer Microsoft keyboards is a user interface design gaff of massive proportions.  We have 20 years of people learning how to use function keys, and in one fell swoop, MS decides to change the way everything works.  The funny thing is, it’s not like the addition of the F Lock key and changing the behavior of every function key has reduced the complexity of keyboards.  Take a look at some of the higher end MS keyboards, and you’ll see that they’re festooned with buttons for just about everything.
 
In any case, MS should at least make it possible to configure the keyboard to default to the normal behavior that applications and users expect from the keyboard.  I have to install their keyboard driver software anyway, so why isn’t this an option in there?
 
Microsoft’s vaunted user interface skills and lab testing chops really took a hit on this one.
 
Nothing like moving a hundred pictures into a folder, then pressing F2 to rename one and have them all disappear.  Why?  Because F2 means Undo on this damn keyboard.  Nice.
 
Bad Microsoft, bad!
 

Symantec Ghost 9 experience – good!

Last Friday my Windows Media Center 2005 PC started refusing to display live tv, or record any tv.  The error message was that the data rate from the cable box was too low.  Well, after many reboots, shutting the system down to let it cool off, unplugging the cable box, etc, I decided that perhaps something had gone wrong with the system, so I decided to restore it from a Ghost backup I made a few days before.
 
Initially I began by simply booting off of the Ghost 9.0 CD, and after about 5 minutes, the system came up to a license agreement text box.  I tried clicking Accept (yeah, like I had a choice!), but neither the mouse or the keyboard worked.  Either this was just a one time freak thing, or it didn’t like my wireless USB only keyboard and mouse.  I plugged in a regular keyboard and rebooted hoping that it would bring success.
 
It did!  This time, once I reached the license screen, my mouse and keyboard responded fine and I quickly signed away all my rights.
 
At this point, I was faced with making some decisions about restoring the data.  The good news is that I had no problem figuring out what to do, and the system had no problem seeing my USB hard drive that contained the backup.  I set it to completely replace the hard drive with the backup image, and to verify the backup image before beginning (I would hate to lose all my music and pictures if I blew it!).
 
Once I was ready, I turned the process loose.  It took a couple of hours to restore 100 or so gig, but it worked flawlessly.  I am very happy with Ghost, and I’m glad I use it to backup my Media Center PC, as well as my home system.
 
The only negative with Ghost is that recent versions require activation and only allow installation on one system.  I understand that they want to maximize revenue (and in my case it worked), but it leaves a bad taste in ones mouth to constantly have to activate software (thanks Microsoft!).  I wonder how much hassle it would be to move it to another system.  They’d probably tell me to buy another license.  A home license like Apple does with OS X would be a nice addition…
 
The bad news is that the tv problem isn’t fixed.  I just received my new tuner card, which I’ll try out tonight.  Keep your fingers crossed!  If it doesn’t work, well, tv just isn’t a huge part of my life, so I won’t be too upset 🙂

The TicketWeb Privacy Policy

So, you’ve decided to buy tickets for some event over the Internet.  Think that when you opt out of receiving a ton of spam, you’re actually opting out?
 
Take a look at the "Privacy" Policy on TicketWeb.com:

Regardless of whether you elect to receive emails from TicketWeb, by purchasing a ticket to an event, you indicate that you consent to the TicketWeb Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Will Call and Refund Policy, you consent to TicketWeb sharing your email address and other information with those who bring you the event (e.g., venues, teams, artists, promoters and leagues), and you consent to those who bring you the event using your information to contact you by email or other means to send you marketing or other messages or using or disclosing your information in other ways. Please contact them directly to learn about their policies.

 

The only thing their privacy policy does is tell you that you have none, and your information is as good as sold to the nearest spammer.

 

Nice safe neighborhood we have here on the Internet, eh?