Real Life Internet Evil: Microsoft's Smart Tags

Written by Richard Lowe

Continued from page 1

As an example, suppose you bought a book through a book club. Before it was shipped to you, someone openedrepparttar book and examined every single page, adding comments here and there about how you could purchase this or get more information about that. You would be very annoyed if you wererepparttar 133589 author, you'd probably be livid if you wererepparttar 133590 publisher ofrepparttar 133591 book, and you'd almost certainly return it if you wererepparttar 133592 customer.

Carefully crafted web pages whose look and feel has been lovingly built for countless hours by dedicated designers, authors, artists and webmasters would be randomly covered with trash by a company intent on siphoning away visitors to their own sites and pages.

And what aboutrepparttar 133593 problem of inappropriate content? Suppose you had a site which was against animal cruelty, yet Smart Tags went ahead and added to your pages links to other sites which sold muzzles for horses? You wouldn't like that very much, would you?

Another problem is that Smart Tags are "opt-out". This meansrepparttar 133594 tags are inserted unless you (the webmaster orrepparttar 133595 user) indicate that you do not want them. Opt-Out isrepparttar 133596 preferred method of removal for many advertisers because they understand that most people will not bother to remove themselves fromrepparttar 133597 list. Opt-in isrepparttar 133598 preferred method of most consumers because then they receive only what they have requested.

Webmasters can keep smart tags from working on their site by including a special "opt-out" metatag inrepparttar 133599 header of each and every page. I highly recommend that all webmasters include this tag to prevent smart tags from operating.

As soon as Smart Tags appeared in a beta release of Windows XP,repparttar 133600 furor began. It was awesome to see. Microsoft was hit from all sides by just about everyone, because their intentions were so transparent and so blatantly monopolistic that evenrepparttar 133601 most conservative could see what they were up to. The dangers caused a flood of protests to be received byrepparttar 133602 giant company, so many that Microsoft was forced to removerepparttar 133603 feature from their products.

"As a result of smart tags in beta versions of Windows XP and IE, we received lots of feedback, and have realized that there is a need to better balancerepparttar 133604 user experience withrepparttar 133605 legitimate concerns of content providers and web sites," Microsoft said in a statement on June 28th, 2001.

Keep an eye on Microsoft, however, because they also added, "Microsoft remains committed to this type of technology, and will work closely with content providers and partners inrepparttar 133606 industry inrepparttar 133607 coming months to further refine how it can be used."

Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets at - Visit our website any time to read over 1,000 complete FREE articles about how to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.

Microsoft Product Activation

Written by Richard Lowe

Continued from page 1

Ifrepparttar machine changes too much,repparttar 133588 product stops working and you may have to do it all again. After too many changes (I think it's two),repparttar 133589 product will no longer work at all until you physically pick uprepparttar 133590 phone and call Microsoft and get a, get this, 50 character activation key.

What on earth is Microsoft using for brains? Here you've got someone who actually purchased their product in spite ofrepparttar 133591 high price and you make it difficult for them to installrepparttar 133592 thing? On top of that, if they haverepparttar 133593 gall to want to also install it on their wife's computer, then you force them to go out and buy another copy?

This is (excuse me, was) a loyal customer who plunked down some hard earned money for an office suite which is priced significantly more thanrepparttar 133594 competition. Keep in mind that this person could have bought a much cheaper product like StarOffice, paid a lot less and got every single feature that he could possibly want. He chose Office because he wanted Office, and he was willing to pay extra to get it. And now he gets slammed acrossrepparttar 133595 face.

But what about software piracy? This product activation scheme does absolutely nothing to prevent piracy. Believe me,repparttar 133596 hackers and crackers had warez copies posted to their sites beforerepparttar 133597 product was even released! You think some silly activation scheme is going to stop these people?

I know,repparttar 133598 news has been full of stories about places like China, which reportedly makes millions of illegal copies all ofrepparttar 133599 time. Do you think this silly little thing is going to stop them? I'll bet they hadrepparttar 133600 product activation removed even beforerepparttar 133601 hackers.

What should Microsoft have done? In my humble opinion, they should have created an upgrade that was worthrepparttar 133602 trouble and price of an upgrade, to begin with. Office XP doesn't even come close. On top of that, how about creating a "home license" which allows copies to be legally made on any computer in a single home? Charge an extra 20% for it if you have to - or better yet, just allow people to make those extra copies on their wife's computer system.

What product activation does is two things: one, it is designed to convince everyone thatrepparttar 133603 upgrade has some value. Otherwise, why would Microsoft bother to work so hard to protect it? Second, it hurtsrepparttar 133604 home user, who now has to makerepparttar 133605 choice: purchase multiple copies of office using very hard earned money, purchase a different product (such as StarOffice), or get an illegal copy.

Personally, I'll be checking outrepparttar 133606 competition. This, byrepparttar 133607 way, is something that I would never have dreamed about a couple of years ago. In my opinion,repparttar 133608 Office 2000 suite is by farrepparttar 133609 best tool of it's class onrepparttar 133610 market. But is it worth so much that I'd pay two or three times for it? Hardly. No, let's see, where can I get a demo copy of StarOffice? Perhaps WordPerfect or Lotus has improved inrepparttar 133611 five years or so since I looked at them last? Let's see...

Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets at - Visit our website any time to read over 1,000 complete FREE articles about how to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.wledge.

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