Windows Vista EULA: How BAD is it?

Vista Logo 

Ever since I found out that Vista Home and Vista Home Premium editions explicitly prevent you from running the software in a virtual machine I’ve been poring over Microsoft’s EULAs trying to make sense of them. Kudos to Microsoft for providing a nice easy way to browse through all the EULAs for all their software. You can download all the licensing agreements as pdf files from that link.

There have been a number of reports on the internet about all sorts of terrible things you agree to when accepting the Vista EULA, but it isn’t really that bad.

There are however a couple of things that you might want to know. It’s true that Vista Home and Home Premium can not be installed in virtual machines. The specific text reads:

USE WITH VIRTUALIZATION TECHNOLOGIES. You may not use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system.

Microsoft claims that the majority of users wanting to run Vista under virtualization software are businesses and enthusiast who would be better served by the Business and Ultimate versions respectively. Which, while it may have some merit, is nevertheless market-speak for “we arbitrarily decided to punish users looking to run our software on a part time basis.”

But the crippling doesn’t stop there, even those who go with Vista Ultimate on their virtual machine still can’t play Microsoft DRM content:

You may use the software installed on the licensed device within a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system on the licensed device. If you do so, you may not play or access content or use applications protected by any Microsoft digital, information or enterprise rights management technology or other Microsoft rights management services or use BitLocker

Another rumor I’d heard about the Vista EULA is that it allows Windows Defender, the built in virus and spyware protection that ships with Vista, to arbitrarily remove programs. How much merit this has depends on how paranoid you are, here’s the relevant text:

If turned on, Windows Defender will search your computer for “spyware,” “adware” and other potentially unwanted software. If it finds potentially unwanted software, the software will ask you if you want to ignore, disable (quarantine) or remove it. Any potentially unwanted software rated “high” or “severe,” will automatically be removed after scanning unless you change the default setting. Removing or disabling potentially unwanted software may result in

  • other software on your computer ceasing to work, or
  • your breaching a license to use other software on your computer.

By using this software, it is possible that you will also remove or disable software that is not potentially unwanted software.

In other words, Windows Defender could remove programs you don’t want removed (certain torrent software comes to mind) if the mothership decided to tell it to do so with an update. However you can always disable it and use another anti-virus/adware remover.

The last line in that quote is kind of interesting since it basically says that Windows Defender may not work. However in this day and age it probably behooves Microsoft to err on the side of caution when it comes to security, still it’s not very comforting.

The last part of the licensing that bears mention is sure to send shivers down the spine of any FLOSS advocate:

The software is licensed, not sold. This agreement only gives you some rights to use the software. Microsoft reserves all other rights. Unless applicable law gives you more rights despite this limitation, you may use the software only as expressly permitted in this agreement. In doing so, you must comply with any technical limitations in the software that only allow you to use it in certain ways. For more information, see You may not

  • work around any technical limitations in the software;
  • reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble the software, except and only to the extent that applicable law expressly permits, despite this limitation;
  • use components of the software to run applications not running on the software…

I still have trouble with the idea that commercial software is not sold but licensed, but that’s hardly unique to Windows, most other large commercial software packages ship with similarly worded EULAs. What varies from manufacturer to manufacturer is how the license is applied. In Vista’s case the software is licensed to a specific machine, not a user. You can transfer your software and license to a new machine exactly once after disabling or removing it from the old machine if you bought Vista retail. If your copy of Vista came with the purchase of new computer that copy of Vista may only be legally used on that machine.

On the bright side, Microsoft has done a good job of writing the Vista EULA in a surprisingly readable, low-jargon manner. There’s a few places where the wording gets tricky, but it’s nothing compared to those of some other companies.

I should also point out that regardless of the Vista EULA, local laws governing the country of your residence always trump any EULA so bear that in mind.


Sony VAIO with Blu-Ray

New VAIO PC Offers the Ultimate in High-Definition

SAN DIEGO, May 16, 2006

Sony today took the wraps off the world’s first Blu-ray Disc enabled notebook computer– the VAIO® AR which will be available this summer.           

Part of a series, the VAIO AR comes in two different configurations: Premium and Standard. The AR Premium version plays Blu-ray Disc high-definition content, so you can enjoy movies in full 1080p HD resolution. The notebook has a17-inch WUXGA (1920 x 1200) widescreen display and uses Sony’s XBRITE Hi-Color LCD technology.

For those who prefer to watch content on a larger screen, the AR model also has an HDMI connector and included cable that connects to high-definition televisions for a larger viewing experience.

In addition to supporting HD playback, the VAIO AR notebook is a multimedia powerhouse with the capability to record high-definition camcorder content to Blu-ray Discs. Now aspiring moviemakers can shoot, edit and burn their HD creation on a PC — all in native 1080 resolution.

Using an extensive suite of dedicated software applications, you can also edit high-definition footage and share it on Sony high-capacity BD-R and BD-RE Blu-ray Discs (up to 50 GB) or on traditional DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/+RW capitalizing on flexible storage, playback and recording.

Full Press Release…

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Free VST plugins


Tritone Digital offer some wonderful VST plugins. Most of them you can purchase them but there are some free.

The first one is PhaseTone:

PhaseTone is a FREE frequency-dependent phase rotation and correction plugin.

PhaseTone allows you to manipulate the phase of your signal across a user-definable frequency range, with options for creating different phase and time-based offsets (if desired) for the left and right channels of a stereo signal.

Similar to hardware boxes popular for correcting phase relationships between signal-pairs such as bass DI and bass mics and top/bottom snare mics, PhaseTone goes a little further.

By allowing the user to select the center frequency and Q of the phase process, PhaseTone allows for more creative manipulation of phase when mixing, producing effects with more EQ like results, increasing clarity and removing mud. And, best of all, it’s free!


The second one is ColorTone:

ColorTone is a “Tone Box? which simulates the signal path of analog devices through the use of convolution and various proprietary non-linear processes. ColorTone is designed to provide analog-like character and flavor to the modern digital audio workstation.

ColorTone is available in two formats: ColorTone-Pro and ColorTone-Free.

ColorTone-Pro allows the user to load their own samples (instructions for sampling your own equipment are included) and provides the user with our custom-coded Warmth algorithm to enhance the signal-path with extra harmonic goodness. ColorTone-Pro comes with a selection of classic samples.

ColorTone-Free is another free plugin from TriTone Digital.

ColorTone-Free provides the user with a preset group of classic signal-path samples. ColorTone-Free cannot load new samples and does not contain the Warmth algorithm.

Both versions of ColorTone allow the user to multiply the color of the selected circuit, increasing the color from the standard character to several times the original color.

So better head to their site to download these free plugins to give them a try yourself!

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Holographic Memory in your pocket

Soon you could be able to store more mp3s and podcasts in your pocket than you’ll ever have time to listen to. Fujifilm is working on a terabyte (1000 gigabyte) holographic memory, which it expects to launch in 2009. The terabyte holo-memory drive would be no bigger than a sugar cube and could access data much faster than existing memory technologies.

Holographic memory devices store binary bits of data by generating a 3D pattern of light interference inside a crystal or photopolymer, using lasers. Multiple bits can be written and read simultaneously, making the technique potentially very speedy.

Fujifilm has already developed a holographic memory disc capable of holding 300 gigabytes of data. Other companies currently working on holographic memory include IBM, Bell Labs and InPhase.

From NewScientist

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ASUS new computer concept

The above image is not a CD shelf; it’s ASUS’s Green PC concept. Yes that’s right, those thin boxes are the internal modules of the computer, i.e. the CPU, the graphics card, the sound card, the hard disk etc. No more worries of ‘trying’ to install a newly bought module in your computer, just place it on the ‘shelf’.

It’s that simple. The modules can be connected to the PC simply by being stacked on the shelf, where they get their power via induction and communicate with other modules wirelessly.

Currently it’s still a concept on the drawing board, but could be out very soon.

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200 Mbps Home Networking

Home Networking

Homeowners with the need to stream HD content from room-to-room will soon have a new option from Netgear and Design of Systems on Silicon to pipe data through a building’s existing electrical infrastructure. This new 200Mbps Powerline HD technology named TriplePlay uses DS2 chipsets to allow bandwith-hungry multimedia content to be streamed from a PC to products in any room with an electrical outlet, providing plug-and-play convenience at the expense of wireless freedom, as devices on the receiving end of the signal must remain tethered to the wall. The new Netgear/DS2 hardware will be on display next month at CeBIT, and should be available to consumers sometime in the second quarter of this year.

Here’s a link to their White Paper.

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PHOSCYON: New VST analogue synth


PHOSCYON is a virtual instrument (made with VSTi technology), which emulates sound of famous nowadays analogue synthesizer. It’s equipped in many options expanding possibilities of an original synth. Phoscyon’s innovative technology takes virtual analogue moddelling to a whole new level and it should convince even the most die hard analog fans.

It has characteristic sound which is irreplaceable in many cases and even more famous modular synthesizers can’t imitate it though more advanced construction.

Phoscyon was created mainly for musicians who compose modern electronic music and especially music coming from techno style. So it’s: acid, house, drum and base or ambient.

More details and even audio samples of this analogue synth, and if you really like it, you can instantly buy it from the d16 Group’s website and shop.

VST Plugin

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1.2 petabytes of storage in less than 5 years more!

US inventor Michael Thomas, owner of Colossal Storage, hopes to achieve exactly that. He says he’s the first person to solve non-contact optical spintronics which will in turn utlimately result in the creation of 3.5-inch discs with a million times the capacity of any hard drive – 1.2 petabytes of storage, to be exact.

To put that into perspective, mega is 1,024 times kilo, giga is 1,024 times mega, tera is 1,024 times giga and peta is 1,024 times tera.

Back in May, 2004, we wrote, "Electrons’ electro magnetic properties cause an interesting effect that you depend on. Absolutely. It’s called electricity and electric current is measured by the abundance, or lack, of electrons in the ferroelectric nucleus, better known as voltage or static charge. Ferroelectric spintronics is, in turn, the method by which electric fields and photons change the properties of ferroelectric molecules."

In the past, data storage has only been able to orient the direction a field of electrons as they move around a molecule, Thomas told p2pnet. "But now there’s a way to rotate or spin the individual electrons that make up, or surround, the molecule," he says.

"Normally all the electrons could spin randomly working against the best electrical signal. The electrons are also capable of spinning in both directions a once. But my unique method for creating uniform in-sync spinning electrons will for the first time allow a whole new field of science and electronics to emerge.

"With the ability to control electron spin we will see much smaller electronic devices on the market."

An analogy would be our solar system with all the planets circling the Sun in a clockwise direction. Spintronics would add spin to the planets and their moons in a determined direction as they rotated around the sun.

"One field under study is optical spintronics following Faradays laws," Thomas continues. "The potential data capacity is enormous, and there’d be a very high data transfer rate. Consequently, there’d be no need for expensive compression software like MPEG and others, and no need to backup data."

The goal of spintronics is to generate a perfect spin current using an electric field and UV photons in a high-k dipole dielectric material like a ferroelectric molecule, says Thomas, going on:

"It was important for the material to be a bianry dipole that could then be made reversible, have non-dissipative of power, and not suffer from leakage current lost over time."

What would this mean to you? It would allow the manufacture of double sided disks made by separating the ferroelectric molecular coating layers by a plastic, metal, glass, or ceramic substrate.

And how would this allow you to store immense amounts of data on the discs?

"I’m convinced intraband / outerband resonant absorption by circularly polarized UV photons leads to spin polarization of electrons and, that it’s possible to create an ‘Atomic Quantum Switch’ which carries an electro-static field, electro-magnetic field, and spin orientation," he said.

"And that can be made to represent non-volatile 0’s and 1’s."

Thomas’ agent in Japan is in talks with "several big name companies," he states, saying he expects it’ll be two to three years before prototypes will be built.

"I’d say we can expect a finished product to be on the market in about four to five years," he says, adding the cost would probably be in the range of $750 / €628 each.

Thomas is a 30-year pioneer whose projects include a computer with a 3D display, instant response, able to run every available OS and application simultaneously, virtually no power consumption or moving parts and complete security – and whose physical component is about the size of a pack of playing cards.

Story via p2pnet.

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