Windows Genuine Advantage a poor bet, bank snags domain from pet

Luckily for me I have no secrets -- or, at least, not for long

Not content with tapping our phones, Uncle Sam wants online services to voluntarily store subscriber data for a minimum of two years. The DoJ claims the data is essential in the fight against terrorism, child porn, and whatever else they feel like fighting. ISPs and search portals have been asked to store a few billion Web searches, histories, and e-mail records and to put them all on floppies so they can be read on the Feds’ Packard Bell 386s. (I made that last bit up, but I bet you believed it.)

Genuinely disadvantaged: Heard from two Cringesters who say Microsoft tagged them as scurvy pirates after their Windows Genuine Advantage applet mistook legit copies of Windows for fakes. Judging by Microsoft’s user forums, they’ve got a lot of shipmates. A Microsoft spokesperson insists “validation failure is almost always caused by the use of a nongenuine Windows license,” despite scores of complaints from users who bought machines with the OS preinstalled. Fixes range from running an Active X control to reinstalling Windows from scratch. With “advantages” like that, I’ll happily remain disadvantaged.

Bordering on insanity: Texas Gov. Rick Perry plans to spend $5 million installing Web cams on the state’s southern border so virtual Minutemen can patrol the Rio Grande from the comfort of their keyboards. I understand the state hopes to pay for the scheme by selling subscriptions to “Hot Immigrant Action!” for just $29.95 a month — or roughly 340 pesos.

Feline Distemper Morgan Stanley has won a domain dispute with a cat named Meow, aka Baroness Penelope Cat of Nash DCB. The Web squatter had registered MyMorganStanleyPlatinum.com, but an arbitrator ruled the domain rightfully belonged to the bank. Meow appears to be an associate of business consultant Michael Woods, who among other things teaches execs the dangers of not registering obvious domain names. After a search of the Baroness’ ISP records, the cat was arrested by federal agents and charged with viewing pictures of underage mice.

Send hot tips or legal rodents to cringe@infoworld.com and you may get a cheesy yellow bag as thanks.

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