Windows Genuine Advantage Fails

In what might be termed a classic case of the disadvantage of Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA), the servers behind the Windows validation software over the weekend flagged all copies of Windows XP and Vista as invalid and pirated. In the case of Vista, this failure placed the operating system in reduced functionality mode.

It wasn't until about mid-afternoon on Sunday that WGA started running correctly again. Microsoft hasn't given any clues as to the cause of the problem, and there's still no indication how many Windows users were affected.

While you have to admire the efforts of Microsoft program manager Phil Liu and his willingness to stand up and be the corporate face of this problem, it's a problem that shouldn't have happened in the first place. Were you affected? Tell me your tale of woe at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Acer Snaps Up Gateway
Taiwan PC maker Acer Inc. has announced an agreement to acquire Gateway, one of the best-known brands in the PC industry, in a deal valued at about $710 million.

Gateway, founded in South Dakota by Ted Waitt and now headquartered in Irvine, Calif., has been known for its funky, white boxes with black spots that imitated the cows so prevalent in its Midwest roots.

Along with the Acer deal, Gateway will try to buy the parent company of Packard Bell, based in the Netherlands. Packard Bell was a well-known PC brand in U.S. retail stores about 15 years ago, but has since retreated to distribute primarily in Europe.

By acquiring both brands, Acer will rank as the third-largest PC manufacturer in the world, after HP and Dell, and ahead of Lenovo, which had also been trying to acquire Packard Bell.

I have an 8-year-old Gateway system that I still use for playing games and doing my taxes (not to be confused with one another), and I kept the cow boxes. How about you? Share your Gateway stories with me at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

The Monster.com Saga Continues
Last week, we reported that personal information on as many as 1.3 million Monster.com account holders had been stolen and used in highly directed phishing attacks.

Additional information confirms that the job-matching site wasn't hacked; rather, unscrupulous individuals used stolen employer accounts to perform extensive searches of the Monster.com database, and then used the results of those searches in highly directed attacks. There's some question as to how long such searches had been going on, with evidence indicating their presence at least as early as the beginning of July.

Monster.com is now warning of the potential for phishing attacks. However, the company apparently hasn't disabled the ability to do broad searches of job seekers, in part because many legitimate employers rely on them for a variety of purposes.

Do you have a Monster.com account? Have you seen any increase in phishing, especially referring to personal information? Let me know at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Mailbag: Is Java Really Back?
Sun recently changed its stock symbol from SUNW to JAVA, but that still doesn't fix Java's compatibility issues, as far as Brian is concerned:

We have to support three versions of Java Runtime Environment (JRE) in order to have three different apps work. Some customers need two of the three applications, but have to choose which one they have on their desk and which one they will have to walk to another cubicle for. Personally, I am disappointed in Java compatibility.
-Brian

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Peter Varhol is the executive editor, reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university level.

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