Vista can be installed on VMWare

Ah hah! Joel Spolsky posts a technique that allows Vista to instal on VMWare: edit the .vmx file (a plaintext file) and add the lines svga.maxWidth=”640″ and svga.maxHeight=”480″. This allows you to see the Vista install (with crappy posterized colors). After Vista boots, install VMWare Tools, remove the lines from your .vmx and Bob’s your uncle. Just tried it and it works.


Update: Corrected link.

Fascinating: Language Exposure Must Be Live, Not Recorded

Infants exposed to a Mandarin-speaking adult for less than 5 hours (25-minute sessions over 4 weeks) were “able to distinguish phonetic elements of that language.” Very impressive. But infants exposed to a similar amount of speech delivered over DVD could not. Fascinating. General-audience article here (via The Old New Thing)

My guess is that there’s a difference-in-kind to the type of attention that infants pay humans to the type of attention they pay brightly flickering screens. It would be interesting to see the effect of exposure to, say, a guy in a big purple talking dinosaur suit. Or is the key ingredient perhaps, non-verbal facial communication (eyes and so forth)?

I guess I can avoid “Offtopic” by slotting this under “AI”…

Posted in AI

Microsoft’s Conflation of DRM/Security Patching is Serious

Microsoft rapidly pushed out, via Windows LiveUpdate, a patch to invalidate the FairUse4WM application, which strips the Digital Rights Management (anti-copying) mechanism of Windows Media Player. Most comments on this have spoken of the apparently greater zeal applied to DRM than to security, but the incident is far more infuriating than that.

Patching is an invariably risky technique. It introduces the possibility of defects, either functional or security related. It’s a big deal to delegate the responsibility of deciding which patches and when to apply to your OS; the vulnerability of Internet-connected machines running Windows is so great, though, that LiveUpdate is acceptable. The implicit contract is “I will allow you to change my machine, introducing the possibility of sudden loss of capability or introduction of new defects, in order that you may reduce its security exposure.” Period. I want patches for all those completely avoidable buffer overflows that somehow you still have and introduce.

To the extent that Microsoft uses live updates to perform non-security-related tasks, they seriously reduce the quality of the tradeoff.