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This is support?

The following is an actual "online chat" with HP Support after purchasing my new computer last month.

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Prentice
Hello Peter. Welcome to HP Total Care for Pavilion Desktop PCs. My name is Prentice.

Peter
Hello. If I do a clean install of Windows Vista will I be able to activate it or am I forced to use the HP recovery CDs?

Prentice
Well, let me explain you.

Prentice
How are you trying to install Windows Vista?

Peter
I have a Vista DVD that I used to do an installation on another computer. It is a Home Premium disc which is the same edition that came with my new HP computer. It is the full (non-upgrade) edition. But obviously I can't user the same product key, I would need the product ID that came with my new machine

Prentice
I understand that you are trying to install Windows Vista using the recovery discs that you have created for other HP PC, Am I correct?

Peter
No. I am using a sperately purchased Vista DVD, it did not come with any system.

Prentice
Peter, the retailed version of Windows Vista can be used to install on only one PC, as you will have difficulty in activating Windows on the other PC, when you use the same disc.

Peter
My main goal is to get an installation of just Vista without any extra software, is this possible with the HP recovery CDs for this system?

Prentice
Well, the OEM version that is shipped with HP PC does not ask for any product key.

Peter
No but it also includes 3rd party software which I am unable to completely uninstall.

Prentice
I understand that you want to uninstall all the pre-installed applications from HP PC, Am I correct?

Peter
Yes

Prentice
Okay, you can format the hard drive and can install Windows Vista from the retailed disc.

Peter
OK, once I've done that how do I activate Vista?

Prentice
You can use the product key that is listed on the installation disc to activate Windows.

Peter
So I have to buy TWO copies of Vista (the one I paid for with this machine and a seconds retail copy)???

Prentice
Yes, you are correct.

Peter
That's the silliest thing I've ever heard.

Prentice
Peter, I see that your PC is shipped with Windows Vista pre-installed, Am I correct?

Peter
Yes.

Prentice
Then you can go ahead and use Windows Vista that is pre-installed.

Peter
But it has software on it that I don't want and can't remove without re-installing Vista.

Prentice
You can un-install the software that you do not use.

Peter
I get uninstalltion error on some programs (e.g MS Office) and other programs do not completely uninstall (e.g. Yahoo toolbar)

Prentice
What's the error message that you see when you try to uninstall?

Peter
I don't have the complete error message handy at the moment, I go through the uninstalltion procedure and towards the end there is a 'scripting error' message and the option is removed from the programs/features list but various files are not removed from the program files driectory

Prentice
Did you try to uninstall applications from Safe Mode?

Peter
No, is that recommended?

Prentice
Yes, you can try uninstall applications from safe mode. I hope I am clear on this.

Peter
Yes, I understand what you are saying though I think the policy is silly. I'll see if Microsoft will allows me to activate Vista using the OEM key and if that doesn't work try the safe mode thing.

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Microsoft wouldn't help me do it either, but after a few hours of re-installing Vista several times (I got through a lot of the new Harry Potter book that day) I was able to get what I wanted, a clean copy of Vista that was properly and legally activated. It wasn't that hard once I figured it out. Who comes up with this wacky policies just to annoy us? Thanks for nothing HP.
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Fun with Identity Theft

A box from Amazon.com addressed to "Humbert Uvquiza" arrived at my door yesterday. I haven't recently ordered anything from Amazon so I checked my credit card accounts and sure enough someone had ordered some books on my card and tried to place a $300+ charge for Verizon on there. This isn't the first time mysterious charges have been made to one of my credit cards. Over the past 10 years it's probably happened 5 or 6 times. Each time I've just contested the charges and had a new card issued. I use my credit cards for most purchases and buy a lot of things online; as someone who knows a fair bit about technology I know how hard it is to securely process CC transactions and how easy it is to get it wrong, so a certain level of fraud is inevitable. This is why you make sure you credit card has zero liability for you.

One thing that leaves me a bit concerned is that this was a credit card I recently had "automatically upgraded" by my bank. They decided I needed to have a card with "payPass" RFID technology so you can pay for things just by holding your credit card close to a reader. I don't know if this is coincidence or not, but reading up on the technology it definitely seems quite possible that someone could swipe my credit card information just by brushing past me in a crowd. I don't have a brash-mesh wallet, nor do I really want to get one just for the "convenience" of not having to swipe my card through a magnet reader. Is swiping a card really that hard? Also, when they mailed the card to me it was not in any kind of protective case so it is quite possible someone could have read the information off it before the mail was even delivered to me.

What irks me about this latest bit of credit card abuse is that I've never had stuff shipped to my address before, and even if the thief didn't know my address before they certainly could track the order and know it now (I often have stuff shipped to my billing address at home even if I ask to have it shipped to work so they may not necessarily have known my address before). What would be down right hilarious if it also weren't a little scary is that the two books delivered to my door were: Monster: The Autobiography on an L.A. Gang Member and The Mexican Mafia.
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Too Funny

"'Monster House' will be the second film produced using Robert Zemeckis' ImageMotion 'performance capture system' first employed on THE POLAR EXPRESS. Unlike POLAR though, this film is actually supposed to be creepy looking." Article
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Seen on the web...

A new California invention!!!

A major research institution in Santa Barbara has recently announced the discovery of the heaviest chemical element yet known to science. The new element has-been tentatively named Governmentium.

Governmentium has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium causes one reaction to take over 4 days to complete when it would normally take less than a second.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 3 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause some morons to become neutrons, forming isotopes.

This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to speculate that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as Critical Morass and occurs every 4 years, whereupon it decays and new Governmentium is formed...

Robert Rouveroy csc
The Hague, Holland
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Wedding Roast

It is a tradition in my family to "roast" the bride and groom on the eve of their wedding. Everyone is given a letter of the alphabet and must tell an embarrassing/funny anecdote using that letter. Here is my "I" roast for my older brother...

I is for Impala, Martin’s favorite car
built most likely, from a single steel bar.
We called it the Tank, and most rightly so
but that didn’t account how fast it could go.
I is for Inertia, which builds up quite fast
while driving a ton of steel, leather and glass.
I is also for Ignorance, a.k.a. bliss
which Martin was feeling ‘till he didn’t miss
a large object just to the right of his car
leaving the Impala a rather deep scar.
Lesser cars would have crumpled and been tossed in the trash
but the tank drove away with a single big gash.
And then there’s the legends of what those two did
Secrets to which I will now blow the lid
They took-out fences and big blue mailboxes
They ran over animals- both deer and foxes
They drove through red lights and plowed right through traffic
The carnage they left was really quite graphic
The tank, you see was quite simply unstoppable
In the derby they entered they were untoppable
They knocked over buildings and blew past the cops
They even avoided National Guard special ops
They took shortcuts through forests mowing down trees
They brought a small country right to its knees
I don’t know how many of these legends are true
But listen carefully what I say to you
Those two must have gone through an awful lot
based on the sorrow that I saw brought
when Martin took leave of his Hastings residence
and dad sold the car for a few measly dead presidents.
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(no subject)

An 18-year-old high school senior who has been named co-valedictorian with two other students asked a federal judge to intervene, saying that being forced to share the title with students with lesser grades would detract from what she has accomplished. She said she would be asking for $200,000 in compensatory damages and $2.5 million in punitive damages.
[Full Story]
Guess who wants to be a lawyer when they grow up (if they grow up)...
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news...

"Automobile crashes climb more than 40 percent in the hours after the Super Bowl... both fatal and nonfatal crashes increase after the football game, causing an average of 7 additional deaths and 600 extra injuries. That increase is larger than the New Year's Eve increase in the United States. The average number of people killed in crashes after the Super Bowl was 24, the number of people injured jumped to 1,900, and the number of crashes topped 4,000 in the first few hours after the game."
[Full Story]

I guess all that tackling just inspires people.
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[Photos]


SCOTT BARBOUR/GETTY IMAGES

British Prime Minister Tony Blair as reflected in the podium speakers during his address at the Labour Party's annual conference in Blackpool, United Kingdom.


RIC FRANCIS/AP

Breath easy, L.A.