Mostly about my amusement

Month: February 2006 (page 1 of 1)

Fully domesticated snow professional

Product Demo! Call now and buy two!With the snow forecast (we got 12 to 14 inches of snow) I unpacked the snow thrower Saturday morning. It’s a 6.5 horsepower gas powered contraption.

Saturday we started getting snow. Sunday morning and afternoon I got to use the snow thrower. Originally I did not want to get one as I thought we did not really get that much snow.

After doing the entire driveway I am glad that we got one. It was very time consuming but it worked. I guess that means I am a fully domesticated home owner.

Me just starting to get the snowThis is the second snow thrower that we’ve gotten. The first one was an 11.5 HP monster that did not even fit into my Dad’s mini-van. There was an issue with missing parts and eventually we got the monster returned. Looking at the documentation the old one was good for my driveway, the 3 neighbours driveways, and the street.

The one that we got afterwards worked really well but the day was not complete until we heard from my cousin Peter who called to say

“Hey it’s too bad you returned the old one. That’s a lot of snow out there.”

Should have taken before and after pictures.

StarForce sillyness (they suck wind loudly)

Recently the maker of the StarForce apparently threatened to sue an author on Boing Boing for talking about his bad experience with their copy protection driver scam. This made me laugh since I removed a game partly because it installed StarForce drivers.

For Christmas my brother Alek got me the Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood video game. Normally this would be a good match since I enjoy playing first person shooters. The game looked okay but they got many little things wrong. The cinematic cut scenes were awful. I was frequently somewhere far from where the people talking in the scene were. And my character was frozen in place while a conversation was going on. I found the game play to be a little stifled.

But what really turned me off was the copy protection system. After I installed and tried to run the game, I got a message stating that I had to reboot in order to activate the driver. Driver? I had installed a game not a piece of hardware. Why did they need a driver?

The driver was part of the StarForce copy protection scam. From the web site for “StarForce Drivers Removal” the text says

Some versions of StarForce Copy Protection will install dedicated drivers on your PC. Those drivers are necessary for the StarForce specific CD/DVD checking procedure, only. They do not include any hidden functionality. The drivers are active only at execution of the protected application. StarForce constantly improves their drivers to keep them compatible with the latest versions of Windows operating systems.

See for more information. Google is your friend.

The underlining in the text is mine, but that statement is just nonsense. The real reason they install the drivers is to interfere with your system should you have the CD in the drive when you try to use a CD-ROM burner. So even if you are not running the game the drivers run and interfere with your system as the game publisher feels appropriate.

I installed a game. Looking at the back of the box I see that they do sorta warn the user with some disclaimer. Now I normally dislike that I need to keep the CD in the drive when I play the game but I do it. Call of Duty 2 and F.E.A.R. are like that. But AFAIK no drivers are installed and those two games are great.


Windows XP Pro (any version of Windows really) is an unstable environment. And at no time did I see any problems with my system that I could point to the StarForce drivers and say “Them! They hurt my box!” But installing drivers needlessly is just plain stupid. If Ubisoft wants to check the CD by running code when I actually play their game, well I think that’s rude but okay. But to have their drivers installed and running when I am not even playing their game? Nuts.

I removed the game and the drivers and in the future will check the game before I buy. I will look at the back of the game for this warning and not buy it. Game publishers who use this protection scam seriously do not get it. Game piracy may be a problem but people who pirate games get around all the protection. Installing drivers just hurts the end user. This is a game, not launch-the-missiles-now software.