Monday, January 23, 2012

American Intelligence?

I was at a Burger King tonight (out of town), wearing my i3 shirt (I work at i3, or Integration Innovation, Inc.). The cashier asked, "So, what's i3?"

I replied, "Integration Innovation, Inc."

Cashier: "That's interesting."

Me: "The group I'm in writes software for the military."

Cashier: "Doubly interesting."

While I'm waiting on my food, the cashier then calls me over. "So, maybe you can help me with this... do you have a keygen for Windows Ultimate? Mine got corrupted and doesn't work now." (For those who are wondering, a "keygen" is an illegal piece of software that creates activation keys for another piece of software; in this case, the guy was wanting to use a keygen to create activation keys for Windows Ultimate, instead of having to buy Windows.)

I said I did not and asked the guy what he used his computer for. "Going online," he replied. I suggested that he should try Linux. "No linux, it doesn't work, and it's too hard to use," he replied. "Oh, I also sometimes fix other people's computers. Say, do you have the linux CD that resets Windows passwords?" (Note: that actually can be useful, when used appropriately, such as when there is a generic office computer that is used for giving presentations that no one can remember the password to.)

"No, I have one at home, but not with me." I then try to explain how Linux has improved significantly, and supports a lot of new hardware and is a lot easier to use than before, and also how he can download a password reset image.

The guy then starts talking about how he is unable to download it, something's wrong with his computer. I suggest perhaps he can try a Linux live CD to see if that will let him download the password reset image. He then goes on to tell me how he thinks it's not his computer but rather his network connection, that he's using his neighbor's wifi...

OK, dude. I tell you, "I write software (professionally) for the military." You then proceed to 1) ask if I have a key generator for Windows; 2) tell me you're leeching your neighbor's wifi (which, if you don't already know, is illegal). I'm guessing you're not in the "advanced" classes in school, huh? :)

*note: his name is on the receipt, along with the time of the order; fortunately for him, I'm not a good person, in the vein of, "All it takes for evil to to triumph is for good people to do nothing." I'm going to do nothing related to this incident. Hopefully I've planted a seed of Linux and he will turn to the open source community for his no-cost computing needs instead of to the hacker community. As to his stealing his neighbor's internet, well, let this be a lesson to you: put a password on your router, or lock it down by MAC address if you prefer. Just don't let someone else use your wifi without your permission.


Dean Lusk said...

I'm not quite sure what to say. When I hit the word "keygen" I thought, "No, you've got to be kidding me." The rest of the conversation was icing on the cake. A very thick icing with lots of sugar.

I'm grateful for the laugh this morning!

I do think you should've cracked the whip and directly told him that he had to stop what he's doing because it's illegal. (No, it almost certainly wouldn't have had any effect.) I've made the atmosphere in the room very uncomfortable a few times because I gave someone the "shame on you, stop it" smack-down for downloading music illegally. Hopefully it at least made them think about what they were doing. Some of those people were believers but for some reason never thought of it as "wrong."

Tony M said...

Glad to give you the giggle (I'd've said "laugh" but wanted to go with the alliterative version instead).

You're right - I should have done more than simply suggest the Linux alternative for his free OS. Alas, I did not. Next time, I think I will. Thanks for the encouragement in that regard!