Saturday, July 26, 2008

Extracting SMS Messages from Nokia NBU Backup File

I downloaded the latest Nokia PC Suite software for my ailing Nokia Communicator 9500, to backup everything, and to be able to read the SMS messages on the PC and delete the 1000+ SMS messages I have in my mobile...

After taking a full backup of everything, then another backup of SMS, Calendar and Contacts only, and while the phone was connected to the PC, I was able to view the messages, which made me think that the software downloaded them to the PC, so I proceeded to deleting some of them. After deleting about 200 or so, and having the mobile disconnected from the PC, I wasn't able to read them from the PC!!!
Apparently, the software was reading directly from the mobile and it had kept no copy, other than the backups that I took!

After 5 minutes of a panic attack followed by curses, I decided to restore the SMS messages from the backup to the phone. The software was kind enough to give me the choice to restore the SMS messages only, and not shove everything into my face, or the mobile's. The process took time, and the existing messages were not duplicated! But the process never finished; it got stuck at the end, so I canceled the operation but the messages were back.

I started looking for software to extract the messages from the .NBU backup file, which the Nokia software produced, since they're too retarded to present the option.
I was able to find only one piece of software that is both free and works! It's also able to extract the messages into one file (text, HTML, CSV, PDF, and more), or each message in a file. And to top it all, it can produce a table of contents of the messages!

The software's name is: ABC Amber NBU Converter. Here's a page with some description, but I don't know the software's original site, so I'm not sure if the linked page's file is safe from viruses. Make sure to scan it.

I'm glad Nokia didn't include the option to download the SMS messages to the PC, because it gave me yet another reason why I should dump Nokia altogether, and to find this beautiful piece of software.

Kudos to its creator(s).

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Microsoft Windows XP End-User License Agreement

For the sake of amusement, I decided to read Microsoft's Windows XP Professional End User License Agreement.

I have read the EULA and decided to write some comments, or just highlight some points.

Head start:

  • Right. So, if you don't agree with ANY of the points, you're not allowed to use this piece of software.

Without prejudice to any other rights, Microsoft may cancel this EULA if you do not abide by the terms and conditions of this EULA, in which case you must destroy all copies of the Product and all of its component parts.

  • I would like to point out that there's no mention of the word "refund."

The Product may not be used by more than two (2) processors at any one time on any single Workstation Computer.

  • There's no mention of the word "cores," so by processor, they mean a physical chip. And God forbid you may have a dual processor motherboard and utilize both! I have seen some XP licenses that are valid for multiple CPUs. I don't know if they're referring to the whole computer or just a processor.

You may permit a maximum of ten (10) computers or other electronic devices (each a "Device") to connect to the Workstation Computer to utilize the services of the Product solely for File and Print services, Internet Information Services, and remote access (including connection sharing and telephony services). The ten connection maximum includes any indirect connections made through "multiplexing" or other software or hardware which pools or aggregates connections.

  • So if you live in a dorm, you can have only 10 friends. If you get naughty and make more than 10 friens, they'll be upset to know that you can't permit them to access your fancy collections over the network. And if you think that you're smart enough to have the computers pass through a single gateway to appear as a single computer, then you're performing an illegal operation, my naughty friend. Microsoft shall spank you!

Except as otherwise permitted by the NetMeeting, Remote Assistance, and Remote Desktop features described below, you may not use the Product to permit any Device to use, access, display or run other executable software residing on the Workstation Computer, nor may you permit any Device to use, access, display, or run the Product or Product's user interface, unless the Device has a separate license for the Product.

  • Is this still "my" computer?!

There are technological measures in this Product that are designed to prevent unlicensed or illegal use of the Product. You agree that we may use those measures.

  • It's within their right to protect their software, but wait till you get to the good part of this deal, below.

Microsoft reserves all rights not expressly granted to you in this EULA.

  • In other words: "All your base are belong to us!"

After upgrading, you may no longer use the product that formed the basis for your upgrade eligibility.

  • So if I upgrade from Windows98 to XP, I'm no longer allowed to use Win98, which I paid for? Delightful.
  • If I had to format, God forbid, how am I supposed to install XP without the right to install the base OS (Win98)?! (unless install doesn't count as using)

You may move the Product to a different Workstation Computer. After the transfer, you must completely remove the Product from the former Workstation Computer.

  • I thought it wasn't allowed. Good to know it is.

You may not rent, lease, lend or provide commercial hosting services to third parties with the Product.

  • To all of you little kids who had dreams of starting a tiny web-hosting service, now that you have an OS with a graphical interface and all, sorry to say that it's not going to happen! HAHA! In your face!

You agree that Microsoft and its affiliates may collect and use technical information gathered in any manner as part of the product support services provided to you, if any, related to the Product.

  • "in any manner" -- yup! They lived to that promise alright! But I have a hunch we'll be reading about yet more exciting new ways :D

You acknowledge and agree that Microsoft may automatically check the version of the Product and/or its components that you are utilizing and may provide upgrades or fixes to the Product that will be automatically downloaded to your Workstation Computer.

  • Does this mean, that by turning off the AutoUpdate service, I've violated the EULA?!
  • Does this mean, that Microsoft can check my system, even when I have AutoUpdate turned off and never visited their update site/portal?!
  • What if I don't want your fixes and updates (that might break certain parts of MY system)?

Content providers are using the digital rights management technology (“Microsoft DRM”) contained in this Product to protect the integrity of their content (“Secure Content”) so that their intellectual property, including copyright, in such content is not misappropriated. Owners of such Secure Content (“Secure Content Owners”) may, from time to time, request Microsoft to provide security related updates to the Microsoft DRM components of the Product (“Security Updates”) that may affect your ability to copy, display and/or play Secure Content through Microsoft software or third party applications that utilize Microsoft DRM. You therefore agree that, if you elect to download a license from the Internet which enables your use of Secure Content, Microsoft may, in conjunction with such license, also download onto your computer such Security Updates that a Secure Content Owner has requested that Microsoft distribute.

  • Oh? So at some point of time, the "Secure content" which I have paid for, could be rendered useless, because the provider felt like it's not secure enough?
  • I don't see the word "refund" in the text
  • This sounds more like Digital Restrictions Management

NOT FOR RESALE SOFTWARE. Product identified as “Not for Resale” or “NFR,” may not be resold,
transferred or used for any purpose other than demonstration, test or evaluation.

  • Hmmm... The original CD sitting in front me of Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition, has the following on it: "Not for retail or OEM Distribution. Not for resale." -- does this mean I may not use it in production environment and only for "demonstration, test or evaluation"?! I sure have paid for a production environment copy!
    Either the shipping elves sent me the wrong CD, or the EULA is mistaken...

Microsoft warrants that the Product will perform substantially in accordance with the accompanying materials for a period of ninety days from the date of receipt.
Any supplements or updates to the Product, including without limitation, any (if any) service packs or hot fixes provided to you after the expiration of the ninety day Limited Warranty period are not covered by any warranty or condition, express, implied or statutory.
This Limited Warranty is void if failure of the Product has resulted from accident, abuse, misapplication, abnormal use or a virus.
Microsoft’s and its suppliers’ entire liability and your exclusive remedy shall be, at Microsoft’s option from time to time exercised subject to applicable law, (a) return of the price paid (if any) for the Product, or (b) repair or replacement of the Product, that does not meet this Limited Warranty and that is returned to Microsoft with a copy of your receipt.
Outside the United States or Canada, neither these remedies nor any product support services offered by Microsoft are available without proof of purchase from an authorized international source.

  • Microsoft guarantees you its Operating System (OS) for 3 months only, because God knows what kind of viruses might be unleashed to masses to hijack their precious Windows-based machines after 3 months. Microsoft surely can't be held liable for that! Nor its poorly designed and unsecure OS!
  • Oh! Goody! Even their bug fixes aren't guaranteed! Fantabulous!
  • You're a financial controller at a big firm and you're almost done from the year's financial records to close it down, and to your misfortune, got infected by a Trojan Horse which exploited a security hole in Microsoft Windows Firewall. This not-so-friendly Trojan has corrupted your precious OS and you no longer have access to your files. Your company doesn't close on time and falls into financial problems. Who's fault is this? Who's responsible to pay for the damages?
  • Following the scenario above, you may not be so lucky to be granted Microsoft's love and get your $185 (imagine loss in millions). Or even better, they will give you another CD of the same OS! Yay! Oh .. I forgot to mention that you'll have to pay for shipping the CD you have to them first...
  • What about the 3 months period? How come it's not available to those outside US & Canada?!

Except for the Limited Warranty and to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, Microsoft and its suppliers provide the Product and support services (if any) AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS, and hereby disclaim all other warranties and conditions, either express, implied or statutory, including, but not limited to, any (if any) implied warranties, duties or conditions of merchantability, of fitness for a particular purpose, of reliability or availability, of accuracy or completeness of responses, of results, of workmanlike effort, of lack of viruses, and of lack of negligence, all with regard to the Product, and the provision of or failure to provide support or other services, information, software, and related content through the Product or otherwise arising out of the use of the Product. ALSO, THERE IS NO WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF TITLE, QUIET ENJOYMENT, QUIET POSSESSION, CORRESPONDENCE TO

  • It speaks for itself...

After these points, I don't know how you feel about your purchased copy of Windows, but it feels to me that I'm renting the software with a gun to my head, and my face glued with an awkward smile... (Glue made Microsoft, of course).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Freezing Internet Account: QualityNet: Not Possible (almost)

Updated: July 13th

I'm moving to a new place, and I had renewed my account one month before I found out that we're moving.

When I no longer was using the DSL at the old place, I called QualityNet support at 804444, and told them that I need to freeze my account and shift the service later to another phone line.
The representative said that it's not possible, but he was kind enough and logged the issue in the system for his superior to look at it and follow it up. He said that I'll be contacted with in 2 days.

I called the next day, just to be sure and make a reminder (since I'm losing days here), and they assured me that the problem was logged and I'll be contacted.

Indeed, the day after, I was contacted and spoken to a woman, who said that what I'm asking for is not possible. I argued that it's not logical and that I've been subscribed with them since August 2005! I then asked on whether it's possible to get a refund, but that wasn't possible either.
After some thinking, I asked if it's possible to transfer the amount available in my balance to another account; that is, convert the number of days that I have left in my service into money, then deposit it into another account.
She said she'll ask and see if that is plausible or not. The same girl called later and said it was OK, but I'd have to go over to their HQ and ask them to do it there.

Although we are able to come to a solution, I don't understand why it's not possible to freeze the account and hold the amount in it. I do know that the ISPs rent space from the Ministry of Communication where they install jumpers on the phone line, which is then calculated as part of the cost and the customer ends up paying for it.
This does not apply here, since the jumper is going to removed anyway (I'm moving out, remember?), so there's no cost!

If you're a QualityNet user or a staff member, I ask you to make a fuss about this, because it's ridiculous not be able to shift locations.

Unless they want us to renew month by month, just in case, and they benefit from the increase in price!

Update: I have went to QualityNet's HQ and the clerk suggested I ask an employee regarding freezing the account, and he said that such a thing is done as a courtesy only, and the maximum period is 1 month. It wasn't enough in my case, so I shifted the cash to another account.
When shifting the cash, I had to pay a certain amount so that the total covers a month, or a multiple. (not counted in days of subscription!)