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Microsoft Certificate of Authenticity - anti-piracy and anti-visually impaired

I recently was setting up a new computer,  Part of this setup is completing the Windows setup routine.  I could not complete this process without help because of Microsoft's anti-piracy measures.  The measure is the Certificate of Authenticity that is located on the side of the computer.  The unfortunate thing is that I have an eye-condition that causes extreme nearsightedness and an inability to focus on a spot for more than a few seconds.  Unfortunately, the software key is printed in a small font with thin lines.  When reading such a font, alphanumeric characters get distorted into other alphanumeric characters (e.g. a "4" becomes an "A").  Other distortions are "K" can be read as an "X" and an "8" may be read as a "B", "G", "6", "9", or maybe a "0" (I know, I've been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt several times over).  If I reread the same character, it may appear to be something different.   I repeatedly could not enter the key correctly and I wasted a few hours trying. 

I am not the only person who has trouble reading software keys.  I asked an elderly neighbor to help me and she could not even see all 25 characters and she too mistook a "4" to be an "A".  This problem has been noted in the Blind Access Journal article Microsoft's Latest Anti-Piracy Initiative Locks Out Blind Users available at

http://www.blindaccessjournal.com/2005/01/microsofts-latest-anti-piracy.html

I was lucky that my father was stopping by the next day and he was able to read the key properly. He even wrote the key down and I taped it to the side of the computer.  Other people may not be as lucky such as the elderly neighbor I described earlier.  And yes, I did actually consider installing Linux instead of Windows.

I am far from against software keys as I realize that those are a software maker's income.  Most of the time, entering a key is not a problem if it's E-Mailed or on a disk label in a clear font.  I am even sympathetic to Microsoft's concerns about counterfeit software but I condemn anti-piracy measures that come at the cost I described above.   It is extremely personal and I am mad.  And Microsoft, please spare me the PR.

In any case, I have more important things to think about such as making an Indy version that works with FreePascal 2.1.1 for Win64.

 


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