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Windows Vista DVD Hologram: The Aftermath

On Wednesday, I wrote about a hidden image in the hologram on the Windows Vista DVD disk, and got a TON of traffic about it. It was a fun story, and I’m glad I covered it. Nick White on the official Windows Vista blog gave the official explanation about the images, saying that they were part of a counterfeit-resistant watermark, the the Anti-Piracy team decided the inclusion of original images on the DVD would make it harder to copy, thus ensuring pirated copies wouldn’t look like the real thing.

What I also got were a bunch of trolls. I had mentioned in my post that someone at Microsoft told me there were internal emails asking about the image, people wondering how they got in there. This is what is called the simplest, most basic form of reporting, and it goes like this:

IM conversation:
Me: Hey, what’s with this?
Guy: I don’t know, but I saw an email internally about it. People are asking questions.

Somehow I got called a liar. Yeah, because I’d lie, or need to lie, about someone at Microsoft emailing someone else at Microsoft asking a question about a picture. I must have the dumbest ambitions in the world, falsifying something so meaningless as that.

Still, it’s very insulting. People come to this blog who have never read it before, who don’t know that I have been reporting on Microsoft for years now, who don’t know that I don’t lie to my readers, that I don’t sensationalize, that I don’t link-bait. There have been many stories I pass on, all the time, because I don’t like having to apologize for something that is inaccurate.

Every day, I see a story about a product that is rumored to exist. Sometimes it’s a Zune phone, or a new Xbox 360, or a price cut, or a Windows release. I don’t write those stories most of the time, because if I don’t feel it’s credible, then I don’t want to have to deal with it. I don’t like being called a liar, so I just don’t write about unsubstantiated rumors.

Yet this time, I recount a conversation I had with a person who works in a Microsoft office, receives a Microsoft paycheck, wears a Microsoft badge, and has never lied to me or anyone else, and I get called a liar for it. Anyone who’s read this blog long enough knows I don’t lie, but people show up with no context and no history, and they question my credibility? Disgusting.

I am not the world’s greatest reporter. I am pretty bad at making contacts and ferreting out information. I misspell embarrassing almost every time. But I tell the truth, which is more than I can say for a lot of people in this industry. I refuse to lie to people, and I refuse to stab people in the back, and it has held me back for years, and I’m proud of that.

So, how do I reconcile the fact that I know there were internal emails asking about these images and the fact that Nick White said there’s no conspiracy? Easy! An internal email doesn’t mean Bill Gates emailed 75,000 people and said, “Who did this! Heads will roll!” like a bad B-movie boss. It means developer Joe emailed a company alias going, “Hey, I read this blog, and there were these images. Who did it? Somebody getting fired?” and a bunch of people, none of whom knew the answer, responded, “I don’t know. Thanks for the link”.

If you’ve ever worked at a company with internal communications lists, then you know this sort of thing happens multiple times a day. If you don’t know that, it means you are writing comments on a blog you’ve never read before, written by a guy you don’t know, with no context and no history and no knowledge of simple mailing list dynamics to understand what you were reading. So if you’re going to be an idiot, get the hell off my blog. I don’t need you.

June 15th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Vista, Corporate, Windows | 3 comments

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  1. I have had a look at those comments, and they are all a load of ***** from people who clearly havent read enough of your stuff to realise what a credible news source you are. You shouldnt need to be reacting to people like that in this way with a big post, they are too retarded to be worth it.

    (and I have to say that I dont recall ever seing a typo on your articles, although I make them all the time myself so that might be why :P )

    Comment by Mortalmatt | June 15, 2007

  2. Like Mortalmatt, I think you shouldn’t even bothering reacting. Especially when we’re talking about anonymous commenters whose words amount to trolling. If it was me, I’d have deleted their nonsense and blocked their IP (not that that would have stopped them, of course). Don’t worry about it.


    Comment by Patrick | June 16, 2007

  3. Thanks, guys. I appreciate the support. The trolls don’t really deserve that much attention, but I have a lot of pride, and I just felt insulted.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | June 17, 2007

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