Posted by Charlie (184.108.40.206) on January 13, 2002 at 16:50:27:
Windows XP Flight Feature Flawed
by Tom Condon
Redmond, WA - One of the most acclaimed features of the new Microsoft
Windows XP release is its ability to enable users to fly without the aid of
any mechanical assistance whatsoever. As the Microsoft commercials vividly
display, users of XP can fly simply by spreading their arms. This is made
possible by the new flight feature of Windows XP, called MSFlight. "The flight
feature is something that we have been working on for some time," said Bill
Gates, CSA of Microsoft. "Today's mobile executives need the ability to fly,
and we feel that MSFlight's abilities are far superior to those offered by
Linux or Apple."
However, as with many Microsoft releases, there have been some problems with
the initial releases. Many users are saying that their flying experiences are
very different from what is shown on the television commercials.
One example is Martin Feinstein, of Syosset, NY: After purchasing Windows XP,
he activated the flying feature and immediately levitated in
his living room. "At first, it was great, just like in the commercials" he
said. However, Mr. Feinstein's computer locked up after only a few minutes,
sending him crashing to he ground and fracturing his right clavicle. "My
computer crashed, and so did I" said Mr. Feinstein, who purchase an Apple
computer the next day.
Another problem is XP's susceptibility to viruses. Janice O'Connor, of
Anderson, North Carolina was ejected from her 14th floor apartment after
opening an e-mail that contained a virus targeted at Windows XP. The virus,
which contains a file aptly named "Flyme2th_moon.exe", initiates the MSFlight
feature, adjusts the speed setting to maximum, and then shuts down the
computer a few seconds later, ending the user's flight capabilities. Witnesses
said that Ms. O'Connor was hurdled through her apartment's balcony plate glass
window and flew approximately 200 yards at that altitude before plummeting to
her death. "This certainly gives new meaning to the term 'fatal exception'",
said her cousin, Rita O'Reardon, who was injured after opening the virus in an
e-mail from Ms.
> O'Connor and being thrown against her bedroom wall. Apparently the virus
uses Microsoft Outlook to e-mail copies of itself to everyone in the victim's
contacts list. More than 100 people in O'Connor's contacts list were sent the
virus, but only 3, who had purchased Windows XP, were injured. Local Police
Chief Clem Waters said, "It is fortunate that sales of XP have been so slow,
or this event could have been much worse."
Another Windows XP user flew a little too well. Amy Branston of San
Francisco was last seen ascending straight up at an amazing speed, and was
tracked by NASA radar moving away from the earth at over 28,000 miles per
hour. According to her husband, she had just installed Windows XP, and thought
that the MSFlight feature was a flight simulator game. "She turned on the
MSFlight feature, and shot up like a rocket," he told BB Spot reporters.
Apparently, a glitch in the Windows XP software was responsible for propelling
her into outer space. Microsoft officials have commented that Windows XP is
not capable of accelerating users to orbital velocity unless they have
installed an unlicensed copy of the software.
NASA officials are very concerned about the potential for Microsoft to
introduce its customers into an already crowded orbital space. Mr. Hal Clarke,
Director of Space Junk for NASA says, "There are tens of thousands of objects
already floating in earth orbit, and it is difficult enough to track them now"
said Mr. Clarke. "If we're going to have hundreds or thousands of Microsoft
users floating around up there, it's going to get pretty messy. It's not just
the bodies we're worried about. We have calculated that collisions will
produce significant fagmentation, with huge numbers of arms, legs, and other
parts." NASA is already contemplating fitting its space shuttles with
windshield wipers to help clean off blood and other bodily fluids from
collisions with orbiting Microsoft XP users.
The FAA is also concerned about the potential for traffic problems in
commercial air space. "If there are going to be thousands of Microsoft XP
users flying around in the air, we're going to have a traffic control
nightmare on our hands," said FAA spokesman Norman Krazowski. "They are all
going to have to file flight plans, and carry anti-collision transponders
and flight data recorders just like airplanes. Also, randomly-selected XP
users will be selected and required to carry an undercover Air Marshall with
them." Microsoft has responded to the FAA by saying that any undercover Air
Marshals attached to ny flying XP users will also have to purchase a licensed
copy of Microsoft XP.
Mr. Gates has stressed the safety of Windows XP, noting that it is far more
stable than previous versions of Windows. "I can understand why people would
have been hesitant to trust their lives to previous versions of Windows, but
XP is far more stable, and users can feel completely secure flying at any
altitude while using XP." When asked by a reporter why he chose to arrive in a
limousine rather than use the flight feature of Windows XP, Mr. Gates declined
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