February 6th, 2009


A Typical Episode Of Modern Hackery

So let's say that for [CERTAIN REASONS] you need to quickly obtain, and then dispose of, a recent copy of Windows. You've got your trusty internet connection, and your Parallels virtual machine to create a nice isolated lab environment, so you decide to go out into the wide world of W4R3Z and collect yourself an installer image.

You slap on a pith helmet, wield your blunderbuss, and crank-start a nearby search engine. It backfires and belches digital smoke, and in a few seconds you find yourself waist-deep in the fetid, disease-ridden swamps on the hazy fringe of the internet. Deranged javascript monsters tear at you, and heckling popup natives are chucking spears, and the search engine is choking on heaps of worthless self-referential links and banners. But you persevere, and pretty soon you dig aside the foliage to reveal a crop of segmented zipfiles, sequestered in the muck by some long-dead pirate hooligans.

You collect the segments and return home, and clean and reassemble their jigsaw corners into one big crusty piece. Then you whack the piece with a sledgehammer, and the sides crumble away to reveal a smooth, gleaming "Windows Vista Ultimate Service Pack 1 Volume License" install image.

You roll it into the clean room of the virtual machine, seal the door, and zap it with a bolt of lightning. It unfolds and begins installing, and you see:

Okay, that's a bit of a snag. Can't understand what's going on.

So you press the big red "flash" button and the whole virtual machine is filled with fire, and then disappears. So much for that image. Time to go looking again...

One additional safari later, you have another pile of segments in your garage. You put them together, whack the piece with the sledgehammer, and before you stands a "64-Bit Windows XP Service Pack 3 Volume License" image, all glowy and seamless. That goes into the clean room, the airlock slides into place, the lightning flashes out, and after a few minutes you peer in the window and see...

Huh. Well that's even worse. Sure wish these pirates would label their buried treasure with something more descriptive than "X".

Luckily, the third time's the charm. A nice Windows install, in plain English, blinks at you from the confines of the clean room. You install your utility, pass in the files you needed to convert, and in less than a minute the processing is done. Good job, Windows! Thanks for the help!

You jab the 'flash' button, and a torrent of fire obliterates the evidence of your crime.