microsoftI hate being right some days, but this isn’t one of them. I’m loving being right this time.

The other day I wrote up a post here about Windows Systems Suffering Black Screens After Security Update, and I stated:

What seems odd about this whole report is that the supposed guilty security update was sent out Nov. 10th, but the first reports came in last week from a security firm named Prevx.  Prevx says they have a tool that will fix some instances for users, and at this point Microsoft is simply stating that they are investigating the situation and have no official word on it.

The reason I find this whole thing a bit questionable is how as someone plugged in to the technology world such as I am heard no complaints prior to a third-party company I’ve never heard of suddenly saying they know how to fix it.  True its solution is being provided for free, but the amount of publicity more than makes up for it.  I have heard no independent verifications of something being wrong with the update, and believe me, something like this happens, you’d hear all about it on Twitter.

There is every chance this problem is real, but it does seem a tad odd at the moment.

Well, according to Ed Bott at ZDNet, I was right to say it smelled fishy because it was.

… on Tuesday evening, Prevx backs down completely from the story, publishing a formal retraction and apologizing to Microsoft. Another follow-up post the next day from Prevx CEO and CTO Mel Morris tries to deny any responsibility for the damage. He includes this hilarious bit of understatement: “Regrettably, it is clear that our original blog post has been taken out of context and may have caused an inconvenience for Microsoft.”

What a shock.

What was disturbing about this whole thing (and according to Steven Hodson at Shooting at Bubbles, I deserve the right to pat myself on the back for this one), I was one of the very few tech journalists who called it suspicious.  As Mr. Bott chronicles the whole debacle in his post, he points out time and time again how all of the major tech blogs went nuts reporting it, but yet no one seemed to question it or research it.

While I did look around unofficially online, I admit I did not contact Microsoft.  Why?  Because I fully admit I knew I would get an empty answer with no substance to it, and lets face it, StarterTech isn’t exactly a leading tech blog like the big boys.  If they weren’t getting quotes, neither was I.

What I did do was to use this amazing resource called “the Internet”, perhaps you’ve heard of it?  We are sitting on top of the most powerful research tool ever invented and apparently most bloggers couldn’t be bothered to head to a search engine and do some basic research.  Where were the cries of outrage from users?  Why wasn’t this a trending topic on Twitter?  Where were the Apple Fanboys crowing over their superiority?  Instead what I found was tech blogs writing the same headlines over and over with nary a question in sight as to why we were the only ones talking about it.  Would it have really been that difficult to do a search and go, “Wait a minute … something doesn’t smell right here …”

If the Internet has proven anything, it is that people will not hesitate to complain about the smallest irritation.  Do you really think if black screens had been happening the entire Internet would have been silent about it?  Of course it wouldn’t have been.

So, yes, for once I am going to pat myself on the back for calling this into question from the start, and I echo Mr. Bott’s questioning of the tech blogosphere at large.

At the same time, I join with Mr. Bott for calling for Prevx to be laughed out of the security field.  Honestly, I’d go even further and wonder when the lawsuits will start.  Was this a marketing gimmick?  If so, good job, you’re going to get more press coverage than you know what to do with … and none of it is going to be good.

Categories: Microsoft, Opinion, Windows 7, Windows XP   

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