Microsoft can really annoy me. Flight Simulator 10 is out and I bought it. The software comes on two DVDs, which is pretty cool. Lots of data means nice graphics and lots of airports. I installed it on my laptop and it takes ages. That’s cool, I’ve got time. The problem appears after the end-user licence agreement. I’m asked if I want to activate the software now or later. Choosing later disables some features of the software. The worst restriction is a run-time limit of just 30 minutes in a not-activated state. This is completely unacceptable.

What really bothers me is I took care to read every word on the packaging before buying the software and there was no mention of activation. The only mention of the Internet is for online or multiplayer play, neither of which interests me.

Product activation rubs me the wrong way. Seriously wrong. What’s the big deal, you ask? All you have to do is allow the activation and you’re in business. Well this is true, as long as there is no technical issues with the activation, which some people do experience. My big problem with it is that after doing the right thing and paying the money for the software, I have to allow it to contact Microsoft and receive permission to run. I’ve bought it, but every time I install it, I need to ask for permission to properly install my own software. Who does this really inconvenience? The legitimate user, of course.

I’ve discovered there is a crack available on-line, but I’m not sure I can allow myself to take advantage of it. My doing this would give Microsoft the impression that their means of protecting their software is acceptable to me. No, they’ve got a 45-day return policy and I’ll probably take advantage of it. The previous version runs very nicely, thank you.