I previously wrote about MS Genuine Advantage. Turns out I had to risk installing it after all. As I was working on a paper, which is due Monday, Word crashed. It helpfully pointed out that it had crashed due to a known problem, and that an update to fix the problem exists. But the update's only available if you've installed Genuine Advantage. So, there were a few tense moments while the software examined the machine I need to use to take finals in two weeks and decided that I had, indeed, gotten a genuine copy of Windows when I paid two grand for this laptop. Now it's installing the fourteen security updates and patches it wouldn't install because it wasn't sure.
In other words, Microsoft seems to have made the decision that it's better to have insecure versions of its operating system floating around the Internet, acting as potential infection points for spam zombies, than to make the patches available. They also appear to have decided it's acceptable to risk crippling their customers' machines if Genuine Advantage screws up.
Normally, I favor OpenOffice. Version 2.2 is pretty good stuff. But sometimes you need to send a Word file to someone--PDF won't cut it--and you need to know exactly what it'll look like when that person opens it. So for this job I'm tied into Word. And there's certain Windows-only software I need to run, so I'm tied to Windows. So, unfortunately, I guess Microsoft's decided correctly.
At least for now.
 Word just crashed on me. Why should I have any confidence Genuine Advantage will be more reliable?