I got back from vacation just a short time ago and immediately checked my email. After only 3 full days away from the ‘net, I had over 400 new email messages waiting to be sorted through. Thanks to Mozilla Thunderbird’s SPAM filter, I really only had to pick through a few dozen.

Among those legit emails was one from Microsoft, confirming my acceptance into the Microsoft OneCare beta program. If you’ve never heard of OneCare before, check out their description during installation:

You are signing up for the Windows OneCare(TM) Live BETA (1 PC) for free for one year. Windows OneCare is the premier protection and performance service for your Windows XP PC and includes comprehensive Antivirus and Firewall Protection, PC Maintenance, and Backup. You must agree to the Windows OneCare Live Subscription Agreement to access the service. Product key required. Valid in US only.

This brings my total current beta count up to 6 and my total historic beta count up well over a dozen. Most of the other programs at the moment are somewhat boring. I’m beta testing the new Microsoft Shell (which should also be in the Vista beta if I remember correctly), as well as Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2, among some other geeky things. Unfortunately, while interesting to me, these don’t exactly make for the best blog material. OneCare, however, should. With any luck, I’ll have something interesting to report very soon (and maybe even some screenshots).

I actually read the SLA before blindly clicking “Accept” on it, which featured this paragraph:

5. CONFIDENTIALITY. The Product, including its existence and features, and related information are proprietary and confidential information to Microsoft and its suppliers. Recipient agrees not to disclose or provide the Product, documentation, or any related information (including the Product features or the results of use or testing) to any third party until commercial release of the Product; provided that thereafter Recipient agrees not to disclose or provide to any third party any information that has not been made public by Microsoft as of the commercial release of the applicable Software or Hardware. However, Recipient may disclose confidential information in accordance with judicial or other governmental order, provided Recipient shall give Microsoft reasonable written notice prior to such disclosure and shall comply with any applicable protective order or equivalent. Further, Recipient shall not be liable to Microsoft for disclosure of information which Recipient can prove (a) is already known to Recipient without an obligation to maintain the same as confidential; (b) becomes publicly known through no wrongful act of Recipient; (c) is rightfully received from a third party without breach of an obligation of confidentiality owed to Microsoft; or (d) is independently developed by Recipient.

What do you think the chances of them actually kicking me out of the program for blogging about it are? Sure they say it’s against the rules, but does that actually mean against the rules? I’m sure the Vista beta agreement said something similar (if not exactly the same), but everyone and their brother is blogging about it… Surely a little extra publicity wouldn’t be a bad thing. I really expect to be somewhat blown away by the program, so it’s not like I’m going to bash them non-stop.

Ahh well, we’ll see if there’s actually anything noteworthy first.

Originally published and updated .
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