Next Thursday, 30 November, is the feast day of St Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland. Pity he's not also the patron saint of computer users, because soon they are going to need all the divine help they can get. How come? Well, 30 November is also the day that Microsoft releases Vista, the new version of Windows, to its corporate customers.
Because companies don't squeal, we may expect the occasion to pass off reasonably peacefully. The screaming proper will only start on 30 January next year, when the system is released to consumers.
Vista, you see, is a new kind of beast. It's not enough just to install it on your computer; you must also 'activate' it. Activation involves Vista automatically contacting Microsoft and sending it information about the version, language and product key of the software, your computer's internet address and details of the hardware configuration of the device.