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July 4, 2016

The Windows 10 Upgrade You Can’t “X-out” of

Filed under: Computers,Internet — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:15 am

Since last July, Microsoft has encouraged users of earlier versions of Windows to upgrade for free to Windows 10. The company used various techniques to keep reminding users to pull the trigger and authorize the upgrade.

With many millions of users still sticking with their old Windows’ versions, in May, as reported by various tech media, the company changed tactics.

Windows 10 Upgrade
ComputerWorld graphic

*MOUSE PRINT:

While it is bad enough that you are seemingly only given two choices – to upgrade immediately or accept the proposed upgrade date (and in fine print, cancel it) – something more sinister was actually happening. Microsoft changed the longstanding windows convention allowing users to cancel a proposed action merely by clicking the red X in the corner of the popup window. Unbeknownst to users, for this particular screen, clicking that red X not only closed the window but also accepted the proposed update date. And there was no fine print to explain that.

These are tactics more usually seen by purveyors of malware, or by new applications that tuck within their installation screens authorization of adware or other junkware you don’t want or expect.

Finally responding to widespread criticism, Microsoft last week introduced a much clearer option screen so users could opt-out of the Windows 10 upgrade:

Windows 10 Upgrade fix

Remember, July 29th is the last day you can upgrade a previous version of Windows (7 and 8) to Windows 10 for free, which most experts recommend doing. After that, it will cost $119.




  ADV


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March 28, 2016

“Use Only in the Case of an Apocalypse”

Filed under: Business,Computers,Humor,Internet — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:46 am

Just in time for April Fool’s Day…

Amazon recently released a software gaming platform for developers called Lumberyard. Buried in its terms and conditions is this unexpected little ditty:

*MOUSE PRINT:

57.10 Acceptable Use; Safety-Critical Systems. Your use of the Lumberyard Materials must comply with the AWS Acceptable Use Policy. The Lumberyard Materials are not intended for use with life-critical or safety-critical systems, such as use in operation of medical equipment, automated transportation systems, autonomous vehicles, aircraft or air traffic control, nuclear facilities, manned spacecraft, or military use in connection with live combat. However, this restriction will not apply in the event of the occurrence (certified by the United States Centers for Disease Control or successor body) of a widespread viral infection transmitted via bites or contact with bodily fluids that causes human corpses to reanimate and seek to consume living human flesh, blood, brain or nerve tissue and is likely to result in the fall of organized civilization. [emphasis added]

So only if science fiction zombies come to life, then and only then, can this software be used to save lives.

The world can rest easy now. Thanks, Amazon.




  ADV


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March 7, 2016

New Rebate Requirement Easy to Overlook, Hard to Swallow

Filed under: Computers,Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:21 am

Over the years, manufacturers have come up with a variety of obnoxious rebate requirements to trip up purchasers or to dissuade them from filing for their money back in the first place.

This new one from Laplink is a doozy, which was required to get the $30 PC Mover full price rebate that Consumer World promoted a few weeks ago as a “Bargain of the Week.”

Laplink rebate

Easy to miss is this fine print requirement to include personal identification.

*MOUSE PRINT:

¹To avoid fraudulent requests, you are required to submit evidence supporting your name and address. Acceptable evidence is a copy of government-issued identification (such as a driver’s license) or the front page of a utility or credit card bill. Account number or similar information may be blacked out. The name and address are required to match the name and address on the rebate request form.

What? They want a copy of your drivers license or credit card statement? Are they crazy (albeit they do allow you to blacken out account numbers, etc.)?

No company in memory has ever conditioned a rebate on what some might consider an invasion of privacy or a security risk. We asked Laplink why they are doing this considering that the rebate is in the form of a check that has to be either cashed or deposited at a bank in an account that matches the payee. The company did not respond.




  ADV


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March 9, 2015

McAfee’s Rebate with Built-in Costly Time Bomb

Filed under: Computers,Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:30 am

  Tiger Direct recently advertised an amazing giveaway: a PNY 128 gig USB 3.0 thumb drive and McAfee Multi Access free after rebate. A supposed $149 value for free!?

McAfee

How can they do this? The secret is in the rebate offer.

*MOUSE PRINT:

McAfee-2

You actually have to install the software and sign up with your credit card initially to automatically renew the service after the first year. You are not allowed to cancel the renewal until 10 months of service have elapsed.

Who is going to remember ten months from now to cancel this service?

Incidentally, the annual service sells for between $69.99 to $99.99.




  ADV


• • •

January 30, 2015

Intuit/TurboTax Caves to Consumer Pressure

Filed under: Computers,Electronics,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:11 am

  After three and half weeks of stringing criticism from customers and the media, Intuit, the maker of TurboTax Deluxe, threw in the towel on January 29. The popular tax preparation software had been stripped of key functionality in a ballsy and blatant money-grab to extract an extra $30 to $40 in upgrade fees from regular users. The company is now going to offer free automatic upgrades to TurboTax Premier and Home & Business from within TurboTax Deluxe — the very thing we first called for back on January 6.

The company also vowed to restore all the missing pieces to TurboTax Deluxe next year.

Intuit president Brad Smith posted this apology on his Linked-in page:



Customers who already paid the $30 to $40 upgrade fee or who bought a higher edition of TurboTax will still be able to get a $25 rebate, but in many cases, it may not cover all their extra costs.

Intuit was taught a valuable lesson (again), but its history of practices designed to gouge its customers suggests it probably hasn’t really learned anything.




  ADV


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