I felt that it was high time to get my own personal blog. I have been blogging for 4 years now and I have always been writing about stuff I thought other people would find to be of interest, but now it’s time for me to make my own blog where I can write about stuff I like.
Dear Microsoft Corporation,
You’ve really done it this time.
And I am leaving and never speaking to you again.
It’s not that I want to dislike you. I was loyal to you for so long.
I stuck with you through thick and thin. From DOS 5.0 through XP. Through decent functionality and through countless crashes.
But this new operating system is the last straw.
I’ve read through hundreds of online reviews and comments about Vista. I’ve asked IT guys and Microsoft Certified Professionals. I’ve read the PC magazine reviews. I’ve given it a spin on my friends’ laptops.
You’d think at least someone (other than your PR people) would find something to like about a piece of software that took an industry leader five years and a gazillion dollars to develop. But I’ve yet to hear anyone say “Wow!” about it.
There’s a few lukewarm praises like “it looks better than XP if you have a new graphics card.” But most people say it’s a just a naggy, inferior imitation of Mac OS X.
A Windows worshipping gamer acquaintance told me it took literally seven or eight hours of churning to install his Vista Home Premium (sic) upgrade. After staying up all night, he found none of his device drivers worked.
With the tales of the new DRM lockdown, the User Account Control nagging, the virtualization restrictions, and the priced-to-upsell $400 product – your credibility is about as good as OJ Simpson’s.
I just don’t trust what you say anymore.
It’s a shame because there were better times in our 15-year relationship. There was the golden era a few years back (around the dot com bubble) when Windows was the platform. There was an aura of innovation and lots of exciting software new coming out for Windows.
But those days are gone. And your days are numbered, Microsoft.
I had this epiphany when I tried out my friend’s Macintosh with OS X. I realized how much grief you’d put me through: the constant crashes whenever I tried to run more than three applications, the endless required reboots, and the vicious malware attacks that I wasted many precious hours wrangling with. And then having to pay extra for third party security and virus programs – because you couldn’t keep a handle on things.
But as a veteran power user – by grace or by service pack – I always managed to fix it.
Others aren’t so fortunate.
You’ve terrified folks like my poor dad. He is afraid to install new software for any reason. He mumbles things like “Computers – you just can’t trust them.” He’s been conditioned that if he tries to install a new program or download an update – even if he does it correctly – something is likely to go awry for no explicable reason. That’s why he sticks with IE 5 and Office 97, cause he sees upgrading as too risky to gamble with.
You made millions of poor secretaries and office workers cry just for trying to do normal things like printing and saving.
It didn’t have to be like this. Shame on you!
The secret is out, Microsoft. The reputation that you can’t be trusted to deliver reliable software is getting around fast.
Hasta la Vista!
This post was originally written by Brett Borders and it made the Digg home page.
Music recordings used to be something to treasure. Something to own. Something you could pass on to your children. Or if you had good taste, you could sell your one day for a huge profit.
Now music is becoming as worthless, disposable and temporary as a paper plate… thanks to DRM (digital rights management) the limitation scheme that is quietly being embedded into music players, high-definition videos players, ITunes and Windows Vista.
DRM is not actually an anti-piracy copy protection scheme, as record labels and Hollywood studios would have you believe. It is actually a financial squeeze campaign designed to make you pay more for the rights you used to have.
When you buy a CD, it’s yours to keep with no strings attached. You actually get something for your money. You can loan it to a friend, or make a backup copy (how many CDs have you lost or scratched over the past decade?), or mix a track over your home movie.
But with DRM, you don’t own anything for keep and pass on. You basically rent copy-protected music from a corporation. And the corporation can disable or change the licensing rules at any time they see fit.
The Customer is Always Wrong is an excellent article by the Electronic Freedom Foundation that throughly documents the multiple lies of DRM.
They try and get us to swallow DRM with doublespeak Orwellian marketing. They brand it with sweet-sounding euphemisms like Mircosoft’s “Plays for Sure”, and Apple’s “FairPlay” digital restriction schemes.
Well it only “plays for sure” on some devices that have paid off Microsoft. Most ironically, PlaysforSure (sic) doesn’t even work on Microsoft’s own device, the Zune (!!) The Zune has its own incompatible which DRM nightmare lurking inside it. Apple isn’t any better: you have no choice of a device or music player software at all. They try and lock you into iPod/iTunes forever.
This is an iffy business practice, that runs counter to the basic currents of a free market and customer satisfaction. Apple has a huge share of the music player market now, and they could totally own the music market by being trusting and generous. Steve Jobs recently said he would do away with DRM, but he claims the music labels are forcing him to stick with it. Apple seems to have a huge problem with other corporate bedfellows calling their shots, such as with Cingular’s monopoly on the new iPhone.
People would gladly buy more high-quality digital music for a fair price (e.g., half the price of a manufactured CD) – as long as it it is not jinxed and shackled. All the restrictions sour people on buying online music and encourage them pirate.
I love music dearly, and I firmly believe in only taking steps forward with it – higher fidelity, more flexibility, more freedom, more choices. DRM is an insidious, defective by design attempt to make us pay more for the rights we used to have.
So, I won’t buy or support DRM music. However much I’d like to move on into 21st century, I’m stuck right where I was in 1995 until this tech nightmare collapses or sorts itself out. I will keep buying CDs and ripping my own .MP3s until a real lossless, non-DRM digital music alternative comes to light.
The Soulmate Calculator is one of the hot schemes in the hit-n-run world of online advertising. The ads, which promise to help connect with your soulmate, are the wireless equivalent of the 1-900 number: novelty entertainment with an undisclosed bill that arrives a few weeks later. The ads are being uploaded into the social networking spaces of the internet with amazing efficiency. The affiliates of the site (I suspect grey-area PPC kingpin Shoemoney) are uploading hundreds of thousands of pay-per-click keywords to get the coverage they are now attaining.
The scheme converts well because of the one-click signup and billing that goes straight to your cellphone statement (rather than requiring the you to consciously enter a card number, e-mail, or Paypal address). A lot of folks pay their cellphone by automatic bank transfer these days, and they don’t check their statements carefully. It would be easy to milk some people for quite a while before they realize the $39.98 monthly surcharges tacked on.
Well, people should read the fine print before signing up for anything, right? Good advice, but with the Soulmate Calculator you can’t – unless you have a 900 x 1400 or higher resolution monitor. The landing screen is carefully designed so you can’t see what you’re signing up for (or the multiple charges involved) on a standard-sized screen. You’d have to scroll way down to find out – and there is no reason to, because the “next” button is up high.
I say that because of the non-sequiter selling proposition and the heavily camouflaged terms and conditions, the the Soulmate Calculator is a calculating scam. What do you think?
The cost of competitive pay-per-click keywords (PPC) has risen through the roof. New online advertisers with no clue about prudent pay-per-click bidding strategies are entering the marketplace every hour, and Google is banking more bucks than the Sultan of Burunei off it. In response, seasoned advertisers are trying all kinds of desperate measures to find cheap clicks.
Mortgage leads is one of the spammiest sectors in the online jungle. If you enter your personal info into this landing page , within the hour your phone will start to ring off the hook with high-pressure sales calls. Because one loan can make hundreds of thousands in interest for a lender, the leads sell for a nice price. So do the ads that generate them. “Mortgage loan” goes for around $10.97 – $15.93 per click, according to Google’s Traffic Estimator tool. Mere mortal mortgage marketers must look to cheaper pastures, so they now target irrelevant keywords like “Native American tribes” :
(Do they do wigwam, igloo, and tee pee refinancing?)
Another hot sector is ringtones – the beloved technology that spontaneously injects the chords to “We Will Rock You” into classrooms, offices, and worship services across the nation. This smooth landing page signs you up for them fast. But to see the fine print detailing the monthly fees, you’ll have to scroll way down.
Smart marketers like Shoemoney have made BIG money swinging ringtones via pay-per-click campagins involving millions of keywords. It’s gotten so competitive now, that they’re having to look past the cheaper pastures and right into the barn – by serving ads on “equestrian” related searches:
…just in case your thoroughbred needs a “Camptown Races” ringtone on his new iPhone .
Better watch what you say.
Edelman’s newest flog, or fake blog, is a brilliant little hit campaign designed to intimidate us into showing reverence for Wal-Mart.
They want you to believe that commies like me, who think of Wal-Mart as a cultural and economical contagion, have financial incentive to do so.
(It’s not because being in the place for more than five minutes makes our skin crawl.)
Wal-Mart’s mercenary hit squad did some very convincing pseudomarketing. The writing is clever, the criticism and doubt-casting is masterful (as one would expect from top PR professionals), and the graphic design is brilliant. The spin doctors’ prescription suggests that Wal-Mart is a benevolent corporate “Robin Hood” that provides jobs, charity, and generous discounts to the working classes. The only problem is that is getting bullied by an malevolent conspiracy of paid critics.
Who exactly are these “paid critics?”
Apparently any politicians who receive donations from local businesses (on the brink of getting shut down by Wal-Mart) are the evil kingpins. They are the top of the massive payola conspiracy of Professional Wal-Mart Critics®.
If criticizing Wal-Mart paid anything close to what a high-end journalist writing a flog on the Wal-Mart corporate PR account must earn – I would love to be a salaried, Professional Wal-Mart Critic®!
It would be the easiest job in the world! you would never run out of material for inspiration. You could make it a comedy or a tragedy. You could make it like “Hee Haw,” “Clerks,” or a Michael Moore anti-corporate documentary. The wealth of possibilities for critical satire is even richer than Sam Walton.
Sign me up!
And send me my first check for this piece.