Hard-won Lesson

Imagine this little scenario:

  • Your Macbook hard drive fails.
  • You take it to the Apple Store to get fixed.
  • They charge you a fortune for an out-of-warranty repair and then refuse to return your broken hard drive to you – they say it is Apple’s property, not yours.
  • Your original hard drive gets refurbished – and somebody thinks to look at the platters before they zero it for the next person.
  • Next thing you know, your data is for sale on Ebay.

The first 3 bullets happened to Dave Winer – and he has no control now over whether the last 2 bullets become a reality.

What I find especially interesting about this story is that this wasn’t even a case where Dave got a free drive through warranty — he actually paid for the new drive, he paid for the computer itself — yet the original drive was not considered his property. How does that work exactly? And how does Apple get away with an opaque policy with no option for redress?

I sincerely hope that none of Dave’s data shows up in the wrong hands. Apple should hope so too; that is assuming Dave’s story even penetrates Apple’s shiny white corporate iExterior.

My new day of celebration

Who needs birthdays? Instead, I will crown today the day of all days.

This is the day that my McAfee subscription auto-renews. Not that I want it or use it. I just get billed for it every year.

Last year, I was surprised to find the cheerful confirmation of auto-renewal (read: my credit card was charged for USD$40) in my inbox, and immediately called in. The helpful staff refunded my money and instructed me how to alter my online account so that I would not be auto renewed again. I still have the ‘confirmation of account change’ email in my inbox.

Today, I found yet another cheerful confirmation of auto-renewal. I loged back into the McAfee account that I haven’t used for a year to check my account status. It has me listed as signed up for auto-renewal again, and this year I can’t change it myself, I have to get the McAfee customer service folks to change it. Which, of course, I promptly do. After all, I have to get my $$ refunded.

So, to celebrate this day of days, and to aid me in what I fully expect to be an identical conversation with an equally pleasant and obliging customer service clerk next year, I thought I would capture a screenshot of my account auto-renewal preferences page. Note the empty box at the bottom of the picture.

Doesn’t it just make you feel so warm and fuzzy to know that somebody out there cares enough to force you to call them once a year? Talk about the gift that just keeps on giving. It brings a tear to my eye, really it does…

Proof for next year

Interesting Choice before me.

activated2.jpgWell – I’m almost at the end of my Vista pre-activation period.

At this point I get to decide whether I want to continue dual-booting with Apple’s Boot Camp and also access my Vista partition via a VMWare Fusion Virtual Machine.

If I want to keep on choosing to natively boot and virtually boot, I’ll have to pay for Vista twice.  Even though the same code is running on the same CPU.  And even though I can’t ever possibly use both of my licenses at the same time. 

I don’t think I can do it.  I don’t mind paying for value,  but I’m not a big fan of paying twice for the same thing.   The small amount of utility & flexibility that comes with being able to choose between a native or virtual boot process is obviously not worth the cost of an entire operating system all over again.  

Locked down, fenced in, held back.   Enthusiasm dampened, pocketbook closed more out of anger than thrift.  Do they have the right to ask for more money?  Sure.  And they can go right on asking.

I suppose that this cloud’s silver lining is that I won’t have to remember to hold down the option key every time I start my machine anymore…