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Gripes in the media on topics that I don't cover
Highly recommended: Learning to love the computer, warts and all. Dave Barry. January 6, 2002. Miami Herald. Quoting: "At least once per day, without fail, my computer...has some kind of emotional breakdown. It simply stops working -- often when I'm not touching it -- and it puts a message on the screen informing me that an error has occurred. It does not say what the error is, nor where it occurred." Mr. Barry gripes about his computer sending an entire mornings worth of work to "the Planet of Lost Data" and responds to reports of Windows XP being the most reliable version of Windows with "this is like saying that asparagus is the most articulate vegetable ever.'' Ouch.
The Bug Blog - an (almost) daily look at computer bugs. By Bruce Kratofil.
Advice on Shopping For a Windows PC -- If You Must Buy Now by Walter Mossberg in the Wall Street Journal. October 26, 2006. Quoting: "If you're thinking of acquiring or giving a new Windows desktop or laptop computer this holiday season, don't do it. I suggest that, if at all possible, you wait around 90 days and get that new Windows machine in February." His point being don't buy a machine with Windows XP but wait for Vista. He could not be more wrong. Don't take computer advice from the Wall Street Journal. You wouldn't take mutual fund advice from PC Magazine would you?
The worst technologies in the third quarter of 2006 from ZDnet.
Worst new apps on Download.com October 11, 2006.
Consumer Reports was brutally irresponsible in their tests of anti-Spyware
The Consumer Reports testing scandal: It's far, far worse than we initially thought.
by Alex Eckelberry of Sunbelt Software. August 25, 2006. In brief, that
anti-Spyware programs do three things:
Scan for Spyware , Remove Spyware and Block new Spyware from infecting your system. In their recent review of anti-Spyware programs, they only tested the blocking feature. And, they tested that using a single diagnostic program, not with any real Spyware at all. Disgraceful.
David Letterman's tribute to Bill Gates and Microsoft at Youtube.com. July 29, 2006.
Angry Customers Use Web to Shame Firms by Kim Hart in the Washington Post July 5, 2006. About gripes with AOL, Comcast and more.
Regarding Windows bug fixes released via Windows Update: "... those tens of millions of poor innocent folks who don't know about the Windows Update service. You can't write off users who don't use the Windows Update service as "ignorant." They are not ignorant at all - naďve perhaps. Naďve that is, for believing that the Microsoft ads that Windows XP was safe. These folks are no different, in fact, to purchasers of automobiles with safety defects. We don't call these people ignorant, we call them victims. And make no mistake: Windows XP is as clearly defective as any early model Corvaire or Ford Pinto." From Gizmo Richard's Support Alert Newsletter June 15, 2006
Shoot The Messenger by WSJ columnist Jeremy Wagstaff June 14, 2006. A gripe-ridden experience with MSN Messenger that ends with: "Advice for today: Until further notice, don’t install anything that, well, has Microsoft on it."
Yet another reason not to use the Best Buy Geek Squad: Couple's Supposedly Destroyed Hard Drive Purchased In Chicago June 1, 2006.
The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time by Dan Tynan PC World May 26, 2006
Has HP Quality Become an Oxymoron? by Ed Foster May 16, 2006. Quoting: "Are the words "HP" and "quality" becoming contradictory terms? Recent gripes from readers make it seem more and more like problems with HP hardware, bundled software, HP support, or all three are close to tarnishing HP's once proud image beyond repair."
Lazy Programmer, Didn't Handle Exception Joel on Software May 5, 2006. Yet another example of programmer incompetence.
An Open Letter to Security Vendors by Michael J. Miller April 19, 2006. Quoting: "... I've talked with a lot of computer users lately, and the conclusion is inescapable: Your products just aren't good enough. Some of your products don't do a complete job; others are packaged in ways that customers don't understand; parts of some software don't work properly, and other programs are so big that they cause the very problems customers want to avoid."
Why Winternals Sued Best Buy blog entry by Mark Russinovich April 21, 2006. In my opinion, Mark Russinovich is a very trustworthy source. If he claims that Best Buy and the Geek Squad were stealing his software, I believe him. If you have a choice, avoid Best Buy. Winternals also issued a Press Release Winternals Obtains Federal Court Restraining Order in Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against Best Buy's Geek Squad. Quoting: "The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Austin, alleges that Best Buy and Geek Squad have previously and continue to knowingly and fraudulently utilize pirated and illegal copies of Winternals' copyrighted software, including the award-winning ERD Commander 2005, a system repair and data recovery tool that boots a dead computer into a familiar Windows-like, point-and-click environment for rapid system recovery. The software helps users restore deleted data, reset passwords, copy files to and from unbootable systems, edit the registry, and access Restore Points on a dead Windows computer."
Where Vista Fails by Paul Thurrott April 19, 2006. Quoting: "Promises were made. Excitement was generated. None of it, as it turns out, was worth a damn. From a technical standpoint, the version of Windows Vista we will receive is a sad shell of its former self ... Shame on you, Microsoft. Shame on you, but not just for not doing better ... we do not and should not expect to be promised the world, only to be given a warmed over copy of Mac OS X Tiger in return. Windows Vista is a disappointment. There is no way to sugarcoat that very real truth".
Complexity causes 50% of product returns: scientist by Reuters March 6, 2006. Quoting: "Half of all malfunctioning products returned to stores by consumers are in full working order, but customers can't figure out how to operate the devices, a scientist said ..."
A sleazy QuickTime trick by Ed Bott. January 21, 2006. There is a serious bug in old versions of QuickTime. However, Apple wants you do download iTunes along with QuickTime. Ed shows where to get just QuickTime without iTunes.
You realize of course, Hiro, that this will have to come out of your paycheck December 9, 2005. Was that 1 share of stock you wanted to trade or 610,000? Oooops.
The Great Rebate Runaround By Brian Grow in Business Week magazine. Consumers hate the hassles and hoops. Companies love them unredeemed. Now regulators are wading in. November 23, 2005.
History's Worst Software Bugs By Simson Garfinkel in Wired November 8, 2005.
The Office Watch Newsletter on problems installing SP2 for Office 2003. October 13, 2005. Quoting: "... it is reasonable to expect a higher duty of care than has been demonstrated over a succession of Office updates. There's no excuse for releasing updates with known bugs - especially when they are simply covered by checking the computer setup before starting the patch. There's no excuse for unhelpful error messages that give no decent indication of what the problem might be. It is nothing but arrogance to fail to document immediately known bugs, errors in the update process or even the single new feature. Some readers have said they will wait for the 'fix' which assumes there will be one. Based on past experience, Microsoft will ignore the problems and questions rather than tackle the updating problems in a responsible way."
Cybersecurity: We Are On Our Own in Sunbelt Software's W2K News newsletter . October 17, 2005. Quoting: "...if the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity functions are in danger of becoming another FEMA disaster, meaning reacting sluggishly to a cyber threat. Well folks, of course! Do we expect this vast bureaucracy run by a former lawyer to protect us from a national cybersecurity threat? Hah! We're on our own ... How is Redmond going to help with this? Not a lot, actually it looks like they are not helping at all."
Software glitch stalls some Toyota hybrids CNET News.com October 14, 2005. "A software glitch in some 2004 and 2005 Priuses can make a warning light come on without cause, and in some cases shut down the gas engine altogether..."
FEMA may be the disaster. FEMA disaster website IE-only by Ken Fisher. September 6, 2005. Ars Technica. Want to file for aid online? Better run Windows by Gary Krakow MSNBC September 6, 2005. FEMA site requires assistance seekers to use Internet Explorer 6. Horses mouth.
The Lonely Apple Repairman? by David A. Andelman at Forbes.com. July 6, 2005. An unhappy Apple computer repair.
Loopholes In Anti-Spyware Programs, Part 2 by David Utter July 7, 2005. "Some software vendors, under pressure from makers of adware programs, secretly removed some of those makers from being detected as Spyware. Claria, better known to the Net community as the company behind Gator, has had its listings in Microsoft's anti-Spyware program downgraded from 'quarantine' to 'ignore'. The change was made with no notice to users; Claria can now place any program it pleases on an unsuspecting user's system without tripping the Microsoft program."
The Scheme to Discredit BitTorrent by John C. Dvorak June 20, 2005 in PC Magazine. It seems as if there is no reporting going on in the computer trade press.
AP tries to stir up security fears by Ed Bott. May 24, 2005. Associated Press Technology Writer Ted Bridis tries to stir up panic with an alarming story headlined "Hackers Holding Computer Files 'Hostage'". Mr. Bridis made a mountain out of a molehill.
Woody's Office Watch newsletter. May 24, 2005. "After all the talk from Microsoft about increased security it's a shame to see that there are outstanding security flaws from mid-March that have yet to be addressed. That's in addition to a new flaw uncovered by eEye. These flaws have impacted on Internet Explorer and Outlook ... Microsoft seems to have fallen back on its old lethargic ways with security concerns getting glib and canned media responses that mean nothing. In this case Microsoft says: "At this time, Microsoft is not aware of any malicious attacks attempting to exploit the reported vulnerabilities, and there is no customer impact based on this issue". So it seems we're now back at the old corporate policy that security issues were not a concern unless the problem is 'wild' and was directly affecting customers - sigh."
Trend Micro customers suffer weekend mayhem ZDNet (UK) April 25, 2005. Trend Micro apologized Monday for distributing a faulty software update that caused IT workers around the world to spend the weekend fixing their systems.
A Digital Crime Wave by Walter Mossberg in Smart Money. April 2005. Quoting: “The Windows computing platform is in a genuine crisis. Windows computers are being attacked, every day, by an international army of digital criminals who seek to spy on users, turn their own computers against them and deface, corrupt or destroy their data. There have long been computer viruses, but until the past couple of years, they were mainly a nuisance. Now they have grown into a serious problem … And the virus plague has been trumped by a new type of malicious software, Spyware, which can track your activities, bombard you with unwanted ads, even steal your identity.”
Glitches in Booking First Class Online By Bob Tedeschi in the New York Times April 10, 2005. People booking first class air fares online have to deal with technological problems too.
The Rebate Debate: Why Were They Late? FTC Settles Charges Against CompUSA March 11, 2005. Federal Trade Commission. Action Is First Challenging a Retailer’s Promises for Third-Party Rebates.
My Computer Meltdown by Lisa DiCarlo of Forbes.com. February 24, 2005. A computer reporter gets hit with malware.
The security software industry wants you to be afraid by Ed Bott February 22, 2005
Want a New Headache? Try to Uninstall by David Pogue in the New York Times February 17, 2005
Government Computer Blunders Are Common from the AP. January 31, 2005
Followup: The Rebate Debate An excellent article on rebates that recounts reader feedback, both the good and the bad. A must read for anyone who has ever filed a rebate. January 18, 2005. This is a follow-up to The Rebate Hassle: Is it Worth It?. January 11, 2005. Both are from the WinXPnews newsletter by Sunbelt Software
Quoting: "Microsoft's entry into the anti-virus and anti-Spyware businesses ... makes good business sense for Redmond, [but] it makes little or no sense of any sort for customers because Microsoft simply isn't very good at this type of business ... They [Microsoft] allowed viruses and Spyware to get as bad as they are, and now they want us to pay them to make things better. Shouldn't they be paying US?" from Help Me Help You by Robert X. Cringely. January 14, 2005.
Free Microsoft Program To Battle Spyware Has Some Serious Flaws by Walter Mossberg in the Wall Street Journal. January 13, 2005. Quoting: "... some of the flaws in this first release are especially disturbing because they make it appear that the company may be subtly using its security software to promote its other products, at the expense of competitors."
The Problem With PayPal by Anne Kandra PC World magazine, January 3, 2005. Many of the payment service's users are dissatisfied, but alternatives are few.
Computer problem grounds Comair flights December 25, 2004, Reuters. About 1,100 flights of regional U.S. air carrier Comair were grounded on Christmas Day by a computer glitch that threatens to keep the airline on a limited schedule for some days. See also Computer Snafus Continue to Plague Airlines in eWeek December 27, 2004.
There is a bug fix for the Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you didn't read this however, you wouldn't know. See my Adobe Acrobat Reader gripes December 18, 2004.
Quoting Ed Foster: "The last few months has seen the biggest wave of Symantec gripes since I started the Gripe Line. And that's saying something, because customers of Norton anti virus products have long been a particularly rich source of gripe fodder. But what is it exactly that has so many readers sick of Symantec at the moment? That's not going to be an easy diagnosis to make, because the symptoms are many." December 6, 2004.
Ten to Avoid—The Worst Products of the Year by Jim Louderback in PC Magazine. December 3, 2004.
Prima donna of a printer gets ink jets in a jam By Beth Quinn in the Times Herald-Record November 15, 2004. More than just printer problems. Quoting: "I installed a new McAfee virus scan program (to keep viruses out), a SpySweeper program (to do something, I forget what, but my computer friend told me I needed it) and ZoneAlarm (to do something else, I forget what also). The consequence of this is that all three of them keep detecting each other. Then each decides that the other is the enemy ... and then they all develop hysterics."
Computer Loses 4,500 Votes in N.C. from the Associated Press November 4, 2004. Voting officials believed a computer that stored ballots electronically could hold more data than it did. UniLect Corp., the maker of the machines told officials that they could store 10,500 votes, but the limit was actually 3,005 votes.
Don't Use HostCentric Web Hosting by Fred Langa in the Plus Edition of the October 21, 2004 Langa List newsletter. A web site of Fred's was non-functional for a week, despite the underlying problem being fairly simple. I had my own Hostcentric gripes
Sampling a World of New Ways to Grapple With the Web The New York Times October 11, 2004. Quoting ".. Internet Explorer... has grown into a problem in its own right. Software developers complain about it. Ordinary users get sick of the pop-up fireworks. Even in corporate America - which finds its allegiance to Microsoft routinely tested - business users are being asked to switch from Explorer to the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox for security reasons. What went wrong with Internet Explorer is a big subject. But one answer, apart from the mediocrity of the software itself, is that it sided with the commercial purposes of the Internet and not with the user."
So too the US House of Representatives. On October 5, 2004 they passed an anti-Spyware bill. A story about this from the AP said that members of a House panel had over 60 varieties of Spyware on their own computers. House OKs Bill Imposing 'Spyware' Fines October 5, 2004
Bill Gates has had his home computers infected with Spyware. :-) Gates: Microsoft to offer anti-spyware CNET News.com October 1, 2004.
Blue Screen of Death Why your computer still crashes. by Paul Boutin in Slate September 30, 2004
Handler's Diary by Tom Liston. September 26, 2004 GDI Vulnerabilities : An open letter to Microsoft. Quoting: Your “GDI Scanning Tool” is worse than useless. Run it, and it tells you that you "may be vulnerable", and directs you to Windows Update and Office Update. Go to Windows Update and update everything you can find. Go to Office Update and do the same. Run the scanner again, and it tells you that you "may be vulnerable", and directs you to Windows Update and Office Update. Lather, rinse, repeat.
"If you use a Windows personal computer to access the Internet, your personal files, your privacy and your security are all in jeopardy. An international criminal class of virus writers, hackers, digital vandals and sleazy businesspeople wakes up every day planning to attack your PC. And ... Microsoft, has made this too easy to do by carelessly opening numerous security holes in the operating system and its Web browser." by Walter Mossberg in How to Protect Yourself From Vandals, Viruses If You Use Windows September 16, 2004.
Windows XP SP2 includes a new Security Center that reports on the status of your firewall, AntiVirus and Windows Updates all in one place. Good thing? Not when it's a simple matter for a malicious program to lie to it. Windows XP SP2 Security Center Spoofing Threat PC Magazine August 25, 2004
Where is the Windows 2000 Service Pack? By Jim Rapoza in eWeek August 23, 2004. Quoting: "For the 90 percent of Windows users who don't run Windows XP, there is no improved default configuration ridding the system of unnecessary services that are tempting targets for attackers ... no new version of Internet Explorer ... and there likely never will be."
In a review of Windows XP Service Pack 2 in the Wall Street Journal, Walter Mossberg said "SP2 falls way short of what Microsoft could have done to fix the miserable state of security in Windows." Free Security Update To Windows XP Has Value but Falls Short August 19, 2004
The Bottom 10: Worst Software Disasters by John C. Dvorak in PC Magazine August 16, 2004.
A Digital Doctor Treats Computer Contamination By Glenn Paterson in The Washington Post August 15, 2004. The author claims to be a computer expert but made many mistakes in dealing with a Spyware infested computer. If I was incompetent, I wouldn't advertise it in the Washington Post.
What a Tangled Web I Wove By Kathleen Day in the Washington Post August 15, 2004. The author's computer was infected with Spyware. Quoting: "I wondered if maybe some of the programs I was trying to kill weren't really Spyware but something essential to Windows that I shouldn't try to delete. I called Microsoft and was passed from operator to operator as I asked where I could find a list of legitimate Microsoft applications so I would know what to kill and what to leave alone. But the only response I got from one person after another -- most of them in foreign tech-support centers like those in India I had been reading so much about lately -- was that I needed to go to Microsoft's online sales. After 45 minutes of this, I hung up."
Microsoft is doing my job: Some programs seem to stop working after you install Windows XP Service Pack 2 "By default, Windows Firewall is enabled and blocks unsolicited connections to your computer. This article discusses how to make an exception and enable a program to run by adding it to the list of exceptions." Then again Larry Seltzer says this is not nearly enough, and he's right. Dealing with the SP2 Installation Fallout August 16, 2004
Don't Toss That Personal Firewall By Larry Seltzer in eWeek August 5, 2004. Gripes about the Windows firewall in Windows XP SP2.
Cat and Mouse - Problem for Cops on eBay Beat: Crooks Keep Getting Smarter by Nick Wingfield on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. August 3, 2004. The FTC received more than 166,000 Internet-related fraud complaints in 2003, about half involved online auctions. The good guys don't have the staff or expertise to keep up.
Twice in the last few days someone I know was sent a virus as an attached file to an email message. Desktop versions of Norton AntiVirus did not detect the virus even with the latest virus definition updates. In both cases, after detaching the virus from the email, Trend Micro's online Housecall did detect the virus. July 26, 2004.
Top 10 Usability Blunders of the Big Players by Trenton Moss July 26, 2004. Dumb things done at web sites belonging to the NBA, ESPN, Boeing, Real Player and more.
Walter Mossberg Does What WSJ Claims, But He Still Falls Short by Paul Thurrott July 22, 2004. Quoting: "I'm terminally tired of the over-hyped and unimpressive Walter Mossberg. In today's Wall Street Journal, Walta reviews the Apple AirPort Express, and there are so many problems with this review, I don't even know where to start."
New Microsoft patch doesn't plug all holes Security expert breaks into fully patched Windows systems. InfoWorld July 7, 2004
Fred Langa wrote in his newsletter that web hosting company Hostway has gone downhill and he moved three web sites away from them. July 1, 2004.
Survey: Dell customer satisfaction unsatisfactory CNET News.com June 28, 2004
Not a good time to be an IE user. Thanks to known bugs without fixes, your computer can get infected with malware just by visiting a web site. Researchers warn of infectious Web sites June 25, 2004, CNET News.com
Walter Mossberg in the Wall Street Journal. June 24, 2004. "Microsoft Office for Windows is the world standard for ... word processing, building spreadsheets and creating presentations. But Microsoft hasn't added any fundamental innovations for consumers to these core elements of Office since around 1995."
Us Like Spies How computer users ask to be doomed to viruses and Spyware. By Clive Thompson in Slate June 23, 2004
Microsoft, Spend Your Money! by John C. Dvorak in PC Magazine. June 22, 2004. With billions and billions of dollars, why can't Microsoft fix its software?
Roxio Easy Media Creator 7 reviewed by Walter Mossberg in the Wall Street Journal June 17, 2004. "Roxio has done a lot to create a more unified user interface ... But in my tests I found these efforts to be mainly skin deep and sometimes confusing. And I encountered a number of flaws and defects ... it took three tries to create a multimedia DVD that actually played."
New IE Holes Defy Latest Patches IDG News Service June 11, 2004. Four new errors have been discovered in Internet Explorer that could allow someone to run attack code on Windows systems, even if those systems have installed the latest software patches.
The computer systems at the Royal Bank of Canada were fouled up for a week! RBC blames human error in the Globe and Mail of Canada June 10, 2004.
Computer Glitches and the Windows Mentality by Paul Murphy LinuxInsider June 10, 2004. Computer problems that affect people's lives are devalued by the news media when they are described as "glitches". They are not glitches. They are the logical outcome of pressure-induced incompetence and idiocy at work. Try it first on the production system? Of course. Test on the customer's dime? Efficient!
New ZoneAlarm Version Disappoints by Fred Langa. May 31, 2004
Asus - Where Customer Service is Last Priority By Jason Cross at LockerGnome. Gripes about an Asus motherboard. May 27, 2004.
Sony is about to start selling Double Layer DVD+RW Drives (models DRU-700A and DRX-700UL). I asked Sony about older DVD drives being able to read the top layer or the bottom layer of a data DVD+R DL disc. Sony said "we do not have the information regarding the compatibility of these discs with older DVD drives. They may or may not support these discs."
Symantec patches critical firewall flaws CNET News.com May 13, 2004. The security holes affect Norton Internet Security 2002, 2003 and 2004; Norton Personal Firewall 2002, 2003 and 2004; Symantec Client Firewall 5.01 and 5.1.1; Symantec Client Security 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 (SCF 7.1) and Norton AntiSpam 2004.
Phishing Scam Hits 57 Million Users NewsFactor Network May 7, 2004. Phishing is an economical fraud because it entails a low risk of getting caught while offering a high reward.
Shameless by Frank Hayes in ComputerWorld May 3, 2004. Quoting: "A buffer overrun isn't a subtle bug, and it's not hard to spot -- if you're looking. But Microsoft doesn't want to spend the money to carefully examine every line of code before it ships. That would just be too expensive."
Delta investigating computer glitch that grounded flights Associated Press. May 3, 2004.
Nasty Malware Fouls PCs With Porn By Michelle Delio in Wired. April 30, 2004
Microsoft Confirms Bug in SSL Patch By Larry Seltzer in eWeek. April 29, 2004. Apply the patch, you're at risk. Don't apply it, you're at risk.
Scams, Lies, Deceit, and Offshoring By John C. Dvorak in PC Magazine. April 28, 2004.
Based on reports from 40 people SpamCop blocked all email from Comcast which has 20 million Internet customers. The Langa List. April 26, 2004.
FDIC Warns Banks About Fraudulent E-Mails Associated Press April 23, 2004. Consumers are receiving fraudulent e-mail messages that appear to have been sent from the FDIC. They were not. This is the third scam this year involving a forged FROM address at the FDIC.
AOL Madness (Warn Your Friends) by Fred Langa in his newsletter, the Langa List. April 19, 2004. AOL reads your email and if it contains links to web sites they don't like, the message is deleted. You don't know this happened.
Gateway to customer: Want a refund? Sue us! By Nancy A. Feldman of Computer Shopper. April 2, 2004. Four years ago, Karl Immermann bought a Gateway PC. He had nothing but trouble with it. So he asked for a refund. That's when the trouble really started.
Office XP Service Pack 3. Gripes galore from WOODY's OFFICE WATCH newsletter by Woody Leonhard. March 29, 2004.
Office XP Service Pack 3 problems bite users By Brian Livingston March 26, 2004
Office 2003: Disaster or Comedy? By John C. Dvorak in PC Magazine. March 15, 2004. Needless to say, he thinks it's a disaster. A must read for anyone considering Office 2003.
Taking ownership of the customer by David Strom. March 12, 2004. Gripes about an HP computer, not so much that the PC was a lemon, but moreso about the poor way HP dealt with the problem.
NY Fines PayPal $150K The Associated Press March 8, 2004. PayPal, is paying New York State $150,000 in penalties after misrepresenting its policy on repayment when merchandise doesn't arrive. PayPal stated that it provided the same rights and protections of a traditional credit card transaction, but consumers were often denied those rights.
DHS: Dumb, Huge, Slow by Maryfran Johnson in ComputerWorld, March 8, 2004. If you've been at all worried that the Department of Homeland Security might be doing something worth paying attention to, rest easy. When it comes to having any significant impact on corporate IT security plans, the $36 billion federal agency has been monumentally ineffective.
When Help Is Half a World Away Some PC users complain about overseas tech support representatives. PC World magazine February 25, 2004.
Thumbs Down for Spy Sweeper by Ed Bott. February 23, 2004. After PC Magazine gave its Editors' Choice award to Webroot Software's Spy Sweeper 2.2, I thought I might give this alternative a try. I can sum up my experience in one word: Ugh.
My first 48 hours enduring Mac OS X by Matthew Thomas February 16, 2004. 48 things he doesn't like about the Mac OS X user interface.
New Explorer hole could be devastating Browser users could be fooled into downloading executable files. Techworld.com January 28, 2004
Bullying a kid over his web site. Microsoft Takes on Teen Over Web Site The Associated Press. January 19, 2004.
Why AIM Will Eventually Fail By Lance Ulanoff in PC Magazine. January 14, 2004. The service is run in a "cavalier, pushy, and unwise manner".
Microsoft's Security Problem--and Ours Glitchy software turns us all into unpaid, overworked chief security officers. by Harry McCracken PC World magazine, January 2004
Try It Before You Buy It? Forget It! by Stephen Manes in the January 2004 issue of PC World. Gripes about the HP Pavilion Zd7000 media center notebook, Sony PCV-V100G desktop and more.
Wrangling Your Old Files Into Your New PC By Walter Mossberg in the Wall Street Journal. December 31, 2003. Two programs for moving files between computers failed to work at all - Alohabob's PC Relocator Ultra Control and Desktop DNA Professional.
In Search of Stupidity: Over 20 Years of High Tech Marketing Disasters. A book whose title says it all.
Israel Stops Buying Microsoft Software The Associated Press. December 30, 2003. Microsoft Office was judged too expensive. Government agencies will not upgrade to newer versions of Office. They are working with Sun and IBM in designing a Hebrew language version of Open Office, a free open-source alternative to Microsoft Office.
More and more tech jobs head overseas December 24, 2003 Reuters. U.S. corporations are picking up the pace in shifting well-paid technology jobs to India, China and other low-cost centers, but they are keeping quiet for fear of a backlash. Among the companies cited as keeping quiet are Microsoft, IBM, AT&T Wireless, Disney, CNN and Fox News.
Why MS software is driving me nuts by David Coursey of ZDnet. December 1, 2003
Who is the Biggest Turkey? By Ed Foster, November 26, 2003. An updated Hall of Shame has Dell at the top of the list.
Natural Deselection: Not Even Microsoft Will Last Forever, but They Plan to Try. November 20, 2003. Robert X. Cringely. Quoting: "They will ... grab as much market share and profit margin as possible, squeezing everyone else out of business...No amount of money is enough for Microsoft."
Patches That Patch By Brian Livingston in eWeek. Despite moving to a monthly schedule for routine patches, it is still life as before — which leaves much to be desired. In the weeks the program has been in effect, Microsoft has had to violate the monthly timetable by issuing more frequent patches — and even patching the patches. November 17, 2003
How to fix what's wrong with Windows by David Coursey November 14, 2003. There's a major problem with Microsoft Windows...It's not getting easier to use. And it should be.
Advances in car technology bring high-class headaches USA TODAY November 11, 2003. A BMW 7-series car, when running at highway speeds, spit out compact discs at the passenger, the engine sputtered and lurched and then died. Like many luxury cars, this $80,000 model has the latest advanced technology. It also has bugs.
Fred Langa is moving his web hosting business away from Hostway. His gripes are in the November 6, 2003 edition of the Langa List.
Great Expectations You don't expect software to actually work do you? Gripes about Cisco, Veritas, Dell and Symantec By Ed Foster November 6th, 2003.
Internet ID fraud complaints more than triple USA TODAY October 23, 2003. At least a dozen eBay customers say they were ripped off this month by identity thieves posing as legitimate sellers. Customers of eBay, Best Buy and EarthLink are among recent targets of phisher scams — e-mail with links to bogus Web sites that fish for personal data.
'Keep cool' over computer hassles Nine out of 10 computer users are regularly annoyed by slow, crashing machines, while time wasted fixing problems makes it worse, say security experts Symantec. BBC News. October 23, 2003.
eBay revised their web site in June and some frequent sellers have complained of problems with the search function ever since. The Wall Street Journal tested 1,200 searches and found that about 4% of them failed. WSJ. October 15, 2003. Page B2H.
Avoid the Upgrade Trap eWeek October 6, 2003. ...every product competes with its older versions, but few products have consistently competed as poorly against those older versions as Microsoft Office has. If you go back through all the reviews eWEEK Labs (and PC Week Labs before that) has done of Office, they read like a broken record: "Some nice features but no reason for users to upgrade from older versions." Look closely at some of the cool new features in Office 2003. Almost all of them will require you to upgrade your desktops and your servers. Almost every cool feature won't work with older versions of Office.
Suit: Hard drive size does matter Reuters September 18, 2003. A group of computer owners has filed a lawsuit against some of the world's biggest makers of personal computers, claiming that their advertising deceptively overstates the true capacity of their hard drives.
Security Begins at Home by Stephen Manes in Forbes Magazine September 15, 2003. Bill Gates declared in January 2002: "Our products should emphasize security right out of the box". A year and a half later, they still don't ... Other operating systems have security problems of their own, but this record of failure is shameful from the unchallenged industry leader.
Gripelog Hall of Shame by Ed Foster. A list of the technology companies his readers complain about most frequently and vociferously. September 4, 2003.
Where Do We Go from Here? by Dan Gillmor August 31, 2003. Gripes about viruses, spam, ISPs, Microsoft and more.
A legal fix for software flaws? CNET News.com August 26, 2003. The only way to get better software is to make the vendors legally responsible.
Windows users who just don't get it are to blame for the virus mess By Al Fasoldt August 24, 2003
Microsoft Windows: Insecure by Design The Washington Post August 24, 2003. Quoting: "In its default setup, Windows XP on the Internet amounts to a car parked in a bad part of town, with the doors unlocked, the key in the ignition and a Post-It note on the dashboard saying, Please don't steal this."
As the Worm Turns: Lessons from Blaster Microsoft deserves some blame for the rapidly spreading Web virus -- but so do network administrators, ISPs, small businesses, and individual PC users. By Alex Salkever in Business Week magazine. August 19, 2003
May the Source Be With You By Robert X. Cringely August 14, 2003. Gripes about the Blaster worm and about why Apple doesn't sell more computers. Quoting: Ideally, the IT department ought to recommend the best computer for the job, but more often than not, they recommend the best computer for the IT department's job.
Worms Shouldn't Break Windows by Leslie Walker in the Washington Post. She was not a happy camper after having been infected with the Blaster worm/virus. August 14, 2003.
License Computer Users Using a computer should require at least a minimal level of proficiency. Let's license users. Some serious griping by John C. Dvorak in PC Magazine. August 19, 2003.
Technical support stinks. This is not news, but it made the news thanks to coverage in the September 2003 issue of Consumer Reports magazine. The magazine reports that one third of the time when you contact a software maker for technical support the problem remains unresolved. Very often they found that technical support gives consumers the run-around. They blamed the situation on both cutbacks in support departments and an industry culture that turns out flawed software. When good software goes bad CNN August 8, 2003.
Experts from Johns Hopkins University said that high-tech voting machine software from Diebold Election Systems has flaws that would let voters cast extra votes and allow poll workers to alter ballots secretly. The New York Times. July 24, 2003. Avi Rubin was one of the experts. Dan Gillmor wrote about this too.
Fred Langa on Drive Image 7 and Partition Magic 8 from the June 23rd issue of his newsletter: "DO NOT buy the new Drive Image and Partition Magic, as they currently exist. What disappointments! It really looks like PowerQuest peaked some time ago; the new versions are a real letdown: PM8 is a weak upgrade at best, and DI7 feels to me more like a late beta than a shippable product. My experience with their tech support also was less than stellar..." He offered specific gripes on Drive Image 7 in the July 3rd issue.
Stephen Manes on the things wrong with Windows. Will Windows Longhorn Be Prime Grade or Bull? PC World magazine. June 25, 2003.
An industry study has found that an overwhelming majority of broadband users are leaving their computers wide open for attack by Internet thieves and hackers. CNN. June 4, 2003.
Why I Hate Wireless Woody's Windows Watch. Quoting: "...I’m horribly afraid many people are wasting their money on overpriced wireless gadgets when a wired one is cheaper and more reliable." June 2, 2003.
We love technology — until it refuses to cooperate USA Today. June 2, 2003. Getting technology to work isn't easy. Consumers are fumbling through thick manuals, holding on customer-service phone lines, searching for tech experts or driving themselves mad.
eBay's Worst Nightmare. Scammers are ripping off users. eBay could do more to stop them. FORTUNE magazine. May 12, 2003.
Experts say that computer programs could be more reliable. Defects stem from software complexity, commercial pressure to bring products out quickly, a lack of liability for defects, and poor work methods. Most software is released without undergoing a sufficient amount of testing. The costs of shoddy software AP/USA Today. April 28, 2003
Problems with SBC Web hosting. David Strom. April 21, 2003
Scot Finnie's Top 10 Most Annoying Things About Software. April 3, 2003
Gripes, Edition 314 By John C. Dvorak in PC Magazine. Quoting: "Every once in a while, my buildup of petty grievances regarding the PC reaches a crescendo and I have to react" March 31, 2003.
In their terms of service agreement. Mailblocks reserves the right to send its users unsolicited commercial e-mail. Who is Mailblocks? A commercial spam blocking service. March 26, 2003.
For Laptops, a New Way to Say 'Fast' By David Pogue. New York Times. March 20, 2003. New Centrino based laptop computers come with built in WiFi networking. The gripe? You can't remove or replace the networking hardware. You're stuck with 802.11b networking forever, unable to upgrade to newer, faster kinds of wireless networking.
Net phone service not reliable enough by Mike Langberg in the San Jose Mercury News, March 20, 2003. Gripes about Vonage, a company providing telephone service over broadband net connections.
The More This PC World Changes...Old tech, new tech: The resemblance is a little scary. PC World magazine. March 2003 issue. By Stephen Manes. Some of the author's computer gripes have not changed in 20 years.
This is not a gripe article, just an interesting take on the future of computers running Windows NT4 from David Strom. March 18, 2003.
Bob Lewis in InfoWorld magazine wrote about Star Office 6.0 from Sun. Compared to Red Hat 8.0 in general and Open Office in particular, he found the font rendering miserable. When Red Hat said it was Sun's problem, he tried to register Star Office to contact their tech support. The registration process crashed, multiple times, with of all things, Java errors. March 7, 2003.
Frank Hayes says that making IT work is hard because: "products don't work. And technologies are misapplied. And costs are hidden. And requirements are underestimated ... Nothing works the way it's supposed to. Nothing plays nicely with what we've got. Nothing is as simple as we were told it would be". ComputerWorld February 10, 2003.
After writing the Gripe Line column in InfoWorld for 10 years, Ed Foster notes that there are a handful of companies he could write about every week: Intuit, Network Solutions, Network Associates and Symantec. Quoting: "Microsoft is the now biggest gripe-generating machine of all, but the funny thing is, it didn't used to be". Anniversary bash February 7, 2003
In his newsletter, WOODY'S WINDOWS WATCH, Woody Leonhard reviewed A Tablet PC in the real world and found much not to like. February 6, 2003.
Vaporware 2002 Hot, must-have products promised but never delivered. Wired Magazine. January 3, 2003.
An IT project gone bad. Voter News Service spent between $10 million and $15 million to overhaul their computer systems and it failed miserably. Baseline Magazine. January 13, 2003.
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