Let's not kid ourselves, Best Buy's Geek Squad division isn't exactly a respected establishment in DIY circles, and referring someone to Geek Squad for tech support is like, well, does this even need an analogy? No offense to any of our readers who may work as a Geek Squad tech, but you know what they say about a few bad apples.
What's even worse -- and we thought unthinkable -- is when the manufacturer of one your computer parts suggests calling Geek Squad to diagnose your failing gear before they'll replace it. That's exactly what one user who wrote into The Consumerist claims happened when his Netgear DGN2200 wireless router with DSL modem went on the fritz.
"Five calls to [Netgear's] tech department and it is still not working," the user claims. "On the fifth and final call they suggested I call the Geek Squad (approximately $139 for them to come to our home) to troubleshoot it and if it proves the modem is bad they will send me a new unit at that time (which I only paid $79 to begin with)."
It doesn't take a math whiz to figure out that's a bum deal. Assuming it all went down the way the user claims it did, let's hope this was an isolated incident.
Security is important, yo. While a lot of sites on the ol' World Wide Web might support HTTPS connections, that doesn't mean that typing www.sitename.com into your browser will always pull up an encrypted connection between you and your final location. But don't take my word for it. Quoth the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
"Many sites on the web offer some limited support for encryption over HTTPS, but make it difficult to use. For instance, they may default to unencrypted HTTP, or fill encrypted pages with links that go back to the unencrypted site."
So how, then, do we address this problem? Step one is staring at the little lock icon within your browser. If the lock ain't locked, then you're not rocking a secure connection. Easy as that.
It seems that AT&T had to learn the hard way that you simply don't threaten your customers with cease and desist orders for trying to get in contact with the company's CEO via email. In the wake of the media backlash for doing exactly that, Randall Stephenson, the CEO in question, has issued an apology to Giorgio Galante, the subscriber who committed the egregious act of not just sending one email, but TWO emails over the course of two weeks. The nerve!
"We are apologizing to our customer," AT&T said in a statement. "We're working with him today to address his questions and concerns. This is not the way we want to treat customers. From Facebook to significant customer service channels, AT&T strives to provide our customers with easy ways to have their questions addressed. Because of this incident, we are reviewing our entire process to ensure a situation like this does not happen again."
Galante's first email was a request to bump up his iPhone upgrade eligibility and sell him a tethering plan. The following week, Galante send a second email letting the CEO know he wasn't in support of AT&T's new data rates and as a result would be switching to Sprint.
Despite the apology, which Galante says he feels was sincere, he still plans to head over to Sprint and pick up an EVO 4G.
We're not sure why anyone would choose to kick it with Vista, but if you absolutely refuse to step up to Windows 7, you're going to want to make sure you've installed one of the available Service Packs. As of yesterday, Microsoft cut off support for unpatched copies of Vista, putting the original OS out to pasture.
"Under the former service pack support policy, when a service pack reached the end of support, customers were no longer eligible to receive troubleshooting help from Microsoft Customer Service and Support, including assisted telephone support, security updates, or non-security hotfixes," Microsoft said in a blog post.
In the same blog post, Microsoft also announced that it has updated its Service Pack Support policy to provide customers with limited troubleshooting on unsupported service pack versions. This "limited troubleshooting" includes:
Break/fix support incidents will be provided through Microsoft Customer Service and Support; and through Microsoft’s managed support offerings (such as Premier Support).
There will be no option to engage Microsoft’s product development resources, and technical workarounds may be limited or not available.
If the support incident requires escalation to development for further guidance, requires a hotfix, or requires a security update, customers will be asked to upgrade to a supported service pack.
On a side note, Microsoft isn't pulling the plug for support on Windows XP SP2 or all versions of Windows 2000 until July.
Even as the economy starts to pick back up, times are still tough in the tech industry, and that's not so bad for HP. According to two separate research reports by Gabriel Consulting Group and Alinean Inc., businesses are increasingly moving away from Sun Microsystems and IBM, and migrating over to HP's budgeted solutions.
"When Bernalillo County needed to provide additional services to residents, we turned to HP to provide an infrastructure that could help us cut costs and implement applications faster," said Paul Roybal, chief information officer, Bernalillo County. "By deploying Integrity server blades with HP-UX, we decreased the number of physical servers, improved overall performance as well as reduced power and cooling requirements by 40 per cent."
Seizing the opportunity, HP makes it easy for customers to switch by doing things like offering a Solaris Software Transition Kit to simplify the migration of Solaris applications to HP-UX.
Citing a 2009 report by Alinean titled "The business value of HP-UX 11i V3," HP is pointing out to potential customers that over a three-year span, HP-UX 11i v3 running on HP Integrity BL870c can lower total cost of ownership by 23 percent compared to IMB AIX 6.1 running on IBM BladeCenter JS23.
Listen up Mac fans - if you wish to continue running Mozilla's Firefox browser, you may want to considering upgrading your OS, at least if you're still rolling along on Mac OS X 10.4. Going forward, Mozilla will no longer support Tiger with upcoming Firefox releases.
"We would like to take advantage of more modern technologies on Mac OS X, and 10.4 support has been a hindrance," Josh Aas, one of Mozilla's Mac experts, said in a mailing list post. "We are planning to make the decision to remove 10.4 support final and remove the code from the tree. If you have any strong objections please let us know now."
Predictably there has been a spattering of objections, such as one user who laments that "I still have two PowerPC machines that use OS X 10.4.11... As it stands now, it is impractical for me to update either machine due to lack of funds." Another user suggested Mozilla create two browsers, "one with all the fancy new stuff, then one for us poor people that can't drop $3,000 at the drop of the hat."
For those that object, we have a much better solution - see here.
This week's Web App of the Week isn't so much for you, but your friends, family, and users. If you ever tried your hand at Web development--doesn't have to be professional, even amateur Web creation will do--you'll know that the strangest of problems can pop up in the strangest of places. A little CSS misstep here, a little HTML coding boo-boo there, and your perfectly constructed three-column layout has somehow crafted itself into a Tumblr page. And it's blinking. And it's hacking off your grandmother who just wants to see pictures of your recent family vacation.
But that's okay. Like that one insurance advertisement featuring the guy with the soothing voice, your grandmother, user, friend, or angry forum commenter will be in good hands with the Web App Support Details.
I am getting an HP TouchSmart tx2z Tablet PC in the next couple of weeks for college. However, I need to install Windows XP on it, as it’s a requirement for the engineering software I will be using. Is it possible to repartition the hard drive and still keep the copy of Vista that comes preinstalled? If so, how would I do it? I don’t want to pay for a laptop with Vista on it, just to lose it for XP. Especially with Windows 7 right around the corner.
Read the answer to Andrew's question after the jump.
The attack proceeds in a routine way with unsuspecting online banking customers being led to a phishing page designed to extract their account details. After these gullible visitors are through with the first page, instead of being sent to another phishing page or to the genuine website, they are lead to a fake live-chat support window. The fraudster at the other end, posing as a customer support personnel, then tries to extract more account details from them through social engineering.
According to RSA, the fake live chat support window is powered by Jabber, an open source instant messaging protocol. “While at this point RSA has witnessed only a single instance of this attack, we are recommending extra vigilance to operators of all online banking websites and other websites where user credentials are targeted,” RSA wrote on its blog.
If you haven't yet made the plunge to Firefox 3.0, you might want to put it near the top of your to-do list (don' forget to call your mother as well). Should it still slip your mind, Mozilla will actively be encouraging users to upgrade.
"With the holidays fast approaching, later today Mozilla will start offering a gift to Firefox 22.214.171.124 users - a free upgrade to Firefox 3.0.4," Mozilla wrote in a blog post, "the very latest and best browser from Mozilla offering more speed, requiring less memory, and providing the safest and easiest web browsing experience available."
Yes, Firefox is still free, despite what we assume is a tongue-in-cheek blog. But it's not all a laughing matter. According to TGDaily, Mozilla might be making plans to kill off support for Firefox 2.0. Should that happen, those using the older browser could find themselves at increased risk of attack, particularly as hackers have now started targeting Firefox with malware written solely for the open-source browser.