Google has found itself mired in ever-increasing controversy ever since it fessed up to collecting payload data in over 30 countries. While data privacy watchdogs around the world are becoming more unstinting in their strictures on Google, Britain's data protection authority is not too concerned about the actual impact of the entire Wi-Fi snooping episode.
Britain's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) found no “meaningful personal details” while vetting data samples it collected from Google. Unlike its counterparts elsewhere, the ICO was never too keen on probing the matter and had even asked Google to delete the data at the onset of the crisis in May.
"On the basis of the samples we saw we are satisfied so far that it is unlikely that Google will have captured significant amounts of personal data," the UK's leading data protection authority said in a statement. "There is also no evidence as yet that the data captured by Google has caused or could cause any individual detriment."
I used to be able to connect my Xbox 360 to my Audigy Platinum and have it decode the 5.1 signal. However, in my new X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion soundcard, it looks like Creative disabled this feature in the drivers. Is there any way around this to get my computer to decode 5.1? This feature was supposed to be one of the card’s selling points.
I purchased a 37-inch Westinghouse LVM-37W3SE LCD 1080p HDTV monitor in June 2007. A few months later, I found out that this particular model has faulty firmware that prevents it from working properly with many devices. For example, the Nvidia driver recognizes it as a different model Westinghouse 1080i monitor and refuses to set it in 1080p mode. I contacted customer support and received permission to return it. The monitor was returned in November, and it was received by Westinghouse two days later. I hadn’t heard anything from them until about a month ago, when I finally made a call to find out about the RMA status. (I’ve been out of the country on a business trip.)
I was promised a follow-up by several people, but no one would commit to when the monitor would be sent. They basically asked me to wait until I received my product. It has now been more than seven months, and I believe I have waited long enough! Thank God my trusty 15-inch LCD is still working fine.
I ran across a site that’s selling something called Opal Office. The site, OfficeBestDeal.com, says the suite is compatible with Microsoft Office, but in reality it’s just OpenOffice! You can find that out when you open the program and it says on the first line of text, “OpenOffice.” Apparently, they’re charging $11.95 for it. Is this even legal?
— Marion Randall
Good question, Marion! Answer, as always, lies after the jump.
The Dog asked readers for their feedback regarding registry cleaners, and more specifically, RegCure, which the Dog took a hard look at in the July issue. The upshot? The handful of readers who use RegCure reported no serious issues with the application, but only one person felt that it actually improved system performance. While others thought that registry cleaners in general have nominal value as performance enhancers, some saw other reasons to use them.
This one is a little complicated, but here’s what happened: My girlfriend bought an AMD All-in-Wonder 7500 AGP card from Provantage.com for her father, but it arrived without a remote. He thought the description on the website indicated a remote would come with it, so he asked me to take a look at the website. I thought the product description was ambiguous, so I pinged Provantage about the remote and whether it was OEM or retail packaged.
To make a long story short, a customer service rep told me it did come with a remote and that it was retail boxed. The package my girlfriend’s father received was OEM and came with a driver disc and card—no remote. My girlfriend’s father didn’t want to bother with trying to fight for a return or the remote, so I left it at that. But I think it’s wrong for a company to tell you a product comes with something and then not include it. Provantage.com is definitely not a company I would recommend to anyone who works hard for his or her money.
I was a victim of the Symantec triple-license AV software whose timer started ticking with the first installation (March 2008). I called Symantec’s customer service number and complained, and the company fixed it for me by resetting the timer to start with the third installation. This rectified the situation to my satisfaction, and I learned a lesson.
Fast forward a year to a similar three-pack from Computer Associates. Being careful, I installed all three licenses on the same day to make sure there wouldn’t be any issues with the expiration date. As soon as the software ran an update cycle with the home server, it took three weeks off my license! I called CA and the company fixed the problem. The culprit? It seems the clock started ticking when I bought the package (or so I was told). But how did they know when I bought it?
Customer service didn’t say, but I bet it’s from the rebate form I sent in after buying the software. I had purchased the software locally prior to the expiration date of the current antivirus software on the systems I was using and waited a few weeks until the current licenses expired before installing the new copy—a perfectly reasonable thing to do.
This strikes me as an extremely deceptive practice. I wonder if anyone else has been bitten by this?
Answers for Louis (and the rest of us) after the jump.
In your May 2008 issue, you made warm comments about HD Inspector from AltrixSoft. However, the trial version is not really fully featured, as you said, since you can check only the primary drive. All other drives are blocked. Also, these guys charge sales tax on downloaded software. No physical product is delivered, and there’s no way to complain about this. The real issue is the sales tax. This amounts to a 5 to 8 percent surcharge on the price of the product. I live in Boulder, CO. I highly doubt that the company is licensed to collect sales tax in Boulder, or in any other small town in America. This is fraud, and you should look a bit deeper before recommending some of these software vendors.
Well, Tom, the Dog has an answer for you after the jump.
Dog, some months ago, I bought an inexpensive Linux-based PC from Sub300.com, which was selling older stock to make room for new inventory. I purchased model #13338, which had an AMD Athlon XP 3100+ and 256MB of RAM. The configuration didn’t bother me, as I figured I could upgrade it with parts from eBay. The machine was discounted from $165 to $129. With shipping it was $159. When I received the PC, the configuration wasn’t even close—the CPU was an AMD Athlon XP 1400+.
What will become of our hero? Find out after the jump!