Tag Archives: Software

Thu, June 12th, 2014 by Graves and Allen

Not So Smart File Examiner

Some time ago I downloaded an Mac App from the App Store called “Smart File Examiner”.  It billed itself as a program to help you check out files. I thought it was a good idea at first, but after installing it, I had some second thoughts.  For reasons not yet determined, when I tried to open a file (not within the program), with some files, the program intercepted the opening of the file, prohibited it and send mer a message saying that it could not figure out that type of file.

That the program could not figure out some files did not trouble me.  What concerned me was that it appeared to be insinuating itself into all files I tried to open and not letting me open some files that I chose to open.  I found that somewhat curious as it was not listed in the files that open automatically on launch and I had not opened it.  When I tried to turn it off, I discovered that the computer did not seem to know it was open (it did not appear in the Dock or in the list of open files brought up by “Force Quit”.  My next idea was to throw the program out, but as it was open, the OS would not let me dispose of it.

Ultimately, I figured out that the way to dispose of it would be to reboot into “Safe” mode (hold the shift key down while you boot up).  That prevented the program from opening and allowed me to trash it.  So far, so good.  To my surprise, however, I was not done with the problems caused by the program.  When I rebooted the computer, the finder would repeatedly flash on and off, making it impossible to work.  I solved that problem by reinstalling OS X on the computer.  Just to make sure that it was not a computer specific problem, I booted another Mac up in Safe mode and tossed out the Smart File Examiner.  When I rebooted the second Mac, lo and behold, the finder would flash on and off, making it impossible to do any work.  After reinstalling the system on the second Mac, I decided to do a little research and found that I was not the only person having issues with this particular App.  Although I did not find anything about the Finder issue I experienced, I found  a number of people who had experienced the initial issues I had with Smart File Examiner.  Maybe they never got to the Finder problem because most of the posts I read were from people looking for ways to delete the program.

Posted in Product Review, Software | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Mon, May 25th, 2009 by Graves and Allen

SAAS (Software As A Service)

We have seen in recent months a significant increase in the number of software vendors that have shifted from the model of “sell the software in a box” to the model of “sell a subscription”.  The sale of software by subscription, or software as a service offers benefits for both vendor and customer and poses potentially significant problems for the customer.

From the vendor’s perspective, having a subscription-based structure assures the vendor of a steady and consistent income stream.  Instead of a single purchase price of $100 or $200 or even $1000, the vendor gets a monthly payment from each customer of $20 or $50 or more per unit (usually referred to as a “seat”.  While that means less money immediately, it probably means quite a bit more over time than the vendor would have received from direct sales of the software and an occasional significant upgrade.

Use of the SAAS model also relieves the vendor of pressure to generate a significant enough upgrade to justify charging for it, so as to induce customers to pay more to the vendor.  The SAAS subscription model locks the customer into making a payment or losing the right to use the software and, in many cases, that impairs the ability to access data stored in the program or on the vendor’s server or both.

The SAAS model does allow the vendor to make changes in the software relatively quickly and to distribute them somewhat inexpensively.  It also allows for better customer service at a lower cost as the subscription structure will likely mean that virtually everyone has the same version of the software, making it easier to train technical support people to efficiently deal with problems arising out of the use of the software.

Things to watch out for include the fact that if the software stores the data in a proprietary structure, you may lose access to the data if you lose access to the software, either because the company goes under or because you default in payment and they cancel your subscription.

While some of the SASS vendors appear to be responsible and offer good quality and highly useful products, consider the risks before you buy into the model.  Look into what happens if you decide to terminate the subscription for some reason and what happens if the vendor goes under.  You might also look into the question of confidentiality, if you plan to store your confidential data on the vendor’s server.

Copyright 2009, Jeffrey Allen.  All rights reserved.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sun, May 4th, 2008 by Graves and Allen

Caveat Emptor

I must admit that in my some 30 years as a loyal customer of Apple Computer, I never once thought that I would find myself in the position of writing about Apple’s lack of concern for its customers. I knew I paid premium prices for Apple products, but the quality of the products and the support justified the additional expense in my book. Well, it just goes to show how things can change significantly over a quarter century.

Beavis and Butt-Head Do America download

I recently upgraded my MacBook to a brand new MacBook to take advantage of some of the new innovations since my two-plus year old MacBook left the assembly line and notwithstanding Apple’s decision to downgrade the unit by shipping it without any Firewire connectivity.

Actually, the Odyssey I entered upon by buying the new MacBook relates directly to the absence of a Firewire connection. In the old days, when you got a new Apple computer, you simply plugged them together with a fire-wire cable and transferred your identity from the old to the new. download Meet Joe Black Now that Apple sells computers without FireWire, they created a program that transfers the identity much more slowly through the Ethernet connection or via AirPort. I could have dealt with the fact that the program worked more slowly with Ethernet than with FireWire, if it only worked. Unfortunately, it did not. Apple shipped my computer to me at the end of November 2008 with a known defective program on it. The software to transfer my files from the old to the new computer simply would not work. I know for sure that Apple knew the software was defective when it was put on my computer, as an Apple tech support agent (the fifth that I talked to as the first four had no clue what was going on) told me that Apple had released an update to the software in October. Dangerous Liaisons movie augmentation queens breast pravachol

When I asked why Apple would knowingly ship defective software, I got no good answer. When I asked why Apple would not disclose that they had shipped the computer with defective software and that I had to update it before it would work, I again got no good answer. buy Shut Up and Kiss Me! I was told it was a lot of work to change the image Apple uses in manufacturing its computers. Apparently Apple would prefer to avoid that work and let its customers waste their time toiling in a futile effort to make the defective software work. Note, however, that it would take relatively little effort to print a page of instructions respecting the need for the upgrade and packing it in the box with the computer. Apparently, that also proved too much work for Apple to willingly undertake.

To make matters more interesting, during the two days I fought with the defective software I made five calls to Apple’s tech support department.

Razorback dvdrip

In fairness, Apple’s tech support used to be a crown jewel. Now it appears that the jewel fell out of the crown. The first three tech support agents I talked to had no clue what to do or what the problem was (or, if they did, they were not talking).

The fourth rep that I talked to (a “product specialist”) told me that the new version of the software required that I have DVD/CD sharing turned on, a non-intuitive adjustment at best, and one, interestingly enough, that Apple did not include in the instructions for its software.

It was not until my fifth call to technical support that I finally got someone who had and was willing to share any knowledge about the issue. He immediately told me that the update was released in mid-October, and that I needed to get the update before the software would work. Despite his knowledge on this point, he had no idea why almost 6 weeks after releasing the fix, Apple would continue to ship out computers with the bad software and not make any disclosure about it.

I was sufficiently miffed by my experience that I contacted Apple Customer Service to complain about what happened. I got more excuses. The Customer Service manager I talked to explained to me that not getting the most recent software was a matter of what he described as “logistics”. He had no good answer for the failure to make disclosure about the defective software.

Now, I can understand that right after a software upgrade, it may take a bit of time to work the new software into the image used on new computers.

Six weeks appears to be more than enough time for that, however. The Next Best Thing the movie Waking the Dead dvdrip To make matters worse, by way of comparison, my previous experience with Apple is that when they shipped a computer with old software, they disclosed it. When I bought an iMac computer shortly after Tiger was released, the computer came without Tiger installed, but with Tiger disks and a letter telling me that I needed to install it. I would certainly have preferred that Apple send it with Tiger installed so that I did not have to go through the upgrade process; but I had no real problem with the fact that Apple disclosed what happened up front.

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time telling people how much I thought of Apple and its tech support. In the interests of fairness and full disclosure, I felt I needed to tell the other side of the story too. I would be very careful in dealing with Apple in the future, as it appears from my experience that Apple no longer has any significant concern about its customers once it collects its premium prices. I won’t go so far as to tell you not to buy Apple, as I still believe that Apple does generally make good products. Moreover, any number of other companies show a similar disregard for their customers; and Apple does not appear any worse than many of them. Unfortunately for both Apple and its customers, Apple no longer appears any better.

Copyright 2008, Jeffrey Allen.  All rights reserved.

lawsuit prednisone

Posted in Software | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment