NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Privacy glitches, installation hitches

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: Privacy glitches, installation hitches

It’s a new year, so that means another series of New Year’s resolutions. This year I’ve resolved to lose 4.5 kilograms, convince Pammy to give me one more chance (for the 347th time), and stop whining so much about Microsoft and SCO. OK, I’m kidding about the last one -— a guy can only handle so many big changes in one year.

Roots Redux: Another resolution is to catch up on the email that’s been cluttering my inbox. For instance, last month’s item on LA County’s desire to ban the phrase “master/slave” when describing computer hard drives brought forth a flood of alternatives. Suggestions include lawyer/client, lord/serf, government/taxpayer, and my personal favourite, pimp/ho.

The Hits Just Keep on Coming: Apple iTunes has apparently unveiled a new service that lets customers see what music strangers have downloaded. One Cringester says he’s gotten a series of emails confirming purchases made by another guy with the same first name, along with the fellow’s address and some credit card information. My tipster notified Apple of the privacy glitch numerous times, only to receive more emails intended for his namesake. I understand another guy named Cringely has downloaded The Very Best of David Hasselhoff and The Ethel Merman Disco Album.

Quicken Dirty: Most companies would kill to have people install their software, but it seems Intuit isn’t one of them. I’ve received several letters from users who can’t seem to get their computers to accept the little buggers. One faithful correspondent tried upgrading to Quicken Deluxe 2004 and found himself trapped in an endless loop as the software demanded he uninstall his old version — over and over and over. (He finally installed 2004 into a new directory and manually imported his old data.) Another user who couldn’t install TurboTax received this nugget of wisdom from Intuit chat support: “If you are unable to install TurboTax because your computer lacks drive C, please return your TurboTax 2003 product for a refund.” And if your computer lacks a power supply or keyboard, you’re probably using an Etch A Sketch.

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