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Archive for April, 2011

A Lot of Work for an MP3 Player

April 14, 2011 Comments off

I recently obtained a shiny new laptop running Windows 7, and consequently windows Media Player 12, and I went to do some research on making my MP3 player, a Philips GoGear Jukebox HDD1835/37, work with the new software.

The first thing I found was a warning (using the tag, no less) that Media Player 11 would cause problems, and recommending that users stick with version 10 “or the Software that your product came with.”

Going a little further into the FAQ, I found a page about Vista containg this helpful nugget of information:

The Microsoft operating system usually comes with a set of software files which allow the operating system to recognize and control the functionality of portable device and those software files are known as native drivers. Windows Vista will also include native operating system support for some Philips products while others will require you to acquire software from Philips.

As software may not be available for some or all of the players, it is recommended to keep your existing Windows version and install Windows Vista in a dual boot configuration in order to retain the functionality of your player.

Let that sink in for a moment: Rather than take responsibility and release updated drivers, Philips is telling people to create a dual-boot system. Do you know how hard it is to create a dual-boot system? Maybe it’s not a big deal for the more experienced, tech-savvy users, but for the average end user it’s one of those things you just don’t do on your own. You can easily ruin computers by messing with that stuff.

It’s bad enough that Philips doesn’t seem to care about legacy support. (To that effect, the FAQ for my player hasn’t even been updated to say anything about Windows 7 or Media Player 12.) But I can’t understand why Philips would tell people to make radical changes to their system rather than just trying to get them to buy a newer GoGear. What do you think?

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Some thoughts on online ads…

April 13, 2011 Comments off

I just read the PCWorld article, “Privacy Backlash Over Ad Tracking Debated” by Patrick Miller and Tom Spring. It got me thinking.

For one thing, why do ads need to be targeted? What’s wrong with context-based ads? If I’m on a tech blog, for instance, I want to see ads for tech products and services–insofar as I want to see ads at all, that is. I’ve seen targeted ads that were completely irrelevant to the content I was reading; I don’t visit webcomics sites to buy domain names, for instance.

I also wonder why the pay-per-click model is so prevalent. After all, people pay good money for print and television ads, which (usually) can’t be clicked. This is because simply seeing an ad–even a bad one–creates a degree of brand recognition that sticks around long after the memories of the ad itself have faded. There was a study to this effect done in the 80’s, but I can’t remember offhand which journal it was in. So why do some ad programs only pay for clicks? My guess is that it’s so advertisers can get something for nothing.

Come to think of it, I am actually quite surprised that anyone would click on an ad. For me, clicking a banner ad or even a sponsored search result seems like almost as bad an idea as clicking a link in a spam e-mail. That’s probably just me being paranoid, though.

Oh, well. Advertisements are part of online life, so it won’t do me any good to complain about them. I certainly would rather have them than part with freemium services. But I do hold out some hope that the debate over online ads, and targeted ads in particular, leads to better ads and a better online experience.

We’ll see.

Categories: Uncategorized