June 26, 2009
Apple Gift Card Suit Filed
Apple is being sued over gift cards. The claim, filed in federal district court in Illinois says Apple markets the cards saying that songs are available for 99 cents. Low and behold, with variable pricing, songs may cost more that 99 cents, or even less than 99 cents. That's why there are disclaimers that read something like "We reserve the right to alter these terms...." I don't know if Apple has a disclaimer, but their lawyers can't be that dumb not to include one somewhere regarding gift cards. File under stupid.
More in CNET.
June 25, 2009
Windows 7 Pricing Announced
Microsoft announced pricing for Windows 7. It gets a bit complicated given the different versions and upgrade possibilities. Ars Technica has it all in a matrix that makes sense (compared to other published reports). Cost is a bit less expensive for comparable Vista SKUs. Good for Microsoft on that one. There will also be a pre-order program that allows for an almost 50% discount for copies of the OS. Microsoft will offer 7 Home Premium for around $49 for a limited time pre-offer, for example. The option starts Friday, June 26th and ends Saturday, July 11th. Details are in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer online only edition here.
June 24, 2009
7th Circuit Upholds Mass Market Sentencing Enhancement for Internet Auction Fraud
The Seventh Circuit on Monday affirmed the enhanced sentencing of Jeffrey Heckel for mail fraud by using the Internet to conduct mass marketing. Heckel conducted Internet auctions for items, cashed checks by winning bidders, and sent inferior items from those advertised. Heckel claimed that only five people were defrauded, and that only one person, the winner, can be defrauded in an auction. The Court analyzed the sentencing guidelines (§ 2B1.1(b)(2)(A)(ii)) and concluded that they support the enhancement because of the number of people the scheme could reach irrespective of the number that were victimized. Recognizing that Internet auctions can attract a potentially large number of competitive bids which drive up the price of an item was enough to justify the enhancement. The opinion is U.S. v. Jeffrey Heckel, (No. 07 CR 41, June 22, 2009). The oral arguments are also available as an mp3 file here.
June 23, 2009
Microsoft's Free Virus Beta Now Available
Microsoft's free real time virus program is available as a beta download. It's available here. Computerworld and PC World have reviews, generally positive . One feature that stands out is the minimal use of resources for background scanning. That's something that commercial virus applications should try some time. The weekly full machine scans of some products can bring even a relatively powerful machine to a slow grind.
What Were They Thinking?
Bozeman, Montana, has eliminated the practice of requiring job applicants to supply their usernames and passwords to their social networking sites. Yes, it is crazy for them to ask for that information at all. Plenty of investigations take place that see the public sides of these sites, and they still bring up questionable material for some targets. One commentator in US News defends the request, sort of. You can read that here. The Wall Street Journal reports on the controversy here.
Netbooks Disappoint Consumers
What a surprise. Consumers confuse netbooks for laptops. Netbooks are light, inexpensive machines geared for web and email. Laptops have the power to run productivity and entertainment applications and do the web stuff. A significant price difference of say, $300, always seems to translate into a less capable (powerful) machine. The story is in Business Week.