It's Friday and that means time for another Friday Rant!
Sony and iTunes, I just thought it polite to let you know that as of today you've made it onto the wedgie list. What's the wedgie list? Well, it's pretty straightforward really. It's a list containing the names of individuals and companies who have acted or behaved in such a way that makes them eligible to receive a wedgie (if you think that's bad, I should also let you know that I have a DeathStar list too, but construction delays mean that I am powerless to do anything to those on that list ... yet).
So, why have Sony and Apple/iTunes both made it onto the wedgie list? Well, read on and I'll tell you, and then you get to judge whether I was right or wrong in putting them onto the list.
Many thanks to the tipster who pointed me in the direction on a post on Engadget about a new option that Sony is offering for customers of the Vaio TZ2000. The service is called "Fresh Start" and it costs $50. Here's what you get for your cash:
Opt for a Fresh Start™ and your VAIO PC will undergo a system optimization service where specific VAIO applications, trial software and games are removed from your unit prior to shipment. Fresh Start™ safely scrubs your PC to free up valuable hard drive space and conserve memory and processing power while maximizing overall system performance right from the start.
Whoa there a second! Let me get this straight. To get a craplet-free Vaio TZ2000 I'd have to pay Sony an extra $50 just to remove all the junk software that it installed on the system that I don't want in the first place? Oh, and to be offered this revolutionary service I have to cough up an extra $100 for Vista Business. How about a different offer, um ... something along the lines of DON'T INSTALL THE STUFF ON THE SYSTEM IN THE FIRST PLACE! Also, why is Fresh Start billed as a "system optimization service where specific VAIO applications, trial software and games are removed from your unit prior to shipment?" Wouldn't it make more sense to simply not install the stuff on there to begin with? What is this, a "bloatware tax?" Oh, right, I forgot, all that junk subsidizes the cost of the notebook and helps keep prices down.
Seriously, I quite like the Vaio range but Sony seems to want to pack them will far too much junk. Asking people to pay for the privilege of having a clean system really is nothing more than money grabbing.
[UPDATE: Over on Dwight Silverman's TechBlog Captain Fantastic has offered a free solution to the Sony craplets - The PC Decrapifier. Not sure how effective it is against what Sony pre-installs but if you don't want to pay $50 it has got to be worth a try.]
[UPDATE 2:10pm 21/03/08: Ed Bott reports that this fee is being dropped by Sony.
"This morning, I had a previously scheduled interview with Sony’s Mike Abary, Senior Vice President of the VAIO division. In what must be the fastest turnaround in corporate history, Abary told me that the $49 charge is dead. 'We didn’t intend that to happen,' he said late this morning, blaming the snafu on an internal miscommunication. 'We’re removing the $49 charge,' he told me."
At the time of writing this update Sony's store is still offering Fresh Start at $49.99. Also, no word on why this service is only being offered for Vista Business edition.]
What I've noticed over the past few days is that systems that have iTunes and the Apple Software updater installed have started to show Safari 3.1 available as an update on systems which have never had Safari installed on them in the first place. And, as usual, in typical spyware fashion, the download option is pre-checked.
Now, my guess is that Safari will be shown as an update option indefinitely, or until one of two things happens:
- I install Safari
- I uninstall iTunes
Want to take a guess at which one of these options I'm most likely to take? Let me tell you now that it won't be that I install Safari.
Have your say!
Thoughts? And remember, since it's a Friday, you can vent your spleen about anything tech-related that annoys you!