McAfee Destroyed SiteAdvisor

You may or may not have heard of SiteAdvisor before. I’ve mentioned it a few times on this blog, but usually in passing. Say, when comparing it to . This post focuses on McAfee SiteAdvisor, and the reasons I’ve dropped it. First off, it used to be an independent company. Then it was acquired by McAfee, a company that makes anti-virus software (subscription-based). Before the acquisition, everything was free. After the acquisition, McAfee removed some features and put them into a paid version of the program available as part of their Internet security suite. But that wasn’t enough. They also…

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On Anecdotes and Other Stories

In my family (yes, I’m digressing from tech-talk again), I notice a very disturbing trend. The elder members, meaning those over the age of 55 or 60, tend to have incredible stories to tell that only come out when there is company around. When it’s just us, the spontaneity is just not there to generate the proper atmosphere for storytelling. That isn’t inherently a bad thing. If we were to tell stories to each other left and right, our supply of anecdotes would begin to run low pretty quickly. But think about the implications of having company around while you’re…

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Remember The Milk’s Flawed Sharing Model

Two days ago, I discovered my first glaring error in Remember The Milk. Two days ago, my mom signed up for the service. Two days ago, I shared a few lists with her as an experiment. Two days ago, I had to come up with a good hack, and fast. That hack had to do one thing, and do it well: It had to get the shared lists out of her account. In other words, it had to unshare those lists. The Dissertation One would think that the ability to stop sharing something is an integral part of the sharing…

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Remember The Milk’s New “Pro Tester Program”

I just found out not too long ago that Remember The Milk has launched a new sort of alpha-testing service where users can test out unreleased features before they are finished, polished, and released to everyone. Admittedly, it’s only been available since the middle of my stay in Milwaukee, so I wouldn’t really have found out about it, but now that I’m back I have some things to say about the program. First, a little background. The Pro Tester Program (more on that first word in a moment) is intended to aid in the testing of new features on multiple…

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Internet Explorer Upgrade Nags

Fortunately, Microsoft hasn’t pushed out a required upgrade to Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP yet. They’re definitely trying to get people to upgrade, though. A few times now, I’ve had the Internet Explorer download page from Microsoft.com open on me, instead of my homepage (iGoogle over HTTPS). At the moment, it says, “Upgrade with confidence,” right under the first heading (normal text, below “Internet Explorer 7 downloads”). Sure I have confidence in how much better IE7‘s rendering engine is, but I don’t like the new interface or their implementation of tabs. That’s why I still use Internet Explorer 6.…

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Windows Update Reboot Prompts

No, I wasn’t recently annoyed by one of these, but I thought I’d mention them while I’m out of town and unable to keep up on the latest news. So every PC user has probably seen a restart prompt by now. Windows pops them up every ten minutes after installing updates, trying to get you to reboot the computer and apply the new code. What Windows doesn’t take into account is the fact that you might be in the middle of something that takes more than ten minutes. Granted, there are workarounds (like using the Group Policy Editor), but it’s…

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New Invisibility in Gmail Chat, Unsupported by Other Google Clients

Googlers seem to be spending all their time developing the Google Talk service on the Gmail section of it. Garett Rogers (ZDNet) and Ionut Alex Chitu (Google Operating System) have so far picked up on the story. It is now possible, only in Gmail at the moment, to set your status as “Invisible” like other IM services. You can see which of your contacts are online and available for chat without them knowing that you are available. That is, unless they’ve also discovered the new invisibility feature (in which case neither of you will see each other). So, here’s the…

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Vector Magic’s Bad Decisions

I’ve never mentioned the Vector Magic service before. It’s probably a good thing, too. I just got an email from the service last night that officially announced their split from Stanford University (where they started as a research project). It gave the new domain and other information. Before I get into their mistakes, let me take a stroll down Memory Lane and recall what the service used to be like. When I first found out about the project, Vector Magic was an early-testing application featured on the Lifehacker blog. I clicked through and tried a few vectorizations, and was relatively…

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Customer Experience: Failed Equipment Etiquette

This topic is a bit of a stretch for me, but as my dad won’t write a guest post, I have to do this myself. The subject is an automated parking garage. This happened to us last night. The problem? The exit gate refuses to read the exit card. No big deal, right, just flip it over and try again. Sure. The thing just won’t take the ticket. Everything’s all pre-paid, so the only thing it has to do is eat a paper ticket and open the gate. But it won’t. So my dad hits the call button, right? He…

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Google Bookmarks Hiccups Briefly

For many users, tonight brought a shocking and scary surprise: Dozens, hundreds, even thousands of bookmarks contained in the Google Bookmarks system were suddenly gone. Google Toolbar menus showed empty (or near-empty) listings, as did the Web interface. All seemed to be lost. Only recent additions seemed to be present (though all of mine were gone from the main Bookmarks site). Fortunately, there is a temporary workaround. If this happens to you, head to Google Notebook and click the “Unfiled Bookmarks” link at the top left. It won’t necessarily get you your labels, too, but at least you’ll have all…

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