Two Annoyances with Microsoft

Written: November 22, 2013

I use and install a lot of software each month, and for some reason Microsoft tends to annoy me the most. Why is that you may ask? Well, let me share two things that happened this week to me. First off, I was trying to login at my Microsoft Live account while using Firefox as my browser. During login the page had a secure address of https://login.live.com/, however the login form was sending my credentials insecurely which means that a bad guy could read my login info and take over my account. Here’s what the security warning looks like with Firefox:

Security Warning

Security Warning

I had expected a large company like Microsoft to have their security act together and not use a broken login page like this.

Secondly, I wanted to install a trial version of Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 to use Publisher to migrate a document to JPG format. During the installation process Microsoft insists that I close two non-Microsoft products: Firefox and Google Chrome.

Close These

Close These

Why in the world does Microsoft care if two other web browsers are running? I cannot recall any other software vendor that forces me to close other apps, just to install their app.

The business world continues to buy and use Microsoft products, and I make sure that my client web sites look good and work well with Internet Explorer, however I stopped using Microsoft apps in favor of all things Google, free, open source or cloud-based instead.

Talking To Your Phone or Tablet

Written: November 15, 2013

Our tablets and smart phones have this nifty feature known as “voice input”, so on an Apple device it’s called Siri and Android hasn’t really given it a marketing name. Just today I was interested in the weather, so I asked both my Android phone and iPad tablet the same question, “What is the weather like right now?”

The good news is that both devices understood exactly what I asked for and presented me answers within a few seconds:

The bad news is that Apple’s weather answer was wrong, because it stated, “It seems to be a bit windy out there”. I wouldn’t consider 3mph to be windy.

Another thing that I use voice input for is when I want to respond to a Text Message. It is much quicker to use voice input instead of hunting and pecking on the tiny virtual keyboard of a smart phone.

Enjoy using voice input on your phone and tablet devices, it works and will save you time.

 

BestBuy – Room for Improvement

Written: November 1, 2013

I am a geek and therefore spend time in stores like BestBuy, both in person and online. Tonight I wanted to check if they had any new iPad Air tablets in stock at my local Tualatin store, so I visited www.bestbuy.com, and looked for the Tualatin store in zip code 97062:

Best Buy - Tualatin

 

I phoned the 888 area code and reached a person that knew nothing about my Tualatin store. Hmmm, www.bestbuy.com is redirecting me to a support center that cannot help me, now that doesn’t sound friendly to me.

Being resourceful I just did a Google search for “Best Buy Tualatin”, and sure enough located the local 503 phone number where they could answer my question in under a minute:

Best Buy - 503

 

The moral of the story is to only provide a local phone number on your web site, even if you are a nationwide company like Best Buy, because loyal customers like me just want our questions answered at the store of our choice. Don’t make your customers call a support center that cannot answer a local question.

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Apple Maps Not Quite Ready

Written: October 24, 2013

You have to credit Apple for being ambitious in creating their own mapping app to compete with Google Maps, however a little testing by me recently shows that Apple has much work to do yet. As an example I asked Apple Maps to find the directions between my home and office and it came up with a circuitous route of 2.4 miles while Google got it right at 2.1 miles:

Next, I asked each mapping tool to find direction from home to Rolling Hills Community Church, once again Google came out on top saving me 1 minute of time by taking into account traffic congestion:

Finally, I compared mapping directions from home to Champoeg State Park, Google found a route 2 minutes shorter than Apple:

My first mapping app was MapQuest, then Google, so based on these results I continue using Google Maps. Maybe in a few years Apple Maps will improve enough to consider using.

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