It's time once again to dive into the reader mailbag and see how long I can hold my breath. Today's burning topics: unscrupulous tech support, augmented reality, and the military ambitions of our northern neighbors.
Amazingly I'm still getting emails from readers who read my posts about iYogi's unsavory "support" tactics ("Tech support or extortion? You be the judge" and "The downward (dog) spiral: iYogi exposed") and say yes, it happened to them too.
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E. C., who describes herself as a "loyal Avast user," dialed the number she was given for the antivirus software company's tech support, only to fall into "the unscrupulous clutches of a company called iYogi." She writes:
This experience was gruesome. I was definitely intimidated. I consulted via email my two sons (one is a computer engineer and the other a computer technician). I also inquired about this company at work where my computer support technician has my complete confidence. All three advised me to avoid this company.
I even heard from a PR rep for security firm Webroot:
Over the years, Webroot and our customers have found iYogi's practices to be very frustrating, and we appreciate you bringing them to light publicly. Webroot is not associated or affiliated in any way with iYogi; yet, much to our chagrin, iYogi continues to confuse the marketplace and our customers. We sincerely hope that your reporting will help change that dynamic.
In "Seeing the world through Google-colored glasses," I asked my readers if they'd be willing to wear don those groovy/scary augmented reality specs Google unveiled recently. Reader J. D. responds with a very practical concern I had overlooked:
Nope. Would not wear them, Cringely. ...Can you imagine some 20-something or teenage person watching a video on their glasses while driving to work/party/bar/significant other location? Lawyers would make a ton of money before they were totally outlawed. Even Google might wither under the legal onslaught of liability claims.
On the plus side, the video I embedded of a day in the life of an augmented reality user sparked a trip through memory lane for at least one faithful reader, H. S.:
The TV blurb was kind of nostalgic since I used to work in that area of New York. I commuted daily from Brooklyn. And the Strand bookstore was one of my favorite places, just near enough to be able to walk to and back from at lunch hour. Amazing! The video indicates that it is still there.
In "Google good; Apple and Facebook bad. Any questions?" I suggested that Sergey Brin was a few jokers short of a full deck when he compared the borderless Internet to a tank invasion from Canada. Cringester M. D. responded thusly:
Don't underestimate those Canucks... After all they burned the White House in the past (during the war that Americans think they won and Canadians know they did).
Apparently, Canada won the War of 1812, not us. That means it's really their country, not ours. That's the best news I've heard all week; we've finally found someone else to clean up the mess. I for one welcome our new Mounted Overlords.
Got a bone to pick or a stone to throw? Chuck them my way below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article, "Survey says: We'll pass on Google Glass," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.