Monday, March 3, 2008, 9:15pm
Nobody is buying it. Well. Employees, maybe. Microsoft is once again promising interoperability and adherence to standards, but its own version of each. Interoperability that is safe only for noncommercial software excludes Microsoft's number one competitor, Linux. It is noncommercial and commercial, depending on who is using it. So, right there it tells you that this is a promise to do nothing that matters. Microsoft is currently being investigated by the EU Commission regarding the same two issues, interoperability and its behavior pushing MSOOXML as a "standard". This is a promise to remain incompatible with the GPL, as far as I can make out.
Here's the response from the EU Commission. They totally get that this promise is insufficient. They've heard it before, at least four times. And it doesn't wipe the slate clean regarding past violations, even if they meant it. ECIS's Thomas Vinje also issued a statement [PDF] pointing out that the proof is in the pudding, that Microsoft doesn't get to define interoperability unilaterally, and as for standards, if it meant it, it would support ODF. What the world needs, he says, is "a permanent change in Microsoft's behavior, not just another announcement." ECIS' members include Adobe, Corel, IBM, Nokia, Opera, Oracle, RealNetworks, Red Hat, and SunMicrosystems. Here's Red Hat's statement. Here's Andy Updegrove's take. Todd Bishop's coverage on Seattle PI. And here's the video and transcript of Microsoft's conference call, with Steve Ballmer, Brad Smith, Bob Muglia, and Ray Ozzie. Look at Ozzie's expression in the photo on this page.
Thursday, February 7, 2008, 11:48am
This morning the OpenID Foundation announced that Google, IBM, Microsoft, VeriSign, and Yahoo! have joined the board. The OpenID Foundation was formed in early 2006 by seven community members with the goal of helping promote, protect and enabling the OpenID technologies and community. Todayâ€™s announcement marks a milestone in the maturity and impact that the OpenID community has had. While the OpenID Foundation serves a stewardship role around the communityâ€™s intellectual property, the Foundationâ€™s board itself does not make any decisions about the specifications the community is collaboratively building.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008, 1:27pm
Microsoft fired the latest salvo in the increasingly antagonistic document standards debate last week when the company accused IBM of orchestrating efforts to block ISO fast-track approval of Office Open XML (OOXML), a document format devised by Microsoft for its office software suite. IBM isn't taking the accusations sitting down, however, telling Ars that Microsoft is leading a fight against truly open standards.
We spoke to Bob Sutor, vice president of standards and open source for IBM, who responded to Microsoft's recent claims regarding IBM's involvement in the OOXML dispute. "IBM believes that there is a revolution occurring in the IT industry, and that smart people around the world are demanding truly open standards developed in a collaborative, democratic way for the betterment of all," Sutor told Ars. "If 'business as usual' means trying to foist a rushed, technically inferior and product-specific piece of work like OOXML on the IT industry, we're proud to stand with the tens of countries and thousands of individuals who are willing to fight against such bad behavior.
"In particular, we congratulate those countries who have already voted against OOXML in the JTC1 ballot, and the many more who we believe are now considering doing the same," Sutor concluded.
Monday, December 31, 2007, 10:06am
In preparation for the Beijing Olympics and a series of other international events, some American companies are helping the Chinese government design and install one of the most comprehensive high-tech public surveillance systems in the world.
The Commerce Department, however, says the sophisticated systems being installed, by companies like Honeywell, General Electric, United Technologies and IBM, do not run afoul of the ban on providing China with "crime control or detection instruments or equipment." But the department has just opened a 45-day review of its policies on the sale of crime-control gear to China.
But China's regime, the most authoritarian to hold an Olympics since the Soviet Union's in 1980, also presents particular challenges. Long after the visitors leave, security industry experts say, the surveillance equipment that Western companies leave behind will provide the authorities here with new tools to track not only criminals, but dissidents too.
Friday, January 20, 2006, 2:40pm
After yesterday's phone call, I was expecting alpha to be back today and since DHL is really quick with things, I was surprised that it wasn't here. So I gave them a call and I was told I was in billing hold, which is odd since I gave them my credit card number when I first called. It is even odder considering no work was to be done since I was told nothing was wrong with it. So I won't have alpha back for this weekend and I guess maybe they have deicded to fix the motherboard after all.
Thursday, January 19, 2006, 10:54am
Before I left on vacation my ThinkPad started acting funny. It would no longer recognize the AC adapter, which is a problem since I had the battery at that point down to 50% so it was only good for an hour of runtime. Since there were rumors of cheap, Intel-based iBooks floating around, I decided to wait to see if I could just pick up one of them instead of paying IBM $400.00 for a new mainboard. I forgot that I was five hours behind New York time when I called on Friday and didn't get to complete my service call. So I called again on Monday, explained that I tried using both my brother's and father's AC adapter and that my laptop did not recognize any of them, however, it would power on just fine under battery power. They told me it was probably a mainboard issue, something I already knew. A box would be waiting for me when I arrived home.
I received a call today and was told that my laptop worked fine, both off battery power and while running on the AC adapter. I was told my AC adapter was bad. I replied that I had tested not one, but two working AC adapters and neither one of them was recognized by my laptop. They told me it worked fine and that no repair was needed. I said that if my laptop was working flawlessly to please send it back. Given my last encounter with IBM, I have a funny feeling that I will be receiving a broken laptop in the mail tomorrow morning.
Until then, I'm running my laptop harddrive in my secondary computer.
Monday, September 12, 2005, 10:37pm
Thankfully, the IBM fuckups have been resolved. My credit card has been credited in the amount of $88.12. I know that I won't be buying a laptop anytime soon, but I should start looking for a different company to buy from because this has really left a sour taste in my mouth. No word from VISA yet on the security of my credit card number or on IBM's internal proccesses to prevent identity theft.
Tuesday, September 6, 2005, 9:20pm
By 1:00 PM, I still didn't receive a phone call from the wonderful folks at IBM so I called them. Apparently its standard operating procedure to not check your email of voicemail even though you've been in the office since 7:00 AM. Or at least it is if you're Jacqueline Kalfayan. To be honest, she didn't feel like dealing with me, so she just conveniently told me that she didn't check her email or voicemail, but she'll never admit that.
After making it clear to her that I wanted this taken care of and taken care of today, she sent me this email at 2:46 PM:
Hello Brian, I apologize for the error that has occurred on your account for the payment on the above-mentioned invoice. I have requested a reversal of $88.12- to be made on your credit card account. This transaction should be completed in the next 7 days. Should you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to write back. Again, my apologies for the inconveniences that this has caused you. Best regards, Jacqueline Kalfayan Accounts Receivable Representative, US SMB Centre Phone: 888-245-5572 (Ext. 5776), Fax: 800-314-1092 Tie-Line: 210-5776, Internet: email@example.com Want to manage your accounts OnLine? Invoices OnLine: http://iol.dbexpress.net/am/us/en Inventory Online: https://www.ibm.com/support/operations/inventory
Saturday, September 3, 2005, 6:29pm
Product Purchasing Problems
On May 13, 2005, I purchased from the IBM website, a bluetooth daughter communicaiton daughter card, number 91P7319, and an antenna cable assemply, number 13N5179. I made the purchase with a VISA card as indicated below. I received an automated response to acknowledge my order within seconds:
Dear Brian Puccio, Thank you for purchasing from ibm.com. Your order information is included below for your reference. To get order status, visit our website: http://www.ibm.com/shop/orderstatus Order Information: ibm.com confirmation number: 40149896 Order date and time: 05/13/2005 1:20:37 AM GMT Your payment method: VISA Credit Card Qty. Part no. Description Item Price Line Total --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Individual Items --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 91P7319 MODEM DAUGHTER CARD FRU $64.00 $64.00 1 13N5179 ANTENNA CABLE ASSEMBLY FRU $5.62 $5.62 =============================================================================================================== Shipping $13.50 Tax $7.29 Total* $90.41 Your billing address: Mr. Brian Puccio 876 Grand Blvd, Westbury, NY, 11590 United States firstname.lastname@example.org Your shipping address: Mr. Brian Puccio 876 Grand Blvd, Westbury, NY, 11590 United States email@example.com
A little pricey, but I knew when purchasing my laptop that IBM was on the expensive side, but you got what you paid for; quality service and parts. However, half an hour later, I received an email from Dai Pham indicating that the specific item I ordered had been discontinued, phased out and replaced with a new item:
Mr. Brian Puccio, We have received your IBM internet order, but unfortunately were unable to process it. Part number 91P7319 that you have requested has been replaced with part number 27R1880 at a price of $62.00. This Quoted Price is valid for THIRTY DAYS from the date of this Email. These prices are for the parts only; they do not include shipping and handling charges, which are $13.50, or applicable taxes. Your approval for purchase of the replacement part number is required to continue processing your order. Please contact us via email with your approval or cancellation request. Thank you for using IBM's on-line parts ordering. Dai Pham IBM Internet Orders FSO PARTS ORDER CENTER 2020 Technology Parkway Mechanicsburg, PA 17050 (800) 765-5944 Daipham@us.ibm.com>
OK, no problem, probably a small revision in the product or a vendor change or something, whatever. Plus, I save $2.00 in the process. No problem. I replied to the email that afternoon, May 13, 2005, and indicate that I'm fine with the change. But, I got this in reply on May 16, 2005:
Here's Tech Support # 1800-426-7834 .... verify with them to make sure......respond for me if u still want your part ship out....I still wait 4 your approval or cancellation.
I have nothing against being helped by someone who speaks English as a second, third, fourth or even fifth language. But this? Come on, at least pretend to be professional. Fine, I'll call. I spoke with someone who didn't give a name, but they put my order through. However, I'm not out of the woods yet. On May 17, 2005, I received the following email:
Mr. BRIAN PUCCIO, We have received your IBM internet order and are sorry to inform you that your part number 27R1880 has been placed on back-order do to lack of stock. It will be filled as soon as stock is available. ORDER CONFIRMATION: 5KN201 Shipping and handling fees of $13.50 and any applicable sales tax will be applied to your order. All parts sales are final and come with a 90-day warranty. If you have any questions pertaining to your order please contact us via phone or e-mail. Thank you for using IBM's on-line parts ordering. Dai Pham IBM Internet Orders Field Service Operations (FSO) 2020 Technology Parkway Mechanicsburg, PA 17050 (800) 765-5944 Daipham@us.ibm.com
You couldn't tell me that it was on back order either when you told me I needed a different product number or when I called to approve the switch? Thanks for nothing, guys. A few weeks later, my bluetooth communications daughter card arrives in the mail. I installed it and it worked fine.
As mentioned above, I paid for this entire order by credit card, my initial email from IBM even says so. However, two months later in July, I received a past due notice from IBM, indicating that my bill was past due. I figured it was a glitch, threw it out and went on with my life.
On August 16, 2005, I received another letter. The letter indicated that I should either pay the outstanding amount or contact Jacqueline Kalfayan about my account. I called that night, but she was already gone for the day, so I left her a voicemail with a request that she call me back as soon as she could the next morning. I provided her with both my work number and my home number. By 11:00 AM, she had called neither. I wish I could delete voicemails from people I didn't want to talk to at my job, especially ones from people who pay my salary.
I explained to Jacqueline Kalfayan that I placed the order on a VISA card and had no idea why there should be an outstanding balance. I told her that I reviewed my online banking records and confirmed that my credit card had not been charged. I asked that my outstanding balance be paid by credit card and informed her that I would not be providing my credit card number over the phone due to various security reasons. She advised me that my credit card wasn't charged and could not be charged becasue she cannot accept my credit card number over the phone and their system does not store credit card numbers. I told her I was very aware of credit card information being stolen by thieves. She assured me that if I wrote a check for the parts, that the account would be closed and my card would not and could not be charged. I consented, even though I hate writing checks. I asked her to please email me a copy of this bill that I've never paid and she did. It was attached to this email:
Hello Brian, Below attached is the invoice discussed earlier. Do not hesitate to contact me for any further inquiries. (See attached file: .tif) Thank you for your patience, and again, I apologize for any inconveniences. Jacqueline Kalfayan Accounts Receivable Representative, US SMB Centre Phone: 888-245-5572 (Ext. 5776), Fax: 800-314-1092 Tie-Line: 210-5776, Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org Want to manage your accounts OnLine? Invoices OnLine: http://iol.dbexpress.net/am/us/en Inventory Online: https://www.ibm.com/support/operations/inventory
I wrote the check that very night to IBM, and I even paid the late fee, even though I don't think I should have had to. I really didn't want to be bothered over $2.00 and I already knew IBM wouldn't see another sale from me again. Everything was fine until IBM decided to both charge my VISA and cash my check. Both transactions went through yesterday, September 2, 2005. I have already called Jacqueline Kalfayan and sent her this email:
On Wed, 2005-08-17 at 11:23 -0400, Jacqueline Kalfayan wrote: > Hello Brian, > > Below attached is the invoice discussed earlier. Do not hesitate to > contact me for any further inquiries. Well, Jacqueline, it looks like you guys did exactly what I was afraid of happening, you charged my credit card after you cashed my check. I've attached two screenshots of my online banking. They indicate that a charge for the original amount as put through on my credit card and that the check written for the amount (plus the late fee you guys stuck me with, thanks for nothing) was cashed. Now I've paid twice, including one late fee for a part received months ago. I need this charge gone by Wednesday, September 14 at the latest, or I will be filing for a charge back. I'm already in communication with my bank and Visa regarding this matter. My phone number is 516-782-2133 and my work phone number is 516-***-****. I need a phone call from you as soon as you get in the office to indicate that you understand I've now paid twice (something I spoke with you about and something you explicitly promised me wouldn't happen) AND that you will have this fixed by Wednesday, the absolute latest. Brian Puccio
(I don't feel it is appropriate for me to put my employer's telephone number here, even though it isn't top secret.)
If I don't hear from her, I'll have my bank run a charge back. I'm filing a complaint with VISA anyhow, my credit card number should not have been retained by their system. Its reasons like this that IBM won't be getting any more business from me (and hopefully after reading this, you won't either) and that credit card numbers are stolen from incompetant merchants.