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Comment: Re:Is it me? Or is it you? (Score 2) 490

by Andreas Mayer (#47925335) Attached to: What To Expect With Windows 9

I can't figure out if I'm just too old and grumpy or if operating systems are just desperately uninspired.

It's probably a mix of both.

Of course operating systems have matured. Today they do practically everything we can think about. There are no obvious features left to add. So development, especially from an end user's perspective, seems slow.

On the other hand, I don't agree that there is no development like you seem to imply. I'm using OS X, so that's the only OS I can really talk about. Some of the things we got the last few years:
- Spotlight.
A fast global search can really change some workflows. Gone are the days when I had to trawl through nested folders to find that file from a week ago. Now I can search for name or content or even the date I did use it last.
- Time Machine
Switching machines? Just restore from the last Time Machine backup and everything is like it was before.
That new version of application X sucks? Accidentally clobbered some file? No worries. Restore from Time Machine backup.
- iCloud Sync
OK, so not everyone wants that. But it is nice if data is kept in sync between devices automatically.

Of course there is much more, many of it not directly visible. (There's a reason MacBooks have great battery live. And it's not just better hardware.)

So, I agree with you up to a point. OS development is not as exciting as it used to be. But it didn't stop either. Interesting things still happen.

Comment: Re:how long can I keep my Win7? (Score 1) 490

by Andreas Mayer (#47925257) Attached to: What To Expect With Windows 9

I don't get it, why do some people do that? I can somewhat understand about getting a new car that has various gadgets to impress the chicks. But a computer?

I think for those people the computer is not a tool, something to get something done (be it work or games). For them it is more of a toy to tinker with, like a model train. I mean, how many people tinker with their vacuum cleaner, change components of their power drill or build a custom case for their TV? Yet, some people do all these things with their computers. They are not tools; not means to an end. For those people the computer itself is what holds their interest.

Comment: Re:define "customer" (Score 5, Informative) 290

by Andreas Mayer (#47888537) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

from what i understand of the definition of "customer", a "customer" means "someone who is paying for a service".

The law isn't even talking about customers. The term is "Verbraucher" which is better translated as consumer.

The judge explicitly stated that the law in question does apply to non-paying users.

Comment: Re:What is a customer? (Score 1) 290

by Andreas Mayer (#47888479) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

Alternatively since that fine is so small in Google terms, if it's a one-off, maybe they should just pay it and carry on. I wonder how long it would take for further action to result if they did that.

Err... it is €250,000 per case. That is, every single automated reply could cost them €250,000.

Also it says "alternatively 6 month of jail time for a member of the board". The next ruling might skip the fine ...

Comment: Re:What is a customer? (Score 2) 290

by Andreas Mayer (#47888427) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

Answers derived from the actual ruling. (Translate yourself if you don't believe me. :P)

Is a web site visitor a customer?

If they used some Google service, then yes.

Or does some form of payment for services need to be made?


What about android users, does having an android device make someone a customer or would google need to sell the OS for that to count?

If it's only about the OS, I think the seller would be the only one the user has a business relationship with. But since almost any Android device includes Google services - yes, I think practically every Android user is a customer of Google in the legal sense.

It sounds like the Judge ruled that any person who uses a google service is a customer even if that service is free.


It seems like that is a win for the consumer, but I have to wonder if that was the correct decision in this case. It doesn't seem unreasonable to me to need to be a paying customer for a company to expend resources to adequately respond to your communications. Some questions can cause hours of follow up work to send a reply.

If Google decides to discontinue all Google services in Germany as a result, would that really be a "win" for the German consumer?

You are of course free to argue about the merit of the law. But the ruling is "correct" in the legal sense.

Personally, I think Google is making a shitload of money in Germany and they should be able to use some of that to talk to their customers. They would be unbelievably stupid to shut down operations here just to save the cost of paying a few people to actually respond to email.

Comment: Re:The End Result . . . (Score 1) 290

by Andreas Mayer (#47888345) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

They'll just change their automated reply to "Thank you for your issue/concern. We'll look into it and get back to you if necessary."

That's actually possible.
But after this ruling I'd expect the consumer protection agency to follow up and check if anyone gets any response to their questions. If not, they'll sue Google again. And of course, in case this happens and the court decides that Google did not do what they were told, the next fine will be substantially higher.

I think it would be better - and in the end probably cheaper - for Google, to just hire some personnel who actually read and answer customer mail.

Comment: Re:so does this mean.... (Score 1) 290

by Andreas Mayer (#47888303) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

That the German Goverment should also respond to ALL emails,

No. There is no requirement that a company has to respond to all email. But it has to be possible to contact them via email. Responding with an automated mail, saying that email does not get read at all is not allowed.

Someone posted a link to the ruling above. You can read the exact reasoning there. I'm too lazy to translate it all. :P

Comment: Re:Why (Score 1) 251

by Andreas Mayer (#47756663) Attached to: New Windows Coming In Late September -- But Which One?

Why hasn't Google given Microsoft the coup de grace and actively developed some desktop/laptop distro ala Chromebook but without the stupid "web only" focus?

Because that wouldn't help them. Google is all about ads. They developed Android only because they were afraid they would be locked out of the emerging mobile systems.

There is no sign that desktop operating systems try to get rid of the browser. The only way to sell more ads on the desktop is to make the browser the OS. Which is exactly what Chrome does.