* You are viewing the archive for March, 2008

Amazon’s Attempt at Helping Its HD DVD Customers

Amazon Blu-ray HD DVD DealEarlier this week Best Buy announced that it would offer $50 gift cards to its customers that purchased HD DVD players before February 23. Not only that, the company is giving some trade-in value for HD DVD players or movies, regardless of where they were purchased. Apparently Amazon wanted in on the good PR and has come up with its own way to hook up its HD DVD customers.

Here’s the deal I was emailed from Amazon since I’m a “valued HD DVD customer.” Links are placed exactly as they were in the email:

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Sony Charges $50 Extra to Sell You Laptop with No Crapware

Sony LaptopSony and crapware have a special relationship, so much so that it takes over two minutes for its laptops to boot into Windows (compare that with 30 seconds for a MacBook). The company has even issued press statements explaining its reasoning: “The programs are carefully selected and provide benefits to many consumers, up to 30% of whom act on the offers.”

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Best Buy Giving $10 Million in Gift Cards to HD DVD Buyers

Best Buy Gift CardBest Buy is giving $50 to anyone who bought an HD DVD player from Best Buy before February 23. The company said that customers “won’t have to do anything to receive their gift card.”

The gift cards will be mailed out automatically to all customers Best Buy can identify as having purchased an HD DVD player (like online customers or members of its rewards program). Any other customers can get their gift card with proof via a receipt or credit card. See below for full press release.

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The State of Phone Support: Not Good

Phone SupportPhone support: it’s all around us. Even with the Internet being last decade’s next big thing, somehow we’re still on the phone when we need help. And how is it? Has there been innovation? Improvement? Hardly.

In my experience, not much has changed with phone support in terms of today versus, say, ten years ago. And I’d say that, on average, I’m on the phone for support almost weekly (at least multiple times a month). Other options are available, of course, like email or chat.

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Blu-ray in the News: High Prices & No Microsoft Love

Blu-raySince Blu-ray became the next generation movie disc format of choice, the consumer supposedly has been better off. But Tom’s Hardware claims that prices of Blu-ray players are higher than ever and that now, in fact, is the worst time to buy.

Interesting. I’ve been tracking Blu-ray vs. HD DVD player pricing for the past year via Amazon and hadn’t noticed any recent increases. As of today, the Blu-ray players on Amazon are priced in the same range they’ve always been: the mid to high $300’s. Right now the cheapest Blu-ray player on Amazon is this Samsung for $357. I’ve seen it $20 cheaper, but I’ve also seen it more expensive.

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The Economist Talks Digg Strategy and Adds Comments

DiggLast week the Economist (subscription required) had an interesting article about researchers in an HP lab that have been comparing strategies for maximizing readership on Digg via the layout of the front page. They were trying to answer the following question: Should the most recent stories be on top? That’s the way Digg is now, but maybe it should be organized with the most popular on top?

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YouTube Video Quality Soon Will Not Suck

YouTubeApparently YouTube is on the verge of making a big announcement since there seems to have been an announcement about the announcement (nice way to get double the press). And search engine Mahalo has already created a page dedicated to news on “YouTube High Quality” with a video (embedded below) showing an example of how it would work. All I can say is finally! Here’s hoping that’s the big announcement. I love YouTube, but man, can you think of a place online to watch lower quality video?

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My First MySpace Friend: SPAM

MySpaceSo I joined MySpace about a week ago and was already annoyed at the way they sent me my password over email. But then, just a few days later, I got an email with my first MySpace message / friend request from someone named Riley whose profile picture is a girl in a swimsuit. Originally, her (or his?) profile showed the same city and state that I live in, though now it’s been changed to Greenville, Ohio. Here’s the text of the message:

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