Facebook’s Many Problems

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When I joined the Facebook community a little over 7 years ago, I thought maybe that I could keep in contact with my friends from my former job or even more so those people who I went to high school many years ago.

 

Little did I realize that there would be so many issues along the way.  Having some people friend me and then unfriend me months later for no really good reason given.  Why did these people friend me in the first place if they knew they had no intention of wanting to continue to be my friend?

 

Add to that the few that have even blocked me for no real good reason either.  To uncover those who blocked me, I created a second account under an alias to spy on others and find out who blocked me by testing their URL with my primary account.  I was shocked at how many people have blocked me even though they never really friended me.

 

However, Facebook has more issues than that as far as who hates me on their site.

 

Recently, it was reported that the site’s trending topics have been slanted to support certain viewpoints.  I will say that I see significant differences in trending topics between my 2 Facebook accounts.  I believe that part of this is because my primary account has so many liked pages and my secondary account has hardly any liked pages at all.  Could they be slanting trending topics toward topics that I have liked pages of before?  It certainly appears that way.

 

Now onto other issues with Facebook:

 

When I started using Facebook, it was on a PC with a browser.  When I got my smartphone, I started using the Facebook app.  However I found the app to be huge and a significant space hog taking up as much as 280mb of precious space.  It has slimmed down somewhat since then but it is still unusually large,  I have tried many of the so-called alternative wrappers of Facebook, which usually are rather small but are hindered by a large number of ads or just don’t work properly.  Currently, I am using the Chrome browser on the phone to access Facebook.  If anyone knows of a really good Facebook alternative app, let me know because none seem to work well for me.

 

The next problem has been with Facebook Messenger.  This program started out as being part of the Facebook app but has since been separated into its own app.  This too is a fairly large program and since I don’t communicate much at all with anyone using the PC version, I find this program totally useless.  However, Facebook still thinks that I need this to use Facebook.  I think not.  If I regularly had any conversation at all with anyone, then I might consider it, but I see it currently as a waste.

 

Next up is the onslaught of friend requests that I have received lately.  I know that most of these requests are fake, but I accept most of them just because I want to report the content in which they are sharing.  Many of these fakes delete their accounts within a few days but others have lingered so they may very well be real.

 

I report at least one post or profile daily.  However, the results from these reports mostly are disappointing as many of them are not considered violating their “community standards”.  This makes me wonder if a real person is looking at what I am reporting or if this is being done by some sort of bot program making the decision.  My usual feedback is negative if the offending item is not removed.  I would say that 80% of the posts are not deleted.  This is a high percentage of material that should not be on Facebook, but somehow still remains.  Sometimes after several times reporting the same post, it does get deleted.  However, nobody should have to report the same thing multiple times to get something deleted.

 

Overall, Facebook continues to be a very mixed bag of frustration, happiness, and hatred.  It doesn’t seem that there is a way to ever make anyone ever happy on the site, so sometimes I still wonder why I stay there except to announce the postings of my blogs.

 

The Mysterious Case of the Former Friends

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Today is the 12th anniversary of Facebook.

 

This makes it the perfect day to discuss the disappearance of 2 people from my friends on Facebook.  Let me say that I knew both of these people in person and quite honestly I have no idea why either of them decided to unfriend me.

 

Unlike other posts, I will not disguise their names as I feel it is better to expose them for what they are rather than protect them.  People who leave without any explanation don’t deserve any protection as far as I am concerned.

 

First up is Norma Jean.  I have known her for over 30 years, actually since junior high school.  I was never overly friendly with Norma Jean as we had different circles of friends.  My friends were a cross section of jocks and smart people for the most part.  Her friends were more of the lower class bunch.  She hung around the bullies and troublemakers.

 

For the most part, I tried hard to stay away from these people as they were always getting into trouble and most had nothing to do with me.  Unfortunately, there were a couple of times where I ended up in classes with some of these lower lives along with Norma Jean herself.

 

After high school, I (thankfully) lost track of everyone from my graduation class.  When I came onto Facebook in mid-2006, Norma Jean became one of the early people who wished to friend me.  Reluctantly, I accepted her friend request as I thought that after so many years, people would have changed and matured, but with people like her, I was mistaken.

 

While I did have a couple of online comment sessions with her, I always felt that she really was not interested in anything I said.  So I believe out of boredom, she decided to unfriend me.  A few months later, I confronted her online in a mutual friend’s post as to why she unfriended me.  She seemed to blow it off and didn’t give me an answer.  Apparently, she has not changed in over 30 years. I have declined to friend a couple of people from high school as I felt that those people would unfriend me as well because they were part of the same bullying group.

 

However, the most bizarre unfriending happened over the past week, with my now apparent former friend Bridget.  She and I became friends while we both worked at Staples.

 

During her time at Staples, it was apparent that Bridget had social problems.  She never really seemed to get along with many of the associates, managers and most importantly the customers.  It was this type of attitude that made her be called into the manager’s office for one of their “little talks”.  These talks never really seemed to help and she seemed to always get a little meaner and ruder with each passing day.

 

I am not saying that she overall was a bad person; we always seemed to get along as we both had similar feelings toward people in general.  She always seemed like a rollercoaster of emotions, one minute happy the next angry and the following giggly.  Overall, she was rude to people as she did not seem to have the words “please” or “thank you” in her vocabulary.

 

I think this type of disrespect has more to do with her upbringing, sort of like how Norma Jean treated me.  Unfortunately this type of rudeness continued when she became one of the earliest people to friend me on Facebook.

 

Rarely did I ever make a comment to any of her postings, but when I did I was either ignored or never acknowledged for it.  For someone who was a friend of mine at work, I really thought that she would have a little more respect, but apparently I was very wrong.

 

Everything seemed to be fine, up until this last week when surprisingly decided to unfriend me.  I have absolutely no idea why she unfriended me as I have not had any conversations with her online in weeks.  So this was certainly a headscratcher at best.

 

I will probably never find out the true reason why either of these women unfriended me, but all indications point to the fact that both shared a common rudeness, which is not the type of indication of what a real friend is.

 

Overall, let me point out that I found out about these people unfriending me by using a plugin to the Chrome browser (also available for Firefox as well).  Without using a tool like this, both of these women could have remained anonymous in their unfriending of me.

 

But in the world of the internet, you can run but can never hide.

 

Maybe both of these rude people should go and hide forever if they have no respect for me anymore.

My Review of Windows 10

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This week’s post is all about my experiences with the Windows 10 operating system.

 

After a friend told me that I could create a disc and install the operating system that way, I decided to take the plunge.

 

First let me say that I was using Windows 7 Home Edition and I was rather happy with it, but knew at some point soon that this would become yet another unsupported operating system joining my Windows XP machine.

 

First let me say that Win 10 is a work in progress.  It is by no means perfect and does have bugs.  Some more of an annoyance, some could probably be avoided.

 

I have yet to see any blue screen of death scenarios yet as this is a good sign that the OS is somewhat bulletproof.  That pretty much ended a few operating systems ago and hopefully won’t come back again.

 

However, this OS does yearn back to another Windows version well hated and that was Windows ME.  As that operating system seemed like a beta product, so does Windows 10 in some regards as I will explain in a bit.

 

Installation

 

When I first put in my newly created installation disc in the cd drive, it churned for a couple of minutes before it loaded and was given the option to install the new OS.

 

After I decided to continue with the installation, a little graphic kept spinning for about 20 minutes while checking my system for any potential problems that would happen with the upgrade.

 

When the churning was finished, the installer only saw that the only program that would be uninstalled would be the “Media Center” program.  Now to many people, losing this program would be no big deal, but because I have a USB TV card that I use on occasion, I felt that losing this program may be a huge loss.  However, I researched and found that there were plenty of alternative programs out there that are “better” than what the Media Center program was.

 

So I decided to continue and let the installation go on and uninstall this program.

 

Now the real fun began.  The churning of the installation watching slowly as a circle slowly grew with each percentage completed and the computer rebooting a couple different times during the installation.

 

Time passed…and more time passed.

 

Minutes turned hours and the installation was still churning slowly for a total of a mind-blowing 4 ½ hours when the installation finally completed.  I have never seen any installation take so long and was wondering why this seemed to take forever and then some.

 

However, I would soon find out what really happened behind the curtain.

 

The First Time

 

When this program started up for the first time, it asked me to input a 4 digit PIN.  As far as Windows is concerned, this is your new password.  While this seems better, it opens it up to being much easier hacked than a lengthy alphanumeric password.  However, maybe simplicity is where they are heading to.

 

The desktop at startup looked pretty much the same as the same wallpaper and icons existed as before the update.  However, the taskbar included new icons for a new desktop flipper, Microsoft Edge (the new slim browser – sorry no add-ons allowed with it), and an icon for the Microsoft store.

 

The most notable icon on the right side of the taskbar is the “Action Center” icon.  When some notification is presented, this icon lights up and just gets annoying until the icon is pressed and cleared out.

 

I will say that the startup process was cut in half with this operating system.  However, my security software was uninstalled during the installation.  Apparently, it was not compatible with the new OS.  I do feel that the installer should have warned me ahead of time if it was going to uninstall this vital software before continuing and give me the opportunity to not to install the OS.

 

It is no wonder why this upgrade took so long as it was uninstalling incompatible software, but I still think that warnings would still have been appreciated.

 

Overall, the experience with the new OS has been pretty smooth.  Both Chrome and Firefox load faster and my internet connection seem a little perkier.

 

This doesn’t mean that all was completely flawless.  When I went to install Microsoft Bingo, at one point of its installation it stated that it was at “Step 40 of 9”.  Certainly while this laughable, bugs like this could have been avoided with a little better programming.  This really makes the OS look more like a beta product than a finished product.

 

Sound familiar?  To me this sounds like the way Windows ME performed as it acted more like a beta than a finished product.

 

This is why I am part of the Windows Insider group.  This group allows me to get sent to my computer the latest builds of the OS as they become available.  However, this process is not without its problems.  I see in my list of available updates, the latest build however it has yet to be installed for about the last 2 weeks.  The way they deliver updates now is similar to how the file sharing services worked of years gone by.  You got files delivered in pieces hoping that eventually you got the whole file.  Hopefully, Microsoft will realize how dumb this idea was and change it back to how updates were previously delivered.

 

Finally, the start menu is back for those who had Windows 8.  It sort of looks like the child of the old Win 7 start menu and the Win 8 start screen.  I find it too busy constantly flipping tiles and for the most part I just ignore it.

 

I have also found a couple of my games don’t work anymore even though they were not uninstalled by the OS installation process.  I expect that a future OS patch may make them work again.

 

Conclusion

 

If you have Windows 8/8.1, I recommend upgrading now.  If you have Windows 7 like I did, the picture is a little cloudier, but I decided to take the plunge as I saw this as the future and that at some point it will be required no matter what.  If you are hesitant on this update, you have roughly a little less than a year to get this update free.  Since this is the “last update” according to Microsoft, this is basically a no-brainer.  If you own any other older operating system and your computer is capable of running Win 10, then I would get this version from your local retailer as soon as possible.  I don’t expect that this product will remain on shelves for a long time or go on sale because it is available online.

 

Overall, I am fairly happy with Windows 10. It does have bugs and quirks, but it certainly better than Windows ME was years ago.

 

My Grade:

 

Installation:  3 (Depending on what software you have installed, it could be faster than the 4 ½ hours it took on my computer. Just don’t expect to be forewarned of everything it decides to uninstall on its own.)

 

User Experience:  7 (Not perfect, but work in progress.  I expect it to improve with time.)

 

Windows Update:  4 (Seriously, this is NOT Napster.  Don’t make us get our updates like it is.)

 

Overall:  6 (Yes, it has its problems.  However, so hasn’t all the Microsoft OSs?  I expect frequent updates to fix problems, if you can get the updates.)

 

This OS may not be a 10, but when is Windows 11 coming out?  Or will that be called 12?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Halloweenie From Microsoft

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Recently Microsoft released a new beta version of Internet Explorer for Windows 7.  This new version is version 11 and during this Halloween week, it is the perfect time to review it.

 

After previously installing and uninstalling version 10 because it didn’t work with sites like Facebook. I decided to see if 11 would be better.

 

This would be mistake # 1.  There is no official webpage for it except for a download page to announce it as “preview release candidate”.  Unfortunately, this candidate should get the boot.

 

Installing this update seemed to take forever as the little wait symbol churned for about 15 minutes while it installed itself after the initial reboot.  After I gained control back of my machine, I launched the browser only to find out that the same problems that existed with 10 still existed with 11.

 

I decided to launch Windows Update to see if this program had a patch and low and behold, it had a cumulative patch.  Of course, this patch REALLY should have been installed at the initial installation and not be an afterthought.

 

After installing this update and waiting for what seemed to be yet another eternity, I launched the browser only to crash without even loading a single page.  Then I tried it again.  Same result.  Then I tried it a third time and it happened yet again.

 

So once again, I uninstalled another useless web browser from Microsoft.  However, this time when I went back to my working version 9, it too failed and crashed by refusing to load some pages properly.

 

So then I decided to uninstall version 9 and revert back to the last functioning version 8.  It seems to handle all the websites pretty well without crashing despite being significantly slower than either Firefox or Google Chrome.

 

I do NOT recommend anybody download Internet Explorer 11 preview version at all.  It is not ready for prime time or any time for that matter.  I think I will stick with version 8 for a while.

 

My score:  0

 

Summary:  Microsoft’s latest attempt at a browser fails with not loading at all and crashing continuously.  Don’t even bother trying this one unless you like installing and uninstalling useless software.

 

Review: Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7

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Last week Microsoft released the final release version of Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7.   Unfortunately, this suffers from the same problems as the previously mentioned beta version a few months ago.

Facebook still has a problem with things like the Like button and multiple other issues of various types still remain.

The bad thing is that Microsoft will be rolling out this release as part of the Windows Update over the next few weeks.  My recommendation is to ignore this update or wait until Microsoft can fix the bugs in the update and release a more workable version of the program.

However, for those of you like myself that got caught in the beta pre-release version, is to download this update and suffer with it until another version comes out that fixes the problems.  I don’t recommend trying to uninstall version 10 beta unless you want to create problems with your computer.  Believe me, I tried and quickly realized how bad this could possibly be to roll back to IE9.  Interestingly, it seems that Microsoft purposely made it virtually impossible to go back to the old.

Final Score4

 

Summary:

This product not quite ready for release, but then again anybody who remembers back when Windows ME was the in-thing and survived that horrible program will certainly survive this.  Note that this grade applies only to IE10 on Windows 7, not the version released with Windows 8.  IE10 for Windows 8 was not tested.

 

Customer Service – The Newsweek Way

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Editor’s Note:  I am publishing this same post to all my blogs this week as I feel that it is that important on just how stupid a company can possibly be.  Enjoy my frustration:

 

Imagine the following scenario:

 

Mom:  “Here son, have some more broccoli”

Son:  “But mom, I don’t like it.”

Mom:  “I will give you even more tomorrow because I know you enjoy it so much.”

Son: “I don’t want any more.”

Mom:  “But you really want more.”

 

This is exactly the type of scenario that has been created over the last couple of weeks with me against Newsweek.  Ever since the start of the new digital issue, I have been very disappointed with the new format.  Here’s why:

 

There are 8 different platforms to access Newsweek from.  Since I don’t own a Kindle, Nook, iPhone, or Windows 8 computer, I am left with 2 ways to access the magazine.  The first way is to use the web browser and view the magazine online.  Well, I tried that on the first issue and could not get past the first page ad.  To add insult to injury, the small print could not be changed to a larger font.  I tried Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox with the same results.  I just couldn’t get past the first screen.  Given that screen took about 3 minutes to load, I wasn’t going to try to load a different issue to see if it would get any better.  Sadly, this approach made my broadband connection look like an old 56k modem connection.  And, no other webpages load perfectly so apparently it is something wrong with the Newsweek site.

The other way to get the magazine is to use the Zinio Reader, which I have used in the past.  I don’t like this approach because every time I use the program, it wants to download ALL my magazines even though I don’t want to.  The size of the magazines are not of small size either as some of them could take up to 100mb per issue.  Certainly no compression here and nor economical either.  Of course, I decided that this was not the way to go either so I decided to cancel my remaining subscription of 3 months and wanted a different print issue as said on their website.

So I decided to use their email system to request a cancellation.  A week went by and I heard nothing at all from them.  I then sent out a second request asking again of my alternatives.  After a week, I finally got the following response exactly as shown below:

 

Dear Mr. Brown,

 

 

 

Thank you for your email. We have received an overwhelmingly positive response to the new all-digital Newsweek.

 

 

 

We’re sincerely sorry for the wait time, and to make up for any delay in service, we have added two months of free access to your subscription.

 

 

 

In the meanwhile, please try the following help links, which have resolved most of the issues for other subscribers.

 

 

 

Login problems:

 

 

 

Can’t login to Newsweek:

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/apps-and-mobile-faq.html#login

 

Don’t know my password (or requested new password and didn’t get one):

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/apps-and-mobile-faq.html#update

 

Not sure where to read Newsweek? Click for help with your device:

 

iPad

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/apps-and-mobile-faq.html#ipad

 

Kindle Fire, Fire HD 7″, Fire HD 8.9″

 

http://www.thdailybeast.com/apps-and-mobile-faq.html#kindlefire

 

Other Kindle

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/apps-and-mobilefaq.html#kindle

 

PC or Mac Computers & Laptops

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/apps-and-mobile-faq.html#desktop

 

Nook

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/apps-and-mobile-faq.html#nook

 

Android Tablets & Phones

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/apps-and-mobile-faq.html#android

 

 

 

If you do not want to receive the digital edition, please call us at 1-800-631-1040 to cancel for a refund.

 

 

 

Yours truly,

 

Newsweek Customer Service

 

 

All of the blank spacing above is their doing, not mine.  Not only did they not answer me, but also they were giddy over how well they were doing and even extended my subscription by 2 months!  How is that for not helping the customer properly?  It should be apparent that whoever sent this letter not only didn’t read my letter, but also used a cut-and-paste answer approach to my problem.  This is NOT how you do it people!!

You actually read the person’s letter and respond accordingly, not just send out any old canned response just to get rid of the customer.   To make matters worse, they want me to CALL and cancel my subscription instead.  Anybody who has ever called one of these numbers know that the people who answer the phones are from India and have no real comprehension of the English language whatsoever.  I refuse to talk to people who are clueless with what I say given that they are already clueless with what I have written.

Now I have sent out a THIRD request to cancel the subscription and want an email sent back with my alternatives listed.  I did that back on Monday, 4 days ago, and have yet to hear back from anybody, not even an acknowledgement that the company received my letter.

Of course, I am writing all this to let everyone know just how stupid a company like Newsweek actually is and how disrespectable they are to their subscribers.  I will NEVER renew my subscription with them EVER!!  They are just one example of a poor business model.  I really wonder if they are really overwhelmed with positive responses or just ashamed to respond to the hundreds of people like me angry at their lousy service model.  Web-based magazines will never cut it with me – give me old-fashioned paper anytime.

Shame on Newsweek for their lousy customer service. Let’s all cancel everything from Newsweek and never look back.  They deserve to fail once and for all.

 

 

Product Review: Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 (Release Candidate 1)

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Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 doesn’t seem quite up to par yet.  After installing the release candidate a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a couple of websites that I use regularly don’t quite work properly.  Amongst the problems:

  • Formspring.me:  This Q&A site keeps popping up a dialog box of ‘null” whenever I try to answer a question.  What this is telling me is quite unknown, but doesn’t sound good no matter what.
  • Facebook.com:   The popular site doesn’t allow me to like anything, post comments, or even right comments.  Maybe it doesn’t want me on Facebook to begin with.
  • Twitter.com:  This site has trouble with tweets being written on occasion.  I guess it don’t want me there either.

 

The only plus side of installing this version to Windows 7 is that you can kiss the separate versions of IE for the 32bit and 64bit systems goodbye.  This version seems to roll both versions into one allowing a couple of my toolbars to finally function properly under a “64bit IE”.  My recommendation is to download this new version, but be aware of the problems.  For most all of my Internet usage, I use Chrome or Firefox instead.  Just keep in mind that this program could be updated at anytime, but since its release I have yet to see an update in nearly a month of usage.  Be prepared for the occasional weird things as I have mentioned above to happen if any of the above sites are used.

My score:  7.  It is worth the time and seems pretty stable except the problems mentioned above.