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Most Outrageous Vendor Lie Ever Told? 1314

Posted by michael
from the dilbert-moments dept.
i8msft writes "CIO published a guide on How To Cut Through Vendor Hype. While light, the article did prompt me to wonder what is the most outrageous lie ever told by a vendor? I mean, in person, face to face, preferably with witnesses (boss, coworkers, someone on your side of the fence). Forget press releases, trade show presentations and the like, where they lie like dogs! Specific examples only, please."
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Most Outrageous Vendor Lie Ever Told?

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  • by crovira (10242) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @06:53PM (#3217444) Homepage
    Wang Mini Computer Systems sell a top of the l;ive 2200 system and neglect to tell the guy he sold it to, a drug store owner, that it had to be programmed.

    The guy took it, put in a wood shed out behing his little counrtyu drugstore and left it there for a couple of years until it finally got reposessed and made its way to our software firm where we were programming Wang 2200 machine (in BASIC. :-)

    I met that salesman and he was an absolute sleaze.

    Talk about selling a pig in a poke.
  • things _not_ told. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Bender Unit 22 (216955) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @06:59PM (#3217484) Journal
    The ones that I hate the most, are the things not told. But where everything is set up so that it suggests, and you assume, that there's features that's not really there.
    Fx. when comparisons or references to similar products are made and you assume that it has the same features as the other product. And sometimes features gets the same descriptions but it turns out to be a poor substitute.

    Like when a certain software company's whitepapers for a product, claims it can to the same as the competition. When the boss buys it and you get to install it, you discover that it indeed are capable of doing the same things. The only catch is that it is implemented very poorly, but hey, das blinking lights are all in place.
  • by xmedar (55856) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:04PM (#3217509)
    Thats pitiful, I remember a former company I worked for spending many many thousands on being a member of MSDN so we could get access to "All the latest info", and surprise! When we needed docs for all those undocumented APIs, they told us to buy a source code licence, forgeting that they had already told us we would have access to the info we wanted through MSDN, they wanted an extra $500K if I recall, and I know of others this happened to, but somehow I can't see a line-item on any M$ accounts that says "Fraud"
  • Microsoft Lies (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tim Macinta (1052) <twm@alum.mit.edu> on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:08PM (#3217529) Homepage
    I've assembled a few of Microsoft's most outrageous lies at:
    They've really churned out more material than I can keep track of (I have a large back-log of links to add to this list), but there are some good ones there. The funniest one on the list (IMO) is the interview where Bill Gates is quoted as saying Microsoft software has no bugs.
  • Sun Microsystems (Score:2, Informative)

    by Draco (1804) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @08:11PM (#3217814)

    With the release of the UltraSprac 3 we've solved all of our "ecache bit-flipping cause your machine to crash at random times" issues.
  • I think that the vendors who sold shareware games in those little rectangular plastic packages just bigger than the 5.25" disk were a joke. This was in the late 80s and early 90s.

    I'm not actually talking about the companies that made the games (Epic, Apogee mostly) but the actual companies that manufactured and sold the shareware packs on bargain racks in Radio Shack for $4.99 a piece.

    It was baloney because if you looked at the screen caps on the back of the packages, they only showed screenshots from the registered versions of the game, while the disk inside was the shareware version (i.e. the one you get for free from BBSs.) This pissed me off so much, especially when I spent my hard earned allowance dough on what I thought was a real registered copy of Paganitzu [slashdot.org] but it was the shareware one I already played.

  • by Flarners (458839) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @08:23PM (#3217862) Journal
    And, just like Google, Slashdot caved in [slashdot.org] like the little sissies they are.
  • MS vs Korn (Score:4, Informative)

    by xueexueg (224483) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @08:28PM (#3217880)
    I think this is what he's talking about. Pretty funny:

    http://wigner.cped.ornl.gov/the-gang/1999-01/139 6. html


    I've been attending the USENIX NT and LISA NT (Large Installation
    Systems Administration for NT) conference in downtown Seattle this week.
    One of those magical Microsoft moments(tm) happened yesterday and I
    thought that I'd share. Non-geeks may not find this funny at all, but
    those in geekdom (particularly UNIX geekdom) will appreciate it.

    Greg Sullivan, a Microsoft product manager (henceforth MPM), was
    holding forth on a forthcoming product that will provide Unix style
    scripting and shell services on NT for compatibility and to leverage
    UNIX expertise that moves to the NT platform. The product suite
    includes the MKS (Mortise Kern Systems) windowing Korn shell, a
    windowing PERL, and lots of goodies like awk, sed and grep. It actually
    fills a nice niche for which other products (like the MKS suite)
    have either been too highly priced or not well enough integrated.

    An older man, probably mid-50s, stands up in the back of the room
    and asserts that Microsoft could have done better with their choice of
    Korn shell. He asks if they had considered others that are more
    compatible with existing UNIX versions of KSH.

    The MPM said that the MKS shell was pretty compatible and should be
    able to run all UNIX scripts.

    The questioner again asserted that the MKS shell was not very
    compatible and
    didn't do a lot of things right that are defined in the KSH
    language spec.
    The MPM asserted again that the shell was pretty compatible and
    should
    work quite well.

    This assertion and counter assertion went back and forth for a bit,
    when another fellow member of the audience announced to the MPM that the
    questioner was, in fact David Korn of AT&T (now Lucent) Bell Labs.
    (David Korn is the author of the Korn shell).

    Uproarious laughter burst forth from the audience, and it was one
    of the only times that I have seen a (by then pink cheeked) MPM lost for
    words or momentarily lacking the usual unflappable confidence. So,
    what's a body to do when Microsoft reality collides with everyone elses?

  • Re:HDD Vendors (Score:2, Informative)

    by J'raxis (248192) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @08:55PM (#3218006) Homepage
    It is [nist.gov]. The prefixes youre used to using: kilo, mega, giga, etc., are meant to be in 1000s, not 1024s. The IEEE has invented new, stupid-sounding prefixes to mean 1024-units: kibi, mebi, gibi, and so on.

    1000 MB = 1 GB.
    1024 MiB = 1 GiB.
  • The Win95 rollout (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @08:59PM (#3218028) Homepage
    I think this belongs, despite the fact that Bill Gates was actually speaking the truth when he said, a few days before the roll-out of Windows 95, that people needing tech support from Microsoft would never be kept on hold for longer than an hour.

    Yup, it was the literal truth. Anyone who called Microsoft waited on hold, and then, after 59 minutes, they were cut off.
  • by MsWillow (17812) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @10:32PM (#3218472) Homepage Journal
    The veep of Engineering was a total moron, chosen because he must have been blowing the CEO behind closed doors. Anyways, one day while he was out with a large potential customer, trying to sell them scads of huge automotive engine testers, he was asked "What operating system does it use?"

    He told them, "Word." They, apparently, believed him., as they bought a bunch of them.
  • The Source (Score:2, Informative)

    by waldoj (8229) <(waldo) (at) (jaquith.org)> on Sunday March 24, 2002 @11:15PM (#3218649) Homepage Journal
    The advertisement is from the Kansas City Star, circa 1970s. I happen to have a copy here, in National Lampoon's "True Facts: The Big Book." [1] The ad reads:

    "Convertible free-arm sewing machine
    Has 12 built-in, dial-to-sew stitches plus built-in button-holer. Includes 4 utility, 4 stretch, 4 decorative stitches. Built-in blind hemmer-mending stitch. Ask about Maintenancec Agreements. $159.95."

    And on the left-hand side, in a white field, it reads "Built-in Buttholer!"

    -Waldo Jaquith

    [1] ISBN 0-8092-3559-2
  • by dalutong (260603) <djtansey@NosPaM.gmail.com> on Sunday March 24, 2002 @11:19PM (#3218666)
    I was really confused for a while before I realized that, at least in America, "Wang" is said Wuh-ang... not Wuh-ah-ng... as it is said (at least) in China...

    Then again, i know nothing about the company... but wang, the chinese way, can mean good things (depending on tone, it can mean things like king)

    i guess that is one of those culture shock bits...
  • by clmensch (92222) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @11:44PM (#3218781) Homepage Journal
    My "digital" cable service (RCN of Manhattan) uses a crappy Motorola cable box that sports a "Dolby Digital" logo on the front...but only provides analog audio and composite video outputs. That should be illegal!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 25, 2002 @12:27AM (#3219003)
    Your experiences with EMC may make you think that they treat large companies well. I work for a large company (Enough over 25k employees as to be huge) that has several EMC disk arrays, a couple of which are attached to servers I administrate.

    To get their lies out of the way first. I communicated some service problems I have had with EMC to someone I know who is in another company which was considering partnering with EMC. EMC upon hearing of my service woes, promised to these people's face to contact me "before you leave this week". That was actually the second time they had promised to contact me to deal with my service problems. Well, they never even attempted to contact me.

    EMC sells a product called "SRDF" which is used to synchronize two Symmetrix EMC frames (or parts thereof) usually over TCP, and keep them synchronized. On more than one occassion we needed to copy a large amount (about 1TB or so) of data from one frame to another over a wide area network. EMC suggested using SRDF. When I asked about the security of the transfer I was informed by a semi-technical (professional services sales) person that SRDF was "completely secure because only another EMC frame could understand our proprietary format." It took me about two minutes to describe two methods by which the data could be caught and understood, a few minutes later I thought of a third way.

    In service, my problems with EMC are too numerous to go into here. One of the worst service problems (which was also combined with a bit of a lie) was when we were doing a major change to the EMC frame. We reviewed the change heavily with EMC to try to make sure everything was covered. EMC specifically told us that Veritas Volume Manager would respond well, and that it was fully supported. The change caused a large (> 2 day) outage on the server which was traced back to the change being made online despite EMC's promise that it could be done online. During the aftermath discussion, EMC proclaimed "we do not support Veritas". Even the senior managers who were listening in realized how much EMC was being fast and loose with the facts. (Some of it instead of ouright lying, was leaving out details to make other people look bad and imply that had certain things been done the outage would not have occured, when in fact, they didn't make a bit of difference.)

  • by BigBlockMopar (191202) on Monday March 25, 2002 @12:44AM (#3219078) Homepage

    Advertised "250 watt" [amamax.com] computer speakers which weigh three pounds and are powered off a 9V 300mA AC adapter.

    P = E x I, where P is power in watts, E is electromotive force in volts, and I is current in amperes.

    1 amp = 1000mA. You do the math.

    A real 200 watt power amplifier will generally have a power supply with a transformer which weighs at least 50 pounds, and that's *per channel*.

    And they use the term "PMPO" - "Peak Music Power Output". Fine, putting aside the fact that this term has no accepted definition in electrical engineering - let's say that those little Taiwanese-made speakers contain an amplifier with a big bank of capacitors to dump out enough current to achieve 250 watts peak. If the power supply to them is only 9V, the capacitors would never get above 9V. If the speakers themselves have a standard nominal impedance of 8 ohms, then we can calculate.

    A simple application of Ohm's Law reveals that 9V into 8 ohms could yield a maximum current of (I = E/R) 1.125 amps. 1.125 amps at 9 volts shows 10.125 watts absolute peak. And in real world situations, we must include the on-state resistance of all the transistors in the output stages.

    10.125W < 250W. Therefore, they are lying. By a factor of almost 25.

    Wattage ratings tend to be utter lies with any consumer electronics, especially car audio equipment and boom boxes. The absolute worst come from tiny little Chinese sweatshops making brands of computer speakers that no one has ever heard of.

    My computer's sound system includes a pair of Acoustic Research AR-4x bookshelf speakers driven off a highly modified Sound A-5000 power amplifier. B+ to the output stages is 45V DC derived from a 10 pound power supply transformer, and it does produce a solid and stable 25W RMS per channel into 8 ohms, using a 1kHz sinewave driving a resistive load. And that's the accepted standard for wattage ratings of real power amplifiers.

    As a former professional sound technician who has done lead sound for Garth Brooks, Harry Belafonte, and The Three Tenors at such prestigious venues at the SkyDome, I've frequently used 240 watt power amplifiers from companies like ElectroVoice [electrovoice.com], Crown [crownaudio.com] and QSC [qscaudio.com] to power stage monitors on 5000 square foot stages. I speak from experience that running some of this stuff in your house will make your nose bleed. You're not gonna tell me with inflated numbers that a set of $19.95 at Fry's computer speakers will do the same thing.

    There's no shame in admitting that a given computer speaker system has a rating of 1W RMS per channel, but idiot consumers just buy the biggest number they can find. In reality, it takes four times the power to double the volume.

    Jeez, it's almost as bad as the horsepower ratings on new cars...

  • by benjamindees (441808) on Monday March 25, 2002 @02:46AM (#3219589) Homepage
    I bought a cadre of smart-card readers and Netsign software from Litronic [litronic.com], now known as SSP Solutions, because they promised "smart-card enabled dial-up access" with Windows 98. When I got them and was programming the pin number into them, I noticed that the familiar ***** appears on one of the dialog boxes. I thought "nooo, this can't possibly be what I think it is" and downloaded a windows password cracker that just reads the memory location that contains the contents of those *****. Sure enough, there was my pin number, protected only by the brilliant security of the Windows 98 operating system. After explaining what "smart-card" means to the tech guy, Litronic refused to take the readers & software back, citing a "no return" policy on their website. Needless to say these useless products are sitting in a cabinet waiting for me to find a use for them in Linux. SSP has taken the webpage down that duped me into buying this product, but you can still find the claim in reviews [scmagazine.com] such as this onet.
  • by Aragorn379 (260855) on Monday March 25, 2002 @03:03AM (#3219669)
    And they use the term "PMPO" - "Peak Music Power Output". Fine, putting aside the fact that this term has no accepted definition in electrical engineering - let's say that those little Taiwanese-made speakers contain an amplifier with a big bank of capacitors to dump out enough current to achieve 250 watts peak. If the power supply to them is only 9V, the capacitors would never get above 9V. If the speakers themselves have a standard nominal impedance of 8 ohms, then we can calculate

    Not to say they aren't lying, they are, but capacitors can be charged to a higher voltage than the source using a voltage doubler circuit or a flyback voltage multiplier. Doesn't give you any more power but does trade current for voltage. See this page [geocities.com] for some example circuits.
  • by nathanh (1214) on Monday March 25, 2002 @05:30AM (#3220020) Homepage
    If the power supply to them is only 9V, the capacitors would never get above 9V.

    Two mistakes here. First, you said it was a 9V AC adaptor so the DC peak is ~13V. Second, a voltage doubler before the rectifier is entirely possible.

    A simple application of Ohm's Law reveals that 9V into 8 ohms

    It's not quite this simple with dynamic components (inductors/capacitors/coils). That's why speakers have 8 ohms impedance, not 8 ohms resistance.

    1.125 amps at 9 volts shows 10.125 watts absolute peak.

    There's no need to go to all this effort. You already said the AC adaptor is 300mA at 9V. Sustainable power is therefore approximately 3W. Peak power is an unknown because the internal circuitry could easily store enough energy to give 100s of watts of power, even if only for a short time. Without opening the speaker boxes you can't make any judgement.

  • by nathanh (1214) on Monday March 25, 2002 @06:18AM (#3220151) Homepage
    Nah - I don't buy this - if "small errors" crept into data burnt onto CDs on a regular basis, half the software I downloaded and burnt would be corrupt.

    Data CDs and Audio CDs have different encodings. Data CDs use 304 ECC bits per 2048 data bits. Audio CDs use 24 ECC bits per 2352 data bits. Audio CDs can degrade if you record/rip/record/rip multiple times. Data CDs can potentially degrade too, but the higher number of ECC bits makes it much rarer.

    My Sony CD player even has "One bit sampling" on it LOL.

    1 bit DACs are clever inventions [howstuffworks.com] that avoid the problems with traditional voltage ladders. They are nothing to laugh about.

    Seen on a DVD the other day too: "PAL" like the data is different if your player renders PAL as opposed to NTSC or Secam.

    The coding on a PAL DVD is different [sourceforge.net] to the encoding on an NTSC DVD. This is why R4 vs R1 sites tend to recommend R4 because the higher resolution on PAL DVDs gives you a better picture on decent TVs.

  • by SavingPrivateNawak (563767) on Monday March 25, 2002 @02:36PM (#3222633)
    "Nobody will ever need more than 640K RAM!" -- Bill Gates, 1981

    Except that it is not Bill Gates that said that, Cf. a recent Slashdot article.

    Funny post anyway

  • by SmittyTheBold (14066) <[deth_bunny] [at] [yahoo.com]> on Monday March 25, 2002 @05:01PM (#3223917) Homepage Journal
    I love all these comments "correcting" the commenter. Anyhow.

    Audiop CDs are written with less error correction than data. It's just how life is. The reason for that is you won't notice a few bits that are off with a music CD, but binary code that's wrong can render a whole disc worthless.

    Think of it this way: ECC is basically a way of encoding data, not unlike compression. With the bits used for audio, you can make up for huge errors but little problems are just glossed over. Data CDs avoid that problem by spending an order of magnitude more bits to guarantee a perfect match.

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