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Most Outrageous Vendor Lie Ever Told? 1314

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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  • My Vote: (Score:5, Funny)

    by JoeLinux ( 20366 ) <joelinux AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday March 24, 2002 @06:48PM (#3217416) Homepage
    "Duke Nukem will be out by the end of the year. No, we promise. Not lying this time!"

    • Re:My Vote: (Score:5, Funny)

      by gazbo ( 517111 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @08:34PM (#3217907)
      No, the biggest lie I've ever been sold is anything of the form
      here is a mirror []
    • by BigBlockMopar ( 191202 ) on Monday March 25, 2002 @12:44AM (#3219078) Homepage

      Advertised "250 watt" [] 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 [], Crown [] and QSC [] 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 Anonymous Coward
        As a former professional sound technician who has done lead sound for Garth Brooks

        You've got a lot to answer for motherfucker

      • 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 rs79 ( 71822 ) <> on Monday March 25, 2002 @01:42AM (#3219306) Homepage
      1985: a California graphics board manufacturer - I wrote firmware. The products actually shipped with a manual that said "This manual says what our product actually does, no matter what the salesman may have told you it does".
  • One Word... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Moonshadow ( 84117 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @06:49PM (#3217420)
  • Mandrake (Score:3, Funny)

    by athakur999 ( 44340 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @06:50PM (#3217426) Journal
    Mandrake, regarding the Mandrake Club:

    "All membership levels enjoy the same benefits."

    Now it's "almost the same benefits".
    • (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rbeattie ( 43187 ) <> on Sunday March 24, 2002 @08:46PM (#3217947) Homepage
      I use as my voicemail box. I used to pay a yearly fee to get my own phone number (despite what it says below about a "free trial"), then they decided to cut the "premium" service altogether, but I got to keep the number. Here's a copy of the Onebox Plus page that's been up for the past year:

      We have concluded our free trial of our Onebox Plus premium service and, due to the acquisition of, we have decided not to offer a paid premium service plan to users of our service. As a thank you for participating in our trial you may keep your Onebox Plus service for free. We have deleted your payment information from our system completely and you will never be charged for the Onebox Plus service.

      If you have any concerns or questions, please contact us using the support form in our Help Center.

      Thank you for your participation,

      The Team

      And HERE is the email I just received from OneBox:


      March 14, 2002

      Dear Onebox customer,

      Through the years, providing you with a reliable, high quality service has been our primary mission. In order to continue, Onebox will begin charging a nominal fee. If you would like to maintain your Onebox account, we require you choose a messaging package that best fits your needs no later than April 15, 2002. Unfortunately, if we do not receive your selection by this date we will discontinue your account.

      If you have an account with Onebox, you will need to register for a paid subscription prior to this date. To subscribe, please click on the following link . While registering, please update your profile information where necessary. To make the transition easier, your Onebox user name and password will remain the same and all your messages will stay in your account. However, you are required to change your phone number to a new, toll-free number.

      Hmmmmm... What part of never didn't they understand? Bastards. I'd willingly pay them money to continue using my voicemail number, but they're not even giving me that option. Despite numerous emails asking about this, they haven't even responded. Bastards.

  • We make a secure Operating System
    - Microsoft
  • Cigarettes (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by papasui ( 567265 )
    "Cigarettes don't kill people."
  • "Easy self assemble...."
  • best lie (Score:5, Funny)

    by imsirovic5 ( 542929 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @06:52PM (#3217438)
    "This new Athlon XP 2100+ with 512 megs of ram 160 GIG HD, G-force 4, DVD rewritable will help you get laid!" It was a cruel lie! I will never believe salesman again ;o(
    • Re:best lie (Score:5, Funny)

      by phalse phace ( 454635 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:02PM (#3217504)
      "This new Athlon XP 2100+ with 512 megs of ram 160 GIG HD, G-force 4, DVD rewritable will help you get laid!"

      You mean you didn't get that hint? You fool, you could've had him. He wanted you,... BAD!

    • Re:best lie (Score:5, Funny)

      by ColaMan ( 37550 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @10:47PM (#3218527) Journal
      well, you didn't get *laid* exactly - but in the end you did get *screwed*
    • Told to me by a salesman at a Harvey Norman Store, when I said I can knock together a AMD system from parts at the computer markets for not much more than half the price.
    • Re:best lie (Score:3, Funny)

      by epsalon ( 518482 )
      "This new Athlon XP 2100+ with 512 megs of ram 160 GIG HD, G-force 4, DVD rewritable will help you get laid*!"

      * Only applies if you are female.
  • I work at a university. We have two buildings, a new one build in 95, and an old one built in the 70s. The old building has mostly practical classrooms in it, or clean rooms and labs. Probably has about 20 people work in the building regularlly, with a lab eating 35 in it too.

    We currently run 100M fibre to the lab, and 2 x 100M fibre to the rest of the building, which itself is overkill. We had a vendor trying to sell us single mode fibre "so we could do 10Gb ethernet" between the two buildings.

    Like, nice try but hmm, no not really, really, I think SDH/SONET between the two buildings would be overkill :)
  • by user32.ExitWindowsEx ( 250475 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @06:53PM (#3217443)
    Microsoft Works

    I know it's overused, but hey it's valid.

  • 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.
  • One word... (Score:5, Funny)

    by mikeage ( 119105 ) <{slashdot} {at} {}> on Sunday March 24, 2002 @06:53PM (#3217446) Homepage
    Slashcode. ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 24, 2002 @06:54PM (#3217449)
    This comment contained copyrighted text and was removed at the request of the copyright owner [] under the terms of the DMCA.
    • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @09:45PM (#3218261) Journal

      Me What's that?

      S It's an e-meter. It tells you the state of your health, spirit, etc (I don't actually recall what she said) Do you want to try it?

      Me Yes.

      S OK, hold it like this...

      Me Wow. I can make the meter move pretty much any way I like just by gripping it a little more tightly.

      S Don't do that.

      Me How do you know people aren't doing that subconsciously?

      S You have to let go (or something like that). This was accompanied by a look that told me she knew I was a skeptic, she had dealt with us before, didn't really care, and simply wanted to move on to the next sheep. (it's amazing how much can be communicated with just one look sometimes).

      The only other time I've ecountered a Scientologist was downtown. He asked me if I wanted to see a free movie. I figured there would be at least a half hour of propoganda with the movie, and I didn't feel like sitting through that so I declined.

      The way I see it, Scientology is to the private sector what the lottery is to the public sector--a way to tax stupidity.

      • by csbruce ( 39509 )
        This was accompanied by a look that told me she knew I was a skeptic, she had dealt with us before, didn't really care, and simply wanted to move on to the next sheep.

        Studies have shown that only about 2% of the general population are vulnerable to cult recruitment & indoctrination. It's only sensible to filter out the other 98% as efficiently as possible.

        (There is another 1-2% who are basically psychotic and will do nasty things just for the asking, but you want to filter them out as well, since they won't follow orders later on.)
  • This one time on slashdot, there was this IBM ad... they were cocky enough to claim that they could BOX HACKERS OUT and still manage to BUILD TRUST IN.
  • Vendor Lie (Score:2, Funny)

    by Metrollica ( 552191 )
    For the entire software industry:

    "It's not a bug, it's a feature."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 24, 2002 @06:58PM (#3217476)
    This is actually a multiparter. The vendor basically said that:
    • if the client wanted to have an up-to-date, respectable website, it must have pull-down menus;
    • if they wanted pull-down menus, they must do it in Macromedia Flash; and
    • if they wanted Flash to work on their website, they must switch to Cold Fusion Server.
    The vendor was a Macromedia shop with over a dozen employees; they are now out of business.
  • 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 pivo ( 11957 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:03PM (#3217507)
    This claim was made by a salesman to a non-tech potential client at a company I was visiting. The product had nothing to do with J2EE. The salesperson's rationalization for his misinformation was that their product didn't prevent you from running J2EE applications and therefore was compatible.

  • 3 lies.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by laserweasel ( 568666 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:04PM (#3217513)
    "I'm sorry you're having problems, ma'am. Our computers are reliable and we rarely recieve customer complaints." - Me when I worked for Dell.
  • by Seth Finkelstein ( 90154 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:04PM (#3217514) Homepage Journal
    A funny excerpt from [] :
    We are just reviewers,

    And the vendors, without fail,
    Try to tear down our resistance,
    With an avalanche of vapor,
    Such are promises.
    All lies and jest,
    Still we only hear what we need to hear,
    And we decide who's best.
    Lie, lie, lie.
    Gosh they vendors, how they lie.
    See them cry,
    Lie lie lie lie lie lie lie lie lie

    Sig: What Happened To The Censorware Project ( []

  • XBox (Score:4, Funny)

    by ksb ( 517539 ) <> on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:05PM (#3217521)
    The guy in my local computer games store telling me I should replace my ps2 with an XBox because 'Microsoft are far more reliable at fixing bugs and delivering patches' and apparently 'No, they wouldn't charge gamers for said updates or release an in-compatible games box in 6 months to replace it'
  • Microsoft Lies (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tim Macinta ( 1052 ) <> 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.
  • by beanerspace ( 443710 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:10PM (#3217537) Homepage
    Yup, that's what the salesman told us back in 1984 or 1985 in some computer store downtown NYC.

    My friend/co-worker, Mike X. decided to go to CompuLand or something like that, to see the new line of PC clones. When we got to the store, someone straight out of Saturday Night Fever began to pitch us a system with the integrity of a used car salesmen.

    When we started asking questions about the operating system, he perceptively asked us, with a wonderfully Broolynese accent "... you guys are programmers, right ?"

    He went on, now with a bit of body English "... well I'm a programmer, you're a programmer ... you know ... you can write your own operating system ... I did."

    Appearently Mike had the same thought at the same moment I did ... only he voice his "... hey, if you can write an operating system, what are you doing here ?"

    Needless to say, the salesguy left us alone from therein.
  • by sourcehunter ( 233036 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:11PM (#3217544) Homepage
    Company providing a huge piece of software for one of my clients - "It has been tested and we have X (don't remember exact number - greater than 5) using it remotely." We ask - how? Terminal services? VPN? PCA? "Oh directly over the network, some via a 56k dialup". Uh huh. Most were using PCA (unacceptable for my client's applications). None were using terminal services, and none had implemented the package in anywhere but the home office.

    I had to write a special app just to get it to work on terminal server. Running it over a Point to Point T1 line was too slow, so even the folks in customer's biggest remote office (connected via the FULL point-to-point T1) have to use terminal services.

    Same company: oh, sure the database is stable. And the ODBC driver works well.


    Can't complain too much - their bugs keeps my company busy and hence well paid.

  • by ipsuid ( 568665 ) <> on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:12PM (#3217547) Journal

    A few months ago I moved to where I currently live. I called Comcast (the only cable company choice here) and asked if cable modems were available. After getting my address the service rep on the line replied "Absolutely. Would you like to setup cable service now?"

    Happy, I went through the process of setting up an account. I was told that once the cable was installed, I could call back and setup the cable modem account.

    A week later, cable installed, I call back. "Sorry, they aren't available yet". hmm. I asked when they would be. "Next week." I was disappointed, but hey, only a week.

    I called back a week later. Now it was a month. I called back a month later, now they weren't sure, and I got a "Well, people in that call center don't know what they are talking about."

    Two months later I call back. Still not available. By this point I had DSL installed (a whole 'nother story). I made one final call to get them to remove service (The only reason I got it to begin with was because of the cable modem!)

    BTW, the whole time this was going on, several neighbors and I were all getting fliers from Comcast to sign up for cable modem service.

    • by AnalogBoy ( 51094 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:55PM (#3217736) Journal
      Be glad. Comcast makes @home, at their worst, look good.

      Limited NNTP Service. They dislike it when you run servers. They really dislike it when you have a NAT. Their mail service is pretty unreliable, sometimes working fine but sometimes taking hours to send or recieve a message.

      They won't even talk to you if you dont have their software installed.

      one of my calls with them went like so:

      "Whats your mailserver address?"
      "Install our software and it will set all that up for you, in addition make some highly technical changes to your system to improve the performance of our software"
      "is that what i asked you?"
      "Its all we can tell you."

      I explained to them that I am the only person i want making changes to my system.. as i was irritated.

      Ugh.. i want an ISP with a clue. I'll get DSL once i find a new job. anyone know where i can find a new job?

      Maybe i'll start my own ISP.. with a advanced support option over the phone that says "If you have a clue, press the digit corresponding to the difference of the number of layers in the OSI Model and the DOD model. Otherwise, press one to speak to our customer support center."

      Comcast's local support number actually has the audacity to state: "If you have not installed the comcast software press 1. If you have installed the software, press 2."

      If you press one, it says "Please install the software, downloadable from, and call back *hangup*".

      thats just wrong on so many different levels.
  • by Evil Pete ( 73279 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:17PM (#3217570) Homepage
    And who can forget the Ashton-Tate PR guy who stated for the press that DBase IV would be out "Real soon now". Didn't come out for another 18 months. Unwittingly coined a classic description of vapourware. In fact I gotta feeling that debacle was also one of the first instances of the term "vapourware".
    Basic lesson , don't trust them ... even if its in writing.
  • by lkeagle ( 519176 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:20PM (#3217583) Homepage
    "It will reduce the 'skin effect' for better sound, and the arrows on the side indicate that it should be plugged in in that direction, because the electrons flow better that way." -- pimply 18 year old at The Good Guys

  • by scubacuda ( 411898 ) <> on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:21PM (#3217593)
    Has anyone stopped to ponder the sales culture that encourages this hype?

    Show me a sales rep who is patient enough to sit down and listen to the specifics of what a product does and doesn't. I have worked in sales for a long time, and I've seen one, maybe two who can. (Oddly enough, these guys were ENGINEERS before they become sales clowns.)

    Too many sales reps thrive on the intangible: possibility, maybes, etc. Put them in front of an Excel sheet (or WORSE) a white board, and you're REALLY in for a doosy. I see my own people committing these atrocities in meetings with customers. I then have to then gracefully butt in and "clarify" what the assclown has just promised.

    It's also sick to see them all assemble together. These fuckwads get drunk and there's no stopping the information warpage. I have seen sales goons literally gut a company that once had a bright future.
  • by Refried Beans ( 70083 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:26PM (#3217621) Homepage
    We had a local PC vendor where I grew up that told some tall tales. One teacher in our school bought a PC from him. She was having a hard time getting her sound card to work. He told her that she needed to bring her computer in to him so he could download the drivers _off_ the card.
  • by WildBeast ( 189336 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:26PM (#3217625) Journal
    Don't you guys remember when Oracle started advertising their database server as unbreakable?
  • Licence? since when? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oo7tushar ( 311912 ) <> on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:28PM (#3217637) Homepage
    "Our product will integrate seamlessly into your system. Just tell your developers to read the documentation and within minutes they'll modify it to match your needs"

    Licence agreement says: Any modification of code is prohibited. Use of external code to modify databases created by our program is prohibited.

    Remember to send at least 10 copies of that line to the purchaser in the company. It's important they read it prior to signing the million dollar deal. It's your ass on the line, not theirs.
  • by cosmo7 ( 325616 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:30PM (#3217648) Homepage
    1: a massive 16K of RAM (1980)
    2: a massive 512K of RAM (1985)
    3: a massive 8M of RAM (1991)
    4: a massive 128M of RAM (1996)
    5: a massive 1.5G of RAM (this weekend)
  • by AntiNorm ( 155641 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:36PM (#3217667)
    When all our base are clearly not belong to you.
  • NT (Score:4, Funny)

    by PenguinX ( 18932 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:38PM (#3217672) Homepage
    Microsoft touting "Zero Administration" when Windows NT 4.0 came out. My boss was like "we'll save so much!!! I can't even project the numbers!"... tisk tisk. Good thing I told him to wait until the marketing hype died ;-)
  • GIR (Score:3, Funny)

    by shiva ( 87550 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:44PM (#3217697) Homepage
    "It's not stupid, it's advanced!"
  • Playstation... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:48PM (#3217711) Homepage Journal
    "The reason that Playstations are going bad is because people are misusing them." -- that's what Sony said when they had LOTS of returned, defective Playstations.
    • Is there a description of what flamebait is somewhere? This is really starting to get on my nerves. Seems like I get modded down as flamebait quite a bit. Either there's something to the way I post, or some people's definition of what flambebait is a little off from mine. I'm asking for clarification.

      I am dead serious this is what they said. I used to work for a game retailer. I used to sell those stupid things and the first run of them had a very high (1 in 4) defect rate! Couple that with a shortage, and you have a PR problem. Sony's response was 'The customers are mistreating the systems.'

      I kid you not. I'm not exaggerating, that is what REALLY HAPPENED.
  • by weave ( 48069 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:50PM (#3217718) Journal
    The nightmare I have had with this company after buying two of their SANs knows no bounds. After almost a year of begging and pleading, I still don't have a valid service contract with them. The sales rep promised me 3 years hardware 7x24 service on both systems and I still don't have anything in writing on this. I've bitched to all levels of the company as well. I get promises that this issue is getting attention from high levels of the company, and then silence.

    Then there's the software support service contract. It took me months to get them to bill us, then they send a bill for $16K, we send it in, then when it's time to place a service call it's "who are you again?". Our $16,000 is missing, no one knows where it is, even though I have a copy of the canceled check they cashed. We are now getting dunning letters demanding payment at the same time getting a cancellation notice on another contract we had with them along with a credit invoice. So now THAT system is up-in-the-air.

    They are the most screwed up company I've ever had the displeasure of dealing with. I won't even go into the crap software they use. Their linux fiber HBA drivers use sg version 3.0.16 for lk 2.2. When I tried to update it, everything broke. Turns out, and this was told to me from the driver's author no less, that sg version 3.0 was a development branch only, and that every minor release changed the interface and that EMC had *NO* business putting this crap into production. I ended up getting EMC code out of it (thank god I had source) and folding it into sg rev 3.1x under lk 2.4.

    The site engineer I have is the only bright spot in the entire company. He's trying to get my contract issues resolved. It's time critical, because I've heard they are farming out their higher ed contracts to Dell (which actually may be a good thing).

    EMC may be good to megacorps that spend 10s of millions a year on their "frames", but if you only spend a half a mil (which we did), from my perspective at least, it seems like they could care less about you...

  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:51PM (#3217720) Homepage Journal
    My dad ran across an advertisement for a sewing machine in the newspaper once. It had a special feature: "an automatic buttholer".

    My dad never did by the machine, but I have a feeling they were lying when they said it had a feature to automatically butthole something.
  • 384k upload! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fortuna Wolf ( 191194 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @07:55PM (#3217740) Homepage
    The place I live sells accounts to rooms, single port in a room, you call in, 30 dollars to sign up, and 20 for a month, sounds good, right?
    So I call them up, ask them, what's the service, the plan, the billing, etc...
    don't worry, its 2.2 mbps down, and 384kbps upload!
    Ok, sounds good... sign me up.
    well, aside from a quick little problem with the router attaching itself to your mac address,
    it turns out that its sharing one road runner account through the whole apartment complex.
    I call up tech support "can you tell me why my internet connection sucks so badly?"
    re: "because its a sucky connection on sucky routers" (that's what tech support said, at least THEY were being honest).
    well, can you fix it?
    Sure, let us kick some other people off the network...
    Right now, I download at about 20-30k, and my upload is around the ballpark of .4k
    I can't play CS, because my choke is at 100 and my ping is 2000.
    Give me a 36.6k modem! Pleaasseeee...
  • by marvonmars ( 101998 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @08:01PM (#3217767)
    While improving the code on a client's website, I became suspicious of the credit card validation code. The setup was that a user would get sent offsite to the credit card validation service. They would enter their credit card details and the validation service would process the card, bill the user, and then send an activation code to my client's website. Recieving the activation code was confirmation that the credit card was legit and the user was a paying customer.
    The problem was that the authorization code was always the same. In fact, according to the validation service's spec, the code was always '0000'. And all the codes were sent via the web pages the user accessed as HTML hidden variables. One could (and I did) build dummy HTML pages that simply sent the authorization code to the website, bypassing the validation service, and recieving all the goodies reserved for paying customers.
    So I went to see the validation service people to explain to them their non-existant securtity model. And they acknowledged the problem and said they would have it fixed promptly. And if you believe that, boy have I got a bridge you'ld love to have!
    First they claimed that since the code was a 'hidden variable' no one could see it.
    After I built the dummy page in front of them (in friggin notepad), they claimed that I didnt get all the authentication codes in and they were sending 'secret, invisible' authorization codes that didn't appear on the web pages. Nevermind the fact if I, as the website programmer, couldn't access those 'secret, invisible' authorization codes I couldn't well check for them to autheticate users could I?
    Then, they claimed that only people like me could do it, and that I was a Hacker (captial H, please). And, don't you know, Hackers arent allowed to access the validation service.
    It was really bad. I ended up yelling at their chief programmer and calling him a liar to his face before they finally stopped stonewalling.
  • CompUSA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @08:22PM (#3217852) Homepage
    The Christmas-before-last, I told my parents I wanted a GeForce2 video card and a stick of RAM for Christmas. Well, they went down to CompUSA, and came back with a video card, 256MB RAM (like I had asked for) also they came back with TV-tuner card, an Ethernet cable (25ft) and a monitor switching hub. We took everything back except for the video card and RAM, and demanded a refund for the stuff, because according to my parents, the salesman told them I had to have the other stuff in order to install the video card and RAM. They were this close to getting my parents to buy software to go along with it. Good thing their budget just ran out.
    • Re:CompUSA (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Junta ( 36770 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @08:57PM (#3218018)
      Hey, that is reminiscent of my Aunt and Uncle going to buy a computer. I'm over there and they bring home everything they bought. They wanted something that could be used for basic word processing and stuff. They come home with a top of the line system, as well as a CD-RW and Uninterruptible power Supply. They said they didn't think they needed this much, but said the salesman first insisted anything but top of the line was a waste of time, even if they just want word processing, and that a UPS and CDRW were absolutely necessary for the computer to function properly...

      Of course, this from the same class of salespeople who said "if you hook a DVD player into a VCR, the VCR will probably fry, so you best avoid going through the VCR, or else you mught void the warranty and have to get a new VCR..." The floor salespeople at most retail outlets are so unbeleivably incompetent..
  • by kuhneng ( 241514 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @08:30PM (#3217890) Homepage
    I remember a great article on burning CDs in an audiophile magazine.

    After the expected disclaimers about the limited quality of CDs, etc, they proceeded to review the options for media, burners, configuration options, etc. Then, as expected, came the result of their listening tests. Although the differences were subtle, the best quality was obtained by using the most expensive drive, with the most expensive gold media, set on 1x recording speed.

    The kicker came near the end, where the author noted that "even though all of the CDs we burned were bit-for-bit identical when compared on our computer, the bits on CDs produced with less expensive recorders or at higher recording speeds had dirtier edges, and repeated copying further degraded the quality of the bits".
    • by netik ( 141046 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @10:25PM (#3218433) Homepage
      There's a problem with your complaint here --

      When you copy a CD you -are- changing the data. I know what you're about to say as a rebuttal - "CDs are Digital, therefore copying a CD means that I'm doing a digital copy, right?" Wrong.

      If you rip a CD, copy the file to disk, and then burn ten copies of that digital File, then all of those CDs are identical.

      Now, if you read in the CD, write it out, read in the new CD, write it out, and so on, you're changing the data, if the CD contains any small errors.

      Due to interpolation (minor error), concealment (larger error), and muting (massive error), the data coming from the CD reader changes.

      Audio Compact Disc dio2/95x7.htm
  • by Jethro ( 14165 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @08:51PM (#3217974) Homepage
    I wish I was home to post this a few hours ago - probably nobody will see this now.

    One time I was at a conference sponsered by HP, Netscape, SCO and Oracle. It was called "UNIX in the Year 2000" (this was in 1998 or something). This took place in Israel. Netscape, SCO and Oracle sent some top-dog public-speakers from their European divisions, all of which gave great talks (even Oracle!)

    HP had some guy from the Israeli vendors.

    He was asked when HP is going to support 64-bit computing.

    His answer: "64-bit is SLOWER than 32-bit! With 64-bit there's DOUBLE the memory to go through, so it takes the program TWICE AS LONG to do anything!!!"

    Yes, caps and exclemation marks and all - the guy was YELLING at the person who asked the question. And he said this in front of HUNDREDS of highly experienced UNIX guys.
    • Re:HP 32-bit thing (Score:5, Interesting)

      by s390 ( 33540 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @10:26PM (#3218438) Homepage
      His answer: "64-bit is SLOWER than 32-bit! With 64-bit there's DOUBLE the memory to go through, so it takes the program TWICE AS LONG to do anything!!!"

      Well, he was partly sorta right. If your programmers misuse 64-bit data operands where 32-bit data would do just as well, the application is going to waste about half the memory cache space (at all levels), so it _will_ run much slower. 64-bit flat memory is useful, especially for large databases, but programmers still have to understand what they're doing (and what the compiler will do, how that will impact the processor, memory, etc.) or they can build programs that run slower than they did in 32-bits.

      See the 64-bit computing faq that's up at AnandTech right now.

  • Well.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pxtl ( 151020 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @08:51PM (#3217980) Homepage
    One in particular that I ran into back when I was a kid - I was picking up a newer model soundblaster from a local computer store. I asked them if it could do general Midi, particularly emluating an MP-401 or a Roland system? They said yes, straight to my face. I mentioned that this was important to me, that it didn't just use the useless non-wavetable midi system of the old SB-16's and 8-bits.

    This was, of course, bullshit. I tried to return it, but they would only give me store credit, and I didn't want anything else from them (mainly they had printers and full systems, very little in the way of parts).

    I also had massive difficulty with the driver disk they gave me, so I mailed the company, and was informed that the card they gave me was an OEM edition specifically designed for use in certain systems, never intended to be sold separately.

    At the time I didn't know this was standard procedure for the computer industry (I don't by anything but OEM, and most of it isn't meant for use outside pre-built boxes) so I ratted the store out for selling me that card.

    Really, I feel kinda sleazy about it - the store was gone within a month, I wonder if it was my fault? Still, they did it to themselves, trying to rip off a middle schooler.

    Whatever, that's the closest thing I know to the subject.
  • by curunir ( 98273 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @08:56PM (#3218009) Homepage Journal
    One of the (many) times that I had occasion to contact Iomega's technical support department due to a non-functioning drive, it went something like this:

    Me: My drive makes strange noises when I put in a disk.
    Iomega Rep: Is your Zip drive within 6 feet of your monitor?
    Me: Why yes, it is?
    Iomega Rep: Well, that could be the problem.
    Me: Interesting...well, the cord that came with the drive is only 2 feet long. Should I try stretching it?

    Needless to say, I eventually had to send it back. The one good thing I can say about Zip drives...the one year warranty never expires! You get a new one every 6-9 months when the old one dies.
  • 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 The Flymaster ( 112510 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @09:13PM (#3218098)
    "At the game developers conference, Sun is releasing a white paper on their new "Java Games Profile." Their ultimate goal? To have one CD you could pop into an Xbox, a PS2, a Windows machine, or a Linux machine, and play the same game on them all. If they get full support for it I can finally get rid of that windows gaming partition!"
  • by danamania ( 540950 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @09:38PM (#3218218)
    I used to use Amigas exclusively, until I spilled coffee into my A1200, which worked for a week afterwards (cleaned & all) but eventually fried itself not much later.

    After phoning an Amiga vendor in Sydney, I asked about the prices for a new A1200, and chatted about Amigas in general - A1200's were still pretty expensive, around $1000 australian for one, and I commented on the price, also noting I'd been looking at a second hand powermac for a fifth of what he was charging.

    In all seriousness he told me "An Amiga can emulate a macintosh faster than the fastest Mac runs".

    This was apparently true for a few months When the first 68040 Amigas came out, but I'm damned sure quoting it to me in 2000 when G4's were hitting 500Mhz is just a small lie :P.

  • The fast computer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by steveha ( 103154 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @10:02PM (#3218337) Homepage
    A few years back, my Mom wanted to buy a computer. She asked my older brother what to get. "Don't buy an IBM AT, buy a compatible with a 386." She in turn asked my other brother, and me, and we all gave the same answer: get a 386.

    So she bought an IBM PC AT with a 286 and 512 KB of RAM. "Why?!?!?" I asked.

    "Well, the salesman told me it was the fastest computer they made." Okay, the AT he sold her was an 8 MHz 286, not the usual 6 MHz 286, and that did in fact make it the fastest PC AT that IBM ever made. But any 386 would have smoked it, and been able to run real software as well.

    Not a vendor lie story, but still interesting, is the postscript to this story. After a year or so, the power supply in her AT died. As it died, it fried her motherboard too. We contacted IBM, and they informed us that we would have to ship the computer to them, then wait 6 to 8 weeks, for a repair; there would be no guarantee of any sort on the repair; and it would cost $X00 (I don't remember exactly how much but it was a lot). And of course after all this she would still have a 286 running at 8 MHz.

    We went down to a friendly local computer shop. They installed a new power supply, a new motherboard with a 386SX and 2 MB of RAM, and a new VGA-compatible display adapter. They burned it in overnight to make sure all was working, and we picked it up the next day. Total cost was less than IBM had wanted to repair the AT.

    I like to tell this story when people don't understand why I like my computers to be made from standard, easily-replaceable parts. (Apple's new iMac is cute, but I don't want one.)

    My mom still has that computer, by the way, and it still works.

  • by hasphar ( 531273 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @10:50PM (#3218544)
    This is from the mouth of a third level tech support from Maxtor explaining why their 20 gig HD doesn't work with their 8 gig HD on the same IDE cable.....
    "Well the Master/Slave on an IDE cable is only a theory, so it doesn't always work.
  • i saw this (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 2MuchC0ffeeMan ( 201987 ) on Sunday March 24, 2002 @10:57PM (#3218577) Homepage
    i saw this advertisement in the paper once... it said, 'last chance to send your $5 to '

    so me, being the copycat i am, i did the same in my local paper... in BIG bold print, i wrote, LAST CHANCE TO SEND YOU $5 TO ... THIS WILL BE THE LAST TIME YOU SEE THIS MESSAGE TO GET IN ON IT JUST SEND IN YOUR $5!'

    i got about $750 ... but again, i was also 6 years old... i had a hell of alot of fun with that one.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 24, 2002 @11:34PM (#3218721)
    I'm posting this anonymous for a good reason - I know people who have been fired for even hinting at this stuff publically.

    I work for the largest ISP in New Zealand - we are strongly associated with the largest Telco (who have a virtual monopoly on landlines)

    We have been told to outright lie to customers relating to a number of issues, including

    * Dropping port speeds to virtually 0 on a number of P2P applications
    * Running out of IP addresses to give to paying DSL customers
    * DSL network outages due to extremely poor design - we are not allowed to confirm these until "the word" comes through - even when half the country is without service.

    We have to tell these lies every day - I don't think it will suprise anyone to know that Xtra (the ISP) has a content partnership with MSN.

    The worst part is - half this stuff gets out in press-releases before we even get told at the helpdesk; and we're still meant to lie to customers even when the info is public!

    Despicable if you ask me - I'm leaving as soon as I can.
  • by herbierobinson ( 183222 ) on Monday March 25, 2002 @12:40AM (#3219063) Homepage
    A long time ago, I interviewed with a company that made electronic cash registers. We were chatting at the end of the interview and I mentioned my best computer salesmen story. Well, they one-upped me with this:

    The salesman had taken one of the few prototypes they had to a demo at a large hotel chain. The demo is going well and then one of the hotel people asks the question, "Will it pass the Coke test?". The salesman doesn't have a clue what the Coke test is, but in true salesman form, he answers "Yes." The hotel buyer proceeds to pick up a can of Coke, pop the tab and dump it down the keyboard of the very expensive prototype... Needless to say, that prototype never worked again. The real amazing part of the story is that the Hotel bought a lot of them -- with the newly designed rubber matt over the keyboard... I gather that particular salesman never made up answers to questions after that, too...

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter