Digital software downloads! Fast. Convenient. But sometimes, it can’t compare with having a physical disc and a printed product key sitting in front of you. That’s what Daniel’s roommate learned when he tried to download Windows 7 from Digital River.
iReel.com seems like a pretty neat and reasonably priced service, which allows you to harness the power of the interweb to beam recently released movies directly to your home computing device. However, two Consumerist readers have contacted us about the company, and their misleading or just plain dishonest “free trial” billing practices.
Vlog It! looks like a nice piece of software if you’re interested in video blogging. Now sold by Adobe, it makes putting video blog entries together about as easy as, well, iMovie.
Although eMusic is a great service—for a flat monthly fee, you get a set number of downloads per month of DRM-free music tracks—it’s about to get better. Or maybe worse, depending on the breadth of your musical tastes. Today eMusic will announce that Sony is adding its back catalog of songs to eMusic’s library. The bad news is that eMusic also plans to slightly raise prices and/or drop the number of downloads per month. Even if it works out to between 50-60 cents per track, though, that’s still far less than iTunes Music Store or Amazon, and probably the cheapest way to grab music from Sony artists without resorting to piracy.
Earlier this week, we posted an email from a frustrated Qwest customer who said he couldn’t download YouTube and other online videos at a speed equivalent to the Qwest service he was paying for. Qwest wrote to us, and spoke to the customer, and swore they were not interfering with any download rates. Instead, it looks like the problem is with OpenDNS, a free service that usually speeds up downloading, but that seems to have an issue when it comes to certain video streams.
Update: It turns out the problem is with OpenDNS, not Qwest. The original post is below.
Hannah needs some more training, because her knowledge of Comcast’s bandwidth cap is less than Comcastic. We also think calling her an “analyst” is maybe stretching it a bit.
FileFront isn’t shutting down after all! The original founders decided to buy back the company from Ziff Davis Media after learning that the service was to be shut down at the end of March. [FileFront] (Thanks to Bob!)
Stephanie writes, “I’m guessing I’m not the only Consumerist reader to ever get a sewing machine hand-me-down or buy one from a garage sale sans operating manual.” In fact, there are all sorts of devices that require some level of instruction before you can get the maximal use out of them. The problem is, people lose manuals, and companies don’t always make them available for download once they’ve been pulled off the market. Stephanie almost paid $35 for a digital copy when she decided she’d try asking the company directly.
Update: Mike writes back to say that after reading the comments below, he checked his purchase history and the album is indeed listed there. What’s confusing is Mike didn’t buy it through iTunes, but through Amazon, but he says that other people did have access to his account and may have purchased it without his knowledge.
Remember that Norwegian site that was offering Beatles songs for legal download? Yeah, well, not anymore. It turns out their licensing agreement stipulates that the shows they put online have to have been aired within the past 4 weeks, and all the Beatles shows are from 2007. [Exclaim News] (Thanks to elc81!)
“Suze Orman’s 2009 Action Plan” is free to download from Oprah.com for the next week. Unlike last year’s “Women & Money,” this book is intended for pretty much everyone. We haven’t read it, so here’s a line from the Amazon editorial review: “There are safeguards to put in place, actions to take, costly mistakes to avoid, and even opportunities to be had, so that you are protected during the bad times and prepared to prosper when things take a turn for the better.”
Reader Zach is having some trouble with Blizzard and is wondering what he should do. He tried to download a copy of Diablo II from their digital store, but the download didn’t work. Blizzard’s customer service then tried to download it again — which also didn’t work. Finally, they told him to buy it at an actual store — which he did. Now he’s bought the game three times and would like some money back.
R. Preston McAfee, a Cal Tech economics professor, is annoyed at how overpriced textbooks are. “‘The person who pays for the book, the parent or the student, doesn’t choose it,’ he said. ‘There is this sort of creep. It’s always O.K. to add $5.'” To fight back, he’s foregone the potential six-figure advance traditional publishing would have granted, and published his textbook online for free.