Dell Kicks It Old-School, Makes Me Place Orders With An Actual Person

Dell Kicks It Old-School, Makes Me Place Orders With An Actual Person

Reader E. has encountered an interesting problem with Dell. I always thought that the point of purchasing a computer online was that you could place the order yourself, with a printed confirmation page and the ability to check all of the numbers carefully before hitting the “submit” button. In E’s experience, though, Dell representatives insist on taking your order directly over web chat or over the phone. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but it became one when she was quoted one price over web chat and charged a different one, and had no evidence of this because Dell redacts numbers from chat transcripts. [More]

Flashback To 1985: Consumer Reports Reviews The Original Macintosh

Flashback To 1985: Consumer Reports Reviews The Original Macintosh

Reflecting on Steve Jobs’ abrupt departure from the CEO position at Apple yesterday, our elder siblings at Consumer Reports reminisced about iconic products of the Jobs era. They reached back into the archives and found the January 1985 review of the original Macintosh: “Is this the computer you already know how to use?” asked the headline. Maybe. While the operating system then seemed like “a dazzling display of technical wizardry,” they deemed the Atari 800XL a better choice for writing long(ish) documents. [More]

Video Mailbox: Like Netflix, Only 15 Years Too Early

Video Mailbox: Like Netflix, Only 15 Years Too Early

I had always thought that mail-order video rental only came to be after the invention of DVDs because video tapes are too bulky and delicate to send through the mail on a regular basis. I was wrong.

Check Fraud Is Alive, Well, And Preventable

Check Fraud Is Alive, Well, And Preventable

Old-fashioned check fraud is coming back into style as banks tailor their anti-fraud efforts to safeguard internet commerce. Check fraud cost banks almost $1 billion in 2005. The LA Times took the time to test the effectiveness of one resurgent scheme, check washing:

In a test at The Times — following directions supplied by a local security expert — the writing in the “Pay to the Order,” “Dollars” and signature areas on a check was dissolved in less than 15 minutes. Printed information — including the bank routing numbers and the name and address of the account holder — remained intact.