2015.05 News: What Brand Is Worth $100,000,000,000?

What brand is worth $100,000,000,000? If you guessed "Apple", you're partly correct. That how much more it was worth than last year. After a 3-year run as the world's most valuable brand, Apple was supplanted last year by Google, but this year it came back with a vengeance to reclaim the #1 spot, leaving Google trailing in its dust. Overall, the name alone is worth a quarter of a trillion dollars.

7 of the top 8 brands are companies that sell primarily services, mostly in tech and comm. The highest-rated brand that sells mainly a physical product is Coca-Cola, at #8.


2015.05 MacKeeper in Hot Water

From our friends at Small Dog Electronics' blog/newsletter Tech Tails.  Couldn't have happened to a nicer piece of bloatware, in my opinion...

Every Mac user has at one point run across the program known as MacKeeper, a program that is advertised as a tool to keep your Mac clean and fast. Well, as it turns out, MacKeeper has been accused of using scare techniques to get you to buy their higher end apps. MacKeeper was released in 2010 by a company called ZeoBIT from Kiev, Ukraine and was extremely lucrative for ZeoBIT. According to them, as many as 650,000 users purchased the high end versions at the rate of $39.95 per copy in the US alone.

In May of 2014 a lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Pennsylvania resident who claimed that the software falsely came back with exaggerated results to scare the user into buying the paid version. Under the settlement terms ZeoBIT has to pay 2 million dollars into a fund set up for those who feel that they deserve a refund.

To complicate matters, ZeoBIT sold the software to a company called Kromtech in December of 2013. This has, in my opinion, made matters worse as MacKeeper has now transitioned to a subscription-based product, which oddly does not offer updates (unless you pay premium prices). The lawsuit, however, doesn’t include the new owners.

So the future of one of the most hated bloatware is still in the air. For those who have installed it, here is how you get rid of it.


2015.05 News: Live Windows 10 Demo

The Madison PC Users Group invites computer aficionados to its next meeting with this cordial invitation:

What a bright future we live in! Personal drones, house batteries, 3-D printing, and robots on Mars!

At the Madison PC Users Group meeting on Wednesday, May 13, we will have a preview and group discussion of Windows 10, Microsoft's latest and, just announced, possibly last major version of the Windows operating system. Last month's overview was beset with technical difficulties, so this month, we have decided to give a live overview with a working copy of the software, and have the group participate in an examination of what is new.

Also, we would like to have a brainstorming session of future topics. Please think about what you would like to see at future meetings, and bring them along.

Our next meeting is Wednesday, May 13, 2015, at 7 p.m. We meet very informally at 6 p.m. before the general meeting for some questions and answers and general discussion. The venue is the Community Room of the Village Co-Housing Community, 1104 Mound Street, Madison, WI 53715, at the corner with Mills Street. This is in the Vilas neighborhood, a few blocks from Meriter Hospital. The Community Room is set back behind a large courtyard. Parking is available on the neighborhood streets, and also in the Meriter Hospital parking ramp.

Our general meetings are free and open to the public. All are welcome!


2015.05 Tip: Emptying Trash

I tried to empty my Trash today, but a bunch of files refused to succumb to incineration. "They're still in use", my computer informed me. But they were all JPEG files, and I didn't have any programs open that made use of them. A puzzlement. Then I looked more closely and discovered that they were all screenshots that I had recently e-mailed to various recipients. Perhaps the Mail program was still keeping them "on the countertop", so to speak, in case they hadn't been well and truly dispatched. So I quit Mail and tried emptying the Trash again, and presto! got that nice, satisfying paper-crumpling sound that's the audio hallmark of success.