Microsoft Office Costs 25% More in Canada to Download

There are few things I despise more than getting cheated out of my hard earned money just because I am in Canada instead. This is especially true when there appears to be no reason other than greed!

Is Microsoft Price Gouging Canadians? My Experience Says Yes!

A screenshot I took of Microsoft Office 2010 shown at what turned out to be the USA price of $279.99I needed to get another copy of Office 2010 Home and Business for one of my staff. So, I went to Google and searched for the Office 2010 purchase & download site. I went there and found Office Home and Business 2010 for sale for a reasonable $279.99. When I clicked “Buy Now” I was taken to a page where… much to my surprise and annoyance the price increased to $349.99 !! What the hell??

For a while I just kept trying to find some reason why it increased in price and I didn’t figure it out until I looked at the two URLs of the websites:

  1. The address for page 1 (the MS Office order page):
    http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/home-and-business/?CTT=5&origin=HA101810737
    .
  2. The address for page 2 (the shopping cart):
    http://www7.buyoffice.microsoft.com/can/basket.aspx?cache=1165662165&culture=en-CA
    . 

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News for BC from Real Journalists

Are you as sick as I am with the crap on the news these days? Perhaps you haven’t even thought to think of the issue? After all, we are all pretty overwhelmed with our busy lives on a daily basis and the morning/evening news has become more background noise than anything. Well, let me point you to the path of enlightenment because I was in the same place you were until I started reading the blogs of a few respected independent journalists.

Who are these REAL journalists?

After reading just a few articles from these journalists, I felt a bit more clarity than I did before. It was like a shroud of fog parted long enough for me to remember what real reporting was; unbiased, fearless, and genuinely intelligent. I honestly can’t recall how long it has been since quality reporting was the norm on TV but I must have seen it at some point to feel the way I did. Anyway, I can tell you now that I am going to try to find even more journalists with the same ethical reporting skills as these gentlemen and I look forward to broadening my critical thinking skills and knowledge of issues I am so used to hearing just one side of on TV. Will you do the same? I honestly believe we are collectively getting dumber by watching the repetitive garbage on our local TV newscasts. Really! Who needs to see THAT much “news” about the weather and is it just me or does the news seem painfully biased and lame?

Perhaps you know of some great BC journalist blogs which you can share? Please feel free to add a comment and I will be sure to post the results.


Scoopt Announces Shutdown – Getty Images

As a member of Scoopt I received the following message this morning announcing that Scoopt is shutting down.

Dear Scoopt members,

I am sorry to inform you, as a member of Scoopt, that we have decided to close the business.   We will not be taking in any more imagery after February 6, 2009 and will close the upload application.   We will also cease licensing any imagery through Scoopt on that date.

Our experience with Scoopt has taught us some very valuable lessons.  We remain convinced that there is a demand for this kind of material as part of an editorial product, but for the moment are choosing to focus our energies within Getty Images on our core products in news, sport and entertainment.

It has been a pleasure working with Scoopt, your pictures have provided a fascinating snapshot of the circumstances in which you find yourselves and have added valuable viewpoints to the news service we provide our customers on a daily basis.

A holding page will remain until March 6, 2009 but from February 6 we will not be accepting any new imagery and so the upload path will be closed, and the galleries shut down, at which point all rights over the photos revert to you, the copyright holders.

All Scoopt content that also appears on Getty Images will initially be reviewed and any Scoopt member that has photos deemed to have longer term value on Getty Images will be offered a separate contract.  To be clear, on February 6, 2009 all Scoopt content will be taken down from the Getty Images website and only be reposted, once the relevant contractual relationship with individual photographers is in place.

If your material is selected for continued inclusion on Getty Images, you will be contacted directly.   We will be posting some FAQ’s on the website to try to answer any questions you may have, so please do refer to this section.

Please note that we will be retaining your contact details in order to service any outstanding payments that are due and in case there should be need for a further communication update.  If you would like your details removed from the database, please respond to enquiries@scoopt.com with the words Remove Details in the subject line, and citing your Scoopt member ID.

Please use the email enquiries@scoopt.com for all correspondence regarding the closure of  Scoopt

Thank you for all your enthusiasm and support which have made Scoopt such an exciting place to work.

From the team at Scoopt

It is sad to see yet another innovative service shutting down but then again that is the nature of a tough economy – it tends to cleanse the industry of poor performers. Of course, I am making a supposition that the economy forced Getty Images’ hand but I think that is a good bet 😉

Until later.

Ross

What is a Darknet?

I can’t say I had ever heard the term Darknet until today. After watching this video, however, I believe I understand.

This was my take… a Darknet is a network of users privately and perhaps anonymously sharing information of all types. I am not sure if they are invite only but I suspect they are.

There are many pros and cons to the concept of Darknets; the pros being protected, anonymous free speech (i.e. people in China who want to flout censorship use them)… the cons being blatant illegal activity (lots of pirated content being shared and god knows what else).

Weighing in, this term is nothing new… I think the term is just another name for the Internet – the way it use to be before governments and legal entities enforced laws and censorship. Now groups and users have taken a step deeper into the bowels of the Internet to protect themselves from lawful and unlawful persecution. I do not condone the illegal activities within Darknets but I fully and completely believe Darknets are necessary to maintain the free essence of the Internet. The global community has become tighter and more efficient since the emergence of the Internet (a debatable topic I am sure but that is how I feel) and I worry that growing censorship and pending legal precedent may reverse much of the headway.

Anyway, I don’t know why I wrote this post except that for some reason it felt right. Heh, I suppose that is what weblogs are for… speculation, discussion, freedom of speech and debate. Till later…