Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Corporations Behaving Badly

Two stories from the corporate world . . .
Volkswagen has agreed to pay nearly $15 billion (with a "b") in buying back or repairing diesel-powered cars with falsified emissions controls, development of clean-vehicle technology, and environmental initiatives.  Buying back the vehicles can cost the firm anywhere from $12,500 to $44,000 per car, though some customers (but not many) might opt for a repair.  Customers have until May 2018 to decide.  VW still faces penalties for violating the Clean Air Act, along with possible criminal charges.  Volkswagen enthusiasts in the U.S. can expect things to get worse before they get even worse. 
"We take our commitment to make things right very seriously and believe these agreements are a significant step forward," Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller said. "We know that we still have a great deal of work to do to earn back the trust of the American people."
So, in fact, does Microsoft.  Microsoft, having long replaced General Motors as the supreme evil geniuses of planned obsolescence, has been found to have aggressively pushing Windows 10 by promoting customers to upgrade existing personal computers and forcing them to do so even if they didn't want to, usually in the form of an "update."  Also, if you have devices that pre-date Windows 10, like a digital recorder, and you upgrade to Windows 10, your devices may very well be obsolete.  This has proven to be a good way to . . . sell new computers.  And new devices.
My mother and I took advantage of the free upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 after I'd resisted for so long, and it worked well at first.  Then came the bugs: my own digital recorder being rendered useless, Cortana not working right, Internet disconnections, PC errors causing restarts, and finally a misconfiguration in the software that has crippled the PC completely.  All after three months.  It's unusable, and we need a new one.  (I'm writing this on a borrowed laptop.)  Restoring Windows 7 may be possible, but it might not be worth it.  It turns out our PC was too old to handle the strain of Windows 10 in the first place.  
On the other hand, my gasoline-powered VW works fine.

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