More options removed: Apple Takes Away Option for Touch ID on iPhone X

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Why would Apple take away the option for Touch ID on the iPhone X when Touch ID was working quite well before? In fact, I think it’s a mistake on their part.  It’s great when a company decides to enhance their products by making them better.  But it’s completely unacceptable when a company (Apple in this case) decides to remove proven features from their product in order to promote another idea.  (This practice is common in gaming and it stinks for the consumer.  Think SimCity 2013 or the Sims 3 to Sims 4. )

So why did Apple choose to replace touch ID with face ID? They might have many  excuses including “Face ID is the future of technology” but we know their reasoning really boils down to one main goal:  Control.

Less Options More Control

Apple, like Google and Microsoft want control over us the consumer.  These big mega technology companies want to control our lives and do I dare say, create our lives.  If a company can control our media, content and the devices we use, it’s fair game in their view for how they implement them into our lives.  Doubt this?  Ever noticed how they control the default news sources we see on our devices?  (Yes, left leaning news sources are the norm on Microsoft, Google and Apple.)

Hey Apple, What Happened to Consumer First?

Of course if control weren’t their top priority we would see them keep great ideas from the past intact (no matter their age) but most importantly they would put the consumer first, always give us options and stop cramming their views down our throat.

Apple could have implemented touch ID into their new iPhone X.  But since they want to control and shape how people use their device they removed it completely.  In the case of whether or not Apple decides on bringing back touch ID to their new iPhones, I will be watching to see how consumer friendly they choose to be.

What do you think? Should Touch ID be incorporated along side Face id into the new iPhone X?  Do you think Apple will bring back Touch ID?


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Windows 10: The New Vista?

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Windows 10 desktop

 

Update:  Now that it has been nearly one and a half years since the public release of Windows 10 I will say it is my opinion and from experience many bugs (including in the anniversary update)  have been removed from or fixed in the operating system.  At this time since using Windows 10 for nearly the same amount of time,  I can finally recommend it to you.  ______________________

 

Unfortunately, many people may remember an operating system they once had running on their computer called Windows Vista.  This little nugget of fun of an operating system was great if you enjoyed trying to fix problems with a computer.   Like most people, I enjoy using a computer to play games, browse the internet, use a graphics editor and for writing but tracking down the source of why audio doesn’t work or the computer won’t connect to the internet is not really what I call “fun”.

Not all peaches and cream

So now it’s 2015 and we’ve turned a corner and a new operating system from Microsoft has come into our lives in the hope of making life easier, simpler and more fun.   At least I think that’s the intention.  But for me and many others our experience with this new revolutionary operating system called Windows 10 hasn’t really turned out all peaches and cream.

In fact,  today I pushed paused on a game I had been playing and then unpaused it to find the sound wasn’t working anymore.   I exited the game, figuring maybe it’s a simple game malfunction (even though it’s been fine for months past).  I then find myself on the Windows 10 desktop still without audio.    This isn’t the only difficulty I have experienced with Windows 10.

Just last week whenever I would start my computer the internet connection would be gone.  Windows 10 troubleshooting would report no network adapter could be found.  Really?  All of a sudden?   After a computer restart the connection would almost mysteriously return like a magic trick I was involved in.  That is, until the next computer restart when the connection would be gone again.  The connection had been fine for months before without a hiccup and so I figured maybe it was the cable from the extender or perhaps even the extender itself was failing.  I decided to hard-wire my connection with a new cat5e cable directly to the router.   This time even a restart of the computer wouldn’t bring the internet connection back.   My internet connection appeared lost forever, at least on this computer.    The only change to the computer I had noticed a few days before the lost connection was a Windows 10 update that had occurred. Hmmm..

Troubleshooting isn’t peaches and cream

Eventually the audio and the WI-FI connection would return but not before a few hours and days of troubleshooting using a different computer running a Linux, a new cable and updated driver–which I had to find online.   Apparently Windows 10 isn’t as smart as we are led to believe.    Lately,  I have noticed an inexplicable sluggishness when restarting the computer and opening folders and an overall sense of incompleteness with my copy of Windows 10 that has been giving me an old feeling of yesteryear, as if I were still running a version of Windows Vista underneath it all.

High Hopes

Now to be completely honest, I don’t believe Windows 10 is all bad news.   In fact, I really like it’s appearance and potential.  I saw Windows 10 during beta testing and had high hopes for Windows 10 and still do.   Visually Windows 10 has it going on, with its fresh-looking skin, but underneath its clean-looking exterior I am beginning to wonder why Microsoft released it.    It might be just my opinion, but I don’t think Windows 10 is really ready for prime-time.  Yet, maybe Microsoft knew that already and left themselves a loophole by giving copies away for free.  In the meantime, I do hope things get better under the hood of Windows 10, and whenever I turn the computer on I’ll try not to keep thinking I’m using a new copy of Windows Vista.

 

Related interest:

Linux Tinkering and XP Options

XP Options

Windows 10

Windows 10 Store: A Dream Gone Bad

 

Image:  personal computer screenshot

Strings Attached: Revisiting Windows 10 Store and In-App Purchasing

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After a $240 mishap with in-app purchasing in the store located in Windows 10 (also in Windows 8.1)  I have been doing a little research into the monster that I believe is in-app purchasing.

It use to be many years ago (ok maybe only a few) that one could go to a favorite store in town to purchase a complete game for a computer for around $40-$50, take it home and have fun with it, end of story.    Today we find gaming is changing in many ways.  Not only are younger and younger kids getting involved, it is becoming easier and easier to access them.   When we talk about in-app purchasing, it basically means that within the app store there are purchases to be had within games and apps themselves.  Usually these games are free or are available up front for very low-cost.   However, these games and apps come with what I call, “strings attached”  and allow the game or app to be unlocked a little bit by little bit for a small charge (usually $2-$4 and sometimes even $$50-$99 and more).   Perhaps two dollars doesn’t seem like much for a game but like I said there are strings attached.  What can happen is, that in order to advance within the game one must put forward the $2 and to advance to another level or unlock more features another $2 must be charged and so on.  Now imagine if a person did this for more than one game or app.  It can add up, especially if the purchase is $100 and more than once.  Now imagine if your kids or grand-kids had their own computer or tablet complete with Windows 10 and did this purchasing for you–over and over without you aware of it.    Let me hope you are aware of the potential for this to occur (even for adults) so it doesn’t happen.  But if you do know what your kids are doing, even then it is sometimes difficult to detect what is or isn’t a in-app purchase until after it has been authorized.   This where I think it would be nice to be able to disable them completely with ease.

Now, on an iPad or iPhone it is quite simple to control in-app purchasing.  It’s simply a matter of enabling or disabling in-app purchasing restrictions.  Yes Apple, and most smart phones have a toggle switch to do this.   So why does it appear this feature is missing on a Windows computer?  The short answer is, I don’t really know but it’s hard not to think money or a deal with the app developers may be involved.  Or perhaps it’s just a giant oversight that nobody has yet to discover except me.  I doubt it.   Whatever the reason, besides banning your kids from using a Windows computer (specifically Windows 10) or from using a Windows 10 tablet you may wonder how to prevent this inadvertent in-app purchasing.

The only way I know how is to completely remove a payment option from within a Microsoft account you have linked to the store.  It will be necessary to be sure payment options are removed and added whenever a purchase is desired.   Other than that it gets a bit messy because I am not sure all “free” apps can be opened without a payment option in place.  Adding and removing a credit card for every situation seems less than user-friendly.   But another question I want to address is why does appear so easy for anyone to authorize the transactions of in-app purchases in the first place?

I believe the answer to this is actually quite obvious.   First, we know in-app purchases are put in place by developers to make money but at what cost to the consumer?   In-app purchasing is a trap waiting to catch unsuspecting kids (and adults).   Their goal is to not only catch us but to catch lots of us.  Unfortunately, for we consumers it is a developer’s dream that we have allowed it this way because overall this seems to be what we want.   Therefore purchasing apps in a piece meal kinda way has become the norm for how we buy and will continue to buy apps.    Would you rather pay $50 for a program up front or play a game that says it’s free (with in-app purchases available).    In a society where people are driven to seek out instant gratification, many are choosing this way of purchasing which appears “free” until they find out later it’s not all true.

I believe Microsoft is partly to blame–at least for the time being.  I will tell you why I believe so in a minute.   Of course, free apps with in-app purchasing capabilities isn’t all bad for the consumer.    I don’t think there is really anything wrong with trying out a game or app for “free” before you buy.  It’s great for the consumer and it can only help a developer’s reputation in the long run.   That is until we discover there are “hidden” or even hefty additional charges.  When a developer hides their charges, I would consider them more devious and money hungry than helpful.  In addition to hiding in-app purchases, it seems to me to be less than honest to include in-proportionate over inflated prices for simple virtual software.  The “try before you buy” way works fine when one can be certain about additional charges and when the prices are proportionate and value matches with what you get.   Of course a kid doesn’t know what value is necessarily nor even cares about the ins and outs of game prices.  So a parent must be aware of what is going on when it comes to what their kids are doing online.

In Windows Store,  Microsoft doesn’t seem to have an option to enable or disable in-app purchases and I as mentioned already, I have found some in-app purchases are even disguised as part of the game!  This where I believe Microsoft could do a better job of protecting its customers from inadvertent in-app purchasing and mistakes.

So while I don’t necessarily like the way of the future as it pertains to pc games or app purchasing and in-app purchasing procedure, I really dislike the inability to easily enable or disable in-app purchasing from within the Windows App Store.   A simple toggle switch would go a long way in making Windows Store a safer experience for everyone who uses it.

If you have found a way to do this (without the need to connect or reconnect payment options under a Microsoft account or even set-up permissions for a separate user) please share it with me and I believe many people (including myself) will thank you.

 

 

Related interest: http://www.imore.com/problem-app-purchases-and-what-do-about-it

Windows 10 Store, In-App Purchases: A Dream Gone Bad

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Windows 10 App Store

 

Update 5/2/18:   Good News for Parents! Microsoft has recently updated the options for store purchases in an attempt to curb surprise spending.   Check out the complete details here.


If you are familiar with Windows 8 and now Windows 10, you may be familiar with the Windows Marketplace or Store (as it’s called in Windows 10).  Windows Store, as with other app stores ( such as Google’s Play Store or the itunes Apple App store found on smart phones, ipads and tablets) usually include within the App itself what is referred to as in-app purchases.

In-app purchases are those little nuggets of extra secret game levels you can buy and unlock from within a free game app or it’s the in-app purchases that make “unlocking” all the features of your favorite text editing app possible.   Many in-app purchases hover around the $2-$5 range which isn’t much considering the price of a mac computer these days but I digress.  Two dollars can quickly grow to $4 and even more than $4 dollars if you were to make the purchase, let’s say, over and over and over and over for example to unlock all the features of a particular game.  This in-app purchasing may be dandy and nice in a world where in-app purchases can be disabled so no harm can be done to the bank account.   But what if these little subtly hidden nuggets of App developer’s gold cannot be disabled or you learn (the hard way) the in-app purchase option (if there is one) hasn’t been disabled at all and after financial damage has been done?   For example, take that one time when your child or grandchild wants to play a game or two or three on your smart phone or ipad.   A quick disable of in-app purchases and there’s no need to worry yourself to sleep about unauthorized in-game purchases, right?  Well, sort of.

I found out a little something different is happening or could be happening within the Windows 10 App store on desktop home computers, laptop computers, your computer and my computer all across this fine planet.  Now don’t get me wrong, thus far I have enjoyed using Windows 10– all except for this one little hiccup I recently discovered in the App store.  The hiccup was partly user error (meaning my fault) but it still cost real money and about $240 of it.   And all over what, you ask?  First, it was heartache and then it became a huge headache but for what else in material value I may never exactly know because the game where the deed was done has since been uninstalled (removed).  But I did hear something about virtual shoes and $99 virtual coins or maybe the virtual shoes cost $99?

No matter, the story goes something like this.   My daughter found a dress-up doll game to play.  And as her parent I foolishly approved of her playing it and even watched as she played it for a short time.  She was having fun and all seemed to be going well.   Then I made my second mistake.  I left the room.  (The first mistake being my giving her my Windows 10 login pin number.)  A few minutes later (ok maybe 30 minutes later) I came back to check my email and I saw I had received a purchase alert from the Microsoft store for $1.99.  Then I saw another alert for $1.99, and another one for $49, another one for $99, one for $24.99 (probably the virtual shoes) and another for $49…..well you get the idea.   Now to make the matter worse was there was barely enough money in the source bank account to cover even one purchase over $30!  Can we all say, overdraft charge? Correction, overdraft charges.

Nevertheless, after a stressful evening spent trying to contact the correct Microsoft department to reverse the purchases (get a refund), I am happy to report the financial dam, I mean damage may be finally getting repaired minus the overdraft charges.   But back to my main point.  What about disabling those Windows 10 store in-app purchases?  As it turns out–as of this writing–there seems to be no direct option for disabling in-app purchases in Windows 10 App Store except to completely remove all payment options associated and connected to a Microsoft account.   Another method is to consider avoiding logging into Windows using a Microsoft account entirely, without proper parental monitoring of course.  This means never give your login pin number or password to your child.

The method of completely removing a payment option may be the best answer, until you find the need to actually make a legitimate purchase from the App Store.  Just remember that after you reconnect a payment option to make a purchase, not to forget to remove the payment option once again.   This would be especially true if you are not the only one logging into your computer or you plan on allowing your child to play games from the home computer using your Microsoft Account.

Of course a more drastic approach to keep Windows 10 in-app purchases from being executed would be to avoid giving your child or grand-kid your Windows login pin number altogether.   Under a Microsoft Account in Windows 10, without the pin they won’t even be able to login to your computer in the first place!  (Just remember a Microsoft Account is necessary to use the App Store)  Whatever you decide,  keep in mind that free games are fun but unauthorized in-app purchase fees are not and can quickly become a dream gone bad.

Related interest:  http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/apps-and-games