Client Advisories

Suggested Replacements for iGoogle

Google’s iGoogle dashboard is going away on November 1, 2013. This leaves those of us who use it in a bit of a bind. So we’ve done some research into a few of the alternative offerings.

my.yahoo.com – My Yahoo actually preceded iGoogle and is still available. In fact, Yahoo has been busily dolling up most of their offerings, including this one. We only found two problems with My Yahoo:

  • Large, obnoxious ad in upper-right corner that can’t be moved or made smaller.
  • No obvious way of monitoring your Twitter feeds.

IGHome.com – We wanted to like IGHome, we really did. It is very iGoogle-like and quite straightforward to set up. But it falls short in the following ways:

  • GMail and stock portfolio widgets throw cryptic error messages periodically.
  • Page needs to be manually refreshed periodically (versus widgets refreshing their own content when needed).
  • Response was excruciating slow at times.
  • Support request went unanswered.

NetVibes.com – NetVibes is one of those sites that tries to do everything for everyone. The amazing thing is that, to a large degree, they’ve succeeded.  The down side of that is that setup can be a bit confusing. There are several plans available from Basic (free) to Premium (a whopping $499/month). If all you want to do is replace iGoogle, the Basic plan should do nicely. Astonishingly, we haven’t found anything on NetVibes that doesn’t work properly.

NetVibes is our recommended choice among the three offerings we evaluated.

 

Windows 8: Not Recommended

Clients are advised to avoid Windows 8.  Microsoft is currently offering deep discounts to end users who wish to “upgrade”.  Why?  Because Windows 8 is not selling.  Why is it not selling?  Apparently because it is a train wreck.  It seems that Microsoft learned nothing at all from the Windows Vista disaster; this is Vista all over again, on steroids.

Some vendors (e.g., Lenovo) are offering a choice between Windows 7 and 8.  We advise you hold out for 7, when purchasing a new PC.

Click here for a detailed review of Windows 8.

ePassporte: Unacceptable

We are currently recommending that clients refrain from maintaining an account with ePassporte.com (which is a prepaid Visa card scheme).  Our experience has been that they have an unbelievably poor level of customer service and unnecessarily high fees.

It’s bad enough that simple service requests can easily take a week or more to get resolved; just try to get resolution on fraudulent charges.  They also appear to have a large number of service reps for whom English is a challenge, which only compounds the problem.

Since ePassporte is owned by a non-U.S. company, some shopping web sites will not accept it, their physical presence in the Los Angeles area notwithstanding.

Lastly, ePassporte’s monthly “statements” do not adhere to normal accounting standards.  For example, the same charge may appear on two different months’ statements, and the ending balance for one month doesn’t always equal the starting balance of the next.

For these and other reasons we are warning clients to avoid this vendor if at all possible.

Update 9/2/10:  Visa has suspended its relationship with ePassport.  Any clients with funds on deposit with ePassporte are advised to withdraw them immediately.

Domain Registry of America

Clients are strongly urged to refrain from using ANY service or paying ANY invoices from Domain Registry of America.

This company sends out advertisements for domain services which are designed to look like invoices.  Unless you read every single word of the mailing, you could easily be fooled into paying the fake invoice, which also causes your domain to be transferred to their control.  This is all despite a court decision forbidding them from engaging in deceptive practices.

The only way to make them stop once and for all is to starve them.  Refuse to take the bait!