How To Behave Like A Wanker

I check the website www.BitsDuJour.com most days, just keeping an eye out for good deals on useful software. For example, the excellent backup tool AJC Active Backup is available there from time to time for under twenty bucks, and a lot of the software offered on BitsDuJour is worth at least a look. A nice feature is that they have a blog-ish format where people can ask questions or make comments on the software, and the software authors can respond.

Last week they offered DiskMagik, a hard drive defragmentation tool from Rose City Software. There are quite a few defragmenting tools out there, and one person asked a question:

While it is true that defragmentation is necessary, what I really wonder is the feautres in your software DiskMagik. I have installed the ffollowing software:


Now both the softwares are free.

So I would like to know what are the advantages of your software that gives me an idea to buy it.

Pretty reasonable question. There are free alternatives, some of them very well respected. Defraggler, for example, is from the same people who make CCleaner, which is a great system cleaning tool.

Rose City software developer and CEO Joseph Burke answered:

There are freeware options for most software today. Developers from Third World countries flood the market with knockoffs. If you wish to trust the integrity of your system to an unproven freeware product because you cannot afford a few bucks for really good trusted software, that is your choice.

Ouch! Let’s see, in one paragraph he insults freeware, third world developers, and the person asking the question! And he completely failed to actually answer the question or offer any reasons why his software is worth paying for.

Turns out that the people who check BitsDuJour don’t suffer fools gladly. Joseph Burke was quickly taken to task for his attitude. One respondent pointed out that some of the best applications on the market are freeware, and listed a number of well-known examples. Another pointed out that the two freeware defraggers in the original question are from London and Hong Kong (both cities will no doubt be surprised to discover that they’re in the third world).

Now, most people who are trying to attract customers would realize they’d made a mistake, and try to fix it. Not good old Joseph Burke though, no sir. He barreled on ahead with another post:

Look be my guest… use garbage freeware with zero support or backup and risk your system. Unlike you jokers, I have have spent thousands of hours working with programmers from China, India and Russia and I *know* how much junk comes out of those countries (and many others as well) and just how many bugs there are. […] If I valued my time at just $5 an hour which is probably what you do, I have read morealready wasted more time than the $15. If you cannot afford $15 for a piece of software you obviously don’t use your computer for anything much more than computer games and are not a customer of Rose City Software, not are you worth wasting our time conversing with on message boards.

Jinkies. Zoinks. Wowie. Ooof. Etc. Will I be buying anything from Rose City Software? No, no I don’t think so. Ever.

You know what’s kind of ironic? Rose City Software has a page of freeware that they recommend as interesting. I wonder if they mean ‘interesting’ in the ‘knock-off garbage’ sense of the word?

Addendum… See the juicy goodness for yourself HERE.

Vandals and Burglars and Salesmen!

Sometime late last Friday night, or rather early Saturday morning, someone went through my neighborhood slashing tires. Apparently they mostly focused on cars parked on the street, so my vehicles were not affected. I’m not certain of the final count, but a rough estimate from my doorstep puts the count to at least six cars, probably ten. I gather that someone also had sugar dumped in their car, though stories vary as to if it was in their gas tank or just their front seat. And at least one house is said to have had their phone lines cut, a la preparation for burglary.

One of the cops who responded suggested that it was likely either just kids being morons, or some sort of low level gang initiation (which falls under ‘kids being morons’ too). By and large this is a good neighborhood and town. Low crime, quiet, even boring. But we’re pretty close to Aurora and Joliet, both of which have significant crime problems. And no doubt even Plainfield has its share of delinquents who think randomly trashing private property is somehow fun. So, the cop’s explanation seems reasonable enough.

One thing that sort of struck me as odd, though…

On the Monday after the vandalism occurred, we had a guy (“I’m not a salesman!”) from a home security provider going door-to-door. He had a nice shirt with the name of the security company embroidered on it, and a metal clipboard – you know, the usual guise of someone who wants to look like an official representative. He seemed to know the whole story about the vandalism, and was asking each house if they had a security system, and if so what brand it was, and if they would be interested in becoming a ‘demo house’ for his company.

If I had Spidey senses, they might have tingled. I don’t, but I did find it in mildly bad taste that they would be using this situation as a sales opportunity. I told him we’ve got a system already, and no, I won’t divulge who with.

My wife and I talked about it later, and we wondered some things…

  • How many homeowners blithely respond that “No, we don’t have a security system”?
  • How many of those also indicated when their house would be unoccupied? “No, the appointment would have to be in the evening as I don’t get home before 5pm”.
  • And how many of those said “Sure, come on in (read: have a look around, see if I have anything valuable)”?
  • How would a home security system stop someone from slashing tires on the street?
  • Who the heck buys a home security system from a door-to-door salesman, anyway?

To anyone of a cynical nature (me!), the circumstances & timing were just a tad suspicious.