Re: MSFT Chicanery

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Fri Sep 21 2007 - 18:07:28 CDT

On 9/21/07, Fred McLain <> wrote:
> Hi Alan,
> I think you should go back to the folks distributing that flyer,
> (your kids school?!?), and let them know they are spreading *false
> information*.

I am on the case. I sent the message below on Tues the 18th. No response
so far. I think they will respond. I will escalate as appropriate.

My wife and I recently attended back-to-school night at Granite Bay High
School where my son, Grant Dechert, just started as a freshman. We were
given a four-page handout about HomeLink. Two pages were dated
2/18/2005 (FAQs) and the other two (instructions) were dated 12/30/2004.

I was disappointed to read that we are advised that "Explorer running on
a Windows-based PC is the only software that will provide accurate
student information online."

I have two basic problems with this advice.

1) It appears to be inaccurate

2) It appears to promote the business interests of a company continually
in trouble for monopolistic practices. You are aiding and abetting a
company with a bad track record -- anti-trust problems as well as
influence peddling issues.

The website says that HomeLink will run on Macintosh computers using
Internet Explorer v 6.0 or later, which contradicts what the handout

Furthermore, I see no problem using FireFox with Linux. I am running
Ubuntu Linux (v 7.04) and FireFox on the PC I'm using right now.
This software is completely free and works great.

I would like to see public schools -- funded with public money --
promoting the use of public software rather than lining the pockets of a
company like Microsoft.

I have Windows Xp licenses for our four main PCs, and have a fifth
computer running Windows 98 SE, but I am transitioning to Linux.

You make it a point to tell people to protect against viruses and
spyware on their PCs. Why not let them know there are alternatives to
Microsoft's over-priced, bug-ridden, virus-ridden, spyware laden
software? I am nearly completely converted from Windows to Linux. I
don't like being told that we're locked into Windows.

Please stop advocating for Microsoft Windows, and let people know that
there are free alternative operating systems and browsers.

The handout hints there may be some inaccurate information if we use
other browsers that "appear to work." This information may be obsolete.
If you think there is something at your website that may not display
accurately with a setup like mine, please let me know what that might

Thank you in advance for your prompt and thorough attention to this

Alan Dechert
9560 Windrose Lane
Granite Bay, CA 95746
work 916-772-5360
cell 916-792-1784

Regardless of what their support concerns are, only a
> bit over 60% of people in the US today use IE. IE use is trending
> downward sharply, so it certainly doesn't save cost over time to be
> "IE only", or even claim it.

That's good to know.

The "inaccurate results" is an extraordinary claim and almost
> certainly is also false. It's like saying "other peoples software
> may be crap". Unless your local school is in the business of
> marketing Microsoft products, they should not be supporting that sort
> of claim by distributing the marketing materials.

I agree.

'snot just our school ... it appears all their customers help out with MSFT
marketing. Maybe that's part of the deal.

>From another district

"HomeLink runs best on a Windows based machine"


"Microsoft Internet Explorer is what the vendor recommends. Other browsers
may display data inaccurately."

I wonder if CA has any laws regarding public officials engaging in
> competitive marketing actions on public property?

Regardless, there is plenty to complain about here. There is also something
called consumer fraud.
I found some HomeLink schools in Canada. Maybe there are some in your state
too? Perhaps this is a national problem ... or even international.

Alan D.

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Received on Sun Sep 30 23:17:17 2007

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