Laptop woes, revisited

My 10-month old laptop is fixed now, and I promise not to rant again about its misleading warranty — as I did when it first quit working without reason or warning.

But I will spend a minute or two looking at how the $16 billion extended warranty industry is bad news for consumers.

The $16 billion figure comes from a November 1, New York Times article titled: “The Word on Warranties: Don’t Bother.” Among other points in support of that tile, the Times notes that:

” … Electronics retailers generate margins as high as 80 percent on warranties … That is a sign that the products they sell rarely break down during the warranty periods, making warranties a great deal for the seller but a bad deal for the buyer.”

The whole article is more of the same, so let me take a deep breath and allow the episode pass with one last note.

I discovered that Warranty tracks the type of warranties offered by competing manufacturers. These are traditional warranties, not the extended sort that seem to have been turned into a profit center. I plan to check the warranty comparisons before I make my next big purchase.

The oops spot. Thanks to Sree Sreenivasan of Poynter Institute for calling attention to, which “reports on corrections, retractions, clarifications and trends regarding accuracy and honesty in the media.”

I’ve written enough stories that I’ve had to write my share of corrections so reading them isn’t, to me at least, funny. But It was fascinating to scan the errors. One entry was darn near as long as a story, because it took that much space to contradict the errors in a story about a political candidate who was apparently never interviewed by the paper that ran the article!

For your eyes only? Reuters reports that blog toolmaker Six Apart has released a blog platform called Vox that allows the poster to create different levels of visibility and privacy. As Reuters explains:

“The free service, which has been in test mode with 50,000 users for several months, encourages new categories of bloggers to publish personal text, photos, audio or videos to share with known acquaintances.”