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Old 23-05-13, 02:51   #1
 
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Hacker How PC Manufacturers are Cheating You

How Computer Manufacturers Are Paid to Make Your Laptop Worse





A laptop is a marvel of engineering. So much work goes into designing and manufacturing all the individual pieces of hardware before combining them with software that’s taken decades to build. After going through all this work, laptop manufacturers are paid to make their laptops slower and more frustrating to use.
The PC ecosystem’s race to the bottom and cut-throat pricing means that many computer manufacturers aren’t focused on providing a good experience — they’re focused on releasing the cheapest laptops possible and making some additional money by loading the laptop with bloatware.


The Bloatware Is There Because It Pays

Your laptop’s manufacturer doesn’t really believe Norton antivirus is the best security solution, or that some obscure casual game portal has the best games available for Windows. Instead, they’re paid by software companies to preinstall this stuff.
Instead, laptop manufacturers load their computers up with shovelware — so-named because it seems as if manufacturers just shovel a pile of software onto the computer without much thought given to is usefulness. This often-useless software slows a laptop down, making it take longer to boot, reducing available memory, and generally cluttering up the computer. Toolbars may insert themselves into browsers and pop-up messages may urge the user to upgrade to paid copies of trial software. Messages for trial antivirus programs can be particularly scary, warning users they may be at risk if they don’t open their wallets and pay additional money.
These programs are generally trial versions that urge you to purchase paid software, links to places where you can purchase software, or browser toolbars that encourage you to use bad search engines.
Software companies pay the manufacturers so inexperienced users will end up purchasing complete versions of the trial software, paying for bad casual games, and using less-useful search engines.






How Much Does Bloatware Slow a Laptop Down, Really?

Do we geeks exaggerate the significance of bloatware on a laptop? Benchmarks would help us understand just how significantly bloatware can drag down a new computer.
Luckily, such benchmarks exist. They even come from an unlikely source — Microsoft. Microsoft sells “Microsoft signature” PCs in its Microsoft stores, which are laptops free of the usual manufacturer-installed crapware. Microsoft even offers to turn any laptop into a Signature laptop, getting rid of the bloatware for you –for only $99. Microsoft is making money coming and going here — you pay them for a Windows license that comes with your computer and then you pay them more than the cost of a Windows license so your new laptop will work like it should.

Microsoft advertises their signature PCs by pointing out how much faster a signature PC is than a non-signature PC — these statistics really tell us how much faster a new laptop is once all the bloatware is removed.

They’ve now removed the statistics from their latest Signature PC page — maybe they were a bit embarrassing to Microsoft’s hardware partners — but we can view them with archive.org.

Based on Microsoft’s tests with six different Windows 7 laptops, removing bloatware made the laptops start up nearly 40% faster on average. That’s a significant improvement that shows us just how much bloatware can affect performance.






Worse yet, a 2009 PC Pro study found that bloatware could add over a minute to boot-up times, with Acer’s laptops taking an additional two minutes to boot because of all the included bloatware.


Banishing Bloatware

If you have a new laptop packed full of bloatware but don’t want to pay Microsoft $99 for the privilege of getting rid of it, you have some options:

  • Manually Uninstall Bloatware: You can uninstall bloatware that comes with your laptop from the standard Uninstall Programs pane in the Windows Control Panel. You’ll need to know the programs you should uninstall and the ones you should keep. Some utilities may help you take full advantage of your laptop’s hardware, while some are completely useless. Preinstalled bloatware will vary wildly from laptop to laptop — if you perform some Google searches, you should be able to find an explanation of what each program does. You may even find a a full, user-created guide to the bloatware that comes on your specific laptop, what it does, and which programs you should remove.


  • Automatically Uninstall Bloatware: If you don’t want to do all of the grunt work yourself, try using the free PC Decrapifier program. It will scan your computer for known bloatware and automatically uninstall it. However, PC Decrapifier isn’t perfect and it won’t catch all the bloatware.


  • Reinstall Windows: Many geeks prefer to install a clean copy of Windows on their new PCs, removing all the manufacturer software and starting with a clean slate. If you opt to do this, you’ll need a Windows disc. You’ll also need to download and install the appropriate drivers and hardware utilities for your laptop afterwards — you can generally find them on the manufacturer’s support site for your laptop.





If you’ve ever purchased a new laptop and found yourself spending minutes watching the bloatware load every time you power on your laptop, you can probably understand why so many people buy Macs.
We geeks may know how to deal with bloatware, but the average computer buyer is getting stuck with a laptop made worse by its manufacturer.



8 Ways Hardware Manufacturers Are Deceiving You



Sure, everyone involved can come up with a variety of excuses — they aren’t technically misleading customers, it’s all in the fine print, and these are the standard ways the industry operates — but hardware has been advertised in many misleading ways.
We’re not the only ones calling these marketing gimmicks misleading. Some of these tricks have even been the subject of class-action lawsuits for misleading consumers. Today we will look at 8 ways hardware manufacturers attempt to pull the metaphorical wool over the consumer’s eyes.


Available Storage Space Isn’t Advertised

Device manufacturers advertise their devices with phrases like the “64GB Surface Pro” and “16GB Galaxy S4.” A naïve consumer might assume that they have 64GB or 16GB of storage space available on these devices, or perhaps a bit less — but that’s often not true. According to Microsoft’s own estimates, only 28GB of space on the 64GB Surface Pro is available for use. Samsung’s 16GB Galaxy S4 only offers about 8GB of usable storage space.
Hardware manufacturers label and advertise devices based on the amount of storage hardware they have inside them, not the usable space — which is a much more meaningful measurement to users. On Windows tablets and Samsung’s Galaxy S4, much of the space is used for the operating system and preinstalled software. However, this can be confusing when comparing different types of devices. For example, Apple’s 64GB iPad offers about 57GB of usable space — much more than the Surface Pro with the same included storage — but “64GB Surface Pro” and “64GB iPad” will be what customers see and compare.
A more honest way of advertising storage space would be “28GB Surface Pro,” “8GB Galaxy S4,” and “57GB iPad.”





Hard Drive Manufacturers and Windows Use Different Units of Measurement


Hard drive capacity can also be misleading because hard drive manufacturers use different units than the one used in Windows. To put it simply, a hard drive advertised as 500GB will appear to have about 465GB in Windows — both hard drive manufacturers and Windows use the abbreviation “GB”, but hard drive manufacturers are using “gigabytes”while Windows is technically using “gibibytes.”
This situation is a mess. It could be argued that hard drive manufacturers are using the correct measurements while Windows isn’t, but the end result is clear — if you buy a 500GB hard drive in a store and install it in your Windows computer, you’ll have 465GB available to you in Windows.
For more in-depth information, read;


HTG Explains: Why Do Hard Drives Show the Wrong Capacity in Windows?





4G Cellular Networks Are Really 3G


4G was once a term that referred to next-generation cellular networks, but over the years it has been redefined to include upgraded networks based on 3G technologies. Nowhere is this more (un)clear than with the iOS 5.1 update to the iPhone. This update changed the network indicator on AT&T networks from “3G” to “4G.” Nothing actually changed — the iPhone didn’t immediately start connecting to AT&T’s new LTE network, although the latest iPhones do — but Apple gave in and accepted that AT&T wanted to call its network a 4G network. iPhone users were upgraded from 3G to 4G overnight, but all that really changed was the label.
The term “4G” has gradually become more and more meaningless over time, and technologies that were once advertised as 3G are now being advertised as 4G. The official definition of 4G has been loosened further and further to allow more and more cellular carriers to claim they offer 4G networks.





Retina, Reality Engine, and Other Display Buzzwords


Look at the specifications list for any device with a screen — especially smartphones — and you’ll find a long list of buzzwords that purport to be specifications. Sony has “TruBlack” and “X-Reality Picture Engine,” Toshiba has “TruBrite,” Nokia has “ClearBlack” and “PureMotion HD+” — the buzzwords go on and on.
It’s misleading marketing to parade these technologies as specifications — “X-Reality Picture Engine, only on Sony devices!” — when they’re trademarked marketing terms that can only apply to a single manufacturer’s products. For example, Apple touts that their devices as the only ones with the “Retina display” — which is true, as Apple has trademarked the term “Retina display” and it can only be used to describe Apple devices. Although other devices have screens with higher pixel-density, they can’t be referred to as Retina displays.





“Wi-Fi Ready” Devices Don’t Have Wi-Fi


Some Blu-Ray players and smart TVs are advertised as “Wi-Fi Ready.” You might assume that this means the device is ready and able to connect to your Wi-Fi network, but you would be wrong.
“Wi-Fi Ready” means that the device requires a special dongle that you have to purchase so it can actually connect to a Wi-Fi network. Wi-Fi ready just means that it’s ready for you to purchase another product — it has a USB port so you can buy an expensive dongle and plug it in.





Monitors Not Advertised With Viewable Size


If you were around before LCD monitors and remember CRT monitors, you’ll remember that there was much controversy about how monitors were advertised. For example, you might assume that a “17-inch monitor” had a viewable screen of 17″, but you’d be wrong. A 17″ CRT monitor is actually 17″ large, including the fairly large border around the screen. A 17″ CRT monitor might have a viewable area of about 15 inches.
Thankfully, LCD monitor manufacturers generally measure their screen sizes in terms of viewable image area. However, if you look closely, you still might find LCD monitors advertised with a separate “viewable size” or “display area.”





Expensive Digital Cables Aren’t Better


Companies like Monster, makers of the hugely overpriced Monster Cable, would have you believe that you need super-expensive digital cables to get the best out of your home theater setup. This isn’t true at all. If it’s a digital cable — like an HDMI cable — you won’t see any benefit from buying an expensive cable versus a cheaper one. A digital cable is just transmitting bits — 1s and 0s — and the data is either transmitted or it isn’t.
This can be a bit misleading, because higher-quality cables can make a difference when they’re analog cables — traditional stereo cables, for example.
For more a more in-depth explanation, read;

HTG Explains: Do You Really Need Expensive Cables?





Battery Life Estimates Are Overly Generous


This shouldn’t surprise anyone, but it’s very important to keep in mind when shopping for a new device. Don’t just read the battery life specification on the manufacturers’ website — look for trustworthy battery-life tests done by third parties who aren’t trying to sell you anything.
Battery life specifications are advertised as “up to x hours” or a “maximum of x hours,” but even these measurements are often more optimistic than anything you could ever see in real-world use.
Images Credit:Seth Anderson on Flickr
Thanks to How To Geeks


Have you noticed any other misleading marketing tactics? For sure Ive noticed on my last 2 laptops the battery lifetime is not what was claimed

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Old 29-05-13, 01:28   #2
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Default Re: How PC Manufacturers are Cheating You

Just what I am going thru right now, driving me up the wall!!
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