Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Yahoo and Flickr End Game?

A rant about Yahoo's changes in their terms of service.

An end game? Well, sort of.  First let me state this:.  I love the features of Flickr's Paid service.  It is an online photo storage and sharing service.  It's features are wonderful.  I am not a fan of the free version of Flickr.  It allows easy access to only the first 200 photos.  I guess this is how they motivate people to subscribe.

Yahoo's paid email interface one of my favorites among the webmail interfaces that I have tried. It is very intuitive.   The free version runs much the same, but has rather obtrusive adverting.

One has to keep in mind that the services are offered so that they can make money.  Okay, I get that.

I was getting ready to renew my Flickr paid account (and was thinking about getting the paid version of yahoo email too).  In the past I've supplied them with credit card information they would charge me and supply their service for one year.  When the year passed, I'd receive a notice so that I could supply them with credit card information again and renew, if I chose to.  If not, it would revert to the free service.

As I go to renew this time I notice that they want me to say that I've read and agree to the additional terms of service. I click to read, and one thing that catches my eye is:

4.2 Account Updater
As a convenience to its users, Yahoo! subscribes to a third party service that can refresh expired credit card or debit card numbers with the numbers of replacement cards so that users' paid Services do not lapse because the payment instrument initially on file with Yahoo! has expired ("Account Updater"). By registering for the Service, you consent to Yahoo!'s disclosure of your registration information to this third party service and to that service's use of such information solely in connection with Account Updater. You also consent to Yahoo!'s receipt and use of updated credit card or debit card account information from your financial institution in connection with the provision of the Service as provided in the TOS, these Additional Terms, the Yahoo! Privacy Policy, and the Community Guidelines.

Well,  here is the issue.  I'm not comfortable and do not want to consent to letting them contact my financial institution to get updates on my credit card account information.  I feel that things like the future expiration dates of the card to be a control that protects me from potential misuse.  I could not find a mention of who their third party was for that matter either.

I'm not inferring that Yahoo is planning to abuse personal information, nor that their third party service, who ever they may be would.  I feel that I'm entitled to the privacy that I'm looking for in this regard.

I emailed Flickr/Yahoo a few times.  They responded back each time.  I do sort of wonder though as I started out by stating how I did not want my credit card information available to the third party nor did I want them to get information from my financial institution.  The reply from Yahoo starts with an apology and he says he will be happy to help, but then later states that I would not be able to opt out from the third party service. I did forget to ask who the third party was, but I guess that really doesn't matter.

I don't know if the above will become common practice in the future with other companies, for one am against it.  I still have both Flickr and Yahoo services, free versions, mind you.  I will definitely be looking around in regard to replacement.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Frozen Minty Freshness

My adventures using the newly installed Linux Mint 13

Linux Mint 13 was just released this May. I was anxious to try out the version with the Cinnamon desktop, so installed it shortly after its initial release. I restored my previously backed up programs with Mint Backup Tool, and restored my bookmarks. My computer froze up several times each day.

I later tried reinstalling a couple times and on the last reinstall did not use the Mint Backup Tool. The machine then ran fine.


Well the in more detail, there was one day since (about one week of use) that the computer again seized. I was running a lot at that time, but am unsure the reason for the one time freeze up.

When using Linux Mint 12, I would sometimes get a degradation of the graphics on my screen. Usually just a mild block like pattern in my normally smoother looking screen background. Less often, the picture on the screen would get so choppy looking that I would need to restart the system. Since my installation of Mint 13, I've only seen the graphics issue once, the milder one that is described first.