I read your newsletter every week. One of the applications you mentioned was TweakVI. I downloaded the free version and tried it for a while. In all such situations, if I like the software, I try to patronize the developer by purchasing some commercial version of the product.
The commercial version was a disaster.
You never endorsed the application, and I don’t expect you to be the Better Business Bureau. I just wanted you to be aware of a potential issue. If you don’t hear any more stories like this, then I guess you can dismiss my problem as a fluke. However, I suspect other people are in the same boat.
I truly sympathize with your plight. Regardless of how good a product may or may not be, it’s going to fail to meet someone’s needs or expectations eventually. Apparently, that was the case here, and it sounds like it wasn’t handled well by the company producing TweakVI either.
But there’s another problem here as well that is worth understanding.
I’ve never recommended TweakVI. In fact, until I received your email, I’d never even heard of it.
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
And further, it’s a free download, directly from Microsoft, and there is no commercial version.
In other words, the recommendation I suspect you saw was for something completely different.
TweakVI does exist, and while I’ve looked at their web page, I’ve not installed or played with it at all. You could argue that they’ve chosen a confusing name for their product – that TweakVI is too close to TweakUI and that could lead to confusion. In fact, some might even be concerned that this was done purposely to capitalize on that confusion.
And yet, when you look at the product’s intent – two tweak Vista settings – the name “TweakVI” makes a certain amount of sense.
Another possibility is that TweakVI was advertised on my site, and you somehow took that as a recommendation on my part. That wouldn’t be an accurate assumption. Please realize that ads are ads, and in fact I don’t directly control what shows up in the “ads by Google” box. I can only block specific advertisers if I see a need, and even then, only a certain number of them.
Please don’t misconstrue an advertisement as a recommendation. I take actual recommendations very seriously and don’t give them out lightly. (And remember, comments are enabled; you can always leave your thoughts directly on my formal recommendations.)
Ads, as I said, are just that: ads. Nothing more, nothing less.
So what’s the real take-away here?
Computers are picky and exacting, and a picky and exacting mindset is a good thing to have when dealing with them, or indeed, with many aspects of life in general.
- Be careful to notice small differences. Notice that while TweakUI and TweakVI differ in only one character, they are two dramatically different things that are totally unrelated to each other. Even virus writers capitalize on how frequently we fail to notice small differences. That’s how we’ve come to have lsass.exe which is a critical system component, and 1sass.exe which is malware. They look similar, but they are very, very different.
- Know the difference between an ad and content. I try to make it fairly clear where my ads are, and they are easily identified by the “Ads by Google”, “Sponsored Ad”, “Ask Leo! about advertising here” or other identifying phrase. Other sites are not nearly so above-board about it and actually try to fool you into thinking ads are content when they are not. Learn to recognize ads. They can be helpful, and they can be a pain, but what’s important is that whether or not you choose to follow up on an ad is a conscious decision you make knowing full well that
it’s an ad.
I try to be one of the good guys and be honest and above board about things like this. But not everyone is.
The bottom line, regardless of what you see or do on the web is the age old advice: caveat emptor – let the buyer beware.
- How do I *really* disable auto-play in Windows XP? Auto-play can be a convenient feature but if it’s not what you want it can be difficult to turn off and keep off. The TweakUI utility can fix that.
- How do I change the location of the My Documents folder? The My Documents folder is typically in a very specific place for each user in Windows XP. The good news is you can move it, and it’s easy to do.
- What does it mean when you recommend something? I occasionally recommend specific products or services. I’ll clarify exactly what it takes to get a recommendation, and what it means.