January 13, 2008

Guaranteed for life

"Guaranteed for life". Ah, but whose life? Mine? The life of the company (and I've seen 'em come or go)?

Sometimes it turns out to mean that the product is guaranteed for the life of the product, which in practice means "it'll work until it stops."

Today brings us another like that. In addition to its mail-based system, Netflix has a "watch it online" system permitting users to see videos with their web browsers. Until now, however, usage was limited.

The headline reads: Netflix on the Net to Offer All-You-Can-Watch Plan

Bill Clinton once answered a question, "It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is." In this case the question is what the word 'can' means. Does it mean "limited by the user's free time"?

Maybe not. Fledge tried to use Netflix's online viewing system and he couldn't get it to work. The DRM wouldn't let him. So for him, at least, "all you can watch" is zero.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 02:54 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Post contains 162 words, total size 1 kb.

1 I had Netflix back when it first started... I liked it, but just wasn't getting enough use out of it (and at the time, turnarounds were about a week).

My parents just signed up, and are experiencing much better turnarounds (despite being nowhere near a city).  They had me experiment with the online viewer a little--it uses Windows Media Player 11 to stream the video, so you can't save it and port it over to a TV unless you have something like a VGA connection on your TV.  It can be made to work, but the streaming (and DRM) can obviously cause problems depending on your system and connection.

The bigger problem, though, was actually the selection.  Apparently, most studios won't allow Netflix to stream anything beyond 50s B-movies (plus the occasional classic like Bridge on the River Kwai).  Until that changes, don't expect to sign up and watch any movie you like at the touch of a button; subscribe (or don't) based on the normal mail service (which IMHO is pretty good--if I had time to spare, I would).

Posted by: BigD at January 13, 2008 06:17 PM (JJ4vV)

2 Dad bought a battery from JC Penny for his Mustang, way back, that was guaranteed for the life of the car. To their credit, even though they haven't had an automotive division in years, they still honor that guarantee; every so often Dad goes in for a replacement, they fill out a voucher and send him to an auto parts store to pick one up. 35 years and still going...

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at January 13, 2008 06:36 PM (LMDdY)

3 Heh. Avatar, before I joined the Corps I spent three years working at JC Penney. I was in the service corridor, which means I dealt with returns among other things. People like your father caused us a huge pile of paperwork. But the founder was very big about being "A man of your word", and the company still tries to live up to that. It helps develop customer loyalty, too.

Being in the service corridor meant dealing with catalog orders and customer problems. After so many angry old biddies screaming at me ("Ma'am, soaking in cat urine is not 'normal wear and tear' for a rug,") no drill instructor ever got into my head.

Posted by: Boviate at January 13, 2008 07:14 PM (f8+4e)

4 I could never do customer service or sales. There's simply no way I could put up with all the idiots; I'd insult one or throw a punch before the end of the first week, and then be out on my ear.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 13, 2008 07:27 PM (+rSRq)

5 Yeah, I hear you, Steven. 

Posted by: Wonderduck at January 14, 2008 05:43 AM (fEnUg)


"I could never do customer service or sales. There's simply no way I could put up with all the idiots; I'd insult one or throw a punch before the end of the first week, and then be out on my ear."

In that case, the phrase "lifetime guarantee" means that when the item breaks, the customer service rep kills you for complaining about it...

Posted by: Siergen at January 14, 2008 03:31 PM (JWqvY)

7 I tried watching Netflix online with mozilla, but it wouldn't work, so I had to use Internet Explorer.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at January 27, 2008 03:25 PM (mqRNO)

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