A Hidden Nightmare: Online Subscription Services

Deception
Courtesy of a company that wants my personal information in exchange for free artwork. No thank you 😉

If you are like me, you have probably bought into the online subscription services scheme at one point or another. After all, subscription services are easy to sign up to and even easier to utilize. But, when it comes to extracting oneself and our hard earned money back from these same service providers – now that’s a nightmare!

The idea of renting something that I will never own does not appeal to me at all. Someone else is always getting the choice piece of the pie here, and it is NOT the consumer. Granted, even if a person purchases a hard-copy of software, the licence agreement is usually pretty draconian and one-sided. But, at least one has a little wiggle room in the practical application of that license.

For example, as a long term purchaser of Adobe Creative Suite stand-alone product license(s), I believed I was getting at least some value for the extraordinary prices I paid ($1700+ for creative software??). Needless to say, I ended my long-term marriage with Adobe around the CS4 days and have not looked back. Later, when Adobe went full-tilt into subscription services, I simply thumbed my nose at them, and turned to open source (free) software. My own private server(s) and open source software has heightened my sense of self-satisfaction.

I am no longer being robbed by corporate software pirates.

Yes, major corporations steal code from each other (and others), and then litigate themselves to death over it.

But, don’t you dare “steal” software from these drunken pirates of corporate greed and mayhem.

The same can be said of Apple Inc. It is easy to sign up for iCloud services, Apple Music services, and so forth. Apple will gladly take your credit card information and you will have instant results. The hard part is clawing back your data and hard-earned dollars from Apple when you decide to cancel those services. My massive photo and video collection took forever to download from Apple’s servers on a super-duper lightning speed internet connection. I am still waiting for the gigabytes upon gigabytes of data neatly stored in my Documents folder to download from Apple as I write.

I want to step off Apple’s colossal data spaceship – but the angry Steve Jobs-clones won’t even let me even cancel my subscription. Doh!

Don’t get me started on Netflix subscriptions.

Oh, the mother of all horror! Netflix customer service…the nemesis of all that is good and right! 😉

Let’s talk Google for a minute here. Have you ever tried to disappear online? You know what I mean – scrub everything and anything concerning your personhood online.

Forget about that idea – Google’s services are so twisted into the DNA of the internet and your personal devices that any attempt to extract yourself from that convoluted mess is nearly impossible.

My suggestion is to do exactly the opposite of scrubbing. Flood the inter-webs with so much personal info (true and false) that even the I SPY BOYS cannot see the forest for the trees. 

If you think that individuals are safe online from the prying eyes of criminals and governments alike, you are sadly mistaken.

The notion that “if you are not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear” is incredibly naive.

Alas, you can figure that one out for yourself.

Outside of major data-retrieval annoyances, and gouging our wallets, online subscription services put consumers at huge privacy risks. There is no such thing as a “safe” transaction of any sort online.

It is simply a numbers game – sooner or later your credit card and your personal information is going to be compromised online.

Again, you can figure that one out on your own. 🙂

p.s. I love you ROON, but you are not getting one cent from me after my trial(s) run out.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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Getting the Boot…

 

Terminator2poster
Hasta la vista Baby!

There is nothing more maddening to me in the online world than subscription services, especially those ridiculously expensive services offered to cyclists, runners, and triathletes. The big two services (as far as I am concerned) that compete head to head on features are TrainingPeaks and Today’s Plan (including Stages Link).

Over the years I have been a paid subscriber (and beta tester) to the aforementioned services (and several others) but probably will not be renewing my memberships any time soon. My reasons for discontinuation of my subscription(s) are simple as follows:

  1. Too expensive for the features offered.
  2. Too expensive compared to stand-alone software applications, especially free open source software like GoldenCheetah.
  3. Too expensive given that useful features disappear at whim by the software providers.

I think you can see the picture here. Too expensive are the key words, especially given the questionable value of the services offered today. I have been beta testing Stages online version of Today’s Plan called Stages Link for some time. Today, without notice, I was unceremoniously booted out of the Premium version of Stages Link, including the training plan that I am right in the middle of. Obviously my work as a beta-tester was NOT valued and any expectation of further cooperation as a beta tester is null and void. Either I pony up $270 Canadian annually or “hit the road Jack and don’t you come back no more.” Either I pay through the nose or get hosed – my choice, your prerogative Stages?

Oh, and by-the-way, you SUCK as a company Stages.

If my fellow cyclists only knew the real rate-of-return of failed hardware (i.e. power meters) from your company, they would quickly ride away, heading for the hills pronto!

The good news is that I just happened to have saved the aforementioned training plan in TrainingPeaks (TP) and am able to continue along my merry way within the free version of TP until further notice. Sometime in the near future Golden Cheetah (GC) will offer the same (and better) features than anything currently online or in standalone applications like TP’s WKO4.

In the words of an infamous Hollywood personality, “Hasta la vista Baby!”