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Added By: Wendy
Added on: 01/15/2009 @ 11:49:16 AM
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Internets, The
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Ubuntu Must Die (J/K!)

There's a sh**storm going on at our station right now and I thought you guys would enjoy reading about it.
We aired a story Tuesday night about a girl who ordered a Dell computer that came with Ubuntu (she says it was a default, that's in debate). She wanted Windows instead, and called us to fix the problem. I'm pretty sure the reporter blamed Dell for not being of more help and that was the end of it.
Nope.
Someone posted the link on digg.com and reddit.com and some other sites and now the tech world is bombarding us with hate mail and hundreds of comments on the page - some helpful, most "disgusted" by our reporter and even more advising the girl to walk off a cliff to compensate for her stupidity and "clense the gene pool."

Now we have 89,000+ hits on our page for that story alone (in comparison, we have 8,915 for our home page and only 6,310 on our School Closings page on a day when 98% of Wis. schools are closed) Our Assistant News Director posted a blog in response to all the criticism and hits to that alone crashed our local server.

I am not posting the link to our story to invite more derision and scorn from you smart people who can rattle off the faults of Windows, but rather just to laugh at how one silly story turned viral, all in my little ol' newsroom.

And since I'm interim Internet Director now ... I get to just watch the page hits pile up ... besides, no such thing as bad press, right?
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - As Seen On The Internet
01/15/2009 @ 12:17:04 PM
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I saw that, and I was going to post it. It's been Farked and Slashdotted too, I bet that's most of the hits.

It's a flimsy excuse, at best, to drop out of school. Had she talked to anyone they could have informed her that a) You can just install windows b) You can use OpenOffice (which apparently she even has installed, which means she never even TRIED opening a doc file.) and c) Ubuntu can connect to the internet.

She clearly just wanted an excuse to drop out. Who would spend hundreds on classes and then choose dropping out over Dell not giving her a $90 copy of Windows? She clearly didn't do the simplest amount of research into what she was trying to do.

On closer inspection, the fark story goes here:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/01/15/ubuntu_cant_access_net/
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2887.gifAlex - You've got to trust your instinct, and let go of regret
01/15/2009 @ 12:58:31 PM
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404'd!!!
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8821 Posts
01/15/2009 @ 01:00:44 PM
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Well, Wendy provided no link, and said as much. View mine.
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2887.gifAlex - 3610 Posts
01/15/2009 @ 01:05:42 PM
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I did. That's not what she said, but maybe what she meant.

The Dell person probably shouldn't have recommended keeping Ubuntu if their was any indication that the woman wasn't particularly computer literate.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - Cube Phenomenoligist
01/15/2009 @ 01:14:12 PM
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Also, since the reporter is wondering why the story spread so fast I would say: It's partly because there's lots of Windows haters (not me), partly because people like to call people stupid on the internet, but 95% of the reason is because it's preposterous, on every level, that anyone buys this as the real reason she was "forced" to drop out.

1) She had to have access to some other computer, at least for long enough to keep up while she sorted out her problems, or that she could use to sort out her problems.
2) Ubuntu is popular because it's one of the user friendlier linux options.
3) She could have hopped on one of many wireless hotspots using her laptop and solved her problem with Verison. (Which was what exactly? Who needs an install disk to get on the internet?)
4) She could have asked anyone she knew who knew more about computers than how to check their hotmail account.
5)How much time passed between getting the laptop, calling Dell and deciding to give it a try, and then realizing she couldn't "use it for class" (which involved being able to Word process and get on the internet, apparently)? Did she put the laptop under her bed and not even turn it on again until her return policy expired and it was 2 hours before her first class?

I could keep going, but the answer to why this "went viral" is that it's just such a transparently lame excuse that someone had to buy, at least enough to put it on the news/internet.

Was it you, Wendy? emoticon
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Jeremy messed with this 4 times, last at 01/15/2009 1:20:22 pm
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8821 Posts
01/15/2009 @ 01:26:46 PM
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My co-worker wants to know exactly how this even became a story. Did she call you guys? Did you someone hear about it via the grape vine and contact her? How do these things start? I don't know if this is a "fluff" piece, or if that's an insulting term, but how do these things become news? If I'm watching a story about a 90 year old who knit a pair of mittens for her whole town, or a man who found an old, valuable, coin on the beach, how did that likely come to be?
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Jeremy perfected this at 01/15/2009 1:28:01 pm
newalex.jpgAlex - Who controls the past now controls the future
01/15/2009 @ 01:31:52 PM
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Did the woman actually drop out, or just give up on starting online classes?
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face.bmpCarlos44ec - What the F@#$ am I being arrested fo?
01/15/2009 @ 01:41:18 PM
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This is stupid. Sorry, but this girl's going to get what she wants based on all the bad press.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - Always thinking of, but never about, the children.
01/15/2009 @ 01:44:49 PM
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Well, I guess I shouldn't call her desire into question, but it's either call her desire into question, or her intelligence. There are a multitude of ways she could have solved this problem. According to the video version she called the news and using their super secret connections and journalistic know how they were able to call the help desk and find out that yes, indeed, there's nothing stopping her from taking classes. Then they used those same super human abilities to call Verison's support line who, after a bit of blackmailing I imagine, said they would offer their customer support.

Imagine, she was just supposed to know all on her own that she should call Verison for help on connecting to Verison! Also, who would have thought that a 15 second phone call the the college could have assured her "you're fine." (I mean really, half of the reporters own story is that "there's no story here." She made up the fact that Office was required. The only actual story here was that she couldn't get on the internet, and she called the news because she couldn't think to call Verison. The only other thing I can think of was that someone was gobsmacked that there was an option other than Mac and Windows and thought that alone warranted a story.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go buy a BlueRay copy of a movie and see if I can get channel 13 to do a story on how it won't play in my DVD player, and Best Buy won't take it back because I opened it. (Actually that's more of a story, since there's no phone number I can call with 15 minutes of "effort" that would make my Blueray disk play in my DVD player.)
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Jeremy messed with this 8 times, last at 01/15/2009 2:04:38 pm
jeremy.jpgJeremy - I believe virtually everything I read.
01/15/2009 @ 02:10:22 PM
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Alex Wrote - Today @ 01:31:52 PM
Did the woman actually drop out, or just give up on starting online classes?


The thing I linked to said she dropped out for the next two semesters.
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wendy.gifWendy
01/15/2009 @ 03:14:36 PM
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Sorry about the link. Clearly, I am not too tech savvy either. (In fact, one of my favorite emails was this: "Surely you have someone technical in charge of your website" ... cause no, we don't!)

How did we interview her? We have this thing called "Troubleshooter" - basically, people can't get anywhere with companies, etc; and they call us to fix their problems. I guess our reporter decided this was a good one and did the story Tuesday.

Someone, I'm not sure who, posted this on digg.com last night before we had a chance to and it exploded. Trust me, I never meant to spark this but again, I can't complain about all the web hits because as long as we don't crash, page views are page views!
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wendy.gifWendy
01/15/2009 @ 03:18:32 PM
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If you want my person opinion, here it is, and I'll repeat: I posted this here because I thought the response was funny, not to talk about the girl or Ubuntu.

- I agree, she didn't try very hard. And from the looks of it, it seems like it would be pretty hard to accidentally get Ubuntu - she was likely looking for a good deal and didn't read the disclaimer or really, understand it. She's dumb. Why would anyone expect her to learn Ubuntu?

But the idea of the story (although it could have been better written) was to get Dell to give her the program she wanted - Windows - not to trash the OS

- I think SOME of the hundreds of comments about this story are over the top. They're personally attacking this girl and encouraging suicide, or calling our coverage "disgusting." I mean really, that seems pretty extreme. Especially compared to some of the things local stations and the networks/cable networks air, things like specifics of child porn allegations or bloody violence in Iraq.
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - As Seen On The Internet
01/15/2009 @ 03:36:47 PM
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Yeah, some people just like to get a big reaction.

I'm also not sure how you could interpret this story as dogging, or trying to dog, Ubuntu. I really don't see how you make that leap. It's a story about a girl who cared so little about her education, or has virtually no problem solving skills, bungling this at every step along the way, and inventing problems that didn't exist. Her computer could not only read and write Office files, it wasn't even a requirement she be able to do so anyway.

Edit: I suppose you could make the case that the story presented Ubuntu in a sort of "Why would Dell think anyone wanted this?!" sort of light. At no point is it clarified that though she had issues with it, it was mostly her problem, and not a failure of Ubuntu. For example, there are lots of ways she could have gotten on the internet, without doing anything at all. Limiting the story to how the computer cant read her disk, so she can't get on the internet, is like saying your Xbox 360 doesn't "just work like it should" because you put Mariokart Wii in it and it didn't work.
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Jeremy screwed with this 3 times, last at 01/15/2009 4:12:36 pm
jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8821 Posts
01/15/2009 @ 03:47:53 PM
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I guess at best you could say the news story didn't make any attempt to call her out on anything, which perhaps it should have. Especially in the video. The tone of the actual broadcast was as if Dell sent her a box of kitty litter instead of a computer and Dell refused to believe her, until the journalist stepped in and saved the day, getting her a refund, and ending a 3 year long ordeal.

Dell did nothing wrong, outside of convincing her to give the perfectly fine product, she paid $0 for, a try, rather than sending them more money. They actually made less money in the transation.

The school did nothing wrong. They didn't refuse her support. They didn't tell her "Windows or else."

Verison did nothing wrong. They didn't refuse to help her. It never occurred to her to call and ask.

The one and only person at fault here is her, or at most 1% of the fault lies outside of her.

The "white knight" attitude of the reporter and the other dudes scoffing "I have to go along with this" line at the end of the video did sort of make me upset. No one takes responsibility for themselves anymore, and she could have been called out on it. She ordered the wrong product, then ignored a chance to return it, and now she doesn't like it. That's all this is. It's a person ordering a steak and eating 9/10ths of it before they decided they didn't like it, then calling the action news squad when the restaurant won't give them a refund.

Which isn't to say I think the story itself should have been about her being a bimbo either, it probably just shouldn't have been done.
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Jeremy messed with this 4 times, last at 01/15/2009 3:56:24 pm
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - I believe virtually everything I read.
01/15/2009 @ 04:17:38 PM
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Also, I think Wendy should try to shamelessly work our quotes into any followup story, like she used to with the North school paper.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8821 Posts
01/15/2009 @ 04:26:22 PM
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Wendy Wrote - Today @ 03:18:32 PM
But the idea of the story (although it could have been better written) was to get Dell to give her the program she wanted - Windows - not to trash the OS


To be fair, she had at least two chances to get Windows, and the "mistake" was hers in both chances. This isn't a David v Goliath story. This is a "we tried to reward stupidity" story. emoticon
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Jeremy perfected this at 01/15/2009 4:28:48 pm
2887.gifAlex - I was too weak to give in Too strong to lose
01/15/2009 @ 05:53:34 PM
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Sounds like another consumer protection case for the government to take care of!

I hope Verizon isn't a NutCan sponsor
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avatar2345.jpgPackOne - Sit down your rockin' the boat.
01/16/2009 @ 09:41:28 PM
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I can't believe I read all of this. Pick up the phone and ask someone already.
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flower .jpgPackOne - There's music to play. Places to go. People to see.
01/16/2009 @ 09:42:39 PM
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As a follow up, it is nice to see a news site getting hits. My newspaper closed today because it chose to not enhance that route at all. I guess that is progress in motion.
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jon.jpgJon - infinity + 1 posts
01/17/2009 @ 07:22:45 PM
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I didn't read all the comments because, after a while, I realized there would be no mention of the Boston Celtics, as I had originally hoped.
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