How to Delete Accounts from Any Website  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in

The words "I wish I could quit you" take on a whole new meaning when you want out of a relationship with an online service. Sure, you once thought you and Facebook or MySpace would be together forever, but eventually terms of service change, end-user license agreements mature, and, well, you're just not in the same place anymore.

Sadly, not all Web sites and social networks are created equal when it comes to breaking up. With some, it takes only a couple of clicks to say good-bye. If you stop paying, that goes a long way toward ending it with a few sites. Others make you jump through more hoops than a tiger at the circus.

No matter what you call it—deleting, canceling, removing, whatever—when you want to be rid of an online account, you'll find most sites don't feel obliged to make it too easy for you. So we've cut to the chase as much as possible to give you the links, the tips, and in the worst cases, the fax and phone numbers you need to sever ties. Did we miss a service you want out of? Let us know. And if you've managed to quit a service not in this story, be kind and share your tips.

Social Networks

Classmates.com

Another site linking up you and your alma mater–mates and another lawsuit: One user claims he was told by Classmates that several people were trying to contact him. He wasn't able to find out who—not until he paid. Then he discovered the actual truth: No one was trying to find him, at all. Rather than get mad, he got litigious.

Even if you don't feel scammed, you may feel annoyed—maybe you hated high school. And college. Canceling with Classmates is pretty simple—if you've got the free account. Those users can log in and remove themselves anytime. Visit the Member Support Email Contact form, pick a reason you're leaving, and click Yes. That's it.

If you've paid—base cost is $15 for three months—you've got a Gold Membership at Classmates.com, and that makes it a little more complicated. Contact the Member Support Team and someone will get back to you in e-mail or via live Internet chat. Classmates will dummy the account back down to free so you can do the removal. Another method is to set the account renewal option to "manual" so that it doesn't automatically debit your credit card; instead it automatically reverts to free when your Gold Membership runs out.

Can't get satisfaction online? Classmates.com can be reached at 425-917-5000. I tried it, hit 1 for customer support, then 2 for a question about the Web site, and got an operator after 4 minutes. She said she can cancel any account.

Facebook

Recent issues with the Facebook terms of service—which would have given Facebook rights to everything you post there, for the remainder of time—had some users threatening to pull out. Which is probably why Facebook recanted on the changes and suddenly embraced democracy for its guidelines.

If you're still steamed, you have a couple of ways to leave FB behind. First is simple "deactivation." Visit your Facebook Account page and click the "deactivate" link at the bottom. Facebook will make an attempt to guilt-trip you into staying by pointing out just how many of your social-network friends won't be able to keep in touch. It even displays pictures of people you're in photos with, playing on your emotions with captions such as, "Mark will miss you" and "Wendy will miss you." Sure they will. Then how come they never poke me?

Once you've cleared the tears from your eyes, you'll notice another message on-screen, wherein the Facebook Team points out that you shouldn't deactivate because of that silly old terms of service change. That "was a mistake we have now corrected." Too much hullaballoo.

Soldier on. You have to provide a reason to deactivate, whether you'll be back or not, and you can also opt out of getting e-mails from Facebook while deactivated. That's the trick: Deactivation is not the same as deletion. Your account simply becomes invisible. Your friends on Facebook will all think you bailed. However, you have the option to reactivate it in the future, without losing any photos, notes, or pokes.

True deletion of a Facebook account means losing all of those—so be sure you have local copies of photos and notes before you take this step. You can't reactivate. Here's the link to the Delete My Account page.

Friendster

Yes, Friendster still exists. If you were an early adopter of social networks, you may still have an account there doing nothing to get you new, real friends (like those you have on Facebook!). Time to cancel.

Assuming you can remember your log-in, do so and click Settings. Scroll down and find the Cancel My Account link. On a new page, you'll find the Cancellation Form in the middle. You need to provide your e-mail address, password, give a reason you're canceling, and check off the "Yes, I want to cancel my Friendster account" box. You can even list what new social network you've moved to, just to make Friendster feel bad. Refresh the window, and if you were logged in to Friendster before, you shouldn't be now. Say "so long" to any data you may have uploaded, assuming you can remember what it was.

LinkedIn

It could be argued that LinkedIn is the most useful social network around, especially in this day and age of job networking. That doesn't mean you won't want to cancel with them. In fact, LinkedIn specifically suggests that if you have multiple accounts, you should close one to consolidate.

To close an account, log in, click Account & Settings at the top of the page, then click Close Your Account (under Personal Information). Give a reason you're leaving—most sites want to know what they can improve, or did wrong— and then click Continue.

You have time to reinstate your account, if you regret the deletion. Contact Customer Service and confirm your e-mail address to do so. LinkedIn doesn't give out a number, but the link to contact them is on the bottom of every page. I found the number anyway: 650-687-3600. When you ask for customer service, you'll probably get sent to a recording.

MySpace

Canceling your MySpace account is easy—when it works. When it doesn't, things get a touch arcane.

Sign in, click the My Account link, then click Account, scroll down to the bottom, and click Cancel Account. Keep in mind, there is no reactivation. Go through with the cancellation and you can't bring back your account—though you can create a new account using the same e-mail address you used before. That's won't restore your previous music, pictures, and blog posts, however.

It should be that simple. But MySpace has some caveats. First, the account might remain visible for a while. Days, even a week, maybe. After that, if the MySpace page is still there, you may safely assume the deletion didn't go through. Now you need to e-mail help@support.myspace.com and ask for assistance.

Send a "salute" to MySpace support in the e-mail. That's a "handwritten sign with the word MySpace.com and include your MySpace Friend/Profile ID number." Hold it up while having your picture taken. Attach the digital photo to the e-mail or at least send MySpace a link to where the picture can be found online. This salute may prove you're you, but that will matter only if you've got a picture on your MySpace page for the support team to compare it with.

MyLife.com (formerly Reunion.com)

MyLife.com wants to bring people from previous school classes together. Unfortunately, it tends to be aggressively annoying, with a constant barrage of e-mails once you sign up. The earlier incarnation, Reunion.com, was even the subject of a lawsuit under a California anti-spam law (the suit was dismissed).

If you're not part of the class action, here's how to get away from the constant claims of acquaintances trying to track you down. It's tricky to find even in the MyLife.com help documents, where at one point it says "delete account" but there's no actual entry with that term. It switches to "remove account" on the actual help article.

First, you do have the option to change your e-mail settings so that you get fewer or no messages from Reunion.com. But Reunion/MyLife also claims it "may take up to 10 days for changes to take effect." Why on earth should this remotely be the case? Supposedly because "some may have been prepared for delivery already." That only fuels the desire to delete the account. So here are the steps: Log in, click My Account on the top right, find the Delete Account link, and click OK to confirm. This can't be undone; you'll lose all mailbox data, profile info, and photos.

Expect to get e-mail messages for a couple of weeks. If the spams continue after that, call customer service at 888-704-1900, even on weekends. Hit 4 for questions about premium membership. Then 3 to make changes. You can cancel both free and premium accounts through this number. (full Story)

Nokia3So I got this box in the mail that said N-GAGE on it. But the cell phone inside didn’t look like a taco. I was confused. I tried talking into the side of the slider — it worked just like a cell phone should. What''s this N-GAGE moniker for? Turns out, N-Gage is no longer the name of a specific phone—it’s a platform, meaning that in order to wear the storied (er, buried?) badge a handset must meet certain performance criteria when it comes to mobile gaming. And the phone in question, Nokia’s N81 8GB, is the first so-branded model to be released in the US. This handset has a 3D graphics accelerator, super-bright 16-million-color screen, and physical controls geared toward gaming. There are buttons on opposite ends of the device, mimicking the feel you get when you pick up say, an Xbox 360 controller. In the software department, the N81 runs the graying S60 operating system, and comes with a suite of demo games that cost about $10 to activate. Really? Come on guys, the new N-GAGE is supposed to keep us engaged not enraged.  —Joe Brown

NokiaWIRED
3G and Wi-Fi, which should be standard on every phone, thank you very much. Gaming controls work as advertised, with nary a mis-pressed button in several straphanger gaming sessions. 8 gigs is, like, plenty of memory. Sleek design and excellent build quality. Unlocked. Autofocus-free 2-megapizzle camera is paparazzi-fast.

TIRED
Paparazzi-fast camera seems like it’s trying especially hard not to focus. Fancy piano-black screen is the opposite of antireflective. Topside button is built around the speaker, and squeaks if you move the phone around during a conversation (= always). Flat, nearly featureless keypad is impossible to use without looking down. Yo Nokia, why can’t you include at least one free game with my $630 phone? And where the @#$! is Snakes?! $629, nokia.com (story Link)

Duel Systems DuelAdapter—Double Your Connection Pleasure  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

Dualadpater

That slot on the side of your fancy new notebook may look like a standard PC Card connector, but chances are you got stuck with an ExpressCard slot instead: a replacement technology which is incompatible with PC Cards and for which precious few peripherals exist. If you've got old PC Card hardware which you don't want to upgrade, the Duel Systems DuelAdapter provides a lifeline. The device has an ExpressCard on one end and a PC Card dock on the other, connected by a hefty, foot-long cable. Install drivers and you've got a way to use nearly any old PC Card on your laptop. We tried it with a Cingular WWAN card, PC Card hard drive, and Microdrive adapter and had no problems. Just try to ignore the unfortunate homophone in the name.  —Christopher Null

WIRED Practically plug-and-play, can swap cards in and out without reboots. Works on Windows XP and Mac machines. Broad support even for notoriously "difficult" PC Cards, like WWAN adapters.

TIRED No-frills design; a status light on the unit would have been nice. Extremely old PC Cards probably won't work with it. No Vista support yet. A little bulky at 5.8 ounces and a bit awkward to try and fit in a messenger bag. $119, duel-systems.com (Story Link)

There's Verizon_samsung1_630xsomething undeniably sexy about touchscreen phones. It's probably the fact that using such an advanced interface for mundane tasks just oozes cool. But let's face it -- if a touch-based phone requires more than a couple taps (or worse, input from a QWERTY keyboard), all of that pseudo-futuristic badassery is wasted.

Samsung's Glyde, a phone which woefully shares its moniker with a personal lubricant, is a perfect example of this at work.

There's a lot to love about this phone on the surface -- it's elegantly minimalist, light weight and versatile. At 4 x 2 x.7-inches it shares the form factor of its cousin the F700, making for a slick, pocket-friendly presentation. The Glyde's clean profile is rounded out by the unit's sparse use of external buttons, and a slimming dark blue-on-silver chassis. Even the design faux pas of an exposed memory card port has been sidestepped — it now tucks into the battery compartment. With its sweet looks, and the bonuses of multimedia support and a decent 2MP camera with flash, the Glyde is clearly a stylistic progression compared to Verizon's other touchscreen phones (I'm looking at you, Voyager and Venus).

Verizon_samsung2_630xLikewise, the Glyde does fairly well with its full HTML browser too. Wikipedia and Google queries were easily executed and relatively quick via the phone's EV-DO connection. However, loading graphic intensive sites (ahem, Wired.com) was surprisingly sluggish at times. Once everything was loaded, navigating through individual pages proved simple enough between the Glyde's on-screen menus and the zoom functions (accessed through the volume button). For quick and repetitive tasks like checking webmail, the phone also gives the option of accessing a dressed up WAP version of the web. Granted, none of these features were laid out in an especially intuitive way — but when push came to shove they were functional and granted me access when I needed it.

WIRED Sleek and compact design. Bluetooth compatible. Adjustable vibrating feedback for touch commands. Backlit QWERTY keypad is easy to see in the dark. Records up to 10-minutes of video. Speedy performance. Crisp call quality. Vibrant 240 x 440 touchscreen. Touchscreen automatically locks after initiating calls.

TIRED On-screen buttons near screen perimeter can be unresponsive. Automatically switches to landscape whenever the browser is opened. Weak speaker output during both multimedia playback and speakerphone calls. No on-screen QWERTY keyboard for texting. With only 35MB of internal memory for music, shelling out for a microSD card is unavoidable.

$300 (with two-year agreement), verizonwireless.com (Story Link)

More Windows 7 RC details revealed  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

Just a day after Paul Thurott revealed Windows XP Mode for Windows 7, he comes back with additional details where he’s pretty sure “most of this is all new info.” Here are the details:

AAC/H.264/MPEG-2 support will not be provided to Windows 7 Home Basic and Starter customers. That functionality will only go out to Home Premium, Professional, and Enterprise/Ultimate users. But it looks like there will be add-ons made available (free or paid, it’s not clear) to users of low-end Windows 7 versions.

Maximum RAM. All 32-bit versions of Windows 7 “support” 4 GB of RAM, of course. But if you go 64-bit, you can add up to 8 GB in Home Basic and Starter, 16 GB in Home Premium, and 192 GB in Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate.

Windows Media Player Remote Media Experience (RME) is not available in Windows 7 Home Basic or Starter. However, all versions can share media over a home network.

All Windows 7 SKUs support 20 simultaneous SMB connections. This works out to 10 users, apparently.

XP Mode (formerly Virtual PC). As we first revealed yesterday, only Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate are licensed to install XP Mode.

There aren’t any surprises here but the details are good to know. Do you think the limitations are a good move by Microsoft? Let us know in the comments. (Story Link)

AT&T Mobile TV -- Media Flows Like Greased Lightning  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

Picture_15Do we really need another way to rot our brains? Yes, yes we do -- and live TV on our phones is just the ticket. The latest effort to get the boob tube on a mobile device is AT&T's Mobile TV with FLO (Forward Link Only), and it's surprisingly good. Coupled with the LG Vu phone, it's a match made in couch-potato heaven.

The MediaFLO service uses an unusual, nonstandard bit of spectrum to ensure that the streaming of your favorite flicks is uninterrupted. Instead of downloading the data over AT&T's 3-G network, the Qualcomm-developed technology operates primarily on the old UHF television band, though it does tap into the 3-G network in order to get started.

The result is that there's virtually no buffering and programming starts up within a few seconds. On the Vu’s brilliant 3-inch screen we found picture quality to be insanely clear and frame rates to be smooth as the ice cubes in a tumbler of 30-year-old bourbon.

"Mobile TV" is a bit of a misnomer. Only a few channels are simulcast, meaning you can watch them in near-real time: for instance, Comedy Central, breaking news on CNN and and selected sporting events on ESPN. All other programming, like episodes of your favorite Fox shows (Family Guy!), are time-shifted and updated when necessary.

There are three different Mobile TV packages to choose from. Included in the $30 package is unlimited Mobile TV, Web browsing and CV mobile video along with CBS Mobile, CNN Mobile Live, Comedy Central, ESPN Mobile, Fox Mobile, MTV, NBC 2Go, NBC News 2Go, Nickelodeon and PIX (Sony Pictures). The mid-tier package, at $15, gives you unlimited Mobile TV and the CNCRT channel for a limited time. The basic package includes CBS Mobile, FOX Mobile, NBC 2Go and NBC News 2Go for only $13.

Watching live streaming TV or movies like The Karate Kid on the Vu's 3-inch haptic touchscreen is, well, pretty amazing. The user interface is fairly intuitive with straightforward menus. And the mere fact that we can watch clips from 30 Rock while sitting on the bus is satisfying in itself. Hell, it almost makes us want to junk our 52-inch monster HD LCD and watch TV on our phone full time. Almost. —Peter Ha

WIRED
Good selection of simulcast and time-shifted programming. No network lag. Live streaming CNN is a must for news junkies. Variety of programming packages should fit just about everyone’s viewing style.

TIRED Unless you're in an area with strong 3-G coverage, the service simply will not work.  Right now the service is only available in 58 locations nationwide.

$30 per month as tested, wireless.att.com (Story Link)

Geforce_8800_gtx

Unless “frag life” is tattooed across your stomach, it might be hard to justify dropping $500 on a video card. But if gaming is your religion, the purchase of Nvidia’s 8800 GTX is merely an act of contrition. Packed with an ungodly amount of horsepower, this card boasts a 575-MHz core processor with 768 MB of video memory and its memory speed maxes out at 900 MHz. When plugged into our testing rig, it cranked out an amazing 29 video frames per second in the ultra-graphically-intensive Oblivion: The Elder Scrolls IV with the resolution dialed up to 1920 x1200. Even our once hot-as-hell Nvidia 6800 Ultra couldn’t even come close to this performance; it only managed 3 frames per second at the same resolution.   —Bruce Gain

WIRED Virtually any game runs faster and clearer with sharper detail. Anti-aliasing features rid most games of jagged edges. Computationally intensive physics effects boost levels of realism for images of smoke, water, and shattered glass. DVI monitor support for dual displays with up to 2560 x1600 pixels. HDTV output.

TIRED 10.5-inch card is tough to cram into even the roomiest rigs. Requires a 450-watt power supply and a PCI-Express motherboard to function. This video card alone costs more than a Wii or Xbox 360. $599 (as tested), newegg.com (Story Link)

20 Top Picks from BlackBerry App World  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

BlackBerry App World, Research in Motion's new mobile app store, already packs more than 500 programs—any of which can be delivered to your handset via a nifty portal that installs right on your BlackBerry's home screen. Since it's only been around for a few days, the store isn't perfect yet. Some users have balked at first-week glitches including slow performance, and the need for a PayPal account, among other things.

But there's plenty of time to iron out the details. For now, it's easy to browse, buy, and install apps, which is all that really matters, right? We've rounded up the best applications currently available in the store, along with a couple of our favorites that we hope make it there soon. If you're looking for apps to help save—or kill—time, you're bound to find just the thing. The best part: Plenty of them are free.

Apps for Keeping in Touch and Informed

AOL Instant Messenger (Free)
AIM's BlackBerry app lets you send and receive messages with all of your desktop buddies—not just your Mobile list. It can also keep track of several conversations at once. Not an AIM fan, or have additional friends on other services? Don't miss the free Google Talk, ICQ, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger clients also available in the store.

Facebook (Free)
Facebook for BlackBerry isn't perfect—it's still essentially the same app it was when it was released over a year ago. As a result, it doesn't handle comments, hidden feed items, or any other recent Facebook changes on the desktop. But the native mobile app is still the fastest way to check your friends' status updates, send messages, and upload photos right from your BlackBerry.

MySpace (Free)
Facebook may be winning the buzz race these days, but MySpace is still pulling in well over 50 million unique visitors each month. It's similar to the Facebook app; users can send messages, update mood and status, view or send bulletins, and post photos. It's also faster and easier to navigate than the site's WAP page.

Viigo (Free)
Need an on-the-go RSS reader? Viigo lets you manage dozens of feeds, grouping them into categories and offering ultra-fast navigation along the way. Essentially, it gives you instant access to breaking news, flight schedules, restaurant reviews, sports scores, weather updates, and just about anything else—all within the same neatly designed, customizable interface.

News, Events, and Travel Apps

Bloomberg (Free)
This isn't your garden-variety Web shortcut. Bloomberg offers a condensed version of the classic black Bloomberg terminal screen, with detailed indices, graphs, and moving currency data, along with an up-to-date index of top worldwide financial news stories. As useful as it is, you may want to limit your exposure given the depressing state of today's economy.

Ticketmaster (Free)
Out with the guys making plans to hit the next Yankees home game? Lots of mobile sites let you get concert and sports event info on the go, but few make it as easy to buy tickets on the spot as Ticketmaster for BlackBerry. Within moments, I was able to bring up plenty of events and check available seating for different ticket configurations—that is, once I scrolled past pages and pages of legalese. (Man, what a buzzkill!)

Trapster (Free)
Beat the fuzz with your BlackBerry. Hook the app into your handset's GPS radio or just enter locations manually, and Trapster will let you in on all the nearby speed traps, including police with live radar guns, known hiding places, and red light cameras. You can also rate traps to let other users know if they're accurate, or report new traps right from your handset. The interface isn't pretty, but who cares if it saves you from coughing up for a pricey ticket?

WorldMate Live (Free)
Expert travelers need fast, useful information on the go, and WorldMate Live delivers it. The app lets you check flight status, book hotels, connect with friends, and share your itineraries right from your phone. There's also a currency converter, a time zone calculator, and BlackBerry Maps integration.  (full Story)

ASUS Nova P22 Mini PC Is No Small Wonder  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

Asus2

If you like a liquid-cooled, oversized, overclocked, loud-as-a-harrier-jet, game-scorching PC tower, then ASUS’ new Nova P22 is not for you. At 9 in x 7.2 in x 2 in, it's a little longer and wider than a Mac Mini, in an aesthetically pleasing not-square chassis. Inside: a 1.8-GHz Core 2 Duo chip, an adequate Intel GMA 3000 graphics processor, 1 GB of ram, and a 160-GB hard drive. Almost enough oomph to run Vista — but not Doom. That’s OK, though, because the Nova was designed for your living room, not your game lair. Essentially it acts as a media streamer. We grabbed a DVI to HDMI cable, jacked it into our TV, and were using the Nova to pull movies off our home network within minutes of hitting the swank, touch-sensitive power button. Gaming be damned —Nate Ralph

Asus3_2WIRED: Decent price for the form factor. Media savvy as advertised. Analog and digital audio outs. Small and quiet. Sleek black finish is purty. 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.0 hardwired beneath its tiny carapace. Looks a lot like a Wii, if that does anything for you.

TIRED: Accidental shutdowns courtesy of the touchy power button. Strictly DVI video outputs, and this is an HDMI world. Built-in pencil holder (!) is useless if you stand the machine upright. Onboard “hi-fi” speakers could barely fill a small closet with sound. Cord management is tricky since all the inputs are on the back. Slightly underwhelming stats aren’t much good for tasks beyond media playing and sharing. $899, asus.com (story Link)

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