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Old Jun 4, 2003, 6:39 AM   #1
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Default Corporate Strongarm Tactics?

Everyone should be aware by this time that Olympus has tried to force consumers to buy their brand of media by disabling the panorama function unless genuine Olympus media is used. I also hope everyone knows that their is a cheap and easy "hack" to "repair" your off brand cards so they will work.

What I am concerned about is not the panorama mode, since I consider this to be a useless feature, but the tactic itself of disabling a function of a device without my nowing it. I purchased my camera with the idea that the panorama function was a feature included. Nowhere in their advertising of website does Olympus mention that this or any feature of the camera will be inoperable unless I also purchase their media cards. What is to prevent them from disabling a more important feature in the future, such as auto-focus?

What I would like to see is a class action lawsuit, but I doubt that will happen because I doubt anyone cares enough about panorama to care. We will have to wait until we all discover that the auto-focus (or whatever else) doesn't work on our new cameras before we get concerned enough!

The one thing we could all do is to write Olympus and express our disappointment over this issue. Perhaps if a few hundred or thousand consumers began to complain and/or threaten to NOT buy Olympus products in the future they may reconsider their use of these tactics. It can't hurt and writing is free.

How many agree with me? Does anyone know the best place or person to write?
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Old Jun 4, 2003, 7:28 AM   #2
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Default The REAL problem is the lack of a low-level format feature!

Jbailey, while your point is well taken, I'm not personally concerned with Olympus coding their cards to enable the panorama feature on their cameras. I do, on occasion, find this feature useful, and it does work quite well.

However, we should ALL complain about the format feature doing only a Quick Format and not doing a low-level format! This is why my corrupted Olympus brand card couldn't be reformatted in my Olympus camera! The same thing could have happened had I used a competitor's card. I guess since SmartMedia cards have been replaced in favor of the XD cards, we'd just be beating a dead horse complaining about SM. Now if the XD cards are the same, the formatting issue is something users of the XD cards have a right to complain about.
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Old Jun 4, 2003, 11:03 AM   #3
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Default Re: Corporate Strongarm Tactics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbailey
What I am concerned about is not the panorama mode, since I consider this to be a useless feature, but the tactic itself of disabling a function of a device without my nowing it. I purchased my camera with the idea that the panorama function was a feature included. Nowhere in their advertising of website does Olympus mention that this or any feature of the camera will be inoperable unless I also purchase their media cards.
It *does* mention it in the manuals; from the C-700 reference manual, "You can take advantage of panorama shooting with the OLYMPUS SmartMedia." This is not something any company would advertise on a website...would Ferrari mention on their website that if your car is serviced by someone who isn't Ferrari certified that your warranty would be void?

Companies make proprietary devices for years, and they will still continue to because they want you to buy *their* replacement parts. Each car maker have their own connectors for hooking up a radio...if you buy a third-party car radio, you also have to buy a cable kit so you can plug the radio in.

Look at camera lenses and filter adapter tube sizes, each camera has its own type so you have to buy their products. Camera flashes are worse...there are flashes out there that are TTL compatible with many cameras but you have to buy separate modules for your own camera and then it may not be 100% compatible.

To me a class action lawsuit over this is just as frivolous as the lawsuits against McDonalds because their coffee is hot and you were stupid enough to spilled it on yourself while driving (who wants cold coffee).
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Old Jun 4, 2003, 11:48 AM   #4
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Mike --- Ditto
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Old Jun 4, 2003, 1:09 PM   #5
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Presumably, if there was a low-level format it would have to re-install the pano feature each time it was used.

I must say I agree that providing a feature that only works with expensive proprietary media is sharp practice and I deplore it. A class action might be a little OTT, though. Just thumb your nose at Olympus every time you hack another card.

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Old Jun 4, 2003, 7:25 PM   #6
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JBailey...

I applaud the ingenuity to "make" nonOlympus SM cards do the
pano thing.

For the Olympus SM cards, t\it is just a very minor, marketing feature after all.

Lots of software can do a panorama combo

Look at Walter Kimmel's wonderful work just as an example!

Two cents
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Old Jun 4, 2003, 7:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: Corporate Strongarm Tactics?

jbailey, I know that you know all of this but... just hack the cards the fenlander way and don't sweat the small stuff,life is just too short to get upset over a marketing ploy. The main thing I use when really dissatisfied with a product is : I just don't buy it anymore.
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Old Jun 5, 2003, 12:08 AM   #8
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Actually I'm more angry at Epson's recent tactics than Olympus' panoramic issue.

We all know printer cartridges are the most expensive things out there. Epson's are the worst (in terms of price gouging) since their cartridges are a plastic container with a sponge in it (no printhead attached, the printhead is part of the printer mechanism unlike other printers which contains the printhead in the cartridge).

Anyway, Epson charges at least $30Cdn for a cartridge...I can buy four of the clone cartridges for that price.

In newer printers to stop the clone makers, Epson started putting a chip in the ink cartridge that is read by the printer, and when empty zaps the chip so you can't refill it. If the printer doesn't read the chip, it doesn't print. But the clone makers have come up with a chip of their own which they put on their cartridges, plus someone came up with a way to reset the chip once it has been zapped so you can refill the cartridge and use it.

Just like the clone makers have come up with a way to defeat the proprietary protection scheme, so has someone come up with a way to defeat the Oly scheme of protecting their media by hacking the cards.
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Old Jun 5, 2003, 10:33 AM   #9
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This may seem like a silly question, as it has probably already been explained previously somewhere, but can anyone explain to me what this "hack" is and how I would do it on my CF cards? Are there any risks/perils associated with implementing this hack, to either the card itself or my C-5050?
Thanks!
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Old Jun 5, 2003, 11:10 AM   #10
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I don't know if it effects CF cards...mostly it's been smartmedia and Xd cards...does the panoramic mode work (turn on) on your C-5050 with just a CF card in it?
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