By Alex P. Vidal
“We realized we had high-volume marketplace as a platform. Anyone can come in and buy with a subscription.” — Jon Oringer
UNTIL I agreed to renew my Microsoft 365 Personal “yearly” subscription worth $76.20 (including tax) on January 4, 2023, Best Buy Geek Squad (New York) barred me from using the impressive software for more than a week, thus instead of sending only the link of the Word Document containing my opinion article to the Daily Guardian Iloilo via email, I had to “copy” the article from the Word Document where I had typed it, and “paste” it directly to the email addresses of our editor-in-chief, who retrieves it in the editorial room in Iloilo City, Philippines.
Unable to do what I was accustomed to do (the sending of original copy in the email in the form of a link) for a long time, I felt like I was “held hostage”, to say the least.
I could still use the Word Document in the portable hardware (an iPad Pro 12.9-inch) I am using, but if I did not renew my subscription, I would be eternally relegated to the “copy and paste” (directly to the email) system when I submit my opinion article, a decrepit method we practiced in the 90s when technology wasn’t so dizzying and fast. (In “copy and paste” there’s no more chance to review or view and edit the original copy in transit unlike in the Word Document link.)
Before writing this article, by the way, I checked if my subscription has been restored by saving it in the Word Document. Positive.
Earlier, I received an email notification from Geek Squad: “Success Alex—Your payment information has been updated.”
It stressed: “Thank for updating your information, Alex. Your plan, listed below, has been updated with the (my) credit card ending in xxxx. That means your benefits will continue without interruption. If you did not make this update, please call us at 1-800-433-5778. The security of your information is important to us. Thank you for choosing Best Buy and Geek Squad.”
On December 31, 2022, Geek Squad sent me this email: “Last chance to renew. Alex, your Microsoft 365 subscription expired on 12/14/2022. There’s still time to keep your benefits. Renew now to continue enjoying premium Office apps and 1 TB of cloud storage. Please note: Access to your OneDrive cloud storage is now unavailable because your subscription has expired.” Whew!
Why I did not renew immediately? Because I learned that I actually had two Microsoft 365 Personal annual subscriptions (from the purchase of iPad Pro 12.9-inch and Apple MacBook Air) and were all active these past three years.
They were “automatically renewed” and charged to my credit card. My dilemma was I didn’t know which of the two I was using actively. Which of the two had expired first? It would be a waste of money if I renewed both when I only needed one.
What did I get if I renew? I could 1. Save, share and access my files and photos across OneDrive cloud storage; 2. Collaborate and create in real time with apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint; 3. Manage my email, calendar, tasks and contacts together in one place with Outlook; 4. Work across up to five devices at the same time including Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android devices; 5. Contact support via chat or phone at no extra cost throughout my subscription.
Frankly, I’m not interested in these features and “privileges” as a subscriber.
I only want to write an opinion article in the Word Document and send it via email in the most convenient way.
FOR the second straight day (Tuesday and Wednesday), as promised, I was glued to the big TV set from noontime until 9 o’clock in the evening monitoring the Day 2 continuation of the rambunctious United States House of Representatives session, which voted for adjournment in the evening without choosing a new speaker.
GOP’s Kevin McCarthy (R-California), a known lap puppy of former President Donald Trump and touted to be the successor of outgoing Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi, continued to be rejected by the determined 20 GOP rebels.
Humiliated in dramatic fashion by his own 20 party mates, McCarthy couldn’t muster the needed magic 218 votes and was defeated anew by Democrat rival Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York) in the day’s three rounds of voting.
Jeffries, the new Democrat leader, can never win the speakership despite his successive “victories” over McCarthy as the Democrats now belong in the minority. (Even if all the Democrats in the House vote for him, he can only collect 212.)
All in all, McCarthy has been rebuked six times (three times on January 3 and three times on January 4). There have been calls for him now to step aside and pave the way for another GOP bet, someone who is not hated and won’t be blocked by the 20 GOP rebels.
We’ve learned three things from this messy impasse: 1. There is no teamwork in the GOP; 2. Those rebellious 20 hardline anti-McCarthy Republicans who consistently blocked McCarthy do not anymore fear Trump, who had earlier called on them to, once and for all, stop their foolishness and move in to quickly elect McCarthy as the new House Speaker; 3. A similar case happened in 1923 or exactly 100 years ago.
We will know what will happen next when they reconvene for the third straight day on January 5.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)