Freedom and Privacy Technology Ubuntu

Audible for Ubuntu: Epic Fail

Trying to listen to an audio book from on your Ubuntu machine?  Spare yourself the pain, and just ask to cancel and get your money back.  They have no plans to help you.  I hope I can one day edit this post with some good news, but until they they are in bed with proprietary operating systems of the world.  All you need to do is read this live-chat transcript I just had with them and the picture should be very clear:

Audible Your

Message From Customer Service


Here’s a copy of the chat transcript you requested:

Initial Question: Technical support
I’m trying to listen to my book on my Ubuntu machine. Please tell me how to do it. Thanks

04:39 AM PDT Rose(Audible): Hello Wayne, thank you for contacting Audible. My name is Rose. I’ll be happy to help you today.
Is it running Windows?
04:40 AM PDT Wayne : I’ll repeat, it’s an Ubuntu machine.
04:40 AM PDT Rose(Audible): Let me check.
04:40 AM PDT Wayne : Thanks. Much appreciated.
04:41 AM PDT Wayne : I followed the instructions: Listen on computer, click download button under ‘listen’ and it downloaded a .aa file which does not launch an audio player.
04:42 AM PDT Rose(Audible): Just to make sure, is it Linux operating system?
04:43 AM PDT Wayne : based on the fact that you are asking me this question, I will giev you a short answer: yes
04:44 AM PDT Wayne : (it’s the fastest growing OS in the world so I’m quite surprised that you asked)
04:45 AM PDT Rose(Audible): Linux-based operating system is not supported by Audible.
04:45 AM PDT Wayne : What are audible’s plans to help me?
04:46 AM PDT Rose(Audible): Do you any other listening devices?
04:46 AM PDT Wayne : Do you have a release date planned or any work planned?
No. I use just Ubuntu. I don’t have money for other players
04:46 AM PDT Rose(Audible): To see the list of compatible devices, please click here
04:46 AM PDT Wayne : or another computer. I can’t afford to buy an operating system just to listen to the book I just bought from you.
Can you send me the file as an mp3?
or .wav?
04:47 AM PDT Wayne : Or why can’t I live stream it?
04:47 AM PDT Rose(Audible): Our files cannot be converted into MP3 or any other formats. The measures taken by are required to protect both the intellectual property rights of our Content Providers, as well as the authors.
04:47 AM PDT Wayne : That was a nice copy/paste. I understand.
So how can I listen?
04:47 AM PDT Rose(Audible): Do you have a mobile phone? Like Smartphones?
04:47 AM PDT Wayne : It’s running ubuntu.  Do you support Ubunto Mobile?
04:48 AM PDT Wayne :
04:50 AM PDT Rose(Audible): Do you have Play Store or Market?
04:50 AM PDT Wayne : I want to share something else while you are checking that. I do not recall reading anywhere that you did not support Ubuntu. Nor do I recall reading what you do support (ie. Windows/Apple only). Before someone like me gives you money I deserve to know that I will be facing this kind of problem.
04:51 AM PDT Wayne : No. I will repeat. I cannot afford to buy a smartphone to listen to my simple audio book.  I thought I would be logging into the website and listening.
04:52 AM PDT Rose(Audible): I’m pertaining to the Ubuntu mobile.
At this time, we are working with the open-source developers of Linux to see if we can make our file format compatible with their operating system. If that happens, we do expect to expand our support to Linux computers in the future. We would love to make our content available to Linux users as soon as possible, as we often hear from Linux fans regarding Audible playback.
04:53 AM PDT Wayne : This was a copy/paste again. It was the same one I found online from 2013. This is a disappointing conversation, Rose.
So, let me keep it simple: Unless you buy me an operating system that you support I cannot listen to my file. Will you credit all my fees for the last two months (I didn’t have time to listen) and cancel my subscription please?
Immediately, please.
Or buy me a smartphone or new computer.
04:54 AM PDT Wayne : You can keep your credits until you finish your promise of making it available on linux.
04:54 AM PDT Rose(Audible): I am sorry to hear that you are looking to cease your Audible membership. No
Although I am sad to complete this request for you, I can definitely help you with your concern.
04:54 AM PDT Wayne : Thanks.
04:55 AM PDT Rose(Audible): With that being said, I have gone ahead and cancelled your Gold Monthly Membership which will ensure that you receive no charges from us. You will also receive an additional confirmation email regarding this cancellation.
$29.90 will be going back on your account within 2-3 business days.
04:56 AM PDT Wayne : You are amazing.
Great work, Rose, and I hope i can be your customer very, very soon.
Can you please put me on a list of people who want to give you money?
I am ready to give audible money when I can listen on my Ubuntu machine.
You can see that I have money to give you. I already gave it to you.
04:58 AM PDT Rose(Audible): Thank you for contacting us with your concern about downloading books on your Ubuntu machine. We appreciate your feedback on making it available on Linux OS in the future. I’ll be sure to pass it along to the department in charge.
04:58 AM PDT Wayne : Thank you so much for making the cancellation and credit fast and easy.
This was smart and good.
04:58 AM PDT Rose(Audible): Sure my pleasure. Is there anything else?
04:58 AM PDT Wayne : That’s it. I just want your books. 🙂
04:59 AM PDT Rose(Audible): That’s great to hear then. No worries, I’ll pass it along.
Thank you for contacting Audible! We look forward to seeing you again soon. Please click the end chat link to close this session. Have a great day!
04:59 AM PDT Wayne : Thanks. See you.

Thank you.

This email was sent from a notification-only address that cannot accept incoming email. Please do not reply to this message.


Business Freedom and Privacy Life Skills

Are Payday Loan Businesses Evil?

I have been looking into the payday loan business.  It intrigues me both as an entrepreneur but even more so on the ethics side.  There is a serious stigma associated with payday loan businesses that they are evil and help to ruin lives.

This is a broadcast  about our local city Burnaby showing the same thing: that we must unite against these vicious sharks… yet… I couldn’t help but notice how they didn’t have any of them on this panel to express their perspective.  Here is a summary about the rally

You hear comments about this kind of business like: “I want to see them out of business” and ‘This is unconscionable’ or, “Let’s run these birds out of town” and even compare them to the likes of a sketchy massage parlour.

But then you hear comments by the same people a few breaths later about the customers of payday loan businesses like, “They don’t think about how they are going to pay back their loan when they get it” and, “They have marginal financial literacy skills”.  The people interviewed like to call them ‘these people’ or ‘these folks’ as if to distance themselves.  First they offer scathing insults to the business followed by belittling comments about its customers.  I don’t see a lot of love here.  But it gets better.

My favourite part is when the interviewer asked “Won’t these people have to go to loan sharks on the street if they can’t go to payday loan businesses?”  One of the ‘solutions’ offered was to make more institutions like Pigeon Park Savings .  Don’t get me wrong, Pigeon Park Savings looks great and is just what the doctor ordered for the neighbourhood where it is but to compare a customer of this service to a payday loan business is a shocking display of missing information.  I understand completely because I had the same general perception about payday loan businesses until I spent some time behind the counter at one.  The first thing you will notice is that customers at regular payday loan businesses are normal.  They have jobs (hence the word payday), they dress normal if not nicely, they drive cars, etc.  The members at Pigeon Park are not customers. They are members.  It is a service, not a business.

Then it was suggested that ‘more credit unions should be doing this [Pigeon Park style]’ but then a breath later they admit that no one does it because it’s expensive. And that brings us to our next topic.

Loans are very simple actually.  The rate of interest goes up in proportion with the amount of risk taken on by the lender.  If you have botched up your credit history for whatever reason, the banks will kiss you goodbye.  You can now go to a place like a payday loan company and borrow money at high rates.

I also think it’s quite amusing that no one ever compares Visa or Mastercard in the same light as payday loan businesses.  Their rates are a couple of percentage points lower but equally if not more dangerous.  With a payday loan company you can only go so far but with credit cards you can go much deeper.  Although I have not yet done the research first hand, I was told that after declaring personal bankruptcy Visa and MC are still legally allowed to come after you somehow.  If that’s true you should look very dimly at these two ‘well branded’ companies.

Now let’s look at a mortgage.  Articles like the ones I mentioned above about how they are worried that people are getting sucked into the ‘get it now, pay the consequences later’ mentality.  What do you call a mortgage?  It’s a house you can’t afford now, loaned to you by a payday loan business called a ‘bank’.  If you stop paying them on the promised cycle (same as payday loan business) they will take your house.  I’m struggling to see why they are less ‘evil’.

So, who really wants to get rid of payday loan businesses?  Have you ever tried to start a bank account at a bank so you can run your payday loan company?  I dare you to try.  Tell them that you are starting a payday loan and cheque cashing business and you would like to open a bank account.  They will tell you to take a long walk off a short dock, most likely.  Why?  You are competing against them, of course.  You are starting your own ‘bank’.  They don’t like this at all but they let it slide because it’s better that someone else deal with ‘these people’ than them.  It’s better to appear ‘clean’ and ‘civilized’ and not loan money to ‘these people’. They will cover that by telling you that it’s related to money laundering legislation – but then ask them how Money Mart gets their cash.

Through all these articles, though, the one thing that everyone agrees upon is that the customers are making what is viewed as a bad financial decision. It could probably be quickly proven that the customers are indeed lacking in financial literacy.  So the root of the ‘problem’ is a lack of financial education.

Where, people, can we point the fingers for that one?  I’ve got a good idea.  How about *schools*?  Tell me when the Burnaby School Board implemented mandatory financial education courses?  If we go and check the requirements for graduation, of all those courses, how many of them involve money?  I’m too lazy to check but I bet the number is zero.  So we’ve got our scapegoat: the education system.  Let’s move on.

Let’s say everyone agrees that payday loan businesses are ‘bad’.  Now the question is, should we allow them to exist?  The fine gentleman in the broadcast above would ‘run these birds out of town’.  Is alcohol bad?  Are there people who, even though they received proper education about alcohol, can’t control their drinking?  Yes.  So, let’s get rid of alcohol.  From now on, no more liquor stores, or alcohol to be served anywhere because these people can’t control their drinking.  I’m game.  Let’s do it.  And while we are at it, I’ve noticed that government-endorsed casinos are popping up like popcorn.  Mr. Councillor, I didn’t hear you mention anything about those.  Should we run those birds out of town, too?  I’m thinking the tax dollars from those slot machines are probably not hurting your salary.  I’m guessing you aren’t going to be raising a large stink about those institutions.  What is your solution for gambling problems?  I think I saw it on a bus stop “When gambling isn’t fun any more, call us.”

So, how about instead of wasting your time trying to destroy an industry that is getting people out of short term jams (ie. to put gas in their tank so they can get to their job) without going to back alley loan sharks, that you create financial literacy courses in school and support programs for those who are lost in debt?  Isn’t that the Canadian way?

I’m just saying.

… I’m just saying.


 Further Unflattering Reading on Payday Loans