Tag Archive for 'iPhone'

Yahoo! e-mail is dead, long live Gmail!

Well, I have finally been pushed into a corner whereby I cannot reap any value or benefits whatsoever in using Yahoo! as a free e-mail account any longer. I have been a user of Yahoo! since 2002, so not too long after they first introduced their ‘classic’ e-mail web interface (ok, 5 years). At the time when I signed up I used the web interface exclusively, solely due to the simple fact that no one was walking around with laptops, smartphones or tablets at that point in time. The connected future was not yet upon us. But guess what, things change, and if service driven software companies don’t change with the times, sadly they too are relegated into the past. Working for a software company myself, I know this only too well. We have to constantly keep our eye on the market and predict where it is going to move, how the demographic is going to change, what we might need to build into the product to address market demands etc. Evolution, not revolution is a staple of the game. Revolution is a distant cousin always more than welcome to the party, but rarely turning up.

So I wonder, whilst Yahoo! went on to become one of the top 3 e-mail providers in the world in 2011 according to comScore, did Yahoo! take into account or understand the importance of this service to its end-users? Did they see their e-mail service as a valuable part of their product offerings? Did they understand that having over 200 million users worldwide is quite a valuable thing to have. Well, simply put, I doubt it. I think the company lost all vision at some point in time, or at least had no clear vision steering them to a specific goal. Instead they rested up on their laurels and went into cruise control.

They changed their classic web interface in 2005, which many complained about, but I lived with just fine. Sure it lost a few features the classic interface had, but overall it was still a very solid web-based e-mail client. They did not alter anything to do with the client again until 2010. 2010 I hear you say, wow, that’s a long time to sleep on existing technology considering the iPhone, admittedly a market changer, was released in the year 2007. Didn’t Yahoo! want to address this new demographic of always online users. Again, I don’t think so.

Yahoo! mail integrated into the iPhone ok using the default iPhone mail client, but was very slow and unreliable. Let’s not forget that before this, Yahoo! wanted to charge you for a premium account if you wanted to use their mail as a POP or IMAP account in conjunction with an e-mail client such as Outlook. Sometimes the mail was received, sometimes it was successfully sent, then again, sometimes not. An unreliable mail client is essentially worthless, let’s get this one thing straight. When you send an e-mail, you want to be certain that the targeted recipients are receiving said e-mail. At around this point in time I started using my own domain-based webmail as my default e-mail client since I simply couldn’t rely on Yahoo! any longer to deliver and receive my e-mail with 100% confidence.

And surprise, surprise. If their e-mail service was any indicator, the company was in trouble. And true to that, Yahoo! was going through a hard time. They had lost a LOT of users, and had hacked away at the workforce in an attempt to remain profitable, unfortunately to little or no avail. About the only outcome of these cost saving measures was poorer service, which in turn equalled the loss of more customers. You can see where this is going right?

Well let’s fast forward to today. Yahoo! took onboard Marissa Mayer, a former Google executive in the hope that she would turn around this failing company and lead them to salvation. And to some degree she has. According to comScore, during July 2013 Yahoo! surpassed Google on the number of United States visitors to its Web sites for the first time since May 2011, set at 196 million United States visitors, having increased by 21 percent in a year. But does this really tell us anything about the backbone of services they provide? As I think we all realise by now, large companies such as Yahoo!, Google, Apple, IBM and more recently to the game, Facebook and co., buy up smaller, emerging software companies to stay on top of their game. So did the purchase of Tumblr, Flickr, and other such companies by Yahoo! influence this result? You’re damn right it did! And does it point to the fact that they are improving the backbone of services they have always provided? No, and sadly if it does, then it was a very misguided effort. For example, their latest UI overhaul design introduced to users in October 2013 was met with heavy criticism due to its layout and usability.

Can you imagine if you had so many millions of users all logging on to your home page occasionally to access their webmail? The power of having this audience alone is unfathomable, laughable is not knowing what to do with it, and not realising the value.

A brief history of what has made me move away:

  • Yahoo! passwords hacked: 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010…the list goes on
  • Yahoo! passwords leaked: 2013, 2012
  • My personal e-mail account hacked 2014, 2011
  • Various mail outages whereby mail was not at all accessible, the last being in December 2013
  • Not compatible with the Apple mail client in OSX causing huge e-mail woes
  • Terrible performance, maybe an e-mail will arrive on the same day
  • Terrible UI in the 2013 web-based tool, only 50 e-mails searchable per page
  • Searching fails with errors half the time
  • Legitimate e-mails being classed as spam regardless whether you have put them in a safe sender list

So in short, I am sick of the crap from Yahoo! I want a web-based e-mail client that is always accessible, no matter how I am accessing it. Always reliable, no matter where I am. Always safe no matter where I am accessing it from. It is 2014, surely one of the nets biggest e-mail providers can manage that, can’t they? Well, rather sadly it seems a big, fat, NO! So I am moving to Google, they have a beautifully integrated migration tool that imports all my e-mail from Yahoo! into Google and can collect all e-mail being sent to Yahoo! for 30 days. So it is so long to Yahoo!, it has been a good ride, but you have become the rock and not the water. And in this age of almost unlimited choices, I have to leave sentimentality out of the game and let you go. We shared many good times, and many bad times. You were my knight in shining armour that came to rescue me in 2002 from the harrows of Hotmail (remember the time where if you hadn’t logged into your Hotmail account for more than 7 days your e-mail account was deactivated and you lost all e-mails attached to that account? And this was in a time when not many people had internet connections, let alone online devices).

But those times are long ago.

And your armour has long since been pierced.

May you rest in peace!

A (very) brief photo journal in memory of you:

P.A.R.T.Y T.I.M.E

Man has it been a crazy year. I don’t really know that I can quite tackle the job of summing it up yet, I mean, there were amazing ups and then there were the crashing downs.

I think I have been, at some points this year anyway, more sad and sorry for myself than I’ve ever been in my entire life. There have been some seriously terrible moments. Too depressing even now to think about – a tear will well up in my eye if I do. I guess I have to consider myself lucky though, I’ve got an amazing bunch of supportive friends (thanks guys, you know who you are), and a great job with an awesome company and amazingly understanding and supportive colleagues…..and now an awesome new pad with cool-as flat-mates, so I guess it ain’t all bad. No, not all bad at all.

Flying out to Frankfurt tomorrow for Christmas with Ina’s family funnily enough, I mean, Ina and I are getting along a lot better these days and hopefully, if all goes well, things will just keep on improving. Let’s see what the new year brings huh!? Hopefully not more heartache/heartbreak, I don’t think I could handle any more of that for the time-being.

Anyway, after Frankfurt we’ll be back in Berlin on Monday night and on Wednesday it’s my birthday…so a little celebration at The Bird with a few friends for that one. Nothing serious mind, just burgers and beer – some of my favorites. And then there’s New Year – still no idea what I’m doing for that. Oh, did I mention that it is absolutely crazy at work as well? I mean, the only night I’ve gotten out of here before 9.30pm this week was Tuesday – and that was only because of the appointment with a counselor that Ina and I had. It is insane. So much work, skeleton staff, lots of sickness – and a software company like ours generally makes around 60% of their revenue in the last month of the year. So you can imagine.

I will be so happy to be sitting on a plane tomorrow – not that that will be the end of it, oh no, my iPhone is connected to work and I need to stay contactable just in case any confusion or issues arise due to my absence. Hopefully everything will go swimmingly until I return (02.01.12) – that is the plan.

Now it’s time for an inspirational classic video timeout:

Is there a hint in that somewhere? Yes, you know it. What with all the celebrations going on at this time of year I thought why not mention a celebration of our own that is planned for Friday the 13th, January next year. It is your classic house party, no real reason to have it other than to have it. I mean, I am relatively new in the apartment/area but that isn’t the reason. We kinda just wanna have a party – and really, is there a better date!? So check the flyer below for info (by yours truly), and if you’re in the area in the evening and we know each other somehow, you’re more than welcome to drop on by…..I guess any time from 9pm onwards…. 🙂