So What Do You Do When Email Is Broke? Outlook.com is broke yet again. Grumble.

How many email accounts do you have?
How many do you actually use?

In my case, there’s:

Hotmail has my main Personal
Outlook has one that I haven’t migrated to but there’s a “cool” email name
I have my own domain I need to get tied into something
I have two gmail accounts – one for the tablet and one that I use for spam.
There is one for the Board that I do social media, newsletters, and web development for.

And there are others that I don’t really use for email like webmaster accounts and the like.

I really should make an effort to write that stuff down and pare it down.

Sound familiar?

I don’t text.  At all.  Simply don’t see the value.  If you want to get in touch with me, I have a perfectly serviceable cell phone and you can call and leave a message.   If I have spoken with you before, I’ll answer.  If you’re a recruiter, leave a message at the tone…

What got me started on this rant?

Getting up early, after the morning mile and a half plus with the dog, I settled in to coffee and spam.  Just like many other people, I had to check my email.   There was a friendly reminder from my chat client, Pidgin, that said I had 27 emails. 

Yes, since last night.

That was split between the hotmail account on “outlook.com” and the professional one on yahoo

Except as usual, Outlook.com was broke.  That’s why it was in quotes up there. 

Ever since Hotmail forced me to convert to Outlook, it has been utter rubbish.  They are trying to change with the times by making it have that Windows 8 look and feel that most who see it say “What on Earth are you thinking, it’s so UGLY!”.  My own experiences with Windows 8 were so horrendous that after a month or so of trying to force it to work, I uninstalled it and with back to Windows 7 where I have been ever since.  I needed to get things DONE!

Ok, that’s just me, I don’t like big ugly blocks that look like a sign from the Seattle mass transit signs.  They don’t work on a laptop with limited screen size…

Been there, ranted about thatMicrosoft is trying but really most people don’t want blinky blocks, they want to get things done.

No, it’s more from the angle that waking up early and expecting something as old school and admittedly simple as email should “just work”.

Outlook.com does not “just work”.

On the average of two or three times a week, OK how about 2.7 times a week, it presents me with a message asking me to reload the web page.  That’s more like a demand from a petulant two year old, but until I reach up and hit the handy F5 key to refresh the web page (go ahead, it works, I’ll wait), I’m stuck.

(welcome back).

This morning I was presented with the message:

Sorry, there seems to be a problem with Outlook right now

The message you selected could not be found. It may have been moved or deleted. Please click the folder again to refresh the view.
 
See, Outlook is so horrible that it even breaks the page formatting on my blog!
 
Bottom line though is pretty simple.   It’s free, and you get what you pay for.
 
If you don’t like Outlook.com, you can go to gmail.com or yahoo.com and get a mail account there.   I have them, many folks do.  
 
I don’t use email from my cable internet provider, Comcast, because I didn’t like the way their interface was either, plus there was a time that I went off of Comcast.  That didn’t work out, and I came back, but I did want something simple and “independent” so I stayed with mostly hotmail.
 
Since nobody tends to have Just One Computer any more, and email is done just as much from a phone (you know who you are), that adds another layer of complexity to things that I just haven’t solved for myself other than sticking to what I have.   Simply because I can get to a web browser from any computer, and most phones, to answer my email, it makes it more bulletproof for me.
 
Bottom line is that choice gives you complexity, but if you really want to complain about email, you’ve got to actually pay for it.
 
Damn Outlook.com.
 
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What To Do When The Website Is Down

I guess you could always fire off Solitaire, make Coffee, or talk nice to those around you, but this is a very different story.

Over the weekend I had a quest.  It started on Friday when I had gotten the call that I was wanted to come in for an interview.  The company is one that I have been targeting for a while, would be a great opportunity, and I’m looking forward to getting to see the place. 

There’s only one problem.  Directions. 

I was given the company website for their maps, thanked the person who I was speaking with, and went on my merry way.

Typing in the website, I waited… nothing happened.

Realizing it could be my own laptop, or some of the security software I run here, I twiddled around with settings, used a different browser, then tried it on another computer since all were available at the touch of a mouse click.  After all, I had been to that very same website just earlier that day for a different reason and it was happily up and running.
 
Still nothing.

Oh great, another “challenge”.

One thing I remembered is that there were websites that you could check to see if someone else’s website was running.  So I keyed in the URL into the link on the website box for www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com and it said helpfully that “It’s Not Just You” and it looked down to them.   Helpful site for this sort of thing.

It remained down all weekend.  Someone needed to “Feed the Squirrels” as we would say, and get that server back up again.

Ok, so now what?

We all have our favorite web search sites, some like www.google.com  others like www.bing.com or www.yahoo.com.  Lately I’ve been going to www.startpage.com since it uses Google for its searches, but doesn’t have the IP Reporting thing since I don’t really like being watched.

Clicking on the helpful “Images” link up top, I was able to find my map in two clicks.   I was also able to find an Org chart for the department and some other background information.  Very helpful.

Success!  The map is printed out, my directions are printed out, and I have my resume on some very nice “palm fiber” paper.   I always did like high quality paper, it’s something that nobody else may notice but it makes me feel better and isn’t that what it’s all about when you’re going to that important interview?

I’ll let them know their map site is or was down when I get there.