Saturday, January 27, 2007

I hate Yahoo! Mail

Yes, for the 5th or 6th time I've received all my messages on my Yahoo account on my POP3 client. I've talked with Yahoo support three times about this already. The first time they said they couldn't do anything. The second time I was routed around multiple times to the Brazilian support (it's my account) and the result is that they didn't know what was going on, but as it stopped happening they didn't have anything they could do. The third time I got a message back with instructions how to call or chat with support (and how much it would cost) and then another message with a survey asking how I was helped on my case. I never wrote so many "terrible"s in a survey!

Anyway, here I go again deleting 10K emails on my mail system hoping not to delete anything important by accident.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Back from Chicago

Unfortunately I don't have much time to discuss my trip to Chicago, but I can say it was great. Here are the brief highlights:

- Friends... Oh, meeting friends anywhere is always the most important highlight of anything. If any other friends want to come to the US, please let me know! :-)
- Art Institute of Chicago: Amazing impressionist collection!
- Charlie Trotter's: Awesome food... Certainly one of the best meals I've ever had in my life (and the most expensive too)
- Shedd Aquarium: lots of interesting things there, from trained whales and dolphins, and even penguins, to beautiful coral reef "replicas"
- Field Museum of Natural History: some very interesting exhibits, but sometimes seeing "stuffed" animals is not as interesting
- The city of Chicago: I think I've lived too long away from big cities... It felt good to be able to walk around downtown Chicago and feel like there are lots of things to do everywhere you walk. It felt like a big city.
- Walgreens: I have to add this. It was founded in Chicago, according to Wikipedia, so maybe that explains why there is one every 3-4 blocks. It was just amazing to think how much Chicago citizens like to go to the pharmacy!

Anyway, that's what I had to report. Now I'm back to normal work. Lots of things to do still and with a lot of events coming up this weekend, including a housewarming party.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Another weekend has gone by

Yes, it was one of those weekends when nothing got done. I can't really say "nothing" but it wasn't even close to what I had planned. Not too much of my fault, though. On Saturday I went volunteering at a Sand Points Community Housing (now part of Solid Ground). It was not very demanding, because we were diverted to a different project as the snow on the ground prevented us from doing the landscaping that was planned. Then Amy and I went home and played a game of Terakh... 3 hours later I left to have a haircut, buy groceries for dinner (it was quite icy outside, but I survived). Made dinner and the day was over.

Sunday started with a brunch to celebrate some people's 80th and 70th birthdays. It was quite nice, actually. Got back home and had about 2 hours before chatting with my parents. I turned on my work computer to find almost 900 messages in my inbox! Some system has gone completely bezerk and was sending me 5 messages every 10 minutes. Oh, joy - there I went to figure out what was going on and try to fix it. Result: I was 30 minutes late to my chat with my parents.

Then I went chatting, then dinner and again the day is over! Isn't it sad?

Well, at least we got some snow here. Last Wednesday it snowed and the snow is still around. It helped a little that we had a little snow on Saturday too and there is a slight chance of snow again on Tuesday. All for me to get ready to go to Chicago next weekend. That is going to be exciting!

Friday, January 05, 2007

How a service can be amazing, but quite useless

So I received the following email from a friend today (I'm changing some things just to keep things anonymous):

Dear past Dinner Out Participants,

We will be going to Great Princess Ethiopian Restaurant tomorrow night at 8pm.
Go here to read a description, RSVP, or read a review of the Great Princess Ethiopian
Restaurant. Hope you can make it tomorrow night!


This was through gmail... So on the right side I got the following suggested thing to do:

Would you like to...

Add to calendar
Dinner out at Great Pr...
Sat Jan 6, 2007 8pm

- At no place there was the explicit date there (you had the email date, plus "tomorrow")
- At no place it was written "Dinner" (or "out", for that matter).

Simple things, but made me smile. It's not that I would use it for anything, as I don't like online calendar for scheduling, but it's just good to see technology doing the right thing.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

First it was orkut, not YouTube

Another Brazilian lawsuit, now trying to get YouTube to pay a fine of R$10 million (about US$4 million), and an extra R$250K a day while the video with the model and TV show host Daniella Cicarelli is available on their website. The interesting thing is that now they are trying to turn on the "Great Brazilian Firewall" and block access to YouTube to everybody in Brazil. That is something I want to see happening! [source - in Portuguese, couldn't find the news in English]

I do think there has to be a mechanism in place to take care of these kinds of things. Surely they were in a public place and the person that recorded they doing "whatever" at the beach in Spain had all the right to record it. But there is a limit where your personal freedom starts to hurt somebody else. In this case, there is no gain to anybody (maybe to some sick people, but I won't get into this level of details), only career and psychological loss to this "poor woman and her boyfriend". I know you can't take it from the internet - once digital, forever somewhere - but you can show that there is a way to get at least some things out from some places. And this is all that matters.

I've missed this one...

Microsoft and AMD decided to give out free computers loaded with Vista to "famous" bloggers, as reported by ComputerWorld. I think I was left out of this first batch...

Not that I'm really looking forward to having a computer running Vista. I'm actually dreading the fact that now that I maintain a Windows machine, I might be forced into it in a year or so, when software will start to be released that will only work on Vista.

Talking about windows machines, when I renewed my TurboTax I got also the new Quicken. I already had a Quicken for Mac, but the newest version only existed for Windows, so that's what I've received. And I was quite impressed with the amount of extra features that the Windows version has! It actually connects with all my financial organizations and gets all the bills. In the past, I had to go and download the statements manually and it was a big pain. Enough for me to give up this mechanism for keeping my finances up-to-date.

The only problem I had was that it does crash from time to time (it happened twice already in about 2 months) and it was a huge pain to import things from my Mac Quicken to the Windows Quicken. It would have been quicker to start over from scratch.

My conclusion is that software for Windows, when it isn't something that is especially focused on Mac users, like Photoshop and the likes, does receive much more support and care. The law of numbers in software quality: that's where the money is, and not on the half a dozen Mac users...

Monday, January 01, 2007

Society of weirdos

Being social sometimes is fun. It certainly helps you grow into a more generally complete person, enabling you to see views of the world that you wouldn't by yourself. However, it sometimes can attract some strange people. The latest is a person that seems to be quite nice, but, besides the very complicated-to-understand Portuguese, she ended the email with something in the lines of: "may God be with you and bless you and protect you and make His light shine on your face and give you peace!"

Sometimes email signatures should just be abolished.