Friday Aug 10, 2007

Outsourcing vendor selection: email

For years, I've been running my own server where I host my personal site. It's migrated from a Cobalt Raq 3 to a ServInt VPS today, with many iterations in between. And I'm finally done. The hassels of self-administration now outweigh the benfit in my mind. The final straw occured last week when I ran out of space, and email started bouncing. And queing. Including bounce error messages. When I figured out what was finally going on, I had thousands and thousands of error emails. So now I'm on the outsourcing hunt. I've already moved my pictures to Smugmug. Next up, email.

I was expecting this to be the easiest part. I'd just use gmail. After 20 min, I realized one big problem! The POP interface for the iPhone is BAD. First, it doesn't sync deletes. Worse, it gives you ALL your messages, even if they are auto-taged and archived. I'm on a few high volume aliases, and DO NOT want to recieve every one of those messages on the phone with no bulk delete tools.

Yahoo's spam filtering was worthless. I'm getting so much spam I can't find my real email.

.Mac has added server side spam filtering, but it's worse than yahoo. And they have no server-side filter rules for mailing lists. Tons of spam AND all my alias traffic!

I could sign up for a webhoster, but that still keeps me in the business of some adminstration. Anyone out there have any good ideas?

Thursday Jul 26, 2007

It Lives!

After going through all these gyrations, my new iPhone is working. I think for the most part I got the run around. Short of it is that activations yesterday were broken, now they're working. 3 hours wasted. But I'm happish again.

And then I dropped it...

Apparently I'm having IT sagas. My MacBook Pro is now fixed and happy. And then two days ago, I dropped my iPhone. At first, all apeared well. I was on the phone at the time, and nothing happend, I talked away, and was relieved. Later that evening, I noticied that I had dented the case, making it impossible to press the power button. No biggie, it still worked just fine.

Yesterday morning, I went to unplug the phone, and saw my little phone stuck in an infinite reboot state. Apparently the pushed power button was making it unhappy:

With a dead iPhone, I promptly made an appointment at the Apple Store for that evening. In the meantime, I had a totally unusable phone. So I started to have fun. When I would see people I knew, I would throw the phone up in the air and let it crash down (clearly, I was already thinking I needed to buy a new phone). The look in people's face was PRICELESS. This could be great street art - stand on University Ave in Palo Alto, and have someone film passer-by's expressions as I "drop" the iphone very very hard. Amazingly, one of the drops fixed the button, though then the screen wouldn't work anymore.

That evening, I went into the Apple Store and got a new iPhone. And the fun started... Took it home, and activation wouldn't work. All i got was:

Called up AT&T, waited on hold for 15 min, was told to go to the AT&T store and get a new SIM. Raced over with 5 min to go before they closed, and then proceed to wait 30 min for the SLOW SLOW people in front of me. Get home, pop SIM in, same error. Call again, debacle insues with me hanging up by mistake when I meant to press speaker after waiting for 30 min. AMAZINGLY, AT&T rep I'm speaking with calls me back 15 min later on my wife's phone (part of my family plan) to tell me the progress he's made! Even though I hung up on him, he kept working the problem. THANK YOU AMAZING ATU&T rep. Too bad they couldn't fix it.

Finally get escalated again, to a guy who writes down word for word the error message, and tells me that iPhone activations are all wonkey, everyone is having issues, and they'll call me. I point out calling me will be hard without a phone, but give them my work number anyway. They can always leave VM.

It's now been about 18 hours since I first tried to activate my second iPhone, but I continue to have the same error. If I don't hear from AT&T tonight, I guess I'll have to play the phone tree game again...

Sunday Jul 01, 2007

Lemmings and iPhones

I'm a lemming, and bought an iPhone on Friday. And I'm a fairly happy lemming. I'll leave the stories for later; for now, some notes of interest about the thing:

  • It reports all crashes back to Mr. Steve. Check out /Library/Logs/Crash Reporter/Mobile Device/YOUR iPHONE NAME/
  • Email is not a primary focus for this thing.
  • Unlock screen shows SMS and missed calls. Doesn't show any indication of email
  • Needs a unified mail inbox, or better way to switch. Four taps is annoying
  • Works great with my Ice-Link in the car. iPhone gave a standard error message about "not made to work" but I hit no, and all worked great. Music was playing, Olivia was able to use the other features of the phone no problem at the saem time. CAn't browse music on the iPhone while playing. Best part - how it handles incoming calls! Music fades down, and ring is played through car speakers. Answer normally. Speakerphone didn't seem to work. Ideal setup for a BT headset.
Finally, I've now crashed it twice. No power button or battery to pull kind of freaks me out. In fact, my iPhone was just sitting dead and blank for he past 2 min, then by itself the screen just turned on and now all seems well. Watchdog - don't fail me!
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