Sunday, September 09, 2007

Yahoo can't save iPhone failing

The Yahoo Mail experience on the iPhone is much better than the GMail experience. So much so (with one exception below), that I was ready to bail on Gmail and start using Yahoo. And too boot, the new beta browser Yahoo Mail is pretty cool, too.

Now, I'm really a Google apps fan ... I used to be all Yahoo but have switched everything but fantasy football to Google in the last year. Mostly that has to do with Calendar. I use the heck out of Calendar, but that's a post for another day.

Anyway, let's say GMail problems would have to be pretty severe for me to switch. Well, on the iPhone, they are, and they are documented elsewhere. The gist is that mail on the iPhone is a copy from your web account, so you have to manage both independently. You end up deleting messages twice ... once in your browser mail and then on the iPhone. Even that is tricky since 50 new messages will be downloaded. In short, I don't like it. To make matters worse, messages you send out come in as new messages on your iPhone.

(Now, in researching for this diatribe, I did find there is a way to set up GMail using a third IMAP account. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm tempted.)

But really, this is supposed to be rant on Yahoo. I forward all my work email (which is behind a firewall so I can't access directly) into a Yahoo account so I can keep track of what's going on when I'm out of the office. When I read that mail on my iPhone, it marks as read on the browser. When I delete on the browser, it deletes on the iPhone. It's a beautiful thing, except it's all forwarded so I have to delete from my work account all over again. I can't change the firewall, so that is OK ... but I want that functionality with my home email!

You see, I have my own domain with it's email address. I currently pull that mail into Google and thread ith with my GMail account and I'm very happy with the browser bit of it. And I thought ... If I could only pull that e-mail into a Yahoo account, with its superior iPhone support ...

But, alas, while it is possible, I get an error when I download. It seams the POP server my ISP uses does not understand the "LAST" command to pull only messages that have not been seen since the last download. Because of this, I get either no mail or I get all unread message whether I've got them before or not!

I messaged Yahoo customer service and they said (after many miscommunications) that it's my ISP's fault. This despite that gmail has no problem with their version of "last". They download from my domain account just fine.

I also saw where someone forwarded their GMail account to a Yahoo account then set the Yahoo outbound address to GMail. That's fairly clever.

OK, the Yahoo exception metioned above ... I think that Yahoo mail constantly checking on the server stalls the iPhone sometimes. I also think it drains the battery, but that is just a feeling.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The iPhone is awesome, but ...

Some cool things about the iPhone

* During a 4-day residential soccer camp, I e-mailed photos to Flickr to keep a running account of the camp. Parents got to see their kids at camp in near-real-time.
* I was able to post a blog entry on the iPhone (to my family blog), though it was quite a bit of work to get the photo in. I had to email that to a site, figure out the url and then add it to the blog.
* I needed phone numbers for my soccer team, and I was able to log into our player system for the club and get them.

Some hassles about the iPhone

* Battery power could be an issue. You pretty much have to charge it every day. I wonder how it will be when the battery life wears, as iPods tend to do.
* I've had some challenges with the Safari browser:
* Crashes on pages, espcially my bank's page. Though I've also had trouble with statesman.com and other sites.
* I tried to create a new blog using Blogger and could do everything but the last step. I could click on "Continue" and nothing would happen. It was frustrating.
* While you can write blog entries and work Gmail direct through the browser, you have to do it in "edit html" mode. You can't use the rich text editor. The keyboard doesn't recognize it as form field.

I'm sure there is more, but ... I must move on.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The iPhone switchover hassles

OK ... two issues came up when I bought my iPhone. Both could be avoided.

First, my Mac OS was too old. I was running Panther (10.3.something) and when I finally got my iPhone out of the box and was ready to activate it (an excruciating six hours after I bought it) http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifI found my Mac didn't recognize it.

I hopped onto apple.com/iphone and checked the tech specs and sure enough, you have to have Mac OS X v10.4.10 or later.

I had to use my XP PC to activate my iPhone. That was just, so ... wrong. I felt dirty. I really didn't want to sully my new iPhone with an XP machine, so I just made sure that iTunes wouldn't try to sync anything if I had to connect to it again.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: So I did figure out how to get to my old numbers. Even though the phone says the SIM card failed, I was able to get to the phone numbers. I just had to cancel out of the failed screen.

The second thing that went wrong is I lost most of my phone numbers off my old phone. See, I was already an AT&T customer (and before that, Cingular, and before that, a younger AT&T!) so my old SIM card became useless once I activated my iPhone.

When I've switched phones in the past, the reps at AT&T/Cingular/AT&T would sync all my phone numbers onto the SIM card and they would transfer to the new phone. That leads me to believe that new numbers are added only to the phone, and I really believe that now once my old SIM card on my Nokia went kaput at the activation of my number on the iPhone. I could no longer get to most of my phone numbers on my old phone ... only the most recently added (since my last upgrade, I imagine.)

Now, I don't know if those guys at AT&T/Cingular/AT&T can reverse-sync a phone, but you might want to ask them before you activate your iPhone to your existing number.

Work stops over the iPhone

I bought an iPhone. You would think such a device would be a great time saver in life, and I'm sure it will be once I stop playing with it.

But the "play" problem extends beyond me ... My productivity at work over the last couple of days has definitely slipped because everyone wants to see it, or play with it, or talk about it. Of course, I love talking about the iPhone because I think it great (not perfect ... I'll get to that) but I have to say it does cut into my work a bit.

I surely can't flaunt it ... not that I should. But when I'm taking a brief break on the catwalk, checking my e-mail, invariably someone walks by and says "oh coool .... you got an iPhone? Do you like it? Is it as cool as you imagined?"

Of course, it is, and after 10 minutes of showing it off (15 if I'm on AT&T Digital Edge) I'm finally off my five minute break that has taken 20 minutes.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Hufflepuff

While doing research for Sean's Harry Potter birthday party, I came across one of many sorting hat quizes. This one placed me in Hufflepuff.



Which Hogwarts house will you be sorted into?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

You can't beat life ...

I wrote recently about Stephen Harrigan's "Challenger Park", an excellent book about astronaut life at the Johnson Space Center. It had all the intrigue of regular life: soccer moms, kids with asthma, faith crisis, affairs and the like.

And now today the news is littered with "Lust in Space" stories of a jealous astronaut -- married with three kids -- who tracks down the alleged suitor of the object of her affection, another astronaut, in a love triangle of some sort. She was arrested for attempted kidnapping and then charged with attempted murder.

Harrigan couldn't dream this stuff up.

Friday, January 26, 2007

If you're happy and don't know it

A friend just told me (as told to him by a Sgt. Major in the Army):

  • If you are happy in your job 51% of the time, it's a damn good job. That's two days and a lunch.
  • The difference between a good job and a great job is the boss.

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