I’m not your spam filter, LLBean

I’m running into this more and more, and I’ve decided to start walking away. I’m talking about captchas, those little boxes of nearly impossible to read text that they want you to enter to make sure you’re not a robot.

I will put up with it on registration pages for free online services, but if it’s a corporation asking me to enter a contest via an email invitation, forget it. Don’t ask me to be you’re spam filter.

I’m looking at you LLBean.

My brief encounter with Mozy

I decided to give Mozy , the online backup service, a try a few days ago. Today, after an extraordinary amount of wasted time I was able to file a support request asking to cancel my service.

It would appear there are lots of people who get Mozy to work, but I wasn’t one of them. In the past I would have spent more time trying to make it work, but these days when I see goofy behavior, unpredictable results, and worst of all, a high impact to my machine’s performance, I delete rather than debug.

The other thing is that backing up my 300+GB of data over a .6 megabyte per second line would take, well, if not forever sufficiently long to seem so. I got as far as .7% in a few days. To be fair I’d shut off Mozy much of the time because while it was running Apple Mail wouldn’t, nor would iTunes, and doing anything was painful.

The cancellation experience was not simple. First, I dug around fruitlessly for a cancel account link. I couldn’t find it. Then I email support, only to get an email back saying that the support account (the address for which I got off their web site) is no longer monitored and I have to go file a support ticket. Filing a support ticket conveyed the unwritten message typical of haughty web services: Tell us everything we might need to know. Yes, we know some of it is trivia that you will get from us, but we need to you show your allegiance by entering it here because it lowers our costs. Don’t call us, we’ll call you thanks!

Of course there wasn’t a cancel service choice among the reasons I was asking for support. Of course I have to specify which machine (there was only one) and which user (again, only one) are affected by my desire to cancel.

This is what really irritates me about web services, and why I usually don’t subscribe to anything that requires payment. They all are more than happy to get you signed up, but canceling is a different story. The net result is that after I’ve waste my time with an unsatisfactory service, I’m further irritated by the hassle of canceling.

With our children we have a rule: How likely we are to do something (go to the zoo, visit friends, etc) again depends on how miserable it is to leave. If it’s miserable to leave we aren’t likely to do it again.

Am I likely to recommend Mozy to anyone? Nope. But more important for all the rest of you web entrepreneurs, what”s happened to my willingness to sign up for the next subscription service?

Google Apps for Domains on the way out?

I use Google’s apps for domains, and have for some time, but it may be time to change.

While the email is great, and has awesome spam filtering, the problem is that I think Google may not keep it around for very long. Why do I think this? Because Apps just doesn’t get the new stuff. It really still doesn’t have the old stuff. Being in Apps means your cut off from the rest of the Google experience. This thread on Google Groups demonstrates it best – Google Apps for your domain is just not connected to the rest of Google.

Recently a friend invited me to Wave. When I went there I found it was connected to my ‘other’ account – the one that has analytics, adsense, adwords, etc. I can’t get to either Buzz or Wave from my email account that is tied to my domain. That’s a huge problem. I can’t get to either Buzz or Wave, even though they are tied to email, and I can’t keep the contacts I use for any of them together.

It comes down to either use Buzz & Wave, and choose another email provider, or put off Buzz and Wave until Google decides to make Apps part of the family. Pardon me while I hold my breath.

Google Wave? So far, no thanks

A well-meaning friend who I respect recently sent me an invitation to Google Wave. So far, Wave seems to suck.

First, even though it’s in invitation only mode my usual username, swduncan, is taken. Even with a 1 stuck on the end. That’s a deal breaker right there as I have enough credentials to remember already…even more so considering that this is Google and given that I have both an account AND domain-based (swduncan.com) apps with them having to pick yet another username with them is stupid. Google has always been brain dead in the username management department.

But when I look at the opening screen I see what looks like an older version of Yahoo mail. Yup, folders, spam, trach, favorites…how is this different from mail?

So I look around trying to figure out why/how this is different then mail, and I find videos. Great. The concept is so complicated I can’t be expected to learn it without watching a 10 minute movie. Looking at the few bullet points scattered in various welcome items, it seems Wave purports to do all the things I already have other sites to do. Only Google’s thoughtfully pulled them together into another tool they can mine data from.

I don’t need another inbox to check, or another system sending me emails telling me I need to go check something, another list of friends to manage, another environment full of extensions to install and worry about, or another infrastructure to organize. Is it me, or is the mere maintenance of one’s online existence becoming a part-time job?

I know, it’s early in the morning and I’m a bit cranky, but Goog’s goona have to bring a lot more more to this table for me to be interested.