Lack of Development on Google’s Gmail and Inbox

Google’s Gmail/Inbox is the most used mail system on earth with nearly a billion users. I’ve been using Gmail since it started. The whole time I’ve been dumbfounded by the lack of development Google has given it.

I know email systems pretty well. I worked at Novell on the GroupWise product for over a decade. Novell spent hundreds of millions of dollars on GroupWise R&D. Yet, it was a fraction of the size of Gmail. A billion users? That’s a lot of advertising dollars.

Gmail has never been given a face lift. Every once in a while they would add a new feature. But that is what it was–a new feature. No serious improvements.

Now Google has shifted Gmail users to Inbox and we are seeing the same thing. Even old functionality is missing. A key item many people use is groups. The ability to email a group. That ability is not in Inbox. Inbox has been out for almost a year. It makes no sense to me. Adding the “group” functionality should take no time at all. In fact, they shouldn’t have released Inbox without it. Thousands of people have requested it to no avail.

Another item we had in Gmail that we lost in Inbox is full screen editing of an email. Now we are confined to a small box instead of being able expand the screen. Once gain, is expanding the screen an insurmountable obstacle for Google developers or do they have no usability testing?

One final vacancy, Inbox has very limited formatting options. You can no longer change your font. YOU CAN’T CHANGE YOUR FONT! You also lost the ability to justify, change text colors, highlight, indent, etc.

Other free email programs have much more functionality. I’m just not a fan of changing email addresses.

Project Lockdown

My boy was recently in a high school lockdown. Watching law enforcement search each classroom one at a time seemed inefficient and dangerous. I think there are ways to make that better. Here is an idea I came up with.


Project Lockdown

Directv…..all I can say is wow!

Have you ever called Directv? If so, have you noticed that the person you talk to can see a credit that needs to be applied or a discount that you are eligible for but they have to transfer you to another department to apply it. Then when you get to that department they can’t see the credit or discount? They also have no way of sending you to the person you just talked to. If you get their name and ID number that makes no difference.

I like that they have no way of sending you to a supervisor. If you absolutely demand to talk to a supervisor they send you a wasteland of perpetual hold music. I also like that every third person you talk to is a good guy. Super nice and understands that you’ve been mistreated. They calm you down but once again, they have to transfer you to the person who can actually resolve the issue.

There is no doubt management at Directv knows they have created a dishonest system which makes them dishonest as well. All the employees, yes all the employees, know that the company works a wide variety of shell games with the public.

This is Mike White the CEO. “Mike is one of the world’s top CEOs and a great leader who built DIRECTV into a premier TV and video entertainment company spanning the U.S. and Latin America,” If he gets the credit…he gets the blame. He architected their dishonest systems.


Since you never get to talk to a manager or supervisor, they have created a system where employees are not accountable, thus blatant lying and deliberate disconnects go unchecked. Their policy is simply to wear you out. I spent 6+ hours on the line with Directv in the last two weeks. I’m got going to bore anyone with details but if you are going to purchase Directv, you need to know what you are getting into.

BTW-Dish is no different. I never found Comcast to act this way. But their level of high definition is way below satellite. RG6 just can’t support it. Perhaps encryption will solve that at some point but it hasn’t yet. So if you want incredible TV you have to dance with the devil(s).

Directv are crooks

I signed up for Directv a year ago. Today I realized on my credit card statement that they had added $42 in charges the last two months. I called about it and was told that I now had NFL Sunday ticket. I told them I never ordered it and that I wanted it removed and a refund for the last two months. They said it couldn’t be removed and that they wouldn’t refund my money. I hit the roof. I went from happy customer to beyond angry instantly.

They said they notified me last May and June that it would be added and that I had to request removal it before it started. I told them I’m on paperless billing and don’t even look at their statements. For all I know their statements were in my spam folder. They didn’t care.

I cancelled and ate the whole charge including the early termination. I just can’t continue to buy services from a company with that kind level of integrity.

Tomorrow Windows 10 Comes Out

As I’ve been waiting for Windows 10 to be posted on MSDN, I’m struck with the magnitude of this distribution. With over a billion devices running Windows 7 or 8, we are going to have one serious test of Internet capacity. How many servers are they using to do this distribution? Local ISP’s are going to get hammered. I can’t think of another dissemination of data over the Internet that would come close in size. It should be interesting.

Microsoft’s Autorotate Image Feature

I would love to know how to kill Microsoft’s auto image rotation. My expense report receipts are always getting rotated on me. I don’t realize they are wrong until I upload them to SAP. Onedrive also auto rotates images as well.

If you think this is a great idea for a feature that’s fine. But give me the option to turn it off.

From Lover to Hater of Dropbox

Until 9 months ago I loved Dropbox. It is unbelievably convenient. My machines and phone are all synced. I am a power user of three laptops plus my phone. I have over 160GB of data stored and use the Packrat offering so nothing is deleted.

Let me change the first sentence. Until last week I loved Dropbox. About nine months ago I started having random restores of data that filled my account. Four times I had to clean up 30-50GB of data. Each time I thought it was a glitch and just dealt with it because I LOVED DROPBOX. However, last week it got worse. Everytime I would try to clean up it would restore more and more data. What do I mean by restore? Well let’s say I have a bunch of videos in a directory and move them to another directory. Let’s say I rename them as well. After several months Dropbox restores those files to the original directory. The one’s I moved and renamed are still in the new directory but now I have duplicates and both are taking up space. That’s what I mean by restores.

I opened an incident with support. It took two days for them to get back to me. When they did, it was just a canned response like this one: “We can say with confidence that this situation did not stem from any Dropbox issues. Dropbox users can choose to have files synced across their machines. In that case, all changes made on local machines, including deletions, are synced.” Read more: Well I can’t say that in Heidi Kevoe-Feldman’s case it was Dropbox’s fault but I can absolutely tell you that in my case Dropbox is to blame. How do I know?

  • My events on the website are showing corruption
  • I no longer had the data that was restored to my account. It wasn’t on my machine any longer.
  • My machine doesn’t have enough disk space to hold everything being restored.
  • I never upload files via the website “they said I did”
  • They are blaming machines for restoring data that no longer have Dropbox installed
  • Major events “You added 1938 files and directories”, are taking place in the middle of the night when my machines are off

There are many other reasons but those are absolute. I’ve always had issues similar to this in the past. You delete a file and five minutes later it is back. You delete it again and the same thing happens. After the third delete it is usually gone. It’s not that my data is missing. It’s that it’s a mess. I’ve got over 100,000 files. Pictures, videos, documents, etc. If you scramble it all together it’s almost as bad as losing it. The most infruiating aspect of this is their lack of interest. They don’t read my messages back to them. They just send me another recommendation and tell me it’s my fault. Of course, you only get to hear from them once a day. I dont’ know what to do. I’m trying out Google Drive but it’s giving sync errors and telling me I don’t have rights to my files. It also keeps logging out. One thing I do know….Dropbox couldn’t care less about me or my data.

Outlawing Big Gulps

How can NYC justify outlawing Big Gulps and not outlaw cigarettes and booze? Big Gulps can increase your weight but they don’t kill. You can’t come close to drawing the cause and effect argument on soda that you can tobacco. Big Gulps don’t impare your driving. They don’t contribute to domestic violence. They don’t impact peoples work. They don’t lead to unwanted pregnancies and STD’s. They don’t destroy families.

What a joke.

The second good thing Congress has done in the last year

The other good thing Congress did was forcing TV networks to stop cranking up the volume when going to commercials.


After investigation, AT&T, Verizon agree to stop ‘cramming’ phone bills

By Bob Sullivan

Verizon and AT&T have agreed to stop “cramming” consumers’ telephone bills with unauthorized third-party charges, Sen. Jay Rockefeller announced Wednesday. The move comes after a Senate investigation revealed last year that consumers were hit with $10 billion in fraudulent charges due to the practice over the past five years.

A TODAY show/ investigation in July  revealed how extensive and frustrating cramming is, with maddening, mysterious $10 or $20 charges appearing every month on millions of Americans ‘phone bills.

The investigation relied on a report commissioned by Rockefeller that found that three telecom firms – — Verizon, AT&T and CenturyLink/Quest — earned $650 million as their cut of cramming charges levied by third-parties since 2006.

“AT&T made the right decision to end cramming by August,” the West Virginia Democrat’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.  “Something had to be done.  And while the decisions of AT&T and Verizon are a step in the right direction, I still believe we need to pass a bill that bans this abusive practice once and for all.”

“AT&T has decided to discontinue most third-party billing on our customers’ landline accounts,” Michael Balmoris, an AT&T spokesman, said in a statement to “We currently receive cramming complaints for only about one out of every thousand bills that contain third-party charges.  However, due to continued concern over the possibility of unauthorized charges, we have decided to take this additional step and eliminate third-party billing for most types of services.”

Verizon spokesman Bill Kula also confirmed the change, saying in an email: “On March 19, Verizon’s wireline business began notifying its billing aggregators (or “clearinghouses”) and carriers that it is going to cease providing third-party billing services for so-called ‘miscellaneous’ or ‘enhanced’ services. All billing of those services will be phased out by the end of 2012.  … Verizon wireline will continue to provide billing services for third party charges that generally relate to telecommunications or information services that use our network.”

Separately, Verizon earlier this month agreed to settle aclass-action lawsuit related to cramming, and agreed to refund 100 percent of victims’ money for any unauthorized third-party charges consumers suffered from April 27, 2005, through Feb. 28, 2012.

Cramming has vexed consumers and generated mountains of complaints since 1995, when land line providers began making it easy for third-party firms to sell add-on services like voice mail through local phone bills.

The problem is it’s too easy for third parties to attach unwanted items to consumers’ bills:  Previous investigations have found firms frequently trick consumers into signing up using sweepstakes entries or cashing small checks that also serve as authorization forms. In other cases, the third-party firms simply lie about getting authorization, a scam called “phantom billing.” Last year, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan testified that usage rates for the unwanted services could be as low as 1 percent.

“Committee staff has found hundreds of egregious examples of cramming,” the Rockefeller report found. “Third-party vendors have enrolled deceased persons in their so-called services and charged family members’ telephone bills for it. They have charged telephone lines dedicated to fire alarms, security systems, bank vaults, elevators and 911 systems. Senior citizens’ telephones have been enrolled in web-hosting services, even though they have never used. A children‘s hospital was charged for a celebrity tracker e-mail service that provided daily celebrity news feeds, photo, and videos. A national bank‘s telephone lines were charged for credit protection plans.”

Perhaps nothing illustrates how out of control cramming had become as well as AT&T’s own victimization.

“Committee staff confirmed that third-party vendors associated with one hub company crammed at least 80 of AT&T‘s own telephone lines with charges for services such as voicemail, sometimes for periods as long as 18 months,” the report said.