Thursday, March 14, 2013

Leaving Google

My oldest email account is my Hotmail account; I opened it before we signed up with our first ISP. But I abandoned ship for Gmail's promise of easy organization and near-infinite storage back when it launched. Funny how things have changed - now I'm returning to Microsoft's open arms.

A few months ago Google announced they were turning off Exchange ActiveSync support for all but paying Google Apps users, a move primarly hurting Windows Phone users like myself. Fine, I said; I'll be OK because I added my device before the cutoff, and eventually Microsoft will implement a permanent solution. Companies make changes, and sometimes they're not in my favour.

Yesterday, however, came the announcement that the CalDAV interface is being deprecated as well, barely 6 weeks after it was endorsed as the go-to solution for the woes they created. And I'm sorry, but you cannot convince me that this is either necessary or smart. Maybe they can save licensing money by cutting EAS. I honestly don't know. But removing a perfectly-functioning, open API that they were recommending wholeheartedly just two days ago feels almost openly hostile. And no matter their motives, it's their users who are going to be hurt the most.

It's commonly assumed these moves are aimed at Microsoft, and I was inclined to agree. But if anything, Google has backpedaled on these issues for no one but Microsoft. Only Windows Phone got a stay of execution on the EAS issue and at this point Microsoft is reportedly still allowed to use CalDAV. I don't know why they're doing what they're doing, but never mind how disappointed I am; their motives aren't why I'm leaving.

No, I'm leaving Google because these changes mean their products don't work for me anymore. Push notifications no longer work properly across my devices with Gmail - when I read an email, notifications linger everywhere, no matter where I've read it. If I can currently get my multiple Google calendars on my non-Android devices, there's no telling how long it will last - and at least for Windows Phone, it was an unnecessarily ugly process to enable it when it worked. Speaking of ugly, the last major Gmail interface update was a big turnoff for me; Outlook.com is significantly easier on the eyes. But the biggest issue is uncertainty: who knows when Google will decide to kill something I rely on next? Because they're on a roll lately, culling products at their users' expense.

Fortunately, Microsoft has been doing the opposite. They have added EAS to their free email products. It only supports one calendar on Android - but the Hotmail and Outlook.com apps will sync all of your Microsoft calendars to your device. Push notifications work flawlessly, the way Gmail used to. Storage is uncapped. They even added an "Archive" button to Outlook.com after users said they missed the feature from... you guessed it. Gmail.

So I'm done. New accounts will, for the first time in probably 5 years, go to my Hotmail, not my Gmail. My calendars have already been migrated. Existing email accounts are next; forwarding will be set up in the meantime.

We need some time apart, Google. I'm not ready to call it off entirely. But I'm moving in with an old friend. Call me when you grow up and start caring about your users again.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bettering the world, one ad-free blog at a time - plus, news!

I removed the ads from my blog today. I don't know why I put them there in the first place; I suppose it was for the same reason anyone puts ads on anything - money - but really it feels like I put them there because it looked like they were needed. I realize now that they were useless, especially since this spent a while as a private blog, but perhaps more to the point, they were wrong.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The peanut butter is standing by

One of my favourite little utilities is Tinnes' Timed Shutdown. Indeed, it's light, effective, and easy to use: programming at its finest. The only flaw is, it doesn't support standby. I don't know why. It supports hibernate. It can, instead of changing the power state, simply disconnect from the internet. It can even shut down the system when something else disconnects the system from the Internet. But no standby. And as my favourite power management feature, this irks me.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

e.g. scooters

I feel like the most boring man alive. Absolutely nothing interesting has happened in the past month. This is likely due to being an engineering student, since I have little time to be interesting while spending as many as 7 hours in class in a given day. But it makes it awfully hard to write a blog entry, as much as I'd like to.

Maybe I'll just put this here and call it a day. OK? OK.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dealing another blow to bad headlines

This article/blog on my Google News feed caught my eye today. Now, I should mention upfront that I generally dislike PC World, at least online (I've never read the print edition). Their articles and especially their headlines tend to have, to my eye, a disappointingly negative, skeptical, and argumentative tone. I can best describe it as having a sort of tabloid-y feel. Or maybe a FOX News feel. Like these headlines: "Windows 7: No Application Compatibility Woes ... Yet". Or "Lower PC Prices Pit Microsoft Against PC Makers". Or "Hey, Microsoft: Please Stop Trying So Hard". I admit, the tone issue may not be the rule, but it's certainly not the exception. I also frequently detect some pro-Apple bias, but that might just be me being sensitive. Still, I like to imagine that the Macworld editors were forced by some monkey-suit to come up with PC World and continue to be subversive about it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oh, shut up and go to bed already

There's something strangely and subtly poignant about being the only one awake; by yourself, the contact list empty, the conversation windows closed. I don't know why, but it seems like it is. Maybe because it doesn't happen very often.

By definition, it's a moment you can't really share, not while it happens anyways. And yet, I'm here, blogging, indulging, broadcasting on my legal pirate radio, wondering if anyone else will ever tune in and hear about it. I imagine that someday, someone might, perhaps while they themselves are alone late at night.

Boy, this just got a bit creepy, didn't it?

Never mind. I'm going to bed. Good night.

Monday, December 7, 2009

robotfindskitten finds Zune

So I don't know why this didn't occur to me sooner: I got my first piece of code published (or "published", anyways), and I have a blog; why not blog about it?

It actually started as a little project to amuse myself, but I have to say I'm pretty impressed with the results. Considering the original source code was essentially useless to me and I was basing the entire thing off of my memory of the Rockbox port. And I had no idea how to use XNA or C# when I started.

Anyways. If you haven't heard of robotfindskitten, I'll forgive you this time. It's a silly little game whose silly little homepage can be found at http://www.robotfindskitten.org; I happened to port (or rather, "port") it to Zune using C# and XNA. My port's homepage can be found at http://sites.google.com/site/doodlemewell/ (or possibly at http://www.doodlemewell.com, if I haven't decided to put that domain name to better use.)