Thursday, July 29, 2010
THE EVILS OF MICROSOFT AND HOTMAIL
The night before I left for Spain my e-mail stopped working, or rather, the Hotmail account that I use for non-day job stuff stopped working. When I tried to sign in, I got an error message saying that I needed to update my browser. Update my browser? I’ve been using Safari all along to read my e-mail. Why should it suddenly stop working and need to be updated now? I tried accessing my e-mail from Firefox - same thing. On both browsers I got a message that implied that Hotmail now only works on a version of Internet Explorer that requires the latest version of Windows. Unbelievable. Microsoft has outdone themselves by trying to get people who have Hotmail accounts to use a browser that only works with Windows.
The solution to the Hotmail problem was absurdly easy. I immediately switched my “home” e-mail account to Gmail, which seems to work perfectly on any browser that I choose to use. The process was quick and completely painless. Gmail is even importing my contact list and old messages from Hotmail. I probably should have made this switch long ago.
I seem to recall Hotmail trying to pull this sort of trick a couple of times before. There would be some glitch that was supposedly fixable only by installing software that required Windows, but a couple of days later things would be back to normal, probably because so many people had complained and in the meantime Microsoft had sold software to people who mistakenly thought they needed it. This time was the last straw. Who needs Hotmail when Gmail not only works on my Windows-less browser, but works far better than Hotmail ever did? And it looks better, too.
PS: I’m now in Salamanca, staying at one of the upscale conference hotels, and immediately discovered that the hotel wants to charge 18 Euros a day for internet access! This is even more outrageous than the last place I complained about, which charged $10. To me, charging extra for an internet connection is like charging for water, lights, sheets on the bed, or basic TV. I found out that there is free 30-minute access to internet in the hotel lobby, so am trying to post something this evening.