Friday, December 12, 2014

Trouble with Email and More

This morning I started having trouble with my email.

It started on my phone which could not connect to the Comcast remote server. I entered my password but I still had problems. It could not connect to the server.

First thing that entered my mind was that my account had been hacked.

I came downstairs and started up my computer. I was able to log in with no problems. I decided to send myself a test message. It did not come through. I then decided to try and do it from one of my other email accounts. I sent the message and after awhile it came through. I tried another test message from my main account but it still did not go through.

I called Comcast. They said they were having problems on their end and were working to fix that.

I hung up and got ready to go to work. On the way to work the email on my phone started working again. I even got a couple of emails. One from Omaha Steaks and another from the Post. But none of my early messages came through.

I tried a test message from work. Nothing. I got a couple of friends to do the same for me. Nothing.

I did a chat with Comcast. I was sent a message by the tech. Nothing happened. The upshot was this was going to have to sent to up the tech ladder to someone else.

This afternoon at 2:49 pm one of the test messages arrived. I'd sent it at 6:15 this morning.

I got home from work and called. The usual song and dance about verifying the account (I don't understand why the information you provide to the electronic attendant that answers the phone isn't passed on to the operator). They couldn't help. They said it needed to be sent to the next level of tech support.

I said hadn't this been done earlier in the day. Oh yes it had I was told. But this would somehow expedite the process. But it would still take 24 hours from the first report for anything to happen. So I don't know how this second report was going to make any difference.

Someone at work said I should set up a gmail account. That it was much easier then dealing with an account set up by your service provider. I decided to set one up just in case Comcast can't solve this problem. That's what I did. So I have an account in waiting.

I decided I wanted to blog about it. I tried to sign in but for some reason the account associated with my blogger account was linked to the new gmail account. Actually they wanted me to sign in under the new email account. I signed in and my blog was no where to be found. I could set one up but my blog was gone. At first I couldn't figure out what had happened. They it occurred to me that the reason I wasn't seeing my blog was it was associated with another account. I tried to figure out how to get out of the one I was in. But couldn't seem to find how to do that. When in doubt quit the program.

I quit out of Firefox and restarted it. I was then able to sign in to blogger using the correct screen name. Finally got to my blog to write about this.

I do not understand why it is necessary to tie everything together under one roof. Google says everything is all in one place and it's so much easier. Well all I see is a way for Google to easily gather all the information on me in one place. It is like many apps these days they want to access your Facebook account information. When I was going to join Instagram, it wanted all my Facebook information but I didn't see why it needed it so I didn't join.

I don't see why all this additional information is needed. Why all of sudden are programs asking for my cell phone number. They don't need it. So I guess in the future I will be downloading fewer and fewer apps if they continue to ask for information that I find they don't need.

I'm hoping Comcast can solve the problem but I'm not all that optimistic right now.


Arthur Schenck said...

There's a lot to unpack here, but I'll start with Instagram: That's now owned by Facebook, which is why it wants your Facebook login. The whole point of Instragram is to make sharing photos easy, yes, but not just there; the whole point is to also on other social media, which is how most people use it. Instagram can share automatically on Facebook and Twitter, and it needs permissions to do that.

The integration of Google products does make life easier. With all my accounts linked, I can use Google Drive, Google Docs (they don't call it that anymore) and Gmail seamlessly and all from within Gmail on my Mac. Or, I can access all the same things on my phone.

Here's an example: During our recent election campaign, I made a spreadsheet to keep track of where out election signs were located because they all had to be down by Midnight the night before the election.

Well, I uploaded the spreadsheet to my Google Drive, then shared the link to the spreadsheet with other senior folks in the campaign. The day before the election, a few of us were taking down signs and marking them off on the spreadsheet so we all knew in real time how the progress was going.

That simply wouldn't have been possible before this sort of full integration. I should add that Google's not the only solution: Microsoft offers Microsoft 365 and Apple now gives away all their iWork apps and users can save documents to Dropbox or iCloud.

You're right, Google does indeed get information about people from this—but that's their business! They're actually an ad agency, and the gathering of data on people means they can sell highly-targeted ads. We get free services (YouTube, Blogger, Gmail, Google Drive, etc) and in exchange they get to gather data that helps them sell ads. Seems like a fair trade to me.

As for other Apps wanting access to Facebook (or Twitter), I don't know which ones you're talking about specifically, but the ones that I have that want to do this are almost all games. By linking them to FB, I get extra lives or points or whatever, and in the case of two of the games, I play against family members; several other games allow me to play the games with FB friends precisely because they're linked.

For most games, this is optional, and there are a few social games that I deliberately don't link to FB because I don't like all the pop-ups asking me to invite FB friends to play the game, etc (I'm afraid I might accidentally send the invites).

The point is, this sort of integration is already the rule, not the exception. Being able to seamlessly use the exact same services—Gmail and Blogger, all the various Google office-type files, etc.—on my phone, iPad and desktop Mac makes things so much easier for me than they otherwise would be.

Jason in DC said...

I agree with that. My point is all I wanted was the email account. Not everything else. I did not want Google+ associated with this account but I got it anyway.

So now I have two Google+ accounts. It is a huge pain trying to go between the two.

As to the new account, when I try and access the email account I end up in Google+ and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to access email. I don't want ten extra steps to access my email. I want to be able to log directly in to the account which I cannot do all the time.

And my level of frustration with this is off the charts. I should be able to decide what I want. What I wanted was an email address. I should not have been forced to have Google+ as well.

Arthur Schenck said...

There's no way to have just a Gmail account any more, and there hasn't been for a long time. You can add a second email address to an existing account, however, that doesn't show up as associated with G+ and all the rest (as I understand it—I haven't done that personally).

As for accessing Gmail, I assume you mean on the desktop. When you land on G+, look up in the upper righthand corner of your screen and you'll see a square made up of nine little squares (it's between your name and the bell icon). Click on that and you get a drop-down menu giving you access to all your Google stuff, including Gmail. Then, once you're on Gmail, add a bookmark for it to your Bookmarks Bar in Firefox so all you have to do is click that once to get to Gmail (that's what I do).

Some email clients can access Gmail mail, too, though personally I only have that on my phone and iPad.

The only free email account that I know of that's not directly tied to other stuff is Yahoo! mail, though it IS tied to Flicr. They ask you to link it to Facebook, but that's optional. Hotmail, now, requires people to set up a Microsoft Account, similar to a Google account with Gmail.

Most of this integration has been driven by smartphones and tablets, and the need people have to be able to access everything everywhere, and, also, by the fact that Cloud commuting is needed for such devices.

I can understand how it can be frustrating, but this is the reality now, so I'm afraid we just have to adjust.

Jason in DC said...

True we have to adjust but I'm tired of the software companies dictating to us what they think we need.

And my way of adjusting is not using the program. It's why I have Instagram on my phone but haven't signed up for it. They don't need to know all my information from Facebook. Just like any other program that asks for my Facebook information I pass on it.

I would feel a little better about sharing the info if I had more confidence in it being kept safe. But there seems to be some major breach just about every day. I'm really glad I don't work for Sony.