Monday, July 30, 2012

Spotted this little tidbit on WIND's Twitter account, concerning the Galaxy S III and why ordinary mortals cannot buy it from WIND:

Friday, July 27, 2012

WIND Samsung Galaxy S III offer extended until July 31

WIND has extended their $200 service credit for new customers buying the Samsung Galaxy S III.

I guess I'll have to wait until August to get my SGSIII, since I STILL can't buy one.

Monday, July 23, 2012

One month on and still no GSIII for me

Over one month since the 'launch' of the Galaxy S III on WIND, and I still can't buy one.

Yes, I'm bitching.  And why not?  Unfortunately, I'm too budget-minded to vote with my wallet and switch away from WIND, as that would entail me paying several hundred dollars more over the life of the phone. 

But there is such as thing as goodwill, and mine is being seriously eroded by this whole debacle.

I do think WIND could have done a better job of managing expectations.  They cast themselves as all 'social' and connected to their customers, a company who listens.  But in the end it's just a facade; they keep things to themselves for the most part.

Part of this may be from a legitimate understanding that they simply cannot make everyone happy.  Certainly that applies to tower construction / coverage zones; that's a purely economic decision, and WIND has to spend the money for the best return on investment.

This obviously comes into play for the Galaxy launch as well.  They have limited phones - who gets them first?  New customers, who generate the most lasting return.

However, I'm not sure I see the rationale for all of the silence surrounding the issue. 

Here's a theory:  maybe they simply don't know when they are getting adequate supplies of the phone. 

OK, fine, but that begs the question as to why they did not say so in the first place.  After all, it would be the easiest thing in the world to say "Sorry, Samsung didn't supply us with enough for now.  In the meantime, we have to restrict to new activations only."

Why didn't they?  Because they can't afford to piss off Samsung.

Note that none of the big carriers in the USA or Canada are dissing Samsung over the delays.  In fact, I can't find hardly a single mention of delays anywhere, and certainly not even a whiff of discontent between the carriers and Samsung.  WIND can't do it either.  You don't bite the hand that feeds. 

Now, you can debate the merit of the new activations only policy.  From some accounts, WIND stores have GSIIIs in stock, and are hella anxious to sell these things.  Given this, they should be selling them to existing customers because they have spare inventory.

That is hindsight, though. In the months running up to launch, WIND made a bet they would gain more new customers than lose existing ones.  In other words, they planned their marketing strategy and launch campaign.  And they are probably right.

It is now also clear why WIND just didn't react more quickly and open up the GSIII to existing customers sooner: they had to execute the intermediate step of allowing Tab owners to upgrade. 

You can't necessarily move this date anywhere you please - computer systems and operators need to be prepped and ready to handle the new orders, for example.  A company like WIND, for all their small-town/close community image, can't just turn on a dime.

No, the whole thing was pre-planned.  The Samsung supply shortages were just icing on the cake that WIND had baked months before.

Not just WIND, either - the GSIII marketing campaign probably took as long to plan and prepare as the phone itself did.  All of the major carriers spent months preparing their campaigns and the logistics to supprt them.

It's just disappointing that, after all that time, WIND is at the tail end of the line for actually selling devices to their customer base.  Instead of being the first kid on the block to have a GSIII, I will now be the last.

And here is where WIND could have adjusted.  There is nothing stopping them from putting out a little note or two telling their existing customer base what to expect from this point.  This is not disruptive to their existing campaign, and it would give people like me (and most of the other tens of thousands on the pre-register list) something to look forward to.

They also could have been more up-front about the restrictions.  A little asterisk on their launch announcements to say that supplies are extremely limited and restricted to new customers only would have been a help.  Disappointing, yes, but better than people having to call their local store to bug them if the phone is actually available for me, please?

If they don't know when the supply situation will be resolved, then they could say they don't know.  No need to assign any blame to Samsung or anyone else.  Just put something, anything, out there to say that supply issues are still occurring and the launch date for existing customers will be announced as soon as possible.

The pre-register list is the ideal vehicle for this.  After all, isn't that why it exists?  Surely the WIND CEO or whoever can take an hour to write a note and fill in the information gap.

Really, dude.  We just want to know what the deal is.

As it stands, I don't know when Christmas is coming.  And that's disappointing.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Google accounts multiple sign-in - yummy secret sauce for Google Apps

If you have any combination of multiple Google Apps and Gmail accounts, you're probably sick of signing out and signing in to different accounts to do different things. 

Fortunately, Google allows "multiple account sign-in" that can alleviate the pain.  Makes it sooo much easier to manage all that email.

The feature is not supported across all Google services (like Blogger, for example).  Not working for you?  Try these other solutions from TechRepublic.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Syncing several Google Calendars across accounts and to a single Android

Like many people, I had to do this when setting up a Google Apps account - I needed my personal calendar and Apps calendar to both show up on my phone.

You often cannot just add another Google account to an Android.  You typically get a "Can't establish a reliable data connection to the server", which is complete crap.  Essentially, you are stuck, unable to add another Google account to your mobile - dumb, but true.

However, if you follow the instructions so helpfully provided by Marc Fonteijn, you can get it working.  No import/export required.  Basically, you share the Calendars between both accounts, and give both sides the ability to edit events on both calendars.

If you run into the bug where "Share all information, and outsiders can change calendars" is not shown as an option:  Set up the share email accounts anyway.  Shut down all your Firefox windows, restart Firefox, and clear everything in your history.  Then sign back in to your Apps Dashboard and try again.  "Share all info" should then appear as an option on the previously set up email accounts.

Don't export the info from your first calendar into your second.  You'll end up with duplicate events all over the place.

Now if they could only do this with Contacts...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dammit, Microsoft, stop rebooting my computer!

If you are anything like me, you usually have a lot of crap going on your desktop at once.

You know - you are working on something, and then you stop for lunch.  Reading the news or whatever, you find something that you want to explore, so you open up a new Firefox window for that.  After lunch, it's back to work, but you leave the extra FF window open so you can go back to it later.

Then you come back the next day and Microsoft has pushed out an update that restarted your computer in the night.  Bye, bye, all your stuff, you have to go find it all again.

Yes, OK, I know why they do it.  Doesn't stop it from being a PITA.

Yes, you can re-set Windows to try and update during daytime hours.  Doesn't really help that you will probably get endless pop-ups telling you to reboot RIGHT NOW, while you are trying to get crap done.

Fortunately, Jon Galloway has written up a little tutorial on how to stop Windows from rebooting after each update.  There are at least two ways, but his preferred method is to use the settings provided in the Windows Group Policy, rather than registry hacks.

This obviously implies that any updates will not be fully implemented until you reboot your machine manually.  Even people with the hottest possible hardware have to reboot sometime, so this will probably happen more often than Microsoft will push out updates.

Jon does note that there have been cases where Windows ignored the settings, and rebooted anyway.  Nothing's perfect.

If this is a bit too radical, then maybe it's enough to know that Microsoft has "Patch Tuesday" on the second Tuesday of every month.  Most Windows users will see the update appear Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.  Just remember to close / save / bookmark stuff on those days, and you will probably be OK.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Getting around the aforementioned AHBL / GoDaddy pissing match

OK, you're stuck in the middle of the pissing match.  What do you do?

Maybe try Google Apps.

I'm usually pretty wary about this sort of thing.  I don't want to waste time, I'm leery of cloud-based 'stuff', and 'free' services are often anything but.  So I did some homework, and here is what I found:

Apps is (supposedly) to custom domains what Gmail is to personal domains.  In fact, it seems that there is no difference between a Gmail account and an Apps account - except Apps email 'comes' from your own domain name.

For example, in Gmail, I am "".  In Apps, I am ''.  Cool.

Aside from that, Apps is just Gmail.  Sure, you do get Calendar, Drive, Docs, etc.etc. thrown in for good measure, but for the purposes of getting off GoDaddy email and on to something else, the Apps mail service is what we really need right now.

I've used Gmail for a while now to back up my GoDaddy email.  So I know how Gmail works.

I can't say I like the Gmail interface better than the GoDaddy interface, but I'll probably get used to it.  I don't like how the threading somehow seems to get reversed in Gmail.

(You do get occasional spam-like messages from Google, but some judicious tagging should take care of that.  I hope.)

There are other quite nifty features to Apps:

1.  It's FREE.  Can't beat free.  Ad-supported, naturally.  $5/user/month to kill the ads, but at least you get a bumped up inbox size with that.

2.  Inbox size is 10 Gb (free) or 25 Gb (paid).  Pretty big.

3.  Apps supports multiple domains.  Way cool for people with multiple domains and email addresses to manage.

4.  Each user can have up to 30 email addresses from any of the registered domains. Reports are that they generally use the correct "From:" email address when you reply, which is important to me.

Bonus: thanks to the GoDaddy SOPA spat, there are lots of guides on how to ditch GoDaddy and go Apps.  Fili Wiese and ChooseWhat for starters.

If you're not sure, try this review from Entrepreneur Magazine.  It's pretty pro-Apps, but does point out some things that may rub the wrong way.  I think Google has overview webinars on the home page, too.

I haven't done this yet.  If I do, I'll try to remember to update.  (If I run into problems, I won't have to remember, because I'll be compelled to rant about them.)  I'm just scratching the surface, and the more I scratch the more powerful Apps looks - maybe too powerful for my own good.

[Update]:  OK, I tried it.  Here's the glitches.

-  If you have 2 domains, everyone will have email addresses at both domains.  For and, always has the corresponding address  Not usually a big deal, but might be.

-  If you have 2 domains, email from the secondary will always appear to come from the primary.  When Jane sends email from, it'll show up as " on behalf of" in many email clients.  Cool if is a subsidiary or something of - NOT cool if you are attempting to keep two businesses separate and not associated with each other.

-  For users with multiple email addresses, Gmail only supports one signature.  If Jane sets her signature to be "Jane Fonda" and sends using, her sig is still "Jane Fonda".  Not cool if Jane has different contact or business info for the two different email addresses.

Moral:  If you don't mind mixing and matching, consolidating things under one Apps account is OK.  If you're trying to keep things separated, don't do it.


-  Don't yet know how to synchronize Contacts across different Google accounts.  Attempting the import/export process - even in "Google format", and between Gmail and Apps - mangles the contacts so badly they're totally unusable.  And this is Gmail to (effectively) Gmail!


-   You can synchronize them by sharing Calendars across various accounts.  Lots of fiddling, but it'll work.  See my post later on about this.

The amazing AHBL / Godaddy pissing match

Very recently, my emails to a very good client of mine began to bounce.  Not too much in the way of error messages, except for an obscure code that indicated my email was somehow marked as a spam account.

A little more digging on the client side shows that my Godaddy mail server is blacklisted by the Abusive Hosts Black List - AHBL.  As far as I can tell right now, AHBL is the only one blacklisting GoDaddy email.

Why?  Well, most of the evidence points to what basically amounts to a pissing match between AHBL and GoDaddy.

In the red corner:  ABHL!  AHBL claims that GoDaddy is hosting a website that "uses abuse, harassment, and intimidation to conduct [it's] ‘business’."  They have asked GoDaddy to remove the site; GD refuses, violating their own terms of service.  AHBL claims they are standing up for "a growing trend that seems to indicate GoDaddy is turning a blind eye to abuse and spam".  On the flip side, AHBL states "there is nothing that GoDaddy _customers_ can do about this situation".

In the blue corner:  GoDaddy!  GD states "We take every complaint of abuse seriously, and do not allow spam or other forms of abuse to take place on our network."  They also say "The abuse department will continue to work towards a resolution with the parties involved." 

The latest published conversations on this occurred nearly two years ago.  Either nothing has changed, or the AHBL has found new reason to block GoDaddy's email domains.

Unfortunately, GD's only advice to their customers is to advise the recipient of the e-mail to stop using AHBL services.  Most senders are not in a position to tell the receiver what to do, and 99% of all email recipients will have no control over the blacklists used by their companies or ISPs.

But, really, what can GD do?  Should it be their policy that every time some blacklist company has an axe to grind that they meekly submit to demands?  That's usually called blackmail - hah, nice pun there - and if GD caves once, then they're at the mercy of all blacklist providers everywhere.

There is no way for the average Joe/Jane to know if AHBL is in the right or not.  Maybe they are, maybe not.  Maybe everything they say about GoDaddy is true, maybe not.  I'm sure many readers will hate GoDaddy just on principle, by reputation, or whatever, but there is really no evidence either way.  It's just a he said/she said situation.

It's just too bad that GoDaddy and AHBL can't work this out.  Really - two years later, and people are still having problems?  That probably points to a failure on both sides of the table.  Cruise and Holmes can work out a multimillion dollar custody divorce in two weeks, yet these companies can't work out a simple website hosting spat in two years.  Go figure.

The sore fact is that it's a business decision for GoDaddy.  They know they will lose some clients over this.  They probably do not care - they're pretty wildly successful anyway, and AHBL's actions are not enough to seriously dent the bottom line.  Would Apple or Google do anything different?  Who knows.

Given the chance, I would recommend that people avoid BOTH companies.  AHBL seems mired in controversy, which seems to follow a founding member around.  They have implemented a "shoot-on-sight" policy that attempts to follow suspected "bad people" around even if they change ISPs.  There are even some peripheral indications that AHBL is essentially a one-man show.

They (or he?) also have (has?) a clear vendetta against certain people going - not coincidentally, the same people involved in the GoDaddy spat.  Finally, the Free Speech Store does not show up on any Google search, and no server exists at that address - so one wonders just what the AHBL is blacklisting.

As there are other vendors out there, seemingly ones without personal agendas, vested interests, or other nonsense, perhaps AHBL is just best avoided.

As for GoDaddy, one could argue they are caught in the middle between AHBL and the Free Speech Store (i.e. between the controlling persons at these two sites). 

Still, there is no denying that GoDaddy email services can be seriously compromised by the AHBL stance, and two years on there seems to be no resolution to the matter.  Customers have no option but to switch providers, so why not avoid the whole mess in the first place and not sign up with GoDaddy?

(One wonders why GoDaddy just hasn't kicked the relatively-inactive? Free Speech Store out, losing 1 customer to save many, but that's for them to decide.)

Now, there seems to be nothing wrong with registering a doman with GoDaddy.  Hosting a domain at GoDaddy is a problem, and using GoDaddy-provided email services a lesser problem.  But registration?  No problem.

For myself this probably means I'll have to figure out how to forward everything through Gmail, or set up my own email services.  I already have a Linux box in the basement for web hosting, so I can but hope that setting it up to use

Of course, doing this, I'm moving yet another service away from a bought-and-paid-for service to a roll-and-support-yourself solution - moving external to internal, as it were.  And I really hate doing that.  I do not want to have to support my own email on top of everything else.

What a world.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Well, it's nice to know we're not the only ones

WIND still has not announced squat with regards to the Galaxy S III.  It's in stores, but existing customers are literally prohibited from buying it.

At least we're not the only ones.  Verizon is taking a lot of flak too, and T-Mobile seems to be having problems as well.  The T-Mobile version is also $50 more costly - sound familiar?

[Update]:  WIND just released phones for upgrades only.  Still no outright buy...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My brother-in-law just picked up a Sammy GS III

So much for being first.  He bought it because his Bell contract was up.  He doesn't even really know what it is.

Thanks a ton, WIND.  Get off your asses already.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

WIND Mobile "Special Offer" for Samsung Galaxy S III customers

WIND has sent out notifications that Samsung Galaxy S III sales are restricted to new customers only - for the moment.  They have promised a "special offer" to make up for it.

I lost the link, but the rumor is the "special offer" is $25 off the cost of the phone.  So it'll be in the low-$600 range, instead of the mid-$600 range.

(Or around $500 on a WINDtab with the $25/mo plan, or around $400 on a WINDtab with the $40/mo plan.  Or something like that.)

Not that impressive, really.  People are kind of steamed about not being able to purchase the GS III, and $25 is not a lot for the inconvenience.

The Tab pay-as-you-go plan is basically just a deferred subsidy.  WIND will end up paying for some of the cost of the handset, but only after you've stuck with them for 3 years.  Sort of an interest-free loan, as it were.

The difference between this and a regular contract seems to be that you can pay it off and leave anytime.  No different from buying the handset outright and leaving WIND later, in that case.

I'm undecided on this.  I doubt I will want to keep the GSIII for three years, but maybe I will.  I don't currently have a "tab" and I'm not sure I want one, either.

[Edit]: OK, here's the link.

[Update]:  OK, "special offer" is $200 credit - which is, effectively, what WIND has been giving all new customers anyway.  Credit has restrictions on how you can spend it, and seemingly does buy-outrighters (like me) no good at all.  Only useful for existing Tab customers eligible for upgrade under the terms of their Tab.