All too frequently we receive an email that requests us to tell how well a supplier performed before we even sat down in front of our computer. Even worse, the questions often include ones like “What is your likelihood of recommending our services to others?” And the services often include those of low-level staff members.
We had spent several hours drafting a difficult four-page email document to an important executive. Then POOF! Outlook deleted it. To make things worse, Outlook sent us a message that there is a bug. Instead of sending such a message, why doesn’t Microsoft fix their bug? Apparently, they have known it since May 11.
Using Microsoft software sometimes is its own punishment. Worse, the punishment occurs randomly. We may have been working along happily enough, but suddenly the software shows a picture (with a promotional comment about one of its products, e.g. its Edge browser) and demands a password. Oh, we think, this is the new way. This way continues for a while, but then it flips back to the previous no-password/no-ad.
We recently received a bunch of emails like the following:
From: Mail Delivery System <MAILER-DAEMON@guardedhost.com> Sent: Thursday, March 4, 2021, 7:55 PM Subject: Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender. This is an automated message from the mail system. I’m sorry to have to inform you that your message could not be delivered to one or more recipients. It’s attached below. The reason for delivery failure is included in the message below. <email@example.com>: host mx-ha02.web.de[18.104.22.168] said: 550 Requested action not taken: mailbox unavailable (in reply to RCPT TO command)
Apparently, guardedhost.com is owned by crooks who send these emails to millions of people, and probably 1-2% of the people click on the attachment. It is not clear what the benefit is to the guardedhost.com people, but they may collect statistics on people who are not savvy and then scam them seriously later.
In December 2020, Apple gave us many challenges when downloading photos from our iPhones to computers. Then Microsoft decided to add another level of frustration, by making it impossible to locate images that were downloaded from Apple on Windows machines. We reached out to Microsoft Support before Christmas, and we’re not surprised that the information they gave us was useless. It’s a Christmas Miracle that our card was finished in 2020!
We hope that you had an easier time transferring your photos and videos this year. However, it would be great if you could share any problems you might have had with us.
Happy New Year!
(sharing humor and a warning about ordering Google Pizza – from Joke Of the Day)
CALLER: Is this Gordon’s Pizza?
GOOGLE: No sir, it’s Google Pizza.
CALLER: I must have dialed a wrong number. Sorry.
GOOGLE: No sir, Google bought Gordon’s Pizza last month.
CALLER: OK. I would like to order a pizza.
GOOGLE: Do you want your usual, sir?
CALLER: My usual? You know me?
GOOGLE: According to our caller ID data sheet, the last 12 times you called you ordered an extra-large pizza with three cheeses, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms and meatballs on a thick crust.
CALLER: OK! That’s what I want …
GOOGLE: May I suggest that this time you order a pizza with ricotta, arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives on a whole wheat gluten-free thin crust?
CALLER: What? I detest vegetables!
GOOGLE: Your cholesterol is not good, sir.
CALLER: How the hell do you know!
GOOGLE: Well, we cross-referenced your home phone number with your medical records. We have the result of your blood tests for the last 7 years.
CALLER: Okay, but I do not want your rotten vegetable pizza! I already take medication for my cholesterol.
GOOGLE: Excuse me sir, but you have not taken your medication regularly. According to our database, you only purchased a box of 30 cholesterol tablets once, at Drug RX Network, 4 months ago.
CALLER: I bought more from another drugstore.
GOOGLE: That doesn’t show on your credit card statement.
CALLER: I paid in cash…. I have other sources of cash.
GOOGLE: That doesn’t show on your last tax return unless you bought them using an undeclared income source, which is against the law. But you did not withdraw enough cash according to your bank statement.
CALLER: WHAT THE HELL!
GOOGLE: I’m sorry, sir, we use such information only with the sole intention of helping you.
CALLER: Enough already! I’m sick to death of Google, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and all the others. I’m going to an island without internet, cable TV, where there is no cell phone service and no one to watch me or spy on me.
GOOGLE: I understand sir, but you need to renew your passport first. It expired 6 weeks ago.
We have subscribed to and read The Wall Street Journal for several decades and depend on the quality and timeliness of its coverage. But there are some exceptions. On December 15 I received an “Introducing WSJ Recipes” email from The Wall Street Journal. It showed recipes for Chicken and Dill Stew with Eggplant and Squash, Fudge Cookies, and Tomato Rice with Favas Chickpeas, and Fried Onions. Each of these had a button. Additionally, there was a “Discover” button. None of these buttons were live. We tried to alert The Wall Street Journal, saying “Your email is useless because I can’t click on anything. I love the WSJ but this was clueless, and the folks at Survey Monkey should know better. “ For our efforts, we were rewarded by an automatic reply “Thank you for contacting Dow Jones. Unfortunately, this email is an automated notification, which is unable to receive replies. We are happy to help you with any questions or concerns you may have.”
It instructs customers: “From the left panel on the Home screen, tap Books, Newsstand, or Audiobooks, or tap the icon from the app grid or carousel to view specific content in your Kindle Library. Tap a title to download it to your phone. Note: Content already downloaded to your phone will have a checkmark on it.” This is TOTALLY USELESS!!! Per my wife: Instead, tap on the upper left-hand corner, then tap on the three lines there.
Then, if you want to buy the book, Amazon’s software gets in the way again. HOW STUPID!!! My wife is a very capable iPad user but even she can’t outwit Amazon’s dopey setup.
Launch the Kindle app on your iPhone or iPad. Tap Library to see all of the e-books in your Amazon library. Tap the book you wish to download onto your device. When it’s finished downloading (it will have a checkmark next to it), tap the book to open it.
We wanted to purchase the Kindle book “None of My Business” by P.J. O’Rourke, but instead Amazon sold us a vocal version. Huh??!! And we wanted to purchase the Kindle book “Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy Book 1)” but instead Amazon sent us (Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy Book 2)”.
It took us considerable time on the phone with Amazon’s Customer Service to straighten out these messes and get refunds. Shame on Amazon!
A picture is not always worth a thousand words. Maybe some people find pictures or videos helpful, but we don’t. We deplore instructions that don’t have enough clear text to permit us to install and use a product. As an example, we purchased a bike light as a safety measure, because a lot of motorists simply don’t see the cyclists because they aren’t as large as cars. But the bike light is still sitting around because the pictures are worse than nothing. Perhaps the problem is that the pictures are created by “right-brained” artists and we are a “left-brained” engineer type. We also suspect that some manufacturers of products they sell to customers in different countries want to economize on packaging and/or instruction sheets that otherwise would need to be printed in multiple languages.
Unfortunately, every homeowner is required by law to have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. We wonder how many actually change the batteries regularly. We sympathize with the ones who don’t, because (a) they are on the ceiling (or up high on the wall) so you have to climb onto a ladder or stool and stand perilously, (b) even the best-organized homeowner is likely to have a mixture of makes and models of these detectors so the ladder-climber may have to guess whether the detector is removed and replaced by turning clockwise or counter-clockwise, and (c) when s/he tests the detector the sound is deafening.