Gmail vs. Hotmail – The Art of Seduction
Sometimes I notice things. Yeah, I’m clever that way. Compare and contrast. How are these things different? Sesame Street has got nothing on me.
I’ve been using Google’s Gmail web-based email for some time. (Even though I plan to dump it when I get off my ass for privacy reasons.) To support my anonymous blogging habit, though, I started using Microsoft’s Hotmail web-based email, too. I like keeping my real and fake worlds separate.
It wasn’t too long until I noticed a few subtle differences.
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Windows on my pain
This weekend I did something I should have done about one year ago when I got my new iMac. I dragged out an ethernet cable, hooked it up to the old PC running Windows XP, and began the arduous task of retrieving my data.
First I had to get the computers to talk to each other. I thought it will be a process like finding the other computer on the local network and clicking it and being prompted for a username and password. I figured the latter would be no big deal because I was the “administrator” on both of the computers.
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Macrocost on zero day
Still running Windows XP like me on my home computer? Read on and enjoy:
We’ve all heard about computer exploits and security dangers. Recently announced was a good one. It affects Microsoft Windows (of course) and get this: multiple versions of Windows including the shiny new Windows 7 and all versions back to Windows XP.
The exploit can run malicious code on your computer, and that’s not a good thing.
Microsoft previously announced that it has ended support for Windows XP SP2 so that means Microsoft won’t be issuing a security patch for you folks. Too bad, so sad.
For those with more recent operating systems, yes, Microsoft is willing to help you out. They’ll be releasing a patch in an upcoming Windows update.
The flaw is apparently pretty serious. One article says that experts are predicting “extensive attacks.”
If you’re curious about the term “zero day,” like I was, this is what I found out: A zero-day exploit is one that exists and is known and/or used my malicious hackers prior to the software developer being aware of the flaw. Once again Microsoft is caught with their pants down.
I’m proud to be #2 in Google for the search term: MacroCost
Quite proud, actually. Macrocost ™ is a little something I invented to make fun of Microsoft. Get it? Hoooooweeeee I crack myself up.
So, anyway, the reason this popped into my head right now…
MICROSOFT IS THE EVER LIVING ZOMBIE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE!!!
Or something to that effect.
At the moment we are engaged in a “project” here at work. That, of course, is code for: We are up to our hips in shit. You know, the typical “we completely failed to plan” time crunch. And by “we” I mean the boss. And there is lots of yelling around here, like, “Move like you’ve got a purpose, maggots!”
Naturally when the chips are down and time is critical we turn to Microsoft to make sure we are completely and irrevocably fucked. I think that actual language can be found in their EULA which takes effect the nanosecond your retina looks in the direction of the five-dimensional authenticity hologram found on their boxes of software. I remember quite distinctly turning to my companion at the time I felt my eyeballs ping and saying, “I think I just got holo-raped.”
Random Factoid: Microsoft spends about 500,000 man hours per release of Windows on the authenticity hologram. Seven hours are spent on new features and other various improvements. 12,000 hours are spent on bug fixes. 24,000 hours are spent on the project code name.
If our enterprise was in the 24th century, the conversation might go down a little something like this:
Cmdr. Riker: Main engines just took a direct hit!
Capt. Picard: Options?
Riker: Eject the core. The resulting explosion should knock us clear.
Picard: Make it so, Number One!
Riker: Riker to Engineering. Geordi, we’ve got to eject the core in sixty seconds or we’re all dead!
Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge: Umm, yeah, we’ve got a bit of a delay here. Microsoft Starship Console says, “Not Responding.” I’m going to have to get back to you on that.
Luckily, for us, the situation isn’t quite that dire. We are merely in the business of selling actual pieces of shit to obliviots who are informally known around here as “customers.” To get our priority project done right away we need to share files between two office computers. Hey, that should be a perfect job for Windows Networking, right?
Dammit, I still can’t see your Public folder!
Is the little hand icon visible?
I don’t know! Where is that supposed to be? Right click and Properties?
Oh crap. I just clicked the wrong menu option. Now we’ll have to wait five more minutes for it to fail and tell us that the “network resource” is “not available.”
Oh my God. You’re kidding, right?
Hang on! Something happened! Now it says, “Microsoft Word (not responding).”
At least it did something. That’s a good sign, right?
We are fucked.
Yep, our old friend Windows Networking. It doesn’t work and every time you click something you have to wait about five minutes for it to fail before you can try something else. Nope, the ESCAPE key and/or the little clickable red X are not your friends here. They are powerless. Nothing short of waiting interminably will do. Indubitably!
Try something else and wait five more minutes. Rinse. Repeat.
I’m so grateful we put our eggs in the Microsoft basket. Seriously. Where else can you get paid to have fun like this?
Macrocost and the hot mail spam injection
In the beginning I established a Hotmail email address for the purpose of running my blog anonymously. For those not in the know, Hotmail is a web-based email service that is owned and operated by Macrocost.
Oops. Macrocost is my private little nickname for the corporation better known as Microsoft. That oh-so-clever name is made up of “micro” meaning “small” and “soft” meaning “limp.” What a name for a company! I think that about sums it up. No wonder their software can’t perform. Heh.
Anyway, it turns out that Microsoft also owns another little web site called Bing. It’s a search engine named after my favorite character on the TV show Friends. It’s a search engine based on the premise that people like pictures more than a clean simple interface. It’s also alleged to provide more relevant results than Google, the site it apes in a myriad of shameless ways.
Whatever. Be that as it may. My Hotmail account has been completely spam free … until today. That’s mainly because I give out the email address very sparingly and never use it to sign up for anything.
So who should my first spammer be? Yep. You guessed it. Microsoft. It was an advertisement for their Bing search engine. Bing’s fucking 30% cashback offer, no less. How very interesting. Hotmail is the home turf of Microsoft, so now Microsoft is going to use that built-in advantage to spam me. Fuck.
Remember that Bill Gates once famously said the solution to eliminating spam was to charge postage for sending email. Note that he didn’t suggest that companies restrain themselves. Or that Microsoft fix all the GAPING HOLES in their shit that makes so much spam possible. Nope, the option the generates more income is the one Gates supports. How very odd.
No doubt when I signed up for Hotmail I inadvertently checked some damn box or agreed to some obtuse and tiny language in their TOS that allegedly gives them permission to contact me.
Sorry, Microsoft. No dice. When you made me your opponent you failed to consider a few things like:
- I don’t do business with spammers. Ever. It’s the only real defense against spam.
- I don’t fall for that “cashback” bullshit. Ever. (See above link.) It’s an insult to my intelligence.
- I pretty much hate the crashing, BSoD (Blue Screen of Death) world that Microsoft has given us. At work my Microsoft Word 2007 running on Windows Vista can’t even paint my document correctly. I have to refresh my work all the time. And this is supposed to represent the best of the best that’s out there?
- Google’s results aren’t always perfect and as relevant as I’d like, but they are still light years ahead of Bing. And I don’t like the way Bing displays results, either. If I look for a city, don’t categorize the results for me into marketable shit links that you want me to click so you’ll profit from them like: vacation, homes, real estate, map, hotels, attractions, weather, etc. All that extra categorization shit does is reduce the display of the results I actually wanted. Just give me what I asked for. Please. If I was interested in real estate or vacation information, I would have actually bothered to include those fucking terms in my original search request. If there is one thing I can’t stand it is Microsoft trying to guess what I want so they can squeeze a couple of extra pennies from my visit.
Keep your grotesque spam out of my Hotmail, Microsoft. Or next time I’ll really get irritated. 🙂
I went to opt-out of the Bing 30% cashback spam, and got the response from Hotmail documented in the image below. “There’s a temporary problem.” Indeed. What a coincidence – I’m unable to opt-out! Mwuhahahaha! Of course, last time I heard, Microsoft policy was that they have to run their own shit on servers running Microsoft software, and that puts them at a distinct disadvantage compared to the rest of the internet world. Curse you, Microsoft. You won this round but I’ll be back!