Why you should quit using Hotmail and advice others to do the same.

What is the point of having an email that people cannot reach?
That is what’s happening to to Hotmail users. Have you asked yourself how many messages addressed to you was lost due to inadequate Hotmail’s way of filtering spam? The emails from your friends don’t even get the chance to get into the junk folder, they are deleted right away. Microsoft is trying to get rid of spam for it’s users but is blocking real people’s emails at the same time.

I hate spam and spammers but I started to hate Hotmail and Microsoft even more. For days now I was unable to send emails to my friends on Hotmail, the usual “Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender” message from the host is always something like that:

host mx3.hotmail.com[65.54.244.72] said: 550
SC-001 Mail rejected by Windows Live Hotmail for policy reasons. Reasons
for rejection may be related to content with spam-like characteristics or
IP/domain reputation problems. If you are not an email/network admin please
contact your E-mail/Internet Service Provider for help. Email/network
admins, please visit http://postmaster.live.com for email delivery
information and support (in reply to MAIL FROM command)

I emailed my ESP of course first asking for explanations (it is in Turkey by the way) and the reply was that I should address my concerns to TurkTelekom if I’m using their ADSL connection (apparently this is a known issue already), since Hotmail have blocked TurkTelekom’s IP’s. The thing is, I’m not in Turkey, I’m in China and I use both ADSL from CNC and mobile connection through CDMA from China Unicom. And that can only mean one thing – Hotmail is blocking CNC’s and China Unicom’s IP’s as well. I guess what Hotmail is trying to suggest is – if you want to email our users get a hotmail address. And what I want to suggest by writing this article is – ignore the Hotmail!
Don’t use their service any longer and ask your friends not to use it any more. There are plenty of other free email services like GMail or Yahoo mail which are far much better and don’t have stupid blocking settings.

I could live with the idea that I had to spend some time deleting spam, using various spam filters I can actually dramatically reduce the time I spend, but what can I do when my emails I send to friends or business partners are simply being blocked? I understand Microsoft’s desire to control spam, but this is certainly not the right way. I found dozens of cases on the internet reporting the same problem with Hotmail servers and none of us is happy with Hotmail’s new way of handling spam. It simply blocks the true emails!

The reason I call on you to quit using Hotmail is because even if you contact Hotmail/Live.com and ask them to include your IP address in the allowed list, specify the domain name you are sending it from, it will still be ignored. Here are the proofs, have some fun by reading these forums: my server ip is blocked by hotmail, Hotmail blocking my IP? or even Microsoft Hotmail Blocking Yahoo! Mail as Spam? Apparently Microsoft staff is unaware of what is work with customers or are under the impression that the world should adopt to their rules. I think it’s the time now to tell them bye bye or let them adopt to the people’s demands. It is much easier to simply change your free email service from Hotmail to any other decent ESP (free or paid, doesn’t matter).

I don’t use Hotmail and I haven’t used their free services for years now (I use my own domain name and ESP I pay for), but I do have friends I cannot reach simply because they opted to use Hotmail and it is my advise to all the hotmail users now – stop using it, just change it to something better. Without getting to much into the technical details: it doesn’t matter if I use shared or dedicated IP address, it doesn’t matter if you message Hotmail and report the problem, It doesn’t matter if you use free or paid email, POP3/SMTP or web-based account – it is at Microsoft’s (Hotmail/Live.com) sole discretion to allow your messages to be received or not. Millions of people now cannot send emails to Hotmail accounts because the stupid Hotmail policy.

My appeal is to current Hotmail users, if you still want to receive emils from real people and friends change your email! They cannot reach you!

UPDATE: Articles for “I hate Hotmail” club:

SAY NO to HotmailAnd here’s a group I just created on Facebook to help spread the word about Hotmail currently blocking non-spam emails from usual users – Why you should quit using Hotmail!

BabelFish now redirects to Yahoo!

Babelfish on Yahoo!A few days ago my favorite on-line translation tool – Babelfish from http://babelfish.altavista.com changed the address from Altavista to Yahoo, now it is automatically redirected to http://babelfish.yahoo.com. The change happened when I was translating something and was quite surprised to see the result for my translation on Yahoo and not on Altavista.

I’ve been using Babelfish powered by Systran for years now and not only that it became my favorite translation tool, but something I use on a daily basis. Wherever I need a translation from Chinese or Korean, to French, Spanish or German – that’s the place to go. Of course in order to get more accurate translation it is advised to use shorter sentiences and use no abbreviations. The Chinese translation is just great, often very accurate when translating from English to Chinese (you’ve got two options – Chinese-Simplified and Chinese-Traditional) and understandable when translating from Chinese to English. But sometimes it’s just ridiculously amusing. Me experience with Korean using Babelfish wasn’t that good, most of the time Koreans will say you sound like an alien, I mean it will still make sense, but rather be difficult to understand and it is something non-comprehensive when translating from Korean most of the time. It works fine when translating to/from French and Spanish though, and Japanese translation is also quite good. You can translate from Russian as well, but I don’t really need it (only from Russian to English available), other languages as Dutch, Greek, Italian and Portuguese also available. Now, since it moved to Yahoo! they also offer a translation from Chinese Simplified to Chinese Traditional and vice versa – I wonder how often does somebody actually uses that?

Anyway, the Babelfish is no longer on Altavista. Babelfish was bought by Overture when they acquired Altavista and Yahoo! became the owner of both when they bought Overture. So it goes like this: Bebelfish –> Altavista –> Overture –> Yahoo!
Will it go further –> Microsoft? I’m actually glad that Microsoft did not acquire Yahoo, every company or brand with a Microsoft touch is spoiled in the end (take Hotmail for example). The only thing that keeps Microsoft in tops is the operational system they rely on and the American market where things like msn.com and live.com are still popular.

P.S.: Do you know that the name for Babelfish on-line translation comes from a fictional species fish from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series by Douglas Adams. For more check on wikipedia:

if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language.

Does Lenovo really provide international warranty service for ThinkPad users?

ThinkPad / ThinkCentre Let me start by saying that I’m just an unsatisfied customer of Lenovo and the story I’m about to write will be a complaint about their services. I do not like complaining about things, but when I do – there’s a reason behind it. Out of all the brands on a notebooks market today I had the impression that ThinkPad users are the most satisfied by the customer service provided, but apparently I was wrong, or should I say it was before IBM sold ThinkPad to Lenovo. If you do a quick search on the internet for customer service provided by Lenovo you will come across loads of articles, stories and complaints about their service.

I don’t want to make it a long story of what I went through, I’ll just tell you the facts:

1. Lenovo does not provide international warranty service! Well at least not in mainland China (home of Lenovo) if you bought it elsewhere, they will however ask you to register your product in China and supposedly you’ll be entitled to the service. The only trouble is they further make it almost impossible to register your product. Be ready to provide beside your computer’s serial number and type/model code: operational system’s code, the copies of your passport, visa’s and entry stamps and extensions in the country you bought your machine as well as the country you are in, receipt of your purchase or a credit card report.
Don’t you think it’s a little bit too much? I mean I can easily check my warranty details on-line for my machine and the database will tell me when my warranty expires, all I need to do is navigate online from my machine! I registered my product on-line and they do have already the details regarding the place I purchased it, the date, my name, email and all sorts of information like that.
Frankly, it seems to me that they just try to avoid to provide the warranty, and that seems to be Lenovo’s policy our days. I came across some other issues on the internet when customers were complaining that Lenovo is trying to make it impossible. So, in my humble opinion of an unsatisfied customer – your international warranty offered by Lenovo does not worth a dime! The email address to inquire about your international warranty: iws@lenovo.com

ThinkPad Battery from Lenovo/IBM
2. Do not hope for a free battery replacement of your ThinkPad’s faulty battery. Lenovo states on their web-site here that they will replace your battery free of charge if it turns to be from this faulty batch produced with a specific FRU part numbers and for specific models. Models affected: R60, R60e, T60, T60p, X60, X60s, X60 Tablet, Z60m, Z61e, Z61m, Z61p, Z60t, Z61t. They certainly did not replaced mine when I brought it to their authorized center. There is a small program provided, available for download online with which you can check if your battery is from this faulty batch.
If you do get lucky and somehow you’ll find out the address where you can replace it make sure Bringing the faulty battery along with your laptop and warranty service details will not get it replaced. You’ll just end up spending your time on customers service unable to help.

Although there’s an announcement on Lenovo’s web-site regarding this issue, they did not let the customers know about this problem. And when it happened to my battery I did not knew I’m eligible for a free replacement, since nobody let me know. That makes me ask why did I provided them with my email address and other contact details?

3. The toll-free telephone number they provide in mainland China for free battery replacement (800-990-8888) is not accessible from mobile phones, and of course there’s no announcement about that. During a period of time I was trying to reach it from a land-line it was playing just a greeting message in Chinese without offering you any other options. The customer support line in mainland China (800-810-3315) although very polite and talking English (and I do appreciate that) wasn’t able to provide any information regarding that issue. Moreover without further investigating the issue the customer service was just saying sorry we cannot do nothing about it because we haven’t heard about it. When insisting to find out, since the information is available on-line, the customer service did get back in touch with me (very fast) but again with no details on how I can solve my issue. When asked to provide me with a written address of an authorized Lenovo/ThinkPad center they agreed, but no reply was received. Oh, and by the way there’s no information in English available on-line regarding the Lenovo/ThinkPad service centers in China. Emailing to logistpe@lenovo.com (the email provided for battery replacement program) and asking for the address in Beijing where you can replace the battery will get you back to 800-990-8888 phone number for mainland China (surprisingly it was working this week).

4. The customer service although well-trained and very polite follows everything by the book but will be of no help to you if facing some issue they never heard of. Same applies to their supervisors who are unable to take correct decisions in critical times. They will also refuse to offer assistance minutes after working time, even though you’ve been involved in the very same discussion for a quite long time already.

It is a pity that a well-known brand like ThinkPad ended-up to be managed by Lenovo who happened to be a disgrace our days. I was lead to believe that Chinese brands like Lenovo care about their image and will not play their dirty games with customers, but I was wrong. And just to think of all the ThinkPad users who chosen Lenovo (IBM’s ThinkPad) mainly because of the international warranty service. That will be such a disappointment for them. I think we’ll have to look for some more reliable brand who cares about their customers first of all. Although I do like my ThinkPad Z61t machine a lot, such an attitude is a major draw back and I doubt I will ever buy another Lenovo product in the future!

Here are a few links confirming my statements:

If you get bored and looking for some fun…

I was a bit bored the other day, just browsing the internet looking for something fun to do. And I came across a few things I would like to share. So here they are:

At MyHeritage using the face recognition technology you can upload a picture of you and see who of the celebrities looks like you. You’ll find out the exact percentage of similarity and will be given a choice of presenting it as a collage or as a morphing like the one of me you see below. Apparently Harrison Ford looks like me! And also you can download a free family tree builder from here. It looks like a very nice program, cheers for that!

At dotomator there is a very handy tool called web 2.0 domain name generator in case you decided you starting a new web 2.0 project but stuck with the ideas for a name. Apart from the fact that it looks very web 2.0, it also generates pretty cool names: Twizu, Flashwire, Shuffledog (I like this one, but the dotcom is taken already), Dynabox, Plazio, Twidel, Wikinyx, Kayva, Youware, Zooyo, Flipspot, Kiba, Plambo, Podtube, Ooboo, Bubbleopia, Snapspan, Tagdrive, Feedtype, Linkpoint.

If you’re found by the stupidity of the current American president there’s a a site for you – The Complete Bushisms,

Read moreIf you get bored and looking for some fun…

Colegi.md – o nouă apariţie în internetul moldovenesc

Colegi.md screenshotColegi.md care a fost lansat ieri (duminic?, 14 oct.) ?i vrea s? fie catalogat ca un proiect gen “social network”, la moment are peste 250 de utilizatori noi înregistraţi ?i aceast? cifr? va cre?te rapid în urm?toarele zile. Proiectul se afl? înc? în stadiu de elaborare ?i a fost lansat în varianta beta. Personal apreciez aceast? lansare foarte precoce întrucât multe funcţii înc? nu sunt disponibile ?i sunt prea multe “bug”-uri. Sunt sigur c? toate aceste neajunsuri vor fi înl?turate în timpul cel mai apropiat, dar dau dovad? de un neprofesionalizm la stadiul de lansare.

?mi pare bine c? un astfel de proiect de “social network” apare ?i în Moldova ?i salut acest? intenţie a companiei Simpals, care de altfel are un portofoliu de proiecte de succes ?i de o caliate bun?. Succese ?i în continuare ?i sper s? reu?iţi s? dezvoltaţi acest proiect. Dar mai vreau s? remarc câteva lucruri care tare m-au sup?rat:

  1. Lipse?te versiunea în Român?! ?nţeleg c? e versiunea beta, dar de ce lans?m un proiect în Moldova ?i folosim o limb? str?in?? (observ o tendinţ? de rusificare în internetul moldovenesc, ca de altfel ?i la Radio/TV, dar nu trebuie favorizat? în asemenea mod!)
  2. Read moreColegi.md – o nouă apariţie în internetul moldovenesc