Yahoo Account Password Change

Yahoo Account Password Change

So Yahoo!, are you saying that you let my account get hacked yet again? This despite my increasingly complex passwords that I now have to write down because I can’t remember them?

Yahoo Account Password Change

This is the fourth time this year I’ve seen this message. If this is part of some policy to force a password change every 90 days, then say so. Saying there was “unusual” account activity simply leads me to believe that you allowed someone to hack my account. Or worse yet, you’re somehow mistaking my own usage as “unusual.”

On the other hand it’s not like I really care too much anymore. As a user of your service since 1997 I have seen repeated changes for the worse, mostly removal of popular and useful services. Yahoo Groups? Useless and full of spammers. Yahoo Personals? Closed years ago. Yahoo Mail? Changed so many times it’s effectively useless.

Let’s take Yahoo Mail. When going into Yahoo Mail I now get a message stating that I need to upgrade my browsers. But they’re all upgraded to the latest already! You don’t need to tell me this every single time I login. Then there is the fact that clicking on messages in my inbox to open them may or may not work. Half the time nothing happens, a quarter of the time there is a time out error message, the rest of the time it works. If you delete an email it is a 50/50 chance that it takes you back to the inbox view or the next unread message. SPAM Emails get through on a constant basis, and then you’ve added an advertisers link to the top of my inbox that looks like an unread email. Yes it gets eyeballs and clicks – by accident. Yes I know you’re providing a free service, but this is beyond silly.

Then lets add in Yahoo’s penchant for Rollover ads, these are ads that go from itty bitty icons to huge “take over your screen” ads without any warning. Usually while you’re in the middle of reading something. Oh, and they’re also right on Yahoo News’ front page. A resource I used to use daily. Guess when the last time I looked at Yahoo! News was? I’ll give you a hint, it now numbers times per a year for about five minutes instead of daily for a couple of hours.

This problem is rampant across the entire Yahoo! platform. Look at what they did to Flickr. At first glance it LOOKS nice, even though they are blatantly copying other successful sites. But try using it for about 30 seconds and it becomes an exercise in frustration. The only good news is that the traffic has died down so much that the discussion groups are quiet.

Oh wait, that isn’t good news! I spent nearly five minutes trying to find my local photography group to find out when and where the next Meet-up and photoshoot was. The last post in a formerly busy group was the July 2013 Meetup notice. And nothing since then. A spot check of a variety of other formerly busy groups shows the exact same problem. So where is the improvement to service if people are having a hard time using it?

For an idea of other services that Yahoo has screwed up, er, I mean “closed due to a lack of popularity,” see the Yahoo! Wikipedia Article. Many of these were incredibly useful and popular services that Yahoo! closed in their infinite wisdom. Were they loosing money on any of these services? Doesn’t it make sense that even if it was only breaking even that they keep these services alive to bring people into the “platform.” What’s really weird is how they purchased so many companies, and then ended up killing the companies within a couple of years.

Yahoo!, here is a wakeup call. I’m going to move totally away from your email service. I’m going to delete my flickr account and all my photos, and stop using your services. I know that this is only one set of eyeballs, and I probably don’t amount to much profit for you. But I’m also sure that I’m not the only one doing this.

When large companies don’t research their customers

When large companies don’t research their customers

One Google’s features that I use the most is the Alert feature. I’ve got roughly fifty different search terms that I have setup. One of those terms is “Fort Rock” in reference to the location here in Oregon where some important archeological discoveries have been made.

Every once in a while something interesting comes across. But for the most part the search results simply make me scratch my head.

For those dear readers who have not been through Fort Rock, nor seen pictures, let me describe it. The “rock” itself is actually a ring of volcanically formed basalt created by gaseous bubbles that came up under a prehistoric ocean that covered pretty much all of Eastern Oregon, Eastern Washington Idaho, large portions of Montana and several hundred miles into British Columbia.

The entire portion now called Eastern Oregon is sparsely populated High Desert. The “town” of Fort Rock consists of a museum of old buildings gathered together and preserved. There is an RV park that is next to the State Park. There is a building that’s been converted into some apartments. And there is a non-descript warehouse along with a couple of older houses and a Post Office. A few farms surround the town, but past that it’s over fifty miles to pretty much anything else.

So I’m always surprised when I get Google Alert Searches from companies such as Dex that say there are over twenty metal roofing companies in the area. The search results are even more puzzling when it’s something like “laser hair removal.”

This is not limited to just Dex, I’ve seen it with multiple companies who simply take a list of all towns in the State and blanket add it to their databases. I’ve seen it with all kinds of companies selling all kinds of products. It gets worse when these companies use a list of geographic city names that they found on the Internet themselves. For Oregon specifically there is a list of “cities” in the State complete with Longitude and Latitude. But a good portion of the cities don’t even exist any more. They just crumbled away as people moved to bigger cities and those left behind died of old age.

Blitzen, Oregon is one such place. There isn’t a town sign. There are not any old buildings around. If there was even a cemetery at one time, it’s been forgotten and lost. Yet according to good old Internet I can find all kinds of services “near” or in Blitzen, Oregon. Doctors, Lawyers, Gas Stations, Fine Dining, Five Star Hotels, etc, etc. Enough that if you didn’t know better, you’d think it was the largest city in Oregon.

I’m all for companies making money. I just wish that they would invest a tiny bit more time into fact checking and research. Doing so would make their results more accurate and more importantly, much more trustworthy.

Information Responsibility

Information Responsibility

Listening to a rather old episode of the Thomas Jefferson Hour Podcast on the MAX this afternoon, Clay Jenkins who portrays Mr. Jefferson was asked a question “If President Jefferson had an iPod, what would be on it?”

While the question was meant in a “What music would President Jefferson listen too?” Clay immediately started listing off non-MP3 related things. Books, facts, and figures. Pure information, things that could be referenced in conversation. According to Mr. Jenkins, Jefferson considered himself a scientist first, a farmer second, and lastly a patriot thrust into the role by his intellect. I am, of course, paraphrasing there but not by too much.

I began reflecting that into today’s world, nearly everyone has an iPod, or similar technology. A full generation of Americans have grown up with the single greatest source of information at their finger tips. This is something that Jefferson and his scientific and educated contemporaries would have given anything for, if they could even imagined it.

In an age the printing press was still some what of an amazement, books were extremely rare, and Dr. Benjamin Franklin’s public library was still an experiment itself, the Internet as it exists today was simply unimaginable.

Yet this same generation that has grown up with the Internet does not seem to use it to it’s full potential! Of all generations that should know how to, it seems that basic research abilities and critical thinking should be taught at even younger ages then ever before.

But instead of original thinking, plagiarism rules. Or at best unfounded research with no backup and proof.

Is this because of laziness? Is it because the anonymity of the Internet still allows anyone to say anything with little to no criticism, punishment, or recriminations? Is it because the education system, like so many other industries in the United States has not kept up with the technology that is now available? Or is this because the sheer amount of information available in hard to sift through? Or more semi-sinisterly, is it because the information is kept behind digital lock and key only to be doled out to those who know someone or can pay to access it?

I fear that the last reason is more and more becoming the true reason. Everyone is still trying to make a buck on the Internet, and thus information which should be public knowledge is instead kept from the very public that can use it. Couple this with the sheer amount of useless and worse, erroneous information out there and I begin to see why this Generation simply does not take advantage of it. They can’t easily access it!

What is the answer and fix? I really do not know. Other then my own humble attempts to make that information free and provide links to other sites and books that are too, there may not be much I can do. I could go into teaching, but the head aches do not yet seem to be worth the rewards in my mind.