Update on the Office365 trauma

If you’ve been following my trauma with Office365, then you’ll remember I was less than impressed yesterday at discovering two key problems when I signed-up.

1. The agreement was for a year. Whoops. I specifically clicked ‘pay monthly’ and presumed that was a month-to-month arrangement. No. I should have looked closer.

2. I opted for the £15/month version of the email service so that I could get a licensed copy of Office Professional — you could, just not for Mac. The service had the temerity to tell me to go and buy a copy of Office for Mac 2011 if I’d like to use it with Office365. Errrr, no. You’re Microsoft. You’re one brand as far as I’m concerned, so sort it out.

I’m pleased to report that they’ve responded to my cancellation request but unfortunately there is no way they can do this by pressing a button. At least, not yet. They need to speak to me first. And they’re now closed until 9am tomorrow. So I’ll do that.

Meanwhile I had my Google Apps account for The Pursuit of Quality live within about 5 minutes last night.


You still use Tiscali? For your PERSONAL email? You heathen!

I discovered yesterday that a chap I regularly work with is still using Tiscali for his personal email. He’s a high-powered manager, overseeing a number of hugely important projects in the Information Technology industry.

You’d expect more.

At worst, I’d expect at least a Gmail account. At best I’d expect some kind of custom service running on (for example) Google Apps or perhaps even Office365 (a lot of IT folk really still have a lot of love for Microsoft).

The last thing I expected was for this chap to be using a ridiculously old, highly limited, bog standard email service. There’s nothing wrong with it per se.

It just annoys me.

The reason I discovered this shocker was because the chap’s wife is having problems. With her sodding Tiscali account. I mean, obviously. She’s trying to get it to work on her Mac. I pointed the chap to the TalkTalk/Tiscali mailbox setup details but there’s some flaw preventing the computer from sending email.

“It’ll be some mail server rubbish,” I informed him. Something like you need to authenticate the SMTP server. Or blah blah. I don’t care. I don’t want to care. NEITHER should he! That, I think is my problem with it all.

Gmail just works.

Anything else, frankly, works better. Gmail, Yahoo — we’ve now got beyond this sort of rubbish, haven’t we?

I haven’t checked to see what kind of ‘package’ you get with the Tiscali email, but given the fact it’s a freebie included for TalkTalk subscribers (as the chap told me, anyway) and given the fact Tiscali doesn’t exist as an outfit anymore, my expectations are set to zero.

It’s so pedestrian, I think that’s the source of my frustration. In fairness to the chap, he just wants it to work too — he doesn’t want to have to think either.

I suggested that he stop expending any more energy on the Tiscali account and swap his wife to Gmail. He can setup an automatic import for all the old email and he can set-it-and-forget-it. Plus it works with everything. Support is even hardcoded into the iPhone email setup process.

What’s the gold plated solution for personal email nowadays? I think it’s got to be your own domain name running on Google Apps. Or perhaps running on your own dedicated server or some kind of cloud system.

What’s your strategy for personal email? Please tell me you’re not using Tiscali.

Services Technology

1&1 Internet: I can’t believe I was fake-sold email services!

I use Google Apps for all my email. I’ve been considering swapping to Microsoft’s Office365 because they’re now offering BlackBerry services and I find that particularly attractive.

However I’m pretty much sold on Google Apps. Collectively, across all my accounts, I reckon I’ve got about 20 gigabytes of email content hosted with them. I really, really like the powerful search capabilities.

So when I got a call out-of-the-blue from 1&1 (or One & One or One and One) asking if I’d like to upgrade to their mail package, I said no.

I let the chap do his pitch then I explained that I had no reason whatsoever to use their email service.

He carried on regardless.

This, I think, is becoming a bit of a trend with organisations desperate to sell stuff. Only last week my mother in law was ‘force-sold’ a mobile contract by a fly-by-night agency pretending to be Vodafone. Thankfully the team at Vodafone have reversed the damage. The salesman blatantly lied to my mother-in-law, saying he was her Vodafone account manager, then blinded her with a bit of tech speak before saying he’d send her a cheque and put her on a better price plan. Before she knew it, she’d had another line activated on her account. Bad news.

Imagine my shock to find out I’ve been a victim of this too. I thought I knew better.

The 1&1 sales chap described the amazing benefits of their MailXchange service.

I could have a free trial. No thanks. He could send me some more information if I liked, the chap said.

“Sure,” I said.

“Ok I’ll get that activated for you,” he said.

I did wonder.

The arse. Why? Well, I’ve just had an email through from 1&1 thanking me for my recent order!

“You what?”

Yup. It appears I’ve ordered MailXchange. And it’s now active on my account. Whether it’s billing me anything, I’ve no idea.

I logged into the contracts section of 1&1 to see what was going on. I couldn’t locate this new service to deactivate it.

Either way, I’m rather annoyed.

This is what it takes nowadays, I suspect: Bullshit. WHY would I want to buy another email service, especially when I’ve told you’ve I’ve already GOT Google Apps and that I’m utterly delighted with it? Do a bit of a ducking and diving and activate the service anyway and see what happens? 😉

Not good.

Perhaps I’m not going to get billed until I set up an account?

Or maybe I’ve unconsciously agreed to take out a raft of MailXchange services that I don’t quite know about?

I’ve emailed their support straight back to say “Switch this shit off” (I used nicer language) but I now fear I’m going to get stuck in service-level hell. (i.e. “No, you need to do this-n-that Sir”, “We can’t actually help”, “Have you spoken to some other department?”)

We shall see. My expectations are set.

I think it’s time to move the last of my domains away from there. I just couldn’t be bothered up until now.

Thanks very much for the hassle, the ambiguity and the mis-selling 1&1.

Not quite a quality experience.

1&1 MailXchange email

Update: I just did a search for 1&1 to locate their sodding front-page (quicker that typing www..) and found this rather helpful domain transfer instruction page from I’ve got hundreds of domains hosted with them so I think that is most definitely the way ahead. Note to self: Sort this out soon.

You know what, I wonder what 123-reg would charge to login to my 1and1 account and sort out the transfers for me so I don’t even have to think? That would be useful.