Archive for September, 2009

Palm Releases New WebOS, None of My Problems Fixed

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Well, this is frustrating. Palm released a new version of their WebOS, which means my phone got updated, which is nice… except I can't believe it's not butter. I can't tell the difference AT ALL. None of the issues I was having or the complaints I had about the phone were fixed or changed.

I had emailed someone from Palm and told him my issues. He replied that nearly everything I had mentioned was on their road map for future changes. OK, so they know about all these, released a new version, and didn't fix all of these… so they're still on the road map. That's frustrating.

People are asking me what kinds of things did I want changed. Here are a few.

  • There is no control over what sound goes off when certain things happen. Every email account makes the same sound, which makes the same sound as any system notification. So you have an email is the same sound as you have a tweet is the same sound as you just plugged in your phone, low battery, text message, or any app that sends a notification. All the same sound. So you have NO idea how important anything is by sound, and I'm used to knowing that from having Windows Mobile and some neato apps for that. This means every time a sound goes off, I have to take the phone out and check what it is.
  • There is currently no way to disengage the EVDO internet. I can turn Bluetooth and WiFi on or off, individually. But not the internet. Which means that if the Palm sees email and twitter open, it will just check those all night, and play notification sounds every time something comes in. I get about 30 emails overnight, and none are worth being awakened. I'm used to Windows Mobile letting me say hey, turn off the internet, and even if email is something is open, don't use the internet… which means emails don't come in and sounds don't go off. I can't do that on the Palm right now, so every night, I have to go into each email account, one by one, and turn off its notifications.

UPDATE: Someone on Twitter told me I CAN turn off the data. I have to go into the Phone, then preferences, and then turn off "Data Usage." It worked. However, my complaint would now be that this is in an illogical place. The Pre has a menu where you can turn on or off WiFi, Bluetooth, and Airplane Mode. I would think that turning Data on and off would also go there rather than having to dig for that in a submenu of the phone app. So Palm, please put that in a more logical and easily accessible place. :)

  • For those of you wondering why I just don't turn off sound or put the phone in airplane mode, I'm in a biz where I might get emergency calls or texts at all hours. I need to hear those sounds go off, but I don't need a 2am notification that my horoscope email just came in. :)
  • There is no way for me to see what apps Palm thinks I have open… what's running now including what's running in the "background." So sometimes I get messages about having too many cards open, but I only see three, and I know people are running more than 3 things at a time. Sometimes the phone is slow, and I assume it's from running things, but I don't know what's open. This also means I can't force close something… like force close email so I can sleep. :) I can swoosh email away, and it'll still pick up email.
  • I don't know what apps are starting up when I start up the phone. I may want to stop running some of those, but have no way to see what's running automatically on startup.
  • There is no way to tell the Palm that a Facebook or LinkedIn friend is not someone I need to see in my contacts every day. Right now, Palm is automatically syncing with my 300 or so Facebook friends and 200 or so LinkedIn Contacts. Well, that SEEMS cool, but honestly, any of those people that I was in touch with were already in my Outlook and therefore phone contacts. So now, my contacts move nice and slowly when browsing or searching because it's checking 500 people I never contact rather than just the 150 I had in Outlook. I'd like a setting that only syncs the people I had in my contacts ANYWAY, and doesn't add hundreds of people. Evidently, nobody at Palm has ever added a Facebook friend they don't really know or stay in touch with. As an eBay educator and speaker, a LOT of people add me on Facebook just to hear what I'm saying… but I don't know them!
  • To some of you, that may sound like "who cares" because if you don't use those contacts, just don't choose them. But every time I go to write an email, and start typing my friend's name, it searches my contacts… and shows me 6 people who aren't "Caroline" because I have a bunch of contacts that have "car" somewhere in their name. Same for dialing by typing to search for contacts… I'm shown HEAPS of people I will NEVER email or call. I'd just like to be shown MY contacts, and then Palm should use things like LinkedIn and Facebook to connect to those people and keep their info updated.
  • There is no way for me to "calibrate" the touches on the Palm. Many times I THINK I'm clicking on something, the Palm sees that click as a few millimetres away… which has lead to fun things like deleting the wrong email, opening about 15 new "compose" emails each day that I have to then cancel, selecting the wrong text, opening the wrong app, etc… I would like a calibration tool that shows me a bunch of X's and has me click on it. Windows Mobile was great with that since their clicking was WILDLY precise… stylus-precise… I used to use my fingernail. The Palm seems to be designed for you to click clumsily with thick fingers, but being able to calibrate that would still be good.

On another note, and this is not Palm's fault, I find that many apps people are developing rely WAY too much on the phone being online. My navigation has to be online, but I can't use EVDO while talking on the phone. So driving and navigating at the same time are OUT, which is BAD. An RSS reader I downloaded connected to my Google Reader account. OK, that seems clever… until I noticed that it didn't keep ANYTHING offline. So I got on a plane, and had NOTHING to read. That is less clever.

I'm not always going to be online, and someday, when I can turn off just the internet, I may want to be offline a bit to save battery life. Apps should take that into consideration!

So Palm, I ask again for you to please soon release an OS upgrade that fixes what I'm talking about. I can't be the only person who'd like to set up different sounds for each email account, or different sounds for different notifications. I can't be the only person who'd like to turn off the internet at night, or force quit apps I don't even know are running. Please make these closer stops on the road map! Thanks!


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Chase, PayPal, and Credit Card Fraud

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Today was interesting. Two cards I have with two separate banks were both marked as potential fraud. But the circumstances were amazingly different.

First came a Chase card. This card is a debit MasterCard associated with an escrow account for my other biz, We Are Your People. We do tour management, so this card has probably paid around $60,000 in hotels, airfares, and other random things for the last 6 weeks… as our tour winds around North America. These hotels and purchases were in nearly 40 different cities.

We're over a month into the tour, and Chase marked me as potential fraud TODAY. 6 weeks into the tour, dozens of cities, hotels in every city, thousands of dollars in airfares… and today, they shut the card down and called me. Evidently, the $130 being charged by that Hampton Inn last night was too much! I had the card turned back on.

Goofballs.

Second was my debit MasterCard associated with my PayPal account. This morning, I flew from San Jose to Salt Lake City (for biz), so I charged at Delta airlines for checked bag fees. I then hit the card at Dollar Rental Car, and at the hotel where I'm typing this now. Total suspicious charges? About $800 across everybody, and some were just holds.

PayPal just called, suspecting fraud. I said that I had made all of those charges, so my card is still on.

To sum up, it took PayPal about 10-12 hours to think my card might be used fraudulently. Considering I started using the Chase card the first week of August, it took Chase about 6 weeks and probably more than $60,000 of charges to decide that maybe it was being used fraudulently.

I know people like to bash PayPal, but I'm going to say they're more on the ball here! Neither was fraud, but I tell you this. If anybody WERE using my Chase card fraudulently, I now know to NOT expect Chase's system to pick it up in any reasonable amount of time.


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Mercury Retrograde + Match.com = Oops

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

I wake up this morning, and decide to ask out a guy I was matched with on Match.com. I start writing him an email like hey, you're looking for this, I'm this, I think we'll hit it off. Let's do lunch, my treat, because hey, then the worst that can happen is you get a free lunch with someone you don't want to see again… but the best that can happen is we hit it off and become friends.

My best pal Caroline calls, and asks what I'm up to. I'm writing an email to that guy on Match.com. "Oh!' she says. I said let me tell you about it. She tells me I'm writing too much, and that whatever I want to say about what we have in common can be something we talk about at lunch. Well, I wanted to be clear that I'm aiming for friendship first, and so on. She also thinks that offering to buy him lunch is way too aggressive. I said that I didn't want him to think I was some sort of broke or dependent chick who expects a guy to pay for everything.

So I start editing the email down to something much simpler. I'm finally happy with this tiny email, and I hit send. Nothing happens. I notice Match.com has something in the Draft folder. I go to that, see it's an email from me to him, and hit send.

And then I notice it's some earlier, incomplete version of the longer email. Oh jeez. I hit delete, but I have no idea if that deletes it for him. Dear Match.com, if I hit delete on an email I sent, it should delete it for the other person. Dear Match.com, send the email I meant to send, and if you're keeping drafts, try keeping current versions of what I'm writing. :(

I create a new email, write what I meant to say (the much shorter email), and apologise that he may have received two emails from me.

I really thought I was going to make it through Mercury Retrograde without major incident or embarrassment, but I do feel pretty dumb. OK, so maybe this guy gets a weird, incomplete email with me telling him we have things in common. Not the worst thing I've done all year. :) But I still feel totally dorky. I wanted to send the "right" email. I guess both emails are right. Hey, I think we'll hit it off, and hey, it's just lunch.

Mercury Retrograde… everything that can go wrong will go wrong. I usually do OK through it, but ugh, I feel like a total dork. Well, I'm not alone. A friend just told me he accidentally pasted something into an email to someone on a dating site, and before he knew it, the email sent itself. Guess it happens to the best of us. :)


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New Yorkers, Do You Know What Time It Is?

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Once in a while, my business line rings at some weird hour. 4am. 5am. Last night, it was 4:50am. That's 4:50am the morning of Labour Day, when most businesses are closed.

It's not just morning calls. I have received calls at 9pm on weeknights and weekends. 8am on Sundays. Some truly weird times IF you think someone is there to answer the phone… and why call when you think there is nobody there.

Nearly every time someone calls me at a weird time, the area code on the caller ID is 212 or 718. New York metropolitan area. I get a few that are the NYC suburbs too. They had no concept of the time, or just figured they'd call a closed company. I prefer to call companies I know are open! Then I reach people!

My contact page even says what time it is where I am so you can consider whether or not you'd like my business to be open when you call. I'm giving you all the info I can. :)

And I know what you're thinking. You're thinking hey Deb, if you turned your phones off at night or didn't have a home office, this wouldn't matter. OK, maybe we can blame me for this, but I still think it's odd to call a company at 7am your time, especially when that's 4am for the company.


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Tales from Online Dating

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

So I'm on an online dating site now. Just the one. Dropped some of the others, trying one I hadn't tried before.

And online dating is definitely an exercise in marketing. If you're not sure if it is, poke around. See what pictures people choose to show, and how they write their profile. Some people clearly had professional photos taken. You can BUY a profile-writing service! So in case you can't explain why you're a good guy or what kind of girl you want, someone can write that for you. I think all profiles using that service should be marked as such!!

Here are few that have stood out to me as a member of this site for a week:

  • I have seen a number of men mark themselves as "not" or "probably not" wanting children. But under what qualities they want their date to have, they have only chosen women who "definitely" or "someday" want children. Huh?
  • Men, please stop writing about cuddling and how much I'm not going to believe that you like to cuddle. I believe that cuddling is something that naturally happens when people feel close. If you're not going to sell me on all the ways in which you will show love when you feel love, then why are so many men writing about cuddling!
  • A 41-yr-old African American guy, whose photo made it look like he had eye liner and lipstick Photoshopped on, emailed me. I looked at his profile, and found that he has a child. I am not interested in anybody who has or wants kids. I was thinking that if someone emails me, it's polite to write them back. So I wrote him back and said that as my profile says, I am not looking for anybody with kids, but good luck finding the right woman! He wrote back that I was the wrong woman for him, and I was an idiot Jew who needed to "lose that gut." My profile has me labeled as "spiritual but not religious" and I have no references to any religion or my name.
  • I now just click "send a polite no thanks" instead of writing back. :)
  • Soon after I joined, a 25-yr-old guy reached out to me. That's too young for me (I'm 37), so I said no thanks. He just emailed me, and this email is SO outlandish, I wanted to share it.
    "Howdy

    First off let me say Your pictures don't do u justice;0)
    You seem like a fantastic women that enjoys many similar fun staff that
    any man can appreciate, BBQ"s and cuddling up on the couch that's
    Totally awesome Howdy I'm Joseph and if it's not rude of me may I ask
    how a brillant women like urself has found herself single Becuase no
    sane person would let you go, so I am curios to hear your story!"

Copied and pasted. And by the way, my profile says nothing about BBQ or cuddling or couches. As for my enjoyment of "staff," well, I didn't mention that either. :) I'd like to know how he knows that my pictures don't do me justice!

But wait, there's more craziness.

  • Before I was just clicking "no thanks" to people who emailed me, a guy emailed me. He's about 300 miles away. I wrote him back saying that as we had completely different preferences for kids, religion, politics, and he's 300 miles away, I figured this was not the right match, and good luck. He wrote me back that he really wants to get to know me. I clicked "no thanks." Any guy who can't take a non-subtle hint is not someone I want to get to know.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel…

They're not all bad. A few guys seem OK. Maybe I'll get to meet them.

So hopefully when people are back from the long weekend, I might have stories of actually meeting some of these people.

Edit from after the long weekend: Nope, the only people who wanted to meet me used words like "hook up," which is not what I'm looking for right now. Isn't it funny how easy it is to find sex, but not to find friendship or romance?


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