Monday, July 24, 2006

Yahoo Mail Plus ... advertisements

I've used yahoo email for a long time. I found there web mail to be among the best out there then and still do. The web service has changed through the years, but I would say for the most part, it has changed for the better over time.

I decided a while back to use AT&T as my ISP (internet service provider). AT&T has a deal with yahoo, so they took my free web service account and changed it into a Yahoo Mail Plus account. The Yahoo Mail Plus account can usually be purchased for $19.99 per year, but is given to me for free since I have signed up for AT&T as an ISP.

Now for my gripe. I think at one time there were absolutely no advertisements on the YMP (Yahoo Mail Plus), and then one day when I signed in, there appeared five news headline links in a square on my screen. It has an option that says "Hide" and if I click that the square becomes smaller and then says "In the News" and also has a link to "Show News" which will expand this line to the five lines more. Okay. I'm not totally happy about this addition bit on something that I'm paying for but at that time figure that I might as well just tolerate it.

Now something else changes. Perhaps I never noticed it in earlier days, but awhile ago I start noticing a change after I compose a new message. When I hit send instead of a confirmation screen that just says "Message Sent. Message sent to it now started showing a tiny picture with things such as 'check out Yahoo Music' or something of the like.

And now even more items are displayed after I hit send. I now see three ads including larger pictures. I thought the pictures are what made them called graphical ads.

Yahoo Mail Plus Avertisement

Well, I decided to call AT&T ISP. through the available on line chat option. It went like this:

AT&T: Hi ((My Name)). How can I assist you?
ME: hello
ME: I have noticed that when I send emails over the web, after I hit send I see advertisements. Why is that?
AT&T: I understand your concern. I am pleased to assist you.
AT&T: ((My Name), I would like to inform you that it is automated from the Yahoo! servers.
ME:I imagine so. Originally there were no ads, and it is a pay service, so I would like to have the ads removed
AT&T: I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused to you.
AT&T: In that case I would suggest you to contact our Voice support agents at 1-877-722-3755, as they have the appropriate tools and expertise to troubleshoot this issue.
May I be of any further assistance related to AT&T Internet Services?
ME:I have to contact someone else? When I contact them will they be able to resolve it or will they also simply send me to someone else?
AT&T: They will transfer your call to Yahoo! as they will be able to remove these adds from your mail box, our voice agents have the tools to transfer your call to Yahoo!
Is there anything else I can help you with?
ME:Thank you for the information. one last thing...what hours and days are they available at that number?
AT&T: They are available 24x7 for you.
ME: thank you!

Okay so I call the number that the person gave me to reach AT&T by phone. It did not function. Instead of the phone ringing a mechanical voice speaks the number 200137114073669. I find and call a different number (877-469-7847). The person speaking has an heavy accent so I have to keep asking her to repeat, and also keeps calling me ma'am (gee, how'd I get this beard.LOL). She offers me a feedback page to use with a mile long URL to use, which did not work, so I walked through while talking and found it. She said I should leave my phone number there and when to call me, and they would. I did leave the feedback info and also told the girl that if I get no call back it won't fix the problem. She said that the entire matter is in yahoo's hands because they handle the email, not AT&T

I called a yahoo number that AT&T gave me of 408-349-1572. Person at yahoo said that AT&T pays the bill, so they have no control over anything. I told them that I had already spoken to AT&T. Yahoo told me that AT&T has to handle it with yahoo, and if I desired I could get a fiduciary.

All of the above took me about ninety minutes. I realize that I could follow through more, but do I really want to spend all this time when I pretty much have a feel that my end result will be fruitless. Problem is I see how this bring yahoo closer in someways to American on Line. There (one of the higher priced internet connections too by the way) just signing in to read you email, can get about half a dozen advertisements onto your browser. How nice.

Well that's my rant today. I may just cancel it all in the near future and look for something without ads. Of course, I still like much of the things that they do right. So no change for now. Not yet.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I do believe in spooks. I do! I do!

Took a day trip with my family up to Salem, Massachusetts. The drive down was good and the weather was favorable. It was sunny and warm after a long bout of clouds and rain.

We started our tour with the Salem Witch Museum. The large stone building with its Gothic arches more than hints that the building at one time was a church building. The show depicted with what I think were wax figures outlining the witch trial events in 1692. It was a decent show. Beyond the main area was another room with a display called "Witches: Evolving Perceptions" It showed witches as depicted through the media, and a time line comparing events in both pagan and Christian history. They also considered a 'formula' that caused the witch hunts as 'fear plus trigger equals scapegoat', and compared by this concept the witch hunts to the Japanese American internment after Pearl Harbor, the McCarthy Communism hearings, and the persecution of the gays at the start of the AIDS epidemic. They ended with a display (perhaps wax figures) depicting modern day Wicans in ceremonial dress. Their appearance was striking. The sound system projected as if they were speaking to us, and telling of themselves.

We saw the Salem Wax museum, which depicted Salem history with about 20 displays, mostly in one large room. It was a read along as you go kind of thing. It did not really hold my attention like the other place did, but they had a large statue indoors I believe it was called "The Towne Sisters". That was the most impressive sight there.

There were many shops along the streets, gift shops, candy shops, snack bars. We stopped in at several shops, a couple of them were candy stores, most were gift shops that gleamed with Wiccan themes.

As for the title of my this entry. You may remember this quote from the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz. I am not inferring that there was anything supernatural along my trip, and even if so, I doubt my reaction would be like one of that particular lion. I can say that I had this eerie feeling for two brief moments on the trip.

The first was when we approached the Old Burial Point along the north west point of it (if someone knows, I would love to know the history of who was buried there), I got this feeling of apprehension. We went into the graveyard, staying on the paths, we never approached that point, and that feeling was gone.

A second feeling of eeriness as we were walking on the side walks and passed a book store. The feeling never reoccurred after that, and the fact that I can't easily describe how I felt could simply mean it was anything from too much sun to that I was hungry. The most amusing thing is that the best word I can use to describe it is...creepy, not that there was any real impact of me, but it did add to the flavor of the trip. I'm sure if I would have gone into the House of Seven Gables there would not have been any bed warmers following me. **grin**

Overall, had a pretty good trip. I'd recommend if you have never been to Salem that you check it out sometimes if practical. I think you might enjoy it. I'm not lion.