No IT angle
Because "hotmail" is not serious: it is some sort of toy system aimed at teenagers, isn't it?
A growing number of Hotmail users are unable to access their email accounts. Complaints from Hotmailers have been piling up in Microsoft's Windows Live support portal since at least January 3. It's not just the cheapo, freebie version used by millions of Hotmail fans that's in trouble. Those forking out $19.95 a year for …
It's not like Microsoft is going to run Hotmail on a *nix platform, so this must be monthly patching. For realz:
"Someone please explain to me why ever few weeks I [sic] unable to log into my email for hours ad a time?????????????? The [sic] crap gets old."
Our Exchange users - the ones that for some reason had to be in their mailfile at 2 AM Sunday morning, back before you could force offline/cached mode by policy, back before Exchange got real redundancy - used to make the same complaints :D
@ AC Thursday 6th January 2011 01:17 GMT
Please expand on what you said as the way you left it you sound like a troll.
99.999% of people will be end users. From experience, and also of my friends/family, I cannot recall any problems with using GMail. There has been no downtime for us, no disappearing emails, no blocked accounts ... nothing. Everything just works. This is what end users want.
So, please expand on what you mean because you are indicating there are massive problems with GMail when my experience begs to differ.
If you value your privacy or the privacy of those you correspond with. Gmail examines every aspect of your mail to provide "targeted advertising" to you and your correspondents Some people don't care but others (like me) would prefer not to be advertised to every time we send or receive an email, "targeted" or not.
I only use hotmail under its "Windows Live" alias through Outlook Connector so any advertising on the web page doesn't make it past the Connector. I also don't THINK (I could be wrong) Microsoft sifts all mail headers and content like Google.
Even if they do, I only use that address for my "throw-away" address to be used when signing up for some service or other. My real mail accounts are on a shared server running OpenBSD and where I have my own little partition (probably in a BSD "jail").
Bully for the above. So you get no ads (yes we can all do that) you think it does away with the privacy issue if you use GMail? They don't need scripts to profile you. Thy have the e-mail data stored.
Talk about tunnel vision.
Yes I use Gmail. No I don't care that they do this. Important mails go through a mail server I run but Gmail is convenient for a lot of other things.
kissingthecarpet claims not to have known GMail contains ads due to ad-blocking - although I suspect that's poetic licence, since anything to do with Google has ads, and lots of them, because Google is first and foremost an advertising company.
Still, my attitude is that GMail is just as secure as any other email service, which is to say not secure at all. The simplest answer to email security is never to send anything sensitive via email: treat email as a handy way to publish information to the public domain. The next-best answer is to use as many layers of encryption as you can; but if, like me, you couldn't tell an encryption hash from an aubergine, it's worth being wary of the false sense of security that encryption brings.
"Some people don't care but others (like me) would prefer not to be advertised to every time we send or receive an email, "targeted" or not.
I only use hotmail under its "Windows Live" alias through Outlook Connector so any advertising on the web page doesn't make it past the Connector."
GMail's ads are only shown to me (and then also only when I use the web interface).
AFAIK, Hotmail append an ad to every outgoing mail, bothering the recipients, who haven't signed up for Hotmail.
Which is worse?
Even without Ad blockers there are virtually no Ads on Gmail, just a teeny tiny text banner above the archive, report spam etc buttons.
And if you cared about privacy you wouldn't use email. Full Stop.
emails are sent in plain text using the SMTP protocol... anyone in the middle, (Network Admins, Proxy Admins, ISPs, Government, spooks, gremlins, the boogy man etc) can capture your email and read it without any effort whatsoever.
And if you think Microsoft don't read your email you are kidding yourself.
Google may primarily be an advertising company, but I can honestly say, hand on heart that no google ad has ever pissed me off by taking up too much screen space, flashing, spinning or causing popups/popunders etc. etc. Go onto Hotmail, and all you can see is bloody gaudy flashy adverts everywhere - yuck.
If you want your emails to be private then you'd better set up your own mail server and start encrypting and digitally signing all your emails - of course you won't be able to send them to anyone as they won't know how to decrypt them.
While end user types will produce a load of dung aromatic responses "you get what you pay for" " what do you expect from micro$hit" etc
Those of us actually responsible for maintaining, testing and such are actually interested.
Microsoft does not (as a rule) employ idiots to maintain it's systems. So what went wrong ?
the Google spanning outages from a year or two back. It's not like anyone other than Microsoft hosts Hotmail in their environment and issues like this are almost always platform/infrastructure specific. I'm not sure anyone outside of Microsoft even knows what exact software back-ends that system. As such, I would probably categorize everyone other than the Microsoft employees supporting Hotmail as "an end user".
If this outage was on BPOS with Exchange hosting the mail then it would be nice to know at a more detailed level... sure.
The mainstream media seem entranced by the cloud, yet almost every day we hear tales of woe - mail disappearing, login issues, security failures, and accompanying each one is the angst of not being able to find out what is actually going on, where you data is, who's responsible and if and when things will be better.
Yet in every home and office we have computers with crazy amounts of processing, storage and bandwidth going spare, that could handle the tasks with ease, and for a similar cost. (Yes, for email Exchange isn't cheap, but there are plenty of alternatives that are). The cloud is fine for things that don't really matter - random chats with friends, streaming timeshifted video etc - but your own data is more valuable.
How many more incidents will it take before we wake up and realise that our data belongs at home, where it's subject to our control, our laws, and our backup policies? But I fear if you're reading here, you're already aware of this - we should be reaching out to less technical forums and raising awareness amongst the general public before too many more become victims of this fad.
"How many more incidents will it take before we wake up and realise that our data belongs at home, where it's subject to our control, our laws, and our backup policies?"
I never fell asleep. I did believe, do believe and will continue to believe that the cloud is no place for data of any kind of importance. It is useful for the kind of data that if one inadvertently formatted a hard drive containing such data, one would utter, ho hum never mind.
Even if such systems were 100% secure, 100% reliable and 100% available they are still operated by humans and humans in general are none of the above.
I agree with you, the general public need to be aware of exactly what they are risking when using such services. I don't use any of these services, but I can guess the T&C's admonish the providers of any liability of any kind whatsoever whatever goes wrong, and I presume the T&C's also provide no guarantee of service level or that the service is fit for purpose... A bit like the MS EULA.
Everything web seems to get bundled under "the cloud" as if its one mega server sitting somewhere, the reality is you get what you pay for when it comes to the issues of security that you raise.
You buy into a SaaS platform which is the primary business of a provider its got to both work and be secure for that company to survive.
On the flipside, a free or near free service like Hotmail which is not exactly Microsofts core business is not going to be operated in the same manner.
It also comes down to scale, you need a lot of infrastructure to run these "free" services so are the providers likely to use the best kit and methods? Whereas a company dependent on SaaS clients paying subs isnt going to last if it doesnt.
Onsite data storage has its pitfalls as well, I work for a company that used to sell installed software and went cloudy in 2005, our market place (fitness, yoga, pilates) are not renowned for IT skills and pre 2005 the data loss and other issues associated with local data storage was a real problem. Since we went SaaS this has made a huge difference as clients cannot lose data and they can break computers or have them stolen and simply go back online with a new box and its all ok.
No it isn't.
Regardless of what you pay, you are delegating control over your data to another entity. Their obligation is primarily to their shareholders, not yours. If they decide your continued custom is not in their best interest, you'll need to migrate elsewhere (assuming they haven't pre-emptively gone out of business whilst holding your data, which is mildy embarrassing)
Cloud infrastructure is all about 'scale', yet unless you are running something like Facebook, that's not the main issue. Data integrity, resilience and security should be of more concern, and the infrastructure behind pure 'scale' is, as these incidents prove time and time again, not appropriate to that challenge.
Onsite data storage does indeed have its pitfalls, but they are well known, and solutions are widely available. And remote management tools make it easy for suppliers to IT-illiterate market sectors to keep them running for them.
I'd go so far as to say that any IT provider that goes around recommending their clients use the cloud for core data is risking not only their clients' survival but their own.
Or is it just the classic sysadmin knee jerk job saving reaction?
Lumping any and all web based provisions under one banner is nothing short of basic ignorance really.
A SaaS provider can only prosper as a business if data security and integrity is its number one core value.
If you think that what hotmail offers is the same as a subscriber based Software as a Service platform you really need to get out more.
Hotmail is free and not MS core business so customers can suck up a 4 day outage, if Hotmail was MS core business do you think you would see the same?
"Onsite data storage does indeed have its pitfalls, but they are well known, and solutions are widely available. And remote management tools make it easy for suppliers to IT-illiterate market sectors to keep them running for them."
So the IT illiterate are going to pay for secondary and tertiary backup and failover, fire retardation, generators plus an outsourced IT company to keep the server running. Lets hope those IT illiterate companies have enough turnover for all that otherwise they are screwed!
For a lot of companies it comes down to economics as well, pay us $70 per month to get more than above or pay what for the above in your world?
"Did you actuallty read what I posted? Or is it just the classic sysadmin knee jerk job saving reaction?"
You may have been talking to one of the others, who seem to be more techie than I am; but in the event you posted this in response to me (it's difficult to tell with the Reg's forum layout, unless you actually address someone or quote some text), yes, I did read what you posted.
If you were speaking to me, it seems unlikely that you really read mine, though: I think my first post above about the cloud was pretty clear I was talking about managing files from a user's point of view; so your remark about 'classic sysadmin knee jerk job saving' is irrelevant to me. Your comments may otherwise have been informed and well-founded, but you (assuming you're the AC who objected to my mention of trusting files to a memory stick) seem to have focused on something I wasn't really talking about. What I *was* talking about was the supposed advantage of storing files in the cloud: namely that you can access them from anywhere.
My point then was that, if I wanted to access important files from somewhere else. I'd sooner carry them around and entrust them to *my* safekeeping than fling them out into the Internet somewhere and hope that some total stranger can keep them safe and secure. My safekeeping doesn't mean they're 100% safe, of course; but at least I know exactly what I've done to protect them, and bear sole responsibility if I fail.
Needless to say, if you weren't talking to me, then feel free to ignore the above.
The whole thing just seems bizarre to me. When, a couple of years back, there was all the talk of how everything would be done via The Cloud - you'd even run your applications remotely from a desktop computer rendered nothing more than a network terminal, and save all your work somewhere 'out there' - I genuinely couldn't understand why anyone anywhere would think this was a good thing.
The only advantage I can see is the ability to access your files from anywhere - but considering the complete surrender of control that it represents I can't see how it weighs favourably against simply using a memory stick to carry the files with you.
I'm even being asked if I want to save my Civilization V games in The Cloud. Well, no. No, I don't. Why would I? I want them here where I can get to them regardless of the state of the Internet. And that's just a game. The notion of storing anything of any actual importance in some nebulous (hohosorry) online realm does great boggling to the mind.
You'd rather entrust your entire storage to something you can fit in your pocket, and accidentally run through the washing machine? Or accidentally drop as you pull out your wallet to pay for that tall-skinny-soyaccino, or drop, or break, or step on?
Same goes for storing all your stuff on your own server at home; stuff breaks, gets lost, gets swiped while you're on holiday. If you're storing it and backing it up you're responsible for making sure that always happens. For most people, this means it doesn't, or it does for a bit and, when they have to USE their backup, they find it was last updated in '08 and they can't find the restore disk in any case...
Now, if you have stuff stored with a reputable, reliable cloud service* it'll be mirrored and backed up and failover'd in ways most in-house folks dream about, and all part of the service. Know why? 'Cos of economies of scale and 'cos that's what these cloud service providers' reputations are based on. It's like how expensive and difficult it'd be to set up a Bank-of-England-style vault in your own basement to store your own stuff, compared with renting a safety deposit box in the bank's vault.
Hotmail failures sound bad, sure, but no serious, competent cloud practitioner would advise anyone to use Hotmail. Come back to me when one of the "proper" cloud services break like this and we'll talk. Oh, but be prepared to list any in-house service which has served an equivalent number of users with comparable reliability for a comparable time as well. Shouldn't be hard; the list will be very short. Vanishingly small, in fact.
* Not microsoft. Sorry, but they're not serious players in this field. And yes, you'll probably have to pay a subscription for the really good ones...
"You'd rather entrust your entire storage to something you can fit in your pocket, and accidentally run through the washing machine?"
I'm not sure why you equate managing your own data with putting it on a USB stick. I agree that's also ill-advised.
And whilst taking data and control in-house brings the onus of responsibility, it's quite acceptable to take on external expertise to help manage it professionally. Whilst they are (like the cloud) third-parties, the difference from the cloud is that you retain control, you know who they are, and where your data is. And if they go out of business they can be more easily replaced.
I'd take up your challenge of listing services "with an equivalent number of users..." if that had any relevance - as I said in the OP the scale aspect of the cloud simply doesn't matter for most people. And reliable resilient solutions for smaller amounts of data are too numerous to list.
"...I can't see how it weighs favourably against simply using a memory stick to carry the files with you."
...and I assumed his memory stick would have a USB connector for maximum portability.
Anyway, I actually agree in some cases; cloud storage / collaboration / whatever isn't a panacea; in many cases there are good reasons for storing/processing it yourself, but it doesn't make sense to simply dismiss cloud solutions for "security" or "reliability" concerns because in many, many cases the ability to answer those security and reliability concerns is actually enhanced with a cloud service.
Depends on the concerns, the individual requirements and the service in question. But doesn't everything?
"You'd rather entrust your entire storage..."
Where'd you get that from? I'm talking about the one advantage I see in cloud storage - namely, you can access the files from anywhere (yippee) - and I'm pointing out that there are other ways to organise that without having to trust your data (note: does not indicate 'your entire storage') to someone else.
"... to something you can fit in your pocket, and accidentally run through the washing machine? Or accidentally drop as you pull out your wallet to pay for that tall-skinny-soyaccino, or drop, or break, or step on?"
As opposed to pass potentially sensitive information to someone I don't know from Adam/Eve? Hell, yes. Look:
"... accidentally run through the washing machine ..."
Either the data's destroyed - in which case security is no longer a problem and I restore from a backup, or it's not, in which case it's a non-issue.
"... accidentally drop as you pull out your wallet to pay for that tall-skinny-soyaccino ..."
I don't drink that sort of thing, but in principle yes: any data I'm carrying about is encrypted sufficiently that it should be tricky to unlock by a casual finder. The risk of it being found by someone who both is remotely interested in it *and* has the skills and time to decrypt it is likely no greater than the risk of someone intercepting it on its way to cloud or, for that matter, as you've pointed out, nicking the server.
"... or drop, or break, or step on ..."
See above re the washing machine.
"If you're storing it and backing it up you're responsible for making sure that always happens. For most people, this means it doesn't"
For me, it either happens, or I bear the responsibility for it not doing - which is rather different from finding it's been exposed or lost by someone else.
.. before MS bought it. Then (like everything they touch) it turned to "shite". Shortly after MS bought Hotmail (in 1998) I bailed in favor of the yahoo account I've been using with almost no trouble for many years since then.
One wonders if the reason MS bought Hotmail, instead of building their own, is because they could'nt figure out how to make a webmail portal. There was even the time they forgot to pay the domain renewal for "hotmail.com". Great management there!
A significant portion of the time when I email someone with a Hotmail account it takes around 9 + hours to reach them. THAT is a sign that something is VERY wrong. Gmail, Yahoo, or even GoDaddy's crap servers perform far better.
Does MS use Exchange to run hotmail?! That would explain a lot.
Because they do everything on the wonk and if you ask them "can you fix Hotmail so that I can log in" what they actually hear is "you need to hire some more Ketamine addicts to redesign the interface again"
Trust me they won't fix it, they'll just come out with some dumb new feature like "now you can log in with your webcam using facial recognition" which will log you into any random account except yours.
I gave up with Hotmail and all its problems a while ago.
Emails coming from my account despite loads of password changes and no tie-ins with sites were the last straw. It seems like M$ really don't know what they're doing with their own mail platform.
I now host my own email server [as well as hosting others on it] and no problems. And that is also on Exchange!
M$ - You need to have proper dedicated teams for hotmail. Both front and back end. And get it sorted fast. You can't advertise exchange if you can't even sort it out yourself.
with the best will in the world, and as someone who *doesn't* actually believe that Microsoft employ cackling idiot-villains in an attempt to submerge the world in a quagmire of deliberately faulty software(*), I still can't see the point of paying twenty dollars for a Hotmail address. Hotmail, like Yahoo! Mail, like GMail, like Hushmail, and the like, seems more suited for casual, easily-disposable email addresses.
I may be wrong, but I don't know of any ISP that doesn't provide at least a handful of email addresses to its subscribers, so I'd imagine they're the best option for serious personal email where a higher standard of reliability is called for - and you're already paying for them. And anyone running a business, and who wants that business to be taken seriously, I'd expect to have registered their own domain and have an email service running out of that. (The number of times I see local companies - even quite large ones - using free email providers and giving only mobile phone numbers is amazing. I always wonder what impression they *think* they're giving.)
(* I'm also not convinced that Linux is the flawlessly flawless holy OS of the gods, but it may be just me.)
Kinda agree, but I wonder if people use webmail services like hotmail so they can get at email when not at home, or if they don't have access at home and only use a work computer / library / internet cafe etc. While they're ok and functional, the ISP webmail interfaces I've seen aren't as polished as even hotmail.
Also there is the problem of email portability. You can change ISP without changing a webmail address, but try porting an address like firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com.
Myself? I have my own domain that runs email forwarding to POP3 at home, and to Gmail for access when away from home and also on my Android handset. It means I can move ISP and Webmail provider as I please without changing email address. As always YMMV!
" ... with the best will in the world, and as someone who *doesn't* actually believe that Microsoft employ cackling idiot-villains in an attempt to submerge the world in a quagmire of deliberately faulty software(*), ... "
Wasn't this tried by Jonathan Pryce in one of the Bond movies?
I use hotmail for crap I sign up to. Unfortunately, if they send the required confirmation mail/password via hotmail it can sometimes be lost - 100% true of any phpBB forums or similar I've signed up to, which is a tad annoying.
Gmail just pwns it all, and you just switch on pop3/imap access and you don't need to concern yourself with seeing any google ads. Anything more important or private, I'd stick to a person domain or ISP based one anyway.
The sanity of anyone choosing to pay for hotmail would have to be questioned. However, sometimes Microsoft tries to take that choice away, as my sister found out when her mailbox got too large, and Microsoft demanded she move to the paid for version to continue to access it. Luckily sense prevailed, she refused and went over to yahoo.
I'm not paying much more than that for a hosted account with tuffmail, and I've not had a single glitch in the 3 odd years I've been with them.
That said, I never really used a free email account as anything more than a novelty. Given that hotmail has been kicking about for some 14 years, it's quite feasible that hotmail has been some individual's primary address since they first found out about the internets, which might make the paid for service half attractive.
Oh, please - it's all automated keyword extraction. Message is parsed, keywords are extracted and matched against ads in the database, a couple are selected and shown and that's it. Extracted keywords may be stored alongside the email for future reuse, though most emails get opened only once, so usefulness of that is questionable. There's nothing special or sinister about that, it's all automated.
The point is, if you trust Google with storing emails themselves, it is plain silly to complain that they run some automated processing on it.
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