marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

So - and I have to mention this for old time's sake, because I do - AOL's (fairly) new parent company, Verizon, is dissolving Yahoo as we know it and changing the name on what will remain after the company's gone (mostly investments) to Altaba, which I thought, at first glance, was some strange portmanteau of AOL and Alibaba, but the truth's worse: the name's a portmanteau of "alternative" and Alibaba.

Yep...Alternative Alibaba! Just rolls right off the tongue!

Now that it's known Yahoo was hacked not once but twice over the last few years - to the tune of 1 billion compromised accounts the first time, though just a mere half billion the second time - Verizon's dealing with warmth-challenged feet. Does this give you feels? Yeah, me neither.

So goodbye Marissa, maybe go back to Google where they know how to either contain or eliminate the damage you cause. I actually kind of liked Yahoo! before she got there. She's done so many things to destroy morale and to make end-user experience so bad that I can't even.

First she allowed the user interface to be back-filled with so many scripts, ads, popovers and other trash that on slower computers the online email was unusable. It would freeze, emails would fail to load when opened, popovers telling me what to do would fill my screen, and there really was too much purple and too many garish little icons and emoticons strewn all over the screen.

The interface became something it never was before: an unusable mess. And I only say "was" because a few years before learning of the hacks, I deleted every Yahoo! account I had (probably about three). I didn't delete my accounts in time to avoid being hacked, only in time to find out I'd deleted them too late.

Secondly, she treated Yahoo's security like an afterthought. This is why we were hacked (in some cases thrice counting this 2012 hack): she didn't care. This is why we never reset our passwords: she feared losing us over it. Someone who cut her teeth at a company that takes security seriously (one of the few things I'll give Google mad props for) shrugged off her own security team's concerns.

The arrogance - and the ignorance - are pretty spellbinding.

On a more personal note, there was a time (mid-aughts) where maybe a lot of us thought being a closet feminist or announcing we were not feminist was, like, the best idea. No doubt many of us noticed online men didn't like the online wimins so much, so we tried to accommodate the male predilection to dislike us and to fight the "feminazi" label we got pretty much just for logging on by claiming we were post or anti-feminism. I went through some of this.

I might have even believed renouncing feminism solved the whole problem. In a more ideal, femme-friendly world, of course we could afford to be past it. But it's like any ground an opponent tries to wrest away: if you give it up voluntarily, you might not be getting it back. In light of fracases like GamerGate and some say it's direct result: the misogynistic and hate-filled candidacy and election of Donald Trump, one could argue this might be true.

Luckily, I claimed (or reclaimed) the right to bask in my own feminism years before GamerGate happened or Trump ran for office. I can only wish more of us did before any of that occurred.

People who were not helpful on this front included Marissa Mayer, who many of us looked to for a good example of, well, anything, as she was one of the few women perched atop the daily operations of one of the most powerful companies in the world. Back when I was all, "Oh feminism, who needs it" she used to say she didn't consider herself a feminist.

I used to think this was the greatest line. The last few years I've come to re-think that, because firstly, it's impossible to say if it's true that misogyny never harmed her (she claimed she never noticed she was the only woman in science or math classes, for example, seeming to imply her gender didn't affect her).

More importantly, I don't think she can say if it affected her. For example, it could have cost her opportunities she was never presented with because she was a woman. I'm not saying she asked for such opportunities, only that she might have wanted them if they were put on the table, but perhaps they never were merely because of her gender. How can you speak to something no one would willingly admit to?

But none of this is to diss Marissa, only to point out where she's most visibly lacked. To her credit, she's smart and has permanently affected a lot of my web design choices; it's the one area where I think she shines in a really pure, unfettered fashion. But holy smokes, she could look at listening more to others (including feminists) before she speaks and before she fails to act in the best interests of users, which wound up screwing so many of us on Yahoo.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

I have to admit I've wanted to close all my Yahoo email accounts since I started using Outlook.com some months back for some of my private email (by private I mean "not associated with this name" and by some I mean "never keep all your eggs in one basket" - unfortunately I've taken that advice far too literally, until I have somewhere between 10-15 "baskets", which sometimes drives me nuts).

Outlook.com has a clean, snazzy, jazzy, flat (I am sooooo into flat!) dark blue and white design with a lightning fast interface that does many things; it unsubscribes from unwanted email with just one click of a link you'll find at the bottom of each unwanted email, then deletes all email from those senders, it creates folders without you asking it to (to corral things like UPS tracking numbers), it filters junk intelligently enough to know that you didn't mean to subscribe to eight newsletters in one day - even if you really did - and to put extraneous email from those senders into the Junk folder, which will randomly remind you to unsubscribe from those senders to get their email out of your Inbox.

Outlook mail is intelligent and gorgeous and glide-y and swoopy like a Windows phone screen (did I mention it's flat? It makes GMail's baroque interface look a thousand years old and makes even Yahoo's latest inbox designs look so trashy and cheap and hard to use - take that Marissa). I fucking love it, love it, love it, the way I love...well, come to think of it, I love nothing else online, except maybe amazon.com, which I also fucking love, with so little reservation right now.

Another neat thing: any Microsoft email address you've ever had works with it. Your old MSN email addy? Works with it. Hotmail? Works with it. They all just work.

While I'm on the topic of Microsoft, Windows 7 is still the best operating system Windows has had out since XP (but XP's still better - it's simpler, more extensible, much more easily modifiable and it uses less hardware and system resources - hell, it even runs well on crappy billion-year-old hardware like my fiance's antiquish Dell laptop from the early 2000s, which is hard to beat). But like most Windows people, even I cannot figure out how to simply use (and by use I mean "find shit on") Windows 8.

Then again, my practice has been limited to using it on the shiny new rigs I've seen at Staples and Best Buy (yeah, I know, go me). I'm sure it's not hard once some WiseGeek type explains how to do it on the website he'll have to build and run just to explain it to the rest of us or else once you download the 12,000 page PDF MS surely offers on the topic. There must be something on how to find the fucking Start Menu! (Seriously, just google it; I'm sure plenty of resources that I just haven't felt like looking into are already out there).

I'm also sure, after my brief store test runs, that not only is Win8 unintuitive, but that the word "intuitive" never enters the equation, at least not for your average Windows user. It looks like a training-required/practice-makes-perfect hell of its own. But I will learn because it seems kind of XP-like to me under the hood, at least from the things I've read about it, so I do want to learn more (I'm also fascinated - and utterly repelled - by the NSA backdoor; I could hardly mention Win8 without bringing that up, too, in all fairness).

And Internet Explorer? Yes, of course I've installed IE11; that might've been the same day it came out. And of course I still think it sucks. Nothing will ever suck as bad as IE7 and IE8 but it's got issues. Still in love with font kerning, though. And the fact that MS has finally gotten around to supporting rotation (check my user icon in any modern browser besides IE to see that one simple thing in action) is enough to make me almost swoon.