Monday, March 30, 2009

The Problem With Email

For the last five days or so, I've been having trouble with AOL's webmail, the email client I use to avoid booting the AOL software. There are two versions of it, both of which load inside my Firefox browser, both of which are buggy. The new interface on the bells and whistles version now offers backgrounds, and I have mine set as a starfield, which is nice. You know what would be nicer? Being able to open my email!

I mean it. There have been many emails lately that I click on, only to get one of several error messages. The email is "not found" or "can't be opened," or an unspecified error occurs that causes the whole client to reboot. Usually this happens with emails I actually need to open, as opposed to the automated junk. This is email from friends, or the next Auditing assignment, or the church bulletin for me to adapt announcements from to post to the church's news blog.

There are also minor problems, such as not being able to place photos in the email in one version of the email client, and no ready means to insert or remove hyperlinks. There isn't even a button or menu item or key command for the latter. How backward is that? I have to create the formatted text elsewhere, and then paste it in.

Sunday I had several important-looking emails, none of which I could open. In desperation, I did something I hadn't done since sometime last year: I opened Windows Mail, the Vista equivalent of Outlook. After the obligatory error messages I get there too, the software set about catching up on many months' worth of email from AOL. It took about an hour, but at least I was able to read my mail at the end of it.

Now, I've ranted this rant before, I'm sure. And I know there are alternatives. People seem to like Gmail, and after all I've already got significant ties with Google due to my blogs and webmaster tools and the fact that I prefer it for search. I also already have email on, which is hosted by Yahoo. But that one has other annoyances, mainly the huge daily influx of the most egregious forms of spam, some of which escape the spam filter. And I've had AOL as my email address since 1992 or early 1993, first with kfbofpql and later ignoring that in favor of the mavarin screen name. Despite my many issues with AOL, I find it difficult to sever this last link, especially as it means changing my email address with banks and bills and friends and other websites.

But I think, maybe, I'm just about fed up enough to do it.



Astaryth said...

I feel your pain! Nice to know others are having the same problems. One thing that sometimes works for me is closing firefox and cleaning the cache. I have a gmail account, but, like you, many people (and businesses and newsletters) have the aol address. Sigh!

Shelly said...

Why not start using gmail and keep the AOL for a while, and see how it goes. Then, if you prefer gmail, make the switch. That's how I did it. I used gmail for all new contacts and a few close friends. I used it to sign up for Google alerts and comics and such. And after a few months, I told everyone else to switch my addy to the gmail account because I was dropping the ShellyS555 aol account. I've never regretted the decision.

I still have an AIM name, but I use it within GTalk.

barrettmanor said...

Shelly has a good idea. Does AOL allow you to forward mail to a new address? If so, just forward it to your gmail account, and that'll help you make the transition.