Mimecast web site LOL

At work, I’ve been tasked with finding the best e-discovery software for an Office 365 environment. I found one document that shows Mimecast, Smarsh, and Proofpoint in Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant”.

Smarsh, my employer has looked at before, for mobile messaging.

Proofpoint, my employer currently uses, but for anti-spam / anti-virus and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) only.

Mimecast, I don’t know anything about. So I went to look at their web site.


Guess what doesn’t load worth crap if you have an ad-blocker?

uBlock Origins tells me it has blocked 53 ads and privacy invasion tracking bugs. And because of that the render of the web page is horrific.

Way to make a terrible first impression, guys.

Delta Airlines did the right thing

I just received an email that Delta is processing my refund. Good on them.

I had never minded Delta a company; at least up until they had told me they were issuing a credit, and AIG didn’t need to pay out because the credit was as good as the original trip. Every time I went to the BrainShare conference in Salt Lake City, I had flown Delta (SLC is a hub for them). It was always a nice flight, and the people seemed efficient and friendly. I’ve met some really nice passengers on flights to and from Salt Lake City.

After cancelling the flight and getting the email that I would need to file against my flight cancellation insurance policy, and then AIG saying the credit from Delta nullified the insurance; I was pretty unhappy. Although really, I was more unhappy with the insurance company AIG than I was with Delta.

Now, Delta has done the right thing. I like Delta again. 🙂

And now AIG is off the hook. I would kind of like to see Delta redeem the cancellation insurance policy that AIG got paid for; but since I paid for it, I doubt that the insurance is transferable to Delta.

Microsoft the abusive boyfriend rehashed

As I mentioned before, I intensely disliked Microsoft under Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. That post was a record of six times that Microsoft shipped code to fuck over you and me, if you were a customer of particular Microsoft partners. I should have included IBM OS/2, which was another case way back when.

Actually, since then another one popped up. Microsoft shipped code to all their partners for quality assurance testing – everything worked fine – and then at the last minute, they made a change and shipped. The monthly updates then happened to “accidentally” wipe out the user’s ZENworks configuration, with less than one week’s notice.

But I want to go back and rehash the underlying problem.

Microsoft won.

It won by beating your daughter for looking at another guy.

What type of morality did Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer maintain, that it was acceptable to them to ship code that deliberately fucks over their customers who happen to also be customers of other companies?

Some of those companies were actual partners, too. I remember hearing management at Novell saying “When it comes down to it, we are a Windows software publisher.” The bulk of their products were MS Windows applications and the systems to wrangle them.

That Microsoft would backstab it’s partners was my point about LIM EMS. LIM = Lotus, Intel, Microsoft. EMS = Expanded Memory Specification. The original PC’s had very real memory limitations. There was a desperate need for machines to have more memory, and for programmers to be able to access it. So Lotus Development got together with Intel and Microsoft, and they hashed out a spec that programmers could use. They published the spec. Programmers (including the programmers at Lotus) started writing to the spec.

Suddenly, your spreadsheet could have more than 80 rows and 10 columns.

If you were doing a lot of “what if” calculations back then, the memory constraints that 640 KB imposed on you were huge. Everyone needed this problem solved, if the Personal Computer wasn’t going to remain an expensive toy.

The Personal Computer went from a toy to a useful tool. Everyone won. Intel sold more chips, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, PC’s Limited (later became Dell), Gateway 2000 – they all sold computers, and Microsoft sold a license to DOS with every one of them. Lotus sold a copy of 1-2-3 to 90% of the PC buyers, because that was the point.

Sure, the “what if” calculations had been done for decades: by hand. It was a miserable process. Suddenly, “what if?” was done in minutes, and then seconds, and then milliseconds!

Maybe I need a $5,000 loan, and the bank will let me borrow and pay it back over 60 months at a 10.5% interest. What if I can come up with $300 so I only need to borrow $4,700, and, pay it back over 63 months instead? Do I save money? What does the monthly payment look like?

What about paying $4,700 back over 60 months, but paying an 11% rate? Do I save money? What does the monthly payment look like?

By hand, the formula is Principle + Interest – Payment => Balance. The next row’s Principle is the previous row’s Balance. A five year loan is “only” 60 rows. A 30 year mortgage is 360 rows. How much did it cost you? Sum the Interest column. Yes, you can do it by hand. But it is drudge work.

Lotus 1-2-3 made number crunching magic happen. Microsoft benefited from vastly expanded PC sales.

And then Microsoft saw you spending money with Lotus. You’re looking at another guy, and, spending money with him.

Time to pick a fight, beat your face, and strangle your neck. Or in Microsoft’s case, change the rules by shipping changed code and (surprise!) crashing your program.

“But, baby, I wouldn’t have to beat you up if you didn’t spend with other guys! I love you so much! It’s your fault that I care so much.”

Or, cutting away the bullshit, Microsoft was evil. Harming it’s customers so that it could destroy it’s competing partners was always on the table.

And eventually, Microsoft won. Or are you still using Lotus 1-2-3 today? OS/2? WordPerfect? NetWare?

Firefox Multi-Account Containers suck – but they could have been great

All I want is for Firefox Multi-Account Containers is to work as I think a normal person would expect them to. And they don’t.

  1. Pick a web site out of my LastPass vault
  2. Launch the web site, and Firefox Multi-Account Containers should create the new tab based on the domain of the launched URL.

Doesn’t work. The new tab is not in the right container. It is in yet another new empty container. This makes the secure site I’m trying to log in to think I’m at a public kiosk.

  1. Use Firefox Multi-Account Containers to open the container for that web site. I get a new tab with an empty URL and page.
  2. Paste the correct URL into this new tab.
  3. Firefox Multi-Account Containers now moves me into a yet another new empty container.

If I delete the old saved container, I can create a new one from the current container. But it won’t last. Next week (or some random restart of Firefox later) it will be broken again.

Gripe Number 2

I have a forum I’d like to keep up with. It’s login is on one domain. Let’s say www.example.com (and I should point out that if I try to go to just example.com, it redirects me to the login page at www.example.com

Once I get logged in, it transfers me discourse.example.com

Guess what doesn’t work with Firefox Multi-Account Containers?

The repository for Firefox Multi-Account Containers has sub-domain support as a requested feature (and has for a couple years now), but the developer thinks that this is out of scope. The developer says the two are (supposed to be) two different servers, therefore the containers should keep them isolated.

I just want this stuff to work. Sucks to be me, trying out these ideas that seem like a good idea but then don’t work.

The idea behind Firefox Multi-Account Containers is great. Truly great: start any random new tab as if it were opened in a brand new browser with zero cookies, zero history, zero data for tracking you. It’s a little version of Private Browsing but in just this one tab. Close the tab, and all the tracking gunk vanishes.

What if you don’t want the cookies and history and such to go away? You assign the tab to have a name and permanence. Next time you visit the web site, Firefox asks “Always open in the named container?” Yes, please.

Because it is a separate tab, it doesn’t have the Facebook cookie in it, or the Google cookie, or the Gravatar cookie in it. It’s just it’s own little self contained browser, in a named tab. It’s a great idea. The Reddit stuff stays in the Reddit container, the Ars Technica stuff stays in the Ars Technica container; ditto Phoronix, Techdirt, qwantz.com, Facebook, Newsweek, – you get the idea. If I have multiple Reddit tabs open, they all share the same container space. But the Ars Technica tab doesn’t get to look to see if there is something juicy in the Reddit container. Ars Technica gets to look in it’s own container only.

However, implementation is narrowly tied to host.domain.tld and cannot grasp that everything under domain.tld should be in the same container.

That’s a working-as-badly-designed choice. But I’m not about to learn the C programming language and start fixing someone else’s code.

And of course, there’s the fact that it keeps breaking. That is sub-optimal, too.

Booking.com and Red Roof Inn Dearborn Michigan did the right thing

I screwed up. I had put in my cancellation on my airline flight during my lunch break months ago, but was running late. I couldn’t find the email for the hotel. Turns out it was because it was with Booking.com instead of my legacy booking site. And then life got distracting, and I forgot that I needed to deal with this.

The morning that I was supposed to check in, I got a reminder email. D’oh!

I called them up, and explained that I needed to cancel, and yes it was my fault. I fully understand that they deserve their cancellation fee. The Booking.com agent also asked that I telephone Red Roof Inn, Dearborn, and let them know I wouldn’t make it. I did.

They refunded me in full. That was very gracious of them. I am thankful. Although I doubt that I will ever have a need to go to Detroit for the rest of my life, if I were to go, I absolutely would book again with Booking.com and the Red Roof Inn, Dearborn.

The other thing the whole thing reminds me of, is that Search in Mozilla Thunderbird is really poor. I’m spoiled, of course, because in my work life, the email system I run has an excellent indexer + search. Rather than be a failure and cause these people the headache of having to refund (and waiving the cancellation fee), I would rather have found the right email and gotten the cancellation done in a timely manner.

(UPDATE: Delta eventually did the right thing)Airline travel insurance is a scam – we should never have bailed out AIG

Important follow up to this post.

I had bought a ticket to Detroit back in September, and I did buy travel insurance. The insurance company, AIG, played me for a sucker. That is a lesson learned.

The event I was going to attend was cancelled due to the pandemic. This is pretty much the definition of unforeseen event I had no power over; or in other words, the reason one buys insurance.

AIG however, is saying that Delta has offered me a credit to use in the near future, therefore I have not suffered a loss, so go kick rocks, stupid.

The event was cancelled, and it is only held once every five years. The next one won’t be in Detroit, either.

I have zero plans to fly anywhere in the next, well, ever. I mean, it could happen. The last time I flew, it was to attend a funeral. So maybe if someone in my circle of friends gets deathly ill, I’ll need to fly. But those are anti-plans.

The deceit AIG and Delta are implementing here is that a flight to anywhere is as valuable as a flight to a specific place at specific dates – which I am now denied the opportunity to, because of things beyond my control. I cannot wave a magic wand and recreate this event some time in the future.

I’m just out the money. Salt in the wound is that I stupidly paid an additional fee for insurance for the flight.

It was a mistake to bail out “too big to fail AIG”. I hope when it comes time to bail out Delta, we refuse that. And if AIG can suffer some amazing losses, that would make me smile too. Certainly I will try to never be a customer of either of them, ever, in the future.