Friday, 30 March 2007

Yahoo suck donkey balls

I've had it with Yahoo. They really do suck donkey balls. Why? Firstly they turned POP mail access into a "premium service", so people who want to access Yahoo's mail service have to use their proprietary, shitty (more on this later) web-browser-based interface, rather than a proper email program. This has forced me to use FetchYahoo ( ) for the past few years, but this tool is a really kludgy hack to get around Yahoo's obfuscation of users' mail, and thus works with varying degrees of success. FetchYahoo is also only useful to dump my Yahoo mail into a local spool, so I can't send emails from within an email program unless I use my Gmail account via SMTP.

Therefore I am often forced to use said shitty interface. I use 2 Yahoo accounts (and one Gmail account, because Google don't do any of this Yahoo crap), so I have to log out of one before I can get into the other. This seems fair enough for a crappy web-browser based interface, because after all email has nothing to do with a web browser and shouldn't be in there at all. What does annoy me though, is that when I click "Sign Out"..... My inbox refreshes. That's right, Yahoo don't let me log out! Yahoo also uses cookies to keep me signed in, so I have to close the browser tab, delete my Yahoo cookie, then reload the page just so I can log in another account.

Also Yahoo's web design sucks really badly. Take a look at this: I don't know about you, but I can't tell the difference between #ffffff and #ffffff very easily, so I think it's a bad idea to put white text on a white background.

Why do I use Yahoo email at all you might ask. Well, like most proprietary software, Yahoo's web-browser-based email interface used to operate quite well when I got it, ie. I used to use an email reader via POP and SMTP, but then once the manufacturer had all of my data under their control they locked it down to only their own proprietary storage system (most likely built on Free Software components might I add, since I know Yahoo run their servers on BSD and Apache, and most storage/database things these days are some kind of MySQL or PostgreSQL, with PHP and things used to tie it together). So they have my email, and I have told countless people, companies and websites over the years to contact me through Yahoo's third party service, so Yahoo will keep receiving my data no matter how many times I pull it off their servers with FetchYahoo.

How about mail forwarding, so it gets sent to my Gmail account? Well, that would be great, but that is also a "premium feature" now, and I am not giving tribute to the Yahoo corporation in order for temporary release of my chains. No, I'm going to get my Freedom by my own means.

Why does Google = Freedom? Well, it doesn't. But if Google ever start hoarding my data to force me to look at adverts (which I block most of anyway) then I will just get a low power computer like an OpenBrick and keep it online 24/7, use DynDNS to give it a constant name, then I can use my regular user's mail account instead of relying on someone else to look after my data (and hope they are not breaching my privacy by reading it).

PS: I have contacted Yahoo about their web-browser-based email interface looking like a pile of incredibly pale shit, but apparently my setup is "not supported", so it looks like yet another corporation is propping up Microsoft's monopoly without offering a simple plan B for those customers they discriminate against (ie. letting me access my email via POP)

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Woah, a long time since I posted! I thought I'd say what I've been up to and have in the works:

* It is currently the Easter break, so I am at home in busy-busy Sandbach

* I am going a bit crazy brainstorming ideas that the FSS can act on (we will hold a meeting soon after getting back to Sheffield)

* The latest assignment from my COM162 Java course is to simulate a pinball machine.... Well, I am currently going a little crazy with my Physics knowledge to create an elaborate, general purpose physics engine which I can then shove values in to make a pinball table (I actually hope to let it read some kind of XML syntax in the future, and thus define tables (or whatever else it is used for) easily). Since it is an assignment which is testing my ability to understand object oriented programming I must do this myself, but after its use in my course is over rest assured I will make it publicly available as Free Software

Oh, and it may be a little late, but go on:

Thursday, 1 March 2007

I have nothing to talk about

Just thought I'd update this since I haven't for quite a while. Well.... The Free Software Society is a go-go, we've got membership cards and everything! Harriet's making a bit of a website for it, so that should go live soon (at ). I will put together a humourous little history of Free Software, then show it off at our first meeting (after publicising the site, which has contact details) along with some admin like any new committee members (currently 3, the bare minimum) and ideas for nice projects to do. Currently I am thinking:
A Freedom Toaster
Free Wifi (maybe via Fon or something)
Storming local computer shops like a plague of locusts of biblical proportions, although armed with CDs and stands, and hopefully some kind of penguin suit (NightLine has one. Maybe we could borrow it...... [without the tshirt though]).
Helping local schools and charities by collecting and recycling older computers and getting rid of any crappy proprietary software on them to run LTSP and stuff (need some training here...)
Of course the FSS will also only officially distribute things in unencumbered formats, and communicate with unencumbered, freely documented standards (basically, MSN is a pile of crap, Jabber 4TW).

If you are reading this and you are in or near Sheffield then check the site linked above for updates and you'll be welcome to come along... Unless you are meant to be in prison at the time or something... Well.. I'm not signing you into the Student Union building......

PS: Oh yeah, also a big thank you to Loz for breaking the handle off the door in my corridor last night/this morning. What a silly dick.

PPS: It's in English!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! W00t!