BlackBerry: The Alternative – None

BlackberryCurve

“With no solution available and in the public interest … Blackberry Messenger, Blackberry E-mail and Blackberry Web-browsing services will be suspended until an acceptable solution can be developed and applied,” Telecommunications Regulatory Authority director-general Mohamed al-Ghanim said in a statement carried on state news agency WAM.

I was surprised as anyone else for UAE’s and Saudi’s announcement that they will be cutting off all Blackberry Service of all kinds. Meaning that even if you have a service from another provider from another country it will not work in the UAE or Saudi.

There were announcements a few months back that they were contemplating shutting down the service in Kuwait, but luckily they are too lazy to go through the politics to do it, and it would be an damage many of the telecom company’s bottom end.

They cite security reasons as the main reason not censorship, but the reality is that they have no control over Blackberry services what so ever when people use them. In reality it’s very difficult to figure out someone from their Blackberry PIN, and so they can broadcast msgs, send items to people without having it intercepted or scanned. Blackberry came on fire over the past two years in the MiddleEast, everybody wanted the service, and it really took off. But the authorities weren’t to happy, in Emirates they have a lockdown on communications of all sorts, but this one seemed to have slipped them and they aren’t too happy about it, and the same goes for Saudi.

Now for the real interesting part, last year there was a little debacle with Etisalat trying to install spyware on their handsets through a Blackberry software update. That was really the Spyware product of SS8 which can monitor communications of Blackberry, but it was removed by RIM the manufacturer of Blackberry and people were pissed. Now here is the little details they fail to mention, SS8 develops products such as these but they have to take license proprietary software from RIM to use it. SS8 is only licensed to sell the software in the US, Canada, and the UK which they have to the governments, and they aren’t licensed to sell in any other country including the Middle East, that is why they were pissed about the Etisalat debacle in 2009. So I think the tactic of Saudi and UAE are trying to put pressure on RIM to allow SS8 to sell in the Middle East or the service will be shut down and they will lose a large amount of revenue. I don’t know if they do or don’t block the service in a few months but its going to be a hell of a blow to RIM’s income.

Yahoo Mail – Deactivated

I was able to use Yahoo services such as Flickr, since I’m constantly using it and updating and checking pictures. But I think it has been at least since November or October of last year that I checked my Yahoo account. I wanted to log-in and see if they have changed the interface or made any changes since last year. When I tried logging in, I was told that my account was deactivated and I would have to go through a process to reactivate it, registered an emergency email, went through the hoops again of registering information, and all my previous mail and contacts were wiped but I wasn’t too worried since I didn’t use it for much, or don’t remember using it. Now it states that if I don’t check it for four months it will deactivate again or I should buy Yahoo Mail Plus so that it doesn’t deactivate. Yahoo’s interface is much better then hotmail, but GMail is still far in the lead. But in the numbers game Yahoo is number 1, Hotmail/Live is number 2, and GMail is number 3, and they are all still growing.

Hotmail – Still Stucks

Hotmail

I have had my hotmail account since 1996 and I log into it once every few months, I have a lot of random emails that head over there and I clear it up once in a while. I remember subscribing to Hotmail “Extra” a long time ago to get from 10MB to 250 MB which was HUGE a long time ago, but thanks to Google that barrier was destroyed and they kept on going with amount of space available.

Recently Hotmail/Live made upgrades to their email system stating a new and revolutionary way to use your email. Integration of new features, conversation style emails, new filters, and a new way to attach files. Well overall its still slow in comparison, loading and sending emails still go through that process of waiting, you have limitations with your attachments even though they say you can attached 10GB files which doesn’t seem to be the case. Two things that I really hate about hotmail is the lack of organization, even with the very late introduction of filters its still not as intuitive as Gmail’s ease of organization, secondly is the amount of spam that I still get, I only have allowed emails coming through so I have to keep checking my spam mail for legitimate emails. I haven’t used my yahoo mail in a while either but I remember it isn’t as annoying as my hotmail. Well even with all these changes I’m still not using my hotmail at all, I just use it for random website registrations.

New GMail Theme

I have been tinkering around with the themes, there are a few that change colors with the time of day and season, and there are some normal color themes, and there are other ones. I tried most of them and I like the graffiti look because it fits the whole them of the computer. I do like when Google makes these small changes to an excellent product and keep improving it, every time I use Gmail I really dislike using Hotmail.