Gabrielle's Life and Writings

Gabrielle Lawson, writer of Fanfiction. I will use this space to keep a journal about my writing, the progress I'm making, stories I'm working on, writer's blocks I'm having, our adoption process and progress and just life in general.

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Location: Missouri, United States

I'm multifaceted and highly educated. I have a BA in History and an MA in Museum Studies. But I couldn't make a living in a museum, so my hobby--computers--became my living. I'm now a charter member Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician. I aspire to be a professional writer and/or poet. I am a Christian and have been living by His grace for the last four years or so, despite the MegaStress and now the GigaStress. He keeps me going, and displays His glory still, in my life.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Why I'm so darn mad!

I am furious. At Google. And at Earthlink. So much so that I think I'm going to write some articles. So I thought I'd start with my blog.

First I was mad with Earthlink, my ISP through Time Warner Cable. Up until now the signal has been fine but I was really annoyed about one thing: my own posts to YahooGroups to which the same address is subscribed end up in my Suspect Email folder. I shouldn't have to add an address to it's own address book in order to be approved by the spam filter, but I have on multiple occasions and still Ainae's posts to Henneth-Annun end up in the Suspect Email as if I'm spamming myself. Drives up a wall. I've called and called and called and they just can't fix it. Or won't.

And then last week happened. What happened? Earthlink started intercepting some of my browsing. I'm sitting at home, pulling a site, like my bank from a bookmark, or a news story from a link in my Earthlink webmail or from Huffingtonpost, or from a URL I type in myself, like my own: and I get something much more annoying and a Page Not Found. I get a MyEarthlink site saying "Sorry, earthlink could not be found (in the case of the link from my webmail). Please type the URL or try another search term. (Or words to that affect). This is followed by a Yahoo searchbox and an ad on right.

This drove me to distraction last Wednesday. I called and Time Warner and Earthlink kept passing the buck to each other, which prompted me to look into other internet alternatives so I could drop them both. I finally did some internet searching of my own (when I could) and Googled "Earthlink redirect" and found out that in 2006 they got caught doing this with bad domains. They'd redirect typoed addresses to an Earthlink page with ads and a searchbox to gain some extra revenue. They even caused a security risk which someone skillfully hacked in 2008 to hijack someone's browsing so they could steal passwords and other sensative data.

Honestly, I never noticed this behavior until last week. If they've been doing it all along (I've been with Earthlink since 2000), then they changed something last week so I started noticing. Only now they are not just doing it on bad domains, they are doing it for legitimate, correctly typed or linked URLs. How do I know? Because maybe they come up in another browser or on another computer at the same time I'm getting the nefarious page. I only get this when I'm on my network (Earthlink) and not when I'm on my neighbors (just for an experiment) or away from home using my cell phone as a proxy. It's, so far, only been noticed on my WinXP machines. Note, one of them is a netbook and was used for the experiment with my neighbor's wireless connection and the proxy with my cell phone, so it's not the computers. It's the network. Though it appears Vista and Win7 are less vulnerable. Hard to say for sure though as our Win7 mostly goes to the same site each time and stays there. My husband's Vista laptop hasn't gotten the Earthlink redirect page but has gotten more Page cannot be found messages of late.

So add those two problems together and through in Earthlink's horrid service (tech chats are notoriously idiotic and the phone calls aren't much better. Before writing this blog, tech supervisor Tom Riddle managed to actually hang up on me rather than admit to the redirect or try and fix it. And I'm not sure his name really is Tom Riddle. He had a very definite Indian accent. I doubt they all have Americanized names. I don't have a problem speaking to an Indian person if I can understand them, and I could. I have a problem with them lying about their names.) and I'm ready to give in the towel. Enough is enough. I'm going to bid on a DSL modem tomorrow (have to give up cable to get rid of Earthlink without paying more and getting less with Road Runner) on ebay. Once we have that modem in our hands, we're switching to AT&T. It will cost $5 less a month, and I'll get 3 more email addresses than I have with Earthlink.

And that will be the painful part of switching and the number one reason I haven't switched in the last nine years: email addresses. I'm a writer. What if a reader tries to email me at one of my three penname's email addresses with Earthlink and it bounces? I don't want to miss that and the prospect of emailing everyone I know to let them know my address has changed is daunting to say the least, not to mention business I have dealings with, like my bank, cell phone company, mortgage company, student loan company, electric company, etc. There is no forwarding with AT&T (or Road Runner). I have to break cold turkey. Well the pain of staying has now overwhelmed the pain of moving, so I'm moving. Hopefully AT&T won't pull the same crap.

Okay, so why Google? Because Google has made the best (so far) Android phone on the market and I'm elligible for an upgrade with TMobile. Why is that bad? The Nexus One is going on the T-Mobile network. It's bad because of the way Google is selling it. Yes, Google is selling it. If T-Mobile were selling it, I'd be able to use my upgrade, keep my family plan or choose a better one from a selection of others, and go on with life. But while the phone is $179 for new T-Mobile Customers, people already with T-Mobile are penalized an extra $100. If they already have a data plan, such as G1 user's like myself would, they are penalized an extra $100. And there is only one plan to choose from: 500 minutes, free T-Mobile-to-T-Mobile, unlimited data, unlimited text for $79.99. That's it just the one plan.

My husband also has a G1, is eligible for the upgrade and has a cracked screen. So he'd really like that G1, but it'll cost $400 bucks extra for the two of us to get one and we'd have to separate our one-bill family plan into 2 separate individual accounts that give us twice as many minutes as we actually use and costs us $40 more a month than we already pay.

Oh, but we can't even get the privilege of paying $380 for it. We'd have to pay $530 each. Why? Because we have a family plan and family plans are eligible for the upgrade prices.

Oh, and did I mention that only customers in their 22nd month get to upgrade most of the time. Most G1 customers aren't qualified then, as they probably renewed their contracts like we did when they got the G1s, which only came out in October of 2008. Which means even the earliest adopters won't be at 22 months until August of this year.

Lovely way to say thanks to the people who made Android a success in the first place! Nice way to kick loyal customers in the teeth, wouldn't you say?

So yes, I'm furious. And I'll soon have all new email addresses. I'll try to keep the login names (inheildi, ainae, and pdelamatraque, for the writing) and that will hopefully make it a little easier for people to find me.

    Status of Stories
  • The Honored: right where I left it
  • Purgatory: pretty much right where it is named.
  • Alien Us, by Philippe de la Matraque: Chapter 16 may be close to done!