Don’t look now, but the new hotmail S****. No, grandmom doesn’t usually use such language, but there is no other word for it.

Once upon a time, Grandmom had AOL, which made it nice and easy for her to get her email. But the Windows monopoly made her get an email address on hotmail if I wanted to read Microsoft ebooks or talk to them about downloads. So my son signed up for a family account, and voila, the big bad Microsoft now knows where we are and what we are doing.

I mainly use the account for newsletters and for a few family friends who still use that address to email us, so no problem.

But since my Windows crashed last year (and my Windows backup discs were in Chicago), I’ve been using Ubuntu. It’s great for what I need: And no fancy smancy “type in this code or we won’t let you use your software” type problem every time I have to reformat my hard drive.

But now, I can’t figure out how to use the family Hotmail account. Is it me? Is it Firefox? Or is it the Ubuntu that I use (I still am on gibsy gibbon, since our internet connection has been off and on and I haven’t gotten around to upgrading to the latest version)?

Well, bummer.

Why mess up something that works fine?

Well, someone at the church of Microsoft decided they needed to add whistles and bells to their hotmail. Upgrade now!

No thanks. Works fine for me…

Too bad sucker, says the church of Microsoft:

Q: Can I opt out? Can I get the old version back?

A: We can’t provide two fast, secure, reliable experiences, so we have decided to just keep the new version. However, we will continue to improve the new version, based on many of your comments here, to make it work better for you.

My problem is that the new version won’t work with the present browsers that I use with Ubuntu. Firefox? Nope. Opera? Nope…the nice information box says update Firefox….nope…

Not only is the window holding the emails tiny and includes only a few letters, when I try to reply, I get a nice huge reply letter…that won’t let me place a message into the letter part of the email. Bummer.

So now, if I want to answer an email, I have to forward it to my Yahoo or opera email account, and then answer it from there. Yes, they upgraded their email awhile back, but I was given the option for the old fashioned email style.

And yes, I get Google Email account (I had to sign up if I want to blog at Blogger). I go there mainly to erase the 548 Nigerian spam messages that I get there everyday.

As for Microsoft, they insist their new product is the cat’s meow:

Q: I find this hard to use. Was this tested with real users?

Yes, it was. We tested with several thousand people around the world and used their feedback to improve the design prior to releasing to all users. We interviewed hundreds of them to hear their opinions, measured their success rate accomplishing common tasks, and surveyed them  to see how much they liked the new service compared to the old one. The data from our tests showed that most users found the new Hotmail to be faster, more reliable, and more usable.

Well, silly me. Guess it’s my fault for not being part of Generation O…

Well, never mind. I have other addresses, and if worse comes to worse, I can always use my HelloKitty Email service.

They even have a nice pink calender, and their own blog service.

So take that, Microsoft!

Because although Microsoft thinks it owns everything,  HelloKitty rules the world!

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She blogs at Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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