Yahoo Mail is Down

Yahoo Mail is down. Again. It doesn’t happen often, but it does go down every once in a while. My experience with Yahoo Mail hasn’t been good. The mail interface is quite problematic. I often had to refresh the Yahoo Mail page every time it becomes unresponsive. I think it’s time to think about using another email service. Either start using a free service like GMail or perhaps running your own personal server. I’m leaning more towards running my own email server.

Turning Off Google Two Step Verification

Google created a two step verification process to increase security. The process requires entering some code, typically a six digit number, in addition to the regular user password. The code is normally sent by Google via SMS text message to the user’s phone.

The downside is if you have any applications that use Gmail’s SMTP to send out email messages, it will be rendered useless due to the extra authentication.

I ended up using another SMTP server. Thanks to AT&T. I’m glad I found another option for sending out email messages within applications. Google does give you the option to turn off the two step verification process, which I ended up doing anyways.

I think the two step process is more of annoyance than anything. Clearing your browser’s cache requires you to re-enter a new code. Each time you’ll receive a new code via SMS text from Google. After doing it for about 10 times all within a week, I grew tired of it.

Now, the two step verification is turned off for good. Thank goodness.

Fixing CodeIgniter Email Setup

I have been using an application I wrote in CodeIgniter that sends email notifications when an advertising link is activated or when it has expired. Several weeks ago, it suddenly stopped working. It was no longer sending email notifications as intended. I was using GMail’s SMTP server to send out the email notifications. GMail’s SMTP does require authentication. Typically, the CodeIgniter’s email preferences are located in the “config/email.php” file. It dawned on me that changing my GMail password broke my script. Here’s my email preferences found in the config/email.php file.

$config['protocol']='smtp';
$config['smtp_host']='ssl://smtp.gmail.com';
$config['smtp_port']='465';
$config['smtp_timeout']='30';
$config['smtp_user']='yourusername@gmail.com';
$config['smtp_pass']='your password';
$config['charset']='utf-8';
$config['newline']="\r\n";

So, updating the password fixed my problem.

Yahoo Mail Going Ape Crazy

I just tried checking my emails at Yahoo Mail, and it’s going ape crazy. It looks like the upgrade didn’t go over very well. That’s one thing the new CEO, Marissa Meyer needs to fix. Yahoo needs to have flawless execution when making upgrades, and especially to Yahoo Mail, where millions of users use it for business and personal reasons.

How many times do I have to accept the terms of service? Is five times enough? I hope Yahoo doesn’t lose my mail. That would be a disaster. This makes you think twice if you should rely on free email for your business. I wonder how many people really read Yahoo’s Terms of Service. I bet 99% of users don’t read it. I certainly didn’t.

Yahoo could have put anything in that agreement, and by law, I’m bound to it. I should really read it. You should, too. Come to think of it. It’s quite scary. I just love the fact, that you can check Twitter, if you’re not the only one having issues with something, because everyone and their mother is tweeting about it. Twitter, you’re awesome.

Changing Password Affects Google Talk

I recently changed my GMail password since I was changing passwords for all my other email accounts in light of the Yahoo password leak the other week. Little did I know, changing my GMail password also affected my Google Talk setup at Obihai.

A few months ago, I bought an analog terminal adapter (ATA) called the Obihai 110 from Amazon. This tiny little device allows me to configure my Google Talk number to the device and connect a regular analog phone to it.

The reason I choose Google Talk is, because it’s free. I can make phone calls to any cell or landline phone in the US and Canada for free. So, when I changed my GMail password, the Obihai setup with Google Talk got all screwed up as well.

Of course, I should have expected that. Somehow, I didn’t cross my mind until I realized I couldn’t dial out. I’m making a mental note. If I ever change my GMail password again, I need to head over to Obihai and update my Google Talk setup.

450000 Email Passwords Revealed

A hacker group calling themselves D33Ds Company have published a list of over 450,000 email addresses and passwords online. Hackers were able to compromise Yahoo Voice’s service using the good old SQL injection as reported by a Forbes article.

According to a count by DataLossDB, the collection of leaked email addresses includes 136,000 Yahoo! mail addresses, 106,000 Gmail addresses, and 54,000 Hotmail addresses. Though it’s not exactly clear what Yahoo! service the passwords linked with those accounts in the hacker’s dump can be used for, they may give access to the listed email addresses in many cases where the user re-uses passwords between services.

I guess it time again to change passwords. What a pain.

A Newly Redesigned GMail

Look for Google to announce in the upcoming weeks the newly redesigned GMail. Google recently slipped a video (see below) of the newly redesigned GMail. The new look and feel will give users the power to customize their email that way they want it. Most likely, integration with other Google services such as Google+ and Google Docs is in order.

I can’t wait for this to happen. What do you think?

Facebook Mail Coming Soon

Rumor has it that Facebook is set to unleashed its own email service next Monday. It’s certainly no surprise since Facebook already has that capability with its own private messages between friends. With this new mail service, Facebook will be able to send out messages not just to other Facebook members, but to the rest of the world.

So, what’s the big deal? That’s exactly what I said. But there’s a catch. Facebook apparently has been working with Microsoft in integrating Microsoft Office Online Tools. Facebook users will be able to share Office documents with other Facebook users and possibly with everyone else.

One more thing, with this new email service, Facebook users will be able to use the ‘facebook.com’ domain as part of their email address. The email address format will most likely be: username@facebook.com. That’s one thing you’ll have in common with a Facebook employee, having the same email domain.

Is this a threat to GMail? I don’t see it that way. GMail has enough features that will stave off users from jumping to Facebook. In addition, Facebook has a marginal record when it comes to security and privacy. Will I trust them enough to run my email. That’s one concern that will be on everyone’s mind.

Sign Up for GMail Google Voice

This past week, Google released the integration of GMail and Google Voice which allows GMail users make free phone calls to anywhere in the US and Canada. At this time, the service is only available to US and Canadian users. Making international calls however, is subject to low rates which can be purchased online.

With GMail Google Voice, users can now make and receive free phone calls to any landline or wireless phones in the US and Canada until the remainder of the year. Google plans to make this service free as long as international calls can support the service. To sign up for Google Voice, go to http://voice.google.com.

You will be asked to choose a local telephone number from a list of numbers available. Once you secured a number, you will need to open up GMail to activate Google Voice. Click Settings -> Labs and enable the Google Voice module. To make a call within GMail, you will need to login to Google Chat.

The green phone will light up underneath your user name when it is ready. Dial a number and make your free phone call. GMail Google Voice works best with a headset with a built-in microphone. Enjoy.

Finally, here a video tutorial on how to make calls in GMail Google Voice.

GMail Undo Button

GMail has a new feature called Undo Send. You have 30 seconds to undo a sent email because GMail will hold the email for about 30 seconds before sending it out. This gives the sender plenty of time to ponder if the message was a good idea or not.

To use the feature, you will need to enable it. Click the Green Labs icon in the upper right corner of the GMail screen. Scroll down and enable the Undo Send feature. Give it a try. Send a message to a friend and try to pull it back before 30 seconds has expired.