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50 Shades Darker…the email saga continues

Hot New Boyfriend

Hot New Boyfriend

Today is my three-week anniversary with my new boyfriend, Nokia Windows Phone. I have to admit, it was hard for me to let go of Google S3, whom I dearly loved. If I stopped counting how many times I have almost physically lost control of Windows Phone, I think we’d be a pretty hot couple. But it took time for us to connect; it was a slow “awkward first date at the movies” type of relationship before we could truly become in sync on a deeper level. If you aren’t aware, I have had a serious love affair with Google for many years now. I’m not going to get into the tawdry details of this relationship; but if you want to know how I fell deeply in love with Gmail, and then why I considered leaving Google for someone a little bit more grown-up, see my blog post here.

I knew I needed to give Nokia Windows Phone a chance since I started working at Microsoft as a contractor, and I must confess, I put it off. Google held me captive, and I really didn’t mind. Gmail knew everything I did, where I was going, and even provided ads based on my search and browsing history. I never had to ask him for anything: he always anticipated my wants and needs. But the relationship was becoming too controlling, and when I wanted to access my corporate accounts via my S3, he was reluctant to let me, and that was my breaking point. I’m not saying this was Gmail’s fault, it really wasn’t, but it was enough to make me realize how controlling and one-sided my relationship had become. I tried staying with Gmail, but my love for Microsoft’s hot collaboration characteristics (I mean have you seen Exchange, calendar, and Lync?) was growing each day. I couldn’t stop dreaming about these forbidden features, and every day I had to go without them. While out of the office (which is a lot of the time), my feelings for Google and my S3 waned. Learning the nuances of my new phone has been a little trying at times, but this new relationship is making me realize how dysfunctional my Gmail one was. So after three weeks with Windows Phone, here are my thoughts:

1. I love the screen. For us mature ladies, it’s clear and easy to read.

2. The camera rocks. I even think it’s better than the camera in my S3.

3. Integration with the office. This is what pushed me to explore new relationships. I can do anything I need related to office communication with my phone. He’s as good as I dreamed it would be.

4. Easy to use. For the most part it was easy to setup and start using. It didn’t take long before I got familiar with the settings.

5. Car connectivity. This is hands-down the biggest bonus of Windows Phone. He seamlessly connects to my car; and even reads me my messages and plays the music I like.

As my favourite daytime talk show host always says: you will never change another person. Bearing that in mind, I know I will either have to live with the following quirks or move on.

1. Lack of apps! I knew this was going to be an issue going into the relationship, but I didn’t realize how much I depend on those apps; and I’m not just talking about Angry Birds or Candy Crush, I’m talking maps, music, podcasts, time tracking, etc. This has been the biggest struggle for me by far.

2. The extra swipes to get to where I need to be. I think this is just something I need to get used to. The lack of “screens” bothers me. S3 had one screen for “work”, one for “games”, one for “kids”, one for “settings”, etc., and I could easily and quickly get to where I needed to be. With Windows Phone, it seems to require more effort to get to the same place.

3. Lack of notifications. S3 had a notification bar along the top that let me know all that was incoming. As far as I can tell, Windows Phone doesn’t have this feature, and I have to enter my password and actually glance at the screen to see where the indicators are.

4. Lack of app consistency. Again, this is a small thing, but it really bothers me. I keep my Facebook newsfeed pretty clean. No offense to some of my friends, but I block specific notifications requests, etc. to reduce the amount of stuff that comes across my feed. On my Dell Venue 8 Windows Pro, the Facebook app continues to follow those rules, but on my phone, I see everything. At this point I rarely check FB on Windows Phone because the feed is so full of clutter.

My final thoughts… Yes, I’m going to stay with Windows Phone for the time being. I like the independence and I don’t feel like Gmail has complete control over my life. I’m not completely in love with my new phone, but there are warm and fuzzy feelings. He’s a good solid phone (quite literally), and reminds me very much of my Blackberry: down to earth, no nonsense, and dependable. At least Windows Phone is way sexier than my old Blackberry boyfriend will ever be – I even got a hot red case to show how committed I am to him.

PS…if anyone knows how to sync music from my computer to the phone without plugging it in, please let me know.

Email Affairs – My Version of “50 Shades of Grey”

Gmail Intro

My first kiss with Gmail.

I have a confession.

As you may know, I am in a committed relationship with Gmail. I met Gmail about 5 months after he launched, back in 2004. Gmail and I have been together for almost 9 years now. It’s been a great relationship. He gives me lots of email storage, and a great interface. As our relationship grew, he gave me a wonderful calendar, then communication and collaboration tools. Yes, there have been some disappointments in our relationship, such as Google Wave, but there have been some great fun times too like “do a barrel roll”. (Really, if you haven’t done this, go Google it now.) Gmail has always had my back, he automatically saved all my documents at his house, with his brother Docs. (It’s a great app called Google Cloud Connect; unfortunately it broke when I moved to Office 2013.) Gmail kept all my information safe and secure there and he gave me the key so I could access my stuff when needed. He understood what I needed, and he even provided the directions for me to get there. He gave me great communication tools and an easy way to share my stuff. It was the perfect relationship. We even expanded our family when I added Google Apps For Business.

But, like I said before, I have a confession. I’ve been seeing someone else. I never intended to have these feelings, but they crept up on me.

You see, way back in 1997, Microsoft launched a fresh new email host called MSN Hotmail and I signed up for an account. Now, this was several years before Gmail stole my tech heart. There may have also been a short stint with Yahoo mail during this time (I don’t talk about it much). For those of you too young to remember, in the early days of email service, it was all about experimenting with different services, and not committing to just one. We were all so young and had multiple email accounts at the time. Gmail and I seemed to click, so settled down with him in 2004.

Every so often, over the years, I would check in with Hotmail and see what he was up to. Did he settle down, expand his offering? You know, the general stalking of a previous love. At first, it looked like Hotmail kept the status quo. Nothing new and exciting. But his sexy younger brother, Office 365, was breaking some new ground with small business. I have to admit, a new technology targeted right at my clients caught my interest. Not only did Office 365 target small businesses, but it also had a built-in relationship with my guilty pleasure, Microsoft Small Business Server. This was getting interesting. Then things changed in July 2012. Outlook.com launched; I guess Hotmail decided it was time to try something new and get back into the game. I started spending more time with Outlook.com.  And I was impressed. I loved the way he kept my stuff organized in folders, and it was so easy to share my files. He also has a built-in relationship with my desktop version of Office 2013. The more mature Outlook.com is looking more and more attractive with each new feature.

I haven’t committed to Outlook.com yet, but he is slowly growing on me. I still love Gmail, but his controlling and sometimes pushy attempts to keep me locked to him are starting to bother me. Outlook.com needs to take a few pointers from his younger brother, Office 365, and add instant communication tools, such as Skype. If Outlook.com can meet most of the functionality I currently rely on in Gmail, it may be the end of Gmail.

PS: I have never read, or intend to read, 50 Shades of Grey, so this may not be as exciting as the book to some.

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