tech


Hostgator is Post-Traitor

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Here’s why you should never use hostgator’s services. They are post-traitors. They lose mail data. And then you can never get it back. In short – they can not be relied upon for hosting your data, which is precisely what their job is.

I have been using Hostgator since 4 years now for my professional photography domain www.priyankasachar.com. I started with the US servers after which my account was shifted to India servers following their expansion into India just a month after I signed up.

Since then, my experience with HG has been a living hell! Their India team is the most unprofessional team I have EVER seen for ANY service, full of incompetent duds who know nothing, pass personal comments and now they have gone and lost 6 MONTHS OF MY MAIL DATA with the following solution – “Now it can not be retrieved”.

I have raised issues several times with hostgator in the last 4 years of my painful journey and have even received calls from their US branch thanks to the unprofessional behaviour of their India support staff. I thought that with time, things will improve with the India operation because they might just be having teething troubles. However I was being impractically hopeful! Their team was AS PATHETIC 4 years back as it is TODAY.

Right after shifting to India servers, they lost a lot of my professional mail data (of 2 weeks) in June 2011 because their servers marked my mail account as a “demo account” for some stupid reason. This caused me huge losses not just in terms of the overseas opportunities I lost, but also in terms of my repute. All my clients considered ME unprofessional because I wasn’t responding to their mails, instead it was HG that was unprofessional by dropping mails and I had no idea that mails were getting dropped! Now HG has lost 6 WHOLE months of my mail data and the previous incident of June 2011 seems minor in comparison because at least then, I was able to retrieve mails from the server & get back to those who had tried contacting me and pick up pieces of my reputation somewhat, bit by bit. Currently they say that “Nothing can be done about the data loss”!! How pathetic is this organisation that loses professional data (unheard of) – the very data they are supposed to be hosting and then their employees have the gall to say that nothing can be done about it!

For the purpose of this post, I will look past the various issues I’ve faced over the years including loss of mails in June 2011, difficulties faced during account transfer to India, hosted images not showing on the site, the site being too slow, various downtimes, global outages over the years, unavailability of SSH multiple times, Google adwords credit NEVER given till date, harassment at the time of renewal for 3 years in 2012, unprofessional behaviour by Indian staff, unavailability of their tech support senior people during all this time, etc – and – get to what all I have faced just THIS year.

1. On 11 Jan’15 I realised that my site had been down on 10th and decided to upgrade the wordpress software & plugins to the latest versions. I kept trying to upgrade and I kept getting server timeouts and other errors. I thought it was something to do with my internet service provider. Little did I know that it was HG all this while! I couldn’t even access it via SSH or FTP! Ultimately when I contacted HG – following are the issues I faced:

a) NO contact information available on their website. Raising support ticket fetched no response. Live chat was offline even though the website screams 24/7/365 support!! What a rubbish claim. No contact number mentioned for support requests – only for billing and abuse. Their Toll free number wasn’t mentioned anywhere AT ALL. I was ironically, fortunate enough that my past miseries with HG had made me store their toll free number in my phone and I used it after I got no response whatsoever from even their twitter handle!! Why do they even have twitter presence when the duds maintaining it get back to people AFTER THREE DAYS!! This is how pathetic HG’s accessibility is – to even get heard at the basic level.
b) I managed to call the toll free number which after great difficulty and very long holding times, connected me to someone who put me on hold and then the call was disconnected! And this wasn’t the only time this happened for me to think that it was an exception! I talked to 5 different people mostly because the tollfree number just disconnected multiple times! I must say that the technical support staff is MOST incompetent EVER. They do not know even the basics of what they are talking about.
Firstly, my website’s ports had just been blocked out of the blue – with no notification or email or sms or anything at all! With the amount of marketing spam these guys send, could they not have autogenerated an email which alerted me to the issue? The customer instead has to DISCOVER the issue first – time does not matter here, then bang her head against incompetent tech support staff and THEN get to the point where the issue is disclosed to begin with! I was told that there was some malware on my site which is why my site’s ports had been blocked!
Here’s what I found on running a 3rd party check on my site:

Which means that HG has some beyond imagination parameters based on which malware is detected! Whatever it was – was NOT SO life threatening that my entire site had to be blocked due to some reason and that too WITHOUT NOTIFYING ME!!
c) Ultimately I had to tell their staff to at least fix SSH access which was previously working, so that I could at least upload files I wanted, into my hosting account and fix the malware issue. Even that had been disabled. Sadly their tech support staff was absolutely unaware of what I meant. One had no idea of how to enable the port used for SSH. The other told me to use putty instead! This was in spite of my sharing screenshots of the SSH command issued on terminal (In Mac OS). When I told her that I am on Mac OS and that putty was only for windows she started arguing with me! Instead of putty on Mac OS, one needs to run the SSH command from the terminal (app in Mac OS). Ultimately she consulted someone senior and came to the same conclusion that terminal has to be used. and FINALLY she managed to enable the port. It took me ALL day to get this mess sorted.
d) With every passing issue, I managed to unearth newer ones! this just shows how PATHETIC their tech support staff is and how unimportant PROCESSES are to hostgator! Now that my site was supposedly infected with malware which was mind you, NOT detected by any other malware detection software in the world, except for the one on HG, I was supposed to run a malware check through cpanel each time after changes, to see if the malware had been finally removed or not. In order to do this, I had to login to cpanel. I logged in only to realise to my horror that the credentials I had been using for years did not work – AGAIN NO NOTIFICATION for any resetting of the same had been sent.
e) I finally got my password for cpanel reset (do i need to add how difficult that was?) and then realised that “change password” option was NOT in cpanel at all! I AGAIN called their pathetic tech support staff and landed with another dud, who now told me that the very round about way of resetting one’s cpanel password, was NOW through the billing account! SERIOUSLY? AGAIN, so much marketing spam and these guys could not deem it fit to send ONE mail that mattered? One informing their customers that NOW they have to go through this roundabout way for changing the cpanel password?!! And to think that I wasted so much time trying to figure our where the hell that option went! I was told that this was for our own security and benefit. Well could the dumb unprofessional hacks i.e. HG’s tech support staff not think of sending a mass mail informing everyone about this so called benefit? If they are doing such a great service to their customers, why not brag about it? Refer to the numerous amount of marketing spam comment again.
f) Finally, i managed to change my password for the billing portal, then accessed it, changed the password for my cpanel, then accessed THAT and finally fixed the problem on my website which if you ask me – WAS NOT THERE TO BEGIN WITH. Also, their tech support staff was very very rude to me in this time frame and this one particular person was constantly muttering an exasperated “oh god!” under her breath. When I mentioned that the tollfree no was still NOT listed on their website she said “if you can google it what is the problem?”.. Their staff seems to have been trained to find faults with their customers rather than fix their issues! Appalling! I fixed my issues and thought that was the end of it but the next day my passwords did not work YET AGAIN and I had to reset them YET AGAIN. However this time I knew the elaborate process – no thanks to tech support staff. Why could these people not have sent ONE mail about how this worked now?!! Priorities much? What will I do with all the crappy marketing mails if I am already an unfortunate customer of theirs? What matters more to existing customers is what my data is going through at their hands! and needless to say that even the marketing spam is useless because all deals apply ONLY to new accounts and not existing ones! So why even send the stuff to existing accounts? Why the laxity in sending mails that matter? And How dense and rude does the support staff have to be in each call? Not to mention the average holding time of at least 20 minutes if you call them.
2. I had thought that HG would at least learn *something* from all this mess that they had created but I was so SO wrong! Also, I was dealing with a knee injury and consequent surgery + physiotherapy in this timeframe, so I let these incidents go without reporting them officially, even though I had been urged to do so by HG US twitter handle. On 27th May one of my clients alerted me that she had sent me some mails, some days back. which I never received and I fired up my mail client and realised that I had not been receiving ANY MAILS since the last 6 months+ ! I have put a forwarder on my mail id hosted by HG and even though the forwarder was working fine there were no mails received from the time period of 8th Dec 2014 to 27th May 2015 on my mail server in question!

a) I called up HG immediately and (after being on hold in 4 different calls due to their pathetic tollfree service, finally connected and) spoke to a tech support person, who pretty much like previous encounters with their unprofessional staff started blaming ME for not having reported this issue earlier! Excuse me but how is the onus of this on the customer? Then she went on to ask me WHAT I was doing in the past 6 months and if this was a professional id , I should have been checking it more frequently! Flabbergasted at this personal investigation, I even asked her what business she had asking me such personal questions! Seriously, do these guys not record ANY calls? Do these people not train staff on mere basics?
b)  I had dislocated my kneecap in december, fractured it, ruptured one of my ligaments as well, and had to undergo surgery followed by intense physiotherapy to fix these issues and was bedridden for quite some time. This summed up my time from all these lost months. So excuse me, the customer, for not being able to live up to the high standards that HG has for everyone except the quality of their hosting, processes or their support staff. I had placed my faith in HG and thought that if I make whatever changes I have been asked to, post server migration, at least the rest would function fine and wouldn’t need my intervention, especially if I have other things to deal with (surgery and post-op rehabilitation). Clearly that faith was wrongly placed. Once the tech support person, got to know the reason for my absence, she was quite apologetic but she wasn’t sure about retrieval of mails.
c) Since 27th May, several people have written to me in context of this support request and the ONLY answer they have repeatedly given to me in these 2 whole months, is that the mails can not be retrieved because that server has been shutdown. SO? how does that concern me? They should have retrieved mails from backups. How to fix this issue is the tech support staff’s problem! The mails have NOT EVEN BEEN BOUNCING. My clients told me that the mails have been sent and yet I did NOT get them. They did not get any mailer daemons. So they have gone SOMEWHERE. The last time this happened in 2011, the duration was 2 weeks and the mails had been retrieved. This time the duration is MORE THAN 6 MONTHS!! And their staff says “Nothing can be done”. Well who the hell is responsible for this mess?
d) At the time of their server migration on 8 december 2014, the mail that was sent to all customers did NOT mention that mail settings had to be changed! Yet this is what ultimately had to be done to even get my mail to start working again! This is what was sent. No mention of mail anywhere.

e) Why could an automated mail not be sent for the mail server changes required? Was their tech staff sleeping all this while? What caused this major oversight? In fact I was told by their staff that they had been fixing problems as and when they came in!!! THIS is beyond shocking! As can be seen by the previous examples as well, Hostgator as an organisation, WAITS for their customers to first DISCOVER that there’s an issue, then to discover WHAT ISSUE and THEN they bother to fix it – not without personal comments & incompetence! This is the most unprofessional practice I have ever seen. Not to mention that the likelihood of people discovering problems at a point when nothing can be done, is rather high. And this is not for the first time with HG either. This is after having seen various service providers in the business because I have been maintaining several websites since a decade now! As showcased in the 11 Jan incident, Hostgator has NO processes whatsoever. And this is a wordlclass MNC we are talking about. They just put the onus of all problems on their customers. Even for basics like changes in login details and password resets and mail server changes!
f) Most importantly, WHY is the staff busy making stupid excuses now to justify the data loss which in turn is an unheard of thing! If a server is being phased out , there are backups, there are processes, there is documentation. There is absolutely NOTHING that Hostgator has here.
g) I have been exchanging mails with their idiotic India staff over this issue, since 27 MAY 15 now but to no avail.

The way their staff has been consistently unprofessional and technically incompetent, the way my experience has been over the last 4 years, needless to say I am not going to stick around with hostgator anymore. In this day and age, these guys are inaccessible be it social media channels or other traditional channels put up by them as their forefront. HG india twitter id got back to me after 3 whole days of the whole fiasco on 11 Jan. HG US twitter id however got back to me immediately. Why are the standards not same for both? Why are they even trying to run the HG India twitter id if the people handling it don’t operate as often as the social media world requires them to? Just shut it down. I would in fact, recommend shutting down Hostgator’s ENTIRE India operations because THIS PATHETIC an experience after shelling out so much money is not anyone’s cup of tea. In fact my local hosting service with no multinational operations has proved much better for the rest of my sites. At LEAST they don’t lose my data and then make stupid stories about it.

I would like to hear their Senior management’s comments on this. My hosting with Hostgator expires in 2 days. Knowing how unprofessional they can be, I won’t be surprised if they do nothing for the next 2 days, after which this issue will sort of become a moot point for them. But then there is consumer court for issues like this.
I don’t trust these people anymore. And going by my experience of last 4 years, neither should you. If you have faced any issues with your hosting provider, please share in the comments.


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Send twitter DM to non-followers 73

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A lot of times I have seen twitter users wondering how to send DM’s (direct messages) to ppl who are not following them. Since I have had the pleasure of explaining it so many times on twitter, I thought I would just write it once and for all and share the link from now on. So here goes.

To send a DM to anyone who’s not following you, just “derive” their URL to create a DM message.
The URL would be http://twitter.com/direct_messages/create/ where you need to replace the with the twitter id. for eg. to send a DM to me, you would use the following link

Hope this makes your twitter communication quick and easy!

UPDATE:

Since twitter has updated its interface since last night, this hack now shows an error message. However it STILL works. Please ignore the error message.

UPDATE 2:

Following this post, twitter.com has suddenly realised some sort of a “loophole”, treated this thing as a “bug” and fixed it as well. Now this hack would not work in any circumstances. You simply can not DM anyone who’s not following you. As a policy or design decision I dont quite agree with it. People can send orkut messages, facebook messages, flickr messages to anyone at all. Why can twitter messages not be enabled? It’s very much required as a feature going by the number of hits this post received in the short time that this hack was working.


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Social Media & Blog camp! – a description 8

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I have been organising Delhi Blogger Meets and events around Delhi Bloggers, since many years now. Recently we did something quite differently. On 7th June’08, we managed to present a Social Media & blog camp for Delhi Bloggers Bloc – an online community of Delhi Bloggers. Blogging has come a long way and is one of the most powerful tools that are a part of “Social Media”. This post has been long pending since I was in the process of changing jobs during that time, and was also waiting for some of the speakers to provide me with their presentations. I still haven’t received all, but well, better late than never!

The DBB – social media and blog camp was held at Indiatimes, Gurgaon office on 7th June’08. The event venue, meal and snacks were sponsored by Indiatimes. We also had IBM & WordPress as promoters for this event. Tyroo ads was the online partner as well. There was another corporate – a leading telecom giant – who was going to be one of the sponsors but backed out at the last moment. All part of the game I guess! The event tags and pens were sponsored by Puneet of Superblogsecrets.com. Getting sponsorship was a learning experience in designing pitches and preparing concept notes. The giveaways were uber cool and perhaps one of the most pleasant surprises of the day. Indiatimes provided t-shirts and stationery. IBM provided sippers. WordPress provided some rather cute badges (which got lapped up very very quickly & I kept getting requests for them much later as well) and stickers. Indiatimes also had a lucky draw and provided all speakers as well as the lucky winners – a USB watch! How cool is that? A watch which also doubles up as a USB device.

We had released only 100 passes for this event and later had to extend them because of the high demand! I had to refuse some ppl who wanted to attend since we were already overflowing capacity. I had also been getting a lot of calls from people who wanted to speak at this event on a lot of interesting topics. However, we had to limit that too, much as we didnt like it! We had planned several talks by eminent personalities on relevant topics. The topics touched on web2.0 aspects in a lot of spheres.

The camp kicked off with N Madhavan’s talk on taxonomy of blogs – a way for newbies to identify where they are in this blogosphere. Madhavan is a senior journalist with HT with an active interest in New Media.

This was followed by a web 2.0 – travel industry perspective. Digital Marketing for the Travel Industry in the Web 2.0. Scenario was presented by Nirat Bhatnagar, co-founder of chahiye.info.

Rajesh Lalwani of blogworks.in presented two back to back sessions. Both were very well received. The first was Where are you going in your social media car? This session presented a perspective on social media – we talk so much about it but are we getting there yet? This was followed by an excellent case study Impact of social media on purchase – derived from personal expriences on purchase.

The next session was by Shyam Somanadh, Principal Architect, Network18 (Web18) who presented Participatory Media: The view from inside. He talked about some of the things that the Web18 team had done wrt social media on their own website. This was the time I learnt that “participatory” media is yet another term for social media.

This was followed by a quick talk on Twitter by Sanjukta Basu where she discussed twitter and also used it for a live demo.

We had to omit a rather interesting session on Social media – Socio cultural implications and trends – by Manav Deep Mianwal, Head Brand & Media, Airtel enterprise services since he couldnt be there due to personal reasons. We were running short of time, so this provided some getting back on track.

We quickly jumped to the session on Social media in the corporate context – presented by Natraj Akella, Brand strategy & marketing, IBM.
After this we had worked up quite an appetite and moved on to a great sumptuous lunch. The whole place was jampacked and people could be seen enjoying and of course networking.
After lunch we started with Bringing “Social” to software presented by Manish Dhingra, founder Tekriti software. This session talked about how to incoporate that social context in software.

This was followed by a “light” session – Exploiting the Internet – Riding somebody else’s Success by Jamshed V Rajan, Director products, Ibibo web pvt limited. Jammy is known for his humour blog – ouchmytoe.com and also showed us a rather interesting video on Social Media.

Then came a very debated session Protecting “New” in New Media by Prashant Singh. It presented various insights into our psyche about social media. Nikhil of Medianama.com, actually willingly gave up his session so that discussion around this topic could go on. He later presented his own take on the same topic.

A much needed session on Law & Technology was well presented by Gurpreet Singh, Internet Attorney. He discussed copyrights and trademarks.

This was followed by an interactive session on What makes mobile social networks successful? This was presented by Ekta Rohra Jafri.

The last session of the day was one that a lot of people had been waiting for. The monetary aspect of blogging (how could we not include that? 🙂 ).
Blogging Superstars : How to monetize a blog effectively? was conducted by Mohit Maheshewari, Co-founder Tonic Tag Media Pvt Ltd.

This event was quite well received by both the audience as well as those who wanted to present something. It is amazing to see how social media creeps into everything – be it the corporate world, purchase, travel, traditional media etc. There were a lot of other interesting topics that I wanted to have during our session. However due to limited time we could not. I would have also personally liked to do an elaborate session on photography and how it is benefitting due to social media. Due to lack of time with me as well as a well known photographer I had approached, we could not conduct this one. Next time surely!

The participants were a very intresting mix with people from internet companies, startups, national TV channels, IT personnel, civil society, lawyers, brand managers, social workers, mainstream newspapers etc. The news about this event had reached a lot of people. A surprise entrant was Pavan Duggal, the well known lawyer who also attended this event, having heard of it from a friend.

The day ended with a closing thanks by me, followed by lucky draw and surveys/feedbacks.
It was a fruitful day full of compliments for the enormous effort behind it. All this would not have been possible without Garima and Sanjay – my co-organisers for the event. Garima worked from the Indiatimes end. Sanjay and I, designed pitches, made powerplay presentations, posters, tags, schedules, invites, concept notes etc.

Here’s a mini glimpse of how Amit Ranjan of slideshare.net, saw it and enjoyed it :).  Here’s what Sanjukta, an oldie in our DBB group, had to say :). “social media and blog camp by Delhi Bloggers Bloc ws a total hit..v v engaging, interesting sessions. m proud to b an oldie in this grp “, says Sanjukta on twitter! Thanks Sanjukta :). Here’s what Shyam Somnadh says about the day. Here’s what Kreeti tweeted about the day – here and here.

Here are some of the pictures we clicked that day. It was a day very well spent after which we proceeded to sleep off the sleepless nights spent behind the organising of this mega event.

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Social media & Blog camp 13

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It’s been quite some time since we were planning the “Social media & Blog camp” to be held at Indiatimes, Gurgaon on 7th June’08. It started as an idea from scratch and finally we have managed to get a sponsored venue for this exciting event. Indiatimes, our gracious sponsor is also providing us free wi-fi, lunch, tea/coffee and snacks. There is so much to learn on Social media & blogging in the social marketing context. Are you going to be there? You can register as a speaker or just as an attendee.

This is a one-day semi-camp style “unconference”* which brings together stakeholders and audiences of social media and blogging. The wave of social media in India (which includes Facebook, DBB Social Media & Blog camp Myspace, Twitter, LinkedIn, Ryze, Orkut, YouTube, Flickr and many more) has led to a huge interest in the personal and business implications of this here-to-stay form of interaction. Blogging has already been a huge platform of expression for professionals and citizens from all walks of life.
The idea is to provide an ongoing and large platform of interaction for everyone, from entrepreneurs to enthusiasts, from technology to marketing experts, and from media to PR, to enrich themselves with a whole world of learning and business opportunities.

Where :

Date : 7th June’08 (Saturday), 9:30am – 5:30pm

Venue : Indiatimes office,
Times Internet Ltd.
I World , Opp. DLF Golf Course,
DLF City Phase V,
Gurgaon, Haryana – 122005
The venue is wifi enabled and has an auditorium, projectors and a board room for parallel tracks if the need arises. Lunch/tea/coffee/snacks would be provided by our prime sponsor – Indiatimes.

Parking : this will be provided inside Indiatimes office; Map: http://xrl.in/5lk


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Gmail/Gtalk bugs – me 5

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Before my usage of gmail started, there was a long period of avoiding it because of the unusual “no frames” interface, also because gmail was in beta phase (will it ever get out?) and because I didnt need the space as I already had a 1 GB spymac account (which incidentally launched before gmail did and didnt even need a silly invite). Eventually I also created a gmail id to at least “occupy” the usual id’s that I have on every other domain. As expected, they were already taken on gmail. It took me a long time to actually start using gmail for important mails (I still don’t trust it completely). Gmail certainly has some good points. The main reason why it scores for me is the auto refresh feature in mail and now also, because of the chat embedded inside the mail. I have the “option” of having at least something available for instant written communication, where all other clients are blocked (at my workplace i.e.). Though I am a bigtime “keyboard shortcuts” person, I avoid gmails shortcuts because they tend to interfere with a lot of other shortcuts applicable on my machine. Apart from the “bells and whistles” there are a lot of glaring eye sores as well in gmail. Soon enough google launched gtalk and has practically taken over every successful website on the net making ur gmail sign-in a one stop dashboard for many things. But in the process have come out some glitches mentioned here. Of course a lot of the ones mentioned are independent to the “one sign in” feature.

1. Is gmail even giving the very basic of email services – which is “somewhat reliable delivery” of email? If an email is not delivered, one should at least get a mailer daemon saying so. Else it’s assumed to be delivered. But with gmail, the best part is that a LOT of times (yes substantial enough to not be ignored) mails do NOT get delivered and the sender does NOT receive any kind of error either. Basically the mail just “vanishes” into the quarries of the internet or maybe somewhere in gmail’s huge server space. No one knows where and no one knows why. It has happened with me a whole lot of times and right from when I started using gmail till now. One would think that this abominable glaring BUG would be rectified instantaneously but that hasn’t happened. I have actually had terrible misundertandings with friends because of the things that we take for granted in this technologically advanced world of today. A lot of times I have sent important mails which never made it to the recipient. A number of times I havent received responses I expected and later learnt that they had indeed been sent. Both situations have not been good for my personal relationships. And here I am talking about just the ones I cared about. I dont know how many mails actually get delivered.

2. Use gmail with gtalk and a plethora of bugs can be unearthed. There is *always* a mismatch between the number of users one would see online in gmail and the ones in gtalk. Understandably, those who logon to gmail and not gtalk should be shown in gmail and not gtalk. But this does NOT happen. There is always a random mix. And implicitly one needs to be logged into both to actually get an idea of who’s really online.

3. A lot of times, if a person is online in gmail/gtalk both, then the online status of that person would be different in both. I am not just talking about the availability status but also the status messages ppl set for themselves. A lot of times they refresh in just one of the two.

4. Every time I come online in gtalk, it shows my last set textual status message for a couple of seconds before coming down to “available”. That confuses ppl a lot of times. Understandably they can’t fathom why I am “on phone” or “At global voices summit” or some such thing for a few seconds, which possibly couldn’t be happening at that particular time.

5. Gtalk lacks on space eventually! It’s buffer space that I am talking about here not server space. Gtalk has a buffer problem ~ 1025 lines or some such. The buffer would obviously be based on the number of characters and not lines. When it reaches that buffer, it just hangs and then one is left with no option but to kill it and restart it. Most of the times, a restart doesnt work. Switching over to gmail in the browser is the best bet. Also worth noting is the fact that if one is having a voice talk *along* with a text chat (same person) then this buffer problem somehow gets circumvented. Gtalk does hang but eventually snaps out of it on its own IFF a voice conversation is also happening. Don’t ask me how I got the chance to “test” that. And no, it’s not a problem with the RAM or the processor on my end. Both are pretty high end and all other apps work just fine.

6. I type quite fast but for gmail perhaps it’s a tad bit too much. There’s a lookahead problem in gmail’s buffer. In layman terms, when gmail is busy displaying output, the user can not go on giving more input by typing. When the user presses enter, gmail throws out the text in the chat window and clears the edit box. At times this action goes into slow motion throwing everything out of gear. One would expect that at least the app would keep taking in input but gmail clearly can’t multithread so much. Eventually what happens is that by the time gmail splashes the text in the chat window and clears the edit box, I am already done with typing another long sentence, which gmail clears out while clearing the edit box. A lot of times, to my dismay I realise that the text I typed in, is gone. This problem doesn’t seem to occur in gtalk though.

7. If you login into gmail with an id, then you will have to use orkut with that gmail id only, and vice versa. One can not have a different id logged in into gmail and a different one in orkut. If you try changing then you get logged out. Gtalk however is independent of this and remains online thankfully.

8. A lot of times gmail/gtalk shows the user as “entering text” or “typing”. Just how different is “typing” from “entering text”? Why keep two of them! Whenever any user types a character and then deletes it, the msg in the chatting window gets stuck at “is entering text”. Most of the times, this text is shown even when a user is actually not typing. Whenever the edit box gets empty, the message shd be reset.

9. Now this one is more of a lack of features rather than being bugs – Gmail/gtalk has no option of being invisible. At best, one can block/unblock a user. But that doesn’t let one be “invisible” in the true sense, since one can’t see the activity on the other side either. Through some means, it is also possible to know whether someone has blocked you or not. At least gtalk has now implemented sharing files, and offline msgs thankfully. Unfortunately it still does not allow any text/audio conferencing. Neither does it allow webcams.

10. Again – more of a customization issue – the size of gmail contacts appeared to be non-customizable – it never showed all people online apparently (which was due to the restriction in window size in gmail). This seemed to be a bug, but the number of visible contacts can be customised through settings, though it is still limited to 40 users in gmail. To top it all, even if it is restricted to a certain number of contacts, which happens to be lesser than the number of actual people online, gmail would still show you some offline/idle contacts and omit some available/busy ones! In gtalk, the number of visible contacts again seemed to be limited to the size of your screen (in other words your resolution)! But one can view a scroll bar for the same through settings made by the ‘view’ button on gtalk.

11. There is some WEIRD logic behind the various colours in the thumbnail of the contacts shown in gmail/gtalk (the ones who dont have a profile picture). Orange, blue, green and pink silhouettes are shown on the basis of something that I haven’t bothered googling so far at least. It also happens to be gender biased – no female silhouettes!

12. When gmail/gtalk displays online contacts, how does it sort the id’s? On a larger level it shows them in the order of – available, busy, idle and offline, but within them? The id’s are not sorted in alphabetical order. In fact there really is no order and a lot of times, this order is different within gmail and different for gtalk.

13. The search function in gmail doesn’t really work all the time. At times it doesn’t show up results with strings which are very much there in one’s mail database!

14. With Orkut, why can’t I see all the visitors to my profile? Google assumes that there would be only 4 people visiting me in a day? Anyway this has already been suggested as a feature, but considering that this kind of a thing is readily available in the market since many years, why did Google have to lag behind so much? Plus, why that inadvertent display of online status of gmail/gtalk through orkut, even when I don’t want to share it with my contacts? I haven’t made any settings to share my status and even then my online status is visible to my contacts all the time! There’s no way of “not displaying” it except by probably removing all my friends from my list.

15. If Gtalk crashes while you were listening to music and while displaying your music track, the next time you come online, your status would show the same song as the one you heard when it crashed, irrespective of whether you log into gmail or gtalk or whether you are actually listening to music or not.

Gtalk’s own blog isn’t updated that frequently and most discussions are about some very basic features. And lastly, Gmail “officially” doesn’t have support for other messengers. But here’s a way, one can make it work with MSN, YM, and AIM. Talk away, for that’s one thing where the quallity of service of gtalk outscores on several others.


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