Monday, October 06, 2008

Monday Morons--huge emails

I had planned a different post today, but as it partially involves an ongoing problem that someone else is having, and she hasn't given me permission to post about it, I think that I will wait. If she doesn't give her permission, I will post about the problem in general anyway and not make any specific references to any particular person. And an any case, I would not be referring to people by name anyway.

But something totally unrelated happened to make me quite angry this weekend. Some of you have already heard the short version. Here is the longer version.

I was probably the last one of my friends to start using email on a regular basis. It just seemed like one more way to waste time. It was one more way to get junk mail. It was one more thing to get annoyed with on the computer. I would hear other people complain about their email all the time, so I just didn't bother to get one. My husband had one, and if anyone just insisted that they must contact me by email, I gave them my husband's address and he would give me the message.

And then I went back to college. At my school, they assigned you a school email account whether you wanted one or not. So I had a school email account that sat unused for more than a year. And then in 2003 I was in a class that required you to use the email account for class assignments, so then I started using email. After the class was over, I started using the account more, signed up for a bunch of dumb contests and such, and the mailbox then filled with junk mail. I used the email for a few other things that I sort of thought were important. When I left school I let the school keep a ten dollar deposit in return for being in the school alumni association, which I didn't really care anything about, except that we were allowed to keep our school email. I was supposed to have the email for a year, but it was cancelled in June or July, not the following December as I was told. So I lost some things, mostly email addresses of classmates, because I hadn't transferred anything from the school email account to a new account.

But I then did get a new email account, and again it filled up with junk mail, which again was mostly my fault, though some of it did seem to appear for no reason. And then about three years or so ago I joined an online fan group, made a few friends in other states, and gave one of them my email address. And he complained that he had sent emails that I hadn't received or he couldn't get emails that I had sent, or something like that. So about two years ago I got another email account that was at the same place where my friend has his account, so that way we wouldn't have trouble with the emails anymore.

I got to where I liked the new account more than the old one, so I moved a few things that I thought were important to the new account, while the old one continued to fill up with junk mail. And I even got a couple more accounts, but the one with the important stuff was that one that I first got because of my friend from the online fan site. The important one now gets emails from a very few friends, coupons from Bath & Body Works, coupons from Hobby Lobby, and my club's listserve. So that's the important stuff. Other stuff goes to other email accounts that I maybe don't check as often.

Now I hadn't really noticed, but this is a rather small email account. It only has 10MB of memory, so if I'm not careful to delete the emails then the mailbox fills up and I can't use the account until I delete some emails. So that's fine. I should delete some emails anyway. The other thing was that I am limited to 40MB bandwidth per month. Bandwidth is not something that I have even paid attention to before. I knew that it had something to do with sending or receiving very large files, like when you download movies, but I wasn't planning on downloading any movies and I didn't think that anyone was going to email any movies, so I pretty much ignored the bandwidth thing until a few months ago.

I am constantly getting warnings that I have used up 90% of my 10MB memory and need to delete some emails. Fine, I'll delete some emails. But a few months ago I got a warning that I had used up 75% of my monthly bandwidth allowance. Now this was something I'd never heard of before. And it was something I really had no control over. Several people had sent me emails with pictures of cute animals. The emails had so many pictures that they were about 800KB. And a few of these emails were on the listserve, and people on the listserve replied to the emails, saying how cute the animals were and such. Most of those replies contained the pictures, so again they were about 800KB. So I got several of these large emails, and it didn't matter that I didn't even open the emails or open the attachments, once they were sent they used up part of my month bandwidth allowance. Deleting the emails didn't help either. Once the were sent, the damage was done. So the last few days of the month that email account just didn't work.

So I wrote an email about what had happened and had anyone else had that problem. No one else had actually had their email stopped for the rest of the month, but some people did agree that sending large emails was a problem, and that the problem could be prevented by sending links to pictures instead of pictures and deleting attachments before replying to an email, etc.... And there was also the suggestion that if I were ever afraid that this might happen again that I should go and change my account so that the club messages were not emailed to me but just viewed from the group's message board on yahoo.

So the next month I watched the bandwidth thing very closely, and if it looked like I was going to get that 75% warning I would go to yahoo groups and select "no email" or have the messages sent to one of the other email accounts. And I watched, but most everyone was being nice and not sending a lot of really big emails and not replying to the ones that were sent. So everything went back to normal.

So we are all getting ready for the Halloween party, and some of the people are discussing what music they would like to have at the party. There's a list somewhere, but I don't really care that much about and haven't paid attention to it. But if there's a song that you really want to hear and it isn't on the list, you need to sent an MP3 file to the person in charge of the party.

One person sent an MP3 file on the listserve, and not directly to the person in charge. So that was annoying. The file was 4.5MB. I didn't say anything. I figured that someone else would talk to this person in private.

The next day this same person found a couple more songs that he wanted, so he sent another email, and this one was 9MB. So that wasn't very nice, and it might give some other people the idea that they really were supposed to send the songs to the listserve. So I sent an email complaining about it, and to be on the safe side I sent a copy to the listserve and a copy to the person sending the MP3 files. And that was a little after eight in the morning of the third day of the month. I got on with my day, and didn't check my email again for almost three hours.

The person sent three more songs, and this time the email was 13.5MB. On the third day of the month, after I had complained about the large emails in general a few months ago and about sending songs in particular earlier that morning, someone has used up 79% of my monthly bandwidth allowance. I sent another email complaining about it, and went to yahoo groups to figure out how to stop the emails. I most have gone to the wrong section the first time, cause I kept getting emails. Other people complained that this person had already been warned not to sent MP3 files on the listserve, and he complained back that he wasn't told where he was supposed to send them, and there was some back and forth about that, which I decided to stay out of. Still, I tried again to shut off the emails, and I again did it wrong and got more emails. But they were small emails, so for a while it didn't really matter. A bit later that day, I did get it all figured out and had the emails at first turned off and then sent to another email account.

But while I was getting all of this figured out, this same guy decided that his first 13.5MB file didn't go through, so at about one-thirty he sent it again. That used up 51MB of my 40MB limit of monthly bandwidth. So I can't use that email for the rest of the month unless I pay for an upgrade, which I don't want to do and don't have money for now anyway.


dmarks said...

I think I got my first email address in 1987. I was like "what's up with the @ and dots?"

I had bulletin board in-boxes for years before that.

Anyway, in regards to email, I've just always thought it was rude to send something 1 meg or more or so without asking. I've seen a lot of email accounts blown out by this.

Unless it is Gmail, which has infinite room, or Hotmail, which has a lot.

bulletholes said...

You would have loved it here at work a few weeks ago. Memo came out 3MB's, no response was required, info only, which wasn't all that bad until the insanity began.
People kept asking that they be taken off the Mailing list, but they were replying to all. It went on for a full day before Corporate got a mail out asking that no one respond to the original. Then it kept up for another day.

Then we started seeing about 2 a day for a week...then after the weekend, I got the last one on a Monday. I'd have hated to be that guy.

James said...

Yikes. I know how you feel. I often wonder what I would do without email these days though. Would I have to go back to faxes and phone calls?!? :)

We run a little company called 2Large2Email and I'd be happ to comp you an account to help you out, if you want. Just sign up for a free account and I'll manually upgrade you...

Philip. said...

Gmail is the best one I have ever used.

Lots of capacity and a great spam filter.

dmarks said...

The big problem with Gmail is that the inbox is more or less scrambled, making it hard to see what you have and deal with your emails. But you do never have to worry about the size of what enters it.