Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Monday Mumblings

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

It's a bit of a gripefest this morning. Several things got my goat yesterday.

The biggest issue is e-mail. If you're going to send me a message, please keep the following in mind:

  1. The contact form on the site does not allow for attachments. I know you'd like to send me pictures of the cloak you want. Send me to a URL or ask if you can send the attachments to me. Why? The contact form, along with being a darned useful way to get hold of me, is also used by half the random nutters and ad pushers online. I don't want your important message lumped in with that crap. So humor me on this one.
  2. Please, don't forward an entire e-mail as an attachment. If this is the way your e-mail software works, copy and paste into your message. Why? Over the weekend I opened several forwarded e-mails that were attachments. I open the attachment, and there's an attachment inside. It's like the electronic equivalent of one of those Russian nesting dolls. When I finally get inside, I'm likely to discover that the message was the latest urban legend making the rounds or a missive begging me to pass the "blessing" along to ten friends, NOW or the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will arrive on my doorstep for an extended visit. Yet, I have to open these things because one was an update on a family matter and another was something from a client.
  3. Please, use a subject line. I know who you are, but my spam filter doesn't - even when I train it. And if you've sent that message with no subject line to 32 of your closest friends, relatives, or co-workers, it's even more likely to end up in a spam filter somewhere.
  4. Please strip out all the crap when you forward a message, unless it's relevant that I know who all of those other 32 people that you've sent the message to are. If this is a business message, I may need to know who is in the loop. If you're sending a joke, your other 32 friends may appreciate it if you don't expose their addresses - or those of the 75 people that were on the list of the person who forwarded it to you.
  5. If you're my ISP, don't send a message crafted to get caught in your own spam filters! Yesterday I found a message on a Terms of Service change that was sent over a month ago buried in the spam folder. Yet, their ads get through with no problem. Fortunately, the TOS changes weren't any big deal. Still, this kind of thing doesn't look good to customers.
Yeah, I know. This should be simple e-mail etiquette, but some folks don't have a clue. Not both of you who read this journal, of course! ;-)

Other pet peeve: Lousy software company customer service. I sent an e-mail to Corel a month ago asking about support for Olympus E-300 RAW files in their new version of Paint Shop Pro. No answer. Last night I sent another message. It was answered promptly, but with a non-answer stating that it was up to their marketing department. The mail contained a link that I could use to go back and modify my question. I clicked the link and found my question was gone.

Corel, I've been with you since version 2 of DRAW!. I see your Ulead product does support E-300, but I don't like it as well as Paint Shop Pro. What gives? What idiot marketing person decided that one product was worth adding E-300 support but your more professional-level product does not need it?

It's been a good ride, but you've just lost a customer for that product. If you wonder why you've been losing so many customers to Adobe, now you know. Your products are at a good price point, but if you want to appeal to advanced amateurs and professionals, you've got to provide the features they need.

I'm on a budget right now (losing a client that's going out of business), and now is not the best time to be moving to a new platform. But I've got to work.

Speaking of work, I've do have to go earn my paycheck so I can afford all this new software. Thanks, Corel. No, really.


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