Hotmail users shut out of accounts, find data missing.
June 16, 2000 12:57 PM   Subscribe

Hotmail users shut out of accounts, find data missing. Don't know if this has been mentioned yet, but it's a nice kick in the ass to remind people: web-based apps aren't all that reliable.
posted by solistrato (7 comments total)
Like with everything else, web-based apps should be approached with a "buyer beware" mentality. What happens if the company goes belly up? What guarantee for a certail level of quality of service do you have? Privacy? Data backup? And just because a service is free, is it worth the risk if you loose your data or arenot able to access the application for X days while the provider gets their act together?

For example, if Blogger were to give up the ghost tomorrow, the only impact on me is that I'd have to go back to hand editing my pages. If I had an editthispage site and it Dave decides to call it quits and heads off to Guam, I'm SOL.

In any case, it's Friday, the day is over, and it's sunny outside. So I am outa here! :)
posted by Calebos at 2:30 PM on June 16, 2000

I have a hotmail account, and personally, I was a little pissed off that it went down, but the fact of the matter is, this stuff happens.

Can't stay very upset for long considering it IS a "free" service. After reading that article, I was a little surprised to hear people complaining that they couldn't do business through their free hotmail e-mail account. Shouldn't you have your own email account through an ISP? Or if you're a bigger company, set up your own mail server? Hm? Frankly, they should have nothing to complain about.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 5:34 PM on June 16, 2000

As a webapp developer I always find it interesting to see people point out flaws in them...

It's not that webapps have a huge lot of problems, it's that they have a huge lot of different problems. I think many people forget the crashes, freezes, and other general fustrations that occur while using normal desktop apps.

The point about companies holding data for their users is a valid concern though. As has been discussed here and on various other boards at great length, I believe that the most successful webapps will be those that communicate with other apps-- web and desktop-- to exchange data and allow users to truly manipulate their data like it's theirs.
posted by bryanboyer at 12:31 AM on June 17, 2000

The reason people (programmers in particular) dislike web apps is because of all the hype surrounding them. They were pitched as a panacea, when in fact they have problems all their own, like bryanboyer said.

Personally, I'm not convinced. My past experience with a startup leads me to be skeptical. The fact that Microsoft is jamming it down my throat makes me even more suspicious.
posted by vitaminb at 10:46 AM on June 17, 2000

Hrmm, I think reasonable people realize that the hype simply is hype and that webapps still have a lot of room to grow, and a lot of room to grow up.

As the industry matures we will begin to see many of the problems become solved and reliability, on whole, improve. I hope. As I mentioned before, as part of the industry that is what I am striving for.

If MS promoting web apps makes you suspicious, are you suspicious of just about everything else involving computers? heheheh. j/k.
posted by bryanboyer at 5:02 PM on June 17, 2000

"Reasonable people" who work with technology can analyze a web app's relevance to a business problem and realistically evaluate the pros and cons. But the vast majority of people out there are not technically savvy enough to know when a web app would work better than a traditional desktop app. Yet that is what’s being marketed directly to them.

For the record, I am the owner/lead-developer of a software company using Microsoft development tools to create Windows desktop applications. In general I like Microsoft and its products. But what I’ve seen out of Redmond over the years is this:

1. New functionality of dubious usefulness is added to a product.
2. This functionality is marketed and spun as the solution to all your computing problems. If you don’t get on the bandwagon, you’ll be left behind, your product won’t sell, and you’ll be an outcast in the industry.
3. 12-24 months pass, and the new functionality is unceremoniously dropped because of lack of adoption (ActiveDocuments anyone?) or is replaced with what they should have put out in the first place (Visual Basic 7.0’s true inheritance vice the Implements keyword).

All I’m saying is that I see web apps as one of many possible solutions to a business problem. One that has tradeoffs and problems like any other application. But if you listen to Billy and Steve, all you have to do is get IE and start working. Yeah…right.

I would hate to see software developers (web or otherwise) get the reputation of auto mechanics and lawyers by not being honest with their customers.
posted by vitaminb at 4:48 AM on June 18, 2000

Oh I don't know. I've been using Yahoo Mail for about two years now. Maybe more. Pretty much since they started the webmail thing, whenever that was. Awhile back I even paid them cash so I could have twenty megs of storage instead of three. Got tired of the "please delete some messages" errors.

In all that time I've had very few problems with them, and Yahoo ain't gonna go belly up any time soon. The trick is to find a free web app from a company that has proven its dependability.


[looks around, knocks on wood]

posted by ZachsMind at 3:08 PM on June 18, 2000

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