Monthly Archives: November 2010

Need More Options

Yesterday I got conned into taking one of those phone call surveys. My phone is on donot call list and all but people seem to find ways to break that and just call. Usually I don’t entertain these calls, but now and then I just accept the calls to see where it goes. Yesterday’s call was about PG&E. Actually, it didn’t start off that way. I think the survey picks a few brands and eventually focuses on one and in my case that happened to be PG&E. Where I live, I don’t have choice of any other energy providers. Anyway, I am not talking about this when I mentioned about I need more options. I was able to patiently answer majority of the questions but at one point there was a question for which I have no idea how to answer as I wasn’t aware at all. But the guy who was taking the survey insisted that I give him an answer between 0 and 10. I almost lost my temper and told him I can’t. What I don’t understand is, I am doing him a favor, so why can’t there be just an option of “don’t know” so that it’s possible to move on? It’s not like that’s going to cause any statistical anomaly to the survey. Infact, while I gave very decent rating (between 7 to 10) for many questions, I did give 4 for a couple of them. He never bothered to ask me why I was giving such negative remarks for those questions. So, my answer is going to go into some standard deviation or mean with no meaning. But the real reason is their recent gas line explosion.

Now I learnt my lesson. Even for my amusement, I am not going to take any more survey calls. While I am at it, I want to talk about a few more lack of options on a few websites.

1) Netflix provides an option to rate each review. The options are “Helpful”, “Not Helpful” and “Inappropriate”. What does the last option mean? Is it a catch all? In my case, the problem is that for one movie that I just watched, the reviewer pretty much gave away the key surprise in the review and I wanted to rate it as “Spoiler”. But there is no such option. Should I use “Inappropriate”? Now, would that be appropriate? 🙂

2) Similarly, Netflix also provides suggestions based on past watched movies and the ratings. And they have an option to indicate “Not interested”. But what does “Not interested” really mean? That I don’t like that type of movies? Surprise, surprise, would that info go back as a feedback into some sophisticated neural network and adjust my “taste” weights? But the truth is, I am “not interested” to watch it again, as in I have already seen it else where.

3) On LinkedIn, there is an option to report about job positions of people. And the options are “has never worked at this company” and “no longer works at company”. But what about “did not work with this title”? I have seen a few ex-colleagues falsely claiming job titles that they never got while working at the company.

Life is full of options. Software can only do so much. Yes, companies are gathering more and more data. Terabytes, petabytes and want to use SQL, NoSQL, Hadoop and whatever you name it. But none of that matters if the model doesn’t consider critical pieces of information like the 3 examples I have given above.

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Back To The Future? Past? Funny Finance Chart

I found something strange with the Dow Jones chart for Friday on Fidelity. When a chart is plotted by time, there should only be one point right? But this chart on Fidelity has 2 points for about an hour or so. Finding this amusing, I looked at Yahoo! finance chart for Dow Jones. There is something strange even there. The graph stopped at around 3pm EDT. Not sure what happened. Did the market close early on that day? Whatever the case may be, the chart on Fidelity looked funny.

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Not Receiving Evite Invitations

A few days back a friend called and said “Hae I sent you an evite for my son’s first birthday and you haven’t looked at it”. I said, “no, I haven’t received any email”. Then I gave him another email and asked him to send it to it and while he was on the phone, I got the invite and I accepted it.

A few days later, I was asking another friend about throwing a baby shower party for his wife. He was like “we just had it over the weekend, this other friend sent you an evite”. And I was like, no I didn’t receive any evite and told him what happened earlier. Anyway, I separately went to meet my friend and his wife before they had their baby.

Now, 3rd time is a charm (or in this case, also annoying). I just got a call from another friend and “Hae I sent you an evite for our son’s 2nd yr birthday and you haven’t seen it yet”. I was like, “did you send the evites to my this account? Instead, can you send me to this other account?”. He sent it and immediately accepted for a party that’s just around the corner.

That’s when I thought enough is enough. I need to research about what’s going on? I searched on Gmail help and there are a few more people complaining the same. While all those other postings were related to regular gmail account. Mine is for an account on my own domain registered with Google Apps. So, I almost replied to one of the forum posts with all the info and just before submitting I thought of also giving info on the last time I did receive an evite. So, I searched for evite and then the mystery has been solved (almost).

A few months back, we organized a party for my son. My wife has her own gmail id but I also gave her an account on my domain. So, for organizing this party, she used her email on my domain so that even my friends would readily know who was organizing the party. So, as part of that, she added my email id to her account so that I could also access and look at who has accepted and who has not so that I could follow up if needed. When an email is added, evite actually sends a confirmation email and I just accepted it without much thinking.

So far everything is good. It’s not a fault of Gmail or Google Apps or Evite (almost). But read on to know what has happened.

As my wife doesn’t use her email on my domain at all, she has not logged into it for a long time. So today when we logged into that account, all the 3 evites that I missed are there! So, when we logged on to evite using her id, we saw both emails and her email is the primary. There lies the clue. What’s happening is, evite seems to be assuming irrespective of whichever email the evite is sent, it’s good to send it to the primary email. This is good if all the emails on the account belong to the same person. Otherwise, it would end up like what happened to me.

So, what’s the solution? To login using the primary email and then delete the other emails for which one wants to receive evites directly (I am hoping that after that everything would work fine, I don’t know yet). Now, I just have one problem. When I tried to remove the email, I am getting

“We’re doing a little site maintenance,
but we’ll be back shortly. Try again in a few minutes.

Thanks for your patience!”

I am hoping this is only a temporary issue for them and I can get my separate identity asap.

Update: I am able to delete the email from the old evite (the default one), not from new.evite.com where I get the above error. Not sure how long it would take them to fix this issue so that I don’t miss out future evites.

Update 2: My changes on evite.com reflected on new.evite.com. The email has been removed. Hopefully I will start seeing evites to my email account.

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Filed under Bug, Evites, Gmail, Google Apps