Archive for category Random

Starbucks, you need a new cup design

 

Drink Coffee; Do stupid things faster with more energy

Drink Coffee; Do stupid things faster with more energy

Those of you who already know me know not to mess with my coffee. Recently though Starbucks is making my bad list. Two days in a row I have gotten a cup of coffee and had unpleasant results. The lids leak when I walk and all in the cup-holder of my car. The leak is at the seam of the cup. The pictures say it all. Anyways, Starbucks this is your only warning, fix your cups!

 

 

After a 1 mile drive in a cup-holder followed by 300 yard walk.

After a 1 mile drive in a cup-holder followed by 300 yard walk.

 

 

The source

The source

 

Yahoo! keeps saying I send SPAM!

Yahoo! is going to make me go insane! Why do I always have problems with Yahoo’s customer service and policies? (See Yahoo! Flickr Rant.)

So ever since I switched my mail server to the new hosting platform last May I have had issues with Yahoo marking email destined for their users as SPAM. Along with that they periodically decide to defer delivery of my messages. So I frequently see these messages in my logs:

Nov 10 09:11:21 mail sendmail[27028]: nAAFBEZG027025: to=<_removed_ @yahoo.com>, ctladdr=<_removed_ @mymegabyte.com> (501/501), delay=00:00:05, xdelay=00:00:05, mailer=esmtp, pri=122274, relay=c.mx.mail.yahoo.com. [68.142.202.247], dsn=4.0.0, stat=Deferred: 421 Message from (64.79.204.78) temporarily deferred - 4.16.50. Please refer to http://help.yahoo.com/help/us/mail/defer/defer-06.html
---- OR this new one ----
Nov 24 08:38:02 mail sendmail[2816]: nAOEbtbr002813: to=<_removed_ @yahoo.com>, ctladdr=<_removed_ @mymegabyte.com> (503/503), delay=00:00:05, xdelay=00:00:05, mailer=esmtp, pri=124010, relay=f.mx.mail.yahoo.com. [98.137.54.237], dsn=4.0.0, stat=Deferred: 421 4.7.0 [TS02] Messages from 64.79.204.78 temporarily deferred due to user complaints - 4.16.56.1; see http://postmaster.yahoo.com/421-ts02.html

These started as soon as I switched to my new mail server. I can only assume this is because the previous user of this IP address sent SPAM. Since I took over this mail server has never sent SPAM. I require authentication before accepting mail to relay so only my users can send mail. The mail server also uses DKIM and SPF so I’ve done everything I can to keep the server secure and prevent spoofing.

Its not like I have thousands of users that are acting up either. This server sends mail me and my close family only!

Well why am I complaining? I have contacted Yahoo! multiple times to resolve this but I always get the same form-mail response asking for more information. I reply to that and never hear back. Lets take a look at this.
8/25/09 – I filled out their form suggested by the reject message.
8/25/09 – I received their form-mail response asking for more information.
8/25/09 – I replied to their response with all requested information.
8/27/09 – I sent a follow-up email stating that I had not received a reply in 48 hours.
9/03/09 – I politely followed up again asking for their assistance to get this resolved and pointed out that a week has passed without any reply from them.
9/10/09 – I send my final follow-up. Still never heard back.

Isn’t that pathetic? Well I got annoyed again this week so I’m going to try the process again to see if I have better luck. This time when I filled out the web-form I gave the case # from my previous incident and once again explained my situation in detail. I even answered all of the questions in the form-mail reply that I got last time up-front! So how is this one going? Read the bottom of this post.

I don’t see why Yahoo! postmaster staff is a black hole! When I first got this IP it was on multiple blacklists and other providers were blocking my outbound mail. But that wasn’t a big deal because I followed their published procedures and got the block lifted in a reasonable period of time. Yahoo! has failed to cooperate and their customers are being inconvenienced by it.

I can’t help but link this issue with the Flickr rant I had in the past. For all I know they are two completely separate entities with no common control. Yet two of my worst internet customer service experiences have come with their parent!

Yahoo! Postmaster Contact Log

11/28/09 – I fill out the web-form.
11/28/09 – I receive a form-mail reply. GRR!
11/28/09 – I reply to the form-mail message.
11/30/09 – I found someone else reported this back in 2006. Their results weren’t pretty. http://www.ahfx.net/weblog/107
12/01/09 – I receive an automated email with a survey link for feedback regarding my experience. I respond with incredibly negative feedback. My patience with Yahoo! postmaster == 0!
12/01/09 – I follow-up with an email to Yahoo! postmaster asking for a helpful reply. I also directed them to read this.
12/01/09 – I guess I don’t like having relaxed evenings at home. I sent yahoo! postmaster a new online request. This time I selected the “other” category. I was courteous and specific. I explained email is delivered to yahoo! user’s SPAM folder and I occasionally received mail delivery deferred warnings. I hope to receive a helpful response.
12/02/09 – I receive a reply from yahoo! postmaster in the form of a questionnaire that I must fill out to have my server and sending practices evaluated for re-classification.
12/03/09 – I replied to the yahoo! postmaster with complete answers to their 11 question application for evaluation. Cross your fingers.
12/07/09 – Sent a polite follow-up to my complete application.
12/09/09 – Filled out a whole new web-form with a follow-up. Its like they never get replies sent via email?
12/10/09 – 12/12/09 – I have contacted yahoo postmaster at least once per day during this time. I love the maze of forms. They send me one form I fill it out then they reply saying unfortunately they couldn’t help me because I didn’t provide all of the requested information and enclose a new form in the email. This is the world’s biggest run-around but I won’t give up!
12/16/09 - I filled out the requested form and replied. I didn’t hear back so I sent them my responses again. This time I got a form saying they replaced their form with a new form that is better and asked me to fill this one out. Woo!
12/17/09SUCCESS! They replied today and said that they have updated the record for my IP address in their database. A quick test email went to the inbox of a brand new yahoo! user. Finally!

Yahoo! Mail Delivery Tips

Since I fought quite hard to get my server de-blacklisted the least I can do is pass tips on to the rest of you who may need the same thing.

  1. Is your IP ‘blacklisted’? Send an email from your server to a yahoo account. View the “full headers” of the message from the yahoo account. Does it contain a line “X-YahooFilteredBulk: <ip address here>”? If so then yes.. you’re black listed.
  2. If you’re black listed fill out the following form. http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/mail/postmaster/bulkv2.html Yeah, I know your thinking “But I’m not a bulk sender.” Neither am I but I had to fill out this form. WARNING: Do not leave any field blank on the form. If any field is blank (even if it does not apply to you) they will reject it. The business name field? I wrote my domain name. The privacy policy? I wrote one and posted it(they rejected my app when I didn’t have one!) http://www.bbbonline.org/Privacy/sample_privacy.asp I cannot emphasize enough fill out everything. I had the form rejected for not providing information that is not applicable to me as a non-bulk sender using a personal mail server. Eventually I got through by filling everything out just as a business would have to.
  3. Sign all outgoing emails with DKIM
  4. Publish SPF records
  5. Enroll on the Yahoo! Complaint Feedback Loop
  6. Make sure the reverse DNS record for your outbound mail server points to a hostname that has the same IP.
  7. Don’t send SPAM.

Radisson best rate guarantee rocks

At the conclusion of this summer I was planning a 4-day weekend trip to serve as my vacation and stumbled upon the extreme usefulness of Radisson Hotel’s best rate online guarantee and comparison shopping. I wanted to book an ocean-view hotel room at a Radisson location for 2 nights. Radisson.com quoted $159 for Thursday night and $169 for Friday night. I checked orbitz.com and they quoted me $159 for Thursday night and FREE for Friday night. Orbitz was running a Friday night is free promotion. So that brought my average nightly rate with Orbitz to $80 and Radisson.com at $165.

While on the Radisson.com site I noticed a link that said best online rate guarantee so I clicked it. Their policy is if they do not have the best publicly available online rate they will match that rate and beat it by 25%. Sweet! The catch? You have to book with Radisson.com first, then within 24 hours of your booking submit an online claim form. This seemed risky to me because I was signing up for $400 bill(w/ taxes) when I could only afford the $200 bill. But I took comfort in the fact that at least with booking on Radisson.com I could cancel if my claim gets rejected. Then hopefully Orbitz would still have the great rate.

I eventually booked the hotel on Radisson.com then immediately sent the claim form. Within 24 hours I received an email stating that my claim had been received and approved. So I received 2 nights state at an average nightly rate of $60 in an ocean-view, quality hotel!

The hotel was ok and it was great to be right on the beach. Not sure if I would have wanted to pay the full rate but at my discounted rate…. this hotel was fantastic!

I just had to post this blog to let people know the Radisson best online rate guarantee does not seem to be a rip-off or scam. I searched before I tried my claim and only found one other person who reported results just as mine. So now, hopefully, people will find 2 success stories.