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Comment A quick letter that I sent to my ISP (Score 1) 442

ESPN's web site has a link that makes it easy for users to tell ISPs that they want ESPN360, but ISPs need to hear our point of view and know that they have plenty of customers who don't want their ISP to give into ESPN360's shenanigans. I posted the following onto my ISP's customer feedback page. Please feel free to clean up and use in any way that you see fit.


I just wanted to give my feedback about ESPN360. I prefer that Speakeasy continues to operate as a neutral ISP regarding ESPN360 and does not pay ESPN360 to get their content for Speakeasy subscribers. I believe that individual end users who want to access ESPN360 content should pay ESPN360 directly and not through their ISP, especially as there are Speakeasy customers who do not use or have even heard of ESPN360. As an entertainment web site, ESPN360 is not offering a service that is of general public value that would warrant ISPs instead of individual end users to pay ESPN360 for access.

I enjoy my Speakeasy service as it exists today, and I hope that ESPN360's plan to get ISPs instead of end users to pay for their content fails. If ESPN360 succeeds, other web site operators may attempt the same strategy and lead to service fragmentation on the Internet, which raises the barrier to entry for new ISPs and also raises the operational costs of existing ISPs. It's an attempt to impose a cable company business model onto ISPs, which could additionally lead to ISP responsibility of delivered content.

Please keep Speakeasy as a neutral Internet connection by turning down any attempts from ESPN360 to get Speakeasy to pay for ESPN360 access.

Thank you for your attention.

Comment Re:Layoffs (Score 1) 640

I researched this for a small architecture firm earlier this year, and my recommendations for them were in the following order, with the first listings having the most preference for their particular business:

1. Rackspace.com hosted Exchange
2. Scalix
3. Yahoo! Zimbra

Google Apps probably would have been #1 if it had better feature parity at the time that I reviewed it, and it's possible that Google Apps would probably now be in the top three.

A really nice thing for the customer about the three recommendations above is that all feature full compatibility with Microsoft Outlook. I personally detest Outlook, but they like it, and all three are fully compatible with Outlook's groupware features.

Comment Mvelopes.com (Score 1) 108

To add myself to the set of Quicken alternative comments, I'd like to promote Mvelopes.com. It's an easy-to-use software as a service (SaaS) solution that runs as a full-page Flash application and uses a proactive budgeting approach rather than Quicken et al's reactive budgeting approach. With mobile browser access, it's possible to check the balance of each virtual envelope before making purchases, which helps make it proactive -- you can avoid spending money in the first place if the current balance of the relevant envelope isn't sufficient. In Quicken and other solutions, you enter in receipts after the fact and then get depressed about always spending more than you planned to in various categories.

I don't work for Mvelopes's company, but I am a very happy customer. I used Quicken from about 2002 to mid-2008, and I have to say that Mvelopes is far easier to use and keep up to date. It saves me at least two hours per week over my previous process, and I used to use Excel for budgeting because Quicken's budgeting modules suck, especially compared to Mvelopes's granular envelope spending and funding plan features. Mvelopes was designed with budgets at its core, which it calls envelopes, and envelopes are funded with each paycheck and other income sources as they come in.

Mvelopes isn't free, but it's competitive with the Quicken upgrade treadmill, and their online customer service is good enough. Bugs get fixed, and they are always adding features and improving usability further. It's reminds me a lot of the upgrade model of my employer, Salesforce.com. There's no software to install, besides Flash, and no action on your part needed to get updates. As a result of being a paid service, versus Mint.com, the data is private, and they don't load the UI with third party advertisements. Their privacy policy might not be as strong as the one at Salesforce.com, but it's good enough for me, for whatever that's worth :-).

Hopefully, this helps..

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