Very Interesting…But Stupid
British Telecom e-mailed us today with the message that our monthly online bill is ready for reading. Coincidentally, 18185.co.uk also e-mailed our call-charges bill. All very good and supposedly saving paper, just like HSBC, which has been struggling to get us to accept paperless bank statements—assuming we can get at our account to read the bad news.
Of the three companies, only one, the smallest of the lot, has got a paperless bill that lets us see the amount we owe and log into our account with ease. That is 18185.co.uk, which sends an e-mail in the form of a single-page invoice, ready to print if necessary. Full call details are on the Web site if we want them.
This is the firm we pay for the call part of our telephone use. We dial 18185 in front of any local, national, or international telephone number. We usually get the conversation for free, plus a tiny connection charge.
The other two companies, BT and HSBC, are so untrustworthy in their online offerings that we will not move to their “paperless” accounts. (Read: less paper for them to buy and more for us to supply for them.) Both companies send accounts with numerous near-empty pages, bar their logos and corporate rubbish. If they stopped using them, they would halve their paper costs—especially if they kept to a single ink colour.
BT revamped its Web site recently, and the new one is not recognized in our password loggers, the Mac OS Keychain, or 1Password. The site won’t accept our username and password, and clicking on Forgotten Password results in an automated e-mail uselessly saying, “This is an example template for forgotten password.” So much for its paperless bills.
HSBC was also locking out Safari 3 following a Web site revamp last year. It is fixed now, just in time for Safari 4 to be released in beta form.
Look That Up in Your Funk & Wagnalls
What can be said about Safari 4? Apple’s engineers have given it a whole new face, copying Google’s Chrome by putting tabs across the top of the window. Other new tweaks include dropping the blue progress bar, omitting the reload button, and adding automatic suggestions for Google searches and URLs. Apparently, Safari 4 is faster than its predecessor, but it still has problems with some sites that Firefox opens with ease.
The final flourish is a new window of Top Sites based on the recent history log. It resembles a Rowan and Martin joke wall. Click on a little Web page in the wall and expect a wide-eyed, giggly Goldie Hawn to pop her head out.
We’ve used the new-look Safari for a week before screaming in frustration and wanting it to look like good old Safari 3. There are various terminal commands that turn off most of the new features. Better still, however, is the free haxie Safari-Tweaks from pointum.
It gives Safari a new Tweaks menu, in which all the new toys that Apple’s engineers have devised can be turned off.
Also in This Series
- What Trick, What Device, What Starting-Hole… · May 2012
- Do Androids Dream? · April 2012
- Our Macs Are Under Attack · March 2012
- The Best and Worst Christmas Presents · February 2012
- The Best Use for a Kindle · January 2012
- It’s Got No Blinking Light · January 2012
- Box-Shifting Causes Migration · December 2011
- The Best Thing About the iPhone 4S and How to Cope in Clink · December 2011
- Death of a Salesman · November 2011
- Complete Archive