The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Nvidia, in the past of other companies such as Iagination Technologies, MIPS, Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

See http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcxddbtr_23cg5thdfj for photo credits.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Email address as website login ID

More and more websites are allowing you to use your email address as your website login ID or user name.  This is good.

What is not so good is that email addresses change over time.  Now, hopefully you can change the email address that the website uses to send email to you.

However, today I encountered a website that allows you to change your email address - but not the user name, which was the email address that you had when you first registered with the site.

So I am now in the situation of

a) Having to login with MyReallyOldObsoleteEmailAddress@defunct-mail-server.net

b) Getting email sent to newaddress@current-mail.net


Online vs. Paper Mail Notifications

Many businesses - stockbrokers, health insurance, telephone companies, etc. - want to save money ("and trees") by having you receive notifications online.

I am a but of a Luddite in that I like receiving paper mail.  Not for everything - but I know just how fragiler the email system is, and how easy it could be to lose access to all of my email accounts.  Less easy now than it used to be, but nevertheless...

Actually, what I really want is both paper and electronic.  Paper as a backup.  Electronic so that I can easily search.

But note that I said "electronic" and "easily search".  Most online notifications are pull - as in, "go to the website and download the bill".  Or, maybe "we will send you email when a new item is posted to your account, but then you must go to the website and pull it down yourself".  Frankly, I am too lazy and too busy to want to do this.

I want push, and/or I want automation.  I want such information aggregated automatically.  (Yes, I know about mint.com)

Also: I keep paper records for all of my financial stuff.  If ir's online only I have to print out out myself.  If they paper mail it to me, I save a step.  That's worth it to me, although perhaps not to them.  (I have asked my financial providers to use online for most stuff, but to send me full paper mail annual or quarterly reports.  But they usually don't have that flexibility.)

Here's an idea:

Instead of the only options being (0) Paper mail only, and (1) Online only.

How about

(1.5) Paper and online. Some sites allow pure pull from the website, but decide not to email you when they send you paper mail notifications.

(1.75) Online - but if you have not acknowledged that you have looked at in a month, or whatever to critical time period is, send a paper version.

I wonder if there could be a "full spectrum aggregator" - one that not only aggregates your financial info, but also aggregates all of these things like health insurance.

The proliferation of private email systems sucks.