About Abandoning That Turd Called OneDrive

A few years back Microsoft seemed to be cleaning up the disaster of its online cloud storage strategy (see, “on the rudderless boat called microsoft” from January 23, 2009).

It got close. OneDrive was promising as a universal, cross-platform cloud storage solution. But recently Microsoft dropped the ball. And it’s worse than what it was back in 2009.

On Mac OS and iOS OneDrive is a turd. And it’s been a turd for a long time now. But I was in denial about it. My friends got sick of me championing OneDrive. There were a lot of problems that I struggled through and I stuck with OneDrive. But recent events have finally woken me up to the stench of the environment and I’ve decided to flush it down the toilet.

There’s the case of the unlimited-storage broken promise, for example.

There’s the fact that OneDrive and OneDrive Business remain an unreconciled confusing brand of misfit tech.

There’s the fact that the OneDrive Mac desktop client fails catastrophically and requires you to reconfigure the software and re-sync your content every time you name a file with one-too-many characters. Yeah, that bug is years old.

In fact, if you look at the OneDrive client for Mac the wrong way it crashes.

Plus OneDrive is just slow. Painfully slow. It’s slow on the web. The apps are slow. I could walk downtown and back faster than OneDrive syncs files from the cloud to my Mac.

Then take the big deal Microsoft recently about real-time online multi-user collaboration inside of Office documents. You know, stuff that you’ve been able to do in Google Docs for years. And it worked for a little while. Until it didn’t. All of a sudden access to shared OneDrive files and folders just stopped working in Mac OS and iOS. And without access to shared files and folders there’s really not a lot of collaborating you can do.

I tried to get support for the problem several times over the past few weeks. I called Office support. They said, on numerous occasions, that it’s a OneDrive problem. Go talk to them.

So I texted with OneDrive support (they don’t offer phone support). They told me it’s an Office problem. Go talk to them.

So there I was, a frustrated customer stuck between the rock of Office and the hard place of OneDrive. But I wanted to get the problem solved. I had crap tons of stuff stored on OneDrive. So I allowed myself to be bounced back and forth between these two unhelpful support resources countless times. And each interaction consumed hours of time.

Like, last week I spent almost 3 hours on the phone with an Office support representative named Zef. She screen-shared my Mac to investigate the problem. She uninstalled and re-installed Office twice. (Uninstalling Office from a Mac is a complex, manual 30-step process that alone takes a good twenty minutes. “If you want an Office uninstaller you have to get Windows,” explained Zef.) She uninstalled and reinstalled the OneDrive client at least 10 times. She renamed my Mac’s hard drive without my permission. She desperately reorganized files and folders that had nothing to do with Office or OneDrive just to try and look busy.

When she finally recognized that simply repeating basic troubleshooting steps again and again and again  won’t produce changed outcomes she desparately tried to turf me off to OneDrive support. I told her OneDrive support would just tell me to come back to Office support. I asked for a higher level of Office support. She said she wouldn’t do that because she’d just get in trouble from her supervisor. I insisted.

Begrudgingly, she acceded. She transferred me. The level two tech support guy asked me for my case number. Zef hadn’t given me one. Too bad, said level 2 tech support guy. We can’t look those up. You have to start all over again with level 1. But we’re closed now. So call back tomorrow.

And you know what? I did. I actually called back the next day and spent another couple hours on the phone with a different level one knob just to get back up to level 2 in hopes that there’d be a better level of support there.

There isn’t. The level 2 guy just repeated all the stuff the level one people did and wasted another hour of my life. He ran out of stuff to try, too, when I refused to let him uninstall Office yet again.

“Okay then. We’ll investigate and get back to you later today with a solution,” explained the level two guy in frustration. That was a week ago.

I’ve logged well over 15 hours of time interacting with Microsoft support. 15 hours of my life I’ll never get back. And I’m no better off for it.

In the meantime, I’ve been forced to devise all sorts of time-consuming workarounds to keep OneDrive sort of working. I’ve made all sorts of excuses to friends and colleagues to defend the disastrous state of OneDrive.

Then I woke up Friday morning and had a revelation. Fuck. This. Shit.

Because that’s what OneDrive is. Utter, complete and total shit. It looks like shit. It smells like shit. And it functions about as well as a you’d expect a turd to.

So I spent some time this weekend using Mover.io to get all of my stuff off of OneDrive and over to Dropbox.

It’s a breath of fresh air. The Dropbox client is rock solid on both Mac and iOS. It hasn’t crashed once all weekend and I’ve been pushing it to the limit.

And it’s fast. Where I had to wait for OneDrive to sync changes from the cloud to my Mac, Dropbox syncs occur instantaneously.

Then there’s the fact that there’s really good Microsoft Office integration built right into Dropbox. What does anybody even need the shitstorm called OneDrive for anymore?

There’s a certain weight off my back. My battle against OneDrive and Microsoft is over.

But there’s also egg on my face. I can’t believe I supported OneDrive for as long as I did. I’m going to be pretty sheepish about that for a while.

At least I recognize it now: OneDrive  a turd. I’m ashamed for having supported it for so long. But it’s really Microsoft that should be red-faced about dumping that steamer on the internet.

About Labelling (Kids’ Soccer Teams During a Tournament)

My son is refereeing a few games during a kids’ soccer tournament this weekend. He reffed his first two games last night.

When he went to the scorekeeper’s table after the games to report the scores, he reported the teams based on the colour of their shirts, the only quality he had to go with. The woman managing the scorekeeping table asked what “team number” each team was. Another young woman entered the conversation and referred to the teams by their sponsors. All of a sudden there were three labelling methodologies in play for these kids’ soccer teams:

  1. Shirt colour
  2. Team number
  3. Sponsor name

That’s pretty complicated for a soccer tournament for 7- to 9-year olds. It all got sorted out, but the conversation to communicate the final scores was like something out of an Abbot and Costello routine.

About Telus’ Base Voice Plans

If you want to get a phone from Telus (or any Canadian provider for that matter, I’m just talking about Telus because that’s the company I use) you have to start with a “voice plan”.

Voice plans start at $35 for a paltry 150 local minutes, and go as high as $60 for unlimited Canada-wide calling.

You add data plans on top of that. The thing is, to get a phone account with Telus you have to commit to paying at least $70 a month, and that has to include a voice plan.

That is crazy. It’s so expensive.

I had a look at my last bill and found I only made 11 voice calls. I’m at that $60 voice plan level, so each call cost me just shy of $6. Those are really expensive phone calls.

Most of the communicating I did, of course, was over data. Facetime, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, etc. That sort of stuff. Hangouts and Messenger both let you make outbound phone calls to landlines.

I could have made those voice calls over data, too, but I didn’t for whatever reason. But I could have.

In other words, I don’t need a voice plan. But Telus makes the voice plan aspect of my service the foundational element.

So here’s what I’m thinking of doing. Getting a SIM card from Virgin (because Virgin is cheaper than Telus and a trusted friend of mind in Vancouver swears by their service) and putting a Tablet Data Plan on it. I’ll pay a minimum of $5 for data service per month. The data fees go up as you use more. If you get as high as 5 GB, you pay $40 for that month. Like this:

Then I’ll subscribe to Line2. They provide data-based voice and texting services. For about $9 a month I can get a local number (yep, 867 area code) that includes unlimited Canada and US calling.

In other words, I’ll cut my mobile communications bill by about 60%. That’s huge.

I’m just testing Line2 now on a spare phone with a Tablet Data SIM in it. I’ll try to remember to report back as things progress. After a few days, though, it’s working well.