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Peek was worth a peek

Friday, November 06, 2009 by Dave Winer.

A picture named peek.jpgI thought perhaps the Peek email device might be a good service to get for a family member who's not very technical. I wanted them to have access to text messaging, and thought its advertised simplicity might be the answer. So I bought a device for $49 and bought one month of service for $19.95, with the understanding that it's not a service plan, and if I didn't like it, I could easily opt-out.  Permalink to this paragraph

I used it for a few days and decided it wasn't what I wanted. It is simple, but the text messaging feature is a hack on top of email, and they put ads for their service in the text messages, and texting is more or less one-way, and it's the wrong way for my application. It's easy for the Peek user to send text messages but virtually impossible for them to receive them. This didn't suit the application I had in mind, because I wanted the ability to send messages to the family member. I didn't think she'd be sending many on her own (she doesn't now). Permalink to this paragraph

So I decided to opt out. There's no way to do it from the website. They don't explain how to opt out the FAQ. When I called the sales department, they said I could turn the service off, but I wouldn't be able to use the remaining time on the month worth of service I had already purchased. I said that's unacceptable. I wanted to get off the monthly plan and use the remainder of the time I had already purchased. (Maybe I'd find another use for it?) Permalink to this paragraph

After a lot of back and forth, the service person, Jacqueline, said I should get in touch with the operations manager, David Hung. I'm going to email him a pointer to this blog post. Permalink to this paragraph

Net-net, Peek is an attractive device, the service works reasonably well for email, but not for texting. It is simple to set up and use. However they don't make it easy to get out. At this point, I'm still going to charged for $19.95 on December 2. They'll probably do what I asked after reading this blog post, but you shouldn't have to write a blog post for what should be a routine matter. It should be easy to turn the automatic renewal off and on as you wish.  Permalink to this paragraph

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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.


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Last update: 11/6/2009; 5:18:55 PM Pacific. "It's even worse than it appears."

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