Goodbye Peanut

We have been struggling for a couple years with problems with Peanut, our tan chihuahua. As you’ve probably read in a couple previous articles, we’ve been through a lot with him, including having him get lost in a strange neighborhood for a few days in the freezing cold. Well, our problems began after that incident in the cold, and they never really improved after stuggling day after day to try to get him to behave properly (he always hated Sandy, growling and snapping whenever she got close to him or he to her) and he continued to pee and mark everything in the house even after being fixed, training with training pads, using “Stay-Off” spray, and everything else we could think of.

As a result of his continued “marking” issues, we’re pretty sure this is what caused my leg infection twice, both of which were very serious, extremely painful, and costly in both lost work time and medical fees. The leg infections cleared up, but I recently got an arm infection that no one can explain, so we’re assuming it is somehow connected with the previous leg infections. Anyway, we had been seriously considering our options for Peanut for the past few weeks, and thought it would be better for him in a new home. He just doesn’t–and isn’t ever–going to get along with us and learn to behave properly. We also have Socks, our black and white chihuahua, and he is the total opposite of Peanut. He has learned to tell us when he needs to go outside, in emergencies he uses his pad to do his business, and he’s very friendly to the entire family. Neighbors and outside family members are another story, but that’s just a chihuahua trait in general.

So before doing anything else with Peanut, we called our good friends who gave him to us originally, who still owns Peanut’s father, mother, and even a sibling. They agreed to take him back, which was a tremendous relief for us. It’s bad enough having to give up a pet you’ve been with for years, but at least we know he’s with a good family, and has other playmates to live with. They picked him up last night, so he’s gone now. Socks is adjusting already. He’ll get all of our attention, just like he’s always wanted, so he’ll be fine.

We just felt we couldn’t afford to have any more of my infection problems, and thought we needed to do something before anything else was destroyed in the house. He has wrecked numerous CDs, DVDs, boxes, shoes, and basically everything we’ve left on or near floor level. He would even get so angry whenever one of us left the house that, after attacking the door we walked out of, he would run around and pee on two or three things. Yes, we had already previously tried to bring him outside at these points, when we could, but it didn’t help the situation at all. And even when we crated both dogs each time all of us left the house, Socks would go willingly into his cage, sit down and be calm, while Peanut would throw a tantrum, snap, growl, and bark, while we nudged him into his cage and locked it. Even after years of this he never came around and grew into the routine.

So he’s gone now, but he’s still in town and we can visit him and his family whenever we want, so we’ll see what happens. We’re hoping he adjusts and does well in his new environment.  You can see more photos of Peanut if you’d like by clicking on the thumbnail.  That will take you to Peanut’s Photo Album.

A new Incredimail complaint

I did a lot of research in the last few days, and boy am I ticked off now–once again. Many of you might recall my previous complaints about Incredimail. If not, click here to catch up. Yes, Incredimail took content that was free before and put a price tag on it, even for the faithful users who bought their program. I feel that this was wrong, and to get right to the point, they’ve done it AGAIN very recently. Remember their Junk Mail filtering feature built into Incredimail? Well, I just learned that they removed it and now call it “Junk Filter Plus” and charge a fee for it. And on top of that, it’s an ANNUAL fee!! This is horrible, and certainly tells you what you can expect from them. It’s all about the money. Gotta keep the machine running. I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point in the near future we see a “PLATINUM” gallery appear, which would contain content even BETTER than their “Gold Content” and cost yet another–completely separate–fee, most likely annual.

That’s not all though–they’ve done one more thing that really sucks. They wrote an “Outlook Addon” for Incredimail some time ago, over a year ago. This add-on is really the only reason I still used Incredimail. I use Outlook for my e-mail, so I get the huge benefits of all of Outlook’s features (contact management, excellent calendaring, sophisticated e-mail features, etc.) yet I can still use Incredimail stationery, animations, e-cards, etc., when I want, at the click of a button.

So, when I thought about it I began to wonder if there have been any updates to the Incredimail Outlook Add-on. I went to Incredimail’s site and was shocked to find no mention of it whatsoever! It’s been completely removed from their site, and even all of the links right from the Outlook Addon itself that go to Incredimail’s site–like Help, Tips, and FAQ’s–give me an error! The pages don’t exist at all any more! So my fear was that they discontinued this product because people using it don’t constantly see the annoying  “Junk Filter Plus” folder that nags you to buy it every time you click on it.

In an initial attempt to try to determine what they’re doing, I sent a VIP support message to them and told them I use the Outlook Add-on and I reformatted my PC and reinstalled everything, but I don’t have a copy of the Addon any more, so I need to reinstall it. I asked them where I can get it because I can’t find it on their site any more. Here’s the response I got:

Hello, I apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced, however we no longer provide support for IncrediMail for Office Outlook Add-On and it is no longer available for download.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Best regards,
IncrediMail Support

This was an annoying short response to my request, and since Ronen told me to let him know if I have any more questions, I replied with a few more:


Yes, actually I do have more questions. First of all, the only reason I still used Incredimail’s content and features is because of the Outlook Add-On. I was never happy with the Incredimail Program itself, it was too feature-limited for my needs. Outlook 2003 has everything I need, and with the Incredimail Add-On for it I was very happy. My next question is therefore: Has another company taken over support and development of the Add-On, or has it been scrapped altogether?

Another question I have is why? Why would you abandon an entire group of Incredimail users like this by dropping a very useful program like this?

Lastly, I just wanted to comment on the growing trend I have seen with Incredimail over the years that saddens me. I have used Incredimail from the beginning when I bought the Premium version of the program and enjoyed the entire Gallery and the “Download Entire Album” feature and many other advantages. Then I was disappointed to see a lot of that content literally taken away from me when you add the “Gold Gallery” feature. A lot of the the previously-free content was now in the Gold Gallery and inaccessible to me. I watched for months and months as the gold gallery grew, and eventually I took the plunge and purchased a lifetime membership. During this same period you developed the nice Junkmail filtering features into Incredimail, and I was sure glad I had the premium version so I could reap the benefits of it. Then it happened again–The Junkmail features were mysteriously taken away from me in one update and now you wanted more money–this time ANNUALLY–to provide features that were previously included in the Premium version I paid for!! Then this last problem with you dumping the Outlook Add-On completely–I just can’t figure out how your company can stay in business this way. You seem to constantly disappoint your loyal, paying customers, continuously asking for more and more money as you take away more and more features. It’s like you’re holding features of your own software and gallery hostage. I just don’t get it. I can see a company needing a decent regular inflow of cash, but at what point is enough enough? When does the greed stop and Customer Support begin?? I, for one, am probably done with Incredimail now, after having purchased the Premium & Letter Creator Bundle and the Lifetime Gold License. What a waste. But I won’t give up Outlook 2003 and go back to using the limited Incredimail program. If the add-on isn’t available anywhere else I will be looking to other options for HTML e-mail creation, stationery, and notifiers.

So when can we expect the “Platinum Gallery” to be unveiled? I guess it will have even better quality letters, notifiers and skins…? But at what price?

–Jim T

I don’t expect a satisfactory response to my questions, if I get anything at all, but I’ll be sure to post any response I get. So I’m beginning to look at alternatives once again, only this time there’s a difference. I’m still using Outlook for my e-mail, contacts, appointments, calendar, etc., so that won’t change. It’s an excellent program with tons of features. Microsoft–And every other respectable software company I’ve seen before–Doesn’t have a policy of routinely removing program features and content and charging a fee for them, so I don’t think I have to worry about losing features in Outlook that I value, so I’ll stick with it. I would just like to find a source for nice, quality stationery. I’m open to suggestions.

Update: 12/13/05 – I received two e-mails from Ronen this morning.  Here’s the first one:

In regards to the IncrediMail for Office – Outlook Add-on, is was not taken by another company, at the moment, we no longer provide support for this product and therefore, it is no longer available for download. We may consider adding it again in the future. Thank you for your feedback. We are always happy to receive suggestions that may help us improve IncrediMail and our service.

Best regards,
IncrediMail Support

And the second one:


I would like to apologize for the inconvenience that you experienced.

I understand your point of view and your claim that when you first downloaded and began to use IncrediMail, JunkFilter was available to all users free of charge.

The basic JunkFilter was previously available to all IncrediMail users, be it IncrediMail Premium members or users of the free version. This should clarify that the basic JunkFilter was not a part of any IncrediMail package previously offered – it was offered to all our users for free.

Please keep in mind that the basic JunkFilter that you previously enjoyed is no longer available. We have replaced the basic JunkFilter with an improved and much more powerful anti-spam tool – the JunkFilter Plus.

Since JunkFilter Plus is a major upgrade to the basic JunkFilter that was previously offered, it is subscription-based. It is important for me to re-emphasize and for you to recognize that the JunkFilter was not part of the Premium package that you purchased.

We certainly did not remove ANY features that were and still are a part of the Premium package that our users purchased. I hope you can recognize that new offerings simply cannot be included as added features in packages that our users purchased in the past.

As an IncrediMail Premium user, it is important for me that you remain a satisfied user, and I would therefore like to offer you a $20 discount coupon for the first year of the JunkFilter Plus yearly subscription. Let me know if you wish to take advantage of this offer and I will send you a coupon.

Best regards,
IncrediMail Support

So basically he told me everything I already knew, and I knew the JunkFilter was part of the basic Incredimail program as well as the Premium, but it was still removed!  They DID remove features, but they’d rather talk their way around it by telling us we didn’t pay for them.  But if JunkFilter Plus is so much better than JunkFilter, why did they even HAVE to remove JunkFilter?  Why leave all of your existing users totally unprotected when you once helped them control their JunkMail, even if only a little bit?  It just doesn’t seem right to me.

The discount offer was pretty much what I expected.  If it gets me into their annual subscription system, sure, why wouldn’t they give me money off up-front?

Well, I’ve had it.  I am finally throwing in the towel and giving up.  There are no refunds on their Premium program or Gold Gallery, and I have Lifetime Licenses for both, so I’m out the money, but it was a lesson well learned.

All I can say is “More Power To Open Source!”  And I hope to see an awesome program of this nature in the future.  Thunderbird is sure a far-superior open-source e-mail client already, and it’s been out for quite some time.  It just needs more add-ons to offer templating abilities similar too (and hopefully much better) than Incredimail does.

I hope this posting helps others in some small way, whether you’re searching for a nice e-mail client, having your own troubles with Incedimail, or just looking for something better.  Learn from my mistakes.

Christmas Tree Lighting

We attended Kenosha’s Christmas Tree Lighting tonight at the Museum.  The weather was pretty rough though–blizzard conditions!  Kevin, Matt and I toughed it out though, and sat in the cold on a bench in front of the tree outside the museum for about 45 minutes for the ceremony.  I took a few photos, and Matt even managed to capture the entire audio of the ceremony with my Olympus DS-2 Digital Recorder.  Thanks, Matt!

Kevin froze most of the time, and got mad when I called him Rudolph because he had a red nose.  He just kept asking to go home.  I kept reminding him that it wouldn’t be long and that we’d go to Christmas Lane and see the Christmas Train afterward, but he said he just wanted to go home.  After the ceremony we warmed up in the car, got nice and toasty and we headed over to Christmas Lane feeling much better.  Matt took some more photos and Kevin talked to Santa and got a couple of gifts from him at the Christmas Train House.  They even served cookies, treats and popcorn!  We stood around a fire pit they had set up and kept warm while we drank hot cider, hot chocolate, and had a few snacks.  It was a very nice evening all around and we had a nice, Christmastime night, even if it was a bit early.

Click here for the audio from the Tree Lighting Ceremony, and click here for the photos we took.  And as an added bonus, click here for an awesome display now showing at the museum:  David Valentine Holmes: The Mystical Mechanical Menagerie.  When viewing the images in this gallery, be sure to view them FULL SIZE.  The detail is amazing on all of them, and I left the original images quite large to show the detail.