It seems that the owners of Amstrad have managed to make their already fairly pointless "Email For Idiots" Em@iler machine even more rubbish than it was before. The Amserve/Amsurf network (which no longer has any connection to Siralan "You're Fired!" Sugar, but is owned by BSKYB) has been switched off.
On the plus side this means that users will no longer have to put up with their machines constantly making expensive premium rate phone calls.
On the minus side although they will still be able to use the Emailer as a funky telephone, most of it's other features will cease. And guess what? If your machine was not plugged in over the period when the last update took place, then you can't even use it to make a simple voice call. It's no more useful than an expensive techno doorstop.
So beware. Don't buy one unless you are absolutely sure it will still have some basic function. And definitely don't get one at all if you want to send and receive email. Get a computer instead, or a modern mobile phone that will undoubtedly do all the same things and more.
But there are not just storm clouds on the horizon for the owners of Lord Sugar's useless money pit of a machine; one may yet have a silver lining.
For as we speak, an army of bored techy geeks are working on ways to make use of the otherwise obsolete hardware. There is talk of installing linux, to make them function again - probably better than they ever did originally. Maybe new "Apprentice" Techno Tom is searching for a solution at this very moment...?
The announcement on the "Amstrad" website:
"April 2011 update:
We are sorry to advise that as a result of operational changes we are no longer able to provide the full e-m@ailer service and therefore a number of the features of your e-m@ailer unit will cease to function.
All units will receive a configuration change between 30th June 2011 and 14th July 2011 which will mean that the following features (if present on the model of e-m@ailer you own) will no longer be available after this configuration change has taken place:
- Email (Please note that you will still be able to access and view any emails stored on the e-m@ailer prior to the end date.)
- Any registration alterations
- Amsurf internet
- Games download (Please note that you will still be able to access and play any games stored on the e-m@ailer prior to the end date. Anything deleted will be irretrievable and time limited games will expire.)
- Ringtone download (Please note that you will still be able to access any ringtones stored on the e-m@ailer prior to the end date. Anything deleted will be irretrievable.)
- All dial up services (e.g. tarot, pranks etc.)
- Automatic setting of the date and time (Please note you can still set this manually.)
- Internet access to your email account
- After care telephone support
As a result of these changes your e-m@ailer will no longer make daily calls to the service to check for emails and as a result these call charges will cease.
The following features will still function after this time:
- Video calls (from E3 to E3 videophones)
- Caller display (if you subscribe via your telephone provider)
- Address book
- Printer settings (with compatible printers)
If you have any questions or concerns please contact our customer support team by telephone on 01277 208213 or by emailing before 30th June 2011."