E-mail frustrating, causes difficulties
April 12, 2007
To say that this latest e-mail outage was inconvenient would be an understatement. To say that it was unexpected would be a lie -- which is disheartening to say the least.
Given the unreliability of SquirrelMail this academic year, most students have wised up and had their email forwarded to another account; some even set up alternate accounts just in case the UW-River Falls campus fell victim to another technological glitch. The fact that this is necessary is outrageous.
Sure, people at IT Services say they have figured out the problem and fixed it, but they cannot assure the campus community that it will never happen again. This is the point where something needs to be done that will prevent repeated e-mail outages. Don’t sell everyone on a “new and improved” e-mail service when nothing significant has changed. It sure doesn’t look any different (except for that annoying box that pops up every five minutes warning the recipient that they have a new message), and it’s still as slow and unreliable as the one it replaced. It seems we had a lot less problems before all of the upgrades.
When I logged onto the UWRF Web site on Tuesday and saw the warning of an e-mail outage, my first thought was, ‘Oh great ... here we go again.’ However, I was able to sleep peacefully knowing the outage wasn’t going to affect registration. Yes, I’m so stupid that I mistook eSIS for email. But it is true that the e-mail failure wouldn’t affect registration ... unless, of course, students were waiting for their advisors to e-mail them PIN numbers in order to register.
According to ITS, members of the campus community fall into two pools in the system. It’s like winning the lottery - if you’re one of the lucky ones, all of your email messages were restored Wednesday evening.
But, if you’re like me and in that special “pool” in which all past messages have been erased, I wouldn’t hold my breath that they will be restored any time soon, if at all.
Seeing as I am a senior who will be graduating in May - and reveling in the fact I will be rid of SquirrelMail once and for all - I have been applying for numerous jobs around the country. I filled out some of the applications online, acknowledging my UWRF account as my primary e-mail and have possibly been missing important e-mails regarding my future.
The editor at a newspaper in Wyoming tried to send me an e-mail regarding employment, but was having difficulty because of the outage. The only reason I know this is that a Voice colleague applied to the same newspaper and he sent an email message to her to relay to me. At least she knew enough not to trust SquirrelMail and give him a more reliable e-mail address.
I have not heard of any problems similar to this from friends attending other universities, so why do we continue to struggle with our e-mail? This problem needs to be fixed once and for all.
Jennie Oemig is a student at UW-River Falls.