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E-mail improvements cause problems, outages for users

February 5, 2007

Slow, annoying, stressful and frustrating are just a few of the words that have been used on campus when talking about the most recent batch of e-mail fiascos.

Since the beginning of the spring semester, students have been welcomed back with a barrage of technological snafus that have plagued the University’s e-mail system. This has pitted the students in a battle of sorts against the folks in ITS. Students have voiced their outrage. 

“It’s the only e-mail I have,” senior Andy Doro said while describing his problems with the e-mail malfunction, one of which was the inability to turn in assignments via SquirrelMail. 

Many students share the same thoughts and feelings.  The problem with the e-mail system has made the first week of the spring semester a stressful and strenuous one for many.

Although there have been many frustrating and stressful days for students and faculty alike, there is a solution. The solution comes in the form of a new and improved SquirrelMail.  It has been talked about for some time, and that time has finally arrived. From January 26th – 29th, upgrades were made to SquirrelMail changing the look slightly and unfortunately causing attachments to be more difficult to use.

This newer version of the e-mail system has implications for both students and faculty, ITS employee Robert Rust said. A major feature for the faculty is the ability to share e-mail folders through a filter that makes accessibility to e-mail easier.

Another difference is the archive function. This task enables students to clean up their inbox, but save messages that are important by putting the emails into a folder by name or date, instead of using the old method which stored e-mails strictly by number.

Among the more useful changes in the upgraded SquirrelMail, is a feature that offers any user the ability to go back to composing an e-mail if the window tab accidentally closes. The program now reverts back to the composition function after closing, and from there it asks if you want to recover your previously started work.  It does not work however, if the entire browser is closed.

All of the new details and upgrades will be helpful to every student, staff and faculty member who uses the e-mail services at UW-River Falls.

However, what does the upgrade in e-mail mean for students?

“The biggest thing is performance and reliability,” Rust said.

The new mail is run on two servers that are dedicated solely to Web mail. For the student, that means a more reliable form of e-mail that is faster and not in need of constant repairs.