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Update: Thank you to all who have con­trib­uted to the dis­cus­sion below. For the impa­tient, here is a sum­mary of what you might like to do:
  • If you hate Sydney Mail, fear not: you have options.
  • To redir­ect your Sydney Mail email to anoth­er email account, you can either a) use a “redir­ect” rule in Sydney Mail or b) get your email cli­ent (such as Gmail) to pick it up via POP3 (for this, see the main post below). Both a) and b) do the job.
  • To send email from with­in Gmail as if you were send­ing it from Sydney Mail, add your Sydney Mail address under the Addresses tab in Set­tings in Gmail.
  • How­ever, some recip­i­ents, such as those using Out­look, may see that the sender of your email is “xyz@​gmail.​com on behalf of abcd1​2​3​4​@​uni.​sydney.​edu.​au”. If you don’t like this, you can fix this by get­ting Gmail to send email via SMTP. To find out the address of the SMTP serv­er, see these instruc­tions.

“Sydney Mail is a new and sig­ni­fic­antly improved stu­dent email ser­vice,” announced the email from the uni­ver­sity proudly.

The truth is that the uni­ver­sity has delivered some­thing that’s bet­ter, but is rather defi­cient in its own right: they’ve out­sourced email to Microsoft so it’s all now run off Out­look Web Access. I could go on and on about why I would nev­er use it, but I’ll just show you how to avoid using it.

The exist­ing email sys­tem allows you to for­ward to a per­son­al email address, and the uni­ver­sity provides instruc­tions for how to do it on the new sys­tem. Don’t fol­low those instruc­tions! It is true that email will be for­war­ded from Out­look to your per­son­al email but what hap­pens is that the emails are lit­er­ally for­war­ded! If Bob sends you an email, when it pops up in your per­son­al email, the From field will show your uni­ver­sity email as opposed to Bob, which is incred­ibly incon­veni­ent.

The solu­tion? Get your mail cli­ent to retrieve mail from Out­look via POP3. If you’re using Gmail like me, go to Set­tings > Accounts. Look for the “Get mail from oth­er accounts” sec­tion and click the “Add a mail account you own” link. A win­dow will then pop up; try the fol­low­ing set­tings:


Email sent to your uni­ver­sity email won’t get for­war­ded instantly like it used to, but it’s a much bet­ter solu­tion than the one offered by the uni­ver­sity.

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As I trawl the depths of the Inter­web, I’ve been jot­ting down ideas for what to blog on my digit­al post-it notes in the Vista Side­bar. (Notion­ally, it’s because I only want to inund­ate my blog but maybe I’m pro­cras­tin­at­ing on doing my pro­cras­tin­at­ing activ­it­ies — not a good sign). Sadly, I some­how mis­took the delete but­ton for the add but­ton, and I deleted everything but here’s a few I remembered.

Sad kitty: my cats would hate this — this surely counts as anim­al cruelty! Only in Japan…


Are the days of the SMS numbered? As the only per­son using mobile Inter­net reg­u­larly that I know of, I’ll just say some­thing quickly. No, I don’t think email (in its cur­rent form) can sup­plant SMS. Put­ting aside the repu­ta­tion of email as being for more “ser­i­ous stuff”, email is fun­da­ment­ally a pull medi­um, not a push medi­um that SMS is. The usu­ally widely dif­fer­ent uses of the two medi­ums doesn’t really make a strong argu­ment for the con­ver­gence of the two — one’s for short quick mes­sages that you’d prefer to be received instantly, while the other’s for longer mes­sages that can be diges­ted at the recipient’s leis­ure. I guess you could do some­thing like what Google has done by mesh­ing email and chat togeth­er in Gmail, the logic being that both are about con­ver­sa­tions, and they’re just dif­fer­ent mani­fest­a­tions of the same thing… but I just don’t see SMS and email togeth­er as offer­ing any addi­tion­al bene­fits to what we have cur­rently. In terms of cost, yes, one SMS nom­in­ally costs a lot more than one email, but my cap plan at least allows me to treat SMS as an all you can eat thing — I can’t pos­sibly use it all up unless I text day in day out.

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