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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 abcd1234@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:

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…

sadkitty6

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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