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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:

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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Len­ovo wins $150m NSW schools deal: It’s great to see the NSW gov­ern­ment giv­ing form to the “digital revolu­tion” by provid­ing laptops to school­chil­dren, but the dom­in­ance of Microsoft and Adobe soft­ware denies NSW kids the chance to see bey­ond the Win­dows strait­jacket — and tax­pay­ers more bang for their buck.

16 Apr 2009 | 2 comments

An open source, stand­ards com­pli­ant CMS from Microsoft? That sure is trippy enough to deserve a smil­ing mush­room high up in an aero­plane.

14 Jan 2009 | 1 comment

I’m a PC, and I like what I see.

21 Sep 2008 | No comments

Zachary, G. Showstop­per! The Break­neck Race to Cre­ate Win­dows NT and the Next Gen­er­a­tion at Microsoft.

Showstopper!

If you’re into com­put­ing his­tory, this is well worth a read. By the end, you get a really good sense of the per­sonal sac­ri­fices made to cre­ate the first ver­sion of Win­dows NT; it’s hard to cri­ti­cise the flaws in Vista (which is for those unfa­mil­iar with Win­dows ver­sion­ing, NT 6.0) when you real­ise the price that many in the team paid: the loss of friends, and the shat­ter­ing of rela­tion­ships. At first, I found the digres­sions into per­sonal his­tory dis­tract­ing, but I felt it added the neces­sary dimen­sion to an oth­er­wise tech­nical topic.

I also fin­ished read­ing Git­ti­nom­ics by the one and only Ross Gittins, and Joel Spolsky’s ram­blings on just about everything (not the actual title), even though I’ve read his web art­icles already. I admire Spolsky’s abil­ity to make man­age­ment and busi­ness access­ible to a tech­nical audience.

More books

… and as usual I bor­rowed out a bunch of Cantonese books from Fisher, and this time, a book on express­ive Japan­ese joined the mix. I’m now up to Dawkins #2, but this one seems much harder going than The Selfish Gene. On the left is a very dense book on con­vex math­em­at­ics from my super­visor. It’s dense.

Not so dense:

Doraemon books

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