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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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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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