The new face of St. John’s e-mail

St. John’s recently switched over to a new e-mail system.

This new system was supposed to bring vast improvements over the previous one, and in some ways it does, most notably in storage space. However, it seems as if this new e-mail system is more of a blast from the past than a glimpse into the future.

Just last semester, St. John’s was using the same campus e-mail system it had been depending on since St. John’s Central was first established. To many, its simplicity, ease of use, and relatively bug-free interface made it the perfect choice for an
e-mail client.

This semester, the system was replaced by the Microsoft Live Hotmail (Hotmail’s latest incarnation) client. Although the new system is not particularly flawed in any way, the interface is nowhere near an improvement to the previous system.

Storage space has been an issue in the past, and so the switch does make sense. It just seems as if there could have been a compromise: a way to keep the old system and get additional storage would have undoubtedly been the best solution.

It would have saved all of the hassle of setting up the new account, and getting used to the new interface. People tend to be resistant to change, especially ones that seem to make their lives even the tiniest bit more difficult.

Yet the new e-mail provider brings with it a major inconvenience. All of the e-mails from the old account have been moved to another location, meaning that anyone who needed an e-mail that was received before the switchover had to forward it from the storage drive to their e-mail account.

This would have been a mild inconvenience if all you had to do was select each e-mail and then click a button to send it all at once. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Each e-mail to be forwarded must be viewed and sent individually.

This would make recovering important e-mails a very tedious process, especially if a student has tens or even hundreds of e-mails to forward to the new account.

The new e-mail system is not all bad, though. You can still check your e-mail, send messages, and store or delete various messages in your inbox. This e-mail client does everything it is supposed to do; it just doesn’t seem to do it as well.

Whereas the original system seemed to remember and recognize safe addresses, the new system does not. It constantly asks whether or not to download images and other parts of an e-mail, which does improve computer security. However, even obviously safe addresses and messages are plagued by this extra security, which can often be more of a hassle than it is worth.

Overall, this change just seems like a massive step backwards for the e-mail system here at St. John’s. The University was on the cutting edge when using the old system. By reverting back to Microsoft’s aging Hotmail system, everyone is thrust back into the nineties.

Although they claim to have updated the system, the changes that have been made over the years are minimal, and many of them decreased its usability. This new e-mail system isn’t going to drastically affect people’s lives, but it will almost certainly keep them from becoming simpler.