Gmail: Good or bad?
Posted Sept. 12, 2008
More storage for e-mail: great! Being able to keep your e-mail account after graduation: fantastic! Inconvenience: bad!

New e-mail accounts seem to have caused students more headaches not needed upon their return to school this fall.

The idea of having to figure out some way to save all of the important e-mails in your old account, notify everyone who has your e-mail address and remember a new password can be somewhat of a daunting task.

Asking some of us to remember our own phone numbers right now can be a stretch considering all of the stress and demands of college life—not to mention the fact that every single Web site you join requires a password. And trying to come up with a new password for the new account is like trying to solve a Sudoku puzzle with your eyes closed. It is like writing a secret code. Pick one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter and a number with a minimum of eight characters. Oh, and do not forget that it cannot be any password you have used the last 10 times you chose a new ULV password.

What is next, retina scans to open our e-mail?

Seriously, though, it would have been nice if the accounts had been made available before the first week of school.

Students are now responsible for one more thing that is nice, but a bit bothersome.

Of course, perhaps the benefits greatly outweigh the annoyances—thus far.

There is now much more space available in the new accounts, and students can keep e-mail accounts long after graduation. Forever is a nice idea, but forever is a really long time. We will see on that account.

The Office of Information Technology was thoughtful enough to allow four months for students to figure out what to do with all of those old e-mails and get the word out about their new addresses.

And OIT is working diligently to solve problems and fix all of the bugs. We just hope that everything gets figured out soon so that our e-mail lives can return to normal.

Some students are still facing challenges, and they are unable to open their new accounts. How are students going to use the great new accounts if they can’t open them? With the frequency of communication via e-mail, students rely on their accounts. College life is passing them by.

Another issue that students face with the new accounts is the differences between the old e-mail service and the new.

Our old accounts used to lock up after a certain period of time. Though that feature was inconvenient, it was one more assurance of privacy and security. On trial runs in our newsrooms, the new Gmail accounts stay open. We have accidentally mixed up our accounts when they have been left open.

That again is one more thing students have to think about every time they finish using their e-mail. Do not forget to log out; the system will not do it for you.

Well, it has problems now, everything new does, but maybe we will love it in three months. We will see.

Oh, by the way . . . faculty and staff, you are next in line, come Jan. 1.

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