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Journal ellem's Journal: Corporate eMail is broken... it just is 8

Broken: Does Not Work As Expected

Mail admins lament that users use eMail all wrong. Users are always attempting to use eMail to file documents and they don't want to delete or archive anything. Therefore eMail is broken. It does not work as expected.

Me, I'm a deleter. I have 2 or three folders for logs and that's it. Everything else gets shitcanned once a month. "Oh but what if you _need_ that eMail?" Bullshit, eMail has only come back to haunt me.

The point at hand is we've already tried to explain to them how _we_ want them to use eMail. It doesn't work.

"Just detach/save your attachments on your H:/home/My Documents drive."

"But I need the email to reference it."

Saving the eMail (i.e. not deleting it) is the easiest way for a user to deal with a document sent via eMail. And they all want to send documents via eMail.

Microsoft has done a massive disservice to the computing world with the idiotic Drive Letter. People think H:, I:, J:. K:, LMNOP: are local, i.e. on their machines. So for a user to conceptualize "sending" a document to another user eMail is the first idea they have. The concept of the R: drive being shared doesn't really come to mind for them. Now if they were saving to the Romeo Server in the SharedFilesYouFuckingDweeb folder THAT might make some sense to them.

eMail does not work for the marketing guy. We clip his ability to send 200MB PowerPoint Presentations. We stifle him with 100MB mail file limits. We do it with love though. We know at 1GB most mail systems will choke and corrupt their mail. (See also Exchange, Notes, iMail.) The marketing guy wants to send that PowerPoint Presentation to everyone on the marketing team. Yes, Notes (and finally Exchange) have the ability to share the file. No, they are NEVER going to do that on their own.

So mail admins make things happen automagically. AutoArchive, Strip and Save Attachments, yadda, mother fucking yadda. eMail is now not only broken, it's a kludge of 3rd party apps and cron/at/agent jobs.

eMail needs to work like a files system. Be a filesystem. Exchange (shudder) is on the right track, but is too tightly integrated with the AD. Things work best when they do ONE thing (or so) (se also routers, firewalls, eMail scanners.)

Is the browser based mail the answer? Ala GMail?

Mail admins, super users, marketing... no fuck that, no one from marketing write in my JE... what do you think? Is it a userland problem solved with Education/training/pointy sticks or is eMail broken and in need a of a really good replacement?

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Corporate eMail is broken... it just is

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  • auto-archive is the answer. the fact is, i remember that so-and-so sent me some document about something. i can search through my emails based on that.

    if i had to decide the day i got an email whether it was important or not, i'd never make it.

    so auto-archive works great for me. i keep my outlook box under the limit, and i keep all my email. for total network storage space, it's a wash. i've just moved my email from one server to another.
  • I been using email that way since I discovered it in 1983. Great filing system, todo list, etc. except when you really want to find something.

    Then again, I'm a congenital packrat.

  • Let your boss understand how saving all those emails for months and years is a big problem in case the company is ever subject to a lawsuit, and the other side decides to subpoena all relevant emails, etc. I imagine that it's not just that they necessarily have to find anything, its that you can't get any work done while you're running around copying everyones' drives to meet the order. And what a great time for the nastygrams back and forth in sales about certain clients, or Bob in accounting's secret love
    • that in the Information Age, we are setting about to destroy information.
      Maybe this is why knowledge of the ancient world is so impoverished...
    • yes, it may be a liability for the company, but when some product we manufacture explodes and injures someone, and they point the finger at the engineer who designed it, he damn sure better have a copy of the email he sent his manager saying, "Hey, I'm worried about the cheaper part they are subsituting in the product I designed. I don't think it is up to safety standards. I think we need to continue using the more expensive version."

      When it comes to my ass vs. the company... my ass wins every time. I s

  • Microsoft has done a massive disservice to the computing world with the idiotic Drive Letter
    Yeah, their conflation of logical/physical partitions really does blow, but consider the marketing brilliance.
    You've done something technically st00p3d, but brilliant from a marketing vantage: people are sheep, and telling them this floppy is A:\ and so on really helps them avoid a lot of thinking, visualization of the system, and creativity (my dual-boot laptop does some mildly interesting re-mounts).
    And, you'r
  • If you use a browser-based system for e-mail then the server only needs to have one copy of each attachment, regardless of the number of (internal) recipients.
  • We're fighting a similar problem at my work. Our users use GIS, and regularly email maps, datasets etc. Needless to say, the mailboxes can get huge. For the most part, we've worked to train them about the difference between the C:\ drive and the R:\ drive. A few good crashes have also helped solidify this in their minds. When the local drive crashes, they just lost 20-odd hours of tedious work. When the R:\ drive crashes, we pull out the tape and restore. Also, a good RAID with hot spares tends to be

In the realm of scientific observation, luck is granted only to those who are prepared. - Louis Pasteur