Your mission, should you choose to accept it…

I believe we'll be ugrading to Pigeon 2.0 soon

We’ve recently migrated our email to another system. For those who don’t speak Technese, “migrate” roughly translates as “render non-functional”.

Ok, that’s not entirely true – it does work, after a fashion. However, the new system has introduced a charmingly random element into our day-to-day business communication: A small, but nonetheless significant percentage of emails end up trapped in a kind of electronic limbo from which there is no escape. I understand that the IT department has sacrificed a bucket of KFC to Baron Samedi and carried out the ritual rebooting of the mail server, but this doesn’t seem to have helped.

This means that all emails have to be followed up with a phone call (or, in the case of internal mail, a stroll down the passage) to confirm whether the intended recipient got the message or not. This can be quite an exercise (literally, in the case of internal mail) when there are lots of people on the copy list.

Apparently the new system was going to save the company money.


36 thoughts on “Your mission, should you choose to accept it…

  1. The IT folks are in collusion with the human resource people who are trying to save money spent on health insurance costs – by making all of you exercise more during the workday! Brilliant!


  2. I worked somewhere once where I manually had to transfer data from one computer to another… yes I had two screens and two keyboards on my desk. Good to see that some things never change.


  3. Oh joy! We are to do this “migrate” thingy that you speak of in May. From Novell Groupwise to MS Outlook. Plus an upgrade from Win XP to Win 7. I look forward to it.

    And don’t let the fact that I work for a “University of Technology” fool you either…


  4. Somehow i don’t see that email, sms, internet or any of the new age technology has actually done anything to improve or speed up communications between human beings … it was far simpler in the days of the telex machine – work still got done …. efficiently and well within deadlines!


  5. mmm. that makes dumping someone via e-mail a bit awkward if you have to follow it up with a visit or a phone call…. Have you tried an illegal abortion by pressing Ctrl Alt Del 3 times quickly (preferably with your eyes closed, clicking your heels and chanting “there is no place like home”?)

    A very wise man once said that e-mails are a lot like penises:

    “Those who have it would be devastated if it was ever cut off.
    Those who have it think that those who don’t are somehow inferior.
    Those who don’t have it may agree that it’s neat, but think it’s not worth the fuss that those who have it make about it.
    Many of those who don’t have it would like to try it, a phenomenon psychologists call “E-Mail Envy.”
    It’s more fun when it’s up, but this makes it hard to get any real work done.
    In the distant past, its only purpose was to transmit information vital to the survival of the species.
    Some people still think that’s the only thing it should be used for, but most folks today use it mostly for fun.
    If you don’t take proper precautions, it can spread viruses.
    If you use it too much, you’ll find it becomes more and more difficult to think coherently.
    We attach an importance to it that is far greater than its actual size and influence warrant.
    If you’re not careful what you do with it, it can get you into a lot of trouble.
    If you play with it too much, you could go blind.”


  6. If you worked at our office a new problem would arise. We take phone messages for our colleagues and forward them by email. So then you’d have the clients phoning in saying “BUT I left a message for Mr Snorflet 2 hours ago” and then begins yet another round of email sending and tracing and follow up walkings and phone calls etc. It’s all the fault of the IT guys. They felt they had to justify their existence, so they put forward a proposal to Head Office that you migrate to another email system, knowing full well what lay ahead. Thousands of hours of looking importantly perplexed and meaningfully occupied. Instead of just sitting around playing computer games like they usually do.


    • Maybe it’s a conspiracy involving Eskom and the IT department: they’ve replaced the carpet with piezoelectric tiles and we’re powering the grid with our footsteps.


  7. Even when our email is fully functional, my boss will email me, leave his office, walk down the corridor to my office, walk to my desk and tell me exactly what was in the email.

    Sometimes he makes it to my desk before the email makes it to my inbox.


  8. This post came out on the eve of our mass migration to new “workstations”. Always on the bleeding edge (a less risky option I gather) we traded in our Lenovo T60’s running WinXP and Office2003 (issued in ’06) for spanking new Lenovo T510’s running Win7 and Office2007.

    Whilst there have been no major e-mail crises (prompting me to have to actually talk to co-workers) my productivity has been cut due to microsoft’s burning desire to completely revamp its application interfaces. Now I have to spend minutes (hours?) hunting through multiple menus for the right “picture” to click to do something I was once able to do with a couple of key strokes.

    Now the question becomes: Can you really teach an old dog new tricks?


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