Shooting the messenger
It's that time of the year where I try to have some social interaction with slightly less techy people, and conversation sometimes turns to technology. It's amazing how different the opinions of the techies and non-techies are on some subjects, like email. My techie friends unanimously agree that email is great, but my non-techie friends unanimously believe that email is crap. I believe there are three major reasons why non-techies don't like email:
Microsoft / Novell / Lotus / other dumb companies with shitty products.Most places that people work at have dumb ideas about "convergence" and about "groupware", but they don't realise that if you've got software that will (and does) take down your entire workplace every time it goes down, that it's probably a bad idea. Losing email is bad enough, but exchange will kill your entire machine if the server goes down, which is not an uncommon occurrence. I've heard similar stories about groupware, but I don't believe groupware can kill your entire box.
To be entirely fair, sometimes it's the IT staff that screw up and destroy the server, but it's the company's own fault for hiring dumbarses. Having said that, I sympathise with the difficulties of having to deploy, maintain, and upgrade Microsoft servers. I had to set up a single one, and that was enough trouble. Apparently going from server 2000 to 2003 is a major pain in the butt.
So one of the problems is shitty groupware servers. Groupware isn't exactly email as much as a bunch of email and calendaring stuff tacked onto each other. Right now I think it's a better option to go with WebDAV and a normal IMAP server, and use something like thunderbird with the sunbird plugin.
Ornery people and emailNormal people are retarded. The amount of junk I get from my "well adjusted" friends is comparatively enormous. One would think they do nothing at work except forward crappy chain messages to each other. I sympathise with mailing software that has to forward 5 meg emails to a hundred people a million times. Dear, fucking, god. If I was ever the mail admin for a company I'd drop anything >100k and reply with a polite "get fucked". How can anyone send out a thousand emails to a thousand people and then wonder why he's got a thousand useless emails in his inbox. Has no one heard of the tragedy of the commons.
Ornery people and sortingNormal people don't know how to use mail software. Even outlook has filters and shit. If you look at the outlook windows for people at my work, they usually have about 20 folders and all their email is colour coded. Most other workplaces don't even know you can do this shit. If I were getting enough email, I'd be using popfile, but I keep my email under control. I bet normal people just have an inbox.
So the moral of the story is, email is your friend. Email is awesome, just learn how to use it.