Eliminating cMail is not only the best thing to do, but also overdue (“Outsourcing, Not Upgrading,” 11/17/09).
“Remember, students, always be careful when you send your papers over the Internet through e-mail. You never know where things end up in cyberspace!” I will always remember this suggestion by my high school English teacher, not necessarily for her “wisdom,” but because I never had this problem. I never lost a paper “in cyberspace,” nor was I ever concerned about the delivery time of e-mail. Why? Because I was one of the original, invite-only members of the Google Mail community, also known as Gmail. This service was leaps and bounds ahead of any other e-mail service at the time, and has not, in my humble opinion, been bested since.
When I first arrived on campus with my cNet ID, the first thing I did, as expected, was check my e-mail. I immediately fell out of my chair laughing hysterically; the interface for cMail was terribly outdated, incredibly slow, and, even more annoying, I got these weird “Junk Mail Summaries.” I immediately set up mail-forwarding to my Gmail account, and literally have not checked my cMail since my first quarter, first year in the College.
Do I doubt that NSIT could offer a better e-mail service? Of course not. Do I think that they should allocate the money and labor necessary to do so? Absolutely not. When a company like Google already provides a free e-mail account that takes about 90 seconds (at most) to set up, and then another 30 seconds (at most) to set up mail-forwarding, why should NSIT devote a significant amount of time to make a mail service that will not, frankly, be nearly as user-friendly, or good, as Gmail?
The point is, NSIT has better things to do with its time than create a slightly better, but still mediocre, cMail update. Instead, it can focus on the new myUChicago portal, or maybe find a way to make the whole course selection process better for students. If anything, I would be more outraged by the fact that my tuition dollars were going to the creation of some feature that less than half of the student population used. Anyone who disagrees should, in my opinion, reread the first few chapters of “Naked Economics”, or sit in on one of Allen Sanderson’s introductory classes—even if he or she is a fifth-year grad student.
Class of 2011