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ISSUE 116 VOL 3 PUBLISHED 9/27/2002

Squirrel mail painfully slow

By Annie Rzepecki
Contributing Writer

Friday, September 27, 2002

As I walked home from class on a crisp Friday afternoon, I was delighted to hear the birds chirping, the leaves rustling, and the squirrels scampering. Those little squirrels are so fun to watch - always happy, ready to scare me to death as they jump out of the garbage can outside of Larson.

Sadly, the irony interrupted my leisurely afternoon walk when I realized the utter fraud that is Squirrel Mail. One would think that Squirrel Mail should resemble the haste and quickness of those scurrying little rodents. Heck, I might as well tie a letter to their backs and give them a map of campus, hoping they will eventually find the intended recipient. It would be quite an improvement on speed.

I will admit that Squirrel Mail does have its quick days. I have come to appreciate the little things like having my emails pop up within seconds – sometimes less than five!

Even if it is a slow day for campus email, I find comfort in the fact that I can look at the pretty color scheme that I picked out from the "options" menu.

It took me a while to find solace in these perks. I was quite disturbed when Emissary left us. I don’t like change. Nevertheless, I decided to give Squirrel Mail a chance.

It has failed to live up to expectations.

The first disappointment came when I realized that I could no longer expunge delete. What is "purge"? It sounds more like something Jennifer Aniston would engage in than email lingo.

Then, to my horror, I flipped to my address book and found it was no longer alphabetical! Ahh, the chaos! Furthermore, when I attempted to add new names to my address book, I practically have to enter in a Social Security number so I don’t have to look at that darn error message. No longer are "Mom" or "Mary" acceptable entries. I have to come up with a unique nickname in addition to entering someone’s full name. Otherwise, the entry is not worthy of the Squirrel Mail address book.

Give me a break.

Don’t get me wrong – there are some great perks in the "options" menu. Although I no longer have my expunge delete power, I can now pick a color scheme, highlight certain messages, and adjust the size of my compose window.

However, I must comment on the status (or lack thereof) of the "help" menu. Yes, I know what an email is, thank you. What I want to know is how your stupid system works!

The only thing that annoys me more than Squirrel Mail’s performance is its claim to be something it is not. Quick like a squirrel? No. Better than Emissary? Ha. Let’s just say I’ve given up on Squirrel Mail and employed Netscape Messenger as my inbox.

Petty as it is, maybe St. Olaf students should help Squirrel Mail’s creators out a bit. If they can’t think of a more appropriate name for their service, let’s assist them by calling it what it really is: Snail Mail.

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