28 November, 2011


The long, cruel and gibberingly-insane reign of Lotus Notes is finally drawing to a close here, and we're all slowly being migrated to the new Web Mail That Must Not Be Named. Or at least that's how I like to think of it: the decision was made several months ago, was one of the worst-kept secrets since I started working here, and yet no-one in middle management was allowed to actually speak the words aloud until the Grand Announcement ... which took a surprisingly long time to happen.

Anyway. No more Notes. Cause for rejoicing, you'd think, except for one thing: it's change.

Because we live an age of Staff Enablement (or, as it's colloquially known "Fix it yourself") parts of the actual migration between systems have been left to the end-users to do, following a series of slightly cryptic and mildly self-contradictory instructions emailed to those whose time has come. I'll admit I was a little bit cowboyish when my turn came, stopping just short of whooping triumphantly as I hit the 'Migrate Now' button, but the whole concept of a pre-migration checklist is based on the assumption you actually care whether the process succeeds and, well... *

Then it was the Stress Fiend's turn. I'd glanced at the instructions and decided I could happily ignore them. She scowled at them, but didn't actually attempt to digest what they said, and ranted at them instead. The results were predictable.

First she tried to log in before her migration was even being processed, and ranted angrily over her inability to log in. Clearly the whole system had failed, and was a monumental waste of resources. After several more attempts to log in before her new account even existed (including myriad combinations of usernames and passwords, rather than the one specific one she was told would work when the system was ready for her), she finally succeeded. But she's only just getting warmed up:

"I don't like this business about 'Stay signed in'."

"So don't stay signed in?"


The initial ragefrenzy passes. She logs out, and then somehow is unable to log back in again.

I check the "What To Do If You Can't Sign In" email we were sent as an afterthought.

"Have you shut Firefox down and then started it again?"

"Yes! Of course I have. Heaps of time."

Then something seems to occur to her and she sounds almost like she's prepared to admit having made a mistake.

"Errr... so I have shut it down heaps of times but, ah, do you think it means just the window where I'm trying to log in, or all the other Firefox windows I've got open at the same time?"

"I think you'd want to shut all of them down."

"Oh..." The sound of several hasty mouse-clicks follows. "Well, it's a good thing I did that, too. Oh look! Suddenly it's decided to work! Typical. Now it's time for me to go home."


"Arrrgghhh! How do you sign out of this stupid thing? Why did they have to pick such a useless, stupid, bloody wossname? What the hell were they ... oh. I click on where it says 'Sign Out'..."

* I've also been conscientious about managing important information correctly and not using my email as a document storage system, so there really isn't anything in there that's essential or irreplaceable. So, you know, I could legitimately not care if it didn't work.

1 comment:

Lusus Naturae said...

What is it about CHANGE, particularly when dealing with email systems, that causes people to completely flip their biscuits? I have never heard of a successful email migration. A place I used to work is in the process of switching to Giggle Mail and, being mostly academics, the rants and raves they come up with. The biggest is "But we just got used to THIS system," which is amusing, because the last migration was away from PINE about 10 years ago. It took a decade to get used to using Outhouse? It's email! It comes in! You type things! It goes out! Good gravy. You have my complete sympathy.