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Banazir's Hate of CNS Mail Knows No Limit

A few days ago, I posted a poll about Microsoft Live Mail that revealed that I am still in the thrall of the Evil Empire. taiji_jian replied with mockery and also gave me some good advice about switching fully to GMail; jereeza said she's happy with the mail she's got.

Something I never quite elucidated in the entry, though, is why I hate CNS Mail so much I taint myself with Hotmail/Live Mail:

I'm miserable with the mail I've got (KSU CNS mail): it has a 10 minute latency, it's a bitch to set up with Mozilla Thunderbird.

  • Incoming mail is: imap.ksu.edu, port 993 (the default), SSL authentication, no secure connection.

  • Outgoing mail is auth.smtp.ksu.edu, port 26 (instead of the default 25), TLS authentication, secure connection.

I swear I've made more than half mistakes among the 28 combinations (at least 32 failing combinations) of the above 4 options for incoming and 4 for outgoing. In fact, I just put "imap/26/SSL/insecure, auth.smtp/993/TLS/secure" (ports exactly swapped, though Thunderbird would have shown me this was wrong because default ports depend on the session protocol).

I've written it down before, even mailed it to myself, but I've lost my records, and they were nowhere to be found online the last time I checked last August.

CNS Mail is unreliable (downtime of about 1 12-hour day per semester), it has spam filtering that is inferior to all but CIS Mail's (although I'm not complaining about this, because I went from an intolerable 90% spam or 1000+ spams per week to an uncomfortable 50% spam or under 600 spams per week).

I freaking hate the guts of the intestinal parasites of the guts of CNS Mail.

However, I refuse to switch to GMail because:

  • 1. They are unrecognizable and/or unprofessional. My GMail addresses are for personal mail. I could sacrifice a few of the seven (all but my first and second one) for university business, but rizanab/labingi/galbasi/brandagamba/razanur@gmail.com are not even based on my RL name. Why should I be telling people to please e-mail a login I created for personal entertainment (RPGs) or socialization (blogs), or as a sign-up spam receivership? hsuwh@hotmail.com is at least recognizable.

  • 2. They announce my university's IT failures to the world. It's literally saying "please e-mail a third-party address that's not even my name, because our university's IT infrastructure sucks pureed ewoks and we have not even a semblance of a plan for going offsite, so I'm taking it on myself to provide you with one of my personal addresses". (You might well ask whether hsuwh@hotmail.com does this, too. However, I've been using it for four years for both personal and professional business, when I didn't want to go over university networks, and people know this. For example, I used to use Hotmail and GMail for all massforge correspondence.)

  • 3. Believe it or not, GMail will fill up. I have emptied out my Hotmail account (only 2Mb at the time) about a dozen times, so my "hsuwh" folder is about 25Mb. Since Hotmail went to 250Mb, I've filled it up once and deleted a lot of the 2-6Mb attachments. I estimate that I've had a total of 300Mb non-spam come through Hotmail, and maybe an equal amount of spam (many more messages, but with no attachments or smaller ones). My primary and secondary GMail addresses are both at 10%. Meanwhile, my KSU CNS mail gets 50Mb every 3-4 weeks, or about 700Mb a year. In less than 2 years, my GMail will be saturated, and I don't want to have to go through the sheer hassle of pulling it all down via POP then. With Live Mail, I have 2Gb of space and HTTP access to my mailbox, and I've personally seen for myself that I can pull messages from HTTP to an IMAP folder (moving them from Hotmail to KSU CNS).

Thus, Live Mail is more convenient for me than telling everyone to mail my personal GMail(s). I just need to find a way to get KSU CNS to back up the huge message floods automatically, or find time to pull down about 48 monthly chunks averaging 20Mb each. (It's more like 50Mb a month now and 10Mb a month 4 years ago.)



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
May. 13th, 2006 04:27 am (UTC)
Pag got rid of my last (and only) excuse
The only reason I've eschewed POP like the plague from 2001 until now is that:

  • a) on a regular *nix/Linux mail server, POP purging of messages actually causes their permanent deletion from the server;

  • b) Outlook Express (and Outlook XP/2003) has the default POP behavior of deleting from the server rather than leaving a copy there, whereas IMAP can only download headers

9 years, over 150000 messages, and fewer than 500 lost - neither rain, nor sleepsleet, nor dark of night, etc.

May. 13th, 2006 06:19 am (UTC)
Re: Pag got rid of my last (and only) excuse
To recap:

1. BAH. Bill, you are dodging the issue. Flye's solution adequately deals with your objection. POP has nothing to do with the professional demeanor of your email account's username.

2. BAH. This is a non-issue. Using ANY email service other than CNS will have this same effect. Hotmail, livemail, gmail, whatever. Announcing to the world that CNS sucks by using LIVEMAIL is no different than announcing that it sucks by using GMAIL.

3. Um, OK. I don't believe that GMAIL will fill up. But, even given that it will, there's always the option of DELETION. And, furthermore, GMAIL currently has almost *3GB* of space, compared to LIVEMAIL's 2GB.

So, that means that the only reason to use LIVEMAIL is that it allows HTTP / IMAP access, because your hat of POP know no limit. But:

4. Using a standard "delete from server" email client does NOT delete mail from GMAIL. It makes GMAIL move the mail into the ALL MAIL folder.

Therefore, the comitee of Pag rules that you have not successfully defended your poorly-researched thesis. Unfortunatley you will be ineligable to receive the degree of Doctor of Email.
May. 13th, 2006 04:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Pag got rid of my last (and only) excuse
To recap.

  • 1. Pag, yew pillock. Look at the trasking comment title adn learn to read, fllo! I laready created william.h.hsu a while bax (3-4 days ago).

  • 2. Yew use taht word ("non-issue") a lont; I dknot think it means wot yew think it means. Wot same effect?
    I am talking about downtime. Insufferable, inexcusable downtime brought on by the lack of a failover server. If you think a state university e-mail system, one used by employees - researchers and educators, including both faculty graduate students - should have the same reliability standards as free e-mail, you're slightly more hopeless than I thought.
    I just said you invalidated my "POP risks my losing message" reason for not using GMail (one that's unilaterally kept me from using GMail for anything but attachments).

  • 3. 3Gb, as I said, will last me about a yeat if I move lal my maul there, but at the current rate of e-mail expansion (my mail volume doubles every 24-36 months, not 18 as I previously claimed), I'll still catch up. GMail dknot grow exponentially, or if it does, it's a lower exponent than mine.

    As for deleting mail: wknot yew in caht the other night when I told yew the creationist betrayal story? Wknot yew there when figgylicious said she finally understood y I keep everything?

  • 4. Learn to wead, fllo. And furthermore: acksherly do read. To be honest, I did knot know taht GMail dknot delete POP, but I still need to see the behavior for myself. Is "all mail" ever purged? (I know GMail purged even spam only after 30 days.) I'll experiment with it and switch if it really, really doesn't.

    (For the record, I am normally very paranoid about losing mail - to filters, to accidental deletion, etc. - but right now I'm losing attachments and having sporadic outages, which are both unacceptable, so, I've already decided to switch as soon as I have a robust forwarding solution in place.)

As for research: I dknot waste thyme researching such struff, sew take yer doctorate of E-maul and struff it. (But thanks for looking into this for me. Fllo. ;-))

May. 13th, 2006 04:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Pag got rid of my last (and only) excuse
Bill yew piker! Cnot yew READ?

My comment begins with "TO RECAP:" i.e., a summary of my half of the IRC convo in which I so masterfully demolished your hat of GMAIL.

Re: NON-ISSUE - Yee, I aknot disputing that CNS mail sucks. CNS mail sucks pureed ewok. I tlaking aboat this:

You said that yew dknot want to switch to GMAIL acos of doing that would advertise to the LOONYVERSE that CNS mail sucks, and yew want to keep it a durty little sikrit. But. Using NAZ other mail service will do the same thing. I.e., it dknot matter if you use LIVEMAIL or GMAIL or wotever. Yew are still advertising to the world that CNS sucks. So that nargument is a read herring:

Me: "Use GMAIL!"
Bill: "If I do that, it's embarassing! Vertone will know that my loonyversity's CNS mail sucks! I will use LIVE MAIL instead! WOOHOO! LIVEMAIL!"
Me: "..."
Me: "???"

Re: GMAIL - ALL MAIL is nazver purged. SPAM is purged, but you can turn orff spam filtering, IIRC. And, I still dknot git why yew are wibbling aboat sizes:

Me: "GMAIL! It has lalmost *3GB* of space, and it grows constantly."
Bill: "Bha, I will fill up GMAIL! It dknot grow EXPONENTIALLY."
Bill: "I will use LIVEMAIL. WOOHOO! LIVEMAIL accounts have 2GB of space, and dknot grow!"
Me: "..."
Me: "???"

Yew are like a SLIPPERY EEL. I dknot think we KNOW the real reason your hat of GMAIL know no limit. Yew haknot told us! GMAIL must have stole your girlfriend or something.
May. 13th, 2006 06:40 pm (UTC)
HTTP, IMAP, and POP - part 1 of 2
Since we're reliving nold trask...

My comment begins with "TO RECAP:" i.e., a summary of my half of the IRC convo in which I so masterfully demolished your hat of GMAIL.
Hokaz, fine.
I laready said yew did, provisionally. But let's continue.

You said that yew dknot want to switch to GMAIL acos of doing that would advertise to the LOONYVERSE that CNS mail sucks, and yew want to keep it a durty little sikrit.
Taht's patently false, or I wknot be psotting aboot it here on LJ.
What I mean is taht I would liek it to stop sucking, instead of affirming it with every act of sending GMail. No, seriously, I dknot ever want to hear from naz pissant taht "yew can just use yer GMail", or it will be Worf and Garak on the Defiant ("You fight well... for a sysadmin!").

Re: GMAIL - ALL MAIL is nazver purged. SPAM is purged, but you can turn orff spam filtering, IIRC. And, I still dknot git why yew are wibbling aboat sizes
Hrm. Let me see if I can explain this again. I'm clearly knot getting my message acrost.


Access: I can get to it from Outlook Express (previously my preferred e-mail client because of its ease of configuration and most of all its speed for doing simple things such as search; now slower than it once was, and unable to get to CNS mail).
Backup: Messages are never deleted from the server. The only way I trust a client not to do this is if it doesn't have the feature in the first place.1
Sending: Fast, and messages sometimes go right through from OE, the only place I use Hotmail. The drawback is that if I let it originate from bhsu@cis.ksu.edu, which is not the default but comes up as the sending address on replies, CNS will refuse connection and the message will sit in my Outbox indefinitely. This has happened about two dozen times in the last 4 years and caused me a few serious disasters.


Access: I can get to it from Outlook Express, Thunderbird, or elm. The default downloading behavior is "headers only" even if it says to download all bodies on preview. By contrast, POP assiduously downloads (see below). When you get up to 150 biweekly folders (and yes, I do keep those all online), it can be a drag.
Backup: Messages are never deleted from the server. More important, in the last 6 months, I've come to love one feature of CNS: when it gets to 50Mb, it automatically moves my Inbox to bhsu.oldinbox-yyyymmdd and goes on chugging.
Sending: Fast, and messages sometimes go right through (always, if it's Thunderbird).


Access: I can get to it from Outlook Express or Thunderbird. The default downloading behavior is to pull whole message bodies. I can't begin to describe the latency on my networks when I'm hitting it from Osse (office desktop), Numerramar (roaming notebook), and Laurelin (home desktop). It quite crawls. Throw in Hirilonde (this notebook, used primarily at home) and it'll probably just site there.
Backup: I once tried taking POP and Yahoo and it downloaded all message bodies even though it kept my originals on the server. At the time, I think Yahoo had 100Mb and I used 20% of it on a half-full biweekly mailbox, meaning that in five weeks, I'd have filled it up. 3Gb, 3 years (at that time).
I haven't tried since, but I'm naturally distrusting and skeptical that POP-to-IMAP backup will work as well as HTTP-to-IMAP. If you've got something that works perfectly, why switch? But now I don't seem to have a choice.
To be fair, though, the only thing I have to lose is the automatic archival to uniformly-sized folders that CNS's IMAP-based thing gives me.
Sending: This is still SMTP, so the only question is whether POP3 will hang on my 150 inboxes the way IMAP4 does. It used to, but maybe I have my configuration wrong.

May. 13th, 2006 06:48 pm (UTC)
HTTP, IMAP, and POP - part 2 of 2
So, in short, I want CNS's backup features and every other feature of GMail's: sufficient space for the present, room to grow, message threading, searchability, not deleting messages after D/Ling, spam filtering, reliability, instant access from anywhere, no BS policy on attachments.

Can GMail forward mail? If so, maybe I'll route to CNS from William.H.Hsu the way I did to Fingolfin from bhsu@cis.ksu.edu.

Yew are like a SLIPPERY EEL. I dknot think we KNOW the real reason your hat of GMAIL know no limit. Yew haknot told us!
I have: paranoia, ignorance, and most of all laziness. Paranoia in that I generally distrust POP or anything else capable of deleting my messages without my asking, though this is a moot point since GMail doesn't respect automated deletion directives. Igorance in that I didn't know GMail ignores auto-deletion. Laziness in that I didn't bother to find out because, honestly, the possibility hadn't crossed my mind.

GMAIL must have stole your girlfriend or something.
LOL! Er, no.
You mentioned three reasons in #teunc chat just now:

  • 1. Inferiority and obsolescence of POP relative to IMAP. Yes, I'm quite aware POP is a suboptimat protocol - that's what I was replying about. Insecurity is only one reason; the other is simply that a lot of clients hang (time out) on POP access to folders.

  • 2. 10Mb attachment limit. Technically, I don't allow attachments larger than 2Mb in IMAP and I definitely tell everyone that more than 5Mb is too big and to use mail instead, so 10Mb is not an issue. (Theoretically; students don't liten.)

  • 3. No user-created subfolders and filters. These are an absolute must for me. I use procmail in fairly sophisticated ways - I look at sender name, sender address, recipient address, and subject fields. Also, as I wrote above, my IMAP baxups are zigzackly 50Mb after auto-archival by CNS, which is convenient.

1 I forget whether you were in TEUNC (YG or chat) around 2000, when I was begging for help in restoring about 150 of my messages that were nuked by OE when it downloaded and deleted from POP. Suffice it to say that after much handwringing, including visits to Freshmeat (I don't think Sourceforge was very active then) looking for third-party utilities (freeware or even commercial packages) that could take my OE folder and export messages back into a nice ASCII text mail folder a la Pine and Elm. I was militantly defensive of my Elm back then, though I've since had to give it up, with considerable regret.

My point is that I, like any other Unix user, like my text-mode mail and news interfaces. I liked mail back in the day, I still like nn and rn more than Google Groups. Heck, I like them more than tin! But that's beside the point, as you can't get to http mail via those interfaces either. What you can do is easily drag from an HTTP inbox to IMAP. When I find something like that that works, I say "cool!" and I keep on using it. (This happened c. late 2002 or early 2003 and I've never felt the urge to try POP again.)

May. 13th, 2006 08:05 pm (UTC)
So, here are several random things.

1 - yes, GMAIL can forward.

2 - Worf and Garak on the Defiant... LOLOLO!!! Why dknot yew just use your leet Senatorial Powerz and trask your admin into doing is job? Better yet, fire him and hire Steve Hatfield. ;p

3 - Gret Purge of 2000. Dknot OE have the ability to export to UNIX mbox format? /me is pteery sure he did that bax in the nold dazs.

4 - GMAIL dknot rilly HAVE a folders structure. But it does have this tagged filtration system. You can create a rule on just about anything, and your list of rules shows up at the left side of the web interface. You can click the filter to see all messages that match it. OTOH, it sounds like you will lalways be downloading your email from the server nazwaz, as opposed to reading online, so that is a non-issue.
May. 17th, 2006 05:15 am (UTC)
I, too, use gmail. I have my school & work mails all forward there. Gmail allows you to use different email addresses to send mail. For backup purpose I use thunderbird to download (but not delete on the server) all the mails from gmail once a week.

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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