By Jaci Schneider, Opinion Editor
While students and faculty were away from campus for spring break last week, my.ACU administrators used the opportunity to upgrade Webmail, calendars and address books.
“We try to do these things at a time when it will be least inconvenient,” said James Langford, director of Web Integration and Programming. “The timing turned out pretty well.”
Langford said they updated the e-mail, calendars and address books to the latest version, which was necessary to keep up with support services. The upgrade offers a unified client for the three functions and will work better with other e-mail clients, such as Outlook or Eudora, Langford said.
The upgrade changed the spam filters on the e-mail system that sorts the mail as it comes in based on the sender and subject, and the sorting will occur before users access their e-mail, Langford said.
“I don’t know if students will see the difference as much as faculty and staff,” he said. “Those filters are pretty handy.”
Instead of costing the university money, the recent upgrade has saved the university the cost of buying a new server-about $30,000 to $40,000, Langford said. The new filters in the e-mail block spam from coming into the server, so it was possible to move the e-mail system to a smaller server, freeing up a larger server for Banner Web.
Because the power was turned off temporarily in Zellner Hall to improve the air conditioning system, the upgrade took longer to complete. Most of it was finished by the end of the weekend that students left, Langford said, but a little bug caused problems in the transferring of address books.
Everything has been upgraded, but some small bugs need to be worked out, he said.
“You try to get in and fix everything, but when more people get on it, you find more problems,” he said. “We still have some wrinkles to iron out.”
Langford said some Internet browsers work better with the new system than others. He said for now, FireFox by Mozilla seems to work the best. Microsoft Internet Explorer and Safari aren’t updated quite enough to work as well.
One of the wrinkles being ironed out now is a problem that occurs when trying to reply to an e-mail in Safari and FireFox, Langford said. He said the e-mail vendor has been alerted to help solve the problem.
“We’re completely at their mercy,” he said.
Another problem is the log-out process. Instead of logging users out of all the myACU programs, it is only signing out of one at a time. Langford said that students using the e-mail kiosks in the Campus Center need to follow the directions of the sign posted, or just quit the browser after checking their e-mail.
Josh Tooley, manager of Team 55, said although students have had a few problems with the upgrade, most students seem to be pleased with the new features.
“Overall response has been very, very good,” Tooley said.
He said the biggest problem students have encountered is from not having the most recently updated version of their Web browser. If students regularly update their computers, they should have the most recent versions, but they can check to make sure by visiting the browser’s Web site. He also said students should regularly check the announcements on myACU for updates and notification of possible problems.
“It’s usually a quick fix,” Tooley said.