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The Internet – So easy to use it’s difficult…

October 17, 2012

Had a discussion today with someone at work and we came to the realisation that over the last 20 or so years; the methodology of using the Internet hasn’t changed.

The software that we use has and in many cases, it has made it harder in an effort to make it simpler to use…

Case in point; look at your email software be it Apple Mail, Microsoft Outlook or others such as Thunderbird.

All these programs now try and detect your type of email account and how it needs to be configured. 10 years ago all you needed to know was your incoming mail server , outgoing mail server, username and password – 4 items which 9 times out of 10, was given to you by your provider.

Now, the mail program tries to connect via SSL, on various ports that are relevant and then goes through the process again with non SSL connections. This greatly adds the time that it takes to configure a mail connection; what used to be a roughly 3 minute job at most now can take up to 10 minutes depending on your connection.

Apple’s ‘i’ devices are probably the worst offenders in this regard.  Think I’m kidding?  Try connecting an IMAP or POP account that is not a GMail or HotMail account but one from your ISP and watch it try every known connection method before it gives you the option to save and take the account on line.

Sure, there are tools that can help you, providing that you have the relevant infrastructure; Outlook AutoConfig scripts are easy to build and get working providing you have a Windows server.  Apple has a similar tool which works great (Apple Configurator), but can be a bit of a pain to get sorted for multiple users in a non corporate or non SOE environment.

Maybe I am old and know too much becoming bitter; then again, maybe I just long for the days when I could just enter my appropriate details without having to remember to tick an obscure little box labelled “Manually configure server settings” when I know what they are to start with 🙂

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