A Private Email Address, GMail and Outlook: An Exercise in Frustration

How Setting Up Mom’s Email Became An Unnecessarily Painful Experience


NOTE: You can scroll down for the TL;DR, but you’ll be missing all the fun!

Software Developers Are (Usually) Not IT People

Q: How many software developers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: None, that’s a hardware problem.

Stolen from MemeGenerator

I’m a software engineer, and I’m pretty good when it comes to User Experience design. The reason for this, to be honest, is that I’m the worst kind of user there is: I will find all the bugs, I will press all the wrong buttons, and I will lose patience very quickly when forced to read or click or type any more than is absolutely essential.

Like most software developers, I’ve been hounded all throughout my professional career by friends and family who need help with their computers. And like many software developers, resolving IT issues is really not my forte. There are two reasons for this: the first, that it’s really not interesting to me at all, and the second, when faced with a terrible, trashy piece of software that doesn’t serve me well I will usually either hunt down something better or roll my own solution.

Non-software people usually cannot or do not operate like this. I get it, and I accept it. In this case, my mother — who’s remarkably tech-savvy not only for her generation, but for mine, too — has her “comfort products” (“comfort code”, perhaps?). The apps she’s familiar with, knows and loves, even when the rest of the tech world has long moved on.

One of those apps is Outlook.

An Opinion on Outlook Users

Corporates use Outlook. Non-corporates use webmail. Or any of the plethora of messaging services other than email that are infinitely better than email.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

The initial setup

Once upon a time, internet users would be assigned an email address by their ISP. My mother’s email address is a nice one, and it’s her established one, but the…



Adam Fisher / fisher king (@therightstuff)

Software developer and writer of words, currently producing a graphic novel adaptation of Shakespeare's Sonnets! See http://therightstuff.bio.link for details.