Friday, 25 April 2014

Two years?!?!? TWO FR*CKIN' YEARS!?!?!?!?

Some symbols in this post have been changed in order to protect myself from spambots.

This rant is inspired by something I've learned over the last few hours. The instigator is that I needed to confirm my contact information for a new assignment (I've been asked to join the editorial board of a journal), and in so doing I thought I would take care of some outstanding business.

Two years ago (or so), they switched the University's email services from the old servers which were old and dying and not keeping up with demand anyway, to some kind of Exchange service that as I understand it runs out of Microsoft, or something, 'off the cloud' rather than on local hardware. In so doing, all our emails had to be changed to the new email domain.

The old email domain(s) were (at) cc.umanitoba ca or (even older) (at) The new domain is (at) For months ahead of the changeover, we were informed that the change was coming, that we'd have to adjust our server settings if we used a regular email client, that if we were accessing the email from a device (and not through the webmail site) we'd have to lock all our devices down, etc. etc. etc. There were gnashings of teeth, there were a whole new set of application-specific passwords, there were accounts to adjust and rename.

And there was the statement that to facilitate the changeover we would all receive new email addresses of the form Firstname.Lastname (at) So for TWO YEARS, I've been signing everything Robert.Hagiwara (at) I've changed my letterhead template. I've been fixing my business cards. I've changed all my sigs.

What I have never done is gotten an alias. For years, if you wanted a user-friendly email alias, it had to look like a name *and* contain an underscore. So if I wanted one, I could have Robert_Hagiwara, or R_Hagiwara, or Hagiwara_R or Rob_Hag or something like that. Then with the change we could have dots instead of underscores. Since none of those were shorter or more memorable that robh, I never got one.

With the change two years ago, I asked if I could go back to robh (at) or (at) Both got rejected, because it didn't follow the requirements (which I presumed that it had to be a real name, and/or that it had to contain an underscore, or (as I've seen recently) a dot.

So with this new thing, I decided once and for all to at least go to robhagiwara (at) or something like that. So I tried the on-line system, which was disabled and directed me to a new system, which as also been disabled. So I emailed the support desk and asked if I could have robh (at). After all, I'd been robh (at) for the 12 years before the change, and with other domains before that (and it was just two bad there are other Roberts H out there who might have wanted it but didn't ask before I did. Failing that, could I have robhagiwara (at) or something useful, with no dots or underscores.

So I go off to my meeting this afternoon and come back to the reply. Which I quote:

Your actual email address is robh (at)
Robert.Hagiwara (at) is the Alias.
People Search at the University of Manitoba webpage will only publish Aliases for Staff.


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