Rush’s Poor Excuse for Email

Note: If you’d like to skip my rant and go right to the instructions for bypassing Lotus notes, click here.

Call me spoiled. Maybe I am. I don’t know, but Gmail gives me exactly what I want in a web-based email application. I mainly use Outlook only to force myself to consistently archive my Gmail messages and keep my Inbox clean. As I stated yesterday, the Lotus Notes software that Rush uses to run its web-based email is one of the worst email interfaces I’ve ever used (and I’ve used quite a few). So first I’ll list a few of my major complaints, but the real point of this article is to present a remedy so you potentially never have to use this thing again. The solution is actually fairly simple, and no doubt many web and computer savvy folks have already done this. But since the guy who introduced the email accounts to us explicitly said that they do not utilize email forwarding, maybe some of you didn’t look too hard for a work-around.

First, a list of my chief complaints:

  • ActiveX-based interfaced: It’s bad enough that opening any email attachment puts me at risk for a virus, but now we’re going to hook my email program directly into WINDOWS?! Yes, I’d love to give my email program full access to run malicious scripts. Now I’m pretty careful about what attachment’s I open, and someone who isn’t careful is going to be at risk regardless of the program, but I’m also curious as to what other worm-holes an ActiveX-based email creates. I’ve only ever installed ActiveX for 2 things: Windows Update and an online virus scan. Why does my email need this script access?
  • Browser, incompatible. It appears that these scripts have rendered the software nearly (if not completely) unusable in Firefox. In this day in age, I feel this is unacceptable. Not to mention that this surely isn’t an isolated issue. Apparently Safari has issues as well, according to my roommate. Come on folks, I thought we were passed this stage where we only designed for one browser.
  • Domino, incompatible. The Domino server running the program renders emails useless in terms of offline management. It doesn’t support POP3 or IMAP. Yay for proprietary formats :roll:

Update 2 (6-25-08): I posted new instructions on RMstudents. If you’re not a Rush Lotus Notes user, the instructions listed here should still work for you. If you’re at Rush, follow the instructions on RMstudents.

Update (6-9-08): Apparently Rush has blocked a large number of people (M1’s last names A-D confirmed) from forwarding their email to gmail. If you’re trying to forward your mail (at Rush) and it isn’t working, this could very well be why. I will continue to update as I know more. For those of you not at Rush or not experiencing this issue, this should work fine:

Anyways, enough superfluous banter. The point of this article was to tell you how to fix it. It’s actually fairly easy to circumvent the Lotus Notes software completely if you want to. First, you need a free email account. Try Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, whatever. I use Gmail, but you can use any email address you want. Also, I will do my best to explain so that anyone can follow what I’m saying, but if something needs clarification, let me know.

There are 2 main steps with step-by-step instructions included:

  • Set up your personal account to write like it’s coming from your Lotus Notes account. (I don’t know if this step works for other web-based email besides Gmail. Does anyone know? If not, skip ahead to 2nd bullet.)
    1. Log in to Gmail. Go to your Settings (top right corner of Gmail).
    2. Go to the Accounts tab (2nd). Next to “Send mail as:”, click “Add another email address”.
    3. Enter your Rush email address (e.g. Firstname_Lastname@rush.edu) when prompted. The click “Next Step”. Then click “Send Verification” on the next screen. The next screen should contain a box to enter a confirmation code.
    4. Log in to your Lotus Notes email in a new browser. You should have an email from “Gmail Team”, open it. Copy the confirmation code into the awaiting box in Gmail (or follow the instructions in the email).
    5. You should now see your Rush email listed on the Gmail settings page. Below this there is an option “When I receive a message sent to one of my addresses:”, you may want to make this “Reply to same address the message was sent to”. If you’ve never used this feature in Gmail before, please understand what it is. From now on, any email you send, you’ll be able to choose who you want the email to be “From” (e.g. mynick@gmail.com vs Firstname_Lastname@rush.edu). It’s a pretty cool feature.
  • Create a “rule” that will forward any emails you receive to your Lotus Notes account to your personal email account (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail).
    1. Log in to your Lotus Notes email and go to the “Mail” tab if you’re not there already.
    2. Hover your mouse over the “Tools” menu (just above your list of emails on the far right) and click on “New Mail Rule”. A new window should pop up (make sure you’ve allowed pop-ups for this page).
    3. Make a name for your rule (e.g. Fwd_to_gmail)
    4. Under “Create Conditions”, click the first drop-down menu and select “All Documents” (you need to scroll down). The click “Add>>”
    5. Under “Specify Actions”, select “Send copy to” from the first drop-down menu. In the next empty box, enter your personal email address (Gmail). Make sure “Full” is selected on the bottom drop-down menu. Then click “Add>>”.
    6. The following step is optional, but beneficial. Under “Specify Actions”, you can tell Lotus Notes to delete the original message. To delete messages from your Lotus account once you’ve forwarded an email to your personal account, select “Delete” from the first “Create Actions” drop-down menu. Then click add. If you’re worried that deleting is too final, you can always skip this step. (Another option would be to create an “Archive” folder which you simply move messages to after they’ve been forwarded, so your Lotus Notes inbox stays clean.)
    7. Click “Save & Close” at the top of your screen. Then to back to your inbox.
    8. Test it. Have someone send you an email to your Lotus Notes account and watch the magic 🙂

Some things you won’t be able to do outside of Lotus Notes:

  • Look up people’s email addresses. I highly doubt there’s a way to search the Rush directory from outside Lotus Notes.
  • Emailing the list-servs (maybe this is possible?). If you want to email all the M1’s it may work (I have held off on spamming all the M1’s without good reason) by simply adding @rsh.net to the end of the list-serv name. I’m not going to print the name here to prevent major spamming of the list-servs but look at who all your mass emails are from. My guess is that the list-serv program authenticates its messages as being from Lotus Notes before sending it out to everyone. I’d say there’s a 50/50 chance of it being able to will work if you masked who you’re sending “From” in Gmail as described above.
  • Probably more things that I’ve forgotten

6 thoughts on “Rush’s Poor Excuse for Email

  1. Dear

    i applied the rule on lotus notes to fwd my all motus notes mail to my gmail account, but i fail to receive the emailn on my gmail account

    1. I set the rule that sender contains all documents and then i press add button
    2. send copy full to my (gmail id)

    Kindly advice

  2. Your problems is in your Step 1. You do not want to say Sender Contains All Documents. Instead, in the drop-down menu that has “Sender”, there should be an option for “All Documents”. It’s the 3rd choice from the bottom in my drop-down menu. In other words, you do not want “Sender” at all, but rather to replace “Sender” with “All Documents”. Once you’ve added it, it should read “When: All Documents”. Your Step 2 sounds right.

  3. Jonathan,

    Thanks! Works like a charm – tomorrow will put Thunderbird and be done with Schmotus Notes (and with three-mile-long handles as well!).

    Appreciate the clarity of instructions.

    VL

  4. Mate

    I want that whatever email that comes to my Lotus notes should also be visible in my Gmail account and also when I check that email of my Lotus notes in Gmail. The mail should reflect as read in my lotus notes.

    Is this possible ?
    I think its possible by notesbuddy but i dont know the way. Please can you help me ?
    Sachin

  5. That’s not possible that I know of. Unless your Lotus Notes has an IMAP server. You can mark the message as “read” when it gets sent to your gmail account, but you can’t have it stay “unread” in Lotus Notes until you view it in gmail and then have it show up as “read” in Lotus Notes. At least as far as I know.

  6. I would like to take all of my read emails and archive them on a folder on my personal hard-dirve @ home. Is this possilbe? I have emails from as far back as 2003.

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