TechMom Tuesday: The Day the Email Died

I write a monthly column over at AlliOSNews. It’s a techie site – extolling all the goodies and gunpowder on the Apple OS. (SHINY TOY!) I’m TechMom. And these are my stories on how technology is really used. This month I my corporate mail stopped functioning. I had a tantrum.  

(I’m well aware it’s Wednesday. If you want TechMom Tuesday on Tuesdays, head on over to AlliOSNews for all things Apple. TechMom Tuesday is typically published the first Tuesday of every month. I reserve the right to rant more or less as the technical goings-on, well…go on. Also, don’t miss the AlliOS editor-in-chief’s addendum to this month’s piece.) 

Sing with me, won’t you, to the tune of Don McClean’s American Pie.

A long long time ago
I can still remember how
The email used to sail on through
And I knew if I said my piece
That I could get those projects done
And maybe there’d be me-time to accrue

But last week made me shiver
With every email non-deliver
Bad news the sever smote
I couldn’t send one more note
I can’t remember if I cried
When my productivity ceased to thrive
But no technical taps could revive
**The day my email died**

I was clicking away at my keyboard, making impressive progress on my ever-expanding to-do list. I finished a fabulously professional missive and hit “Send.” Just a typical day in Corporate America. Do your thing Apple Mail!


After over a year on my trusty Air, suddenly Microsoft Exchange had decided it was no longer going to play nice. “Cannot send message using the server.” So, I followed technical protocol – I hit refresh in rapid succession about 78 times.


It was time to escalate matters.

  1. Click “Try With Selected Server” one more time. Just in case.
  2. Quit out of Apple Mail completely. Make Finder “Force Quit.” Just in case.
  3. Reboot computer.
  4. Relaunch Mail. Click “Try Again” another 24 times.

Still nothing. Now it’s personal. I have notes to send!

I eyed the delete key. I was not afraid to use it. That entire corporate account was getting eliminated, swimming with the screensaver fishies. (Shiny object tangent: Any time you are struck with the thought, “It seems like a good idea…” it is decidedly not.)

With a decidedly sullen expression, I stalked over to our IT department. Our company now supports the BYOD trend, so I had high hopes my communication lifeline could be fixed.

But no. Error after error resulted. Even (the exceedingly competent) IT guy couldn’t figure it out. He asked if I wanted to leave my computer with him overnight. When I finished laughing (work/personal computer are one and the same), I scooped up my non-functioning partner-in-crime and marched over to another colleague to bitch and moan about my current communication crisis.

Of course it immediately began working. This was a merely a trap, luring me into a sense of false security. Because at 11:08 a.m the next morning, my Apple Mail ceased communicating with the Microsoft Exchange server. The brewing tantrum within me boiled over. THIS MACHINE WAS GETTING FIXED! With a deep breath to calm myself, I pushed through the door to tech support.

“Hi Friend! Hope you didn’t have anything important planned today. Because you’re about to spend your entire morning analyzing what I am *sincerely* hoping is not an ID-10-T error. (Look at that for a moment longer if you’re not familiar. I’ll wait. Yeah. User error.)

I proved knowledge of my password. Yes, I’d rebooted. I did indeed delete and reenter. Of course I slammed the lid and swore at the robot within. No good sir, nary a password remains in my computer keychain. No, of course I haven’t edited the SMTP server – Exchange isn’t based on SMTP. See, email works on my iPhone. I know it looks like Mail is working – I have a POP and IMAP account each set up for personal interaction.

IT was impressed. “Wow, you actually sound like you know what you’re talking about.”

I was pleased. As I am well-versed in pushing buttons until things work or stuff blows up. Unfortunately, we were rapidly approaching the conclusion that I had blown up the server connection. <Insert curse word of your choice here.> (I have toddlers. So I went with an icy calm, “Well…poop.”)

It was time to call in the big guns. We asked the Google.

My fears were confirmed. It was a bug. Forum upon discussion board bemoaned the sudden cessation of an Apple/Exchange ceasefire within Mountain Lion. Yet there were no definitive solutions. (“Write to Apple so they fix this” does not count as a resolution forum commenters!) This is a known issue. Please know, even if you are the only one in the office climbing the cube walls in frustration, you are not alone. We are out there too…

It appeared the only workaround was some sort of convoluted amalgamation of tomfoolerly on the back-end. My new bestest IT friend returned the Air to my clutches with a smirk proudly smeared across his face. He’d futzed with the directive IP address as it appears the issue results from a miscommunication as the software attempts to decipher the server’s dits and dots of coding.

“You rock!” I exclaimed. “But um, one last question. What happened to all my archives.” We’d reached the final frontier.

They put me on OUTLOOK!

I’m on Outlook for Mac now. Truth be told it doesn’t suck nearly as much as I’d feared. It works. Which is something. Mostly I’m cranky because it’s not the program of my choice. (Please don’t email me hate mail over this.)

So go ahead – email me. I’ll be with them good ole boys (from Microsoft) drinking whiskey in rye.

1 Comment

Filed under TechMomTuesday, Work

One Response to TechMom Tuesday: The Day the Email Died

  1. CV

    This is brilliant. And, I don’t even know what a “smote” is. But, it rhymes, so what they hey.

    Also, I would kill to have my email go down.

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