Wednesday, 1 April 2009

April Fool's Day

There is just something so inherently funny about 1 April. I feel sorry for people who are born on April Fool's Day because they are somehow destined for a lifetime of giggling (and not necessarily in a good way). A former work colleague was born on 1 April and so was her father. They thought it was convenient that her 21st and his 50th birthdays both fell on a Saturday; however, it took quite some convincing for their guests to believe that their birthdays and party was real!

Our IT manager at work has a great sense of humour. As a company, we have recently migrated to Google Mail and it hasn't been without its hiccups. (Don't even get us started on the disasters with Google Docs!) We often get lengthy updates from Glen with explanation of how to fix this problem or sort out that bug, sometimes with a description of why an error has occurred, but always tongue in cheek. Staff responses to these emails vary from those who have found their own solution already, those who are desperate to fix the problem straight away and will follow any measure to do that, and those who think it will just fix itself if they ignore it for long enough. Glen is very aware of all three groups within our staff.

Here is this morning's email, with the heading "URGENT - Major Google mail problem. Please read":

Hi Everyone

We have discovered overnight that a recent upgrade to Google's mail servers is causing problems with mail clients on both windows and macs. This has the potential to corrupt your mail indexes causing the loss of your saved mail. There is no need to panic though - as long as you follow these instructions carefully before you read or send any more email you won't have any issues.

The trouble is caused by the way mail clients cache messages from an imap server. The problem can be easily fixed by doing a full shutdown and restart which will flush out your old mail caches, so:

1. Once you have read this message close all of your applications and shut down your computer. This needs to be a full shutdown and not a restart - so on both macs and pcs choose the Shutdown option rather the restart.

2. Once your computer is shut down you need to leave it switched off for at least 5 seconds (counting 1 mississippi, 2 mississippi, etc out loud is a good way to make sure you waited at least 5 seconds.)

3. Turn your computer back on, and once it is started up again go back into your email client.

4. Google have put a special check in place on their servers which can indicate if your system is now in a state that will prevent the potential corruptions. To check this send an email to afcheck@*** with "check my mail" in the subject line and nothing in the body of the message (you might want to note this down on a piece of paper before you shut down). You should then get an automated response indicating that everything is ok. If you don't get a response check that you have the email address correct and send the message again - you can open this message again and copy and paste the address to be sure if you want.
Here is a reply from one of our UK staff:
My mail has been out of control for sometime so I called the Google help line. They directed me to their local support office which is really a shed down the road until their new office is completed. A very nice man in a headscarf and lipstick asked me if I was the Messiah. I said yes hoping it would give me priority, I could see others waiting.

I was directed to the rear of the shed where two blondes in white coats fastened my arms behind my back. I was taken by surprise because it's not even April the first here yet.

Confused of Colchester
And here is a suggested solution from a NZ staff member. (Note: you should always use an old shoe.)

Part of me would really like to try the email address Glen gave us, as I'm sure he's got some smart automatic reply set up, but perhaps I could use someone else's address so he doesn't think I've fallen for it? April Fool!

1 comment:

Sab said...

That is too funny!

I always forget about April Fools...