Spring Break Work

If you want to continue answering mindless emails while you’re away on vacation, keep a few things in mind.  First, make sure you have access to webmail.  If you have POP email, you’re going to be frustrated.  Almost all hotels are blocking sending outgoing email from your POP account now.  This would be the time to talk your boss into RPC over HTTP email which is generally unaffected by firewalls as it talks over the same port that you surf the web over, and your hotel is probably not going to block that. (This type of setup requires you to bring your own laptop, use Outlook 2007 or 2003, and for your company to have a Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or 2007).  In my opinion this is the slickest way to do email that there is.  It also has the nice feature of seamlessly syncing your Smartphone, your laptop, your desktop, and Outlook Web Access, when all else fails.  You delete an email on your phone, it’s gone from your laptop and the rest of your devices.

If a new Exchange Server is not in your budget, and you have a POP account on your laptop, take the address of your ISP’s webmail service or your company’s Outlook Web Access URL with you, at a minimum.   This will prevent you from spending your first hour of vacation getting IT support from the hotel desk clerk, or spending time on the phone with the hotel’s ISP.  If you like talking IT when you are on vacation, they can show you how to change the outgoing SMTP server on your laptop to their ISP’s server.  Change it back when you get home.

Connect to the internet with a wire whenever you can.  If your wireless connection is not strong, you will be annoyed.  A low signal strength wireless connection can play havoc with your ability to get anything done, and can make you think that your laptop is on the fritz.  Go to the lobby for the best signal, get your emails answered, and then get back and cannonball your kids in the pool.

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