NCBS Webmail - An Integral Part of Our Lives
What do NCBS students do first thing in the morning? They check their email, of course.
Almost everyone at NCBS has an email id ending with "@ncbs.res.in". And all of us check it religiously. Fire drills, renovation, due dates for assignments, and of course sweets - there is a mailing list for everything! When everyone is well informed, there is a sense of belonging.
With sending emails being so convenient, it is not unusual to open your inbox and find a dozen emails from students on a particular mailing list, the more recent ones of which look like, to quote student Thangaselvam, "a chatbox".
While we claim to be irritated by the usual mails about seminars, events, etc. the truth is that on Sundays we get restless, as that comforting trickle of bytes dries up. Everyone at NCBS suffers from at least a mild case of "email addiction".
NCBS webmail is based on SquirrelMail, and we all know it has some issues. Even before we open an email id we are confronted by a daunting choice - do we open our email in spite of the disturbing warning displayed on the screen? Then there is a limit on storage space which means we must clear our inbox of all that old news at regular intervals. Yesterday's riveting message is today's spam.
If you get overzealous with your pruning, ordinary deletions can be recovered easily. Many students import the emails from the NCBS email id into another email account which has a lot of storage space and a good spam filter. Beware PhD students, if there is any incriminating evidence in your NCBS inbox, ensure that you delete and "expunge" it.
Tafheem Masoodi suggests a new direction for NCBS email: 'More personal information could be added like "relationship status" to email ids to "humanise" NCBS webmail'. Ajeet Pratap Singh says: "NCBS webmail is your window to the world outside your lab". We all see it as part of helping PhD students to "get a life". Its successfulness is subject to debate.
There is only so much email can do for you...