Playing with Technology

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. ~Arthur C. Clarke

Replacements for GroupWise

I’ve never been a big fan of GroupWise because it creates an uneven playing field. Windows users get lots of features that OS X users don’t get. Granted things are better with GroupWise 7 than before, but there are still differences. Plus we have not made GroupWise a standard app on the OS X machines and so not many faculty are even aware of it. Add to this the fact that it is not as easy to create rule based mailboxes and that it doesn’t have smart mailboxes or the ability to manage multiple e-mail accounts and you see that it pails in comparison to other applications like Outlook, Mail, Entourage, Eudora, etc. THe ability to manage multiple e-mail accounts is a huge deal for students and for me. So I am always on the lookout for something that would create a level playing field and that has the cool integrated calendaring of GroupWise (really the only feature that I think Mail is missing).

The other day I heard about some possible alternatives on TechCrunch. The ones that I think would be most likely to meet our needs are BlueTie, Zimbra, and Google. All three offer calendar and e-mail. BlueTie and Google seem to be free. BlueTie offers file sharing, Google offers Google Docs and Spreadsheet for on-line collaborative documents, and Zimbra has an impressive list of partners and compatibility options. I’d really like to see us investigate these services in the future.