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An Email Frustration Solved

Oscar Foulkes June 16, 2009 My Little Black Book, Web Tools No comments

Almost every hotel around the world offers an in-room internet connection. One can now use WiFi in thousands of locations around the world. It’s an amazing tool when you’re on the move.

The problem is that every place where you connect to the internet uses a different server for sending outgoing email (that’s the SMTP server). If you don’t have the correct setting the emails sit in your Outbox. OK, so you could switch to webmail, but then the record of those mails is separate to all your other emails.

Every time I check into a hotel I can spend up to 30 minutes explaining to the person at reception that I need the information about their SMTP server. Most of the time I get looked at as if I’ve crawled out of a piece of cheese; rare is the hotel where the staff even know what an SMTP server is, let alone what it is for their internet connection. Many properties don’t allow any outgoing email from their networks (for example, Ibis Hotels). Setting my laptop up to send emails is one of my very most frustrating travel experiences.

While the technology is now very much more advanced, my email frustrations make me think of Philip Holzberg (one of the most entertaining people I’ve met) who used to make his sales trips with a portable fax machine. He also had a variety of telephone cords and adaptors, as well as a tool kit which he used to ‘jimmy’ connections to the telephone socket in his hotel room. This enabled him to fax off the orders he’d taken from his customers during the day. A couple of years ago, when I visited him at Chateau Franc-Cardinal, he could offer me a large selection of telephone cords and plugs to sort out my dial-up problems.

Whereas Philip needed to hardwire his way his way into the telephone connection, the modern version just needs to make a small change to the software settings. Each of those very convenient WiFi spots needs its own SMTP setting, but one is unlikely to find anybody to assist. Fortunately there is a great solution (Click here to check out smtp2go).

Spending a few seconds allocating as the smtp server is a lot less frustrating than making oneself understood to hotel staff in a foreign country, and infinitely easier than crawling underneath the desk to break into the telephone socket.

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