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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Electronic mail errors, Computer Village to the rescue


Last December may not be pleasant for some Nigerians who experienced electronic mail errors, which solution was proffered at the Computer Village, reports REMMY NWEKE.

FEW days into the festive December month, Mr. Ibukun Brown, a Lagos resident, was anxiously expecting a mail from his relatives abroad concerning the season. He has been experiencing some difficulties in opening his electronic mail (e-mail), which is a Yahoo! account.

After two days, he became worried that his relatives even called to intimate him of the mail they had sent earlier which he was yet to reply.

He jumped from one cyber café to another since his office Internet service has literally failed him, but all to no avail.

What kept surprising him was that even in his office, colleagues using other e-mail platforms check their mails without stress, except those of them on Yahoo! Still lamenting the situation, one of the junior staff walked up to him to seek advice because she was also experiencing the same hiccup in checking her mails.

The junior staff also told him that she had been going through this difficulty for over a week before someone recommended Ibukun to her, because he seems to be the most relative techie person around.

In the course of trying to find a solution to this nightmare, Ibukun decided to pay a visit to the Computer Village in Ikeja-Lagos, for consultation with some famous computer gurus.

At first, he put up a call to a friend cum computer artisan, Isaac ‘Zik’ Nwa-Anambra, whom he met while trying to fix his laptop earlier on. Isaac encouraged Ibukun to come along with his mobile Universal Serial Bus (USB) dail-up Internet kit from Zain for them to run a test of what he was complaining about.

Before noon on the date of appointment Ibukun handed over his laptop bag to Zik, where every thing he needed for the verification of the fault were packed and within a twinkle of an eye, Zik mounted the system on the table, dialed the connection and the same message bothering Ibukun resurfaced.

Yahoo! code 15 errors appeared on the screen, reading in detail, “Sorry for the inconvenience. You’ve stumbled upon a temporary problem we’re having with Yahoo! Mail.”

According to Zik, usually this problem gets resolved quickly, without the user doing a thing basically; advising that the reload or refresh button on the browser should be pressed.

“Try signing out and back into Yahoo! Mail. Hopefully that will take care of things,” he declared, stressing that in the case it does not, please try again shortly.

Looking further on the screen, Ibukun, who by now has taken over, was busy receiving directives from Zik, reading out the message which states the fact that he was able to be read “this page means we’ve been automatically notified of the issue, and chances are we’re working on it now.”

And the message went on, “If you think you’ve been more than patient and tried the tricks above, feel free to contact Customer Care about Error Code 15. Thanks, The Yahoo! Mail Team.”

He also counseled Ibukun to retry after about five minutes and when he later clicked on contact customer care about error code 15, the website automatically switched him back to the home page for signing into Yahoo! mail.

An attempt to visit the Yahoo! Mail Help-error code window, Ibukun was required to fill a form which format encompasses “What is your name? What is your Yahoo! ID? What is your email address? Confirm email address?” and a pick from list of over 30 errors were displayed in the fourth stanza as ‘Error being reported,’ Feedback and then the user must send the form to Yahoo! help desk.

Next, Yahoo! informed Ibukun that the firm and survey partners working on behalf of Yahoo!, may contact him to participate in customer satisfaction surveys while appreciating his submission.

Suddenly, Zik interjected while Ibukun was still wondering on the next step and asked if he has another electronic mail address, which he confirmed in affirmation, so, the artisan demanded that Ibukun go into the mail options in Yahoo!

Hence, Ibukun was asked to go to the column on Management of Mail Addresses, click on the Post Office Presence (POP) access and forwarding, where it was advocated by Yahoo! that its platform could be used as permanent email address, “forward to another mail account or download your Yahoo! messages to your POP3 mail client.”

Post Office Protocol (POP), is a protocol used to retrieve e-mail from a mail server. Most e-mail applications sometimes called an e-mail client use the POP protocol, although some could use the newer Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP).

Also, according to Webpodia.com, POP refers to Point-Of-Presence, an access point to the Internet, largely owned by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). A point of presence is a physical location, either part of the facilities of a telecommunications provider that the ISP rents or a separate location from the telecommunications provider, that houses servers, routers, Automated Teller Machine (ATM) switches and digital or analogue call aggregators.

However, Ibukun proceeded to click on ‘Need Help?’ which gave him the Web and POP Access [POP Settings] explaining that Ibukun could access Yahoo! Mail via the web interface and through any email programme using POP3 such as Eudora, Outlook or Netscape Mail, to name a few.

On the forwarding option, Zik told Ibukun that he could forward all his mails from his Yahoo! account messages to a different email address, so, he was required to enter the alternate email address in open column, after which it was verified that such account so chosen is valid.

“Before we can forward your incoming messages, we need to verify that you own this email address. We do this in order to protect your privacy and prevent unauthorized use of this feature,” Yahoo! experts stated.

For this, Zik enlightened that the forwarded email does not deny Ibukun access to his primary email account and could be changed at any time he feels that normalcy has returned in his access to the initial e-mail address.

Before then, Ibukun was asked to visit his supposed alternate email account in order to authenticate the email sent by Yahoo!, an indication that the email is valid.

“Click send verification to have Yahoo! send an email to the address above,” Yahoo! experts said, stressing that by clicking on the link, for example, http://popfwd.mail.yahoo.com/pf/VerifyCode?.addr=ibukunbrownsco@gmail.com&.c=a7f1e10&.intl=uk&.bm=&.loginas=ibukunbrownsco&.done=http%3a//uk.f265.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Options%3fYY=12345; in the email or enter the confirmation code that was provided or generated.

And Zik continued to encourage him that from that date, every email sent to his Yahoo! mail would touch base and then be forwarded automatically to the latest email account which is the alternate account.

Verify the account, Zik said, your POP access and forwarding settings would be saved.
And in less than 10 minutes, Ibukun could read or access any new mail that find its way to both of his email accounts with different POPs.

Zik further said that alternatively, Ibukun and friends could simply change the viewing model in their emails by signing in normally, and clicking on other services such as addresss, note pad, from where they could choose option.

That day, Ibukun went back to the office excited and throughout the week, he devoted time assisting his colleagues with similar problems, leaving him eventually as a goal getter as he was the talk of the town in the office among peers.

And by the next day, Ibukun’s relative abroad had resent the earlier message to him again, which of course, found its way forwarded to the alternate email.

With a rest of mind, Ibukun was able to pick his family members from the airport to their home in Ilaje for the reason for the season.

Investigations carried out by ITRealms Online showed that in developing countries like Nigeria where Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is yet to be optimized in terms of service provision, it is difficult to maintain more than one email, more so when intermittent hiccups like the one Ibukun and his colleagues recently experienced occur, even as Microsoft do not allow its account users to forward their mail accounts as obtained in other platforms.

However, what this implies is that there are lots of artisans plying their trades at the Computer Villages scattered all over the country, especially in Lagos and what remains is how government and even corporate entities could come up, even if it means empowering some of the nation’s youth through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) schemes, so as to encourage them become more professional via organised training in various aspects of ICT.

Zik, no doubt is just one of thousands of his peers, who with their school certificates are industrious and skillfully gifted.

One of the artisans at the Computer Village, Ikeja, Mr. Dayo Adeyemi, told ITRealms Online that he is disposed to more training, which he hopes would open new opportunities for him and his colleagues.

For the Public Relations Officer, Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN), Mr. Godwin Enumoh, who recently told ITRealms Online that intellectually, the group has members that could stand the test of time when it comes to dexterity.

He agreed that collaboration is vital for the growth of the artisans in the market, with potential to contribute immensely to the national economy. He urged government through its agencies like the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), State governments and Centre For Adaptation of Technology (CAT) among others to liaise with CAPDAN for such initiative to be meaningful.

Only time will tell how the government intends to resuscitate Computer Villages, mostly in the city like Lagos, by transforming these markets into Silicon Valley for the country.

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