the Groupwise to Google experiment (part 2)

So back in part 1 of this experiment, which was quite a while ago, my goal was to see whether I could effectively use Google mail, calendar and contacts as a direct replacement for Novell Groupwise, which we use at Santa Clara.  “Effectively” doesn’t mean that all of a sudden all of my e-mails come from  After all, if I work for SCU, and I intend to represent myself as an employee of SCU, I need to have an address.

Fortunately, Google mail has the ability to send e-mails as if it were a different address (not just reply-to, but actually with the header and “from” of  Now, you may say “but Allan, that’s basically spoofing or faking someone else’s e-mail address.  Won’t that get caught in spam filters?”

If all Google offered was the ability to change the “from” field then most likely yes, it would get filtered like crazy.  All of my e-mails ending up in spam filters would not be an effectively switch to a different service.  However, I am able to use SCU’s outgoing mail server for the messages.  So Google mail is doing the composition, but once it tries to send, it’s actually talking to and sending from the mail server.  Which means it now looks like and comes from the same place.  Not sure if that makes sense, but the bottom line is that spam filters will leave me alone.

Many of my colleagues use Google mail because, in all honesty, they don’t like Groupwise.  However, since I am a Blackberry user and the university has set up a Blackberry Enterprise Server that talks back and forth with the Groupwise servers, I actually didn’t mind at all.  My mobile device and desktop clients all talked to each other very efficiently.

That all changes if I stop using a blackberry unit.  As good as they are, and as good as the current version of the Blackberry OS is (which is a lot better and prettier than the one on my 2.5 year old unit, btw), I have found myself wanting many of the features that are offered by various other smartphones, such as an iPhone or an Android phone.

For instance – I have an HTC Incredible from Verizon as my personal phone.  The other day, while trying to finish off the little details of our inventory, I was walking around, viewing our inventory spreadsheet on the nice big, bright screen on my phone, which has retrieved that spreadsheet via its Dropbox application.  This was so much more efficient than anything I could do on the smaller screen of my Blackberry.

Thus…I have ordered the new EVO 4G from Sprint (SCU has a contract with them).  This means that if I want to use the new, Android phone for my mail, calendar, etc, I need to get everything moved over from Groupwise.  So it’s not about dislike for Groupwise so much as a need for something that will work with the new phone.

Anyway – I have most things set up.

  • Setup a Groupwise rule that will simply forward all incoming mail to a Google mail account
  • Have already worked with the labels in Google to see how well I can manage such e-mail all flying in (since Google mail doesn’t have folders, this is an important step).
  • Using Companionlink, running on my home computer (which stays on most of the time), to synchronize my calendar, tasks, and contacts with Google
  • Verified that meetings proposed by Groupwise to me and ones that I propose from Google work (way to go, iCal standard)

Once the phone arrives, I just log into the created Google account and I should be set.

This should be interesting.  Though I figure this post is pretty boring…

Comments (4)

  1. Paul Van der Cruyssen

    I just hope that everybody can play as they want at your university and that they can bypass the standards that you have in place, a real nightmare for administrators.

  2. kaiyen (Post author)

    I gotta say – I’m not sure if you’re criticizing me from using non-university systems or praising me for “playing” and having some kind of freedom. It’s fine if you are criticizing me – I welcome all comments. But please know that I am not disrespecting the efforts of administrators, either those that are managing something like Groupwise or those that decided on and define policy surrounding it.

    Also, it’s not as if one couldn’t use an e-mail client other than Groupwise, for instance, or just IMAP into the system via an iPhone, etc. I’m just trying to get even more connectivity. I wanted a different type of device but still be connected to my e-mail, calendar, etc. And this is the only way to get it to work. Google is involved only because the device is an Android one, which talks so well to Google in the first place.

    Let me know what you meant. I’d like to be able to respond more accurately. Thanks for the comment.

  3. David Pellow

    I, too, have a personally-owned Incredible and operate in a GroupWise work environment. Our IT support group wants to charge our department $385/yr to “support” the Touchdown/NotifyLink sync solution. I am already forwarding GW e-mail to my gmail account and accessing it on the Incredible. I would love to hear more about how well CompanionLink does at syncing calendar and contacts. Should I plan to install it on both my laptop at home and desktop at work (i.e., buy 2 licenses)?

  4. kaiyen (Post author)

    will send e-mail as well…Companion link is working great for the calendar. I had some contacts in there already and found that it was duplicating them, so I eventually turned them off. Groupwise populates contacts quickly if I ever need to write an e-mail there, and adding contacts on Google is easy enough. But the calendar part, which is the key thing, works great.

    If you have a computer – even a home one – that is on most of the time, then just get 1 license and run it there. That’s what I do – just 1 license at home.

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