CRPrairie.org Gmail is (mostly) Ready!

Gmail_logoWe have finished the process of setting up email forwarding from PrairiePride.org to CRPrairie.org!  This turned out to be an incredibly complex and somewhat time consuming process.  But, this means that all email that goes to your PrairiePride.org account will now also go to your CRPrairie.org Gmail account.

Here are a few things to consider.

As of this morning, 7/15/15, you can now start using your new account! I would suggest starting off by testing your account by going to https://gmail.com and entering your full email address (username@CRPrairie.org) and your current email password.  Contact the technology office ( 848 5240) or email me if you cannot get logged on.

I would strongly recommend moving only the messages you know for certain you will need to your CRPrairie.org account.  Any email you wish to keep that you received in your PrairiePride.org account before 7/15/15 will need to be moved to your CRPrairie.org account.  If you setup your CRPrairie.org account in Outlook, you can drag whole folders of email and drop them in your CRPrairie.org account rather than forwarding them one at a time.  I moved my mailbox late last week.  I have a rather large mailbox, and to test the process I moved all of it.  It took quite sometime to complete (a couple of days), and I needed to watch the process the whole time as it would occasionally hang up.  It was kind of a hassle.  We will leave the PrairiePride.org server on into the fall. I will publish the date later when we intend to turn it off.   So, you will have some time go back and get anything you discover you do need.  But, again, the less you move, the faster and better your conversion will be.  After doing the same process last week for Google Drive stuff, I can also tell you that doing the same thing in that arena will work really well, too.  Only share/migrate the stuff you really, really need.

You do not need to tell anyone that you have a new email address. We will be keeping the PrairiePride.org branding for all external audiences.  The forwarding will continue to work even after we turn off the old server in the fall.  All new staff will  get PrairiePride forwarding setup.

Let me or someone in the technology office know if email forwarding is not working.  You’ll know this is the case if you don’t see email in your CRPrairie.org that was sent your PrairiePride.org account after 7/15/15.  You may also hear about senders getting bounce messages when they send to your account (these would be the forwarded messages bounce back from your CRPrairie.org account).   As I said earlier, this was a really complicated and time-consuming process.  Late in the day on Monday, we had a developer that had done some custom code for us in the past for account creation, basically tell us that he was taking is ball and going home.  So, instead of having him spend an hour or two updating the process, my team was forced to modify each staff mailbox by hand in a multi-step, ugly procedure.  It took us about 12 hours with all hand working on it to get this completed.  So, it’s possible, even likely that we did make some mistakes doing this.  The good news is that the fixes are almost always really fast.

What about the address book?  We are still working on that.  You can still use the Prairiepride address book if you wish as forwarding will send the email to both accounts.  So, you can always just send to someone’s PrairiePride.org address.  I will share more information on the address book as it becomes available.

Related to address book, what about email groups?  The new groups are there and you can use them now.  However, I would strongly suggest using the PrairiePride.org groups until the conversion is complete. The CRPrairie.org groups will only go to CRPrairie.org accounts and not to PrairiePride.org.  So, until we are sure that everyone is using the new system — we will be after we turn off the PrairiePride server in the fall, we probably need to use the old groups. The CRPrairie.org groups are named very similarly to the PrairiePride.org versions.  Groups for both systems were essentially email addresses.  We dropped the “-DL” from the group names this time.  So, to get the full staff email, just send to — staffall@crprairie.org.  Your building groups are done in the same way — the high school group is staffhs@crprairie.org.  We will be putting up a list of all the common, staff CRPrairie.org groups on the Staff Hub in the next day or two.

Calendar reminders:  Remember, once you are done with this transition, do not use the Outlook calendar — it will not sync with your Google Calendar.  I converted my calendar over Google last week.  It only took me a few minutes to add the stuff on my calendar from 7/15/15 forward.  I did not do any type of export/import.  In fact, after playing with this for a few days, my team does not recommend doing a calendar export/import.  We’ve found that the process does not always work and it will overwrite/delete any thing that you may have manually added to your new Google calendar.

How do I setup my CRPrairie.org email on my phone?  This is really easy.  Just follow the setup instructions for Gmail that is built into your device.  Just be sure to put in your full email address (with the @CRPrairie.org) when setting up the account.

Can I export and import my Outlook Contacts to Google?  Yes.  While I don’t recommend doing this for calendars, it’s very simple to do for contacts.  Here’s what you need to do.  While in Outlook, go to the File menu and select Export.  In the new window, click the top radio button for “Contacts to a list (tab-delimited file)”.  Save the file to your desktop.  Here’s the only tricky part… You’ll need to open the file with Excel and do a “Save As” command.  Save the file as a CSV — comma separated values file. Google will only take CSVs for import. Login to your CRPrairie.org Gmail and click Contacts in the application grid in the upper right corner.  In the commands along the left side of the Contacts page, there will be a link called, “Import Contact.”  Click that link.  Upload the contacts CSV file from your desktop, and follow the onscreen instructions to complete the import.

I encourage everyone to get started with your new account as soon as you can.  I have fully converted.  I’ve even removed my PrairiePide.org account from my phone because I don’t like to read all email twice.  As always, give me call, drop me a note, or contact the technology office at 848 5240 with any questions you have.

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