The paper memo: a genre of the (future?) technological apocalypse

I don’t really even bother to teach my technical communication students the format of a traditional paper memo. It typically includes the quaint “MEMORANDUM” as the first line, which strongly reminds me of the equally quaint “FACSIMILE COVER SHEET” on faxes I used to send to the U.S. armed services in a past life.

Email and scanning technology have made the memo mostly obsolete. Distribution lists are about as common as the secretaries who used them to calculate the number of Xeroxes they had to make. Then, in a Vanity Fair piece on the Sony Hack, I read this:

Suddenly it was a pre-Digital Age at Sony. Whoever hacked the company had not only stolen its internal data; they had wiped out everything in their wake. Sony’s e-mail system was down and out, so employees were forced to communicate by paper memos, texts, phone calls from their personal cell phones, and temporary e-mail addresses. The studio’s executives were reduced to using BlackBerrys unearthed from the basement of the Thalberg building.

Perhaps there is some value to teaching the old ways, a kind of “duck-and-cover” digital rhetoric that prepares students for technological apocalypses. Maybe one day I’ll even bring in a typewriter reminiscent of the antique I used to painstaking peck out my middle-school reports (it had an LCD display of your column number!!). A unit on cursive penmanship might also come in handy, though my long string of penmanship “D” grades would necessitate a guest lecturer on that particular topic.

Sending and receiving IIT email through Gmail

Since OTS did not post instructions for adding a new “” email address to Gmail (at least not that I could find), I thought I would post the server names/ports and some instructions for how to do it in case anyone is interested. I’m assuming if you’re reading this that you activated your account in myIIT.

If you are my student, I highly recommend doing this so that you view emails from me in a timely fashion. In addition to posting notices on my course website, I send emails regarding class to your university account, so you will need to check it regularly.

Firstly, you need to sync your Google apps for education password with your myIIT password since they are not the same for some reason. You can do that in the ‘training and support’ tab in myIIT (there is a link to sync the password in the right hand pane).

Next, log into your “” email address. In mail settings under the ‘Forwarding and POP/IMAP’ tab, click on the button to enable POP for all mail.

Log into your personal Gmail account and in mail settings under the ‘Accounts and Import’ tab, click on the button to add a POP3 email account. Here is the server information:

Email address: [your myIIT user name]

Account Name: full email address
Password: IIT password
Mail (POP3) Server:
Port: 995
Use SSL: Yes (check the box to use a SSL connection)

I think it’s a good idea to check the box to apply a label to mail so it’s easier to keep accounts straight, but it’s not required.

To send mail from your IIT email account, follow the instructions that Gmail gives you to verify your account. You can choose to send mail using SMTP through that mail server, or you can just use your personal Gmail account to send mail. The only difference I noticed is that the ‘From’ information in emails you send will look like this:

From: Andrew J. Roback via

rather than this:

From: Andrew J. Roback

If that bothers you, here is the outgoing mail server info: (use authentication)
Use Authentication: Yes
Port for TLS/STARTTLS: 587
Port for SSL: 465

As a final word of warning, OTS said in their email that all mail would be forwarded to your new email address. That was not the case with me, as I received an email to my old address and it was not forwarded. I deleted my old POP3 import settings, then had to set it up again when I saw I was still receiving mail at my “” account. I would recommend leaving your old POP3 accounts in place (I plan to, at least for a little while).