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I did manage to log into UA Portal finally and had a look around. Not bad, really, but it struck me as a lot of duplication of effort. Even if I could check my e-mail from there (I can’t and I don’t care to find out why–that’s kind of like asking why Darth Vader always wears black. He’s evil, just go with it), why would I want to? I can use Pine (which I prefer) or Webmail. Along those same lines, why would I want to check my employee info from UA Portal when I can go straight to UA Online from my web browser?

Thanks to the handy My UA Portal Project Page (click on Project website), however, I discovered why this portal software is so user-unfriendly: it’s made by the same people that inflicted Banner and UA Online upon us. Fellow U. of Arnor staffers now shudder and grow cold, but if you don’t know what these things are, let me explain.

Banner is administrative software which we use to cut and track purchase orders, travel requests, and other necessary accounting procedures for the university. I was one of the second wave of unfortunates who attempted to learn the system and it was like a return to the Bad Olde Days of early computer software. As I remember it, you were presented with a blank worksheet with few or no command prompts. You had to guess what function keys to press in order to accomplish any kind of data entry. Banner wasn’t about to tell you what they were. It has since improved–the curses and imprecations of three campuses have a way of making that happen–but it was far more annoying that it had to be.

Ditto UA Online although my problems with that software tend to revolve (again) around login difficulties.

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