On This and That

I’ve had something on my mind for a few days, and I wanted to air it.

At work this week (well, really the last three or so) I’ve been going through databases and checking the data contained therein against other databases. And I’ve noticed something, and I wanted to ask.

When was it okay to have a Hotmail address?

See, one of the databases lists doctors and all sorts of private information about them. Tax IDs, birth date, social security number, DEA ID. And e-mail address. Some doctors have e-mail addresses with a hospital. Some have Earthlink or AOL addresses.

I’m noticing that about a third have Hotmail addresses.

The first time I hit a doctor with a Hotmail address, the first thought that went through my mind was, “What, this doctor’s too cheap to have a real e-mail account?” But I’ve noticed a lot with Hotmail accounts.

I’m going to admit, I have an inate bias against Hotmail. Part of it is the ubiquity of spammers with spoofed Hotmail addresses. Part of it is the reputation Hotmail used to have as the e-mail source of last resort. So I’ve always equated Hotmail with the e-mail ghetto.

Maybe things have changed in the past few years. Maybe I’m being an e-mail snob. But I want to know — when was it okay to have a Hotmail account?

I thought about it this afternoon, and I came up with a reason a doctor might want to have a Hotmail or other web-based e-mail account — the portability. I admit, my e-mail is tied to my desktop. If you e-mail my home address and I’m at work, I won’t know until I get home. (Even though I have a web interface for my e-mail account, I can’t check it at work — the company I’m working for classes my website as, I kid you not, an on-line dating service. If only I’d known!) Doctors may need e-mail portability. Hotmail or Gmail would fit that bill.

Still, it’s just… odd to see a doctor using a Hotmail account. I know, e-mail snob.

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