* WARNING!!! Computer Geekness Ahead -- Proceed at your own risk *
Some of you may remember the trouble I had a while ago with the firewall at work, which, of the gazillions of websites around, was set up to block precisely one -- a.net. Ah, and for some reason the IT guy set it to block google.com as well ... Anyway, thanks to the help of some of you people, I tried several methods to get around the firewall. And it worked for a while... In the end, the firewall issue was "solved"... IT claimed excessive internet usage was interfering with other network functions, so internet access was removed from all workstations except those in management. Ugh! (Let it be said, though, that I wasn't the only one browsing the web at work.)
Well, being the stubborn gal that I am, I wasn't going to give up that easily. Ok, I'll live without 'net access, but at least I want to check my e-mail! So I went and configured my Gmail account to download messages in my work PC's Outlook. Everything has worked perfectly the whole week!
Now here comes the main point of this thread: This morning I tried to send an e-mail, but instead of just sending it right away, Outlook kept asking for my account password. I typed it, retyped it, typed it again, but the darn window kept popping up after a while. Once I clicked on Cancel, it would display an error message, saying it was unable to connect to the SMTP server. The odd thing is, the POP server (for incoming messages) was working just fine, and I kept receiving mail.
I kept having this problem all morning. After lunch, I found the whole network was dead; after it was up and running, the mail account started working and I was able to send messages again.
My question is, was the problem on Google's end, or is the IT guy messing with my settings again? Granted, it could have been Google, but considering that Mr. IT has done such things in the past (I mean, blocking a.net of all sites?!), I'm suspicious. What do you think?