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Access Your E-mail through the Web
by Julio Polo

Through the use of standard Internet protocols it has been possible for you to access your e-mail through a variety of means, from the venerable character-oriented host-based Pine to the friendliest of graphical clients on your personal computer. While ITS has encouraged migration to graphical clients for years for everyone who uses the same computer regularly, Pine has been a good option for people to access their e-mail from an occasional computer in a lab, at someone else's office, or while travelling. This has changed with our introduction of a new Web-based e-mail interface. Through this interface, you can access your e-mail from any computer on the Internet with a Web browser.

The Web interface is now available at:

To use this new Web mail service, we recommend hardware conformant to our microcomputer recommendations at and upgrading to the latest version of your browser software. This service also requires that you configure your browser to accept cookies.

It is highly encouraged that you use the secure https URL to maximize your privacy. The secure version is a bit slower because it encrypts communications to and from your browser, making it difficult for someone to intercept sensitive information, including the password used to access your account. The majority of free Web mail services do not offer encrypted access. Hotmail does not allow the entire Web mail session to be encrypted, but it does encrypt the password during the login process.

Because our own Web mail service is now available, we are blocking non-University Web sites from accessing our mailboxes. If you have been using an external Web site to access your e-mail, you must now use our Web site. This is necessary since there is no guarantee that external sites will treat our accounts and passwords with the same concerns for privacy and security that we would for ourselves. For example, the majority of such sites do not use encryption, therefore making them a weaker and highly visible target for obtaining passwords. We also have no way to know if they are storing your passwords in their own computer systems.

This first implementation of Web mail is intended to provide basic email functionality. Notably missing are searching, filtering, and sorting capabilities. We will continue to research all avenues available to provide a richer set of features. And of course more sophisticated clients such as Netscape Communicator and Eudora are encouraged for use on the computer you use regularly.

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