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ISSUE 116 VOL 3 PUBLISHED 9/27/2002

SquirrelMail service offers key features

By Julie Gunderson
News Editor

Friday, September 27, 2002

In recent years, e-mail has become an increasingly vital service on college campuses. Over the summer, members of the school’s Information and Instructional Technologies department (IIT) worked to enhance and update the college’s e-mail system.

The old Emissary server was replaced with SquirrelMail. The reasoning for the switch was due in part to the unreliability of Emissary.

"Emissary wasn’t stable under heavy use, and would often become very slow or stop working altogether," said Craig Rice, associate director of information systems.

SquirrelMail also offers students features that Emissary could not, such as: paginated message box, better address book support, message highlighting, better attachment handling

The IIT tested the e-mail account over the summer with about 300 students. They received positive feedback and decided to make the switch mid-summer in order to create a smooth transition.

Emissary was also replaced because it had been written by a former student worker who, upon leaving the college, took with him most of the knowledge needed to support it. SquirrelMail, on the other hand, is an open e-mail source and is supported by a large internet community.

The IIT has received some complaints from students about slow e-mail accounts.

"My biggest problem has been the time it takes to open and send e-mails," Kelsey Lund ’05 said.

Rice said that to combat the problem of slow e-mail, students should not use SquirrelMail from their rooms; rather they should configure Netscape Messenger or Microsoft Outlook to access their e-mail account. A complete step-by-step process of how to configure these programs is given at:

Students using computers from public labs should use Netscape Messenger instead of SquirrelMail to access their accounts faster.

Another glitch with the e-mail account that a few students have run into is the e-mail system that requires them to login twice. The IIT is currently investigating the problem.

Rice said that the IIT will be updating SquirrelMail around the holiday break.

The school also made adjustments to the campus servers. It kept all student accounts on Sven, but switched all shared accounts onto the (new) Brit server.

"We just tried to even it out more between the two servers," Rice said. "This way they are both able to function more efficiently."

The Klez virus, along with other viruses that hit the campus last year, still remains a problem; students expressed their frustration about this.

"Every time I check my e-mail, my inbox seems to be full of virus e-mails," Justin Thompson ’03 said.

Rice said that it was important for students to use virus removing and anti-virus software in order to purge the Klez and other viruses from computers.

"Ninety-nine percent of the viruses going around campus have come from student machines," Rice said.

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