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Controlling Your Horde:
Webmail and Groupware at UCLA-Mathnet

jimc, 2007-06-21

UCLA-Mathnet has upgraded our webmail and groupware service, using the Horde software suite. Here is how to get the most out of The Horde.

You may use The Horde from any computer in the world. (Please do not give your Mathnet password on a machine likely to be infested with viruses, spyware, keystroke loggers, or similar malware, such as a rented machine at a hotel or internet café, or your home machine unless it is regularly updated and scanned.) You do need to accept cookies from our server, so your authentication can be effective from one page to the next. To begin using The Horde:

The Horde's portal will appear, with components listed with icons at the top, and also in the sidebar (click on Organizing to see all). Click on the icon to start a component. Horde security does not like you to use the browser's Back button; to get to a previously shown page use the appropriate forward link, not the Back button.

The installed components, creatively named, include:

IMP Webmail

When IMP starts, you will first see a page of message subjects starting with the first unread one. Here's a screenshot of it.

By default, deleted messages stay around until you purge them by clicking Purge Deleted among the disposition actions, so if you make a mistake you can undelete a message (using the Mark As disposition action). Be sure to purge (expunge) deleted messages before you log out.

Here's a screenshot of a message. When viewing a message, you may click on web links; the referent will open in a separate tab or window of your browser. (Beware of fraud, advertising or virus websites.) If there are attachments, they are listed under Part(s); click on one of the titles to see it in a separate tab or window, or on the download icon to save it on the machine where your browser is running. (Beware of attachments that are viruses, particularly if executing on other than Linux.)

When finished with the message, you have several choices. The disposition actions are listed above and below the message or subject list.

Here's a screenshot of the Compose window, which will be in a separate tab or window of the browser. Just fill in the recipient(s) and the subject, type in your text, click on Attachments if you need to attach files, and finally click on Send Message in the top row. Attachments are obtained by your web browser on the machine where it executes. If you are at home or at another institution, and if the desired file is at Mathnet, you will have to download it to the local machine using SSH or FTP, so your browser can find it.

MIMP Mobile Webmail

This version produces forms that are perhaps easier for a mobile phone or PDA to display, but otherwise it is generally similar to IMP Webmail. It has the unfortunate feature that you need to log in twice. We're working on making it use only its own phone-friendly login screen.

In replies the complete message is quoted and your text goes above it, both of which are impolite e-mail practice. Only limited relevant parts of the message should be repeated and your comments should go below each such section, so the reader will have seen what's being replied to, before seeing the reply. We haven't yet figured out how to teach netiquette to MIMP.

Kronolith Calendar

The purpose of this kind of calendar is to keep track of and to publish events that occur at a specific time, such as meetings, or classes that you teach, or people's birthdays, or vacation periods.

The Kronolith Calendar service opens with a full month display. Zoom in or out by clicking on the interval tabs at the top: Day through Year. You can change the initial view interval: select Options, User Interface, Select View to Display on Startup. After setting options, click on the Today icon to return to the starting view.

Initially you can create events involving yourself, but if you want to make meetings, you need an address book entry for each co-worker that includes at least his e-mail address and his free-busy URL. (See the section on the Turba address book.) To find out the correct format of the URL, click on My Calendars, and your own free-busy URL will be shown at the bottom of the form. Copy and paste this into the co-worker's address book entry, changing the last field to his loginID, not yours. Or if the person uses a foreign calendar server, ask him what the correct URL is (and whether the calendar server will even answer queries from outside; ours will.)

To create a new event, click on the + (plus) icon next to the date or hour. Or to edit an existing event click on its pencil icon. In the event editing form a few items are not self-explanatory:

If you have a PDA, you will want to synchronize it with Kronolith. Click on Import/Export (top row of icons), and in the form that appears, select the export format that your PDA understands (typically iCalendar, or possibly CSV (Comma Separated Values)). Click on Export and your calendar will be sent to your browser, from which you can save it (or open it with your separate PDA sync software). Now you can send the file to the PDA.

Conversely, if you made appointments on your PDA and want to transfer them to Kronolith, retrieve an iCalendar, vCalendar or CSV file from the PDA. Then on the Import section of the Import/Export form, fill in its filename and click Next. WARNING: It looks like there's a problem here; the entire calendar is replaced with just the last event in the file, even if you didn't mark Replace Calendar.

Note on timezones: By default, Kronolith talks to users in the timezone where the server lives, but keeps records in UTC. Thus the time of an event (and of reminder notifications) is unaffected by timezone changes, but the text description shows times in your current timezone. You can change your timezone like this: Click on Options in the main icon bar, and select Global Options from the drop-down list. Click on Locale and Time, and adjust Your Current Time Zone, a loooong drop-down list. If creating an event that will happen in another timezone you should change to that timezone first (lest you make errors converting the times in your head), then change back; and when you arrive in the foreign city and want to view your events, also change to its proper timezone.

Turba Address Book

The Turba Address Book service keeps a list of people you know and delivers them as needed. Here are typical activities with Turba.

Nag Task List

The Nag Task List opens showing all your tasks, sorted by priority. Click on the name of a task to see details, and on that form in the upper right, there are buttons for editing or deleting the record.

In the main icon row there are icons for these activities:

Mnemo Notes

The Mnemo Notepad opens showing all your notes (if any). Click on the displayed initial line of a note to see the whole thing. You can click on web links in the note; the target will open in a separate tab or window. On this form in the upper right there are buttons for editing or deleting the note.

In the main icon row there are icons for these activities: