News Columns & Blogs

Keeping in touch electronically

Most of us love it that vacation means no contact with the work world for a week or two. But if you need to stay in touch, it’s not hard to do. From a distant location, you can most often check work or personal e-mail. And with the help of remote-access software, home or work computers can be used from almost any location. E-mail provides the easiest connection to work or home. If you travel with your laptop, simply connect by ethernet cable or wireless device to a local ISP. Many restaurants and public places provide access without use of a security code. Hotels may need to tell you their current code in order to use their Internet access. Once online, access your e-mail account as you would at home. Retrieving work e-mail may not be possible if your corporate e-mail server does not allow Web access.

Non-corporate e-mail accounts are all accessed through the Internet. E-mail service providers include AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, Verizon, Comcast, and Brighthouse ( If you have e-mail clients such as Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird or Incredimail, it has been set up on your computer to retrieve your e-mail and bring it to you with extras such as a day planner, calendar and exciting emoticons. When your e-mail transfers from the service provider to your client, unless you change settings, it is no longer saved on the service provider’s server. For this reason, if you access e-mail from two different computers and use a client on each one, mail accessed on one computer will not be available on the other computer. On the other hand, if you do not use a client, your records are saved on the e-mail service provider’s server and can be accessed by another computer until you decide to delete that particular e-mail.

Even if you use one of the e-mail clients mentioned above, you may access your e-mail from another computer by using your e-mail provider’s Web site. You must have the user name and password you established with your e-mail provider. Access your e-mail provider’s Web page, then click on a tab for e-mail. A sign-on page should come up where you can enter your user name and password.

If you are accessing e-mail through the Web without Outlook or another client, do not delete e-mails that you want to have available when you get home. Without a client, the Web mail provider will not delete your e-mail from their server until you do. When you return to your home or work computer, important e-mails you did not delete will be available.

True workaholics who cannot stand to be away from their computer can utilize software such as Remote-Desktop, PCAnywhere, GoToMeeting, and CrossLoop, to gain remote access. The program must be installed on the computer you desire to access, and on the computer you will use off-site. Some applications allow you to access a computer that is simply left on, others require someone at your computer to grant access. Once logged in, you will see the home screen in front of you, and use the keyboard and mouse in front of you to interact. There is a slight delay, but the result is total accessibility from miles away.