Avoiding the network Gestapo

Dave00

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Dec 2, 2003
855
62
Pittsburgh
Ok, I need some help. The email police at my wife's work have said she's not allowed to email me any more from work. She actually got an email from a manager-type (cc:'d to me) that stated an email she sent me regarding paint colors for our house was some sort of abuse of the work email policy. They restrict access to web-based email as well; in other words, my wife can't log in to my yahoo, hotmail, or .Mac email accounts (so much for mac marginalization :) Plus they read all your personal email.

I was wondering if there was a way to use our home computer as a communications device. We have an iMac G5 connected to cable internet. At work, I have your standard Windows box with XP. I feel like there should be some way to remotely access my home computer and use it as an email hub.

Anyone have any solutions? (Other than my one temptation of sending a nice .exe file to the manager)

Dave
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,089
4
Sol III - Terra
I'd say you are out of luck if your wife wants to keep her job.

The only solution I can think of is text messaging from a cell phone - at least and still let your wife keep her job. Make sure she has it on silent or vibrate so she doesn't get complaints about her cell phone going off all the time.
 

CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
Yes, she can email you during lunch from a cybercafe.
There is a pervasive misconception that computer use and email in the workplace it private. It's not.

If your wife's employer has a written policy, and if it was agreed to by her along with the terms of employment, then it means just what it says: personal use of the computer and/or the internet connection belonging to the company is not allowed. There are many reasons they might have such a policy: Cost, employee productivity loss, security, liability.

You want to, you can challenge that or try to get around it by setting your machine up on a dynamicDNS service so she can connect directly to your home machine and file transfer or message -- at the risk of losing her job.

Buy her a Blackberry, or an email-enabled cell phone, so the communications are on her network, not theirs.

But that costs money, you say? Well, that is rather the employer's point, isn't it?
 

Dave00

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Dec 2, 2003
855
62
Pittsburgh
CanadaRAM said:
There is a pervasive misconception that computer use and email in the workplace it private. It's not.
The issue is not privacy. (I have no problem with them reading about our choice of paint color, for instance.) The issue is personal communication. You should be able to message your spouse about non-work-related issues, as long as it doesn't interfere with your job. The company policy even says as much ("occasional personal email" is ok). Some people just get overzealous with power, that's all.

As far as email costing the company money - maybe if you sent large files or pictures routinely. But a few lines of text now and then, even on large-scale employee basis, is not even noticeable in terms of cost. Believe me, I am a partner in a small business, and I know about saving costs in terms of employee time and resources.

A blackberry or email-enabled cell phone makes no sense, in terms of company resources. Communicating via these devices takes much more time than conventional computer-based email - which, by the way, takes less time than a telephone - with a telephone, you can't answer the message at your leisure.

Anyhow, I wasn't asking what was thought of company email policies. I was asking if it were possible to use my home iMac as a communications device.

Thanks,
Dave
 

James Philp

macrumors 65816
Mar 5, 2005
1,494
0
Oxford/London
In my experience, a quick call takes a lot less time than an email, but that's just me!
It's obvious your wife has an ******* boss, sometimes you cant do anything about it! Hopefully he'll move on soon...
If not, i'd suggest she uses the phone on the wall in the print room (i've phoned cell phones for up to half an hour doing this as things were printing!!). But apart from that i think you're stuck on the email front!
 

daveL

macrumors 68020
Jun 18, 2003
2,425
0
Montana
You may have problems with the firewall at work, but if you could establish a VPN from your system at work to your system at home, you could do your email through the VPN, just as if you were another node on your home network. This approach would also encrypt all traffic over the VPN, so no one could read anything. This is probably the most technically complex solution, and the firewall at work may very well be a show stopper. Do you have VPN access from home to work for off hours work access? Anyway, just a thought. I think your employer sucks, btw.

Edit: Sorry, your wife's employer sucks.
 

csubear

macrumors 6502a
Aug 22, 2003
613
0
If you can connect to your home mac with ssh you could tunnel email through ssh...... kinda the same idea as the VPN guy..
 

zelmo

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2004
5,490
1
Mac since 7.5
Dave00 said:
The issue is not privacy. (I have no problem with them reading about our choice of paint color, for instance.) The issue is personal communication. You should be able to message your spouse about non-work-related issues, as long as it doesn't interfere with your job. The company policy even says as much ("occasional personal email" is ok). Some people just get overzealous with power, that's all.

As far as email costing the company money - maybe if you sent large files or pictures routinely. But a few lines of text now and then, even on large-scale employee basis, is not even noticeable in terms of cost. Believe me, I am a partner in a small business, and I know about saving costs in terms of employee time and resources.

A blackberry or email-enabled cell phone makes no sense, in terms of company resources. Communicating via these devices takes much more time than conventional computer-based email - which, by the way, takes less time than a telephone - with a telephone, you can't answer the message at your leisure.

Anyhow, I wasn't asking what was thought of company email policies. I was asking if it were possible to use my home iMac as a communications device.

Thanks,
Dave
DEVIL'S ADVOCATE:
If your spouse is busy composing an email message to send you, how is that NOT interfering with her job? She's not working, is she?
As for costing money for the bandwidth used, I think it's the time wasted and not the bw, unless you are emailing pictures and large documents all over the place.

I agree that there needs to be some flexibility, but exactly where is the line? My guess is that one co-worker was caught spending far too much time on email/internet, and they have no choice but to crack down on everyone equally. There's always one that ruins it for everybody, isn't there?

We have a hundred people working here, each with almost constant computer access. If each composes 2-3 emails every day, they have to be spending a minimum of 10 minutes per day on personal email. That adds up to over 16 hours a day. That's equal to 2% of the workforce essentially being paid to do nothing productive all day.

Our parent company just replaced the 2 page "code of computing" section in our personnel manual with a 43 page section (which I am violating as I type). It's only going to become more strict, I'm afraid.
 

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