severin (severinus) wrote in uw,
severin
severinus
uw

the new proxy system (or: god it's sad i care this much)

The UW libraries recently changed the way students & staff can access UW-restricted sites off-campus, and the new system is rather annoying if you ask me.  I think there are some libraries people here, so I figured I'd ask: What exactly are the benefits of the new system, and is there any chance of the old system coming back, or of having both available side-by-side?

It used to be that if you wanted to access stuff that was UW-restricted from off-campus, all you had to do was know your UW libraries barcode & pin and set up your browser to use the proxy auto-configuration file.  Your browser could remember the URL for the PAC, your username and your password, so it was pretty much hands-free: type a restricted url in your address bar, click OK on the login prompt, and voila, you get your page.

Well with the new proxy service, you have to go to http://offcampus.lib.washington.edu, log in with your UWNetID, type your URL into a box, wait for the intervening weblogin pages to load, and then hope you don't end up with a message like "Unable to locate address for dictionary.oed.com, please try again later."  Simply typing a URL in your address bar and clicking OK to your browser's login prompt is no longer an option, despite its vast superiority as far as ease of use is concerned.  (And though I had no problem accessing dictionary.oed.com on my own, I guess the libraries' computers did, and so I'm SOL as far as accessing restricted content on that site until something (who knows what?) gets done on the libraries' side.  Joy.)

I'm probably the only one who has issues with this system, but having to browse through three extra pages to get to the one I want is a real pain in the ass (especially on dial-up), even without the added irksomeness of the weblogin system (e.g. the inability to stay logged in if you close your browser, or the inability to fully log off by clicking any of the "log off" links in webpine or myuw; and now the proxy help page recommends you keep an eye on your URLs to make sure you haven't "fallen out" of your session - something one never had to bother with before).  Oh yeah, and if you're using AOL, apparently you should download Mozilla to use the proxy now.  Is this new system supposed to be somehow better than the old one?  I ain't seeing any benefits to me, but I know I'm not the average user...
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