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Users reporting session timeouts in Web Mail - 12/20/06

From: Email Guy
Subject:       Users reporting session timeouts in Web Mail
Date: December 20, 2006 6:00 PM
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Several users have reported that sometimes when they have Web Mail open for a little while, and then go to perform another operation like sending a message, they get a "Session Expired" message, and have to log in again. And if they were trying to send a composed message, unfortunately that work gets lost. Understandably, this is upsetting.

We believe we have found the cause, and it should be fixed soon. Tracking this down was due entirely to user reports in the Web Mail feedback mailbox, so thanks for letting us know.

Normally, the session timeout is controlled by your setting in Preferences / Web Mail Options, and the default is 8 hours. This is for your own protection, so that you don't accidentally stay logged in indefinitely. You can change the default setting to as high as 24 hours if you prefer. But lately a few users have been getting timed out in 30 minutes due to an issue we tracked down today from your reports. It is happening at times of high usage and folks are working on fixing it.

Be aware that even when this is working right, once you hit that 8 hours (or your setting) you will be timed out anyway. I have a planned enhancement to Web Mail so that we would save any composed message you were working on, and you could just log in again and not have your work lost. I'm making that a high priority for an upcoming release.


Posted by: fan   |   December 26, 2006 3:51 PM    |   (1)

Thank goodness - the timeouts get really annoying....

Posted by: pritchett   |   January 23, 2007 4:04 PM    |   (2)

My "Preferences" do not list "timeout" on the Web Brower and I do not find a separate "Preferences" on the web page for Web Mail.

I have an iBook, May 2001, OS 9.2, IE 5.1.7, and can not tell you which version of Web Mail from this web page. I do not have a "newer" Total Access because the last I checked my system was not "good" enough. Oh, I also have dial up.

Just another point, I have to hit "GO" two or three times and maybe get the Web Mail login and maybe another two or three times, I'll get the list of emails.

Although not related to email, all I get with "My Account" is the same ads I get under the Web Mail log in box. I have reported this for the last year. To change password or credit card info, I must speak to someone at 1-800-earthlink.

Have a nice day.

Posted by: Email Guy   |   January 23, 2007 6:15 PM    |   (3)

Pritchett - It's there, labeled "Session Expiration".

We don't support IE5 or OS9. You should get iCab or Netscape 7.x to have a newer and more compatible browser that will work with our web sites, and then you'll probably be ok with OS9. Do that, and then I can try to help you with any issues you still have.

iCab - http://www.icab.de/
Select the Classic Mac download.

Netscape - http://browser.netscape.com/ns8/download/archive70x.jsp
Scroll down to "7.0 English - Netscape 7" and download the "Mac PowerPC" version. That is the newest netscape/mozilla browser that will run on OS9.

Posted by: pritchett   |   January 24, 2007 10:27 PM    |   (4)

Thanks for the try with changing my browser from IE 5.1.7 to Netscape 7.0 for my iBook 9.2 but after 3 different 3hour download attempts, I don't seem to be able to make the change. The first and third tries gave error message of can't read the .ini of installer. the Second try hung up midway "waiting data", I waited an hour.

I thought I might need to uninstall my IE but if I have not succeeded the Netscape download, I would have no way to get back on.

I am going to check the disks that came with the iBook, there might be a copy there.

Again thanks for the try.

Posted by: Terry   |   February 11, 2007 8:37 PM    |   (5)

Apparently this problem has not been fixed yet? Today is the first day that I've had a problem, I went in and re-saved my 24 hr expiration but it's still happening. When I move between messages or between folders I am taken back to the login. I just tried to delete all messages in my suspect spam box and I was taken back to the login. In the inbox (I show preview) when I try to switch to a different message the login screen is shown in the preview box. It is making it very hard to get anything done at all.

Posted by: Email Guy   |   February 12, 2007 10:04 PM    |   (6)

Terry - You are correct, and the problem is not your saved setting. You don't have to keep saving that. The issue is that there is a 30 minute default timeout for occasions when your login isn't making it into the session database due to a problem we are working on. This isn't happening a lot, it is happening a small but annoying percentage of the time. Just today we discussed the urgent nature of this problem internally and people are trying hard to fix it.

Posted by: Justin   |   February 21, 2007 11:21 AM    |   (7)

This is sort of related, but is there any way to go back to the old style Webmail that didn't pre-load a compose window (in Javascript) in the background? Not only did that break my PDA's web browser from working with Webmail (it won't switch to a compose window for whatever reason), but it's caused occasions that for whatever reason (probably this 30 minute bug) to allow me to hit "Compose new message", work on an email (even a quick 30 second "hi" sort of email), and then try to send it just to be told my session was timed out (and it probably was before I even hit "Compose" but since it's pre-loaded I wouldn't know).

The old way was fine, if I hit "compose", it had to load a page, and if I was timed out, I could re-log in and be assured I wouldn't waste my time writing an email that was already doomed to disappear into the ether.

I can see where it COULD be a convenience to pre-load the compose window, but the problem is it pre-loads on EVERY page, adding to the amount of data transferred... at the very least, an option to pre-load would be much appreciated.

Thanks for your consideration.

Posted by: Email Guy   |   February 21, 2007 11:47 AM    |   (8)

Justin - the real solution is that we get the timeout problem fixed, and we have made good progress on that. It will be 100% eliminated soon. Web Mail doesn't support small device screens well at all (javascript version of your particular browser aside) and isn't intended to, although you may have been able to do so in the past. We have plans for a small form-factor design soon, using WAP. Checking mail from mobile devices should be done using POP for now.

Posted by: jfran   |   March 6, 2007 11:30 AM    |   (9)

When I send my email from my home cable connection, it works fine. If I am at another location with another connection, I cannot send my Earthlink emails. I can send other emails from another account. What do I need to do?
Thanks, jfran

Well, if you used Web Mail you wouldn't have this problem. :-)

But in other software, you just need the correct settings. Put in these:

Outgoing server: smtpauth.earthlink.net
Outgoing port: 587 (in advanced)
Authentication Required (turn On)
Use full email address for login, not just the name part.

That's it. If you use those, you can send from any computer connected anywhere.

Email Guy

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