Rush Proxy Bookmarklet

Graham Walker, a tech-savvy ER Resident who blogs over at The Central Line, recently posted a really nifty little solution to a problem that plagues higher education. Many academic journals require subscriptions to view their contents, and although most school libraries offer proxy accounts to facilitate student access from home, these accounts are often cumbersome to use. His solution was to create a bookmarklet to streamline the process of accessing these materials via proxy account. His video demonstrates how this works really well.

I went ahead and created a Rush University version using his awesome proxy bookmarklet generator. You can create one too by going to the generator and entering: “ezproxy.rush.edu” (without quotes) and clicking “Make the Bookmarklet!” You can save the new link as one of your favorites or simply drag it into your “bookmarks tool bar” if you use Firefox. Then, the next time you’re browsing your favorite academic journal, hit your bookmarklet to easily access the material via your proxy account. Obviously if you’re at a different institution, substitute your school’s proxy account.

If you’re interested, this is the code:
javascript:void(q=location.href);void(q=q.substring(7));void(z=q.split('/'));void(z[0]=z[0]+'.ezproxy.rush.edu');void(h=z.join('/'));void(h='http://'+h);void(location.href=h);

I’d like to reiterate that I did nothing to write this code, and it’s all thanks to Graham Walker. If you like this code, you may also want to check out Dr. Walker’s incredibly useful MDCalc.com.

M3 Clerkships Lottery

Rush has a “lottery” to determine what order everyone’s M3 clerkships will be in. For those who don’t know, our M3 and M4 years are entirely clinical. We’re supposed to rank them from best to worst depending on our preferences, and a computer program will crunch the numbers and determine which order each student will get. Here’s my top choices:

M3 Clerkship lottery

My picks for the M3 Clerkship lottery

You can’t see the end of my list, but I essentially put everything at the bottom where Internal Medicine and Surgery are last. I prefer to have Medicine in the first half of the year. Surgery is supposed to be the most intense, so I attempted to pad my schedule before and/or after with a break or Psych (a notoriously laid-back rotation). I doubt I’ll change it any before tomorrow. Feel free to suggest changes or let me know what you think!

Finals Study Schedule

This is the tentative study schedule. Ugh, I hope I don’t die…

  • Saturday
    • Histo Practice Practicals (2)
    • Review old histo notes
    • Read through Physio (Renal)
    • Physio Practice Exam (if there’s time)
  • Sunday
    • Histo Electron Micrographs
    • Review important histo topics
    • Read through Physio (CV)
    • Physio practice exam
  • Monday
    • Histo Exam
    • Review Physio Workshops
    • Read old anatomy notes
  • Tuesday
    • Physio practice Exam
    • Review Netter plates
    • Read anatomy notes and BRS
    • Physio practice exam 2
  • Wednesday
    • Physio Exam
    • Anatomy Practice Practical
    • Review important anatomy
  • Thursday
    • Read BRS
    • Anatomy Practice Exams
    • Review Embryo (high priority, eh?)
    • Radiographs and cross-sections
    • Review Netter Plates
    • Review until I pass out
  • Friday
    • Anatomy Exam
    • Check vital signs to make sure I’m not dead…

Rush’s Poor Excuse for Email

Note: If you’d like to skip my rant and go right to the instructions for bypassing Lotus notes, click here.

Call me spoiled. Maybe I am. I don’t know, but Gmail gives me exactly what I want in a web-based email application. I mainly use Outlook only to force myself to consistently archive my Gmail messages and keep my Inbox clean. As I stated yesterday, the Lotus Notes software that Rush uses to run its web-based email is one of the worst email interfaces I’ve ever used (and I’ve used quite a few). So first I’ll list a few of my major complaints, but the real point of this article is to present a remedy so you potentially never have to use this thing again. The solution is actually fairly simple, and no doubt many web and computer savvy folks have already done this. But since the guy who introduced the email accounts to us explicitly said that they do not utilize email forwarding, maybe some of you didn’t look too hard for a work-around.

First, a list of my chief complaints:

  • ActiveX-based interfaced: It’s bad enough that opening any email attachment puts me at risk for a virus, but now we’re going to hook my email program directly into WINDOWS?! Yes, I’d love to give my email program full access to run malicious scripts. Now I’m pretty careful about what attachment’s I open, and someone who isn’t careful is going to be at risk regardless of the program, but I’m also curious as to what other worm-holes an ActiveX-based email creates. I’ve only ever installed ActiveX for 2 things: Windows Update and an online virus scan. Why does my email need this script access?
  • Browser, incompatible. It appears that these scripts have rendered the software nearly (if not completely) unusable in Firefox. In this day in age, I feel this is unacceptable. Not to mention that this surely isn’t an isolated issue. Apparently Safari has issues as well, according to my roommate. Come on folks, I thought we were passed this stage where we only designed for one browser.
  • Domino, incompatible. The Domino server running the program renders emails useless in terms of offline management. It doesn’t support POP3 or IMAP. Yay for proprietary formats :roll:

Update 2 (6-25-08): I posted new instructions on RMstudents. If you’re not a Rush Lotus Notes user, the instructions listed here should still work for you. If you’re at Rush, follow the instructions on RMstudents.

Update (6-9-08): Apparently Rush has blocked a large number of people (M1’s last names A-D confirmed) from forwarding their email to gmail. If you’re trying to forward your mail (at Rush) and it isn’t working, this could very well be why. I will continue to update as I know more. For those of you not at Rush or not experiencing this issue, this should work fine:

Anyways, enough superfluous banter. The point of this article was to tell you how to fix it. It’s actually fairly easy to circumvent the Lotus Notes software completely if you want to. First, you need a free email account. Try Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, whatever. I use Gmail, but you can use any email address you want. Also, I will do my best to explain so that anyone can follow what I’m saying, but if something needs clarification, let me know.

There are 2 main steps with step-by-step instructions included:

  • Set up your personal account to write like it’s coming from your Lotus Notes account. (I don’t know if this step works for other web-based email besides Gmail. Does anyone know? If not, skip ahead to 2nd bullet.)
    1. Log in to Gmail. Go to your Settings (top right corner of Gmail).
    2. Go to the Accounts tab (2nd). Next to “Send mail as:”, click “Add another email address”.
    3. Enter your Rush email address (e.g. Firstname_Lastname@rush.edu) when prompted. The click “Next Step”. Then click “Send Verification” on the next screen. The next screen should contain a box to enter a confirmation code.
    4. Log in to your Lotus Notes email in a new browser. You should have an email from “Gmail Team”, open it. Copy the confirmation code into the awaiting box in Gmail (or follow the instructions in the email).
    5. You should now see your Rush email listed on the Gmail settings page. Below this there is an option “When I receive a message sent to one of my addresses:”, you may want to make this “Reply to same address the message was sent to”. If you’ve never used this feature in Gmail before, please understand what it is. From now on, any email you send, you’ll be able to choose who you want the email to be “From” (e.g. mynick@gmail.com vs Firstname_Lastname@rush.edu). It’s a pretty cool feature.
  • Create a “rule” that will forward any emails you receive to your Lotus Notes account to your personal email account (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail).
    1. Log in to your Lotus Notes email and go to the “Mail” tab if you’re not there already.
    2. Hover your mouse over the “Tools” menu (just above your list of emails on the far right) and click on “New Mail Rule”. A new window should pop up (make sure you’ve allowed pop-ups for this page).
    3. Make a name for your rule (e.g. Fwd_to_gmail)
    4. Under “Create Conditions”, click the first drop-down menu and select “All Documents” (you need to scroll down). The click “Add>>”
    5. Under “Specify Actions”, select “Send copy to” from the first drop-down menu. In the next empty box, enter your personal email address (Gmail). Make sure “Full” is selected on the bottom drop-down menu. Then click “Add>>”.
    6. The following step is optional, but beneficial. Under “Specify Actions”, you can tell Lotus Notes to delete the original message. To delete messages from your Lotus account once you’ve forwarded an email to your personal account, select “Delete” from the first “Create Actions” drop-down menu. Then click add. If you’re worried that deleting is too final, you can always skip this step. (Another option would be to create an “Archive” folder which you simply move messages to after they’ve been forwarded, so your Lotus Notes inbox stays clean.)
    7. Click “Save & Close” at the top of your screen. Then to back to your inbox.
    8. Test it. Have someone send you an email to your Lotus Notes account and watch the magic 🙂

Some things you won’t be able to do outside of Lotus Notes:

  • Look up people’s email addresses. I highly doubt there’s a way to search the Rush directory from outside Lotus Notes.
  • Emailing the list-servs (maybe this is possible?). If you want to email all the M1’s it may work (I have held off on spamming all the M1’s without good reason) by simply adding @rsh.net to the end of the list-serv name. I’m not going to print the name here to prevent major spamming of the list-servs but look at who all your mass emails are from. My guess is that the list-serv program authenticates its messages as being from Lotus Notes before sending it out to everyone. I’d say there’s a 50/50 chance of it being able to will work if you masked who you’re sending “From” in Gmail as described above.
  • Probably more things that I’ve forgotten

First Day Woes

Overall, the first day went pretty well, I thought. One thing that turned me off was Rush’s apparent aversion to some technologies. These were mainly web-based technologies, although according to the computer gurus my Sandisk Cruzer jump drive is frowned upon due to its U3 software package. I can’t say that I blame them, considering the software turned me off at first. Still, once I learned more about what it was used for, I became more tolerant, but I can understand the problems it poses to their network computers. (On a sidenote, however, I noticed that both their speakers today used U3 capable drives.)

But the thing that really irritated me today was our introduction to the Rush email, which is a form of Lotus Notes. First, the instructor stressed the importance of maintaining a separate email address for non-school related material. While I can understand his point, I am dubious as to whether anyone would consider it “unprofessional” for me to use my Rush email account for personal emails. After all, who can tell what the content of my messages are in order to dub them “unprofessional”? It sounds more like a ploy to alleviate Rush email traffic.

Not to worry, however. Lotus Notes was so horrible compared to gmail and Outlook, I thought I was going to pass out. Despite the claim by our instructor that Lotus Notes’ Domino server is incompatible with both Outlook and other POP3 email (which is true, afaik), email forwarding to gmail (which is FALSE), as well as any other email software, I found a work around in about 30 minutes. Good riddance. It’s not like I mind having to figure out a way to work this crap out, but it almost seemed as though the guy giving the presentation was blatantly lying to us. This does not bode well with me.