You can use "ssh" to access your Linux account from another Linux or Mac OS computer. Ssh provides a safe and secure connection. It can be used on-campus to connect to the CS lab computers. From off-campus, you can use ssh to access your account by using ssh to connect to the computer named math.hws.edu. Or, if you use the VPN to connect to the HWS network from off-campus, then you can connect to any Math/CS Linux computer in the same way as if you were on campus.
Important Note: Just plugging into an ethernet port somewhere on campus does not mean you are on the campus network. To use ssh, you must set up both wired and wireless connections following the instructions at http://www.hws.edu/itservices/network_reg.aspx.
Ssh is built into almost any Linux installation. It is also a standard part of MacOS X on Apple computers. These computers hava an "ssh" command that can be used on the command line. For example, to connect to csfac5.hws.edu, you would just use the commandssh -X username@csfacXX.hws.edu
where username should be replaced with your user name on your math/cs Linux account, and csfacXX should be replaced with one of the computer names csfac0, csfac1, csfac2, csfac3, csfac4, csfac5, csfac6, or csfac7. To evenly distribute the load, you should randomly pick one of these computers.
This will work only if you are properly connected to the campus network.
(The lab machines cslab0.hws.edu, cslab1.hws.edu, ..., cslab11.hws.edu can also be used for ssh, but those computers are more likely to be turned off or restarted without warning, which isn't nice when you are working on the computer remotely.) From off-campus, you can ssh to math.hws.edu, but not all the applications that you are used to are installed on that computer.
An ssh client logs you into a command line interface. However, you will still be able to use GUI applications, such as gedit, eclipse, and firefox. These applications are actually running on the remote computer. Your computer is just being used as a display. The "-X" option in the ssh command is what allows you to use GUI applications. (It must be an upper-case X, and there must be spaces before and after -X. If you don't want to use any GUI applications,' you can leave out the -X.) For the new Mac OS 10.8, X might not be pre-installed on your computer. However, it can still be downloaded and installed; see http://xquartz.macosforge.org/landing/.
It is possible to use ssh under Windows. Since ssh is not a standard part of Windows, you must install an ssh program to do so. One such program is "putty," which you can obtain from http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/. Unfortunately, you will not be able to use GUI applications through ssh under Windows.