Category Archives: Advanced AirMail features

Advanced features of AirMail e.g. Shadowmail, POP3/SMTP servers, blogging support, position reports, etc.

Shadowmail Overview: previewing and downloading email from other accounts

ShadowMail Info

“ShadowMail” provides a method of watching a separate email account, and for downloading or forwarding messages as needed. This is available only to Sailmail members, and without charge.

The purpose of Shadowmail is to act as a bridge between your Sailmail address and whatever other email address you might use for regular email. The great advantage of Sailmail of course is that it works pretty much anywhere, but connection speeds are slow whether via radio or satellite. This means that you need to keep your Sailmail address private, and limited to friends and associates who understand not to send jokes, spam, etc.

We strongly recommend maintaining some sort of regular land-based email address for routine mail, on-line ordering, etc. This can be a regular personal or company email account, or a Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail address for “public” use. These folks will keep your low-priority mail forever (Hotmail and Yahoo may require a small annual payment for this) until you can check mail from an internet-cafe. The problem of course is that folks sometimes send important messages to your regular address, and you have no way of knowing. Enter the Shadow…

Once you set it up, the Shadowmail server checks your regular email account a few times a day and sends you a summary of whatever new messages have arrived. Airmail decodes those “new mail” messages to maintain a “shadow” folder for each regular email account, showing the contents of that mailbox as a separate Airmail folder. For example, assume that you set up Shadowmail to monitor your Hotmail account. Then in addition to the usual “Inbox” and “Outbox” folders in Airmail, you would also have a “Hotmail” folder with a gray icon instead of yellow, indicating a “shadow” folder. When you open that folder you see a list of messages which are currently pending in your Hotmail account, showing from- and to-addresses, subject and date.

If you want to download one of those messages via Sailmail then right-click on that message and select “retrieve”. If you want to forward it to someone else (without downloading it) then right-click on it and select “Forward”. If you want to delete it without ever reading it, then right-click and select “Delete”. If you go to the local cyber-cafe and read and delete some of the Hotmail messages, then they will be removed from Airmail’s shadow-folder on the next update. The Hotmail shadow-folder will always match the contents of the Hotmail “inbox”.

To use Shadowmail a current version of Airmail is required, and you must be a Sailmail member. Shadowmail can be used via a radio connection, or via internet or satphone using Airmail’s Internet window. The first step is to read this document carefully and make sure that you understand the limitations. By using Shadowmail you are agreeing to the conditions contained here, and to the Saildocs terms and conditions (terms@saildocs.com).

To set up Shadowmail to monitor an email account, first enable Shadowmail and open the “Shadowmail Settings” window. Start by opening Airmail’s Options window (from the Tools menu), and then click on the “Modules” tab. Check the box to the left of “Shadowmail” (if not already checked) and click the “Setup” button to open the settings window.

Initially this “Shadowmail Setup” window is empty, click “New” to create a new account. Then enter the server-address (the internet address of the “POP3” server), the login name and the password for the email account that you want to “shadow”. (This is NOT your Sailmail login, you need to get the server, login-name and password from the outfit that handles the email account that you want to monitor). Make sure “Account Active” is checked, and then click OK. Airmail will send a settings-message to the server and it will start monitoring your account. Mail is checked every 6 hours and you will get a message from the server (“shadow-reply@saildocs.com”) whenever new mail is received into that account.

Shadowmail can check any POP3 mail account, such as a business or regular Internet account. The Internet provider will supply the server address, login name and password. Keeping your mailbox tidy will make it easier to keep track of things. A good technique is to wait until you have Internet access at a marina and then retrieve everything you want to save to Airmail and delete it from the server. Alternately you can forward messages from the Shadow folder to another account, such as Hotmail or Gmail for safekeeping.

Here is how some accounts are handled…

Hotmail/Outlook/Live: Hotmail provides secure POP3 access to all Hotmail/Windows-Live accounts. We would still suggest the “plus” service ($20/year), which provides more storage and avoids the account being deactivated if you don’t check it for a month or two. Use the server-name “hotmail.com”, “pop3.live.com” or “pop-mail.outlook.com” (without the quotes), use your complete email-address as the login name, and the same password that you use for web login. Since Shadowmail has to check everything in your Inbox folder whenever it checks mail, it is important to keep things tidy by moving messages that you want to save into “archive” folders and deleting the rest. Create new folders for specific topics (or by year, for example) and move messages that you want to save into those folders for safekeeping after you have reviewed them.

Yahoo: For Yahoo accounts you will also need the “plus” service ($20/year) to allow POP3 access. This also provides additional storage and avoids deactivation. Use the server-name “pop.mail.yahoo.com”, the login name is your Yahoo user-name without “@yahoo.com”, and your Yahoo account password. Again, keep your inbox tidy by moving messages that you want to keep into other folders, and deleting the others.

Google GMail: Shadowmail can also check GMail accounts, but GMail is a little “quirky”. Here are the recommended settings, send a (blank) email to shadow-gmail@saildocs.com for more info (or see www.saildocs.com/shadow-gmail). You will need Internet access to set this up, to access your GMail settings.

First, log into your GMail account, click on the “Gear” icon (upper-right) and select “Settings”. Next click on Forwarding and POP/IMAP”, find “POP Download”, and select “Enable POP for all mail (even mail that’s already been downloaded)”.

Next, click on “Accounts and Import”, and under “Change account settings” click on “Other Google Account Settings”. This opens a new security page, on the left click on “Connected apps & sites”. Scroll down and find “Allow less secure apps: and set that to “ON”. (It is still quite secure, see the “shadow-gmail” note referenced above for more detail).

Now go back to Airmail’s Shadowmail settings and create a new account for “GMail”. For server-address enter “pop.gmail.com”, for login name enter “recent:” (without the quotes) followed by your complete GMail email-address (i.e. “recent:username@gmail.com”), and for password enter your normal GMail password.

The three great things about Gmail are that it is free, you get lots of space, and of course good search tools for archived email. The “quirky” part is that POP3 can access everything in your GMail account (not just your “inbox”). Without the “all mail” setting (above) then messages “disappear” unexpectedly from POP3, and without the “recent:” prefix then Shadowmail would have to sort through the entire archive– which can exceed its capacity. Using the “recent:” prefix, in conjunction with selecting the “all” selection in GMail’s POP settings, gives Shadowmail access to all recent messages.

AOL: AOL has added POP3 access and Shadowmail can check AOL accounts. The server is “pop.aol.com”, the login-name is your AOL “screen name”, and the password is your AOL login password. The server may occasionally return a “timeout” error, double-check the server-name and don’t worry, Shadowmail will keep trying.

For any email account, if you get back an error-message then double-check the POP3 server-address. Make sure the login name is correct, sometimes it is just your email name, or it may be the complete email address, or perhaps something completely different. Check the support information for the folks who provide the account, they will need to supply that info.

You can also set up Shadowmail rules that will forward specific messages to your Sailmail address whenever they are received. For example, you can set up Shadowmail to forward anything with “urgent” in the Subject-line, and then give your business-associates your Hotmail address and tell them to include that word in the message-subject if they need an immediate reply. They don’t have your Sailmail address, but you can still be in touch- and in control. These “rules” are part of Airmail’s Shadowmail settings window, and can include two different checks, for example sender contains “mom” and size less-than 2000.

Replies that you send for messages which were retrieved by Shadowmail will of course be sent via Sailmail’s servers, and would normally come from your Sailmail address and with the how-to-reply footer added to the bottom. However if you are replying to a message which was retrieved via Shadowmail, then Airmail should substitute that reply address. Check this, however, and if you don’t see the “From” box in the message header then select the Message Menu, “Show From-Box”. A new box appears, enter the address that you want your email to be sent from.

Also, to suppress the Sailmail footer, add a line at the bottom of your message which says “short-footer” (without quotes) for a one-line footer “radio email processed by SailMail” and web-address) or “no-footer” for no footer at all. This should be on the last line, by itself, without quotes.

Some caveats and limitations: Shadowmail normally only sends a notice for new messages, not the entire mailbox. But when the account is first set up then the whole mailbox is indexed, this can be large. If you have a lot of pending messages then try to do this via internet, not radio. Also, remember that the Shadowmail server must download the index for the entire mailbox whenever checking mail, this gets time-consuming if there are a lot of pending messages. The current limit is 1,000 pending messages, this may be adjusted up or down if needed. It is convenient to use the web-based mailboxes (Hotmail, Yahoo, GMail, etc.) as message-archives, but move messages to other folders and don’t keep them in the “inbox”. You won’t be able to use Shadowmail if there are too many messages in the inbox.

Also be careful and selective about setting up an automatic retrieval, and never set up Shadowmail to retrieve everything. Remember that the headers are always sent, and you can retrieve any message- the only reason for automatic retrieval is for messages that you are sure you want, so be selective.

Saildocs is a service of the Sailmail Association. For more information about Saildocs, send a (blank) email to: info@saildocs.com (or see the website at www.saildocs.com/info).

Please send questions about Shadowmail or Saildocs to: support@sailmail.com

Good sailing, Jim

(updated 2016-02-05)

Grib files, Saildocs, Weather data

The following link will take you to the Saildocs site.

Saildocs

Saildocs provides custom grib weather-data files per request from data downloaded from NOAA/NCEP and other sources.

Additionally, Saildocs provides document-retrieval for the delivery of text-based Internet documents either on request or by subscription.

Saildocs is supported by the Sailmail Association and can be used by anyone who agrees to the terms and conditions (below).

Relaying group messages Part I. How to send lots of cc’s.

A “relay” feature is available for Sailmail members, to make sending group messages easier. Traditionally, messages were sent to family and friends using “CC” addresses, allowing one message to be sent to multiple recipients. However, with the increased concern over “spam” (junk email), many internet services are blocking messages with large numbers of CC’s. Additionally, many folks do not want their email addresses to appear on long CC-lists for privacy reasons. BCC’s or “blind copies”, where the CC-addresses are hidden, are another possibility but those are often used by spammers and are increasingly being blocked by spam-filters. The only kind of message that reliably gets through spam-filters and does not cause privacy concerns is an individually-addressed email to each address, which was not previously practical via a radio link.

As a service for Sailmail members we’ve written some new software and created a special address (as part of the Saildocs weather server) for handling group mailing. Send one copy of your message to relay@saildocs.com. At the beginning of the message (before the normal text) include a list of email addresses, formatted with one address per line. Follow this with a blank line, then the message text as normal.

The relay-processor will check the format, and then step through the list of email addresses and create a new message addressed to each recipient, with only the message text (not the email list). The from-address and subject line will be the same as your original message and any bounce-messages will be returned to you (so check addresses carefully!).

Here is a sample message:

=====================
To: relay@saildocs.com
Subject: Update from the “Leaky Duck”

wxy9999@sailmail.com
somebody@hotmail.com
another@hotmail.com

This is an update of our adventures aboard “Leaky Duck”.
Please send us mail at this address (but keep it short).
=====================

This will send three copies of our test message, the first to wxy9999@sailmail.com, the second to somebody@hotmail.com and the third to another@hotmail.com.

You can set this up as a group in Airmail as follows:
Open the Airmail address book (Toolbar button or Window-menu, address-book), click “New” and enter a name for the group. In the “To” box enter “relay@saildocs.com” (without the quotes). Then in the “Message Text” box, enter your list of email addresses one per line (use the right-click mouse button to copy and paste from elsewhere, such as the CC-box of an existing CC-style group list). Add an extra blank line at the end, then click OK. You can revise this the same as any address, by selecting the group name and using the “Properties” button. (If you want to create multiple entries of this sort, use “relay1@saildocs.com” for the first, “relay2@saildocs.com” for the second, up to relay9).

Then to create a new group message, click the “new message” button (or File/New menu), select the appropriate group name from the address-book, and click OK. Fill in the subject, then hit Tab to go to the end of the email-list and start your message. Always make sure there is a blank line at the end of the list of addresses, but no blank lines in the list of addresses.

The list of email address can either be simple addresses (example: somebody@hotmail.com) or can include a “friendly name” using the following format– include quotes around the “friendly-name” and enclose the email-address in <>’s per the following example:
“Arthur Dent” <somebody@hotmail.com>

Also note that from Airmail ver 3.1.933 onwards, you can enter your own “friendly name” in the Tools/Options window, settings tab. The “From name” is sent using quotes in the above format, along with your usual email address. With most email programs, the “friendly” from-name is what folks will see, so they will know who the message is from. Use plain-text only for the From-name, no special or accented characters.

There is also an “insert” feature available for folks who want to get fancy (and are comfortable messing about with computers), send a blank email to relayinfo2@saildocs.com.

IMPORTANT NOTE: For security reasons, this feature is only available to Sailmail members for messages sent through the Sailmail server, either by radio or internet using direct-access “telnet” connections or Sailmail’s POP3/SMTP server. The Sailmail terms and conditions apply to the use of this service.

Enjoy!
Jim & Sue Corenman
Stan & Sally Honey
sysop@sailmail.com

Using AirMail with both SailMail and Winlink

The same copy of Airmail can can be used to access both the SailMail system and the ham radio stations.

The SailMail Association is a non-profit association of yacht owners that operates and maintains a network of private coast stations in the Maritime Mobile Radio Service. Sailmail provides low-cost email service to its membership, which is limited to recreational vessels. Users must be registered, details and registration information are available from http://www.sailmail.com/. The advantage for hams is that Sailmail has no restrictions on third-party traffic or business-related messages. The stations are also in different places which might provide easier access from some locations.

In order to activate the Sailmail mode for Airmail you need to copy a system definition file (System.Sailmail.ini) to the airmail folder. This is normally done by the same download that brought you this note. (Alternately, send a blank message to: stations@saildocs.com).
When you restart Airmail it reads the definition file and makes the appropriate changes to airmail.ini to add a system called “Sailmail” in addition to “Ham”.

Connecting to Sailmail:
=======================
In order to handle other stations such as Sailmail, a new level of control was created called “System”. Logically speaking, each system includes a set of stations, and each station includes a set of frequencies. Airmail (as downloaded from the Airmail site) comes configured for the “Ham” system alone.

When a second system is defined then a new pull-down box appears to the left of the “Station” box in the Terminal Window, for “System” – HAM, SAILMAIL, etc. When you choose a system it will remember the previous station and frequency and set the appropriate mode if required.

So first select the appropriate system, then the station and (if the remote frequency interface is connected) then choose a frequency. To connect click the green “Connect” button (or use the F5 key), exactly as before.

Posting outgoing messages
=========================
Sending messages to a ham station is done in the same way as before, by posting to the station’s callsign (or multiple callsigns). A message can also be posted “WL2K” for any Winlink-2000 station, or to “Ham” to send it to any connected ham station. There should be a default entry in your Auto-post list (Tools/Options, Routing Tab) that says “Default=Sailmail” or “Default=WL2K” or whatever, if it is not there then add it. This will cause any message to be automatically posted to that system, unless specified otherwise in the Address Book or Message Header “Via” box. You can always change the posting with the File/Change Posting menu (or by right-clicking the message in the message index).

Messages to Sailmail are addressed to the gateway name “EMAIL” rather than “NEXUS”, but Airmail will take care of this automatically. Messages for Sailmail should be posted to the system name “SAILMAIL” rather than the station callsign. Messages posted to “Sailmail” will be sent to any Sailmail station which is connected to. So an address book entry for a message which should always go via Sailmail would specify “Sailmail” in the Via box.

Be sure to add a “support@sailmail.com” entry to your address book as above, that is how you send a note to the Sailmail support folks in case of any difficulties or questions. And for membership questions, send a note to: admin@sailmail.com

Relaying group messages, part II, “mail-merge”

This is the second of a two-part document on using Sailmail’s relay-processor for sending group messages. Part one covered the basics, if you need a copy of that then send a (blank) email to: relayinfo@saildocs.com.

An advanced “insert” option is also available for group messages, which will insert personalized text into each message. To use this “insert” option, add one or more additional fields after each email address, separated with a semi-colon (;). Then, in your message, insert the code “<%1>” (without quotes) to substitute the first parameter, <%2> to substitute the second parameter, etc. A “default” value can be included, for example to insert the word “Family” if no name is supplied then use the code “<%1/Family>”.

When each message is created, the text from the fields which follow the email address is substituted for each “<%>” code. If there is no corresponding text-field following the email address, then the default value (following the “/”) is used, and if that is not provided then the code is deleted and nothing is inserted.

So our sample note (from part-1) would look like this:

=====
To: relay@saildocs.com
Subject: Update from the “Leaky Duck”

wxy9999@sailmail.com;Jim
somebody@hotmail.com;Joe
another@hotmail.com

Dear <%1/Friends>,
This is an update of our adventures aboard “Leaky Duck”.
Please send us mail at this address (but keep it short).
=====

The first copy would be sent to wxy9999@sailmail.com and would start with “Dear Jim”, the second copy would go to somebody@hotmail.com and start with “Dear Joe”, and the third copy would go to another@hotmail.com and start with “Dear Friends”.

More than one insert-code can be used. An example of how this might be used would be the case where you want to enourage only certain recipients to reply to your Sailmail address and invite others to reply to your hotmail address. Let’s suppose that our Sailmail address is wxy1234@sailmail.com, and our hotmail address is leakyduck@hotmail.com. Create the note as follows:

=====
To: relay@saildocs.com
Subject: Update from the “Leaky Duck”

wxy9999@sailmail.com;Jim
somebody@hotmail.com;Joe;wxy1234@sailmail.com
another@hotmail.com

Dear <%1/Friends>,
This is an update of our adventures aboard “Leaky Duck”.
Please send us mail at <%2/leakyduck@hotmail.com>.
=====

The individual copies are sent as above, except that the copy to somebody@hotmail (addressed to “Joe”) says “please send us mail at wxy1234@sailmail.com” while the others say “please send us mail at leakyduck@hotmail.com”.

A couple of things to note here: First, the “<%2/…” code might get split by Airmail’s word-wrapping. That’s OK as long as we didn’t hit the “Enter” key inside the code to insert a “hard” (fixed) end-of-line. Ordinary word-wrap gets unwrapped before processing and likely gets wrapped differently by the recipient’s computer depending on the size of their own email window. “Hard” end-of-line codes (inserted with the Enter key) are not permitted between the “<>” characters in an insert-code.

Remember that the relay-processor is automated and takes whatever you say literally. Create your message carefully and check it twice. Once you send it, it is gone. There is no getting it back. If you are not sure, send yourself a test note before turning it loose on your friends.

And again, for email security reasons this feature is only available to Sailmail members for messages which are sent via radio, from the web-mail page or using the Sailmail POP3/SMTP server. The Sailmail terms and conditions apply to the use of this relay-processor.

Enjoy,
Jim & Sue Corenman
Stan and Sally Honey
sysop@sailmail.com

Using Shadowmail with GMail accounts

Using GMail accounts with Shadowmail

“Shadowmail” is a service for Sailmail members which monitors a separate email account via POP3 access. This post describes how to use Shadowmail with Google’s GMail accounts. GMail POP3 email access is a bit “quirky” (some would say “distinctly odd”).

The three great things about Gmail are that it is free, you get lots of space, and of course great search tools for archived email. The “quirky” part is that, depending on your GMail settings (see below), POP3 can try to forward everything in your GMail account, not just recent mail in your “inbox”. That is a problem if you have a large number of archived messages in your GMail account (which may be the whole point of GMail). If you pick the wrong option in setting up GMail’s POP3 access, then Shadowmail will try to send headers for a all of those messages. This is bad, so please read the following carefully.

Setting up Shadowmail access for GMail involves three steps:
1. Enabling POP3 access via settings in your GMail account;
2. Entering your Gmail login info into Airmail’s Shadowmail settings;
3. Resolving any GMail security issues to allow Shadowmail access.

One caution: Do this when you have internet access, and be sure that your internet connection allows Airmail to access Sailmail. See the post : “Connecting to SailMail, using AirMail, via the Internet” for more info.

 

Step 1: Setting up GMail for POP3 access:

First you need to enable POP3 access from GMail. Go to your GMail account, click “settings” (upper-right) and select the “Forwarding and POP” tab. In the “POP download” section you can enable POP access either for “all mail (even mail that’s already been downloaded)”, or “only for mail that arrives from now on”. That first setting is the problem if you have a lot of messages in your GMail account. So we strongly recommend checking the second “from now on” box. In this case only new messages, received after you enabled POP download, will then be available to Shadowmail. You probably also want to select “Keep GMail’s copy in the inbox”, it doesn’t matter for POP3 access but does effect how new messages are presented on the GMail web page.

 

Step 2: Airmail settings for Shadowmail:

The basic Shadowmail setup for Airmail is the same as for any account: The server-address is “pop.gmail.com” (without the quotes), the login name is your complete gmail.com email-address (see below for the “recent:” prefix), and the password is your Gmail account password. A secure connection is required via port 995 but Shadowmail handles that automatically.

There is one more option: If you did select “all mail” in your GMail settings, then you can restrict POP3 access to only recent messages (less than 30 days old). Do this in your Airmail setup, by adding the prefix “recent:” to your login name in your Shadowmail settings– for example enter the login name of “recent:username@gmail.com” instead of “username@gmail.com”– no spaces. This will cause GMail to only show recent messages to Shadowmail, and older messages will be ignored.

Keep in mind that (no matter what options are selected) GMail’s POP3-access includes sent-messages which were sent from GMail’s web-page. Also, unless you are using the “recent:” login-prefix described above, messages which have been read via GMail, or retrieved via POP3, are NO LONGER included in the POP3 index- they will disappear from your Shadowmail folder, but are accessible via GMail. However if the “recent:” prefix is used, then all recent messages are available to Shadowmail. (Like we said, “quirky”).

Once you get your Shadowmail settings set up for your GMail account, then connect to Sailmail (via internet, initially) and Airmail will send the settings message to the server. Shadowmail will immediately check your GMail inbox, and you should get back the initial batch of “new mail” messages which will sync your gmail “Shadow Folder” to your GMail account.

 

Step 3: Resolving GMail security issues:

Instead of a batch of “New Mail” messages, you may get an error message instead– have a look in “Shadow archive” folder under Airmail’s “Inbox”.

If you have entered the incorrect username or password then you will see:
[AUTH] Username and password not accepted.

Alternately you may have run afoul of GMail’s security checks, in which case you will see a message soemthing like this:
Exception while connecting: [AUTH] Web login required:
https://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?answer=78754

That is stunningly unhelpful, but if you follow the link then you will get some vague advice about “clearing the CAPTCHA” or maybe changing your password.

Here are the detailed instructions for fixing this:

First, you need internet (web) access. If you are trying to set this up via radio then disable the account until you have internet access: UN-check the ‘Account Active” box in Airmail’s Shadowmail Settings box, and connect to Sailmail to send the settings message.

With web access, the next step is to follow the instructions in the GMail error message and “Unlock the GMail CAPTCHA”. (A “Captcha” is that goofy “enter this text” box you sometimes see when you sign in via web). Either follow the link in the error message (above) or go directly to this web page:
https://www.google.com/accounts/DisplayUnlockCaptcha

You will need to log in with your Google username and password.
That takes you to a page titled “Allow access to your Google account”.
Click the “Continue” button.

Now go to Airmail and re-enable your GMail account in Shadowmail settings:
1. Open Airmail’s Shadowmail settings (Tools menu)
2. UN-check the “Account active” box. This creates a new settings message.
3. Connect to Sailmail (preferably via internet) to send the settings.
4. Go back to Shadowmail settings and CHECK the “Account active” box.
5. Connect again to Sailmail, to send the updated settings message.
This disables and then re-enables Shadowmail, forcing a new-mail check. Be sure to connect to Sailmail via internet each time, to send the updated Shadowmail settings message.

Wait a minute or two and check Sailmail again– you should have a batch of “new mail” messages.

If you still get an error message, then you need to get into your GMail account settings and authorize Saildocs access. Proceed as follows:

1. Open a web browser and sign in to your GMail account.
2. Open the settings window (the “gear” icon in the upper-right).
3. Select “Accounts” from the tabs across the top of that page,
4. Find “Change Account Settings” and click on
“Other Account Settings” (or “Google Account Settings”).
5. On this page click on “Security” (at the top).
6. You may see an “unusual activity” listing, with Saildocs listed.
If so, click “That was me”.
7. The second box on the left is “Account Permissions”, click “View All”.
This page lists all authorized devices and websites.
8. Look for “Saildocs.com” there, if found then click “Allow access”.
(The IP address is 69.20.14.5).
Then repeat the steps above to disable and re-enable Shadowmail.

 

Finally…

As with other web-based email accounts, keep your Inbox tidy by archiving messages that you want to save and delete the rest. Gmail does not provide separate archive folders but you can add labels which is basically the same thing.

Revised 2014-03-03