What is teleport-mail?
teleport-mail is a specialist email system which has been designed to work as fast as possible over satellite and mobile connections. You should find it quite a bit faster than a normal POP account. Exactly how much faster depends on what sort of emails you receive.
What do I get with a teleport-it account?
- High Speed Email
- Compression of email and web browsing (using optional software)
- Web Mail (for use in the internet cafe)
- teleport-blog (keep those at home up to date with what you are doing)
- Weather by Email with the teleport-weather
- Great tech support!
How does teleport-mail work?
- Email is received by us and the first thing we always do is take a copy of the original message and keep it safe!
- Next we convert the email to text only and remove a lot of extra padding from the email which is only useful for debugging purposes (you have probably never even seen this in your email program). This usually drops the size of the email to between 1/2 and 1/5 of the usual size, ie it should download between 2-5 times faster.
- Once we have a plain text message we can send a notification of new email to your Iridium phone by SMS (or to a mobile phone if your phone provider offers an email to SMS service). We can also send the contents of the email as a series of SMS messages so that you can read your email immediately without even dialling up.
- When you log into your email account, either with your email program or using the webmail, it is this smaller compact version of the original email that you pickup. A side-effect of converting everything to plain text is that it becomes virtually impossible to receive a virus!
We have written some compression software that you can download and install on your PC. It's entirely optional and not needed in order to use the service, but it's highly recommended (not least because it will also automatically configure Outlook Express for use with our system)
The software will effectively insert itself transparently between your email program and our server, and ensure that all the data that crosses the internet link is heavily compressed before it gets to the modem / sat phone.
Not only does this speedup the transfer because we are sending less data, but we can also play some tricks on email programs like Outlook and dramatically reduce the number of queries they send to the server - since each request (for the next message, say) takes several seconds just to travel up into space and back down from the satellite, then by reducing the number of "questions" that the email program asks we speedup the transfer time quite significantly.
Outlook (for example) is also quite inefficient in that it sends outgoing email before retrieving incoming messages. We can use that dead time and start transferring incoming messages simultaneously while sending the outgoing emails! This potentially halves your online time!
What happens to attachments? (ie pictures, Word Documents, etc)
By default all attachments are removed from emails and converted to plain text where possible (so for example a word document will be converted to show just the words, which is MUCH smaller).
Each email which is altered in this way will contain a footer giving you instructions on how to recover the original version of the email. You can either use the coded SUBJECT line given in the footer, or you can log into the webmail and check the ARCHIVE folder
If you wish to receive an attachment then instead of using your normal email address: email@example.com - instead have the sender use the email address firstname.lastname@example.org (or email@example.com) - this will then bypass the attachment stripping stuff.
However, you should never loose anything - a copy of EVERY original email (including attachments) is stored for 30 days and you can get to it by logging into the webmail system and looking in the Archive folder (this is also a reasonable backup system for you as well!).
We think this is a very good way to handle attachments in email and most of our users don't seem to find it particularly disruptive. It means that friends at home can still send you a Happy XMas message with pictures of the family, you can read the message immediately, and pop into a web cafe to view the pictures later (rather than spending 15-30 mins of airtime downloading everything, or not being able to see any of it)
SMS Text Messages (or Pager messages)
What happens is that whenever a new email is received here, we send you a text message with the sender, date and subject.
We then optionally send you a series of text messages, each containing part of the email email (because SMS messages over Iridium are limited to 160 characters each). We usually send up to 4 text messages showing the contents of each email, however, some users like to increase or decrease that number - please email us if you want to adjust how many SMS messages you receive for each email.
teleport-bog (Web Diary)
teleport-blog is a useful way to maintain a webpage by email. All you need to do is email a new story to a special email address and it is added to your website exactly as it was sent to us. This means that you can easily use Outlook (or your favourite email program) to create a nice looking story complete with pictures, etc and we handle the publishing part.
There are a couple of reasons why this is useful. The entries are published in date order so if you are emailing regular updates then "those-at-home", can keep an eye on how you are getting on, and you build up a log of your progress. Alternatively it is useful for avoiding the problem of sending out "updates" to friends and family, who then often hit "reply" and send the whole message back to you, with perhaps a few extra lines on the top - by publishing it on your webpage you can then send a short message to direct people to your personal webpage
You can see examples of how this is being used at http://blog.mailasail.com/
If you would like to start writing your own then please contact us for your passwords to get started.
Can I have a trial and how long does the trial last?
Certainly - we think that the service sells itself, and as such we have no problem with letting you see what you are paying for.
The trial period runs until you are satisfied that the service works as expected. We don't want you to pay for it if it isn't what you want (however, so far most people seem to be happy to sign up). The next step for you is to trial the service and establish whether it is going to pay for itself in savings in airtime (and we think it should very easily do that).
In general a week or two is reasonable - you can have more if needed, but we would prefer that you keep in touch and let us know how you are finding things. One of the advantages of being a small service is that we may be able to reconfigure things to suit YOU if there are problems.
"Redirecting" email from your current email account to teleport-mail
In order to assist testing it may be useful to have our server automatically download your email from your current email account.
There are instructions on our website in the "Configuration" section of the website on how to do this, but basically you need to write down the username/password and Mail Server Address (exactly as you have them entered into Outlook), you can then log into our webmail service - http://webmail.mailasail.com - and follow the "Options" link, then the "POP3 Fetchmail" link and there you can enter that same information. Our server will then download the contents of your other account every 5 mins or so - do check that you have your details entered perfectly (exactly as they are in Outlook) or nothing will happen!
Speeding up sending of email - Use Plain Text
Your email program can usually send emails in one of two formats, either "Rich Text/HTML" or "Plain Text". On average you will likely find that "Plain Text" is about 1/5 of the size and hence transmits 5x faster. This means that generally you should try and send emails in "Plain Text" format!! The disadvantage of "Plain Text" is mainly that you can't use fancy fonts or coloured text - most people are not going to miss this though
To change it for just the current email, in Outlook Express you simply go to the "Format" menu and choose which you want from the list. To change the default for all message go to Tools | Options and look on the "Send" tab.
Common Problems + Other Tips
I logged into my account via webmail and read my email, however, when I log in via Iridium it still downloads those messages?
Outlook is a bit brain-dead and always downloads all the emails it finds in your INBOX - it doesn't care if you read them in the internet cafe or not. It is the same INBOX folder that you read in the internet cafe that Outlook accesses, however, Outlook always deletes all email from the Inbox once it has retrieved it. You need to delete your messages in the webcafe if you don't want Outlook to download them again
(Or you can save them to a "subfolder", Outlook only knows about your folder called INBOX, nothing else)
I entered the details of my other email account into the webmail system, but it isn't picking up my email?
You have almost certainly entered the wrong details. You need to enter the username/password and server name exactly as you put them into your email program. Check the details in your email program against what you entered into the webmail login page.
Apollo emulator would not go beyond initialise and kept timing out
It appears that if you leave the flap of the older 9500 phone open, exposing the number keypad, you cannot get a connection!
I have dialled using Apollo, but when I use Internet Explorer or Outlook it prompts me to dial the phone!
This is the most common problem that people see. Windows has a number of options to control dialup, and by default the option is set to "Always dial my default connection". Windows is offering to do exactly what you asked it to do!
To change the option, go into the Control Panel and double click on "Internet Options". Under the tab marked "Connections", change the option to "Dial whenever a network connection is not present", or "Never dial a connection".
However, if you choose the later make a mental note to remember where the option is in case you want to change it back when you get home and are on a normal landline!
I have a virus scanner, and uploading/downloading of email is quite slow
Many virus scanners are a bit tricky and automatically update their virus definitions whenever they see that you have an internet connection. Obviously a virus scanner is only useful if the virus definitions are bang up to date, but you have to balance that against possibly a 10 min+ call to update them over Iridium. Chances are that the update is getting 1/3 of the way through each time you dial up and the effect is simply to slow down email send/rcv time.
I have a laptop onboard and I want to sail to hot places...
Computers don't like heat... Hard disks have about a 3 year life when kept indoors in cool climates such as the UK. Manufacturers usually quote 30C or 35C as the MAXIMUM ambient temperature for your laptop - probably most of you want go to places where that is the minimum ambient temperature found in the bar, and so your laptop is going to suffer.
- Seriously consider carrying a spare, especially if you use it for navigation on semi-regular basis.
- Back it up regularly (eg buy a CD burner, floppies become damaged too easily)
- At least carry a spare hard-disk for your current laptop and make a complete copy of your current hard disk onto it.
- Prop up the laptop on a book or something so that there is airflow underneath!
How do I make things faster
Downloads should also be quite fast if you are using Apollo. If you are dialling up using your own ISP and NOT using Apollo then you should check that your ISP supports compression (and that it is enabled). Compression will probably double the download speed of email (it is enabled in Apollo automatically).
- Trim your replies so that you don't send more text than you need to
- Ask other people to do the same. If you send around a circular, then state on the first line "WE HAVE A SATELLITE PHONE. PLEASE DON'T SEND THIS WHOLE EMAIL BACK TO ME!!" - otherwise you tend to get 30 replies each containing your original message.
- Use plain text only. (Write to us if you are not sure how to make Outlook *send* in plain text)
- Make sure you have a strong signal before dialling
The Webmail is in English. Can I change this?
Certainly. Most of our website is in English only, however, you can change the menus in the webmail to your own language if you prefer. Look under the "Options" link and then under the "Display Preferences" link.