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Technical Support
(Historical information only. We hope you find it to be a beneficial resource)

Viewing Mail Live on the Server

You can view your mail on our server without downloading through the use of Telnet. Telnet is a communication protocol that provides a direct link between your local computer and our remote server. Windows'95, '98 and NT all have a telnet client built in. Telnet clients for MacIntosh and other operating systems are available at .   Click on the word telnet for instructions on its use. Once you have established a telnet session, type the word mail at the command line prompt:

www#:/mnt/web/guide/YourDomain#    mail

You will be presented with a list of mail message headers:

          Mail version 8.1 6/6/93. Type ? for help.
        "/var/mail/bill": 3 messages 3 new
        >N 1                      Wed Dec 16 18:50  45/1411 "Re: contracts"
          N 2                     Wed Dec 23 17:36  29/1115 "please post"
          N 3     Tue   Feb 16  18:43  32/1463 "Order from form"

The first line shows the mail viewer's version number. The second line shows which mailbox is being opened, the number of messages in that box and the number of messages not yet read. The third line begins with a > symbol showing that this is the currently selected message. If you hit the <enter> key the contents of that message will be displayed. if you type a number, say 2 or 3, you will see the contents of that particular message and it becomes the currently selected message. The third line goes on to list the message's headers. First is listed the message's status (N = new, U = unread, blank = read) and number followed by the sender's address. Next is the day of the week, month, day of the month and time the message was received on our system. The next item is the number of lines in the message/the number of characters in the message. The last item is the subject of the message.

If the message is a long one and your telnet program does not have a scroll back feature (windows '95, '98 and NT do not), the message will scroll by when you type its # and you will only be able to see the last screen- full. To read a message screen by screen, type: edit #   (where # is the message number). This can be abbreviated as:  e# . This will open the message in the "pico" text editor. Command options will be listed at the bottom of the screen. After exiting  the editor with <ctrl>x ,  you can type:  headers   (or just h)  to see the list of message headers again. You will notice that the message just read will no longer have a N or U at the beginning of the headers line. This means that message will not be returned to your mailbox when you complete your mail reading session. If you type:  unread #  ,   the server will mark that message as unread and will return it to your mailbox for later download. Type: h  to verify that the message is marked with a U. The server will only show the headers for up to 30 messages (number varies with screen size) at a time. To view the next screen-full of headers, type: z  .  
To view the previous screen-full, type: z-  .

Clearing "Stuck" Mailboxes

For most people on a dial-up connection, mailboxes over 2 to 3 megabytes will "timeout" when trying to download with your mail client. Sometimes this happens only a few seconds into the download, sometimes minutes. If it occurs prior to the default 20 minutes set by the server, you are encountering packet loss due to busy network traffic. When the mail box is small and a few packets are lost due to data collisions, your mail client says "Well, I can have those few packets re-sent." When the mailbox is very large, it says "If I have to keep having packets re-sent, I'll never finish getting all this mail" and it gives up. If you can log in with telnet and reduce the size of the mailbox, you will increase your chances of getting the rest of the mail. Usually it is only a few messages that take most of the space. We often see attached graphic files cause this problem. It is always better to publish the graphic on your website and send a hyperlink to it in the mail message than to clog the recipient's mailbox with it as an attachment. Below is a mail header list typical of this situation:

Mail version 8.1 6/6/93. Type ? for help.
"/var/mail/user": 5 messages 4 new
>    1  Wed  Feb 24   14:47    47211/3635120 "image.bmp"
   N 2               Fri       Feb 26   07:47   55/2672               "test"
   N 3   Fri      Feb 26   10:59    24/1013               "What's Up?"
   N 4      Fri       Feb 26  13:33   109/4298            "New Telephone"
   N 5      Sun    Feb 28   21:42   821/58310         "meeting agenda"

The first message in the list has a 3.6 megabyte picture attached. This prevents the user's mail client from getting the other messages. The user now types: delete 1 (or d1) to delete message 1. Typing h now yields:

Mail version 8.1 6/6/93. Type ? for help.
"/var/mail/user": 4 messages 4 new
>N 2               Fri       Feb 26   07:47   55/2672               "test"
   N 3   Fri      Feb 26   10:59    24/1013               "What's Up?"
   N 4      Fri       Feb 26  13:33   109/4298            "New Telephone"
   N 5      Sun    Feb 28   21:42   821/58310         "meeting agenda"

The user can now type quit (or q) to exit the "mail" program and download the remaining mail with no problem. If you leave your mail on the server after downloading it, it will accumulate without limit. Every time your mail client tries to download the mail, our server must parse through all the accumulated mail to determine which messages have already been downloaded and which ones have not. After a while, this process will time out before ever getting to the unread mail. For this reason, we ask that you set your mail client to remove the mail after downloading. Any mailbox more than ten megabytes is subject to compression and/or deletion. Because only your master userID has a telnet login, this process cannot be used on secondary mail box userID's unless you first notify tech support via phone, email, or by using our contact form, that you wish the contents of the secondary mailbox moved into your master userID's mailbox.

More information on the server side "mail" program's options are in the online telnet manual. At a telnet prompt, type:  man mail

The "pine" and "elm" mail programs are also available, type:  man pine   or    man elm   at the telnet prompt.

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