NetMail/3000 Newsletter Volume #1

Welcome NetMail/3000 Customers

This is the first e-mail newsletter sent to our NetMail/3000 customers; it is intended to let those of you with support contracts know about new and planned features of NetMail/3000, along with a few tips on ways you can use the system you have which you may not be aware of. We will try to make this a regular feature (one issue every 1-2 months), while also trying not to take too much of your valuable time by sending too many issues.

Those of you with Internet e-mail addresses should receive this by e-mail, others will receive it via fax. If you get a fax but have an Internet e-mail address you would prefer us to use, please let us know. Those of you who do not want to receive any more notices (these are intended to highlight features you have already paid for; not merely plugs for additional products) may let us know and we will remove you from the distribution list. Note that we will also use this list to make you aware of important problems or bug reports if applicable, so I urge you to have someone at your site at least review these messages. Also - anyone who would like us to add other mailboxes to our distribution (others at your site that might be interested) you may also let us know.

Finally, if you have questions about NetMail/3000 or any other 3k Associates product (DeskLink, PopServer, Gopher Server, Ftp Server, Fax Server) feel free to give us a call at +44 1480 492400 or  e-mail us at sales@3kassociates.com or support@3kassociates.com.

Now that we're done with that...

In this issue:

  1. Getting updates via the Internet
  2. Using the built-in Listserver program
  3. Using POP Clients with NetMail
  4. Linking scripts to mailboxes (a simple vacation responder for example)
  5. Using the message filters (RULES) - some examples
  6. New anti-spam features in release B.06
  7. New API (CMC standard programmatic interface) add-on available
  8. See us at HPWorld in Chicago

Getting Updates via the Internet

We (3k Associates, Inc) maintain WWW and FTP servers available on the Internet 24 hours x 7 days. We always keep the latest release of all our HP3000 products on these servers available as WRQ (R1) labelled format files with automated installation scripts. These extracts uncompress (they are PC .exe files) leaving an "install.rcl" script which you run from Reflection's command window; this uploads all the files and automatically performs all updates. **You do need to make sure noone is using the NetMail and the background job is stopped before updating though**

All your configurations and existing mail will be preserved. Updates take from 5-30 minutes (no including the time it takes to upload the files --use a network connection if at all possible --it is MANY times faster than a serial connection).

You may update as often as you like; new enhancements are documented in the "Features.doc.threek" file and fixes in the "netmail.fixinfo.threek" file.

Our web server is at http://www.3kassociates.com and our ftp server is at ftp.3kassociates.com. Look for the NetMail/3000 "demo" files; these will automatically detect that you are a licensed customer and update you without affecting your license status. **Be sure to get the product demos and *NOT* the freeware versions; updating with the freeware version *WILL* overwrite your license file turning your system into a 2-mailbox interactive-only system...

**The latest release of all our manuals are also available on our web and ftp sites as well. All NetMail/3000 manuals are also available on our web server in Adobe PDF format which can be viewed in your web browser with the free plug-in available from Adobe (details on our server). The best part of this addition is that you can browse, search, and even print the manuals to ANY local printer, preserving all formatting and graphics.


Using the built-in Listserver program

NetMail/3000 has been shipping with a built-in "list server" since release B.02 (July of 1995). It has been improved recently, and many of you might find it's features useful.

The listserver allows the mail administrator to create "public" distribution lists. Once created, users can join (or remove themselves) from these lists by sending e-mail messages to a special mailbox (called "listserv") on your system. This allows not only local mail users, but users on remote systems to participate in these discussion groups. People can send messages to the distribution list, and the messages automatically get distributed to all members of the list.

Commands to join or remove yourself from mailing lists are sent to the "listserv" mailbox (with commands in the body of the message), while messages intended for members of the lists are sent directly to the list name.

While the bundled listserver isn't a replacement for dedicated list servers (like L-Soft's packages) we hope you will find it a useful tool.


Using POP Clients with NetMail

With all the press about Microsoft Exchange, Outlook, and Netscape Mail clients, many customers don't realize that these mail packages are POP3 compatible mail clients and work fine with NetMail/3000's bundled pop server.

PC, Mac, or workstation clients with network-connected computers can use the HP3000 (with NetMail/3000 or the POP Server) as their mail "drop" or server. NetMail/3000 is fully POP (Post Office Protocol) version 2 and version 3 compatible, meaning Exchange, Outlook, NetScape, or Eudora users can simply point to the 3000 as their SMTP and POP server. You gain the advantage of utilizing your existing mail server (and HP3000 system) more efficiently, consolidating services onto the very reliable and easily managed HP3000, and your users gain the advantage of a mail server that's not likely to go down, lose files, and which most likely gets backed up on a regular basis (something a surprising number of PC and Unix servers can't boast).

Setting up a mailbox in NetMail/3000 for POP access is simple; you set it up just like any other mailbox -- WITH a password assigned -- and fill in the "PC Mail server" field for the mailbox with the name of your HP3000. Pop clients merely specify the name of the HP3000 as their SMTP and POP server, and supply their mailbox name and password. Eudora clients can even change their own mailbox password remotely via the mailbox password-changing service also built into NetMail/3000 and our POP server.


Linking scripts to mailboxes (a simple vacation responder for example)

Many of you may have noticed the special comment at the bottom of the mailbox maintenance screen in the netmaint program under the "On Node" field:

       (^use special codes for disc files, faxes, printers, etc.)

This field is the key to setting up sophisticated automated mail routing in NetMail/3000. This field can be used to automatically re-route mail for the mailbox to another mail server, to a MPE file, to a fax machine (if you also have the Office Extend Fax Server), to an MPE system printer, or -most powerfully- to a command file or MPE script.

One simple yet powerful example is a command file we ship with every system; "info.xeq.threek" which allows you to automatically return a specified file (document) to any user that sends a message to the mailbox you specify.

For example, say you wish to provide a price list via e-mail to anyone that requests it. A simple way to do this is to create a mailbox, let's call it "pricelist". Fill in the basic info in Netmaint; but in the "On Node" field on the screen, enter "|INFO.XEQ.THREEK PRICES.DOC.THREEK" (don't enter the quotes). Note the vertical bar "|" symbol (that's not an exclamation point or the letter L). We'll assume you've created an ascii file called PRICES and saved it in the DOC.THREEK group (you can put files in any group you like, but they must be readable by the netmail *job* running in the background (which usually is logged on as SERVER.THREEK) so be sure that your file is accessible by this logon.

Now, whenever someone sends a e-mail message to the "pricelist" mailbox on your system, they will automatically get a return-message with the contents of the "prices.doc.threek" file.

Feel free to examine the info.xeq.threek command file. It is only a very basic example of some of the sophisticated actions you can perform. Command files can execute any MPE command (that is any command which the server.threek user can execute) including running your own custom applications. Databases can be updated, files created - the possibilities are endless. E-mail purchase requisitions to a program that reads, processes, and creates purchase orders for approval in your ordering system. Read commands from within the body of the message and use them as keywords to do database lookups and return reports on-demand via e-mail. Or have your users send messages to a distribution list which sends copies to people's mailboxes AS WELL AS command files - so automated responses can be generated and people can have records of the requests as well. Or create a command file that runs the freeware "pager" program to send a message to your pager telling you that a message arrived in your mailbox.


Using the message filters (RULES) - some examples

Users of the menu-interface in NetMail/3000 may have seen the "rules" selection under the "file" pull down (only users who have been granted "extended capabilities" by the mail administrator will see this option). This option allows you to create rules which control what happens to mail as it arrives in your inbox.

These "rules" allow you to select messages based on strings within their body, header area, or specific headers (from, to, cc, etc.) and automatically perform some action on the message. These actions can include automatically "file"ing the message into a folder for you, forwarding a copy of the message to another mailbox, print a copy of the message on the printer, or delete the message completely. A useful example; for those of you who monitor the HP3000-L (hp3000 discussion group mailing list) - to clear up the clutter of messages flooding your inbox (sometimes the traffic on the list gets heavy), create a folder just for HP3000-L traffic, say we call it "HP3000L". Now, go to your rules selection and "add" a rule which says:

If "SENDER" [] (contains) CL (caseless) "hp3000-l@raven.utc.edu" (then)
   "FILE" "HP3000L" (Stop further processing)

Now, any messages which come in from the hp3000-l mail list will automatically be deposited in your HP3000L folder instead of your inbox!

An even fancier example; say you used to work on a project related to "parts ordering" and still get e-mail questions about it, yet the "helpdesk" now handles this project. Create a rule that says:

If "SUBJECT" [] (contains) CL (caseless) "parts ordering" (then)
  "FORWARD" "helpdesk" (continue processing)

followed by another rule that says:

If "SUBJECT" [] (contains) CL (caseless) "parts ordering" (then)
   "DELETE" (no parm) (stop further processing)

You now have a rule "combination" which will catch any message with "parts ordering" in the subject line, forward the message on to the help desk, and delete it from your mailbox.

One final example which Internet users may find valuable is a simple set of "spam filter" rules. If you get much spam, you may notice that most of it doesn't list your mailbox on a To: or Cc: header -- usually spammers use large hidden distribution lists. Using this knowledge, create a folder called "bcc". Assuming your e-mail address is "jane@acme.com", create a set of rules as follows:

If "To" [] (contains) CL (caseless) "jane@acme.com" then
  "FILE" "INBOX" (stop further processing)
If "Cc" [] (contains) CL (caseless) "jane@acme.com" then
  "FILE" "INBOX" (stop further processing)
If "SUBJECT" <> (not equal) "xxxxxxxxxxx" (then)
  "FILE" "BCC" (stop further processing)

What these rules do for you is to effectively catch any incoming message that doesn't have your e-mail address in the To: or Cc: headers of the message and puts it into the "bcc" folder. While you'll find that most spam messages will end up deposited in this folder, you will also get the occasional valid message where you were "Bcc" (blind carbon copied) -- which is why you can't just "delete" such messages. They are, however, not cluttering up your inbox, and can help you focus on direct (and usually more important) messages. If you use these rules, make sure they are at the *end* of all your other rules -- since they at least one of these rules will catch EVERY message you get, thus any rules after these will NEVER get executed. Use the "Move Ruleset" key to move rules around if you need to.

Some other useful rules:

HEADERS[]CL "x-distribution: mass" DELETE
HEADERS[]CL "x-distribution: bulk" DELETE
HEADERS[]CL "precedence: bulk" DELETE
MESSAGE-BODY[]CL "Composed using Extractor Pro" DELETE
HEADERS[]CL "Extractor Pro" DELETE
HEADERS[]CL "www.thehitman.com" DELETE
HEADERS[]CL "answerme.com" DELETE
TO[]CL "@public.com" DELETE

These key on headers or other strings commonly found in junk-mail (and not found in valid personal mail). "Extractor Pro" is a common spamming tool (that's ALL it is used for so deleting mail created by it is pretty safe). The "bulk" and "mass" references are included by some mail packages on messages sent to more than 500 addresses -- again, pretty safe to delete these (these are NOT used by NetMail - only some pop clients using their own LARGE list of recipients -- so they don't affect messages sent to large distribution lists such as your organization might use to send notices to all mail users). "answerme.com" and "thehitman.com" are used extensively by unscrupulous spammers that tend to move around (from ISP to ISP) alot.


New anti-spam features in release B.06

We don't have to tell anyone with an Internet-reachable e-mail box about the frustrations and lost productivity due to the proliferation of rude and pushy "spammers" around the world. Many of us are literally swamped by the masses of junk scams, get-rich-quick schemes, and pornography these "people" are dumping into our inboxes on a daily basis. Until some really effective legislation is passed, our only recourse is to ignore and attempt to filter out this trash. [Note; replying to be "removed" from many of these spammers lists often only confirms your address and gets you added to yet more lists, so beware responding in any way other than complaining to their Internet providers!]

We at 3k get bombarded by this trash as well, and have devoted many hours to tracking down and reporting spammers, as well as developing automated means of filtering out much of their trash. In the B.06 releases of DeskLink and NetMail/3000 you will find many new anti-spam features which you can easily take advantage of, as well as a constantly updated list of spam sites (in the form of a filtering control-file) which you can pick up from our ftp site (ftp.3kassociates.com in the ANTISPAM directory). These control files can be copied directly into the data.threek group and all 3k mail products will obey these filtering rules.

The "excludes.data.threek" file is a list of network addresses of known spam sites. Any address with a "-" in front of it in this file will cause ALL incoming network connections from these machines to be refused without notice to the spam site. Connections are instantly dropped by your system, and the sending system is forced to "queue" the message (taking up THEIR disc space) and try it later. No data ever even reaches your system, and absolutely minimal cpu resources on your system are used; inflicting the cpu and disc space burden on THEIR machine. Connection requests are logged to the "errorlog.netmail" file (if you have built it) so you can watch the progress if you wish, as well as echoed to the system console.

The "refuse.data.threek" file is a list of addresses and domain names of known spammers. For those that move around (as they get kicked off one Internet provider after another) this will prevent any incoming mail with a return address listing any of these domains. Any incoming message with one of these addresses is refused before acceptance, with an error returned to the sender's system (again, tying up THEIR resources as their mail server must store the message and handle undeliverable-notices to the sender). The message is logged to "errorlog.netmail" (if you have built it) and the system console.

Another feature can be enabled in the NetMail/3000 or DeskLink job via a JCW - verifydomains. If set to "1", then the domain name on the return address of any incoming mail message is checked to be sure it's a "real" domain; this gets rid of spam where spammers "forge" fake hostnames -- designed so that you can't complain to anyone about the message. Messages with invalid domains get refused - again forcing the processing on the senders machine - and attempts are logged to errorlog.netmail (if built) and to the console.

Together with some of the rules you can create, these filtering tools can significantly reduce the amount of spam that ends up in your mailbox!


New API (CMC standard programmatic interface) add-on available

Standard NetMail/3000 comes with sophisticated batch and scripting capability, but for those sites that truly want to integrate electronic mail receipt and/or delivery with HP3000 based applications, we are now shipping the only industry-standard programmatic library (written to the XAPI group's CMC -common messaging calls- standard).

With this library, easily called routines can be integrated directly into your in-house applications to retrieve mail messages or simply send report output via e-mail -- to a user's mailbox, another system, or to another mail-enabled application. Routines and sample code are provided (along with a copy of the full standard specifications) with routines you can call to retrieve a message from a mailbox, send a message (file), and verify addresses from within the mail directory.

Generate and transport your EDI data via the Internet standard SMTP and MIME formats, or mail-enable your legacy applications to integrate your HP3000 with your NT or Unix servers and applications.

For details or a demo, contact us at (800) Net-Mail or +1 703 569-9189.


See us at HPWorld in Chicago

Those of you attending HPWorld in Chicago (you are ALL going aren't you?) can join about 8,000 projected attendees to learn about the HP3000, HP9000, and Microsoft NT platforms. Stop by our booth and say hello, and be sure to attend the "Internet Roundtable" moderated by our founder, Chris Bartram. Chris will be moderating discussions on "how to", "when", "will", and other good questions regarding the HP3000, HP9000, and HP's NT server platforms, with roundtable participants from HP, Microsoft, Cisco, and many others. Learn about HP's future Internet-related plans and how they might impact YOUR future plans. Questions will be taken from the "floor" and from pre-submitted questions which you can submit via the HPWorld web site ( http://www.hpworld.org ).

See you there!


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