Accessing email via telnet

Let's begin with a few definitions. Don't panic, it is easy. Click on the Telnet icon in !Voyager (or !QuickVoy, etc). A window will open asking you for what to connect to.

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Connecting with ArgoTelnet

In the Host prompt, enter "".
In the Port prompt, enter "pop3".
If your telnet client doesn't allow you to enter a port, get yourself a better telnet client. If your telnet client won't recognise pop3 as a valid option, enter "110".

Acorn telnet
Acorn's command-line telnet client can be connected by opening a TaskWindow and typing "telnet pop3". If that does not work, you either don't have Acorn telnet, or your !Internet software is incorrectly installed.
Acorn telnet is in !Internet.bin, and is supplied as part of the 'new boot sequence'. It should be present in the path settings, so you should need only type in "telnet <parameters...>", without the need for a path.
ANTterm can be connected to the POP3 server by opening the Connect... window and entering:   telnet://
into the writable icon that appears.
If you're lazy, entering,pop3 works too.
Voyager's telnet is basically an early version of FreeTerm. I recommend that you download the latest version of FreeTerm and use that instead of Voyager telnet. It does the same, it looks the same, but it has a bunch of bugs fixed.

After connection, you will be informed of a successful connection by the sequence "+OK". The mail server says this for just about everything good. Bad stuff is prefixed "-ERR".

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Successful connection

You will see the real server name - in this case, but then again most of the Argo aliases point to this box anyway! Following you will see a protocol identification which in this case is POP3 (software version 3.3), then some other ignorable rubbish.

That's it. The pop3 server is known for being extraordinarily unhelpful (not to mention slightly broken (see below)).

To log in, type:
  user aa00
(assuming your user ID is aa00)
and when that replies +OK, enter your password in the form:
  pass mypassword

This picture should make it clearer:

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Logging in

When you have successfully logged in, the server will reply "+OK Mailbox open, # messages".


To summarise the login:

Assuming... You are user zz99 and your password is qwertyui.
After connection to the server:
The server will say +OK POP3 3.3(26) et cetera
You then type user zz99<return>
The server will reply +OK User name accepted, password please
You type pass qwertyui<return>
The server will then say +OK Mailbox open, # messages
  (where '#' is a number, and "<return>" is a keypress - don't type it!)

If you get the response -ERR Bad login, you will need to start from the beginning, entering your username and then your password. Your username consists of two characters and two digits. If you know it in the form argaa00, then remove the 'arg' part. Check that you enter your password carefully.
Above all else, do not ever write a macro to enter this information.


Passwords should be treated like condoms in a convent, hidden and never mentioned.
NEVER give your !Voyager.Options file to anybody. If you are helping rebuild a damaged copy for a friend, do not include your Options file.
Finally, Argo staff know your password - that is how come certain 'features' that require a password are able to use your standard login password. Bearing that in mind, there will not be any need for anybody to ring you up and ask for your password. If anybody does, hang up on them and call Argo. Don't be duped. The caller will spin a good story like I am a system administrator for UUnet and we need to move webspace and hosting to our new machine - followed by some technical sounding crap. It's a lie. The people that need access to the server will have it, your password is immaterial. DO NOT GIVE IT OUT. EVER.


Assuming you get this far, you can now communicate with the server using several commands:
list This will return a listing, containing the message number and the size of the message (in bytes). This list is ended by a full stop on a line on its own. For an example, refer to the image below this table.
stat This returns the number of messages, followed by the total size of them (in bytes).
retr <number> This will spool the message to you; retr 1 will spool message 1 and so on.
This is only really useful if you have spool-to-disc enabled in your telnet client, otherwise you'll be left looking at a few lines of the end of the message, followed by the signature.
The message is terminated by a full stop on a line on its own. This character is not part of the message.
dele <number> This will delete the numbered message.
Use with care - this is irreversible
quit This will end the session and close your mailbox, with the message "+OK Sayonara"!
  Commands to 'return the top # lines' and 'return only the headers' appear to be broken in Argo's mailserver. Trying to get only the top 10 lines results in the entire message being returned. Ho hum.

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Listing the mailbox

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We're outtie!

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Copyright © 1999 Richard Murray