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Offline part 2 - Email and phone

xet7 profile image Lauri Ojansivu ・5 min read

Previous introductory article in this series: Offline is the new normal.

Email steps from 1 to 3

  1. At 1991-1994 I did run BBS, using https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QWK_(file_format) to upload and download newest messages.
  2. After that, I used some email client like Thunderbird that downloaded email with POP, or kept it at server with IMAP. At work some years ago we had Linux server that was hosted at Finland.
  3. After that, at work I moved that email to Google Apps / G Suite with YippieMove service, that was specialized moving large amount of messages and retrying failed transfers fast server farm. Some did also use Thunderbird to move their email. I don’t work there anymore, but still manage some of my own and my customers G Suite accounts.

Going back to step 2 above: Thunderbird

  1. I did find some old Thunderbird backup from my harddrives, so it’s directory /home/username/.thunderbird on Linux.
  2. In Gmail, I saved all filters to files, and copy-pasted labels page to label to text file.
  3. In Gmail settings I enabled POP for all messages, and so that it deletes email from Gmail servers after it’s downloaded with POP to Thunderbird.
  4. In Gmail account settings I created application specific password for Thunderbird.
  5. In Thunderbird I did setup Gmail account with POP and used that application specific password from step 4 above. In Thunderbird I clicked “Get Messages” button to download first about 500 messages. After that, I needed to click “Get Messages” again, so it downloaded next about 500 messages. And repeating that, until all of my messages where downloaded to my Inbox. Yes, this includes sent and received messages, all in Inbox.
  6. Now I have all my email in .thunderbird directory. When I check it’s size with command “du -sh .thunderbird” it has 2 GB of files, and probably about 50k emails, although I did not yet figure out how to do exact count.

Maybe: Exchange, Office 365 Online, and Outlook

  1. Some years ago, I did have Thunderbird working with Exchange using DavMail for email sending and receiving, and Thunderbird plugin for Exchange calendar. Thunderbird <=> DavMail <=> Exchange makes Thunderbird think it’s connecting to standard SMTP/IMAP server while actually DavMail connects to Exchange, converting all requests to correct format. I did update webpage https://github.com/wekan/wekan/wiki/Troubleshooting-Mail for newest info, and tried some tips from https://stackoverflow.com/questions/6801174/davmail-office365 , but did not get it working yet. It could depend on what Exchange version is in use.
  2. Another possibility would be to use Outlook on Windows VM to download email, and then move email to some other IMAP server, and then download from that with POP to Thunderbird.
  3. If some workplace still uses Exchange, then with DavMail it’s possible to setup Friend https://github.com/wekan/wekan/wekan/wiki/Friend webmail to use Exchange.

Possible next steps for Email

  • Add other email accounts to download messages with POP
  • Create folders, and use Thunderbird Add-ons to automatically sort email to different folders.
  • Use Enigmail Thunderbird Add-on to send and receive PGP encrypted email.
  • Use Qubes Attachments Add-on to send attacment to different VM. Yes, I’m running Qubes OS 4 finally, after getting laptop that has new enough specs to meet Qubes 4 hardware requirements. I run Email in it’s own VM. Most of my Qubes VMs have Internet access disabled. There is just webbrowser VM and email VM that has Internet access.
  • Copy email .thunderbird directory to my RasPi3 and use Thunderbird to read and send email on RasPi3.
  • Download Gmail contacts and add them to Thunderbird contacts.
  • Download Gmail calendar and add it to Thunderbird calendar.
  • Make many backups to different harddrives, DVD etc media. Now it’s not Google’s responsibility to keep my data safe, secure, available etc. I can only blame myself now.
  • Continue to download more of my data from Internet, and delete it from Internet.
  • Change my domains to use other email provider, like https://protonmail.com
  • If running my own email server at some Finnish server provider, maybe it could work for some time, if I setup SPF/DKIM/DMARC email settings correctly, there is port 25 open for receiving email, and server does not send too many server notification emails, if configured correctly. But if email server ends up in some spam blacklist, I could for example pay to use Danish email sending service https://mysmtp.com to ensure deliverability to Gmail and other email services with correct DNS nameserver SPF/DKIM/DMARC email settings. Email receiving would still be to my server port 25.
  • In Finland some cable modem Internet providers can have ports 80 and 443 for webserver open, but AFAIK none have email receiving port 25 open to receive email from Internet. So some workaround would be required to receive email to self-hosted Sandstorm port 25 that would receive email to self-hosted https://sandstorm.io RoundCube grain.
  • Setup Friend https://github.com/wekan/wekan/wekan/wiki/Friend and use Friend for accessing all apps.

What I did with my Android smartphone

  1. I moved my SIM card from my Android smartphone to my dumbphone that does not have camera and Internet. Dumbphone only has phone calls and SMS, and some apps that work locally on ohine.
  2. At Android phone settings, I enabled WLAN. It seems that all Android apps I use work perfectly well with just WLAN access.
  3. At Android phone settings, I turned off permission of most apps including Google’s own apps. So I disabled location, camera, microphone, file storage, etc all permissions possible. And Play Store I also cancelled some paid services I did subscribe to.
  4. I did transfer some money with Android app to my prepaid card. So I only have some cash and limited amount of money on my prepaid card when being outside. I also removed from my wallet all other payment cards, receipts, etc. Then I turned my Android smartphone off.

What did dumbphone feel like

  1. When visiting city centre I only had my small dumbphone and wallet with minimal contents. I did not have my Android smartphone with me. It did feel that I was not so hurried anymore. I was not looking at my smartphone often, like I previously did. It was a relief. I did walk more slowly, enjoyed more, did see more what was happening around me. I was dreaming what I would do next with my old and newer computers that were not connected to Internet. When coming back to home, I said to my wife that it feels like I got my life back.
  2. I started to setup my Amiga 1200 so that I would power it on, but I did feel something was not right. I would need to sometime open A1200 case and check it has everything OK inside like no dust, battery OK, etc. I was a little afraid that something would happen to it, like happened to my Amiga 500, where when I turned on power after a long time, smoke did come from it, so currently my friend is looking what is wrong with my Amiga 500.
  3. I did think that there was something with this old-is-new-again, and with this fear for this tech. I did not notice this fear before, because I was so used to working mostly with computer software only during recent years, and spent too much time at cyberspace. I started reading book “Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World.” by Bruce Schneier, so that I could see what this fear is all about.

To be continued…

(posted originally at: https://blog.wekan.team/2019/01/offline-part-2-email-and-phone/index.html)

Posted on by:

xet7 profile

Lauri Ojansivu

@xet7

Maintainer of Wekan, Open Source Kanban board https://wekan.github.io

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