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The Ultimate QWK Mail Management System Version 1.3

User's Guide

Copyright (c) 1993, 1994 - Parsons Consulting
All Rights Reserved, World Wide




1) RoboMail is being distributed as ShareWare. This program is not
free. You are granted a limited license to evaluate RoboMail for a
period not to exceed 21 days. After 21 days, you must either
pay for and register your copy of RoboMail, or immediately
discontinue its use and remove it from your computer.

2) You may keep as many backup copies of RoboMail as you wish, but you
may not run RoboMail simultaneously on more than one computer.
Additionally, you are granted the right to share RoboMail with
others, as long as you distribute the RoboMail archives exactly
as you received them, with all associated files included.


3) Under no circumstances may you charge a fee or receive any other
form of consideration for distributing the RoboMail files without
express written consent from the copyright holder, Dan Parsons.

RoboMail is a product of:

Parsons Consulting (312) 752-1220 Voice
5020 S. Lake Shore Drive (312) 752-1222 Fax
Suite 3301 (312) 752-1258 BBS 1
Chicago, IL 60615 (312) 752-6528 BBS 2


Remit to: Parsons Consulting
5020 S. Lake Shore Drive
Suite 3301
Chicago, IL 60615

| Item | Quantity | Price | Total |
| RoboMail version 1.3 | ________ | $35.00 | __________ |
| | | | |
| RoboMail/Robocomm package | ________ | $65.00 | __________ |
| | | | |
| Shipping (Outside U.S. only) | ________ | $5.00 | __________ |
| | |
| Total amount enclosed | __________ |

Check desired high-density disk format: ( ) 5.25" ( ) 3.5"

Would you like a Robocomm evaluation disk? ( ) Yes ( ) No

Payment by: ( ) Check or money order (U.S. funds only)
( ) MasterCard
( ) Visa
( ) PO # ______________

Card #: ____________________________________ Exp. Date: _________

Signature of card holder: ____________________________________________

Name: ________________________________________________________

Company: ________________________________________________________

Address: ________________________________________________________



Phone: ________________________________________________________

One BBS, register with MasterCard or Visa and receive your personalized
key file immediately! Also, qualify for a $2 "Electronic Delivery"
discount. >>>> 312-752-1258 or 312-752-6528 <<<<

INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTORS - RoboMail is now available directly
from distributors in several countries. If you are currently
evaluating RoboMail and you live in one of the countries listed
below, please contact your distributor to register your copy of

Eire, Great Britain & British Dependent Territories

Contact Intershop in London on 081-500 5000.
VISA/MasterCard or EuroCard accepted gladly

The Ilink RoboMail tech support conference is available
on ALMAC BBS: (0324)665371


McMeier & Son BBS

Voice: ++41 1 776 10 01

Data: USR HST DS 14400 ++41 1 761 27 94
Zyxel 19200 ++41 1 761 27 37
ISDN- SoLIS 38400 ++41 1 776 10 09
ISDN- SLink 115200 ++41 1 776 10 08

Australia and New Zealand

My Computer Company
25 Albert Street (P.O. Box 99)
Erskineville NSW 2043

Phone: (02) 565-1991
Fax: (02) 550-4459
BBS: (02) 565-1044

The Fidonet RoboMail support conference is available in
Australia through the My Computer Company BBS (3:712/411)
and the latest copy of RoboMail can be file requested using
the magic name ROBOMAIL.

South Africa

Fincompt Technologies PTY (LTD)
4th Floor
355 Kent Ave Randburg

Postal: P.O. Box 4472 Randburg

Support BBS:

Netline FlagShip BBS: +27-11-789-6084 /5/6/7/8/9

Internet: [email protected]
Fidonet: 5:7102/3
ILink / RsaNET

BeNeLux and Germany

Driehuizerweg 21
7312 AR Apeldoorn

BBS: +31-55-557529

Free Download of all Robocomm & RoboMail files on 1st call.
ILink RoboMail and Robocomm support conferences available.


WHAT IS ROBOMAIL?................................................. 1
ABOUT SHAREWARE................................................... 3
TECHNICAL SUPPORT................................................. 4
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS............................................... 4
Running Under DOS............................................ 5
Running Under Windows........................................ 5
Running Under DESQView....................................... 6
Running Under OS/2........................................... 6
INSTALLATION...................................................... 7
GETTING STARTED................................................... 7
KEY CONCEPTS...................................................... 8
Archive Actions.............................................. 8
Message Classes.............................................. 9
ROBOMAIL USER INTERFACE BASICS................................... 10
Getting Help................................................ 10
Using the Keyboard.......................................... 10
Pick Lists.................................................. 11
Using a Mouse............................................... 11
Configuration............................................... 12
Directories ........................................... 12
Utilities ............................................. 12
Message Settings ...................................... 13
Internet Setup ........................................ 14
Auto-Pilot ............................................ 14
Mail Importing ........................................ 15
System Settings ....................................... 15
Mail System Settings........................................ 16
Conference Settings......................................... 18
Quick Conference Setup................................. 19
Customizing Screen Colors................................... 19
IMPORTING MESSAGE PACKETS........................................ 20
Interactive Processing...................................... 20
Command Line Processing..................................... 20
Automatic Packet Archiving.................................. 21
Filtering Incoming Mail..................................... 21
The IMPORT.LOG File......................................... 22
EXPORTING OUTBOX MESSAGES........................................ 22
Interactive Processing...................................... 23
Command Line Processing..................................... 23
Recalling Exported Replies.................................. 23
READING AND PROCESSING IMPORTED DATA............................. 24
News, Welcome and Goodbye Screens........................... 24
New File Listings........................................... 24
Bulletins................................................... 25
Recent Messages............................................. 25
Finding the First Unread Recent Message................ 25
Automatic Bookmarks.................................... 26
Personal Messages........................................... 26
Messages to ALL in Personal............................ 26
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page i

Snoop Mode.................................................. 26
OutBox, Archive and Chron Messages.......................... 27
Multi-Part Messages......................................... 27
Wide Messages............................................... 27
ANSI Art and Music.......................................... 27
File Attachments............................................ 28
Using the Attachment Manager........................... 29
The Quit and Resume Bookmark................................ 29
Message Processing.......................................... 29
MESSAGE NAVIGATION............................................... 31
Assisted Reading Mode....................................... 31
Overriding Archive Assignment.......................... 32
Using the Auto-Pilot........................................ 33
Manual Navigation........................................... 33
Moving Forward and Back................................ 33
Finding Unread Messages................................ 34
Thread Movement........................................ 34
Moving Between Conferences............................. 35
Processing Before Moving............................... 35
Manual Archive Action Assignment............................ 35
Looking Up Threads in Other Message Classes................. 36
Viewing the Message Index................................... 36
Sorting Conference or Folder Messages....................... 37
Numeric Keypad Navigation Summary........................... 38
Function Key Command Summary................................ 38
Tagging Messages and Writing Text Files..................... 39
Bulk Tagging and Untagging............................. 39
Printing Messages........................................... 39
CREATING OUTGOING MESSAGES....................................... 40
Composing a Message......................................... 40
Replying to a Message....................................... 40
Automatic Quoting...................................... 41
Replying to Newsgroup Postings......................... 41
Replying to Mailing List Messages...................... 42
Replying via Email in non-Internet Conferences......... 42
Forwarding Messages......................................... 43
Addressing Messages......................................... 43
Accessing the Address Book............................. 45
Cross-Posting.......................................... 45
Sending Copies......................................... 45
Re-Editing an Outgoing Message.............................. 46
Re-Addressing an Outgoing Message...................... 46
Re-Sending a Chron Message.................................. 46
Placing Outgoing Messages on Hold........................... 47
Discarding Outgoing Messages................................ 47
Notes on Message Splitting.................................. 47
USING ROBOMAIL'S EDITOR.......................................... 47
Navigation Commands......................................... 48
Text Editing Commands....................................... 48
Block Management Commands................................... 48
File Management Commands.................................... 48
Other Commands.............................................. 49
Indenting Paragraphs........................................ 49
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page ii

Tips on Quoting............................................. 49
Using Quick-Merge Files..................................... 50
Merge Macros................................................ 50
Setting the Right Margin.................................... 51
Control Characters in Messages.............................. 51
USING ROBOMAIL'S SPELL CHECKER................................... 51
Editing Your Personal Dictionary............................ 52
USING MESSAGE FOLDERS............................................ 52
Copying Messages to Folders................................. 52
Deleting Folders............................................ 53
Folder Message Management................................... 53
Replying to Folder Messages................................. 53
USING ROBOMAIL'S ADDRESS BOOK.................................... 53
Specifying Routing and Email Address Information............ 54
Grabbing Internet Email Addresses........................... 54
SEARCHING YOUR MESSAGE DATABASE.................................. 55
Global Searches............................................. 55
Conference and Folder Searches.............................. 56
Creating Search Expressions................................. 56
Wildcard Searches...................................... 56
Boolean Logic.......................................... 56
Saving and Restoring Search Expressions..................... 57
OFFLINE CONFERENCE MANAGEMENT.................................... 58
Quick Conference Drop....................................... 59
Setting Pointers............................................ 59
ALL ABOUT TAGLINES............................................... 59
Importing and Exporting Tagline Files....................... 59
Sorting the Tagline File.................................... 60
Querying the Tagline File................................... 60
Using an External Tagline Manager........................... 60
Selecting Taglines.......................................... 61
Conference-Specific Tagline Files........................... 61
Stealing Taglines........................................... 61
MAINTAINING YOUR MESSAGE DATABASE................................ 61
Bulk Marking................................................ 61
Bulk Processing............................................. 62
Discarding Aged Out Messages................................ 62
Packing Your Data Files..................................... 63
Viewing the Database Status Screen.......................... 64
Message Management Tips..................................... 64
Command Line Examples....................................... 66
THE ROBOMAIL ENVIRONMENT VARIABLE................................ 67
PERFORMANCE OPTIMIZATION TIPS.................................... 68
KEEPING A GOOD BACKUP............................................ 69
TROUBLE SHOOTING................................................. 70

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page iii


RoboMail is a complete system for managing your offline mail
activities. It allows you to read and reply to messages downloaded
from any BBS using the QWK/REP packet format for mail transfer. Rather
than reading one packet at a time, RoboMail maintains a common database
of messages from all the mail systems that you communicate with,
offering a fresh, new perspective on your messages that will greatly
enhance your offline mail productivity and enjoyment.

With RoboMail managing your mail, you build your own customized
knowledge base by controlling the way messages flow in and out of the
system. You can choose to Age, Keep or Discard messages individually,
or based upon system wide or conference specific defaults. RoboMail's
database orientation provides significant benefits over standard mail
reading systems. Among these are:

þ An amazing new "Control Panel" view which gives you an instant
overview and point-and-shoot access to all the data in your

þ A seamlessly integrated system of user-definable folders for
grouping and holding messages of special interest. You can
define an unlimited number of folders and each can contain an
unlimited number of messages.

þ You can quickly refer back to your "archives" of messages from
previous packets and your own previously sent replies when
reading through your newly imported mail.

þ You can easily cross-post your replies and forward messages to
users on other mail systems.

þ You can keep or age copies of all the outgoing mail you create
in a separate section called the "Chron File," and re-send any
message with a single keystroke.

þ Once your mail for the day has been imported, which can be
accomplished automatically via command line switches, there's
no delay as you move between conferences on your various mail
systems. RoboMail's automatic bookmarks ensure that you can
quit and resume your reading sessions at will without fear of
loosing your place.

þ Conference listings which can show all conferences, or just
those containing messages.

þ Selective archiving and naming of all bulletins and file lists
received with your mail packets.

þ Many advanced Internet Email features including sophisticated
address grabbing and reference number detection capabiltiies,
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 1

as well as options for replying to Newsgroup messages via Email.

Other features of RoboMail include:

þ Unlimited capacity for storing messages. RoboMail can handle
an unlimited number of messages in up to 9,999 conferences on
each of an unlimited number of mail systems. The amount of
message data RoboMail can manage is limited only by your
available disk space.

þ Extremely fast and efficient database i/o routines. RoboMail's
database are highly self maintaining, tracking and recycling
aged out messages and orphaned space in data files during new
message importing.

þ Command line support for unattended data imports, exports and
maintenance with full logging of activity.

þ A powerful internal editor, designed with message writing in
mind. Unique quoting capabilities are built into the message
viewer and editor.

þ A sophisticated internal spelling checker with a customizable,
unlimited capacity personal dictionary. The speller can be
used with both the internal or an external editor.

þ Internal tagline management, with conference specific tagline
files, taglines up to sixty characters long, unlimited tagline
capacity, sorting and a variety of automatic selection methods.

þ Sophisticated message addressing capabilities, with support for
cross-posting, forwarding, re-usable distribution lists, a
variety of carbon copy notations, PostLink and InterNet
routing, receipt requests, high-ascii stripping.

þ Full support for external editors, tagline managers, file
listers and archive viewers.

þ Integrated address book with a notepad for each entry.

þ Integrated unlimited-length ASCII file viewing for bulletins
and informational screens.

þ Support for Wildcat style file attachments, with a unique
attachment directory which provides an overview and file
management functions for all file attachments in your system.

þ Extremely fast global or conference specific queries with
support for multiple keywords, wildcards and boolean logic.

þ A sophisticated, fully mouseable user interface with support
for VGA interface characters and VGA 50-line mode, or any video
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 2

mode supported by your hardware. Fully customizable color

þ DESQview, OS/2 and Windows awareness, supporting RSIS i/o for
lightning fast screen displays, as well as time-slice yielding
when running in the background under multi-tasking operating

þ Fully cross-referenced context-sensitive online help.

þ A tutorial system to assist new users in learning to use

þ A filter list for excluding messages from unwanted people.

þ Built-in ANSI art and music capabilities. Options for
automatic and/or non-stop display, high-intensity background
colors and VGA 50 line mode are supported.

þ Conference specific settings for tagline files, alias names,
default archiving behavior, PostLink and InterNet routing,
auto-ansi display, messages to ALL in personal mail, and

þ Mail system specific settings for message archiving defaults,
message-splitting length, mixed-case subjects, receipt requests
and attachments, Fido-Mode as well as a unique mail door
"driver" system that enables easy offline conference management
for a wide variety of QWK compatible mail doors.


RoboMail is a fully-functional ShareWare program, available on many
public-access bulletin board systems throughout the world. Users are
encouraged to try the program for up to 21 days to determine if it
meets their needs. Users who decide to continue using the program
after the evaluation period must "register" their copy to receive a key
file which removes the ShareWare reminder notices from the program.

A tremendous amount of work has gone into the development of RoboMail,
and we continue to improve and support the program every day. Please
do your part to ensure continued development of high quality ShareWare
by registering your copy of RoboMail as soon as you decide to continue
using it. To register, print out and fill in the ORDER.FRM file that
is distributed with the evaluation version or phone Group One BBS at
the number shown below for quick, online registration.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 3


Technical support is available via electronic mail on Group One BBS.
Located in Chicago, Illinois U.S.A., this BBS is available 24 hours a
day with HST/v.32bis compatible modems. The public access telephone
numbers are:

(312) 752-1258 (312) 752-6528

Technical support inquiries may also be sent via electronic
mail to:

CompuServe: 72167,3662

Internet: [email protected]

User-to-user and hosted support is also available in RoboMail and
Robocomm conferences on the following national and international mail

* ILink * RoboNet * PlanoNet
* Intelec * Smartnet * RIME
* Global-Link * U'NI Net * WildNet


o A hard disk with at least 1.5 megabytes of disk space free.

o A 80286 "AT" microprocessor (or better) and 320K bytes of
available conventional memory and at least 1 megabyte of free
"Extended" memory. (Almost any available memory above the 1
megabyte mark can be used.)

o Utility programs to handle compression and decompression
of incoming an outgoing mail packets. RoboMail supports ZIP,
ARJ and LZH format mail packets. By default RoboMail will look
for PKZIP.EXE, PKUNZIP.EXE, ARJ.EXE and LHA.EXE to handle these
files. You don't need all of these programs to run RoboMail,
just the ones that are needed for the mail packet formats you

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 4


If you're an experienced PC user, familiar with other off-line mail
readers and anxious to dive right in to RoboMail, you can get
started quickly by simply extracting all the files from the RoboMail
distribution archives into a sub-directory (usually \ROBOMAIL) of
your hard disk.

Before starting RoboMail, make sure that you have FILES=30 (or
more) in your CONFIG.SYS file and that the utilities necessary to
extract your QWKS and compress your REPS are available in a
directory on your PATH statement.

When you start the program for the first time, RoboMail will make
some necessary data files and ask you to take the new user
tutorial. It's a good idea, and should only take about half an
hour to complete.

Running Under DOS
Just run ROBOMAIL.EXE from within the same directory as your
RoboMail data files. The program will examine your hardware and
memory environment and verify that protected mode operations
are possible. All available extended memory (up to 8 megabytes)
will be used.

Running Under Windows
By default, RoboMail will request up to 8 megabytes of extended
memory before resorting to a disk swap file. This all happens
automatically without you needing to do any special
modifications of any settings. In effect, RoboMail will be
using Window's own swap file mechanism for its own virtual
memory operations. This is very efficient and fast.

If you are running other applications simultaneously and want
to stop RoboMail from using a full 8 megabytes of Windows
virtual memory, you can add a MAXMEM:nnnn switch to your
ROBOMAIL environment variable. However, don't do this unless
you feel RoboMail's appetite for memory is adversely affecting
the performance of other programs running at the same time. For
example, to limit RoboMail to 4 megabytes of extended memory,
you would use the environment variable:


If you need help setting up a program item for RoboMail on your
Windows desktop, use the sample ROBOMAIL.PIF that has been
supplied in this upgrade kit.


RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 5

Running Under DESQView

To run successfully under DesqView make sure that the minimum
program size is set to at least 400 and that you specify at
least 1024 in the PIF setting for Expanded memory usage. A
sample RM-PIF.DVP file has been supplied that contains the
settings needed for normal operations. If you have sufficient
resources, you should increase the amount of Expanded memory to
4096 for optimal performance.

If you find that you are unable to open other windows while
RoboMail is running, you may want to place an absolute limit on
the amount of physical memory that will be requested by adding:

SET ROBOMAIL=MAXMEM:2048 your environment.

Running Under OS/2

You should edit your DOS settings to provide at least 4
megabytes of DPMI memory (8 is better) and 640K XMS (for
fastest swapping to external programs). Because of a conflict
between RoboMail, OS/2 2.1 and PKZIP's usage of DPMI memory, it
is important that you do not remove the supplied PKZIP.CFG file
from your RoboMail directory. The file disables PKZIP's DPMI
usage when shelled out from RoboMail.

Under OS/2 2.1 GA, the TAME21 utility (available on Group One -
The RoboMail support BBS) is required for correct timeslice

If you will be running RoboMail in Windows, DESQview or OS/2, be
aware that RoboMail will automatically yield idle time back to the
operating system when running under these operating systems. For
this reason, you may want to set up RoboMail's session settings to
allow background operation. This will enable you to do other
things during lengthy data management operations, without placing a
drag on the CPU during normal interactive processing. See the
enclosed ROBOMAIL.PIF and RM-PIF.DVP files for suggested settings
for Windows and DESQview. Windows and OS/2 icons are provided in

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 6


If you downloaded RoboMail from a BBS or other online service, you
should follow the following instructions to install the program:

ÚÄ· Verify that your system is set up to provide at least 40 file
³1º handles. To do this, make sure that the FILES= line in the
Ôͼ CONFIG.SYS file in the root directory of your boot disk
specifies a number of 40 or greater. If you change the value,
make sure to re-boot so that the new settings will be in effect.

ÚÄ· Create a sub-directory to hold the RoboMail files. Although it
³2º is not required, \ROBOMAIL is the suggested name and will be
Ôͼ used in the documentation and help file examples. To create
the sub-directory, type MD \ROBOMAIL at the DOS prompt.

ÚÄ· Extract the RoboMail distribution files into the \ROBOMAIL
³3º directory. For example, if the files you downloaded are in
Ôͼ the ZIP format and you have the PKUNZIP utility, you would


ÚÄ· Start RoboMail by typing ROBOMAIL at the DOS prompt. The first
³4º time it is run, RoboMail needs to create its data files and
Ôͼ some sub-directories to hold incoming and outgoing mail. After
this process is complete, you will receive a welcome message
asking you to begin the tutorial for new users.


RoboMail contains three forms of user documentation. The User's
Guide, which you are reading now, is designed to give the user an
overview of all aspects of the program's operation. It does not,
however, delve deeply into the specific operation of every screen
in the program. For that type of information, you should make
liberal use of RoboMail's online, context sensitive help system,
which is accessible at any time with a press of the [F1] key.

New users should definitely begin with the tutorial, which consists
of a brief text file and demonstration mail packet. During
installation, RoboMail will place the TUTORIAL.QWK packet in your
incoming mail directory, where it will be ready for use during
the guided tour contained in the TUTORIAL.DOC file. If you haven't
done so yet, please make a printout of the tutorial documentation
and begin following along with it.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 7


Before beginning our discussion of the operational "nuts and bolts" of
using RoboMail, we need to get a little RoboMail-specific vocabulary
under our belts. RoboMail is a sophisticated database system tailored
exclusively to the needs of electronic mail users. In the current
version, the program only manages messages from BBS systems which
exchange mail via the QWK packet "standard." RoboMail's base
architecture is not specific to any one mail standard, however, and the
system will continue to develop RoboMail so that it can access other
electronic mail providers and formats in the future. In this way,
RoboMail will become an integrating environment for many, if not all,
of your electronic mail activities.

Think of RoboMail as an interactive "filter" for the constant stream of
messages moving back and forth between your computer and the BBS mail
systems that you call. Some messages that come through contain
valuable information that you'll want to keep around for a period of
time, or indefinitely, while others are of little or no value. By
setting up default message management parameters for each of the
conferences on the mail systems you call, you teach RoboMail how to
deal with the majority messages that pass through your system. As you
read and respond to the messages that come in, RoboMail works in the
background, constantly maintaining a customized, rotating buffer of the
information you've seen, ready for review at the touch of a key.

Over time, your message database will provide you with an extremely
valuable resource for reviewing past activity while facilitating your
participation in your conferences. To accomplish this, the RoboMail
message management cycle follows four consecutive steps:

1 - Mail (QWK Packet) Importing
2 - Reading and Archive Action Assignment
3 - Processing/Archiving
4 - Reply (REP Packet) Exporting

RoboMail's databases are highly efficient and self-maintaining. By
setting up the majority of your conferences on a rotating cycle where
old "aged-out" messages are "recycled" during the Mail Importing
process, your RoboMail data files will settle in at a certain size over
time. Routine maintenance of the files is only needed in special
circumstances which we will discuss later.

Because of its database orientation, RoboMail introduces some concepts
which are unique among QWK mail readers. The following two sections
introduce a few of these new concepts.

Archive Actions
To help you most effectively cope with the large amount of messages
which may flow through your message database, RoboMail provides a
specific framework for message management. The central concept of
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 8

the message management philosophy is that you must let RoboMail
know what you want to do with each message you receive. Usually,
this will be accomplished by assigning a default "archive action"
to each message conference you participate in. However, you are
free to override the default and assign specific actions on a
message-by-message basis.

The assigned Archive Actions for each message are displayed on the
upper right portion of the message viewing screen. Three options
are available:

AGE Messages with the "Age" archive action are kept in
the system until the message date plus number of
age days assigned to the message is earlier than
the current system date. Once a message has "aged
out" it becomes a candidate for recycling during
the new mail importing process. By default,
RoboMail will assign "Age 7 days" status to all

KEEP Messages with the "Keep" archive action remain in
your RoboMail database indefinitely. They will not
be removed unless you specifically tell RoboMail
that you want to get rid of them.

DISCARD Messages with the "Discard" message class are
permanently destroyed when the conference they are
in is processed. The space they occupied in
RoboMail's databases is marked for recycling.

Message Classes
RoboMail automatically organizes all the messages in its database
into "Message Classes." The classes correspond to the columns in
the system window of RoboMail's main screen, called the "Control
Panel," which shows the number of messages in each class for each
of your mail systems.

RECENT Messages that have not yet been read, or that have
been read, but not yet "processed" into other
message classes. The is the first stop for
messages after being imported from an incoming mail
packet. The messages in the "Personal" column of
the control panel are a sub-set of Recent messages.

ARCHIVE Messages that have been marked with "Keep" or "Age"
status and processed out of the Recent message
class. Messages marked with the "Age" archive
action will display the number of days beyond the
message date that they are to be protected. After
"aging out," a messages may be recycled by RoboMail
whenever a new message record is needed.
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 9

OUTBOX Messages you have created which have not yet been
exported to the format needed for upload to the

CHRON A "chronological" record of old outbox messages
that have previously been exported for upload to
the BBS. Only outgoing messages which were saved
with the "Copy to Chron" option turned on will be
copied to the CHRON file during export.

FOLDERS Contain messages which you want to categorize and
keep for future reference. Any message displayed
by RoboMail can be copied into one or more folders.


Getting Help
RoboMail offers context-sensitive online help throughout the
program. Simply press [F1] whenever you require further
explanation about the available options or command keys and the
online help system will provide details. For help on using the
help system, press [F1] again while a help screen is displayed.

The help system also contains a full index of all available topics.
To see this index, press [F1] while the main "control panel" screen
is displayed and select "Help Index" from the related topics list
on the right hand side of the screen.

RoboMail also offers "Hint Lines" which appear at the bottom of the
screen to remind you of the most common commands that are
available. When you are in the internal editor a large set of
hints at the bottom of the screen can be toggled on and off with
the [Alt-H] key.

Using the Keyboard
RoboMail's keyboard interface is consistent throughout the many
screens you will encounter while using the program. When data
entry screens are displayed, use any of the following keys:

Key Purpose
F1 Context Sensitive Help
[Down] / [Up] Move to next / previous item
SpaceBar Push, Check, or Select item
Tab / Sh-Tab Next / previous data element
<ÄÙ Go to next element or push button
Ctrl <ÄÙ Accept/Save data and continue
Esc Abort data entry and back up
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 10

For Text Fields Purpose
Ins Toggle INSert status
Del Delete character on cursor
BackSpace Delete character to the left
Ctrl-BackSpace Delete word left
Ctrl-Y Delete to end of field
Home / End Beginning / End of field
Ctrl <-/-> Previous / Next Word
F10 Display pick-list (if available)

ÈÍÍÍÑͼ Use [Ctrl <ÄÙ] as a shortcut to save and ³
³ continue on all data entry screens. ³

Pick Lists
Many data entry fields in RoboMail have pop-up pick lists
available. To see them, press [F10] while the cursor is positioned
within the field. For example, when you are addressing a message,
you can press [F10] for a pick list at the BBS, CONFERENCE and
TAGLINE prompts. You can also get a pick list of appropriate files
at any prompt that asks for a file name. Just press [F10] for a
pop-up directory.

Using a Mouse
RoboMail has full support for your mouse. Make sure that the
appropriate MS-Mouse compatible driver is loaded before you start
RoboMail and a mouse cursor will appear whenever there are options
which can be selected by the mouse. Use the left mouse button to
make selections and the right mouse button to duplicate the
function of the [ESCape] key, which will back up to preveious
levels of the user interface.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 11


All of RoboMail's user-customizable configuration settings can be
accessed via the [F2] key. Simply press [F2] from the main "Control
Panel" screen or while viewing or editing any message for a menu of
available configuration options.

Select "RoboMail Settings" from the [F2] pop-up menu to access
RoboMail's main configuration system. All of the settings in this
section are grouped on six different screens. Use your mouse or
the [PgUp], [PgDn] and arrow keys to position the cursor items you
wish to change. When you are satisfied with your changes, select
the "Save" button or press the [Ctrl-Enter] shortcut key.

The following is a summary of the options available on these
screens. See the online help (Press [F1] to access it) for
detailed explanations of each item.

Directories (1)
On this screen, RoboMail allows you to specify the:

o Location of incoming mail packets
o Location of outgoing reply packets
o Location for storing file attachments
o Archive extraction work directory

Utilities (2)
ARCHIVE MANIPULATION -- The only third party utilities required
by RoboMail are used for extracting and creating compressed
archive files. When processing incoming mail, RoboMail will
automatically detect the archive method used by your mail
systems and call the appropriate utility. The currently
supported archiving methods are ZIP, ARJ and LZH. RoboMail's
default settings for the most popular versions of these
utilities will work without modification in the vast majority
of cases. The default utilities and configuration settings are:

Create ZIP: PKZIP -+-)3 %T @%S
Extract ZIP: PKUNZIP -+-)3 -o %S %T

NOTE: If you are using a version of PKZIP
or unzip earlier than version 2.x you
should remove the "-+-)3" portion of
these commands.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 12

NOTE: If you are sending REPly packets to a
system which is incompatible with
PKZIP 2.x, you should change your
Create ZIP command to:

PKZIP -e0 -+-)3 %T @%S

Create ARJ: ARJ a %T !%S
Extract ARJ: ARJ e -y %S %T

Create LZH: LHA a %T @%S
Extract LZH: LHA x -m %S %T

At runtime, RoboMail will translate "%T" to the name of the
"T"arget file being created and "%S" to the name of the
"S"ource file list of files to be included in the archive.
Please note that RoboMail uses a target file list method when
creating archives. For this reason, the utilities you use must
be able to select the files to include in the new archive via a
file list.

By default, RoboMail will free up 256K of memory for use by the
archiving utilities. If you need to modify this, use the
"Archive Create/Extract RAM" setting on the Utilities
configuration screen.

FILE VIEWERS -- Use RoboMail's internal text file viewer, or
specify an external utility (and the memory it requires). Also,
specify the archive viewing utility to be used when examining
attached files in the attachment manager.

RIP GRAPHICS -- If you will be downloading any messages
containing RIP graphics, then specify the name of your RIP
graphics viewing utility in the space provided. When a message
containing RIP graphics codes is displayed, you can press the
"V"iew message key and RoboMail will shell to DOS and call the
configured utility to display the file.

Message Settings (3)
MESSAGE EDITOR -- Use RoboMail's internal editor or set up your
own editor for creating and replying to messages. This section
also allows you to use RoboMail's internal spell checker when
returning from your external editor.

MESSAGE HEADER STYLE -- Select the order the "To" and "From"
fields appear in message headers.

QUOTING STYLE -- Determines the method RoboMail will use for
formatting the text you are replying to in your outgoing
message. To use the initials of the person you are replying to
as your quoting characters, specify "FL>" in the "Quoting
Characters" option.
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 13

TAGLINES -- Specify the system default tagline file as well as
the method RoboMail will use when selecting taglines for you.

DEFAULT FORWARDS AS PRIVATE -- Whenever you use the ALT-F key
to forward a message to another person, RoboMail will normally
copy the message security from the message being forwarded. If
you would like RoboMail to always assign "Private" as the
default message security when forwarding messages, then enable
this option.

Internet Setup (4)

INTERNET EMAIL CONFERENCE -- If you have access to an Internet
Email conference, use the "System ID" and "Conference" options
to tell RoboMail where your primary Internet Email is. Once
you fill in this information, RoboMail will be able to offer
much more intelligent handling of Internet messages. You'll be
given the opportunity to reply privately via Email to Newsgroup
postings and Internet address grabbing will be automatically
routed to this conference.

INCLUDE MESSAGE ID REFERENCE -- Internet Newsgroup messages
contain message identification numbers which some Unix programs
use to perform message "threading." To make sure that your
message appears in the correct order on these systems, RoboMail
can include the message id references in any Newsgroup replies
it creates. Select this option to enable this feature. By
default, it is enabled.

option OFF if you need to be able to include ASCII characters
above 128 in your outgoing Internet messages. By default,
RoboMail will automatically strip out any of these "High ASCII"
characters. However, some foreign language sets need high
ascii characters, so you can disable this option to allow high
ascii in your messages. NOTE that when this option is disabled
the individual conference settings screens will be used to
control the ascii stripping behavior.

INTERNET SIGNATURE FILE -- RoboMail has the ability to
automatically append the contents of a text file to all of your
outgoing Internet messages. Many people like to include an
"Address Block" at the end of their Email messages, so this
option will do make the process automatic. When you press F10
at this prompt, RoboMail will display a pop-up directory of
files ending in SIG, so you should make sure that you create
your signature files using a .SIG filename extension.

Auto-Pilot & Sounds (5)
AUTO-PILOT -- RoboMail's Auto-Pilot provides a quick way for
experienced users to read and process their recent mail. These
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 14

settings allow you to specify the navigation and message
archiving actions that will be executed whenever you press the
[.] (period key) while reading messages.

When using the [.] and [Enter] keys to read mail, you can tell
RoboMail to automatically issue a Page Down command as you read
through messages that are longer than one screen by selecting
either or both of the "Automatic Page Down" check boxes.

PERSONAL MESSAGE BEEP -- This option allows you to control the
behavior of RoboMail's audible alarm when a message addressed
to you is displayed.

SOUNDS - Provides a quick way for you to limit all the sounds
that are produced by RoboMail during normal operation.

Mail Importing (6)
NEW FILE LISTS -- This option controls the way RoboMail
archives the available file lists received with your incoming
mail packets.

option to specify the number of mail packets that RoboMail will
keep on your disk after they have been imported into your
database. Archived mail packets are kept in your configured
incoming mail directory. They are numbered up to the level you
specify in this option and the first letter of their file
extension is replaced with a "!" character.

DEFAULT AGE DAYS FOR NEW SYSTEMS -- Use this option to specify
the number of "Age Days" that will be assigned to a new system
when it is first imported into RoboMail. RoboMail will assign
this default number to new mail system records as they are
created. You will have an opportunity to modify the value for
the individual systems before the value is assigned to all the
conference records for the new system.

MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE BYTES AND LINES -- RoboMail supports messages
up to 4,000 lines long and 60,000 bytes in length. These
maximums are also the default values. Unless you have specific
reasons to lower these values, they should not be changed fromt
heir defaults. (Note -- if you are using the special version
of RoboMail which operates in "real" mode, these options should
be set no higher than 32,000 and 1,000 respectively.)

System Settings (7)
SET VGA 50-LINE MODE AT START-UP -- Select this option if you
have a VGA compatible video system and you want have RoboMail
set the video mode to 50 lines when first displaying the
control panel screen. Note that you must exit and re-start
RoboMail for changes to this setting to take effect.
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 15

USE VGA INTERFACE -- If you are running in 25-Line mode and
you'd like RoboMail to modify the VGA character set to display
fancy radio buttons and check boxes, select this option. Note
that this option will be automatically disabled if you
subsequently start RoboMail in OS/2, Windows or DesqView.

ENABLE EXPLODING WINDOWS -- Res ipsa loquitur.

DO DBV CLEAN-UP IN THE BACKGROUND -- To speed up operations in
interactive reading mode, RoboMail has the ability to do some
of its needed "house keeping" in the background. This option
is enabled by default. De-select this option if you would like
to disable this feature. You can tell when RoboMail is doing
its background processing by looking for a cute little happy
face character in the upper right corner of the screen.

check box if you want RoboMail to prompt you to export OutBox
messages when you quit the program with active messages in your

MOUSE OPTIONS -- Are controlled with the mouse settings box.
Leftys can use this option to swap their function of their
mouse buttons. You can also use this option to completely
disable all mouse operations if you prefer.

REQUIRE PASSWORD AT START-UP: If you would like RoboMail to
require a password before entering the program, specify a
password in the space provided and check the activation box.
Note that RoboMail will still respond to command line switches
without the password. RoboMail will only request the password
before going into interactive mode.

PROGRAM SWAPPER -- This option controls the disk subdirectory
that RoboMail will use when swapping itself out of memory to
launch other programs. RoboMail will only use a disk-based
swap file when there is not enough physical memory to perform
the swap. If you have a large enough RAM disk, you can specify
it here to make the swap process as fast as possible.

Mail System Settings
Each mail system that you read mail from has its own settings
screen in RoboMail. To access the screen, highlight the system ID
on the control panel screen and press [Enter], or select the
"System Settings" options from the [F2] configuration pop-up menu.

The mail door configuration settings control offline conference
configuration requests. If an imported mail packet contains a
complete DOOR.ID file, RoboMail will be able to fill in many of
the options on this screen automatically. If not, you will need to
fill them in or press the "Driver" button to pick the correct mail
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 16

door configuration driver for the system.

screen are extracted from the incoming mail packets and are not

The DOOR, VERSION, and SYSTEM fields are informational only and
serve no functional use in RoboMail. The CONTROL NAME field should
be filled in with the name to which offline configuration messages
should be addressed. The ADD, DROP and RESET fields should be
filled in with the correct keywords for selecting, abandoning and
resetting conferences.

The CONFIG SUBJECT field should only be filled in if the mail
service supports multiple configuration requests in a single
message. The information you enter in this field will be used as
the message subject when making a multi-part offline configuration

Check the MIXED CASE SUBJECTS ALLOWED box if you want RoboMail to
allow mixed case message subjects in outgoing messages to this BBS.

Check the FORCE HIGH ASCII STRIP (FIDO MODE) box to set the default
option for individual conferences on this mail system. If this BBS
requires that all messages contain low order ASCII characters only,
you should activate this option.

The SPLIT REPLIES AT XXX LINES options allow you to control the way
RoboMail handles long outgoing messages to this mail system. If
you enable this ability, long OutBox messages will be split into
multiple parts during the export process. Many BBS systems limit
the allowable length of posted messages, so you should make sure
that this option matches the requirements of the mail system.

The CONF DEFAULT radio buttons control the default archive option
that will be assigned to all conferences on the mail system as they
are scanned into RoboMail. The default is to Age messages 7 days
before recycling. You should adjust the age days option to suit
your needs. Make sure you are certain if you decide to assign
"Keep" status as the default. You'll be surprised how quickly
large databases of messages can accumulate.

The CHRON ACTION radio buttons control the action that will be
assigned to outgoing messages that have "Copy to Chron" status as
they are added to your chron file. The default is to Age your
outgoing messages for 7 days in the chron before they are available
for recycling. Set the age option to the length of time you want
to maintain your messages in the chron.

The RECEIPTS radio button indicates the type of "Receipt Request"
notifications that are available on the BBS. RoboMail will
automatically detect and allow receipt requests in conferences
which are using the PostLink networking system. If the mail system
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 17

also allows local receipt requests using the RRR prefix in the
message subject, select the appropriate radio button to indicate
this capability to RoboMail.

If Wildcat/Tomcat style file attachments are allowed on the mail
service, then select the TOMCAT STYLE radio button to inform
RoboMail of this capability.

Conference Settings
This setup screen allows you to set all options that are specific
to the individual conferences on the mail systems you call. You
can access it in a variety of ways:

þ By pressing [F2] while reading messages and selecting the
"Conference Settings" menu item.

þ By highlighting a conference in any conference
listing and pressing [F2].

þ By highlighting a conference on the [F8] Conference
Management screen and pressing [F2].

Use the ALTERNATE TAGLINE FILE field to specify the name of a
special tagline file that you want to use for taglines when
creating mail in this conference. This field is optional.

If you use an alias name in the conference, enter the name in the
YOUR ALIAS IN THIS CONFERENCE field. If this field is filled in,
RoboMail will default to the alias name whenever you Reply or
Compose messages in this conference. This field is optional.

The AUTOMATIC ROUTING check box controls Robomail's behavior when
sending private mail in PostLink managed echo mail conferences.
With this option selected, RoboMail will automatically attempt to
route any message sent with Private security.

Selecting the INTERNET CONFERENCE check box will cause RoboMail to
scan messages you reply to for the internet mail address of the
sender. When you address the message, the internet address of the
sender will appear in the routing address field. Note that this
does not automatically force or set routing. You must still select
the "Route To" check box on the message addressing dialog box for
Internet "To:" style routing.

Selecting the MESSAGES TO ALL IN PERSONAL check box will add all
conference messages addressed to ALL to the mail system's Personal
column on the control panel. Note that this occurs only during
message importing, so checking this box will not retroactively
assign personal status to messages which have already been

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 18

The COPY REPLIES TO CHRON FILE check box controls the default
status of the "Copy to Chron" option on the message addressing
screen. If you would like your outgoing messages copied into the
Chron File during export, then you should make sure that this
option is selected. Note that you always have the option of
controlling this behavior individually for each outgoing message.

Select DISPLAY ANSI AUTOMATICALLY if you would like messages in
this conference which start with the [ANSIART] or [ANSI50] markers
to be displayed automatically.

Select PLAY ANSI MUSIC if you would like any ANSI music contained
in displayed ANSI messages to be played. Please note that the
sound settings on the "Pilot & Sound Setup" configuration screen
must also be turned on for music to be played.

The DEFAULT ACTION radio buttons control the default "Archive
Action" that will be assigned to recent messages in this conference
whenever you press one of the action assigning keys on the message
view screen. Select Age, Keep, or Discard to have a default action
assigned or None if you want to explicitly set the archiving action
for every recent message imported into this conference.

Quick Conference Setup
Whenever RoboMail is displaying a pop-up listing of
conferences, you can make very quick adjustments to the various
conferences' default archiving action and age days. To do this,
highlight the conference you would like to change and press any
of the following keys:

[Alt-A] Set default archive action to "Age"
[Alt-K] Set default archive action to "Keep"
[Alt-D] Set default archive action to "Discard"
[F9] Decrease the conference's Age Days by 1 day
[F10] Increase the conference's Age Days by 1 day

Customizing Screen Colors
Press [F2] at the control panel screen and select "Screen Display
Colors" to access the color definition screen. You can use this
screen to control the screen color scheme used by RoboMail. To do
this, use the [+] and [-] keys or mouse to select the color that
you would like to change (indicated between the ">" and "<"
characters on the screen) and use the arrow keys or mouse to move
the small color selection box so that it surrounds the color that

you would like to set. When the desired color is selected, press
[Enter] to confirm the color selection.

On color systems, you can toggle between blinking foreground and
high intensity backgrounds by pressing [Alt-B].

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 19

If you decide that you don't like the changes you have made, use
[Alt-D] to set the colors back to RoboMail's defaults for your
monitor type.

Use [Alt-S] to save your color selections so they will be loaded
each time you start RoboMail. The color definitions are stored in
a file named ROBOMAIL.CLR in the RoboMail home directory.

If you made changes to the color scheme that you don't like, press
[Esc] and the colors that were active before you entered the color
definition screen will be restored.


RoboMail stores all of your mail in its own format, so the mail packets
you download from a BBS or other mail system are useful only as a
convenient means to transport the mail files. To make mail importing as
simple as possible, you should configure your communications program to
place downloaded mail packets into the directory you have specified in
the "Location of Incoming Mail Packets" configuration option on
RoboMail "Directories" configuration screen.

Interactive Processing
To import individual mail packets into RoboMail's message
database system, highlight a mail packet in the "Incoming Mail"
window on RoboMail's main control panel screen and press
[Enter]. RoboMail will extract the compressed files from the
packet and read them into its database. If the mail packet you
selected is from a mail system that RoboMail has not
encountered before, you will be prompted to fill in the default
values for the new mail system. These system default values will
be used when the individual conference records for the system are
created. See the online help system for specific information on
the options available on this screen.

To import multiple packets in one step, use the space bar to "tag"
the mail packets you want to import, then highlight one of the
tagged systems and press [Enter].

Command Line Processing
To import all the mail packets in your incoming mail directory
automatically, start RoboMail like this:


Using this command, however, assumes that you will be on hand to
monitor the mail importing process. If this is not the case and
you want to be sure that RoboMail will not stop for user input
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 20

under any circumstances, start RoboMail like this:


The "/Q" switch tells RoboMail that it should Quit to DOS after
completing requested processing.

If there are multiple packets in your incoming mail directory, and
you only want to import one specific packet, place the name of the
packet after the "/I" switch. for example, to import a specific
mail packet from Grope One BBS in unattended mode, logging the
results to a ROBOMAIL.LOG file, you would use the command:


Automatic Packet Archiving
By default, RoboMail will automatically keep a copy of the most
recently imported mail packet from a system in your incoming mail
directory. It does this by changing the "Q" in the packet name
extension to a "!" character. Since RoboMail's "Incoming Mail"
window only displays files that have an extension beginning with
"Q", these archived mail packets will not be shown in the window.
If you decide that you need to re-import a mail packet that has
been archived, simply change the name so that it starts with a "Q"
and import it normally.

The "." entry in the Incoming Mail window can be used to refresh
the display of the current directory. Use this option whenever
displayed the Incoming Mail directory gets out of sync with the
actual contents of the directory. This can happen if you copy or
remove files form the incoming directory while in a RoboMail DOS
shell, or when another process running in a multi-tasking operating
system updates the files in the directory.

While the default is 1 packet, RoboMail will allow you to specify
that up to 9 previously imported packets should be automatically
archived. Use the "Number of Previously Imported Packets" setting
on the "Mail Importing" configuration screen to control this

Filtering Incoming Mail
RoboMail allows you to set up a "Global Filter List" (also known
as a "twit list") that will be checked whenever it is importing
mail packets. Messages written by individuals listed in your
filter list will not be imported into RoboMail's message database.
You can edit this list by selecting the "Edit Import Filters"
option from the control panel menu, or by pressing [F] while the
control panel is displayed.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 21

Whenever RoboMail imports a mail packet, it adds a summary line to
the IMPORT.LOG file in its home directory. You can use this
information as you see fit. For example. to monitor RoboMail's
import performance or to analyze the source of your messages. The
file is created with one record per line, in comma-delimited
format. it is suitable for import into any program which can
accept comma-delimited data, such as spreadsheets and database

Here's a dissection of a sample log line:

| | | | | | | | | | |

A - Mail System ID
B - Import Date
C - Import Time
D - Total number of messages in the message packet
E - Number of seconds required to import messages
F - Number of new message records added
G - Number of trash message records recycled
H - Number of aged-out messages recycled
I - Number of filtered messages not added
J - Total messages in base
K - Messages per second imported (DöE)


All outgoing messages that you create with RoboMail are stored in the
"OutBox" column of the control panel screen. When you are ready to
send your outgoing mail, you must export it to a "reply packet," which
your communications program (Robocomm, right?) will then upload to the
mail system.

In addition to a number, two special letters may appear in your OutBox
display. An "R" indicates that RoboMail has detected a reply packet
for this mail system in your outgoing mail directory, and a "C"
indicates that there are pending configuration requests (such as
conference add and drop commands) for the mail system which have not
yet been included in your reply packet.

You do not need to worry if there is already an outgoing reply packet
when you are exporting mail. If one already exists, RoboMail will
simply open it up and add your newly exported mail to it.

NOTE: It is your responsibility to DELETE the REPly packet after
uploading it to a BBS. RoboMail has no way of knowing if a REP packet
has been sent, so it will continue adding new outgoing messages to any
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 22

pre-existing REPly packet as it exports. To delete a REPly packet from
within RoboMail, highlight an OutBox cell containing an "R" and press
the [Del] key.

Interactive Processing
To export OutBox items to a reply packet while in interactive mode,
place the highlight bar on the mail system to export and press the
[X] key.

If you have the "Export Query on Exit" configuration option
selected, RoboMail will also check your OutBoxes whenever you quit
the program and will ask for permission to export all outgoing mail
before returning to DOS.

Command Line Processing
You can also export the OutBox messages for one or more systems
with the "/E" command line switch. To export all OutBox message in
your system and immediately return to DOS with no user input, use
the command:


To export OutBox messages for one specific mail system, place the
mail ID of the system after the "/e" switch. For example to export
Group One BBS mail only, you could use the command:


Recalling Exported Replies
If you export mail in error or would like to re-edit or delete an
exported message currently residing in an outgoing REPly packet,
place the control panel highlight bar on the row for the desired
mail system and press the [R] key. RoboMail will prompt for
permission before recalling the replies from the packet.

To avoid possible duplication in your "Chron File" of previously
exported messages, RoboMail will not set the "Copy to Chron" status
of messages that are recalled from reply packets. If you make
changes to a recalled message and want those changes reflected in
your Chron File, then make sure to set the "Copy to Chron" status
of the message after editing it.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 23


After RoboMail has imported your mail packets, the top half of the
control panel screen will contain an overview of the contents of your
RoboMail system. The display contains one row for each mail system you
have imported mail from, and a series of columns, which break out the
type of information available.

News, Welcome and Goodbye Screens
If the mail packets you import contain copies of the informational
screens presented by the BBS, RoboMail will place a colored bullet
point in the "N"ews, "W"elcome and "G"oodbye columns to indicate
which screens are available for viewing. To view the associated
screen, simply place the control panel highlight bar over the
desired bullet point and press [Enter]. Depending upon the
contents of the screen, RoboMail will use your configured text file
viewer or it's internal ANSI color routines to display the
contents of the file.

Under RoboMail's default color scheme (which you are free to
customize) a green bullet point is used to indicate a screen you
have not viewed since it was imported and a red bullet indicates a
screen you have previously viewed.

To delete a screen, highlight the desired bullet point and press
the [DELete] key.

New File Listings
If you have set up the BBS to send a listing of newly available
files inside your mail packets, RoboMail will copy this listing into
your RoboMail home directory using T for the file name.
The "Mail Importing" configuration screen gives three options for
how the file listing will be copied:

þ Insert New Data at Beginning of List
þ Append New Data to End of List
þ Replace Existing List

Whenever new file information is available, RoboMail will display a
green (by default) bullet point in the "F"iles column of the
control panel. Select the bullet point with the control panel
highlight bar and press [Enter] to view the LST file.

The configuration screen also has a "Do Not Store New File Lists"
option which you can select if you do not want RoboMail to deal
with the file lists at all.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 24

RoboMail maintains a database of all the bulletins sent to you by a
mail system. The counter in the "Bltn" column of the control panel
displays the number of bulletins available for each of your mail
systems. By default, a green number indicates that there are some
updated bulletins that you have not yet reviewed and a red number
indicates that there are no unread bulletins on file.

To display a pop-up menu of the available bulletins, highlight the
desired number and press [Enter]. RoboMail will display a list.
Any bulletins which are new or updated since the last time you read
them will be marked with a "*" character. Simply highlight the
bulletin you want to read and press [Enter] to display it.

Since the current "standard" for mail packets does not include the
name of bulletins, RoboMail is unable to give you an intelligent
title for the bulletins it keeps on file. However, by highlighting
one of the temporary descriptions that RoboMail assigns and
pressing the [Alt-E] edit key, you can assign whatever title you
like to the bulletin. RoboMail will maintain this title through
subsequent mail imports and you'll have something more
comprehensible to look at when viewing the bulletin list.

To delete an individual bulletin, bring up the pop-up list of
bulletins, highlight the desired line and press the [DELete] key.
After clearing the bulletin from its database, RoboMail will ask if
you would like to block future importing of the bulletin. If so,
answer yes to the question and RoboMail will not import future
revisions when they are sent by the mail system.

Recent Messages
All newly imported mail shows up in the "Recent" column of the
control panel. This column is the starting point for mail as it
travels through your RoboMail system. The number of recent
messages is displayed as a fraction, with the total number of
recent messages in the denominator and the number of unread recent
messages in the numerator. For example, a recent message entry
of "113/372" indicates that there are 372 recent messages for the
mail system, of which 113 have not yet been read.

To read recent messages, highlight the desired cell in the control
panel's "Recent" column and press [Enter]. RoboMail will display a
pop-up listing of the conferences that contain recent messages.
Select a conference from the list and press [Enter] to begin
viewing messages. See the "MESSAGE NAVIGATION" section of this
guide for further instructions on how to move among the messages in
your RoboMail database.

Finding the First Unread Recent Message
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 25

To quickly find the first unread message for a mail system,
place the control panel selection bar in the recent or personal
column and press the auto-pilot (period [.]) key. RoboMail
will quickly search through all conferences with recent
messages and display the first message it finds that you have
not yet seen.

Automatic Bookmarks
RoboMail maintains an automatic bookmark for each conference
with recent messages. If you leave a conference containing
recent messages that have not yet been processed, RoboMail will
remember the message that you were on and automatically
position you on the bookmarked message the next time you enter
the conference. This makes it easier to move between
conferences on a mail system without fear of loosing your
place. These bookmarks are stored between sessions. They are
cleared whenever all recent messages in a conference have been
processed out, or when you import new messages into the
conference, or when you "pack" the RoboMail databases.

Personal Messages
The "Personal" column on the control panel screen displays the
number of recent messages on each mail system which are addressed
to you. This number represents a sub-set of the messages in the
"Recent" message class. In other words, all of your personal
messages can also be viewed as part of your recent messages. The
personal message column simply provides you with a easy way to view
only those recent messages which are addressed to you.

Messages to ALL in Personal
RoboMail also provides a simple way to force messages within
specific conferences that are addressed to ALL into your
personal messages. To do this, select the "Messages to ALL in
Personal" check box on the individual conference configuration
screens. The default for this option is always OFF. Please
note that because the personal status of a message is
determined during the import process, setting this option ON
doesn't move messages which are already in your database into
the personal message column.

Snoop Mode
For times when you want to look around through your recent messages
without effecting the "read" status of the messages you view,
toggle "Snoop Mode" ON by pressing [S] while viewing the control
panel or [Alt-N] while viewing messages. You can tell if snoop
mode is active by looking at the status information on the bottom
row of the message viewing screen.
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 26

OutBox, Archive and Chron Messages
To view messages indicated in the OutBox, Archive and Chron columns
of the control panel, move the cursor to the row and column of the
control panel that corresponds to the messages you would like to
view and press [Enter]. RoboMail will display a pop-up listing of
the active conferences for the selected system in your selected
message class. Highlight the conference that you would like
to begin reading and press [Enter] to begin reading the messages.

Multi-Part Messages
During import, RoboMail may split messages which exceed 32K in
length into multiple parts. When it does this, the right side of
the subject of the message will contain a number indicating the
message number within the split message sequence and the bottom of
the message will say "Continued in the next message...". To view
the message in its entirety, simply go to the first message in the
sequence and press the [V] key. For convenience, the
complete message will remain on your disk in a MESSAGE.TXT file
after viewing. You can shell to DOS with the [F7] key to access
it. This will be very helpful on very long UUENCODED messages, for

NOTE: Several mail reading utilities are compatible with the
message splitting system used by RoboMail. You will be able to use
the "V" key to reassemble multi-part messages from any person using
one of these products. You can tell when a message was split using
this method because a small dot "ú" will appear on a line by itself
before the line indicating that the message continues.

Wide Messages
Because RoboMail's main message viewing screen does not pan to the
right, you need to press the [V] key to view any part of a message
that extends beyond the right edge of the screen.When you press the
[V] key, RoboMail copies the message to a MESSAGE.TXT file and
calls the configured file viewer to read the message. Once
in the file viewer, you can use the right arrow key to pan the
display to the right and view the previously hidden text.

ANSI Art and Music
RoboMail fully supports ANSI art and ANSI music. Because RoboMail
does not play ANSI music in background mode, ANSI music paced
animation is also fully supported.

Messages which begin with "[ANSIART]" on the first line of the
message will be displayed automatically if you have the "Display
ANSI automatically" check box set on the conference or folder
settings screen. Messages which begin with "[ANSI50]" will be
displayed in VGA 50-Line mode if you have a VGA compatible video
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 27

adapter installed in your computer

Messages which contain "[NONSTOP]" will be displayed without a
pause at the bottom of each screen of information.

Messages which contain "[NOBLINK]" will display with high-intensity
background colors.

Note that the [ANSIART] and [ANSI50] character sequences must be
the first characters contained in a message to cause their desired
effect, but [NONSTOP] and [NOBLINK] may be contained anywhere
within the message. ANSI music will only be played if the "Play
ANSI music" option is selected on conference or folder settings
screen. To view/hear an ANSI message which does not display
automatically, press [V] while the message is displayed on your

File Attachments
RoboMail supports file attachments from BBS systems which use the
file attachment system first introduced in Mustang Software's
Tomcat mail door. PCBoard 15 style file attachments are also
supported. When RoboMail imports mail packets containing file
attachments, it moves the attached file into your configured file
attachment subdirectory and indicates the attached file with the
word ATTACHMENT in the on-screen message header.

To examine the file attached to a message, press the file
attachment hot key, [F6], while a message with the word ATTACHMENT
in its header is being displayed. When you do this, a small
"Attchment Options" window showing the name of the attached file as
well as some file manipulation commands will be displayed:

³ File: ROBO-PR.TXT ³
³ Copy File ³
³ Move File ³
³ Delete File ³
³ Edit File ³
³ List File ³
³ View Archive ³
³ Attachment Manager ³

þ Select COPY FILE to copy the attachment to another location on
your system while still maintaining the original file
attachment in RoboMail.

þ Select MOVE FILE to remove the attachment from RoboMail and
place it in another location on your system.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 28

þ Select DELETE FILE to permanently remove the file attachment
from RoboMail.

þ Select EDIT FILE to load the file into your configured
external editor for editing.

þ Select LIST FILE to display the file to the screen using your
configured file viewing utility.

þ Select VIEW ARCHIVE to display the contents of a compressed
file using your configured archive viewing utility.

þ Select ATTACHMENT MANAGER to look up the current attachment on
the attachment manager screen.

Using the Attachment Manager
The attachment manager screen provides an overview of all files
that are currently attached to the active messages in your
RoboMail system. To access it, press [F6] from the control
panel screen, or select "Attachment Manager" from the [F6]
attachment options pop-up screen. All of the file viewing and
manipulation commands described above are also available here.

In addition, you can also make notes about individual file
attachments by highlighting the attachment and pressing
[Alt-N]. If a file's notes extend beyond the borders of the
attachment manager window, use the [+] and [-] keys to scroll
the data.

The Quit and Resume Bookmark
Whenever you are reading any message in the system, you always have
a quick escape hatch to quit to DOS. Just press [Alt-X] and
RoboMail will quit to DOS with an auto-resume bookmark. The next
time you start the program, RoboMail will ask if you would like to
resume your previous reading session. Answer yes if you would like
to jump immediately to the message you were viewing when you
pressed [Alt-X].

Message Processing
Once you have read your mail and told RoboMail what you want to
do with it, you are ready to finalize the message management cycle.
"Processing" is the final step in the message reading process,
during which RoboMail examines and acts upon the archive actions
you assigned to messages while reading.

There are a variety of ways to initiate message processing. The
Assisted Reading mode will automatically prompt you about processing
when you reach the end of a conference, and the Auto-Pilot can be
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 29

set up to automatically process the messages in a conference before
moving on. In addition, you can always perform a manual process of
the current conference by pressing the [F5] key while reading mail,
or you can process larger sets of messages by pressing [F5] from
the control panel screen.

Depending upon the type and scope of messages you choose to
process, either of the following actions may occur:

o Messages marked with "Discard" status are permanently
deleted, and the disk space they consumed is freed up for
new incoming messages. Such messages are in the "trash."

o Recent messages marked with "Keep" or "Age" archive actions
are moved into the Archive message class.

The key concept to keep in mind here is that message management in
RoboMail is a two step process. Simply assigning archive action
does not effect the message until you process it. Only during
processing does a message move between the Recent and Archive
message classes. For example, if you set the archive option on one
or more messages in the Archive message class to Discard status,
the message will not be removed until you process the archived
messages with the [F5] key.

For those of you who are so inclined, the following diagram shows
the general flow of messages through RoboMail. If this kind of
thing gives you a headache, by all means, feel free to ignore it!

³ ³
³ ÉÍÍ ³ º º º ³
³ º ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ>º ARCHIVE Ì>ͼ º º º ³

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 30


RoboMail's main message reading screen allows you a great deal of
freedom to choose the way you want to read your mail. A wide variety
of commands are available for skipping through the messages, assigning
archive actions, jumping to other message classes, sorting, querying,
tagging, printing and filing. In fact, there are functions attached to
nearly every key on the keyboard.

While this flexibility may seem daunting at first, RoboMail accommodates
both experts and novices simultaneously by providing several methods
for automating nearly all of the common reading functions. In this
section, we'll begin our discussion of mail reading with the Assisted
and Auto-Pilot reading modes, then examine the other specialized
functions in detail.

Assisted Reading Mode
By far the easiest method for reading recent messages in RoboMail
is the assisted reading mode, which is activated by pressing the
[Enter] key. Most people will find this the most convenient and
efficient way to handle their day-to-day message reading.
Here's how the assisted reading mode works:

Whenever you are reading recently imported messages and call up the
assistant by pressing [Enter], RoboMail will perform the following

1 The conference default archive action will be assigned to
the message if it does not already have an action assigned.

2 RoboMail will attempt to move to the next message in the
current conference. If one is found, it will be displayed.

3 If you have reached the end of the current conference, a
menu will be displayed offering you a variety of options:

þ Re-read this conference
þ Move on to the next conference
þ Process recent messages in this conference and move on
þ Process recent messages in this conference and eXit
þ Exit back to the control panel without processing
þ Set an auto-resume bookmark and quit to DOS

If you have reached the last recent message for the current
mail system, RoboMail will display the following menu:

þ Re-read recent messages from this system
þ Move on to the next system with recent messages
þ Process recent messages on before moving on
þ Process recent messages on and eXit
þ Exit back to the control panel without processing
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 31

þ Set an auto-resume bookmark and quit to DOS

If you have reached the last available recent message for
any system, RoboMail will display the following menu:

þ Re-read recent messages
þ Exit back to the control panel
þ Process messages and eXit to control panel
þ Set an auto-resume bookmark and quit to DOS

The assisted reading mode always remembers the option you choose
for each of these menus and will use that option as the default
each time the menu is displayed. This allows you to further tailor
RoboMail's behavior to suit your reading preferences. Starting
from the first available recent message on the first system on the
control panel and using the default responses to each of the
assistant menus will move you systematically though all of your
recent messages. When you finally return to the control panel
after having read all of your mail, you will find that it has all
been processed and moved into the trash or archive as appropriate.

ÈÍÍÍÑͼ Use the [Enter] key on your numeric keypad to ³
³ activate assisted reading mode. If you place the ³
³ middle finger of your right hand on the upper part ³
³ of the enter key, your index finger will naturally ³
³ fall over the [PgDn] key. This will enable you to ³
³ quickly page through messages and move to the next ³
³ message without having to move your hand all over ³
³ the keyboard. ³

Overriding Archive Assignment
As discussed above, the assisted reading mode always assigns
the conference default archiving method to messages as you read
them. However, there will frequently be times when you will
want to override this. For example, if you want to leave a
message in the Recent message class so you can come back to it
later. In these cases, press [Ctrl+Enter] to activate the
assisted reading mode without marking the currently displayed
message with the conference default.

If you want to assign a different archive action to the
message, just press the [A] (Age), [K] (Keep) or [D] (Discard)
key before pressing [Enter] to activate assisted reading mode.
RoboMail will not fill in an archive action if one is already

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 32

Using the Auto-Pilot
RoboMail's auto-pilot, which is activated by pressing the period
[.] key while reading messages. is similar to the assisted reading
mode, but does not display any pop-up menus at the end of
conferences. In addition, the auto-pilot never moves to the next
mail system automatically. The auto-pilot's behavior is
configurable and is controlled on the "Auto-Pilot & Sounds"
configuration screen, where you will find a section with the
following options:

(*) Move to next unread message
( ) Move to next message

(*) Assign conference default archive option
( ) Do not assign an archiving option

(*) Move to next conference automatically
( ) Stay in selected conference

(*) Process conference message before leaving
( ) Do not process conference messages

The default values for these options are indicated above.
Experienced users may find the auto-pilot to be the most convenient
way to quickly handle the recent messages for a specific system.
Start by highlighting a cell in the Recent or Personal columns of
the control panel and pressing the period key to find the first
unread recent message. From there, simply press the period key
again whenever you are ready to move to the next message, and
RoboMail will automatically handle all the navigation and
housekeeping chores for you.

ÈÍÍÍÑͼ Auto-pilot users should be aware that the [>] ³
³ key duplicates the functionality of the [PgDn] ³
³ key. This enables you to rest your right index ³
³ finger on the [.] key and work the left shift key ³
³ if you want to see the next page of the currently ³
³ displayed message. ³

Manual Navigation
For the times when neither the assisted reading or auto-pilot modes
will serve your needs, RoboMail offers a variety of commands for
moving among and assigning archive actions to your messages.

Moving Forward and Back
Use the left and right arrow keys when you want to move between
messages without assigning an archiving action to the currently
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 33

displayed message. If you do want to assign the conference
default action to the currently displayed message before
moving, use the [+] and [-] keys. Note that the default action
is only assigned to messages that had no action assigned

To jump to the first message in the current conference, use the
[Ctrl Home] key. To jump to the last message in the current
conference, use the [Ctrl End] key.

Finding Unread Messages
To search for an unread message in the current conference,
press the [U] key. Make sure "snoop mode" is off if you want
the message to be marked as read after you've read it. To find
the first unread message for a system, use the [.] key from the
control panel screen.

Thread Movement
The term "message thread" is a bit of arcane terminology
inherited from old fashioned online mail systems. It refers
to an ongoing conversation on a specific topic among
individuals in an electronic medium. In RoboMail, all messages
within a conference which share the same subject text
(character case is not significant) are considered to be part
of the same conversation, or thread. Since the default sorting
method within a conference is by message subject (the secondary
key is message number), all messages which belong to the same
thread are grouped together. This makes it easy to follow a
specific conversation within a conference.

To move between threads within a conference, use the [Ctrl] key
with the left and right arrows. [Ctrl ->] will jump to the
first message in the next thread and [Ctrl <-] will move to the
first message in the previous thread.

You can also assign the conference default archive action to
all the unassigned members of a thread before moving on. To do
this, press [*] to assign the default action and move to the
beginning of the next thread, or [/] to assign the default
action and move to the beginning of the previous thread.

RoboMail also provides a way to quickly skip the current thread
and simultaneously mark it for Discarding. To do this, press
the [Del] key. When you do, all messages in the current thread
which do not have an action assigned will get "Discard" status
and RoboMail will jump to the beginning of the next thread.
This command is very useful when previously meaningful threads
degenerate into idle chit-chat or when you are no longer
interested in the topic. Just one press of the [Del] key
assures that the meaningless messages will not become a
permanent part of your message database.
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 34

Moving Between Conferences
RoboMail allows you to move between the various conferences on
a system without returning to the control panel. Use the [Tab]
key whenever you want to immediately jump to the next
conference and [Shift Tab] whenever you want to jump to the
previous conference. You can also select from a list of
available conference by pressing the "conference directory"
[F9] key while viewing messages.

Processing Before Moving
When you are reading Recent messages, you will usually want to
"Process" the messages in the conference that have archive
actions assigned to them before you move on to the next
conference. To do this, use the "process messages" key, [F5].
Whenever you press this key, RoboMail will search the current
conference for messages which have archive actions assigned and
will move them into the trash or archive, as appropriate.
After this process is completed, you will automatically be
moved on to the next available conference. If no more
conferences are available, RoboMail will be return to the
control panel.

Note that if you are using the [Enter] (assisted reading) or
[.] (auto-pilot) keys to read mail you do not need to use [F5]
to process messages. When using these keys, the archiving
process will be done for you automatically before you move to
the next conference.

Manual Archive Action Assignment
In instances where you don't want to rely on a default archive
action for a conference, you can select "None" as the default
action for the conference. (Use the [F2] conference settings screen
to do this) When you do this, RoboMail will not automatically
assign an archive action when you use the [Enter], [.], [+], [-],
[*], or [/] keys.

To move through the Recent messages in such a conference, you will
probably find it very useful to use the manual assignment [a], [k]
and [d] keys. These lowercase keys override whatever action may be
currently assigned to a message with "A"ge, "K"eep or "D"iscard
status, before moving to the next message in the conference. To
manually assign an archive action to the current message without
moving to the next message, use the uppercase [A], [K] and [D]
keys. because of the dual purpose of these keys, you will probably
want to keep your [Caps Lock] key toggled OFF while in RoboMail.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 35

Looking Up Threads in Other Message Classes
During the normal course of your use of RoboMail, you will spend
the vast majority of your time reading "recent" messages. While
you are doing this, all of the mail you have archived during
previous reading sessions is available to you with just one
keystroke. Whenever you are reading recent mail and you want to
know what was going on in the current thread in the past, you can
press [Alt-A] to look up the current thread in your message
archive. If you have assigned Age or Keep status to previous
messages in this thread, RoboMail will immediately jump to the
first matching message. If no messages matching the current thread
are available, RoboMail will attempt to go to the first archive
message in the same conference. If the same conference is not
available, RoboMail will look for any archive message from the same

Once in the archive, you can browse through the messages there in
whatever manner you like, without fear that you will "loose your
place" in the recent messages. When you are done examining the
archive, pressing [Alt-R] will immediately return you to the Recent
message you were on before you jumped into the archive. This
segregation of messages allows you to quickly refer back to
previous portions of a thread without cluttering up your recently
imported messages with archival data.

Similar functionality is available for the OutBox and Chron message
classes. These two classes hold messages you have created with
RoboMail. The OutBox contains messages which have not yet been
exported to a reply packet, and the Chron contains messages which
have been previously exported. To look up your replies or
contributions to a thread in the OutBox, press [Alt-O]. To perform
the lookup in the Chron, press [Alt-C]. When you are jumping to
the OutBox or Chron, RoboMail will use the reference numbers in
the message header to try and find the exact message referred to.
When you are ready to return to your place in Recent messages,
press [Alt-R].

Although the previous discussion implies that you can look up
threads in other classes only when reading Recent messages, that is
not the case. [Alt-A], [Alt-O], [Alt-C] and [Alt-R], can always be
used to look up the currently displayed thread in the target
message class. For example, RoboMail will have no problem looking
into the Chron message class from the Archive.

Viewing the Message Index
To see an overview of all messages in the current conference, press
the [Ins] key while reading messages. RoboMail will present a
scrolling index displaying selected data from all the messages in
the conference. Use the arrow keys to move through the list.
Additional columns of data are available off the right side of the
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 36

screen, so use the right arrow key to scroll over to them if you
want to see them.

The "Flags" column on the message index display can contain a
variety of characters, depending upon the status and class of the
messages being displayed. The possible flag characters are:

Symbol Meaning
------- -------------------------------------------------
A The message archive option is Age
K The message archive option is Keep
D The message archive option is Discard
ž The message is private
r You have replied to this message
c OutBox message will be copied to chron
H OutBox message has Hold status
1..9 Message is included in a tag group
 A bulk process marked the message as read
ð The message has appeared on your viewing screen

See the online help screen for a summary of the keystroke commands
that are available while viewing the message index screen.

Sorting Conference or Folder Messages
Whenever you enter a conference or folder, RoboMail always displays
the messages in its default order, sorted by message subject and
number. If you would like to change the order that the messages
are displayed in, simply press [S]. RoboMail will display a pop-up
menu of available sort options. Select the order you want and the
messages within the conference will be quickly re-sorted to your
newly specified order. Note that this is a temporary sort, which
remains in effect only as long as you stay in the conference.
Performing a query or moving out of the conference or folder for
any reason will cancel the special sort.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 37

Numeric Keypad Navigation Summary
RoboMail main navigation keys were chosen to make the majority of
navigation and reading chores accessible from the numeric keypad.
The summary diagram below should be helpful by giving you an
overview of the general layout of the commands. Make sure your
[Num Lock] key is toggled OFF to access these commands:

Previous thread Ä¿ ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ Next thread
Mark with default³ ³ Mark with default
³ º³/ º³* º³- º<ÄÄ Previous message
ÔÍͼÔÍͼÔÍͼÔÍͼ Mark with default
+Ctrl ÄÄÄÄÄ>³H º³U º³PUº³ º
last msg ÔÍͼÔÍͼÔÍͼ³+ º<ÄÄ Next message
ÚÄÄ·ÚÄÄ·ÚÄÄ·³ º Mark with default
Previous ÄÄ>³<-º³ º³->ºÔÍͼ
message ÔÍͼÔÍͼÔÍͼ<ÄÄÄÄÄÄ Next message
+Ctrl ÄÄÄÄÄ>³E º³D º³PDº³E º
1st message ÔÍͼÔÍͼÔÍͼ³ntº<ÄÄ Assisted Reading Mode
ÚÄÄÄÄÄ·ÚÄÄÄ·³ eº (+Ctrl for no mark)
Message ÄÄÄ>³ Ins º³Delº³ rº
Mark with discard

Also, don't forget that RoboMail uses the numbers 1-9 for "tagging"
messages and 0 for clearing tags, so you can access these functions
from the numeric keypad as well by holding down the shift key.

Function Key Command Summary
RoboMail's usage of function keys is consistent throughout the
program. The following table summarizes their functions:

Key Function Where
F1 Help Everywhere - context sensitive
F2 Configuration Everywhere - context sensitive
F3 Address Book Control Panel, Messages, Addressing
F4 Bulk Mark Control Panel, Messages
Shift-F4 Bulk Discard Control Panel, Messages
F5 Processing Control Panel, Messages
F6 Attachments Control Panel, Messages
F7 DOS Shell Everywhere
F8 Conference Mgmt. Control Panel, Messages
F9 Conference List Control Panel, Messages
F10 Pick List Many data entry fields
Tagline Mgmt. Control Panel, Messages

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 38

Tagging Messages and Writing Text Files
RoboMail allows you to write one or more messages out to text
files. To send only the currently displayed message to a text
file, press the [T] key while viewing messages and select "Current
Message Only" from the pop-up menu that is displayed. RoboMail
will prompt you for the file name that you want to append the
current message's data to.

To send multiple messages out to the same text file in one step,
you need to "tag" the desired messages. RoboMail provides a great
deal of flexibility in the way it allows you to tag messages
because it provides 9 separate "tag groups." To assign a message
to a tag group, display the message on screen and press any
number between [1] and [9] on your keyboard. The "Tag" indicator
in the message's header will be filled in with the number you
pressed, indicating the tag group that the message belongs to.

Tag groups can contain messages from any message class, system or
folder in your database. Tagged messages remain as a member of
their tag group until their tag is cleared. You can clear the tag
from an individual message by displaying the message and pressing

Bulk Tagging and Untagging
To tag all the messages in the current thread, conference or
system, press [Ctrl-T] and select an option from the pop-up
menu. Note that only messages in the current message class
(Recent, Archive, Chron, OutBox) are tagged.

To remove all tags from messages that are of a specific message
class, press [Ctrl-U] while viewing messages, followed by a
number from 1 to 9, indicating the tag group that you want

To write all members of a tag group out to a text file, press [T]
while viewing messages. RoboMail will display a menu of the
currently defined tag groups and prompt you for the name of the file
that you want to append to. Press [F10] for a pop-up directory, or
type a file name and press [Enter] to begin the writing process.
RoboMail will ask if you want to clear the tags from messages as
they are written to disk.

Printing Messages
RoboMail allows you to send the currently displayed message out to
your printer. To begin the printing process, press the [P] key.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 39


This section describes the various ways that you can create outgoing
messages in RoboMail. As discussed previously, all outgoing messages
are stored in RoboMail's OutBox message class. For details on
exporting the messages to a reply packet, see the section of the
documentation entitled "Exporting OutBox Messages."

Composing a Message
To compose a new outgoing message, press the [C] key. If you are
currently reading messages in a conference when you press [C],
RoboMail will immediately go into your defined editor (internal or
external) and allow you to compose the text of your outgoing

To compose a new outgoing message from the control panel, place the
highlight bar on the row of the target system and press the [C]
key. RoboMail will present a listing of all the conferences that
are available on the system. To find your desired conference, move
the highlight bar to either the conference number or conference
name column. When you do, the listing will be instantly resorted
by the contents of the current column. If you have the listing
sorted by conference number, type in the number of the desired
conference number and press [Enter]. If the listing is sorted by
conference name, begin typing the name you are looking for.
RoboMail will begin narrowing the available choices to match what
you have typed so far. When the display is sufficiently narrowed,
highlight the desired conference name and press [Enter]. Next,
edit and save the outgoing message text.

After saving your text, RoboMail will present the message
addressing dialog box, with the current system and conference used
as the defaults. See the "Addressing Messages" section below for
details on saving the completed message.

Replying to a Message
You can reply to any message in RoboMail by pressing [R]. This
includes messages which you have placed in a folder. Regardless of
where a message may be in the system, RoboMail always knows the
origin system and conference of all the messages it stores. When
you press [R] to create a reply, RoboMail places the complete text
of the message you are replying to in another window of your
editor. If you are using the internal editor, you can use the
"Next" command [Alt-N] to view or edit the original message text.
Traditionally, this original.txt message has been used to "quote"
back part of the original message to its sender. RoboMail also
provides a much simpler method for quoting the original message
with its [SpaceBar] tagging method.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 40

To reply to the recipient of a message, rather than the sender, use
[Alt-T] to start the reply process instead of [R].

Automatic Quoting
RoboMail can help take a lot of the drudgery out of creating
quoted replies with it's unique [SpaceBar] tagging system.
While you are reading messages in RoboMail, you will notice
that there is a highlight bar available, which scrolls through
the text of message you are currently reading. (If it's not
currently visible, toggle out of "browse mode" by pressing the
[Scroll Lock] key.) To use RoboMail's automatic quoting
capability, simply use the [SpaceBar] key to tag all the lines
that you would like to quote into the reply. When you press
[R] to create the reply, RoboMail will automatically quote the
tagged original text into your outgoing reply.

You can modify the style of the quoted reply text on the
"Message Settings" configuration screen.

Replying to Newsgroup Postings
If you are reading a message in conference which has the
"Internet Conference" option set but is not the conference
defined as your primary Email conference, RoboMail assumes that
you are reading an Internet "Newsgroup." Whenever you reply to
a message in a Newsgroup, RoboMail will ask how you would like
to reply:

--> ³ Create a public follow-up Article ³ <--
³ Reply privately via Internet Email ³

If you want to post a public response to the entire newsgroup,
then select the default "Create a public follow-up Article"
option. When you do this, RoboMail will change the recipient
name to ALL (Newsgroups do not support sending a reply to a
specific person) and the reply will be sent public to ALL in
the current conference.

If you would like to reply privately to the person who posted
the article via Internet Email, select the "Reply privately"
option. When you do this, RoboMail will scan the message for
an Internet address and route the reply privately to your
defined Email conference.

NOTE: RoboMail will only present the "Newsgroup Reply" menu
if you have defined a primary Internet Email
conferences on RoboMail configuration screen #4 -
Internet Setup.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 41

Replying to Mailing List Messages
When you subscribe to an Internet mailing list, you will
receive messages which contain a "Reply-To:" field in the
Internet message header. This is the address you should reply
to if you want to send a posting out to everyone that is on the
mailing list. However, there may be times when you will want
to respond privately to a person who posted to the Mailing
List. To do this, you would use the address indicated in the
"From:" field of the Internet message header.

RoboMail does its best to make the process easy for you.
Whenever you respond to a message in your configured Internet
Email conference, RoboMail will scan for both "Reply-To:" and
"From:" addresses in the Internet message header. If both are
found and the indicated addresses are different, RoboMail will
present a pop-up menu asking which of the addresses you would
like to respond to. Just select the one you want to begin the
message creation process.

Replying via Email in non-Internet Conferences
As more and more people join the Internet it is becoming
increasingly common to see someone post a question or message
in a standard echoed (non-internet) BBS conference and ask for
a reply via Internet Email. At other times a person may simply
include their Internet address in a message and you may decide
that you want to respond to their message privately. In either
case, RoboMail makes it very easy to respond to any message
containing an internet Email address via your configured Email
conference. To do this, make sure that the message
highlighting bar is toggled on (Use the [Scroll Lock] key if it
is not) and highlight the line containing the Email address.
Now, when you press the [R] key to begin the reply process,
RoboMail will ask if you want to respond to the highlighted
address via your Email conference. That's all there is to it!

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 42

Forwarding Messages
To forward all of the message you are currently viewing to another
user, press [Alt-F]. RoboMail will make a copy of the message and
display the Message Addressing dialog box to allow you to input the
desired address.

While preparing the forwarded message text, RoboMail will look for
the file FORWARD.FRM in its home directory. If the file is found,
RoboMail will merge the contents of the file at the top of the
forwarded message. The default forwarding header file looks like

ÛßßßßßßßßßßßÛ Original From: {FROM}
Û MESSAGE Û Date/Number: {DATE} - {NUMBER}

Before inserting the header in the outgoing message, RoboMail will
translate the fields shown above in curly braces with the
appropriate information. You may edit the FORWARD.FRM file to suit
your requirements. If you need to edit the forwarded text before
sending it to the OutBox, you can press the "Re-Edit" button on the
message addressing dialog box.

Addressing Messages
Before saving an outgoing message to the OutBox, RoboMail always
presents the message addressing dialog box, which allows you to
modify the message's header information as well as several
message-specific switches.

Fill in the BBS and CONFERENCE fields with the appropriate
destination for the outgoing message. Both fields offer pop-up
lists via the [F10] key.

Fill in the TO field with the name of the person that you want to
receive the message. Press [F10] or [F3] to access your RoboMail
address book if you want to pull in a name from there.

The default value for the FROM field is your login name on the mail
system. If you have an alias name defined on the conference
specific setup screen, then RoboMail will use that alias name for
the default. Use caution when modifying this field. For security
reasons, most mail system will not allow you to post messages using
anything other than you real name or a Sysop-approved alias name.
If the name you use in this field is not recognized as valid, the
mail system will reject the message.

The RE field should contain the subject for the message. If the
outgoing message is a reply, then RoboMail will copy the subject
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 43

from the message you are replying to. If the "Mixed Case Subjects
Allowed" check box on the Mail System Settings screen has been
selected, then RoboMail will allow you to enter lower case letters
as part of the subject.

If you have automatic tagline selection enabled on the "Message
Setup" configuration screen, RoboMail will have already selected a
tagline file from your primary or conference specific alternate
file for you. To change it, place the cursor in the TAG field and

edit the tagline or and press [F10] to select from the pop-up
Tagline Manager screen.

Choose PUBLIC or PRIVATE security for the message by selecting from
one of the Security radio buttons.

Select the COPY TO CHRON FILE check box if you want to have this
outgoing message copied to your chron file during the reply
exporting process. The default for this option is controlled on
the "Conference Settings" screen.

Select the DISABLE HIGH ASCII (FIDO) option if you want to
translate all characters above ASCII 127 in the outgoing message to
an asterisk. The default for this option is controlled on the
"Conference Settings" screen.

If the mail system you are sending the message to supports the
capability, select the RECEIPT REQUESTED check box to request a
receipt. Depending on the conference, either a PostLink or RRR
format receipt will be selected automatically. If both receipt
types are available, the PostLink format will take precedence.

To send the outgoing message to specific mail systems, select the
ROUTED field and fill in the appropriate routing information in the
field. If you are replying in a PostLink or Internet conference or
are using an entry from the Address Book, RoboMail may have already
supplied the appropriate routing address for you.

If the destination mail system supports file attachments, you can
specify an attachment in the ATTACHMENT field. For a pop-up
directory of files, press [F10]. When you save the message, the
specified file will copied immediately into RoboMail's \HOLD

To save the outgoing message and any copies to your OutBox, select
the SAVE button, or press the [Ctrl <ÄÙ] "Save and Continue"
hot key from anywhere on the message addressing screen.

To edit the outgoing text again, select the RE-EDIT button.

To abort the message creation/editing process and return to the
previous screen, select the CANCEL button, or press the [Esc] key.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 44

Accessing the Address Book
Whenever the message addressing screen is displayed, you can
always access your RoboMail Address Book by pressing the
address book pop-up [F3] key. When you select a name, RoboMail
will return to the addressing screen and fill in the TO, BBS,
CONF and ROUTING information from the address book entry.

When addressing messages, keep the fact that RoboMail places no
limits on the destination of your reply in mind. One of the

major benefits of RoboMail's database orientation is that you
can easily "Cross post" messages between mail systems and
conferences. Simply modify the BBS and CONF fields to match
your desires and let RoboMail do the rest.

Sending Copies
To send copies of a message to other people, select the
COPIES button on the Message Addressing screen. When you do,
RoboMail will display its Distribution List screen.

Press [Ins] to add names to the list manually, or press [F3] to
pick names from your address book. RoboMail will allow up to
4095 names on a distribution list. Press [Del] to remove a name
from the list and [Alt-E] to edit an existing entry on the

The distribution list "notation" field controls the type of
notations that will be made in the copied and original message
to indicate the copies that were created. RoboMail supports
the following notation types for copied messages:

COPY - Press [C] to set this notation type. The COPY.FRM
file will be merged and inserted at the top of the copied
message text and the recipient of the copy will be listed
in the "cc:" list at the bottom of the message. The
default COPY.FRM header file looks like this:

ÛßßßßßßßßÛ Original To: {TO}
Û COPY Û posted: On: {SYSTEM}

You may edit this file if you like. The fields shown above
in curly braces are merged with the appropriate data as the
header is inserted into the copy.

BLIND - Press [B] to set this notation type. This notation
type also merges the COPY.FRM file at the top of the copied
message, but the copy recipient will not be listed in the
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 45

"cc:" list at the bottom of the message.

NONE - Press [N] to set this notation type. When you do
this, the message will be copied verbatim to the copy
recipient and the copy recipient will not be listed in the
"cc:" list. With this type of notation, the recipient of
the copied message will have no indication that the
original of the message was not addressed to him or her.

To set the security on the copied message, press [P] to toggle
the copy between "Public" and "Private" status. If the copy is
private, "Priv" will appear in the notation column of the
distribution list.

If you plan to use the distribution list again in the future,
you can save it to a file by pressing [S]. Then, type in a
file name and extension (".DL" is recommended) to save the
file. Once your distribution list is complete, press [Ctrl<ÄÙ]
to return to the message addressing screen.

To restore a saved distribution list, enter the distribution
list screen and press [L]. Then, type in the desired file name
or press [F10] for a pop-up directory of *.DL.

When adding names to a distribution list via the address book,
you can tag entries with the [*] key. When you press [Ctrl
<ÄÙ] to leave the address book screen, all tagged entries will
be moved copied to your distribution list.

Re-Editing an Outgoing Message
Once a message has been saved to RoboMail's OutBox message class,
you can still revise it by displaying the message on the screen and
pressing the [E] or [R] keys. When you do this, RoboMail will
place the outgoing text in the editor for modification. In
addition, if the outgoing message is a reply, RoboMail will look
through its message database and attempt to set up the original
message in the other edit buffer (which you can access with [Alt-N]
in the internal editor.)

Re-Addressing an Outgoing Message
To edit just the address of an OutBox message, display the
message on screen and press [Alt-E].

Re-Sending a Chron Message
RoboMail allows you to quickly re-send any previously exported
message that you have copied to your chron file. To re-send a
message from your chron file, display the desired message on screen
and then press [O] to copy the message into your OutBox.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 46

Placing Outgoing Messages on Hold
If you decide that an OutBox message should not be exported during
your next message exporting process, you can place a hold on the
message by displaying the message on screen and pressing [H]. When
you do this, the "Hold" check box on the upper right portion of the
message header display will be filled in, indicating that the
message will not be exported. Messages placed on hold will remain
in your OutBox indefinitely, until you explicitly toggle off the
hold by pressing [H] again, or by pressing [D] to discard the

Discarding Outgoing Messages
To discard an OutBox message that you've decided should not be
sent, display the message on screen and press the [D] key to assign
discard status to the message. When you do this, the "Discard"
check box in the message header will be filled in. this indicates
that the message will be cleared from the outbox during the next
message export process. This gives you a chance to change your
mind about a deletion. Just press [D] again to toggle off discard
status if you decide you really do want to send the message.

Notes on Message Splitting
The Mail System Settings screen for each mail system contains a
"Split replies at XX lines." configuration option. the default
is 90 lines. If this option is selected, RoboMail will split
outgoing messages which exceed the indicated length into separate
messages during the export process. Do not be concerned that long
messages appear as one single message while they are in your
outbox. This is a convenience for you, so that you can re-edit
or re-address the message as necessary.

If you use RoboMail's internal editor, a "M:" indicator appears in
the editor's status line to indicate the message number of the
current cursor position.


RoboMail's internal editor is a full featured and tailored specifically
to the task of creating electronic messages. In addition to editing
the original and outgoing messages, you can also open, edit, close and
save standard text files.

When you first begin using the internal editor, a large box containing
many of the editor common command keys is displayed using the bottom
four lines of the editor screen. When you no longer need this help, you
can toggle the hint display off by pressing [Alt-H]. The following
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 47

tables describe the standard command keys that are available in
RoboMail's internal editor:

Navigation Commands
Home Move cursor to start of line
End Move cursor to end of line
Up/Down Move cursor up or down one row
Left/Right Move cursor left/right
Ctrl-Right Move cursor to next word
Ctrl-Left Move cursor to previous word
Ctrl-PgUp Move cursor to top of file
Ctrl-PgDn Move cursor to bottom of file
Tab/Sh-Tab Move to next/previous tab stop

Text Editing Commands
Del Delete character at cursor
Ctrl-Backspace Delete word left
Ins Toggle Insert/Overwrite mode
Alt-D Delete current line
Alt-T Delete to end of line
Alt-Z Delete to end of file
Ctrl-Enter Re-format current paragraph

Block Management Commands
Alt-M Toggle block marking mode on/off
Alt-L Toggle line marking mode on/off
Alt-P Mark to end of paragraph
Alt-U Turn off (Unmark) current block
[+] Copy marked block to buffer
[-] Cut marked block to buffer
Del Delete marked block
Alt-Q Quote marked block to outgoing
Alt-I Insert (paste) buffer contents

File Management Commands
Alt-E Edit another file
Alt-N Move to next file/message
Alt-F Import a text file
Alt-W Write (save) file to disk
Alt-X Save outgoing message and exit
Alt-C Close the current file's editing window
Esc Exit without saving message

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 48

Other Commands
F2 Editor Settings Menu
Alt-S Spell check current message
Alt-G Edit quick-merge assignments
Alt-J Toggle right justification
Alt-A Toggle automatic formatting
Alt-H Toggle hint display
Shift F1-F10 Execute quick-merge

Indenting Paragraphs
RoboMail's editor allows you to indent paragraphs by establishing a
temporary right margin while you are editing the current document.
To do this, place the cursor at the position in a paragraph that
you want to indent and press [Alt-P]. Once the paragraph is
marked, you can use the left and right arrow keys, as well as the
[Tab] and [Shift Tab] keys to set the temporary right margin.

When you have the margin set the way you want, press [Alt-U] or
[Ctrl Enter] to end the paragraph marking mode.

After the right margin has been set, all newly entered text will
be formatted within the margins. To reformat text that was entered
previously, use the [Ctrl Enter] reformatting key. Note that your
right margin setting is not saved between editing sessions.

Tips on Quoting
The easiest way to quote portions of a message into your reply is
to use the [SpaceBar] to tag the lines of a message that you want
to quote while you are reading the message. When you press the
[R]eply key, all groups of consecutive lines that you tag will be
bundled together as quotes in your new outgoing reply, formatted
according to the "Quoting Style" option you specified on the
"Message Setup" configuration screen. (Note that the [Scroll Lock]
key must be toggled OFF for the highlight bar to be visible)

However, there will be some instances when the space bar tagging
methods won't do the exact job you want. For example, you might
want to quote a single sentence in the middle of a long paragraph
or you might want to retain the format (spacing) of the quoted
material in your reply.

To perform custom quoting using the internal editor, make sure that
the cursor is positioned in the outgoing message at the position
that you want the quoted text to be inserted, and then press
[Alt-N] to switch to the message you are replying to.

Next, position the cursor at the beginning of the text that you
would like to quote and decide on the quoting style (formatted or
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 49

unformatted) that you need. Press [Alt-M] to start marking text in
word-processing mode if you want to reformat or [Alt-L] to start
line marking mode if you want to maintain the current formatting.

Once all of the text you want to quote has been marked, press
[Alt-Q] and RoboMail will quote the marked text back into your
outgoing message and position the cursor right under the newly
quoted text.

Using Quick-Merge Files

RoboMail's internal editor has the ability to quickly insert the
contents of up to 10 text files with a single keystroke. Select
"Specify Quick-Marge Files" from the [F2] pop-up configuration menu
to access the screen where you define these files.

All of the quick-merge files must reside in the RoboMail home
directory. Simply fill in a file name (or press [F10] for a pop-up
list) next to the function key which you wish to assign.

When you are in the internal editor, simply hold down either
[Shift] key and press the desired function key to instantly insert
the contents of the defined file at the cursor location. You can
use these files for any text which you commonly insert into
outgoing messages, such as signatures or network mail addresses.

Merge Macros

When creating outgoing messages with either the internal or
an external editor, you can imbed the following tokens into your
text and RoboMail will substitute the appropriate information while
it is reading the message text from disk:

Current Date: {DATE}
Current Day: {DAY}
Current Month: {MONTH}
Current Year: {YEAR}
Day of Week: {DOW}
Current Time: {TIME}
Conf #: {CONFNUM}
Conf Name: {CONFNAME}

Original to: {TO} \
Original from: {FROM} \
Original Date: {MSGDATE} -- Use only when creating
Original Time: {MSGTIME} / a reply
Subject: {SUBJECT} /

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 50

Setting the Right Margin
RoboMail's default right margin in 72, which provides a message
width of 72 characters. If you want to change this for future
editing sessions, press [F2] while you are in the editor and select
the "Editor Settings" option.

Control Characters in Messages
RoboMail's internal editor does not support editing text files or
messages which contain ASCII characters below 32. These "control
characters" are used internally by the editor to maintain its
internal formatting information. If you attempt to edit a file
containing control characters, you may see strange results on your
screen. If you frequently need to edit messages containing control
characters, you may want to configure RoboMail to use an external
editor by default. If you only need to do this occasionally, you
might prefer to momentarily change your RoboMail configuration by
hitting [F2] only when you need to edit messages with control

NOTE: RoboMail's tagline management system is separate from the
internal editor. Taglines may contain any ASCII character between
1 and 255.

NOTE: Many message networks do not support messages containing
control characters. Please make sure that your mail system
supports this type of message before uploading packets containing
messages with control characters.


To check the spelling in an outgoing message, notepad or any other
file, press [Alt-S] while editing the text. When you do this, RoboMail
will begin checking at the beginning of the current cursor line of the
document, skipping over any lines which contain text quoted from
another message. Upon reaching the end of the file, RoboMail's spell
checker will loop back to the beginning of the document and continue
checking until reaching the original cursor position.

If you are using an external editor and have checked the "Use Internal
Speller After External Edit" on the "Message Settings" configuration
screen, RoboMail will call its spell checker after returning from your
editor and will begin checking the outgoing message from the
beginning of the outgoing message, skipping over any lines containing
quoted text.

When a questioned word is found, RoboMail's speller will highlight the
word and begin displaying suggested spellings in its lower window. If
you spot the correct spelling in this window, simply press the letter
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 51

next to the word you want to use and RoboMail will replace the
questioned word with the correct spelling and continue on with the
check. You do not need to wait for RoboMail to fill up the window with
suggestions before selecting the replacement word. Usually, RoboMail
will find the correct spelling on its first or second guess.

If you don't want to use one of the displayed alternate spellings,
select one of the following options:

Press [1] to skip the word one time only.

Press [2] to skip this word wherever it occurs in the message

Press [3] to add this word to your personal dictionary. Once
added, it will be used in all future spelling checks.

Press [4] to edit the word to correct the spelling manually.

Press [Esc] to cancel the spelling check. using this option
does not "undo" any changes which have been made.

Editing Your Personal Dictionary
Select "Edit Your Personal Dictionary" from the [F2] pop-up
configuration menu for editor/speller setup to display a listing of
all the words you have added to your personal dictionary. To find
the word you want to modify, simply begin typing it. RoboMail will
automatically narrow the displayed set of words so that the
displayed list always matches what you have typed so far. When the
word you want is highlighted, press [Alt-E] to edit the word or
[Del] to delete it.


RoboMail allows you to create and maintain an unlimited number of
"folders," each of which can contain an unlimited number of messages.
You can use these folders any time you want to group messages dealing
with a specific topic or circumstances together in a common area.
RoboMail displays a list of all the folders you have created in the
lower left corner of its control panel display. The list is sorted
alphabetically and also shows the current number of messages contained
within the folder.

Copying Messages to Folders
To copy the currently displayed message to a folder, press [F].
When you do this, RoboMail will pop-up a searchable listing of all
the folders you have currently defined. To search for a folder,
simply begin typing the name of the desired folder. To create a
new folder, press [Ins] and enter the name of the new folder. To
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 52

edit the name of an existing folder, highlight the desired folder
and press [Alt-E].

Deleting Folders
To permanently delete a folder and all messages within it,
highlight the folder name on the control panel and press [Del].
After confirmation, the folder will be removed.

Folder Message Management
Message management inside of a RoboMail folder is similar to
standard message management, except that RoboMail does not allow
the "Age" archive action within a folder. The process for deleting
individual messages in folders is identical to deleting message
from archives. Simply set the archive action to "Discard" and the
process the folder with [F5] to remove all messages marked for

Replying to Folder Messages
You may still reply to a folder message just like any other message
in your RoboMail database. Even though the system id for the
message has been changed to FOLDER__ and the conference number is
now a unique number assigned to the folder, RoboMail always remembers
the origin system ID and conference of a message. When you address
your reply, the correct information will be posted in the Message
Addressing dialog box.


RoboMail's Address Book provides an easy means for accessing and
keeping track of frequently used or important mail addresses. To
access the address book, press the address book hot key, [F3] while
viewing the control panel, message or message address screens. If you
are currently viewing a message on screen when you press [F3], RoboMail
will ask if you would like to add the sender or recipient of the
current message to the address book.

To search for a name, simply begin typing the name. RoboMail will
narrow the display to show only matching records as you type.

To add names to the address book, press the [Ins] key and fill in the
appropriate name, system, conference and routing information. Pop-up
lists are available for the system and conference fields by pressing
[F10] while the cursor is in the field.

To delete an entry, highlight it and press the [DELete] key. To edit
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 53

an existing entry, highlight it and press [Alt-E].

To make notes about an address book entry, press [Alt-N]. If the notes
you've created extend beyond the boundaries of the Address Book window,
use the [+] and [-] keys to scroll the data.

When adding names to a distribution list via the address book, you can
tag entries with the [*] key. When you press [Ctrl <ÄÙ] to leave the
screen, all tagged entries will be moved copied to your distribution

Specifying Routing and Email Address Information

RoboMail supports two styles of "routing," which is the process
used to identify a specific Email address or mail system when
creating a message. In both cases, you fill in the routing
information in the "Route to:" field of the address book and/or
the message addressing screen.

The most common use for routing information is to identify the
Internet Email address for a person. When you create an
Internet address book entry for a person, you simply type in their
Real Name in the "Name:" field and their Internet Email address in
the "Route To:" field. When RoboMail saves the messages it will
place a "To:
" line on the first line of the message.
Your mail system will use this information to make sure the message
finds its way to your intended recipient.

The other Routing style used by RoboMail is "RIME" or "Fido" style
routing. Whenever you specify information in the "Route to:" field
for a person or message that is not going to an "Internet"
conference, RoboMail will fall back to this style of routing. With
this style, RoboMail will include a "->" on the first line of the
message, followed by whatever routing information you entered.

Grabbing Internet Email Addresses

Whenever you respond to a message in a conference that has the
"Internet Conference" flag set, RoboMail will automatically scan
the message for the appropriate return address information and
include it in the "Route To:" field on the message addressing
screen. But how can you easily add this information to your
address book for use in the future? To do this, simply press the
F3 (Address Book) hot key and RoboMail will pop-up a small menu:

Û Access Address Book Û
--> Û Add Sender to Address Book Û <--
Û Add Recipient to Address Book Û
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 54

Press "S" or select "Add sender to Address Book" and RoboMail will
automatically scan the message for an internet address and include
it in the "Route To" field in the address book. In addition, if
you have specified a primary Email conference on the "Internet
Setup" configuration screen #4, RoboMail will automatically assign
the appropriate system ID and conference to the message.

Often you will see a person giving their internet ID in a
regular BBS conference that is not your Internet Email or a
Newsgroup conference. You can still grab their Internet address
and add it to your address book. To do this, highlight the line
containing the person's Internet Email address and press the F3
key. (If you do not have a moveable highlight bar displayed on
screen, use the [Scroll Lock] key to enable it). RoboMail will
scan the current line for an Email address and if one is found, it
will ask for permission to grab the address from the current line:

Ûßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßß Question ßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßßÛ
Û Grab Internet address from the current line? Û
Û  Yes Ü No Ü Û
Û ßßßßßßßßßß ßßßßßßßßßß Û


One of RoboMail's most valuable features is its ability to perform very
fast, multi-keyword searches across a single conference or your entire
message database. The search conditions you create can contain boolean
logic, as well as wildcard characters.

Global Searches
To perform a search across your entire message database press [Q]
while the control panel screen is displayed. RoboMail will present
its "Quick Scan" data entry screen, which allows you to fill in a
search expression for the message text as well as the message
header. A radio button between the two fields allows you to apply
AND or OR logic to searches which include information in both
fields. You must enter a search string in one of the fields
provided. If you enter a string in both fields, make sure that you
select the logic type that is appropriate for your query.

For example, if you wanted to find all messages about RoboMail,
regardless of whether RoboMail was mentioned in the message header
or message text, you would enter ROBOMAIL in both fields and select
OR logic. On the other hand, if you wanted to find all messages
about RoboMail to or from Joe Blow, you would enter ROBOMAIL in the
message text field, select OR logic, and enter ("ROBOMAIL" | "JOE
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 55

BLOW") in the Message Header field. See the "Creating Search
Expressions" section below for full details on the syntax of
RoboMail's search expressions.

Conference and Folder Searches
While you are reading messages, you can easily perform a search on
just the messages contained in the current conference or folder.
To do this, press [Q] while you are reading messages. RoboMail
will present a dialog box which allows you to input a search
expression and define the areas of the message to search. When you
have the search defined as you want, press [Ctrl-Enter] or the
"Start" button to begin the search. When the search process is
completed, RoboMail will display only those messages that match the
search criteria. In addition, any line of a message which
satisfies your defined search expression will be highlighted.

To cancel the query and return to viewing all messages in the
conference, press [Q] again.

Creating Search Expressions
The easiest way to input a search expression in RoboMail is to
simply type the exact text you would like to search for in the
fields provided and press [Enter]. When you do this, RoboMail will
search for an exact match (including any imbedded spaces) in the
target text. For more complex searches, you can include
wildcards and/or boolean logic in the search string.

Wildcard Searches
Wildcards in search strings work the same way that they do in DOS
file names. The question mark "?" character is used to represent
any single ASCII character and the asterisk "*" character can be
used to match any series of characters.

The following examples demonstrate the use of wildcards in search

You Enter RoboMail Would Match
--------------- ---------------------------------------
ROBO?AIL RoboMail, ROBOJAIL, robobail
ROBO*AIL Can robots be taught to sail?

Boolean Logic
For even more searching power, RoboMail allows you to specify
multiple search keys with a single string and control how they
related to each other with boolean logic. RoboMail supports
the following boolean operators:

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 56

Operator Purpose
-------- ---------------------------------------
& Specifies "and" logic (ampersand)
| Specifies "or" logic (pipe character)
! Specifies "negation"
( ) Used to specify logic precedence

When using boolean logic, you must surround all of your
search keywords with double quotes (the " character).

For example, to search for messages which contain references to
motorized vehicles which are not motor cycles, you could

(("MOTOR" & "VEHICLE") | "CAR" ) & (! "CYCLE")

Translating this search string to English yields:

"Find all messages containing the terms MOTOR and VEHICLE
or containing the term CAR but not containing the term

Here's an even more complex example which also shows that
wildcards can be combined with boolean logic during searches:

"ROBO*" & ("MEMORY" | "?MS " | "INSTALL") & ("OS/2" | "WINDOW")

This expression would be useful for locating messages about
configuring memory when setting up RoboMail or Robocomm under
Windows or OS/2.

RoboMail search strings are never case sensitive and can be up
to 100 characters in length. RoboMail will give an error
message if you attempt to input an invalid search string.

Saving and Restoring Search Expressions
Whenever RoboMail is prompting you for a query condition, you can
press [F10] to access the Query Manager pop-up screen. This screen
allows you to maintain a list of search expressions that you will
use frequently. Simply press [Ins] to add a new expression,
[Alt-E] to edit an expression and [Del] to delete an expression.
to access a saved expression when you are performing a query, press
[F10] at the search expression prompt, highlight the desired item
from the pop-up list and press [Enter] to select it.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 57


RoboMail's conference management screen offers a convenient interface
for communicating with the mail service to specify the conferences to
be included in your mail packet. To access the screen, press [F8]
while reading messages, or highlight a mail system in the System window
of the control panel and press [F8] or select "Conference Management"
from the [/] pop-up main menu.

The conference management screen is divided up into four windows. The
large window on the left side of the screen contains a list of all
available conferences on the BBS. If RoboMail has seen mail in the
conference before and you have not issued a drop request for the
conference recently, then SEL will appear next to the conference name
and the entire line will be displayed in a different color to let you
know that the conference is already selected for scanning on the mail

The right side of the screen is made up of three windows which hold the
pending Add, Drop and Reset configuration requests which have not
yet been exported to an outgoing mail REPly packet. To move the cursor
between windows, use the [Tab] and [Sh-Tab] keys.

þ To search for a conference name, place the cursor in the
conference names window and begin typing the conference name to
look for.

þ To join or add a new conference on the mail system, highlight
the name of the conference to add and press [Alt-A].

þ To abandon or drop a selected conference, highlight the name of
the conference to drop and press [Alt-D].

þ To reset the last message read in a conference, highlight the
conference name and press [Alt-R] to reset the conference's
last read pointer.

þ To delete a configuration request, highlight the configuration
request to remove and press the Delete key.

RoboMail will let you know whenever you have "pending" conference
configuration requests which have not yet been exported to an outgoing
package by placing a "C" in the system's OutBox on the Control Panel.

NOTE: Some mail services only send information about the conferences
that you currently have selected for reading, and others can be
configured to do this. Since RoboMail supports up to 9,999 conferences
it can support, you should configure the mail service to include
information about all available conferences in your mail packet if it
is at all possible to do so. This will enable you to take advantage of
RoboMail's advanced conference management capabilities

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 58

Quick Conference Drop
RoboMail provides a shortcut key when you want to quickly drop the
conference you are currently reading. To do this, press [Alt-D]
while reading messages and RoboMail will automatically create a
conference drop request.

Setting Pointers
Whenever you create a "Reset Conference" configuration request,
RoboMail will open up a window to ask you to specify the new
message pointer. Depending upon the mail system you are dealing
with, a variety of options are available.

Some mail systems require that you do not enter anything into the
reset request option. Doing this will set your last message read
pointer to the last available message in the conference. Other
systems will allow or require you to specify a specific message
number to reset the pointer. Still other systems will allow you to
specify a negative number, which means "send me the last xxx
messages in the conference."

Check with your mail system operator to see which capabilities are
available to you.


RoboMail provides a wide variety of features to feed the habits of
the tagline addicted. Taglines may be up to 60 characters in
length and are maintained in standard DBF format files (although the
file gets a RTF extension). There is no practical limit to the number
of taglines that RoboMail can manage.

Specify the default tagline file on RoboMail's "Message Settings"
configuration screen. This is the file that will be used for tagline
selection on all conferences which do not have a customized tagline
file specified. To access the "Tagline Manager" for general tagline
file management, press [F10] from the control panel screen. At the
tagline file prompt, press [Enter] to access the default tagline file,
or press [F10] again for a pop-up list of existing tagline files. To
create a new tagline file, enter a new name at the tagline file name

Importing and Exporting Tagline Files
Once the Tagline Manager screen is displayed, press [Alt-I] to
import the contents of a standard ASCII tagline file. the file
should be formatted with one tagline per line. Any tagline longer
than 60 characters will be truncated during the import.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 59

To export the contents of a RoboMail RTF tagline file to a standard
text file, press [Alt-X] while the tagline manager is displayed.
Enter any valid file name at the prompt and the export will begin.

Sorting the Tagline File
No problem! Just press [Alt-S] any time the tagline manager screen
is displayed.

Querying the Tagline File
RoboMail can also quickly locate key words within a tagline file to
help you make a better tagline selection. To do this, go into the
tagline manager pop-up screen and press the [Q] key to initiate a
query. You can use wildcards and boolean logic in your search
expression. See the section of this document entitled "Creating
Search Expressions" for complete details. You can also access the
Query manager screen by pressing [F10] at the search string prompt.

Using an External Tagline Manager
RoboMail provides support for external tagline managers which place
their selected tagline in RoboMail's home directory in a file
matching the pattern JH*.REP.

Upon return from the external message editor, RoboMail will check
its home directory for any file matching the JH*.REP pattern. If
the file is found, RoboMail will use the tagline found in the file
when it presents the Message Addressing screen.

You can also use an external tagline manager with the internal
editor by creating a TAGLINE.BAT file in your RoboMail directory.
before presenting the Message Addressing screen, RoboMail always
checks its home directory for the TAGLINE.BAT file. If it is
found, RoboMail will execute the batch file, which should be
written so that it ultimately places a tagline in a JH*.REP file in
the RoboMail home directory. When returning from TAGLINE.BAT,
RoboMail will search for a tagline file and will use it instead of
pulling a tagline from its internal database.

RoboMail also checks for the TAGLINE.BAT file whenever you press
[F10] in the "Tagline" field on the Message Addressing screen. If
it's found, it will be run and RoboMail will look for a JH*.REP
file when it regains control.

You can also replace RoboMail's "Tagline Manager" screen with your
external tagline management utility by creating a TAGMAN.BAT file.
Whenever you press [F10] from the message viewing or control panel
screen, RoboMail checks for this batch file before going into its
own tagline manager screen.
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 60

Selecting Taglines
RoboMail will automatically select taglines from the specified
tagline file based upon the rule you specify in the "Taglines"
section of the "Message Settings" configuration screen. If you
want to override its automatic selection, place the cursor in the
"Tagline" field of the Message Addressing screen and press [F10].

Conference-Specific Tagline Files
To specify a customized tagline file for a conference, input the
tagline file name in the "Alternate Tagline File" field on the
conference specific settings screen. RoboMail will select taglines
from this file whenever you compose a new message or reply in the

Stealing Taglines
RoboMail helps you to steal taglines from the messages you read by
"Grabbing" them from the currently displayed message. To do this,
make sure the message text selection bar is toggled on (press
[Scroll Lock] if it's not) and highlight the line of the message
containing the tagline you want. Press the [G] key and RoboMail
will allow you to edit the line to remove any unwanted parts before
saving it to your active tagline file. Next, specify the target
tagline file and press the "Save" button to copy your edited
tagline into the file.


RoboMail also provides a suite of commands for bulk manipulation of
assigned archive actions as well as global processing of marked
messages. This section details the processing commands which can be
used in interactive and unattended (command line) mode.

Bulk Marking
Press the bulk marking hot key, [F4], from the control panel to
assign archive actions to large groups of messages from a single
mail system. The two sets of radio buttons on the bulk marking
dialog box allow you to specify the class of messages (personal,
recent, archive or chron) that you would like to modify, as well as
the archive action to assign.

By default, the bulk marking process will not touch any message
which already has an archive action assigned. To override this
capability and assign the desired action to all the messages in the
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 61

specified message class, select the "Replace existing assignments"
check box.

If you have changed the number of aging days on one or more
conference configuration screens and want to update the age days
currently assigned to the specified messages, select the "Update
age days with default" check box.

To perform bulk updates of the archive actions assigned to messages
in a single conference, press [F4] at the message view screen to
access the "Bulk Action Assignment" dialog box. Start by
specifying the messages that you would like to update. Select ALL
to modify the action assignments of every message in the
conference, or MARKED FOR... to specify messages which already have
particular archive actions assigned. Next, specify the new archive
action (Age, Keep, Discard or None) to assign to the selected
messages. If you would also like to update the age days currently
assigned to the selected messages, select the UPDATE AGE
DAYS check box and fill in the new number of age days in the space

Bulk Processing
Although most message processing is done via the assisted
reading mode or auto-pilot while reading mail, there may be times
when you want to process a large number of messages all at once.
To do this, go to the control panel screen and press the
message processing hot key, [F5]. RoboMail will present a menu
with the following options:

þ Recent messages
þ All messages
þ Recent messages from all systems
þ All messages from all systems

Highlight the option you want to execute and press [Enter] to
start the message processing. To bulk process all messages in your
RoboMail database in unattended mode, use the /r command line

Discarding Aged Out Messages
Archive messages which have "aged out" are not automatically
deleted by RoboMail. Instead, they remain in the archive as
candidates for recycling during the message importing process.
During importing, RoboMail always looks into the archives for aged
out messages before making the decision to add a new record to the
database. If an aged out message record is found, it is used to
hold the new incoming message.

Under normal circumstances, this method provides a maximum visible
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 62

lifespan for your archived messages without requiring a great deal
processing time maintaining the message archives. However, there may
be times when your message archives are abnormally large, and you
may want to remove aged out messages from the archives immediately.
If you decide you want to do this, place the control panel cursor
on the row for the system you want to process and press [Alt-F4].
When you do this, RoboMail will begin looking through the system's
archive for messages that are aged out. (Remember that a message
is considered aged out when the message date plus the number of age
days assigned to the message is earlier than the current date).

If any aged out message are found, they will have "Discard"
assigned as their archive action, and RoboMail will ask for
permission to process the discarded messages out of the system's
archive. Use the /a /r command line switches if you would like to
perform this process in unattended mode.

Packing Your Data Files
"Packing" refers to the process of permanently removing all the
disk space consumed by "deleted" data from a database. RoboMail
keeps a strict watch on all discarded data within your message
database and will efficiently recycle it during the message
importing process. For this reason, packing RoboMail's data files
is not normally necessary.

For times when you are attempting to free up as much disk space as
possible, or if you are making a conscious effort to permanently
reduce the number of messages in your RoboMail database, RoboMail
provides a set of routines for packing its data files. Press [P]
from the control panel screen to call up a menu of available
packing options:

PACK MESSAGE HEADERS ONLY (DBF) -- This option minimizes the
disk space consumed by your the "message headers" in your
database. The effected files are MSGS.DBF and MSGS.CMX. This
option is relatively fast and may result in slightly improved
performance if you have a very large number of "Discarded"
messages in your database. Use the /p switch to initiate this
process from the command line.

PACK VARIABLE LENGTH TEXT (DBV) -- This option removes
recyclable space from the ROBOMAIL.DBV file. This file
contains the vast majority of data in your RoboMail database.
All message text, BBS screens, bulletins and address book notes
are contained in this file. Since this file is the largest
part of your RoboMail installation, packing it can yield the
greatest reduction in disk space consumed. You should pack
this file only when you suspect that the total number of
non-discarded messages in your database has been significantly
reduced. Packing this file requires free disk space matching
the size of your ROBOMAIL.DBV file and, depending on the speed
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 63

of your computer and the size of your DBV file can take a
significant amount of time. use the /v switch if you want to
initiate this process from the command line.

PACK SUPPLEMENTAL DATA -- This option is almost never required
and will result in only very modest space savings. However, it
is very fast! "Supplemental" data includes items such as your
attachment directory, address book and BBS system configuration
data. There is no command line switch for this option. Since
it is so fast, it will always be performed whenever you use the
/p switch mentioned above.

PACK EVERYTHING -- To absolutely remove all possible recyclable
space from your RoboMail database, use the following command
line switches:

RoboMail /a /r /p /v

Add /q to the command line if you want RoboMail to return to
DOS after processing.

Viewing the Database Status Screen
Press [D] from the control panel screen for a concise summary of
your RoboMail message data. You can use this screen to help you
determine the potential benefit of packing your database. If the
number of "recyclable" messages greatly exceeds your normal message
flow, then you may want to consider packing your databases as
indicated above.

Message Management Tips

þ Set up conferences you don't care about keeping a record of to
default to "Discard" or "Age 0 Days" status. Assigning discard
status to a message means that it will be permanently lost when
you "process" the messages. For this reason, some users prefer
"Age 0 days" to discard status because this moves messages into
the archive as a holding area for recycling, where they can
still be viewed up until the time the message import process
reclaims them. The only downside to this approach is that
message importing will be slightly less efficient and your
ROBOMAIL.DBV file may grow larger than it would if you always
assigned Discard status to messages you don't want to keep

þ Set up conferences you do care about to "Age xx Days" where xx
is the number of days worth of messages (based on the message
date, not the import date!) to keep.

þ Only use "Keep" as a default archive action on conferences that
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 64

you really, really want to keep. If you do this, then be
ruthless about overriding the default archive action while
reading messages if a message doesn't look like something you
will be caring about.

þ Think of the "Archive" message class as a self maintaining
folder for each defined conference. Avoid creating folders
which match the name of a conference. This duplicates data.


RoboMail provides a variety of command line switches to help you move
processing and maintenance events to times when you will not be using
your computer for other tasks. Type "ROBOMAIL /?" at the DOS prompt to
display the following table of command line options:

º /Q Quit to DOS after processing (unattended mode) º
º /I Import QWK packet º
º /I Import all QWK packets in incoming directory º
º /E Export all OutBox messages for a system º
º /E Export OutBox messages for all systems º
º /A Mark all aged-out messages for deletion º
º /R Process all marked messages º
º /F Pack just the message text (FPT) file º
º /V Pack just the auxiliary text (DBV) file º
º /P Pack all data files (except DBV) º
º /O Search and destroy all orphaned messages º
º /L Log command line results to º
º /M Force monochrome mode (disable VGA font tricks) º
º /C Force color mode º

For example, if you use Robocomm to collect and send your mail packets
and have an agenda called MAILRUN to do the work, the following batch
file would handle exporting of your outgoing mail to a reply packet,
executing the agenda for moving the mail, importing of received packets
and would log the whole thing to your Robocomm.log file.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 65

rem Sample batch file to demonstrate how you can use Robocomm and RM
rem together to handle all of your mail exporting, gathering, sending
rem and importing automatically and unattended.
rem This batch file assumes:
rem Robocomm is installed in \ROBOCOMM
rem RoboMail is installed in \ROBOMAIL
rem Your Robocomm agenda used to move mail is called MAILRUN
rem A nice feature of this approach is that RoboMail will write notes
rem into your Robocomm log file indicating its progress with mail
rem processing

rem export all outbox messages
cd \robomail

rem run robocomm to deliver/get the mail
cd \robocomm
robocomm /aMAILRUN /R

rem import all received mail
cd \robomail

rem If you're not going to be around, why not minimize RoboMail's
rem data files?
robomail /a /r /v /p /q /L\ROBOCOMM\ROBOCOMM.LOG
rem all done!

Command Line Examples

RoboMail /i /q

Import all mail, return to DOS

RoboMail /e /q

Export all mail, return to DOS

RoboMail /a /r /v /p /q

Make all RoboMail data files as small as possible and
return to DOS.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 66

Import mail from GROUPONE BBS and log results to the

RoboMail /e /p /q

Export all OutBox messages, minimize the MSGS.DBF file and
quit back to DOS.


You can control certain aspects of RoboMail's memory management via its
DOS environment variable, ROBOMAIL. You should try running RoboMail
without a ROBOMAIL environment variable at first until you are
confident that everything is working properly. Setting a ROBOMAIL
environment variable is not required and should only be attempted by
individuals who are familiar with memory management terminology, or who
need to disable certain features for compatibility. The format of the
ROBOMAIL environment variable is:


The available commands are:

MAXMEM:nnnn Sets the maximum amount of physical memory to use before
swapping to disk. The default is 8096K which is more
than sufficient for the vast of RoboMail installations.
In a task switching or multi-tasking environment you may
want to lower this value. As an example, to change the
maximum amount of memory to use to 2048K (2MB) use

MINMEM:nnnn Sets the minimum amount of physical memory that must be
available to run the program. If there is not enough
memory available an error message is generated and the
application quits back to DOS. The default is 1024K which
is the recommended minimum. As an example, to change the
minimum amount of memory to 1536K (1.5MB) use "MINMEM:1536".

TRACE Installs special monitoring code to assit in technical
support requests. Do not use this option unless
instructed to do so by RoboMail support.

DEBUG Installs special monitoring code to assit in technical
support requests. Do not use this option unless
instructed to do so by RoboMail support.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 67



Depending on your mail reading habits, RoboMail's data files can
grow very large. Unfortunately, DOS does not do a very good job of
managing the way large files are placed on the hard disk. After
repeated use under DOS, your RoboMail data files will become
"fragmented" and your hard disk will have to do a lot of extra work
to access the various parts of the files, as requested by RoboMail.
Regular use of a disk defragmenting utility will provide a
significant performance boost to applications, like RoboMail, which
access large data files.


A disk cache program will be very helpful. RoboMail does a
tremendous amount of disk i/o during the mail importing and
database packing processes. Delayed, lazy or staged writes will
provide a very significant performance boost, but should only be
used if you are sure your computing environment, including your
RoboMail installation is "stable."


Disk compression utilities such as Stacker or DoubleSpace in DOS
6.x are excellent tools for some data processing needs. However,
they create a *very* large performance degradation of database
systems which manage large quantities of data. RoboMail is such a
system. During the message importing and database maintenance
processes, RoboMail is updating many large files and the disk
compression utility sits in between RoboMail and the disk
subsystem creating a large drag on system resources. In addition
to this, most experts agree that delayed disk writes with
compressed volumes is very dangerous, so many utility providers are
disabling delayed writes (by default) when disk compression is in
use. This creates an even greater reduction in optimal performance

If you are using disk compression, you should know that RoboMail's
performance will increase by nearly 300% on the average system when
the program is running on a non-compressed volume!


IBM's OS/2 operating system provides an ideal environment for
RoboMail use. Here's a quick rundown of why:

þ OS/2's Preemptive multi-tasking means large mail imports
and database maintenance operations can be run in the
background. Also, RoboMail is "OS/2 aware" and will yield
RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 68

time slices to OS/2 while it is waiting for user input.
(NOTE that with OS/2 2.1 he TAME21 OS/2 fix is required
for proper time-slice yielding. This file is available on
Group One BBS)

þ OS/2's Super-FAT and HPFS filing systems provide
significantly enhanced data access speeds and integrity.
HPFS significantly reduces fragmentation of RoboMail's data

þ OS/2 can provide DOS sessions custom-tailored to RoboMail's
needs. Large amounts of virtual DPMI memory provide an
ideal environment.


Understand the limits of your machine. RoboMail's database engine
is very fast, but it's not magic. Since there is virtually no
limit to the number of messages that RoboMail can manage in its
database, the only practical limit becomes the capacity of your
machine. If you become dissatisfied with RoboMail's performance,
re-adjust your aging parameters to reduce the number of messages in
your database. Use the [Alt-F4] key at the control panel or the /A
command line switch to immediately discard "aged-out" messages.

Also, remember that RoboMail's databases are extremely
self-maintaining. There is very little need for regular "Packing"
of the databases. The only time you should really need to pack is
when you have significantly reduced the total number of messages in
your database.


Although RoboMail has been thoroughly tested and was developed with
data integrity as a top priority, you should always keep a good backup
of your RoboMail data. The message database you develop over time may
become very valuable to you. And, depending upon the amount of mail
you read, the data files managed by RoboMail can become very large.
It's very likely that the largest single files you find on your hard
disk will be created and managed by RoboMail. The size of these files
will make them more likely to become damaged in the event of a minor
hard disk or file system fault on your machine. Please make a full
backup of your RoboMail data a regular part of your regular PC
maintenance routine!

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 69


If you ever experience an abnormal exit while using RoboMail, it is
very important that you re-boot your machine, then run a disk
verification utility before attempting to restart RoboMail. If
RoboMail does not quit via its standard shut down routines, it is
likely that your mail data files will still be "open." Attempting to
reuse the RoboMail files before rebooting and running a file system
verification utility like DOS's CHKDSK or SCANDISK program can result
in data integrity problems.

If you are receiving messages such as "Insufficient physical memory"
then it is possible that there is not enough free memory available to
RoboMail. If you receive this message every time you try to run the
program and you have a machine with at least 2 megabytes of memory
installed, then you will need to reduce the memory used by other parts
of your system. If you receive it only occasionally, then there may be
some utility which is getting loaded in your system only when you
perform certain tasks. Disk cache utilities and RAM disks are the most
common TSR utilties which can consume large auantities of RAM. Consult
the documentation for your TSR utilities to see how to limit the amount
of memory they consume.

Another possible source of difficulty results from disabling DOS's
STACKS facility. If you are experiencing difficulties running RoboMail
and you have a STACKS=0,0 in your CONFIG.SYS file,please change the
line to STACKS=9,256 and re-boot your machine before re-starting

Under some circumstances, certain memory resident utilities
(particularly "virus checker" utilities) have been found to interfere
with RoboMail's operations. RoboMail is a sophisticated program which
fully exercises your computer's memory and disk subsystems. Because of
this, it is more sensitive to conflicts than many other programs. If
you encounter problems and have TSR (terminate and stay resident)
programs loaded at the same time as RoboMail, please try running a
"clean" session without any of your TSR utilities loaded. After
verifying that RoboMail runs properly without the utilities, add your
TSRs back one at a time until you isolate the TSR utility that is
causing the incompatibility.

If you ever recieve a "RoboMail 1.3 Internal Error" message while the
program is operating, a file called ERROR.LOG will be created in your
RoboMail directory. Be sure to send this file along with your request
for technical support so we can better disagnose the error condition
that you encountered.

RoboMail 1.3 User's Guide Page 70