Monday, July 31, 2006

AQ Mail Unleashed!

For years people have asked about having their AQ mail sent to their e-mail address instead, but for technical and privacy reasons, the most I'd ever allow is a notification to let you know new mail was waiting for you on Atlas Quest.

No more! AQ mail has been unleashed and can now work its way into an e-mail box near you! It requires two steps:

1. You must make sure your e-mail address has been verified as being active and belonging to you.

2. Change your preferences to have AQ mail forwarded to your private e-mail address.

Both can be done from the Preferences page on Atlas Quest.

Now here's where things get really interesting. If you decide to reply to one of those messages, I had to overcome a few problems. First, for privacy reasons, I didn't want to expose the sender's personal and private e-mail address. But the mail program still expects an e-mail address. What to do, what to do....

And it struck me. Send the e-mail back to Atlas Quest and put it into the senders AQ mailbox. If you could reply to a message from, for instance, AQ could pick up the e-mail, parse the e-mail address for the trailname, and put the results into AQ mail. I'd have liked to use, but alas, a lot of those e-mail addresses are already in use. I needed a new domain name that would not conflict with any other e-mail address in existence! Thus, I settled on

So any message mailed to will now be forwarded into the AQ mail system. If the trailname has spaces in it, those should not be included since e-mail isn't very fond of addresses with spaces in them. Mail can be sent to me at, for instance.

There is another problem, though: The dreaded spam. What's to stop a spambot from learning of that e-mail address then sending a lot of crap to my AQ mailbox? Well, what if I only allow messages to come from a known e-mail address? Every member on Atlas Quest has a registered e-mail address, so if I can match the e-mail address from the person who sent a message to an e-mail address in the Atlas Quest database, I can be pretty certain at least the message is from a legitimate AQ member and thus is not likely to be spam.

So if you do try to send a message to, you better do it from an e-mail address that's registered to an account on Atlas Quest. Otherwise, it'll just be automatically deleted and I won't even know it ever existed.

So there you have it. You can start receiving AQ mail directly to your e-mail account, and even reply like you would with a regular ol' e-mail. Your private e-mail address will always stay private and your public e-mail address will be

Because this system is just another form of AQ mail, any other restrictions to AQ mail still apply. If you send a message with your e-mail client to, you'll see it show up in your Sent folder in your AQ mailbox. If you receive mail to, it'll still show up in your AQ mailbox (though it'll be marked as having already been read since you received it in your e-mail box).

And there is no support for attachments, you won't be able to add color or change the size or font of the text. You won't be able to include images (and links will automatically be generated if you start the link with http:// ). As a whole, it's not really recommended that you quote any replies since results can often be unpredictable, though technically it should work.

It's still AQ mail--just now disguised as an e-mail address. =)

Harness the power! Set your preferences today!

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