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Old 26 May 2012, 04:51 PM   #1
mrsmashy
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Join Date: May 2012
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Polarismail

Hi everyone,
I've been lurking here on and off for a long time trying to make "that decision" on which email service to use. I appreciate all the time that has gone into the comments and reviews that I've read on the forums here.

Recently,I've been looking very closely at PolarisMail since the feedback is consistently good and it seems to fulfill what I expect from an email service.

Before I sign up, I do have a few questions that I'd like to put out to the community.

I will be accessing my email through the web client, a Linux MUA and my Android phone. I'd like to by able to sync my contacts (and calendar, though that is less important) between Polaris and my desktop and mobile phone. Does anyone have any suggestions about good means of doing this in terms of compatible clients? Will I need Polaris's Basic or Enhanced service?

My permanent email address (provided by my university) simply forwards my email to a third-party. Will I be able to send email from Polaris's webclient that appears to come from this email address? I'm not concerned so much about my other clients since I can use my university's SMTP server for sending.

This isn't about the mail service, but why does PolarisMail require my phone number for me to sign up? I can just provide a fake number, but it still bothers me. Similarly, the privacy policy has a worrying term:
Quote:
Please note that PolarisMail Incs website may contain links to other sites and occasionally allow other sites to be co-branded with PolarisMail Inc. PolarisMail Inc cannot represent or guarantee that other sites privacy policies conform to PolarisMail Incs, so please note that sites linked from PolarisMail Incs websites may have privacy policies which differ from those of PolarisMail Inc. PolarisMail Incs present Charter does not cover third party data Collection and PolarisMail Inc does not assume any responsibility for the actions of any third parties.
Am I being overly paranoid?

Thanks and I look forward to any feedback. MS
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Old 26 May 2012, 05:55 PM   #2
kijinbear
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Welcome to EMD!

I've been using Polarismail as my secondary e-mail for a few months now. So far, they've been very stable. Their servers are also very fast, although that might be because I live only a couple of hours away from their Montreal datacenter.

I don't know anything about syncing contacts, so I'll skip that question.

If you use an e-mail client like Thunderbird, Polarismail allows you to put whatever you want in the sender's address. The basic webmail interface (Atmail) doesn't support alternate personalities, but the enhanced interface does. Even if you use basic, Polarismail offers open-source webmails like Roundcube which supports personalities. So as long as you don't have a strong preference for Atmail, you'll be able to customize the sender's address. (But your choice of webmail might affect your ability to sync your contacts.)

It's important to notice that your e-mail will go through Polarismail's servers and not through your university's servers. (Unlike Gmail and Fastmail, Polarismail doesn't seem to support relaying your mail through another SMTP server.) So your messages might end up in your recipient's spam folder. Depending on how strict your university's SPF policy is, your messages might even get outright rejected. So I'd advise that you use your university's SMTP servers whenever possible. I have configured Thunderbird "identities" so that whenever I send from my university address, it automatically uses the right SMTP servers.

I think the phone number is for billing purposes. When was the last time you bought anything online without giving up your phone number? Anyway, once you sign up, your contact info won't even appear in the control panel. I have no idea whether Polarismail even keeps this info. (A little off-topic, but the same is true for the e-mail address you use when you sign up for the 30-day trial. Common sense says that the same e-mail address should be usable as a password recovery method, but there's no such option anywhere in the control panel. I guess I'll have to contact @George_B if I ever changed my contact info or backup e-mail address.)

The privacy policy you quoted seems to be an attempt by Polarismail to cover their a$$ in case one of their "co-branded" resellers does something fishy. The overall impression I get from Polarismail is that they are very much focused on B2B and not so much on B2C, in other words, most of their sales seems to be through resellers and corporate customers, not individual users. (Lack of automated billing and password recovery? Probably because that's the reseller's job.) As far as I'm aware of, there's no third-party tracking code on their website other than the live chat script.

Hope this is helpful,

K
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Old 26 May 2012, 06:12 PM   #3
janusz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsmashy View Post
Am I being overly paranoid?
No, but they are going to get you anyway

More seriously, similar wording can be found elsewhere (should I say "everywhere"?) Example from the BBC:
Quote:
Third party cookies

To support our journalism, we sometimes embed photos and video content from websites such as flickr and YouTube. Pages with this embedded content may present cookies from these websites. Similarly, when you use one of the share buttons on a BBC website, a cookie may be set by the service you have chosen to share content through. The BBC does not control the dissemination of these cookies and this tool will not block cookies from those websites. You should check the relevant third party website for more information about these.
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Old 26 May 2012, 06:30 PM   #4
kijinbear
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Well, it is technically true that they cannot prevent third-party websites like YouTube from placing cookies on their users' computers. The only alternative would be for them to serve all content from their own servers, which would be not only expensive but also a potential violation of copyright if the content is owned by others. Besides, the EU has uber-paranoid laws about cookies. BBC even asks me for permission to send me their own cookies, not to mention third-party cookies.

Instead of boilerplate disclaimers about third-party behavior that they can't control anyway, I'd be more concerned about sections in various companies' privacy policies that permit explicit disclosures of your personal information to third parties. Links to third-party websites can be easily blocked by using browser add-ons like AdBlock and Ghostery, so you're still in control of your information. On the other hand, you have no control over an e-mail service provider that intentionally shares your personal information with other companies. If you want to be paranoid, be paranoid about the right things!
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Old 26 May 2012, 10:22 PM   #5
George_B
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Hey guys, I can clear these up.

1. You would need the Enhanced e-mail package. You can sync from desktop to web using Funambol and SyncML. It does work quite well but I have seen it cause some bugs *sometimes*. Usually it's when you have multiple Outlook profiles. Otherwise it works fine. You can also sync to your mobile device using ActiveSync.

2. You can set any identity you want, as long as you use your PolarisMail username to authenticate to our servers. After that, like kijinbear mentioned, it's up to the remote servers to decide if they wish to consider your mail Spam or not..

3. That Privacy Policy bit is indeed for resellers but also for our partners. For example, our payments processor is PayproGlobal and the subscription page on their end looks like this:
https://secure.payproglobal.com/orde...products=57322

They display our logo and information but they have a different Privacy Policy than us:
https://www.payproglobal.com/legal/privacyPolicy.pdf

We do not keep any billing information regarding your account. The most we keep is the client's name and e-mail address so we can contact them.


And in other news, we have hired a new developer to work exclusively on our Enhanced E-mail interface. This means that new features will be added much faster so feel free to PM me if there is anything in particular that you want. So far we have the following suggestions:

- Virtual Keyboard on login screen
- Per-Folder personalities
- Save e-mail replies with original message

Don't be shy
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Old 27 May 2012, 02:56 AM   #6
mrsmashy
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Thanks kijin, janusz and George for the responses.

It seems that there won't be any problems with using my university forwarding and SMTP services.

Quote:
If you want to be paranoid, be paranoid about the right things!
Fortunately, I'm paranoid about everything! The wording of the privacy policy is such that it isn't entirely clear that it only refers to websites that are linked to on the PolarisMail website.

But back to the email... I'm not sure if I've found out how I will be able to sync contacts between a Linux desktop and PolarisMail. I did find a Thunderbird Funambol extension, but it doesn't yet support version 3 and Thunderbird is now up to version 12. Evolution also appears to support the appropriate protocols, but I do not use the Gnome desktop environment. Is there another client for Linux?

Synchronising my contacts and calendar between phone and desktop via my email provider is probably the feature that I am after the most.

Thanks!
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Old 27 May 2012, 03:24 AM   #7
George_B
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsmashy View Post
Thanks kijin, janusz and George for the responses.

It seems that there won't be any problems with using my university forwarding and SMTP services.


Fortunately, I'm paranoid about everything! The wording of the privacy policy is such that it isn't entirely clear that it only refers to websites that are linked to on the PolarisMail website.

But back to the email... I'm not sure if I've found out how I will be able to sync contacts between a Linux desktop and PolarisMail. I did find a Thunderbird Funambol extension, but it doesn't yet support version 3 and Thunderbird is now up to version 12. Evolution also appears to support the appropriate protocols, but I do not use the Gnome desktop environment. Is there another client for Linux?

Synchronising my contacts and calendar between phone and desktop via my email provider is probably the feature that I am after the most.

Thanks!
It's even easier with Thunderbird since it has the Lightning extension for CalDAV.
Do you have a CardDAV extension in Thunderbird for Linux ?
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Old 27 May 2012, 06:08 AM   #8
mrsmashy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George_B View Post
It's even easier with Thunderbird since it has the Lightning extension for CalDAV.
Do you have a CardDAV extension in Thunderbird for Linux ?
I've been looking and haven't been able to find a CardDAV extension that supports any Thunderbird version above 10.
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Old 27 May 2012, 06:42 AM   #9
George_B
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsmashy View Post
I've been looking and haven't been able to find a CardDAV extension that supports any Thunderbird version above 10.
There is one from SoGo but I have to look more into it and whether it supports just their suite or any CardDav server.
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Old 27 May 2012, 07:05 AM   #10
cptlo306
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George_B View Post
And in other news, we have hired a new developer to work exclusively on our Enhanced E-mail interface. This means that new features will be added much faster so feel free to PM me if there is anything in particular that you want. So far we have the following suggestions:

- Virtual Keyboard on login screen
- Per-Folder personalities
- Save e-mail replies with original message

Don't be shy
My Enhanced Email (Group Office) wish list in order of preference
1. Check boxes to select multiple emails instead of having to do CONTROL-CLICK. Makes it easier to select multiple emails.
2. Drop down menu option to move emails to another folder (I'm not a fan of drag and drop). Similiar to 'Save as' dropdown menu option except showing list of email folders
3. Unread Inbox message count in browser title bar (I like to leave email open in a browser tab so being able to easily tell if I have new email by looking at the tab title bar would be nice)
4. Configurable inbox refresh time to show new messages
5. Support HTML message over Activesync
6. Double clicking on email message brings the message up in a popup similar to the one used for new messages. Popup should include all options (reply, reply all, forward, move, delete, etc.). Including option to completely hide preview pane.
7. Option to enable always showing external images - or even better, have it remember senders for which I've clicked 'Click here to unblock them'
8. On new messages, if HTML content is enabled, you have to hit the tab key twice after entering subject to get to the message box. This is minor but it would be nice to have to only hit tab once.

Are there plans to upgrade to Group Office 4.0 when it's released? Does 4.0 have any of the above changes?

Thanks!
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Old 27 May 2012, 08:15 AM   #11
mrsmashy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George_B View Post
There is one from SoGo but I have to look more into it and whether it supports just their suite or any CardDav server.
That's the one I found as well, but there are only SoGo releases up to version 10 of Thunderbird.
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Old 27 May 2012, 05:21 PM   #12
krimlin
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Is there a way to automatically save sent emails by server side SMTP settings with Polarismail? Using mobile devices, this can reduce a lot of traffic.

Usually, to save sent emails into the "Sent" folder, they are being uploaded a second time: (1) to send, (2) to save. I would like the server to save the email automatically after (1).
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Old 28 May 2012, 04:36 AM   #13
George_B
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krimlin View Post
Is there a way to automatically save sent emails by server side SMTP settings with Polarismail? Using mobile devices, this can reduce a lot of traffic.

Usually, to save sent emails into the "Sent" folder, they are being uploaded a second time: (1) to send, (2) to save. I would like the server to save the email automatically after (1).
We received a similar request through e-mail about 2 days ago.

This feature has just been implemented. You can find it under your 'Local Delivery' option in the Control Panel.
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Old 28 May 2012, 05:11 AM   #14
kijinbear
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George_B View Post
This feature has just been implemented. You can find it under your 'Local Delivery' option in the Control Panel.
It's good to see Polarismail actively improving their services in response to customer requests. Most other services feel stagnant by comparison

Here's a more tricky feature request: identities that use third-party mail servers for SMTP authentication. OP would definitely benefit from such a feature, because he'd be able to use his university address via webmail without worrying about deliverability.

But I realize there are also potential downsides to a feature like that. To begin with, you'll have to store login credentials for the third-party mail server in plain text, or at best encrypt them with a reversible algorithm.
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Old 28 May 2012, 05:44 AM   #15
krimlin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George_B View Post
This feature has just been implemented. You can find it under your 'Local Delivery' option in the Control Panel.
Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kijinbear View Post
Here's a more tricky feature request: identities that use third-party mail servers for SMTP authentication.
I think, the Enhanced account is able to manage this.
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