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Live Wire – Help! my email is not sending

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Live Wire – Help! my email is not sending | Thaiger

PHUKET: Reader ‘PS’ wrote in with an interesting question that frequently dogs local residents and visitors alike:

“Hi Woody, I thought you might be interested in this, but knowing you, you already know about it! The problem I have been having is sending e-mails through True, because sometimes they will not go for a couple of days and other times they are fine. Nothing that I change on my computer, such as Microsoft, internet or Outlook settings seems to make any difference.”

It’s a very confusing problem, with a fortunately relatively easy answer. Here’s what happens:

You have an email program running on your computer. (The problem doesn’t affect online email such as Gmail,Yahoo Mail or Hotmail). You can receive mail, but, no matter what you do, some of your mail gets stuck in your Outbox, and you can’t get your email program to send it.

Mysteriously, if you have a laptop, email in your Outbox may get sent if you’re connected to the internet in your house, but it won’t go out if you’re at an internet café. Or vice-versa.
I’ve written about this problem several times here in the Phuket Gazette over the past ten years, but I keep hitting new twists. Reader PS reminded me of one that’s a particular problem in Phuket. First, some background.

When you send mail from your PC using any of the common email programs that run on your computer, tablet or phone (Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Windows Live Mail, OS X Mail, iOS Mail, Metro Mail, Thunderbird, Eudora, etc.), your computer connects to a particular kind of computer on the internet called an SMTP Server. SMTP Servers get the mail delivered using the internet’s mail-handling routines. Most people use the SMTP Server that’s owned by the company that controls their email. The SMTP Server I use for woody@khunwoody.com, for example, is called smtp.khunwoody.com. When I pay to renew the khunwoody.com name every year, part of the amount I pay goes to the care and feeding of smtp.khunwoody.com.

Here’s where it starts to get complicated. When computers communicate over the internet, the steps they go through are similar (in some ways anyway) to the steps you take when you try to telephone someone at a large company. Consider trying to call somebody at Starbucks in Bangkok. You need the Starbucks phone number in Bangkok – 02 613 7277 – but you also need the person’s extension. Let’s say it’s 1212.

Computers on the internet communicate similarly. You need the telephone number (in the case of my outbound email computer, my SMTP server, it’s smtp.khunwoody.com). But you also need the extension. In the computer world, the extension is known as a “port.” Therein lies the rub.

You may not realize it, but when you surf on the web, you usually use port 80. There’s nothing magical about 80. It’s just the port number – the telephone extension number, if you will – that almost all computers use for web access.

Similarly, when you send mail out to an SMTP server, traditionally computers have used port 25. Nothing magical. It’s just that, historically, SMTP servers watch for incoming mail on port 25.

When your PC ships mail off to your SMTP server, the communication takes place over your internet connection. If you send mail from a laptop at home, you use your home’s internet connection. If you take the laptop to an internet café, you use the café’s internet connection. In both cases, you send mail to the same computer – you use the same SMTP server – but the communication goes through different companies, different Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Right now, I know of three ISPs that are blocking email on port 25. TT&T/3BB started blocking it in May, 2009. True has been blocking port 25 for some time, although I don’t know precisely when they started. TOT has blocked port 25 from time to time, and right now you may or may not be blocked, depending on what kind of TOT line you have – ADSL, Fiber, Winet – and possibly even your location. If you move your computer from a 3BB line to a True line (by, say, going to an internet café), you may be blocked in one location and not in the other.

Other ISPs, all over the world, including Telefonica, Vodafone, BritTel and many others, block port 25 at various times for various reasons. It’s a naive, draconian way to reduce outgoing spam, because the SMTP servers favored by spammers and botnets frequently use port 25. Apparently somebody at True decided they would reduce spam traffic over the True network by shutting down all communication destined for port 25.

There’s another problem. Both 3BB and True have set up SMTP servers as “open relays”which is considered a very, very bad thing to do. Why? These particular servers can be used by anybody to send out email. Anybody. So if you connect your computer to the internet using a True line, for example, and you use the True SMTP server for your outbound mail, True just shovels your mail out to the internet. Spammers love it. They take a PC to a True-based internet café, and they can send hundreds of thousands of emails without having an email account anywhere, without any sort of tracking. That’s why open relays are so widely hated in the industry. But True and 3BB (and probably other ISPs in Phuket) maintain open relays.

Why you should be wary of Thai open relays? They go up and down all the time. One day you can send out your mail, the next day you can’t. They’re very poorly maintained and notoriously unreliable and should be removed altogether.

Here’s how to check for open relays and port 25 conflicts.

In Outlook, click Tools, Email Accounts (or in Outlook 2010 or 2013, File, Account Settings). Click on your email account and choose Change. You should see your
account details there.

Look at the name of the Outgoing Mail Server. If you see something like smtp.tttmaxnet.com or mail.trueinternet.co.th, or some other address that has your ISP’s name in it, you’re using an open relay. If you find that you’re using an open relay, you need to find the name of your email company’s SMTP server. Google is your friend. For example, if your email is through ihug.co.nz – your email address is something@ihug.co.nz – just Google smtp server ihug.co.nz.

Next, click the button marked More Settings, and choose the Advanced tab. See the internet e-mail settings dialog box below.

If the SMTP port is listed as 25, you need to change it to a different port – one that your email company’s SMTP server will recognize. I’ve found that port 587 works for many email companies, but not all of them. If you try 587, click OK all the way back out to Outlook, and your mail still doesn’t go out (or you get tripped up on a test that doesn’t complete), head back to Google. Look for your email company’s SMTP port with a search on, for example, smtp port ihug.co.nz.

Email should be easy, but if anything goes wrong, it’s not. Someday email setup will be simple and automated. For now, it’s antiquated and obscure – just like most of the PC milieu.

We’re running informal computer clinic roundtables every Sunday morning at Sandwich Shoppe Chalong, located 1 km north of Chalong Circle on Chao Fah East road. If you have a Windows problem that needs to be solved, or a question about internet service in Phuket, drop by and ask one of the assembled gurus. Sponsored by the Phuket Gazette and Khun Woody’s Sandwich Shoppes.

Live Wire is Woody Leonhard’s weekly snapshot of all things Internet in Phuket.

Follow him on Twitter, @PhuketLiveWire, and “like” the pages at facebook.c

— Woody Leonhard

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Phuket

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy

Maya Taylor

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Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | Thaiger
PHOTO: Flickr / dronepicr

Expats living in Thailand are up in arms after Phuket officials confirmed that foreigners arriving on the island would have to pay for a rapid Covid-19 test that is free for Thais. The testing requirement is part of new restrictions now in force to combat the spread of the virus. However, it is not the cost of the test – 500 baht – that has angered so many expats, but the fact that officials see nothing wrong with charging people based on their nationality.

On Monday it was announced that EVERYONE arriving in Phuket would have to pay 300 baht if they needed the ‘rapid covid test’. But that was amended the next day. Now we have the latest example of 2-tier pricing in Thailand (below).

The news was shared by travel blogger Richard Barrow on his Facebook page and has so far generated over 430 comments (and still growing), most of them furious…

“Unbelievable. I know Thailand is xenophobic, but for the authorities to do that is an absolute disgrace. They can piss off. I’ll take my business elsewhere in future.”

“I pay Thai taxes, I have for 16 years! am happy to bring my money elsewhere then!”

“Phuketians: “Tourists please come back.” Also Phuketians: “500b khap.”

It was not just foreigners commenting however, with at least one Thai person condemning the policy…

“I feel so so ashamed of how my country (or its government) so desperately wants more money to continue their corruption. Any possible ways they can rip you off – they will do shamelessly.”

Effective yesterday, anyone flying in to Phuket from elsewhere in the country must take a rapid Covid-19 test, unless they have taken a negative PCR test within the last 72 hours or can prove they’ve received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. With less than 1% of the country vaccinated – almost none of them foreigners – the second requirement is unlikely to be met by many.

Foreigners who have to take the rapid test, regardless of whether they are tax-paying work permit holders or retirees contributing to the economy, long-term residents or married to a Thai, will have to pay 500 baht. For Thais, it is free. The focus of expat anger is not the cost, but the principle, which is being roundly condemned as xenophobic.

Foreigners employed in the Kingdom in particular, are angered, given that they have been paying tax for years and have social security coverage. In response, Phuket health officials have issued an “explanation” – that manages to explain very little.

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile, while the new restrictions apply to everyone arriving by air, for those arriving by road, only people coming from the high-risk “red” provinces need to meet the entry requirements.

And, just as a footnote, if your rapid covid test conducted by airport officials happens to come back positive you will be whisked away to a Phuket field hospital for a 14 day stay.

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | News by ThaigerSOURCE: TPN

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand’s covid vaccine passport – will it only be used for travel?

Tim Newton

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Thailand’s covid vaccine passport – will it only be used for travel? | Thaiger

Hi. Im Tim Newton. Just upfront saying that these are my personal opinions and don’t necessarily reflect that of The Thaiger.

So today the Thai Government now has officially announced vaccine passports. The documents are going to be the next big thing in the long and winding Covid road. Firstly, before some comments, the details that we actually know.

This Covid passport legislation has now been announced in the Royal Gazette, so it’s not being considered, it’s actually law. According to media info, the vaccine passport will be an official document which can be used by vaccinated people travelling abroad.

I fear this Covid passport will end up as just another victim of the unintended consequences. The benefits, mostly intended for international travellers, will be used as another way of whittling away our remaining privacies and adding another layer of little annoyances to life and work in the Land of Smiles.

Look at the vaccine roll out in Thailand. Usually a business should try and under-promise and then over deliver. In this case the Thai government have done the exact opposite. Timelines for vaccination are not being met and the ordering of vaccines appears chaotic and, at best, just slow in getting to the startline.

The PM has rushed to assure the citizenry that the delays have been caused by an abundance of caution. And unfortunately the 2 horses they’ve backed in the vaccination race are having a few bad PR days and neither may be a long term solution to the latest variants of Covid-19 spreading around Thailand. But I’ll let the scientists sort that out… certainly not the legion of instant vaccine experts that have now infected the internet.

I’m all for trying to get the country open again, as soon as practicable, and safe to do so. But I’m starting to think the best course of action is to lock my gate and resort to an online worklife and Food Panda… the mad foreign guy locked up in his house with his 3 cats.

Here in Phuket we now have an arrival regime that demands either proof of vaccine, a negative Covid test, or a 300 baht rapid Covid test at the airport. The chances of me subjecting myself to an airport officials sticking a swap up my admittedly large nose in the vague hope it will probably come back negative, is zero. Again, on a daily basis we get emails from foreigners who say they’ve been whisked away to hospitals, and more recently field hospitals, with no recourse or means of appeal, or even the chance to get a second test.

Here’s one from this morning…

I can’t call the embassy as I don’t have a SIM card, I also have been told to order outside food as they won’t feed me. They won’t provide me with my test results and told me that I’d need to stay 14 days here in quarantine, but the doctor I talked with yesterday said 5 more days. I’m so confused as to what to do next.

Now, stripping all this back to basics, I’ll concede that we’re all in this mess together at the moment, and that we may have to forego a few personal freedoms for the greater good. I have no issue wearing a mask in public. I have no worries leaving my phone number at the door when entering premises. I will do my best to stay socially distant when in public.

But all these restrictions are easy to ramp up and much harder to wind back. And, at a deeper level, our trust in institutions, governments, and medical officials is being eroded. And that’s not good as we stumble forward in trying to get the world open again.

Will I get a vaccine passport? Probably. And I’ll also expect to have to carry it everywhere I go as it’s used as just another reminder that I’m just a guest in this country and I better just get used to it.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket requires Covid-19 vaccination or 72-hour test

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Phuket requires Covid-19 vaccination or 72-hour test | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Checkpoints in Phuket will only allow Covid-19 tested or vaccinated travellers in.

To help wrangle the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak in Phuket, strict controls for everyone entering the island go into effect today until the end of April. The provincial communicable disease committee approved the measures in an effort to stop the proliferation of Covid-19 in the province.

The new regulations state that only people who have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine or have tested to be Coronavirus-free within 3 days of arrival, will be allowed to enter Phuket. Proper certification or documentation must be presented to verify this information – either a Covid-19 vaccination certificate or the results of a recent negative Covid-19 test.

Anyone attempting to enter Phuket without the full vaccine doses, or a negative Covid-19 test within the last 72 hours, will be charged 500 baht for a rapid antigen test at their port of entry. For Thais, the cost is free. The 2-tier price policy has been slammed by expats and other foreigners in the country. Read HERE.

These tests generate results in about 15 minutes and then negative-tested visitors will be allowed to proceed. If a person receives the test and is diagnosed positive for Covid-19 they will be sent to medical facilities immediately for treatment.

All entrants to Phuket are also required to use the Mor Chana Covid-19 contact tracing app to check in and record their travel timelines. That mobile app is available at gophuget.com.

The new restrictions apply to local and foreign travellers except for people making deliveries that are not staying overnight. Those people will get a special certification from their companies to present at the checkpoint entrance to the island.

Phuket is now classified as a Red Zone province, one of 19 provinces throughout Thailand where infections are on the rise. 208 current Covid-19 infections were registered at the start of this week in Phuket.

In response to the increasing Covid-19 infections in Phuket, Surat Thani has made special restrictions for anyone travelling from Phuket to Surat Thani. Those people will be required to scan and register their trip through the “Save Surat” website before being quarantined for 14 days.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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