Shipboard Internet and E-Mail

Lucid Illusion > Photography > SAS Fall 2005 > Shipboard Internet and Email

Shipboard Internet

First off I am aware of the slight irony of putting together a web-page describing somethings one can do to limit Internet usage but I am really voicing my support for the idea that one should disconnect from home while on SAS. It is definitely a good thing to keep people at home updated as to what you are doing and possibly calm those overly excitable individuals should safety concerns arise but I cannot be firm enough in my opinion that you shouldn't IM, continuously email, phone home, etc. Part of this experience is to see the world without the restrictions of home, without being socially confined to whatever niche you have at home.

The first, and most important, point: The shipboard Internet connection is slow. And it gets even slower when other people are on. There were two times on our voyage where the Internet usage was free and it was practically useless because so many people were online.

For the technically inclined the connection seemed to max around 160 kbit down (that was the highest downstream I ever observed) and about half that up. It is a standard NAT setup so most any application that doesn't require foreign host initiated connections should work fine.

There are a number of computers in a lab and a few other places on the ship that one can use as well as wireless (802.11b) for people with laptops. If you don't have wireless swiping an ethernet connection from a desktop works but don't be rude to people who might want to use the desktop.


If you have a laptop there is a quick easy step you can take to minimize the minutes needed to exchange email — setup an offline mail reader. An offline mail reader will all you to download your mail, disconnect from the Internet then read and compose responses, then connect again to send mail. Since Internet usage is billed at almost $0.40/min this will save you both time and money. This is very easy to do with the following steps:

  • Ditch Hot-Mail or Yahoo unless you are already paying for their premium services which provide offline access.
  • If your school does not provide a POP or IMAP account get a GMail account. They provide free POP access and everything required for this setup. If you need a GMail invite email me and I'll send one.
  • Download an offline mail reader like Mozilla Thunderbird or Eudora (or use Outlook if you really like having computer viruses).
  • If you are using GMail follow the instructions here to enable POP access and configure your offline mail reader.
  • If you are using another mail service you should check with the provider for instructions on how to configure the offline clients.


Page updated Jun 22, 2006.

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