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Frequently Asked Questions

T his page answers some of the more common questions about LetterRip Pro.

Sales Questions

How much does LetterRip Pro cost?

LetterRip Pro is $395. Upgrades from LetterRip v1 and v2 are $145.

When is LetterRip Pro shipping?

LetterRip Pro is available now. Click here to download LetterRip Pro.

Where can I buy LetterRip Pro?

LetterRip Pro is sold directly by Fog City Software. It is not available in stores or from mail order catalogs. Click here for more information on ordering LetterRip Pro.

Why is there no sales tax or shipping charge?

The delivery of LetterRip Pro is completely electronic. By using an electronic delivery we do not need to charge sales tax or any shipping charges.

What do I get?

The installer that you download contains LetterRip Pro, the manual as both a standalone viewer and in pdf formats, and supporting files.

I own ListSTAR. Is there a competitive upgrade offer?

Yes, contact sales@fogcity.com for information.

Technical Questions

F ollowing are some of the technical questions that are commonly asked about LetterRip Pro. Don't forget to also check out the manual for detailed information about LetterRip Pro.

Is the recipient list sorted by domain name in an outgoing message?

Yes, this is automatic. Addresses are sorted and grouped by domain. See the next question for more details.

When a message is sent to a host (domain) that has more than one subscriber, does LetterRip Pro send the message just once to that domain or does it send once for each subscriber?

LetterRip Pro only sends the message once. This dramatically improves performance, especially when communicating with the mail servers for the online services. For example, if your subscriber list had 20 subscribers at AOL, only one copy of the message would be sent to AOL.

How many incoming and outgoing connections (threads) should I allocate?

There is no hard and fast answer to this. The optimum number of connections is dependent on a number of factors including the:

  • type and speed of the Mac
  • amount of memory in the computer
  • number of incoming messages
  • number of outgoing messages
  • total number of subscribers
  • size of the messages
  • bandwidth of the network
  • bandwidth of your DNS server

At first, it might seem a good idea to simply increase the number of connections to the maximum, but this is not necessarily the optimum configuration. Remember that for each additional thread, you decrease the potential performance of each thread. For example, if you have a 28.8k baud connection and 10 outgoing threads and all of the threads are sending, then the performance per thread will be about 2.8k baud.

If you have a high speed net connection and a powerful Macintosh, it is probably reasonable to increase the number of threads.

When should I use a host mail server?

We generally recommend that you do not use a host mail server. LetterRip Pro contains a powerful SMTP mail server for sending messages and is highly optimized for mailing list sending. Additionally, by allowing LetterRip Pro to communicate directly with the subscriber's mail servers, a number of errors can be more easily managed than if there is another mail server in the middle.

There are times when it may make sense to use a host mail server. The most common case is when you have a very slow connection to the Internet but the mail server has a very high speed connection. Even in this case, it really only makes sense if the list has a very high traffic.

Also, if your list resides behind a firewall, it may be necessary to send all outgoing mail through a designated mail server.

In general, it's best to start by using LetterRip Pro's built-in SMTP server. If you notice a significant delay in messages being sent, then you might want to try using the mail host.

How fast should messages go out?

Although this is hard to generalize, messages are usually received, processed, and sent within a few seconds. There are many factors affecting performance including the:

  • traffic on the list
  • average size of the messages
  • number of connections
  • number of subscribers
  • network bandwidth
  • quality of the subscriber addresses

The performance of the computer is rarely much of a factor in performance of the list. Performance of the Internet and the connection to it are usually the limiting factors.

Remote hosts with poor connections, high traffic, or great distance can have an adverse effect on performance. For best results, you should remove bad addresses and chronically non-responsive hosts from subscriber lists.

Are domain names cached?

Yes, domain names are cached. Since domain name look-ups can be time consuming, the caching improves performance.

Can I run other programs on the same computer as the server?

Yes, but as with any server application, it's recommended that you limit the other programs that are running to those that are necessary. If a program crashes, then your mailing list server will be unavailable to the subscribers of your lists. Also, the mailing list server can use quite a bit of the processing time if your lists are very busy.

Can I run an SMTP mail server like AIMS (Apple Internet Mail Server) on the same computer as the mailing list server?

Yes, if you use POP3 to retrieve email. You cannot use SMTP because only one SMTP server can be running on a machine at a time.

Do I need a full-time Internet or intranet connection?

No, you can have a part-time connection. If you have a part-time connection, we recommend retrieving email using POP3 and routing the outgoing email via another SMTP server.

If you have a full-time connection, we recommend that you use SMTP to receive incoming email. SMTP mail servers need a full-time connection to listen for incoming email.

Can I have a digest only mailing list?

Yes, although it is somewhat unusual, it is easy to do. Simply select "None" for the subscriber list in the General setup for a mailing list.

Can each mailing list have custom responses such as responses to subscription requests?

Yes, you can customize both the global responses and the responses for each list. The global responses are used by default for each list. It is easy to change one or more of the responses for any list.

Is a file created for every subscriber for every outgoing message?

No, LetterRip Pro is efficient and writes only one file to disk for each outgoing message. The recipient list for the message is stored with the message in a highly efficient format therefore reducing disk space requirements.

How do I create a list to send out announcements?

Announcement lists are called broadcast or one way lists: the list is not open for discussions. Such lists are also sometimes used for bulk mailings. It's easy to set up an announcement list: turn on moderation in the Moderation setup and enter a private account. To send announcements to the list, send email to the private account.

Can I use LetterRip Pro as my mail server?

No, LetterRip Pro only accepts mail addressed to the lists and requests.

What are LetterRip Pro's system requirements?

You must be running Mac OS 7.1 or later, Open Transport 1.1.1 and the Thread Manager. LetterRip Pro can execute native on both PowerMac and 68K Macintosh.

Can I make a list private so no one outside our company can see the list?

Yes, there is a checkbox within the Mail List entry window that will make the list private to all non-subscribers. Private lists are excluded from the "lists" command. If non-subscribers attempt to subscribe or get information, they will receive a bad list reply (as if it does not exist). Subscribers for private lists must be manually added.

Can I run LetterRip Pro behind my firewall?

Yes, your network administrator will need to know about your list addresses, so the mail server can properly route mail to LetterRip Pro. You must route all outgoing mail to your network's mail server in the Server Settings dialog. In addition, you may need to use full addresses (i.e. the address that those outside the firewall use to mail to the list) within the account fields of your mail lists, so the server will properly accept the incoming mail.