Happy New Year from Runbox

As 2018 draws to a close and the sun returns in the northern hemisphere we can conclude that it’s been another dramatic year for the world, especially with regards to our environment and the climate.

From heatwaves in Europe to wildfires in California, flooding in Asia, and hurricanes in the eastern US, 2018 has continued the trend of increasing temperatures, increasing sea levels, and an increasing population, and the environmental crises are almost too numerous to count.

The ominous climate report from the IPCC summarizes our shared predicament, and undisputably illustrates that all of humanity, indeed all of the species on our planet, are in one and the same boat.

However, we are nowhere near on track to avoid dramatic warming of the climate, according to the recent IPPC report.

In Norway these changes are also noticeable, and although we are more fortunate than many other areas of the world with the majority of our electricity being generated by hydropower, both our personal convictions and our company values compel us to do more.

Among the strongest indicators that our planet’s ecosystems are collapsing is the increasing rate of species extinction, and in particular those at the top of the ecosystems.

In Norway, aside from the polar bear and the arctic fox, especially the seabirds along the Norwegian west coast are endangered. Among these the lomvi (thin-billed murre; Uria aalge aalge) in Norway has seen its population decrease 90% in the past 50 years due to climate change, food shortages, fisheries, and fishing gear and is now critically endangered here.

Lomvi
Lomvi
Credit: environment.no/NINA

In order to improve the condition of these birds it’s crucial that information about their condition is gathered through observations and reported through the media so that the authorities can make informed decisions.

Therefore, instead of a special holiday offer to improve our result for the year, we want to give back to the environment. We have decided to donate NOK 10,000 to Lista Bird Observatory, an organization on the southwestern coast of Norway whose purpose is “to document development of bird populations by monitoring bird migration over time”.

We encourage other small businesses around the world to do the same for their preferred non-profit environmental organization. We may be small, but if we all contribute according to our ability we can make a difference.

From all of us at Runbox, we wish everyone the very best for 2019.

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Runbox 7 is going open source

We are very excited to announce that we are now making the Runbox 7 App available as open source software!

Runbox 7 is our new Webmail service currently in open beta, featuring unprecedented email indexing and search capabilities. It’s the first product whose source code we are making publicly available, and marks a major milestone for Runbox.

Open source software powers most of the Internet, and makes up a large part of the platform Runbox is running on. Now Runbox 7 will become part of this global collaboration, and you can join in by visiting the Runbox repository on Github: https://github.com/runbox.

Why we are going open source

GPLv3 LogoRunbox has utilized and promoted open source software since the very beginning, and we owe much of our success to the open source community.

Now we’re contributing back to the community with the front-end of Runbox 7, which will allow others to review our code and verify that it’s safe and secure.

It also allows others to copy and modify the codebase for their own use, and contribute back to Runbox and our community.

Additionally it means that we will automatically publish the Runbox 7 changelog and issues, and even let Runbox users create issues for bug reports or feature requests.

Why we chose GPLv3

It was important to Runbox that we ensure that any derivative work remains open source, which the GNU General Public License does.

Another reason for selecting the GPLv3 license is that Runbox 7 utilizes the open source Xapian search engine library which is licensed under GPLv2.

What’s new in Runbox 7

Runbox 7 isn’t merely an upgrade to our existing services, it’’s a bold step into a new world of synchronized Webmail apps that provide unprecedented speed and usability.

Our new app is the cornerstone of Runbox 7, and is the first of several development stages that will culminate in a completely new user interface.

Runbox 7 Webmail currently features superior speed, incremental search, infinite listing, inline message previews, threaded conversation views, web push notifications, and a Progressive Web App for mobile phones.

Contributing to Runbox 7

In the future we plan to publish the entire Runbox 7 codebase including the backend, but you can already develop the Runbox 7 App while using the Runbox servers as the backend.

More information about this can be found at https://github.com/runbox/Runbox7.

Ready to give it a test drive? Head to https://runbox.com/app !

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New search function in Runbox 6

We have now replaced the search function in Runbox 6 with an improved version that is based on the groundbreaking search feature we have developed for Runbox 7.

You will find the new search area at the top of the message list when clicking Search in the Webmail menu.

The new search function will show results while you type into the search field, so there is no need to manually click on a Search button.

Note that in Runbox 7 the search function is dramatically faster and returns results instantaneously thanks to its innovative search index synchronization. Runbox 7 also introduces many new features such as infinite message listing, inline message previews, threaded conversation view, and a mobile app version. Give it a test drive!

Search options

By clicking on the wrench icon to the right, the following options will be shown:

  • to: Search by recipient address
  • from: Search by sender address
  • subject: Search by subject line
  • current folder: Limit search to the current folder
  • year/month/date: Shows a calendar where you can select a time frame

Selecting an option will insert an example into the search field which you can then modify.

You can also just type these operators directly into the the search field and you can can combine them with the AND operator, like: folder:Inbox AND subject:something

More information can be found on our Help pages.

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Runbox 7 Webmail entering open beta phase

Runbox 7 illustrationWe are excited to announce that the Runbox 7 Webmail beta test is now open to the public!

A large number of improvements and bug fixes have been made since our previous update, including an even faster Webmail, web push notifications on incoming email, and inline message previews.

There is now a Runbox 7 mobile app (Progressive Web App) available too, making Runbox a joy to use on your mobile phone!

We’d like to thank the hundreds of beta testers in our beta test community for all their contributions thus far, and helping us build the fastest webmail app on the planet!

What Runbox 7 Webmail is…

PWARunbox 7 isn’t merely an upgrade to our existing services, it’s a bold step into a new world of synchronized Webmail apps that provides unprecedented speed and usability.

Our new app is the cornerstone of Runbox 7, and is the first of several development stages that will culminate in a completely new user interface.

Runbox 7 Webmail features superior speed, incremental search, infinite listing, message previews, threaded views, a draft desk, as well as a mobile app version.

…and what it isn’t (just yet)

Note that we are initially focusing on the core Webmail service, and that the Runbox 7 Webmail therefore currently only includes this service.

Other areas such as Manager, Files, etc. will be added as we continue working on Runbox 7, so clicking on these menu items in Runbox 7 will currently take you back to Runbox 6.

Runbox 7 roadmap

We have an ambitious plan for the development of Runbox 7, with the following planned activities:

  • Open beta test phase
  • Open source Runbox 7 App
  • Profiles and Contacts integration
  • Files, Manager, and Settings
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Web calendar
  • Message/task management
  • Synchronous messaging

How to provide feedback

Our Runbox 7 team is working hard to make Runbox 7 the best webmail app on the planet, and your feedback will help decide what we develop next.

Tell us what you think about Runbox 7 Webmail in our dedicated forum at https://community.runbox.com/. Sign up to the forum using your Runbox email address so that there will be no issues gaining access to the forum.

Note that before you post requests or bug reports, it’s a good idea to review other posts to see if your issue has already been mentioned.

With that out of the way, please find the Runbox 7 Webmail app here:

https://runbox.com/app

We hope you’ll enjoy a modern, user-friendly, beautiful, and above all fast webmail experience!

Screenshots

Check out the screenshots below for a few highlights, and click on each one to bring up a hi-res version with more details.

Message list view

When you first log in to Runbox 7 Webmail you will find a beautiful interface with a design that is clean and efficient, yet packed with features. Its speed can’t be conveyed by a screenshot however, so try it out for yourself to get the real experience.

Two- or three-pane message preview

You can preview messages either in a horizontal pane beneath the message list, or to the right of the message list as shown below.

Draft Desk

The Draft Desk shows your current drafts in a convenient desk-like layout.

Ready for a test drive?

Just head to https://runbox.com/app and then join our community at community.runbox.com to take part in the Runbox revolution!

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Profiles, Identities, Privacy or just a different look!

Whether you need to run personal and business emails from the same account, or just want to have a different identity for some purposes, Runbox has always provided customisation tools that let you adapt the name and email address on your outgoing message to suit any occasion. We call these Profiles and they are based on folders.

Profiles in Runbox 6

In the original design of Runbox it was intended that where necessary you could move or automatically filter incoming message to folders for different purposes, or to help you organize your email better. Along with folders there are a set of preferences for each folder. By default new folders that are created are set to have the same preferences as your Inbox, but you can change this setting so that you can customise these preferences on a per folder basis.

By far the most commonly customised settings are the Name, From, Reply to and Signature settings. These in particular allow you to create new “Profiles” so that you can send mail as it you have more than one email account. When you are reading email in a particular folder and you reply or create a new message while that folder is selected, your preferences for that folder are automatically applied to the message you are creating.

As mentioned in a previous blog post aliases are an excellent way to keep mail separate for different purposes, and potentially help you manage any unsolicited mail. Profiles let you take this further and create a whole new identity, including a different name to go along with the alias address. Whenever you are using the Compose windows your aliases and profiles are listed in the drop-down box at the top of the window so you can easily select the one you need.

Identities in Runbox 7

One of the drawbacks of the flexibility the existing interface offers is that it can be quite time consuming setting up a alias, and then having to create a folder for a profile just so you can set up a different “from” name or signature. You might not even want to move or filter messages to a folder, but you would still need to create one if you want a different profile.

In Runbox 7 we are going to simplify and streamline this process and all aliases will automatically become part of an “Identity”. When you create an alias you will at the same time have the option to update other details attached to that alias to create a different identity, or accept the default values that will automatically be pre-filled for you.

We are also planning to eventually allow you to create a folder from the identities interface and at the same time a filter so that when you create an alias and decide to use that as an identity you can complete all the necessary steps at the same time.

In Runbox 7 these identities will replace profiles and will improve on a feature we have offered for a long time, and one that is a key feature of what Runbox offers in its email service.

For more information about Runbox 7, see some of our previous blog posts below:

We still have some open spots in the beta testing, so if you would like to participate send an email as soon as possible to support@nullrunbox.com with the subject “Runbox 7 Webmail beta test”.

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Runbox 7 Webmail app for mobile phones

Runbox 7 PWA logoWe are making great progress with the Runbox 7 Webmail app and we are very excited that a version customized for mobile phones is now available for our beta testers!

This version is what is called a Progressive Web App (PWA), built on emerging technologies that combine the open standards of the web to provide a rich mobile experience on your phone or tablet.

How do I use the mobile app?

Share iconIf you’re using an Apple device you can access the mobile app by first opening the regular address of the Runbox 7 Webmail app in the Safari browser, and then tapping the Share icon in the bottom menu bar. Then tap “Add to Home Screen” to add the Runbox 7 Webmail app to your phone.

On Android, you should get a prompt to download the app as soon as you go to the regular address of the Runbox 7 Webmail app in the browser.

You can now use the Runbox 7 Webmail app just by tapping on the Runbox 7 icon!

Join the beta test!

And if you haven’t yet joined our Runbox 7 Webmail beta test, just contact support@nullrunbox.com with the subject “Runbox 7 Webmail beta test”.

You will then gain access to the Runbox 7 Community with a discussion forum dedicated to the Runbox 7 Webmail app.

There you’ll meet Runbox staff and developers as well as fellow beta testers, and be able to influence the development of Runbox 7.

Runbox 7 mobile app screenshots

Here are a few screenshots of what the app looks like on Apple iPhone 6.

Login screen

Landscape view of message list

Landscape view of message list with main menu pullout

 

Landscape view of opened message

Landscape view of message list in search mode

Landscape view of opened message, full height

Portrait view of message list

Portrait view of message list with opened message

 Landscape view of Compose (new message)

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Sub-addressing (plus addressing)

In the last blog post we outlined how you can use aliases to help organise you email, and also how they can help you deal with unsolicited or marketing email. Aliases offer alternative addresses for your account so that you don’t have to use the same address for everything. However, there is a quicker way to create new addresses on your account that doesn’t need you to log in to your account and set anything up. This is sub-addressing (sometimes called plus addressing or tagged addressing).

Sub-addressing has a big plus

The key to sub-addressing is including a + and some text after it (called the tag). This goes after the username and before the @ symbol.

When our mail servers see this for incoming mail it knows that everything before the + is the username and so it can still deliver to the correct account.

Even though the mail system delivers to your usual account, the message is still addressed to username+tag@nullrunbox.com and you can use this in various ways. Sub-addressing had a lot of uses and is easy to use.

  • just make up the addresses as you go along without the need to set them up in your Runbox account.
  • use a sub-address for anything where you might want to identify the place where you used your email address.
  • use a different tag for each online website you sign up for so that if one leaks your address you know which one.
  • create a filter to delete email to that particular sub-address if it starts receiving spam.
  • filter email to specific folders based on the sub-addressing.

Works with all usernames and aliases

Sub-addressing works with all the Runbox domains, with your own domain if you using one, and with aliases (e.g. alias+tag@nullrunbox.com).

Unlike aliases you can’t delete a email address in this format, because you never set it up in the first place. If you do get unwanted mail to an address in this sub-address format you can deal with it in two ways.

  • use a filter in your Runbox account to delete it or filter it to spam.
  • if it is set up on an alias delete the alias, but this means that any other sub-addresses using that alias will also stop working.

Something else you should know

Although sub-addressing is part of the official specification for email systems, not all email providers implement it. That might mean some websites will not accept an email address with a + in it, and some email services may not allow sending to addresses in that format. If you do come across problems, please let the website or email provider know that they could be supporting this useful address format. If you prefer, let us know and we will try to get in touch with them.

The good news is that most major email services (and those that like to do things properly) do use sub-addressing and this means you are not likely to come across problems very often.

If you need any help with sub-addressing please take a look at our help page about sub-addressing, or contact Runbox Support.

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Using Runbox aliases

It’s been a while since we wrote about one of the most useful Runbox features — aliases!

Aliases are a great way to organise your email, and also a very useful tool in avoiding too many problems making changes if an email address starts to receive more unsolicited or spam email than it is easy to deal with.

Aliases

Aliases are alternative email addresses for your Runbox account that deliver mail to your existing Inbox, the same Inbox your main username delivers message to. You can send and receive mail using an alias and nobody other than you need know that it is an alias. You will see aliases listed in the Compose window if you are using our webmail, and if you are using an email program you can usually set them up in the account settings.

Using your aliases

Many people use aliases to separate mail to/from different groups of people, or to separate business and personal use. You can even use filters to automatically move incoming mail addressed to aliases to specific folders in your account.

When you sign up for online accounts of different kinds (e.g. online shopping, forums, finance etc.) you could use a different alias for each account. You can use more important aliases for organisations where you feel your information is more secure, and other aliases, that you might consider throwaway addresses, for less reputable websites.

Unsolicited/spam mail

You may not be able to tell if a website is reputable or not, but if you use aliases for different kinds of use and you start getting too much unsolicited email to one or more of them, the easier option might be to decide not to use a particular alias any longer and to replace it with another one.

Abandoning an address and deleting the alias is one way to make sure it can’t receive email, but if it is your only or main email address this could mean telling friends, family, work colleagues and a whole list of websites you new address. However, if the address is an alias and you only use it for a small number of websites then it is easier to justify deleting the alias as it is less effort to set up a new alias on those websites

Setting up aliases

Runbox provides all customers with 100 aliases for their account, regardless of their plan choice. Aliases can be set up and managed by going to Account >> Aliases.

Aliases are not forwarding addresses, and forwarding can be achieved using filters. However, to allow certain combinations of Runbox accounts to work together we have made it possible for aliases to deliver messages to another Runbox account other than the account they are created on.

When you delete an alias it is permanently reserved for your account, and you can always add it back to the account that it was originally set up on. That way, you can temporarily disable an alias by deleting it, and then reinstate it at a later time.

Aliases and sub-addressing

There is another way you can create additional addresses on your account, and we will be looking at that in our next blog post about sub-addressing.

If you have any questions about using aliases, please see our help page about Aliases and Profiles.

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New domain registration and renewal service

We are pleased to announce that we have launched a new domain registration and renewal interface.

It can be found in Account > Domain Registration, and aside from the improved user experience it now uses individual prices based on the top-level domain instead of a system based on domain credits.

Continue reading to find out more, and how if may affect you if you already host your domain name with Runbox.

What is new?

In recent years the domain registration industry has changed very significantly, and there are now hundreds of Top Level Domain (TLD) extensions available (TLD examples are .com, .org and .pro etc.). Pricing varies very considerably from one type of TLD to another. More recently there has been a significant increase in the registration and renewal prices for certain common TLD extensions, and this has made the system we currently use unsustainable for the future.

For many years we operated a domain registration service based on the idea of domain credits. The intention was that one domain credit allowed you to register one domain for one year. With the changes mentioned above we were forced to change how we price and register domains, and we will no longer be using a domain credit system.

We have now launched a new domain registration service where domain TLDs are priced on an individual basis. In many cases the prices will be unchanged or will in fact be lower. However, in some cases the prices will increase to reflect the recent changes.

How does this affect me?

If you don’t already host a domain name with Runbox, then you will just have a better experience if you choose to do so.

If you do host one or more domain names with Runbox, then there are a few changes to be aware of.

  • The existing domain credit(s) you have used to pay for your domain name will be replaced with new products according to the TLD of your domain name. The next time you renew your domain, you will be using the new product instead of domain credits. You can see the pricing for your renewal by going to Domain Hosting in your account and clicking on the renew option.
  • If you have used PayPal to pay for domain credits, and the payments recurred automatically, then we will cancel the recurring agreements to avoid you inadvertently paying for a product you no longer need. You can then pay manually for the new TLD product, and will receive a payment reminder about this.
  • Because of the changes to domain name pricing mentioned above, the Max subscription will no longer include a domain name. If you are hosting a domain name with a Max subscription you will receive a separate email about this.

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