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Communications The Internet

Internet Communications While At Sea? 504

ubergamer1337 writes "Next semester I will be participating in a college study abroad program known as Semester at Sea. The gist of it is that over four months 600ish students sail around the world on a converted cruise ship, visiting diverse port cities while taking classes when we are between ports. Debates about its educational merit aside, my internet options while I will be at sea will be severely limited. We get just 100 minutes of internet access for the entire voyage, and once thats gone the only internet access we have is a university email address, which is limited to messages under a megabyte with no attachments. I have been pondering different ways to staying in contact with friends and family back at home without running to an internet cafe in every port, and I have already decided that I want to set up a blog that can be updated by email, but I wanted to ask the collective wisdom of Slashdot if anyone knows of any other ways to transmit more then just your standard message through email. Some things I would be particularity interested in being able to figure out would be a way to send photos (encode them as text?), and a way to get Wikipedia pages etc. emailed to me."
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Internet Communications While At Sea?

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  • by mnslinky ( 1105103 ) * on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:05PM (#26435321) Homepage

    That works out to 55.5 seconds, roughly, per day. Do they calculate the time you use the computer hooked to the internet, or do they calculate the time actually used to transmit and receive data?

    • Message queuing (Score:5, Informative)

      by Wrexs0ul ( 515885 ) <mmeier.racknine@com> on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:14PM (#26435511) Homepage

      That's a ridiculously good point. Applications like Gallery 2 [] have remote applications that I'm sure can be tuned to your disconnected-mode needs. Simply get everything ready to upload before you login, then when you're online all the human slowness will be taken out of the equation.

      55.5 seconds per day doesn't seem like a lot, but if their internet connection is worth their (sea) salt even a 1mbit satellite link is almost 7 megabytes of data per day... assuming everyone else isn't doing the same thing at the same time of course.

      If you're really interested in the process, check out Message [] Queuing []. The idea is asynchronous communication between client/server so that you can do stuff when disconnected from the network, and saving your precious "almost" minute per day :)


      • by Fred_A ( 10934 ) <fred@fredshom[ ]rg ['e.o' in gap]> on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:33PM (#26435839) Homepage

        Oh come on, people have been using bottles in situations like this for ages and it worked out fine. If he's really starved for bandwidth he can just pop a thumbdrive in each one. I hear they come in 64MB flavour now.

        OTOH if he *really* can't stand being offline while out at sea, what he needs isn't a tech solution. What he needs is professional help. That comes in a lab coat.

        Or maybe he's just not ready to come out of the basement yet.

        • Re:Message queuing (Score:5, Interesting)

          by cream wobbly ( 1102689 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:38PM (#26435927)

          It's supposed to be for ed-you-ma-cay-shun. Being online is pretty much a requirement for education these days. I'm sure he'll have a whale of a time, but unless this boat has a huge library, I don't reckon there's much benefit in being at sea while studying.

          • Re:Message queuing (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:47PM (#26436085)

            It's supposed to be for ed-you-ma-cay-shun. Being online is pretty much a requirement for education these days. I'm sure he'll have a whale of a time, but unless this boat has a huge library, I don't reckon there's much benefit in being at sea while studying.

            Please tell me you're not serious. Handy? Yes. Useful? Yes. Required? No. It's only my opinion, but the more I work with students the less critical thinking I run into. Perhaps being unplugged for more than two minutes might be useful.

            Flame away.

    • by charleste ( 537078 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @05:25PM (#26439563)
      I checked out the SAS website, and they say [] "Email Service and Internet Access - Participants can access web-based email accounts, such as Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, etc. The technology fee charged to all students and lifelong learners provides 125 minutes of Internet access. Internet usage beyond 125 minutes will incur a charge on a per minute basis." So, he doesn't get cut off after 100 minutes. He gets 125 minutes, but he can pay for more. It's not as bad as he makes out.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JakartaDean ( 834076 )
        Their web sits also says "Ports of Call:
        • Nassau, Bahamas
        • Cadiz, Spain
        • Casablanca, Morocco
        • Walvis Bay, Namibia
        • Cape Town, South Africa
        • Port Louis, Mauritius
        • Chennai, India
        • Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand
        • Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
        • Hong Kong / Shanghai, China
        • Kobe / Yokohama, Japan
        • Honolulu, Hawaii
        • Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala
        • (Antigua, Guatemala City)
        • Transiting of Panama Canal
        • Fort Lauderdale, Florida"

        Why do I think getting online should be a lower priority? That sounds like the trip of a lifetime, even without 300 or so

  • Sounds like fun (Score:5, Informative)

    by ballwall ( 629887 ) * on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:05PM (#26435329)

    My wife and I love cruising, but she runs her own business and can't be away from email for that amount of time. Thankfully there are options now :)

    Most ships these days have cell towers on the ship connected by satellite that usually provide GPRS data (and it looks like the SAS one does as well). The problem is they're considered international roaming, which costs tons of money. However, T-Mobile has an unlimited international 'email' option for blackberry for $20/mo that we've discovered includes BIS traffic through the web browser and even tethering (though we've heard conflicting reports about tethering, we've never been charged for it while at sea). There's always Mobi-shark for routing laptop traffic through the BIS, if tethering is a problem.

    So we either tether to her laptop, or just use blackberry and a wireless keyboard and end up with a reasonable means of staying connected (granted, at dial-up speeds). Of course there's also the expense of the blackberry and monthtly plan, but that's only going to add ~2% to the cost of the semester.

    There's also the option of paying for the wifi access on a per-minute basis. The latency sucks, but if you're using a fat email client (thunderbird, etc) it only takes us 1-3 minutes to sign in, send and receive messages, and sign out. On commercial cruises they charge somewhere around $.50/min, so when there's cabin based wifi we generally opt for that route, since it's way less hassle than the cell option, we don't have to worry about T-Mobile changing their policies on what's included, and $1.50 a day is not a huge price to pay relative to the cruise.

    If they're limiting your email to text based only with no attachments, it's probably at their computers (since I'm not sure how they'd restrict you to that on theirs), which means your options for doing funky encoding stuff to get around it will likely be limited. If not, and you can use your own computer, there are tons of ways to convert anything to text (after all, that's what your email client has to do to send attachments, too). The downside is the receiving end would have to be smart enough to know what you're sending.

    For wikipedia, I'd say take a copy with you [].

    • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:19PM (#26436613)
      If you're going on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like this then why waste the time doing internet stuff that you can do for the rest of your life.

      Use the opportunity wisely. Soak up the new experiences. DOn't be one of those fools that travel halfway around the world to sit in a McDonalds or an internet cafe.

      Forget about the internet, email, wikipedia etc.They'll all still be there when you're done.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Forget about the internet, email, wikipedia etc.They'll all still be there when you're done.

        I dunno about that...

        HTML will have been entirely replaced with Flash applications. E-mail will have been completely over-run with spam (rather than just totally, as things are now). All ISPs will employ traffic shaping to the point that downloading the latest Knoppix image will take forever. And if Jimmy Wales' recent plea is to be believed, Wikipedia will be gone, probably sold to Microsoft.

        I was only gone for a little over a year, and I did note ALL these things when I got back online.

    • Re:Sounds like fun (Score:5, Informative)

      by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:47PM (#26437145)

      Not to mention IP over DNS. They may block him on wifi after his 100 minutes, but he can get a slow connection this way. []

    • by cj1127 ( 1077329 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:49PM (#26437165)

      My wife and I love cruising

      Wrong forum, buddy

  • RMS (Score:5, Informative)

    by hansamurai ( 907719 ) <> on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:07PM (#26435365) Homepage Journal

    Surf the RMS way: set up some kind of server at home that you can email a link to and it will wget it and return the content back to you via email. Since you have seemingly unlimited email access, this might be the most efficient way to surf.

    You can also encode images into base64, don't know how big an image it would take before you hit the 1MB limit, but it's possible.

    • Re:RMS (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:19PM (#26435607)

      My advice is to trade internet access for sex. These horny college-age girls will do anything for another hit off Facebook.

      • by colmore ( 56499 )

        If he really is going on this ridiculous rich-kid cruise semester, I hope he'll be able to get some without resorting to prostitution. It's about half the point.

        Bring a little dvd player for your room (or maybe they already have them) and some popular with the college kids shows and movies on DVD. Let one of the shows / movies come up in conversation. "Oh I have that back in my room."

        These are really very good times for nerds having sex. Do you own Guitar Hero?

    • Also, learn to use google sms (they probably have an email address you can use, or you could find one that translates email into sms) []
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rei ( 128717 )

      For those who aren't familiar with how to encode to base64:

      # cat /bin/echo | openssl enc -base64 > encoded_echo
      # tail -n 1 encoded_echo
      # cat encoded_echo | openssl enc -base64 -d > decoded_echo
      # chmod +x decoded_echo
      # ./decoded_echo Test

      That would be an interesting concept, though -- "email tunnel" -- where you set up a local proxy and it communicates with your backend via email. Http tunnel software could be a good starting point for implementation.

    • You can also encode images into base64, don't know how big an image it would take before you hit the 1MB limit, but it's possible.

      No attachments. An attachment is just a UUE or base64 text block inside an e-mail; if attachments aren't allowed, those won't get through the mail server. Some other encoding method, as non-standard as possible, must be devised so that you can fly under the radar and TX/RX binaries as text.

      I have not-so-fond memories of being on the 'Net back in the late 1980s, and having to MANUALLY encode/decode UUE or base64 files. It was an absolute joy when the first e-mail clients with automatic UUE/base64 ("attachmen

  • Assuming that at least half of the places you visit will be fairly modern cities, you should take advantage of the opportunities for internet access while you are in port. Investigate places that offer free or low-cost WiFi service in the ports you'll be visiting. That will at least mitigate the low access levels you are limited to on board ship.

  • Missing the point? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Some guy named Chris ( 9720 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:08PM (#26435387) Journal

    Isn't the point of something like "Semester at Sea" to immerse yourself in the program, and become involved deeply in the studies and the people you're traveling with?

    What you're wanting to do is like ordering escargot in a French restaurant and smothering them in ketchup.

    • Back when Chapman University ran it, we called it "The Love Boat," so immersion and deep involvement with fellow travelers, yes, the studies, not so much...

    • What's wrong with putting ketchup on escargot? (apart from ruining perfectly good ketchup, that is)
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Haha, yeah, those whacky French will eat anything that isn't fast enough to escape, won't they? Unlike us civilized folks here in America.

        Oh, BTW, could you pass me the clam chowder, please?

    • I hardly think wanting to check in on the computer for a few minutes at a time is going to destroy this supposedly life changing experience. He doesn't sound like he wants to be tied to his computer 24/7 during the trip, but rather just have the ability to checkup on the outside world a bit.

    • by fm6 ( 162816 )

      I don't see how exchanging a few emails every day makes the experience less immersive. He's a student, not a Monk.

    • My thoughts exactly. My wife and I go on motorcycle trips and we never take a laptop or surf the internet while we are gone. I do carry a cell phone if someone has to get hold of me.

      It amazes me the addiction people have to the internet, myself included. The first thing I do when I get home from work is check my personal email (I work for a company that doesn't allow personal email at work for SEC reasons). Yet 99% of the time it's something that could wait for a couple more hours.

      My friends will se
    • Isn't the point of something like "Semester at Sea" to immerse yourself in the program, and become involved deeply in the studies and the people you're traveling with?

      What you're wanting to do is like ordering escargot in a French restaurant and smothering them in ketchup.

      He wants a little email, not to jack into the Matrix.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Isn't the point of something like "Semester at Sea" to immerse yourself in the program, and become involved deeply

      No, the point is to learn to avoid that at all cost.
      Quite literally ;-)

  • Slow connections! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) * on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:09PM (#26435409) Homepage Journal
    Man. you're going to be SOL, my friend.

    Your problem of only 100(125 according to TFA) minutes for a 4-month cruise will be compounded by a super-slow internet connection, compounded further by the extra speed-lag of wireless. From the looks of things, your computers will be all windows and probably use IE as the browser, which means no ad or script blocking. The best thing to do in this case would be to bring plenty of analog reading material and other distractions(read: pr0n, booze, or dope) aboard the ship and hope that you get laid.

    The first thing you should do is wean yourself from constant gratification through the internet. When you do use the on-board internet, chances are that pages will load slow as hell so try to use "hypermiling" techniques like stopping the page load as soon as the link you want appears(don't wait for the whole page to load), then do that again and again until you get to the content you want. As far as the blog thing goes, use your free official E-mail addy to send plaintext to somebody else who will maintain your blog for you and send you plaintext wikipedia articles as desired, and do that as much as possible so that you can save your precious 125 minutes - It won't be a real-time thing, but that's one of the whole points of being at sea(or camping, for that matter). An alternate suggestion would be to do everything yourself onboard, then release it all at once when you hit shore. Either way, best of luck to you, because cruises are nowhere near as exciting as the commercials make them out to be ;)
  • Cut the cord (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mononoke ( 88668 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:10PM (#26435419) Homepage Journal
    Say goodbye to your friends/family when you depart. Tell them you will contact them in an emergency. Then stay off the computers and spend time creating relationships with others on the ship. You don't need constant contact with the folks back home. Don't use them as a crutch.

    Temporarily cutting off contact will be the best thing you ever do for yourself.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Fallingcow ( 213461 )

      Research every place you'll be beforehand and print out anything you think you might need.

      When I'm travelling the only thing I ever want from the 'net is info on the locales. When I'm well prepared I don't even want that.

    • Re:Cut the cord (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:26PM (#26435719)

      I think that is the point of the 100 minutes of internet. Enough for some emergency communication, not for blogging and letting people know what you are doing every second.
      Drop the blog, no one cares anyway about the blog. And save it for a cram research of data, that emergency patch that you need on your laptop. Getting those baby pictures that come while you are out.

      There is life outside the internet.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Xest ( 935314 )

        "There is life outside the internet."

        Unfortunately for most of us on Slashdot, that's simply not true ;)

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by isorox ( 205688 )

        There is life outside the internet.

        Citation needed

    • If he's got email, he's got all he needs to stay in touch with friends and family.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shaka999 ( 335100 )

      I guess someone doesn't have a happy family life....

      You may not need constant contact but whats wrong with wanting it? Believe or not some people are close to the mother/father/brother/sister and want to share experiences with them.

  • Supposedly... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by i.r.id10t ( 595143 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:10PM (#26435421)

    Supposedly Stallman doesn't surf the web - he sends an email with a URL and the email is returned with the page...

    You can also look into maximizing your 100 minutes - cache a lot, don't get images, don't get ads, etc. Maybe team up wtih a few other people, so common interests/needs can be cached instead of downloaded once for each of you.

    What about wireless access via PCMCIA card or cell phone? May work when closer to the coast, would certainly work in-port (depending on where you are in port of course). May even be able to make some $ off other students by setting up your own network, etc.

    And of course you could always social engineer someone elses time away from them for non-identifying use such as fark, slashdot, etc. Save your minutes for your educational needs :)

    • Supposedly Stallman doesn't surf the web - he sends an email with a URL and the email is returned with the page...

      Also, he sends the email using nothing but butterflies, which should work equally well from a cruise ship.

  • by fprintf ( 82740 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:10PM (#26435427) Journal

    Did you consider that the limitations on Internet usage are in place for a reason? It may not be the bandwidth, it may be to force participants in this program to get away from their computers and interact with each other. The limits they place sound pretty reasonable to me.

    With that said, I'd say satellite is an option while at sea. Otherwise depending on where you go perhaps a tethered cell phone would do the trick. Expensive either way!

    • by hansamurai ( 907719 ) <> on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:18PM (#26435595) Homepage Journal

      It may be their intent, but this is Slashdot. He poses to us an intriguing and difficult problem and we solve it through various obtuse and technical solutions.

      • by nahdude812 ( 88157 ) * on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @03:09PM (#26437531) Homepage

        My buddy's daughter was on a Semester at Sea around a year ago. Sounds like a really fantastic experience overall.

        Her classmates' solution to this problem was not at all surprising, and remarkably effective. They got a hold of one of the professors' password. Within a few days the whole ship had unlimited access. There was ship-wide wifi, and normally you'd sign on to a web page that appeared before it granted you access. I guess the sign-on page wasn't encrypted, and it was trivial for students to pick up a new professor password whenever it was changed.

        Hopefully they've closed that gap since then, but you never know.

    • A friend of mine went on a 7 day cruise recently. She had to pay something outrageous, like $5/min to use their on-ship internet connection with their computers. She'd hop on for a few minutes, check her mail for serious problems, and send them over to me for handling. She knows her customers and an "urgent" issue may mean "do this sometime this month", or "do this in the next 20 minutes".

      I'd recommend if an Internet connection is that important. It may be more adventurous

  • Why not whip up some code that will wait for you to send an email to it containing some sort of pass code and a URL, then it fetches the page and all images, lzma and yEncs it, and then emails it back to you. It may not work so nicely with complicated sites, but for things like Wikipedia it would work great. I'm willing to bet however, that with enough effort you could write a fully fledged proxy. Latency may be really crap, but it would be undeniably cool. Also, have a look at programs such as http://code []
  • Unplug, get away (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gatkinso ( 15975 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:12PM (#26435453)

    Screw your email.

    Sounds like heaven.

    • Re:Unplug, get away (Score:5, Informative)

      by KefabiMe ( 730997 ) <garth.jhonor@com> on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @03:17PM (#26437675) Journal
      I fish commercially in Alaska during the summer. If you think being away from your email is heaven, then you haven't experienced the hell that is the high seas. You might have seen Deadliest Catch, but nothing can really explain the weeks of 1 or 2 hours of sleep a night (some days you won't even get that), the constant balancing act of having your sea vessel tossing and turning in 20 foot surf (you can't rest. Standing, sitting, eating, getting knocked to your feet, during every activity 24/7 your body's muscles are working HARD to keep balance.) Getting to shower once a week if you're lucky. Life at sea is hard. After a couple of months of this, every letter, every morsel of home is heaven. Last summer I was able to reach a WiFi point one single day much to my surprise. I managed to connect to AIM and get about a dozen messaged back and forth from my girlfriend before I got disconnected. THAT, my friend, is what heaven is on the high seas.
  • I know some guy who went without email access for a whole month. Mind you, he ate his own head.

    Still if you're not one of those types who defines himself by being "l33t" or a "gamer" you'll be ok.

  • So, you have unlimited access to email and yet you still don't how you're going to keep in touch in friends and family? Is e-mail "only for old people" now?

    If your concern is sending pictures back, a small JPG file should only be a few dozen KBs and will easily fit in your 1MB attachment limit. Keep the high resolution originals on your computer and promise your friends you'll send them the high resolution versions once you get back on shore.

    • I believe he said 1MB limit and no attachments.

      ... which is limited to messages under a megabyte with no attachments.

  • Iridium modems.

    Yes, it actually is good for something, albeit slow as old-school dialup.

    • by maxrate ( 886773 )
      I own an Iridium, it's horrible for this - I would not recommend it. For voice, it's great.
    • by jandrese ( 485 )
      Assuming you like paying $4/minute for coverage (assuming you can find some amazing cut-rate airtime broker). And when jstockdale says "old-school dialup", he doesn't mean "like having to use a modem instead of DSL", he means "you're not going to get the 2400 baud this thing advertises".
  • by McFly69 ( 603543 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:14PM (#26435515) Homepage
    Why not share the internet connection with everyone. 100 minutes for 600 people is alot. Setup an intranet or even a wireless network. Combine the minutes and you will have close to 42 days of internet access for everyone. ((100 minutes * 600 people) / 60 minutes) / 24 hours = 41.666 days.

    If you limit the internet conection to evenings, lets say to 12 hours, then you can double that to 83 days.
  • by thomasdz ( 178114 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:15PM (#26435519)

    What? Am I the only old-timer here? There's an RFC standard that fits this PERFECTLY []
    "1 April 1990: A Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers"

    Thomas Dzubin

  • by TinBromide ( 921574 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:15PM (#26435533)
    Check out how to Post to your wordpress blog using email []. or possibly Internet Access Via Email, Get Web Pages [] to deliver web pages via html formatted email.

    That is all.
  • 100 minutes is longer than you may think.
    Compose everything offline and minimize the size of any images.
    If you limit your online time to simply uploading/sending all your pre-created content and try to limit your online time to 2 minutes each session, you could get away with it.

    It's simply a case of getting all your ducks in a row.

    Aside from that, there's a chance of bartering with other shipmates for online time.
  • by areusche ( 1297613 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:17PM (#26435555)

    There is pretty much next to nothing you can do. Since you are at sea you won't be able to use your cell phone to connect to the web.

    A satellite phone with a very very slow dial up connection is your best bet, but too cost prohibitive. Here's a company that does its job fairly well []

    The only way you'll have affordable and uninhibited internet access is to wait until you get to port.

    However, for wikipedia you can actually download an offline version of the entire database. For a wikipedia like experiance follow the instructions on this website

    Also the raw dump for the english articles is here:

    Oh you can also download a DVD version of Wikipedia from that link above. Definitely worth looking at!

    Good luck! And definitely have an awesome time. That program sounds interesting and I will look into it as well since I'm a 2nd semester college freshmen.

  • RFC 1149 (Score:3, Funny)

    by schmidt349 ( 690948 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:17PM (#26435569)

    Unfortunately short of hanging a satellite dish out your cabin window there really isn't a way for you to get a TCP/IP uplink. RFC 1149 does specify a TCP connection modality which could be suitable to transmission of data over long distances at sea, but it was last implemented in 1991 and the engineers responsible were never able to get it to send more than a few hundred bytes of data. YMMV, but I think it's probably your best shot.

    • by jandrese ( 485 )
      It seems to me that TCP/IP is not the proper protocol for this, something like DTN [] is far better suited for his connectivity situation, especially since you could theoretically get an international phone service and have most bulk data sent only when you get close enough to port to relay through cell phone services. He could even write up an Email convergence layer if he wanted and theoretically get around the online time limitations (even if, as I suspect, email is only sent in big batches at non-peak tim
  • What you're talking about really seems like they're going to be conducting some sort of study involving you guys. At least, I sure as heck would if I was going to have the oppurtunity to put 600 people to sea for 4 months. I'm betting that what you do (and how well you do in the classes) is going to be monitored much more than you seem to think, and if this internet thing is part of their rules, it would be a good idea to stick with it. I could be wrong, I just can't see a university letting a chance like t
  • by Tom ( 822 )

    You want fetchmail and a local SMTP server with modified queue times.

    In essence, you want what used to be the norm back in the BBS days - queued up mail. When you go to port, you get a connection and fetch all your mails, then reply to them and send the answers at next opportunity. 15 years ago, that was how mail worked, whether it be Usenet or FIDO or others. The tools are still around.

    And you want to become accustomed to not having a 24/7 connection for a change. I know it can be hard, but if you're doing

  • by davejenkins ( 99111 ) <> on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:32PM (#26435817) Homepage
    You should view this as an incredible money-making opportunity: they've created an artificial shortage for online access, so exploit it:
    1. go to radio shack/fry's/wherever to get your satellite broadband hook-up equipment. It doesn't matter if the equipment costs you $5000-- you'll make it back.
    2. Set up Internet access in your cabin
    3. Charge the other students $10/10 minutes. Bonus points if you can get 2-3 terminals working over your sat connection. You'll probably be billing out a solid 3 hours/night = $180/day * 90 days = $16,200.
    4. Profit!!!

    You're welcome.

  • UUCP for images (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Lorens ( 597774 )

    Technically: you say "messages under a megabyte with no attachments" and ask for "a way to send photos (encode them as text?)". That's UUCP. Setting up a mail/web server that receives a mail with text followed by uuencoded images and posts that to a blog if and only if there's a password in the header or subject sounds like a 50-line perl script.

    However, you don't say that you get to take your own computer along; if you can't do that a lot of your options are shot.

    Socially? My advice: live with it. Make a

  • Now, before you leave, and see how it works for you. Disclaimer: have not tried it myself; googled it. []

  • sailmail over HF (Score:5, Informative)

    by sammyo ( 166904 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:38PM (#26435915) Journal

    There is a free email option. It requires a HAM license (note: morse code is not required anymore) and a SSB transmiter and a hundred foot antenna. A good SSB unit is around a thousand bucks.

    It is only for text based non-commercial emails but functions anywhere (under most weather conditions).

    Doesn't sound like a solution for a students desire to surf the web for free anywhere/anytime but email is available and pervasive just about anywhere.

  • rental a satellite phone or satellite terminal.

    I think you can find a satellite terminal for about $10/day and $7 or so per MB. So let's say you are at sea for eight weeks, or 56 days. Assuming about $20/day (a bit more than 1MB per day), it's going to cost about $1,120, which isn't bad at all if it really is important to you. I imagine business is bad so you might be able to talk them down for publicity purposes.

    Other solutions probably take more time than you want to spend. The obvious one would be

  • and you will have enough Internet spewing all over the place for everyone!
  • by likerice ( 1046554 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:43PM (#26436021)
    The severing of your electronic tethers is a luxury not to be taken lightly, my friend. Relax and enjoy the ocean breeze and various ports of call.
  • by aquatone282 ( 905179 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:52PM (#26436161)

    There is life without the Internet.

    Learn how the human race lived during the last century - get a short-wave radio and some good books and discover for yourself how a simple life can be a deeply satisfying life.

  • Not to threadjack, but this is related...

    A friend of mine is stationed in Iraq with a similar problem. I went looking to see if there was something here I could buy and ship there so that he would have something more than just enough time and resources to send a couple of mails a day.

    The only thing I could find was a compay called TS2 Satellite, they want 4K for their equipment and then about $900/mo for service. I mean I love the guy but I can't shell out that kind of dough (especially as he's there till D

  • HAM Radio / Blogging (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cavac ( 640390 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @01:56PM (#26436233) Homepage

    Get a HAM radio license and a portable radio (like the VX-7R or whatever works for you).

    While you likely wont be able to make worldwide contacts (unless you bring a 30+ meter long antenna with you as well), you should be able to contact many people while you are near the shore.

    Believe me, it's much more interesting than surfing the web. And in case of an emergency, you have some means of backup communication.

    About blogging: Don't blog. At least not "online". If you really want to blog (a some sort of diary), do it offline but spend as little time as possible on it; just take quick notes. When the semester is over, take that notes, refine them into articles and release them part-by-part over some time. This way, you don't waste precious time of your semester AND you have much more leisure time to really release refined articles.

  • If you decide to try any of the things suggested, remember that shipboard power can be rather, ah, interesting. There may be restrictions on what can be connected, and/or on how much power can be used. That second one may be no big deal, but shipboard power and electronics do not always play nicely together.
  • by furry_wookie ( 8361 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:01PM (#26436309)
    Just get a HAM license, and use WINLINK/AIRMAIL and you can have all the free email you want.

    You can run winlink over HF using any HF radio ($200+) and a decent wire antenna on the ship.

    Its very popular for sea and also use in remote locations by Missionaries in Africa etc..

    You can also use APRS to do automatic position reporting for your ship over HF Radio as well and your family would be able to track your location on a map.

    There are also various 'nets' where people all get together on a particular frequency and exchange messages etc. HAM's sill provide national message traffic passing services (Aka TELEGRAMS) for health and welfare messages for people. This is one of the main function that HAM's provide for RedCross, disaster locations etc.

    You can come to the net and pick up and messages, and send a telegram to any family friends via HF voice.

    Amateur(HAM) Radio is a very very valuable addition to worldwide boating activities.
  • Someone mentioned GlobalStar, but their satellites are failing... Iridium is the only "decent" sat-phone right now for this hemisphere, although there are other options in the Eastern hemisphere.

    Slow, about 9600baud, and expensive (spend $2000 or so for phone and a year's of service), but works everywhere...

    I know you probably don't have $2K to blow, so if you can really send emails of 1MB (no attachments), learn how to make "embedded attachments" the ol' fashion way... (uuencode)...

    and learn to appreciate

  • []

    If you think you'll need it, get a recent static copy. Most things you will look up won't change much over a few months.

  • If you're really a geek you could try finding a wifi hotspot when you close to a port with a cantenna. The biggest issues with wifi over long distances are obstructions. Your boat should always be pointed in the general direction of a port, so sit at the front with a Pringles can and hope for an open router.

    FYI: Back in the day we could get webpages via email. I think all of those services are down right now, but I'm sure anyone could rebuild a web app to do just that.

  • postcards (Score:4, Funny)

    by amigabill ( 146897 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @02:34PM (#26436925)

    I've heard tales of an ancient form of communication that used small slabs of tree fiber carried by occasionally tempermental human beings. You can use an antiquated stylus-like device, which instead of selecting icons or doing script recognition on touchscreens of today, they leave behind a quasi-permanent colored marking on the tree fiber substrate, and these glyphical markings can serve to contain the message you would like to send. These tree fiber substrates are capable of including graphic attachments on one side, and hte mesage on the opposite side of the slab. They are often pre-encoded with a selection of graphics to choose from, and sometimes you can create a substrate encoded with a graphic of your own creation using a device able to translate your digital imagery files into the pigmentious container format which is compatible with the wood fiber slab. You will likely need to include a second attachment to these messages, in the form of a second, but smaller slab of wood fiber, a kind of wood-fiber-slab tax which the occasionally tempermental human transporters require, without this second attachment file then you risk your message and other attachments being lost in a sort of delivery black hole. You may have to search for an acceptable terminal which is compatible with sending messages in this format, and these terminals may not always be available to you. But the ancients once used such laughable methods with great success, so it may be somewhat usable for you as well.

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @03:42PM (#26438067) Homepage

    How about you forget about obsessively blogging every minute of the day and just, you know, enjoy the cruise. Maybe even socialize a bit.

    You never know, you might even end up talking to members of the opposite sex.

  • You're going to be away at sea for four months with a bunch of college-aged people of the opposite sex, visiting exotic locations and all you can think about is internet access?

    I know it's cliche, I know it's oh-so-70's, but does the term "Love Boat" mean anything to you?
  • Meatspace (Score:3, Insightful)

    by h3llfish ( 663057 ) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @04:25PM (#26438775)
    Perhaps you should be a bit less concerned about the internets for a while. It's just one semester. Your friends and family will be there when you return. Well, most of them.

    I advise (since you asked) that you spend a lot less time thinking about the technological challenges of life at sea, and a lot more time thinking about the social challenge of getting into the pants of your schoolmates (or instructors, if the mood strikes). You're only going to be young once. There will be lots of time for techie fussing later.

    Live, damn you... LIVE!!! That's the true educational value of a semester at sea.

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian