Outpost Packet Message Manager

Address Book and ICS 213 Messaging Support


 

Outpost v2.4 Release Highlights

Outpost v2.4 is now available with the Address Book and ICS 213 message form support.  See the Release Information for a list of other changes included in v2.4. 

Address Book
The Address Book implementation required revisiting the entire packet message addressing scheme so that Outpost could take advantage of two specific address book features: Alias' and Distribution Lists

Single User entries.  When you create an address book entry for a single address, you essentially are creating an Alias.  You can define a friendly name (such as JIMOB) and associate it with a single address (such as KN6PE or kn6pe @arrl.net) for those hard-to-remember call signs or email addresses.

Distribution List entries.  Multiple addresses can be entered under a single friendly name to create a Distribution List (DL).

In both cases, other information can be associated with each  entry such as notes, phone numbers, agency names, and general free-form text fields.

When creating a message with an Address Book entry, the single or DL names are entered into the TO: field as usual, with the + sign in front of alias name (+JIMOB or +SCC_RACES).  The + sign tells Outpost that this is an address book entry, and not a directly entered address.

Forwarding Address Book Entries.  Outpost lets you can share your address book entries with others by forwarding them to other Outpost users as a packet message.  These messages are the bare minimum information made up of only the data that is  loaded into the recipients address book.  Loading a received address book message is optional.  They can be sent as private messages or bulletins for a larger group to share.

Address type checking at message send time.  One of Outpost's capabilities is to discover the type of BBS being used at the time you initiate a Send/Receive Session.  Because not all BBSs support all address formats, Outpost will check the To: line and each address format against the BBS to ensure that no inappropriate address formats are sent.  Address type checking uses this table:

BBS/PBBS Types

Address Types

Call Sign Hierarchical/NTS SMTP

All Kantronics

All MFJ

All  AEA/Time Wave

 
AA4RE

 
BPQMailChat

DXNET

 
F6FBB

 
HAMSERV

 
MSYS

 
N0ARY

NOS: JNOS, TNOS, SNOS

OpenBCM

 
RLI

 
Winlink (RMS, CMS)

 

Address Book substitution at message send time.  Once an Outpost message is being processed for sending, Outpost checks the To: line for any address book entry, and expands it into its defined address(es).

Winlink naturally handles lists of addresses, so Outpost will do nothing more than expand any address book entries into their defined addresses, and then be sent as is.  Winlink will manage distributing the message as it does today.

For all other BBSs: there is no other known BBS that supports handling a list of addresses within one message (xNOS comes close with its Alias feature).  When Outpost encounters a DL for a non-WL2K BBS, it will expand the distribution list and create one packet message for each distribution list entry.  So, a DL with 5 entries will result in 5 messages being sent, one to each recipient.

Duplicate address entries are also trapped and removed to further reduce unnecessary channel activity.

ICS 213 Messaging
ICS 213 Messaging is designed to improve the message handling efficiency of communications teams who work closely with served agencies that use the ICS 213 message form.  IT is implemented as a separate program thereby allowing it to be deployed either locally with Outpost or on another PC on the same network as Outpost.

The intent of ICS 213 Messaging is to address the need for an ICS 213-like message form that emergency communications have requested in support of their served agencies.  Its implementation as a separate program allows Ics213mm.exe to be deployed both locally in the radio room along side Outpost as well as out there in the EOC.  In this case, we can take advantage of PCs and laptops that are finding their way into the EOC and allow message origination and receipt to occur as close to the people who manage the information as possible.


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updated:  December 27, 2010