Section 1 of the ATM List FAQ
Basics, Info, and Rules

Document Table of Contents

1.0: Introduction

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The ATM mailing list is a gathering of amateur telescope makers made possible through the email system. Members of the list generally engage in one or more aspects of telescope and accessory making. For example, you will find people who grind their own mirrors, build telescopes using purchased or "home-made" optics, build drives or correctors, build CCD cameras, and more.

The ATM mailing list allows these individuals to exchange ideas, seek or provide help with problems, and to further the hobby of telescope making. You do not need to be an expert to join in. In fact, most of the list members are "lurkers" who read a lot and post little so that they can learn and gain encouragement to tackle their dream projects. The members of the ATM list are generally very helpful and very friendly. In fact, we feel this is the friendliest gathering of individuals on the 'Net.

The ATM mailing list is available in "normal" and digest form. See section 1.3 for information on joining the list.

This FAQ will help to answer some of the more common questions beginners have about making their own telescopes. It also describes the ATM Mailing list, the list's rules, and resources available for telescope makers. This FAQ by no means intends to provide you instructions on how to build your telescope or optics. For that, there are many good books (see section 4).

1.1: ATM Mailing list resources

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Resource     Description and link
Subscribing/Unsubscribing  To subscribe to or unsubscribe from the ATM Mailing list, see section 1.3.
Archives  Archives of messages sent to the ATM list (in a searchable, Web-based format) are stored at Archives prior to January 2004, are available at
List Owner  Mike Lindner ( is the list administrator. Problems with the list should be directed to him.
FAQ Locations  The ATM List FAQ can be found in HTML format at or This document is mirrored on the ATM Site at
FAQ Administrator  Michael Lindner (with help from others) ( is the FAQ maintainer. Problems or corrections to the FAQ should be directed to him.
Sending a message to the list  The ATM list is a members' only group: only members can post messages to the list. If you are a member, you can post messages to the list by sending mail to Non-members, please join first.
The File Area  The ATM List file area is a place where ATM list members can share non-text information (the list itself only accepts text emails). It can be viewed at Files can be uploaded at

1.2: ATM List Rules

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Members of the ATM list expect certain conduct from the other members of this list. If you do not comply, you might face consequences ranging from consternation by your peers expressed in private emails up to being removed and banned from the list. Removal from the list will be solely at the discretion of the list administrator.

The ATM list represents one of the friendliest gathering of individuals on the 'Net. No one has yet been asked to leave the list for poor conduct. Please help maintain the friendly, helpful nature of the group.

1.3 Subscribing and unsubscribing

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The ATM list is the primary email list group of the ATM community. This list is available in digest (one or two emails a day with all the messages from that day in it) and non-digest (receive list emails as they are sent) versions.

Whichever version you subscribe to, you need to make sure you can receive the emails. In a perfect world, that would be simple, but unfortunately, we live in a world of SPAM (unsolicited junk email). If you use AOL to receive your ATM list email you may find the following note from Dominic DiLeo useful. If you have different SPAM filtering software in place, make sure you set things up to be able to receive email from even if it is not explicitly addressed to you (list emails are addressed to the list,

AOL 9 holds all blocked mails in a quarantine folder, called a spam folder. The user can choose to release any address simply by highlighting it and striking the ' NOT SPAM ' key.

If an individual is running other versions of AOL, they can go to and click on the mailbox icon in the upper left corner of the page. This will open up a mailbox with the same control options of AOL 9's mailbox configuration.

The list is automated, so when you send your request to subscribe or unsubscribe, no person will review your request. Make sure to follow these instructions carefully.

There are two ways to subscribe, unsubscribe, change your email address or other subscription options.

Subscribing/unsubscribing/changing options via the web

Go to and follow the instructions there. The link to change your subscriber information or unsubscribe is at the bottom of the page.

Subscribing/unsubscribing/changing options via email

If you do not have web access, or prefer to handle your atm list subscription by email, here's what you need to know. Also see the mailman documentation for details.

1.4 The File Upload Area

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ATM list emails are restricted to text only. There are several good reasons for this. First off, text messages cannot spread viruses or worms, making the ATM list a safe place for subscribers. Secondly, attaching large graphics or other files puts a burden on those who don't have the cheap high bandwidth access that some of us have. However, there are times when a picture is worth a thousand words. For that, we have provided a file upload area. Here's how to use it.

Let's say you want to show list members a foucaultgram of a mirror to ask for figuring help. You can go to, click on "Upload files" and enter the email address and password that you used to subscribe to the list (if you have forgotten your password, click on "Subscribe, unsubscribe, manage your subscription options" and then "Unsubscribe or edit options" and you will be taken to a page where you can have your password emailed to you).

After entering your email address and password you can upload a file which will appear on the ATM list server at (note that the last part will be generated from your email address).

You can then use the URL of that file in a post to the ATM list. To get the URL, click on the file name with the right-hand mouse button and select "Copy Link Location" (or whatever similar copy command your browser displays). Then the URL can be pasted into your email message to the list like this:

Here's what my mirror looks like! How can I get rid of this central hill?

Readers of your email can then download the image or other file if they wish to.There are some things to note:

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This document, its contents, and its Web representation are Copyright ©1996, Tim Poulsen. For complete copyright information, including allowed uses of this FAQ, please see Section 8. Initially created on Thursday, September 12, 1996 by Tim Poulsen.