Back to the future, I mean past.
I have been playing with this Iridium Go! thing, and have managed to work out how to get the damn thing to work for a straight IP connection!
It is marketed as having mail, web, text, calls, and even "social media integration", but the feeling in the office was that it would only be those specific things that worked at all. However, Iridum more generally, as opposed to Iridium Go! is marketed as allowing data calls that pass IP. I am pleased to the the Go! is indeed as flexible.
I am testing using a £99/month package that has unlimited data and texts, which makes it ideal for texting, and even spending ages using telnet on a cruise if I get bored.
Basically, the apps that one uses with iPhone and iPad all send some nice SOAP/XML to establish the "Internet call" and send details of firewall settings and stuff to work. They then talk to proxies on 192.168... addresses to get mail and access web. With these selective firewall settings which were not visible (without doing packet dumps) I was, of course, unable to make any sort of connection to the outside world.
However, it seems if one selects "Internet call" on the on-screen menu it makes a connection that works according to the configurable firewall settings. I managed to use telnet to get to irssi to access irc, and post on irc. It has some lag, obviously, but works. It is a tad like those old Prestel days though being 2400bps.
Next trick is playing with mosh to get a more interactive feel. I also need to make something to send the "internet call" settings rather than having to press the button.
So this means I can use their tools for the likes of calls, texts, and email. I can use the laptop for things like irssi/irc, and I can open ports for things like rsync if I need.
Starting to be impressed now.