Thursday, May 29, 2008

Classmates Can Go To HELL!

Recently, I've been going around and deleting accounts on services that I don't use.
Stores, dumb little web toys, etc.
Just got an email from Classmates which reminded me I signed up a million years ago.
So, after digging in the help, I found the place to delete my account.
They make you confirm a couple times like all these sites do.
But here's the kicker: When I actually hit the final Delete button:
It generates an error.
Just "happens" to get an error so I can't delete my account.
Nice one.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Email to Google Apps

The clock is ticking...
Have to get the email back online right now. No more time for playing around with server installs, so I signed up for Google Apps for Business.
I did not know if I needed multiple seats to support multiple domains, but extra money isn't an issue at this point.

The process: much easier and straightforward than setting up this blog! :)
Step 1: Sign up and plunk down $50.
Only problem: for my use, I only need one account. I didn't realize the admin account would count as an account, so I didn't use my primary name. Not a problem, because you can create multiple aliases.

Step 2: Create domain aliases and user aliases to cover all the mail addresses desired.

Step 3: Confirm your domain(s).
You can do this with a special CNAME record in your DNS or by putting a file on your web host.
I figured the web version would verify faster so that's the route I took.

Step 4: Optionally create a custom url for your mail login page.
Add a bunch of MX records pointing to the Google mail servers.

Step 5: Import existing mailbox.
If you're running Exchange, there's a program you can run. If you're currently running an IMAP host, you can transfer that way. Unfortunately, there are limits:
Messages larger than 20 megabytes (including attachments) and messages flagged with viruses will not be transferred. User accounts with more than 1800 folders on the IMAP server will not be transferred, either. Instead, they will be skipped so that the scheduled transfer can continue.
I suspect I'll have issues... :)

So far, the system is working fine. The visible spam is less than 3/minute, so I suspect there's a lot of stuff that's getting hard-filtered upstream. I'm seeing about 1 spam per hour get through, so I'm pretty happy so far.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Adventures in Ubuntu 8.04 Server

The Story so far:

The Mediagods mail server gave up the ghost a couple days ago.
After filtering millions of spam messages, the old guy had a the sendmail file get corrupted. It was a RedHat3 installation with all the RPM stuff pulled years ago, so this is a terminal condition. I bought a new machine to replace in... eek 2001.
I have yet a newer machine mostly unused, so that will become the new host.

Grabbing the installer CD was as easy as downloading it in my browser from

Initial installation was a breeze. As expected from Ubuntu installs.
At the end, I had a nice clean linux server with mySQL, PHP, Apache, ftp, and mail services ready to roll.

That was easy....

The manual states the ebox is the official gui management tool.

apt-get got it installed and configured.
I must say, I find this particular tool quite lacking.

firewall module
The firewall tool operates on "services." Unfortunately, it does not come preloaded with the names of any services beyond those it's using. I had to manually create service for everything including http and email.
Repetitive tasks are annoying, you have to start at the top of the menu tree each time.
It took a very long time to:
  • create each service (give it a name)
  • create a configuration for each service (seems silly to be a separate, painful step)
  • create a rule for that service in the LAN ruleset
  • create a rule for that service in the WAN ruleset

Nice things about the firewall: uses separate rulesets for LAN and WAN traffic. (Which is also annoying: I couldn't scp files from the old box until I set up an ssh rule in the WAN rules.)

user/group management module
The user management module is misleading in that is doesn't manage linux users: it manages LDAP users.

Configuring email:
I went through all the steps on the Postfix page in the manual.
Normally, I run sendmail, so this was new to me.
The instructions in the Basic Configurating section caused some problems, because they give you the answers to the questions - not the questions themselves. Which were different in my case.

I skipped Mailman, since I don't offer mailing list services.

On to my users:
  1. It's not working, but for safety's sake, I stopped the sendmail daemon on the old box.
  2. I wanted to re-create the user structure from the RH3/linuxconf box, so I created a "popusers" group for unprivileged mail users with groupadd and groupmod.
  3. I gave them a home in /home/popusers.
  4. Added the users with "useradd -g popusers -d /home/popusers/{popusername}/ -m {popusername}"
  5. Set passwords for the popusers
  6. Used scp to copy the spool files over from the old box.
  7. Pointed the MX records to the new box and wait... DNS hasn't changed on these machines in 7 years so I had a super-long TTL.

I will post again in a few hours after the dns catches up.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

back online

The custom domain stuff at blogger broke yet again.
Using the super-secret magical form to reset the domain allowed me to start over.
Good thing - was ready to pull the trigger on the move to SquareSpace.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Engineer's Guide to Cats

I can breathe again.
Seriously, I was laughing so hard I could not breathe.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Custom Ringtone on my Samsung SCH-U700 (Verizon Wireless) Gleam

Using bitpim, I had a slew of custom MIDI ringtones on my previous phone.
But until a few minutes ago, I had been thwarted in my attempts to get a (free) custom ringtone on my Gleam.

So here's what I did (this process requires a micro SD memory card)
1) Put in a memory card, turn on the phone, and format the card
2) Turn off the phone, pull the card and put it in a USB reader
3) Copy the desired file to the my_sounds folder
4) Unmount the SD card, put it in the phone and boot 'er up
5) Navigate to Menu:Get It Now:Music & Tones:My Sounds
6) Cursor to your file and hit the right smart key "Options"
7) Send the file to yourself
8) When you get your file, download, and set as a ringtone!

Verizon still got ding me for the SMS message, but I didn't pay for a stinking ringtone.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Move to Blogger - Part 2

The move to Blogger did not go as easily as I'd hoped. The first issue was domain names. While you can use a custom domain for a Blogger account, you really want to use a subdomain when doing so. In my case I wanted to point the domain to my Blogger page. Blogger recommends using CNAME when pointing to the Blogger servers because they use a round-robin DNS. Since the null domain name has to be an A record, I couldn't really do that. The other issue with DNS on blogger is that the hostname needs to be an exact match there are no regular expressions. So going to will result in an error.

Oh, and don't try setting up a custom domain using the beta version of Blogger. It messes up the records and has to be fixed by a technician.
Technical support for Blogger seems to consist of a Google group. Trying to explain that I didn't make any mistakes and that the issue needed to be resolved by a technician just wasn't working.
Turns out that there is a form that can be used to resolve this issue. But no one on the support forum mentioned this to me. After some searching I found it on my own.

The Magical Custom Domain Form
The only real cure for "Another blog is already hosted at this address" error.

The Blogger themes seems to be fairly limited. After playing around with them a little bit, they seemed straightforward enough. So I should be able to get what I like.

And, the current version of the Blogger editor is very limited its formatting tools. Grouping text with pictures, and section breaks are both fairly difficult with the editor. Luckily, one can just hit "edit HTML" and make any required changes.