Email client

So I need a new email client. I've been thinking since reading the article in this month's MacWorld and there don't seem to be any great ones out there. Here's a partial list of features I need:

  • Handle IMAP and POP mail
  • Ability to import large email stores
  • Mail must be stored in a standard format
  • Mail cannot be stored in a single file
  • Inline spell checking
  • Read HTML email

So in short there is not an emailer out there that will do that. The big compromise at this point is between Apple's Mail which does HTML interpretation well but has terrible filtering and Eudora which has wonderful filtering features and lacks in displaying HTML formatted email.

SMTP intercept

Just spent some time working on reconfiguration of one of the SMTP servers I run. The odd thing was that even the tests that should fail went through without a hitch. So I dug into the logs a bit further and found no record of any of the messages I was sending, either good or bad. So I looked at the headers and it appears the ISP for the hotel is doing NAT port redirection of all outbound connections on port 25. It's a practice that is convenient for guests but may pose both an opening for spammers to stop by and use the connection as well as annoyance for people who don't like third parties unwittingly intercepting their mail.

Technology doesn't make it better

Sarah is signed up for a class that uses a student response unit from eInstruction. I'll be interested to see how well it works, but so far I'm skeptical. First of all there is a $3.75 purchase for the "unit". There is a note that it can be "sold back" to the bookstore (at 50%) at the end of the term... Once you have the unit you simply log in and pay $15.00 to register for your class. So hundreds or thousands of students, having paid tuition to the state, purchased their books form the bookstore, and paid their technology fees to the university they are attending are now asked to pay an additional $15 to a third party so their instructor.

So what do you get for this extra $20 per class? Well, you get the ability to answer questions using a keypad... Answer all the multiple choice questions that someone can throw at you. So you don't have to really learn anything but how to spit back the right choice on a multiple choice quiz or test.

But what else happens? Students are required to give their private information, including credit card information to a third party, not the school, not a store where the student has any choice. Make it easy for the professor to take roll and require that a student give personal information to someone who has no interest in protecting the student's rights.

False positives form chkrootkit

A quick FYI this morning I ran chkrootkit from a PORTS install on FreeBSD 4.9 this morning. It comes up with a few "INFECTED" files as so:

Checking `chfn'... INFECTED
Checking `chsh'... INFECTED
Checking `date'... INFECTED
Checking `ls'... INFECTED

There were no other errors. To be safe I built and used the GCC Fileutils including gls and again chkrootkit said the same files were infected. A quick web search found a few people having this problem with FreeBSD 5.x but no mention of 4.9. A quick trip to and I downloaded and installed the new version and it didn't show the problems. Unfortunately there is no mention of this in the changelog that is a part of the readme other than "small bugs corrected".

Is it defective?

Dave Winer's Thinkpad has developed a fracture. He wonders if it has to do with airport security and the beating it has taken. I've traveled with my laptop quite a bit and not had similar problems. My Thinkpad was terribly built and just felt flimsy but weighed a ton. Dave, I'd take it back for warranty service this shouldn't happen.

The simple way

We're working through some DNS transitions at the office. On Friday I spent too long looking for a slick way to use record generators or something similar in BIND to create forward DNS entries for 750 addresses that I needed to create. It wasn't until too much later that i realized the simple solution.... It takes a few seconds to use Excel to create the records. Simply set up the first two records with sequential numbers in them and then copy away. It has to be done once for each subnet, but in a few seconds all 750 addresses were done.


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