I realized today that it really bothers me to have unread mail in any of my mailboxes. I have two main e-mail accounts that I use constantly throughout the day, and sync them OTA on my mobile phone. If I look at my phone while out and about, I just have to go through any unread mail, file away things I will keep, reply to what needs a reply, and delete or process any spam messages. I wonder if there is a name for this disorder?
I ran into an interesting issue today, something that is an old leftover from early mail systems.? I was trying to e-mail my hosting provider back on a support ticket I had opened with them, but when I replied I got a bounce message saying my mail was rejected with the following message:
Your message did not reach some or all of the intended recipients.
I have been a long time user of GFI software, relevant to this post is their Mail Essentials for Exchange package. I find it to be a very powerful and easily setup anti-spam system for Exchange. I have had very little trouble with it, and it is packed with useful features. However, recently I had some configuration issues with my spam setup, with rollernet really, not even an issue with Mail Essentials, but it got me thinking about my spam filtration system.
I am now on a quest to find an open source anti-spam solution for Exchange. I’m open to Linux based solutions as a gateway of sorts, but would prefer something that resides on the Exchange server running under Windows. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great respect for SpamAssassin and other gateway type spam fitlers, but it gives the end user a much better experience if the anti-spam software can interact with the user, especially if it integrates with Outlook.
Surely there must be some kind of solution out there I could try. At the very least I might install a few different packages under Linux and route incoming mail through them, and from there go to Exchange for evaluation. I can use server virtualization to allow for an easy evaluation of various types of configurations. ASSP I hear is very good and there was one other package that I found last night that sounds promising. I think it could be beneficial to have an additional layer of spam protection at the gateway level before GFI gets the messages and does its thing. My only concern is false positives. Lots of services and companies on the internet today do NOT have the proper DNS/MX confiugration and even at a more basic level don’t have their network setup right. All these network issues can have a major impact on e-mail deliverability. Its always a risk then when dealing with spam filters that you may block legitimate messages. I am always watching spam logs to ensure that I keep an eye on how the system is doing. If web services and companies would do a little work to get their sytems in compliance with RFS’s for SMTP and DNS, and setup the proper network configuration and mail server options, it would be a much better world for mail delivery without false positives.
Server: Event ID 9646 (user exceeded maximum of 32 objects of the type session). Event ID 1021 (unable to connect…error 0x4de)
Client/Outlook: Unable to open your default e-mail folders. The Microsoft Exchange server computer is not available. Either there are network problems or the Microsoft Exchange server computer is down for maintenance. OWA would work ok when logged on as either the user or an Exchange admin account.
Google searches of the events and error messages yield very little help. A second round of google searching and pressing further through the search results yielded a page from MS indicating to ensure that the user had “view information store status” rights granted at the server or mailbox store level. This lead me to a diagnosis of permission problems on the mailbox.
Proceeded with treatment by administering re-application of full mailbox permissions for the user and ensuring “view information store status” was selected in the allow column. Attempting to open outlook again immediately after still yielded errors as described in the symptoms. It wasn’t until a few minutes later when about to attempt a different method of treatment that the solution was revealed. Before trying to create a whole new information store and move the user for testing, I decided to open outlook again. This time, it opened no problem and did not give any errors or show any signs of a problem. Apparently the original solution was the correct solution and the treatment was correct, I just didn’t wait long enough for the change to take effect. Further attempts to work on the problem would have been useless as the issues was already fixed, I just didn’t know it yet.
Over the weekend I got an e-mail from Dennis Heidner who wrote SPAMLOGS for NoSpamToday. In version 3 of NST, the log parser “spamlogs” quit outputting the subject line of messages in the parsed log output. Dennis has corrected this in an updated version which should be available soon on the byteplant contributions area on their website. I have tested the new version and found that it fixes the problem. Dennis has also added some functionality to check for AUTH Attacks. SPAMLOGS conveniently checks for AUTH attacks and outputs the number of attacks per IP at the end (last column) of the spamlogs csv output.
SPAMLOGS is a must have for parsing the NST spamassassin log file, it turns the jumbled and confusing log file output from NST/SA into a readable and useful .CSV format. Combine his software with the automation utility or scheduled task, and it makes managing the mail logs much easier.
I’ve been running 0.8.2 of the category-access plugin by David Coppit for a few weeks now and its been working fine on the web interface of WordPress. I’ve been busy lately and haven’t had a chance to post anything to my blog in a while, so I hadn’t used any of my windows apps to post to WordPress. Upon trying I found that I got some error messages relating to XML parsing.
“Unable to parse the XML response. Parser Reason: Only one top level element is allowed in an XML document.”
BlogJet would generate this error:
Invalid payload received from xml-rpc server. Please check your host and page settings for this account. Server said: “,br/> <b>Fatal Error<b>: Call to a member function on a non-object in <b>/home/myaccountname/public_html/mybloglocation/wp-content/plugins/category-access.php</b> on line <b>373</b><br/>…”
Disabling the category-access plugin corrected the issue and I was then able to blog with my windows apps. I sent the information to David via e-mail and also made a post on the wordpress forums to help anyone else that might be using category-access. Its a great plugin and does exactly what I want, with only a few minor things lacking. For now I’ve left the plugin disabled, but plan to re-enable if David comes up with a fix.
I got an e-mail from David Coppit who created the Category Access plugin for WordPress. I’m happy to report he has or is in the process of updating his plugin for WordPress 2.3. I got a copy of the beta from him and it works great! So keep an eye out on the WordPress Codex site and David’s site if you use or may want to use this plugin. Make sure if you are running WP 2.3 that you get the latest version once he releases it.
I wrote this little mathematical equation at the office during a joke about an e-mail rule for incoming messages that ask questions… I know its not as funny without knowing the circumstances of the joke, but the formula is good, so I had to post it…
Solve for X (where options are IGNORE/DELETE/REPLY)
IF nQ = > 2 THEN X