Blog Archives

Pasting links from OWA

I deal with Good support now and then for various technical issues with their mobile e-mail solution (Goodlink).  Today it appears they sent out a survey request to all of their customers, but I had to chuckle a little when I read the message and found they had pasted in the survey link through OWA.  If you read below, you will find the actual URL is missing the first h in the (http), and the actual linked URL is an Exchange OWA redirect link.  This happens when you copy a link from OWA and paste into another message.  By default in OWA, links point to the Exchange redirector and then take you to the link specified at the end of the redirect URL. 

I run into this issue myself from time to time and forget about this until I get a reply back to something I sent out with a complaint that the URL I sent does not work.  To get around I usually paste the link into notepad so I Can get a plain text copy of the link, and then I remove the Exchange redirector part.  I then paste in the plain text link which most e-mail programs and even OWA convert to a hyperlink automatically for you. 

I’m not trying to gripe about this flub, but find it humorous that such a mistake can be made by anyone and its nice to know I’m not the only person out there who forgets about this from time to time and sends out links that don’t work.  Now naturally a technically apt person could easily extract the correct link and get where they need to go, but the average person is going to reply and complain that you sent them a bad link.  Not just that, but now we all have the OWA logon link to their Exchange mailboxes.  (Don’t worry Good (motorola), I’ve hidden the actual OWA Link for your privacy) 🙂  (NOTE: I did receive a correction email from them shortly after receiving the message below).

Dear Valued Motorola Good Technology Group Customer:

Thank you for your recent inquiry into our support team. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you, and help you and your company meet your mobile messaging needs. To gauge the level of support you, and other customers are receiving, and to better understand where our strengths and weakness are, we are asking for your help.

By clicking on the following link and taking a brief six question survey, you will help us gauge the level of support we are providing our customers. This will allow us to know where our strengths are, and where we need improvement:

ttp://www.zoomerang.com/recipient/survey-intro.zgi?p=maskedsurveyidforprivacy <https://nosy.notmotorola.com/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.zoomerang.com/recipient/survey-intro.zgi?p=maskedsurveyidforprivacy>

Please spend the two minutes it will take to respond to the survey questions so we will know how to better serve you in the future.

Sincerely,

The Good Technology Group Technical Support Team

Exchange 2003 | OWA | winmail.dat

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.

Subject: RE: myticketnumber]: message subject hidden for privacy reasons
Sent: 2/8/2008?3:16 PM
The following recipient(s) could not be reached:?myhostingprovidersemailaddress?on?2/8/2008?3:14 PM
The recipient could not be processed because it would violate the security policy in force
< smtp1.myproviderdomainname.com #5.7.0 smtp; 554-5.7.0 Reject, id=26006-18 – BANNED: multipart/mixed 554 5.7.0 | application/ms-tnef,.tnef,winmail.dat>

——————————-

So I did some digging online, and tested some things out.? I found that even if sending from OWA I still had this issue, so I knew it was a server configuration option I needed to look for.? The provider I am dealing with was quick to blame me of course, but my server config has not changed in years.? So I think they changed something on their side recently with the way their helpdesk processes mail, and thats what caused this issue.?

To resolve it, I went into my ESM, under global settings, internet message formats properties and changed the options to never use Exchange Rich text.? After applying this change, the issue was resolved and mail flow has been restored.?

I personally don?t like making server config changes due to problems with sending mail to just one outside recipient, but I deal with my hosting provider a lot and its a hassle to have to reply from a different mail account.?

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DNS uh oh!

I will admit that I made a pretty bad oopsie recently regarding my DNS confiugration for my personal domains, specifically with the MX records. Recently I decided to cancel my no-ip backup mail service account, so I removed the no-ip mail servers from my MX records in my DNS zones. What I forgot was that I had setup my DNS on DNSExit.com rather than on my own hosting server. So the place I fixed the MX records made no difference at all, and last night or this morning when my no-ip account expired, they began rejecting mail for my domains. I was alerted to this issue by my loving wife who calmly told me she couldn’t get any email from her friends. I quickly identified the issue and made the necessary corrections on the DNSExit system and mail flow has been restored. There could be some DNS servers out there that have my DNS zone cached, so for up to 2 days, we still face missing some e-mail. Fortunately, the sender will get a bounce back and hopefully realize that something is wrong and they need to re-send their message later. This is the first major mail stoppage I’ve had in a LONG time. I plan to diagram my mail flow and DNS configuration so that I can reference this information in the future, since I don’t look at it every day, its easy to forget how things are setup.

UPDATE | 8-27-07

It turns out I thought I had fixed everything but hadn’t. I noticed I still wasn’t receiving the normal amount of mail I normally would on my shorehost.com domain. After checking again, I found I had forgotten yet another backup DNS service that I use and had not yet removed the no-ip MX records from that provider. So I fixed that, and I’m happy to report that mail is now flowing normally now. However for several days there, since approximately Aug 23rd, incoming mail to my personal domains was affected and mail was bounced back to the senders. So if anyone sent me or my wife anything important, please re-send!!! This is the first major outage caused by an “oopsie” that I’ve ever had on my personal mail system.

SPAM honeypot

I make it no secret that I hate SPAM (email SPAM that is). I have recently decided that I will shortly begin to utilize a method of identifying SPAM known as a honeypot system. Basically, you setup an e-mail address that is not for actual use. You can then post this address on the internet wherever you like, and eventually you will get spammed. You can take these spam messages and use them to train spam filters. In my case, I plan to add an SMTP address to a mail enabled public folder on my home mail server. I will then post this bogus address on the internet everywhere I can find a place to do so. This public folder will receive a copy of every message sent to that honeypot address. My spam filter is setup to check this folder every hour for new messages and train the filter with the messages it contains and learn them as SPAM. This should help to train my SPAM filter and further reduce the already near 0% false negatives I received on my accounts. I can’t wait to see how much I can get spammed at this address. I’ll post again once its setup and working.

IE7 and printing e-mails

Now that IE7 is rolled out to over 1 million installations, time for problems!!! My company along with many other companies and end users, are now noticing that since the upgrade to IE7, users have sporadic problems printing e-mails from Outlook. We specifically run Office 2003 and when users print from outlook, sporadically, they will get a printout of the e-mail with the headers missing. We haven’t see any e-mails print with small text or some of the other symptoms that I’ve heard others experience. There are several workarounds and I’ll update this list as I come across more.

1. I f we use Microsoft Word 2003 to edit / compose the email and then print, noheadings are printed. If we uncheck Microsoft Word 2003 as our editor andthen compose the email it will print with headings.

2. Our firm is having a similar problem, and it is related to IE7 and ourthird party spam filter. When a message runs through the spam filterbut is passed due to the sender being on our white list, the messageheader does not print.The way to work around this, if you really need the messsage headerprinted is: forward the email to yourself which then prints perfectlyand adds the missing header back in. I do not know why this works, but it does.

3. Open a HTML formated email, select page setup, choose ‘Memo Style’, settop and bottom margins to zero (you may want to use the values above),click ok – print the emailThis problem is related to Internet Explorer 7 upgrade. Even if youremove IE7 after it has been installed the problem does not go away.

4. I found a solution: click on Format, you’ll see Send Pictures from the Internet is checked. Uncheck this, it should default check to HTML. Thiswill fix the problem. Some setting must have changed. No explanation

5. Another user suggested a less practical approach:He was able to print e-mails fine after doing the following:-Tools, options-In preferences tab, click e-mail options…-Under Message Handling, check “Read all standard mail in plain text”-Restart oulook, and you should be able to print e-mails fine.

6. You can disable font styles: Open Internet Options. On the general tab, click the Accessibility button. Check mark “Ignore font styles specified on webpages”.This will allow you to print headers on HTML emails.

7. If on emails that dont print the headers you first switch to landscape mode, they will print the headers correctly. You need to do it through the Outlook Page Setup function for it to work correctly. To do this:
1. Click on File and choose Page Setup
2. Choose Memo Style
3. Select the radio button for Landscape
4. Click OKThis setting will be for this email only and only until you close it.

The default setting will still be Portrait for other emails. This will at least let you print the missing information on these random emails until Microsoft releases an official fix for it.

8. In Outlook, go to “Tools” => “options”; in the preferences tab, click “email options”.
Under message handling, check the box “Read all standard mail in plain text”
You now need to quit Outlook and start Outlook again, and printing will be fine.

Stuff just happens

Today, I found another example of something I hate. Nothing bugs me more than finding a problem that should have been an issue all along, but things were working fine until for no particular reason, the problem shows it ugly little head. Specifically, today, I discovered that certain messages sent to our domain (at work), were being bounced with a 552 error code (Exceeded storage allocation). I found this particularly frustrating since I know we don’t set any specific size limits, other than a global limit of 10-15MB. The spam server is an SMTP proxy and we use watchguard fireboxes with an SMTP Proxy. I did some searching online and found that there may be an issue with the watchguard firebox in relation to an RFC for SMTP:

The RFC for SMTP explicitly states that the length of a single unterminated line can be no more than 1000 bytes. Sometimes email is rejected at the firewall for this reason because by default it will drop the connection when an unterminated line length exceeds 1000 bytes.

So now it appears the culprit for the issue is our firebox, which boggles my mind, because we’ve used it forever and just recently started having this problem. I hate when stuff just breaks for no particular reason and has worked in the past just fine for years. I am also checking our our spam software support team, to make sure their software when acting as an SMTP proxy, won’t be vulnerable to the same type of thing. Hopefully there is an easy fix for our firebox and we won’t have any more trouble. I’ve read several other newsgroup posts that indicate the firebox as the cause of the problem. Although the actual cause is some mis-configuration of the senders mail system, (typically), the firebox is doing the disconnecting.

Last minute change of plans

I took vacation days for Thursday, Friday – Monday and Tuesday to close on our houses and get moved in to the new house. So on Thursday morning I was off of work, Liz and I went to New Tampa and picked up the moving truck. We had purchased several items online and needed to go pick them up, so we headed out to Brandon to pickup our new couch set. We got there and the people were really nice and we had no trouble loading the new set. We left there and tried to find a place to stop and get a money order, because I was a few hundred short of the cash I needed to pay for the next item. We found an Amscot where we were going to try to buy a money order, but we only had a check and credit cards with us. They would not let us buy a money order since they deal strictly with cash. So we went to Lakeland anyway to pickup my new TV!!! I bought a 57″ Hitachi Big Screen. I got a great deal on it, it came with a matching entertainment center too. So there were two guys there at the house we picked it up from who helped us load it onto the truck. It took a while and lots of effort, but we managed to get the TV and entertainment center out of the house and onto the truck. I skinned up a knuckle hauling that monster, since we had to pick it up to get over dips and when moving at angles. We secured the TV to the side of the truck and went on our merry way. We only made it a short distance when we heard loud bang from the back of the truck. We pulled over to find the bungie cords we used had come undone. We re-secured the TV this time with rope and more blankets to protect it from any further impacts. Eventually it settled down and we made it back to Tampa in one piece. But something else happened on our way back to Tampa…

As we were leaving and about to get back on I4 to go home, we were sitting at a traffic light on Florida about to turn onto Memorial to get back to I4. Suddenly lots of police kept zooming by us, probably 10-15 cars, we had no idea what was going on. We saw tons of cops, an ambulance, lots of unmarked cars, and just a lot of police activity. We finally made it onto Memorial and were going down the road when we saw lots of people standing on the sides of the road and more police activity. We made it by the police as they just were coming out to stop traffic. We went a little further and saw motorcycle cops driving up and down the road looking for something. We went on our way and didn’t think much more of it. When we got back to Tampa, we heard what happened. Some guy (they think a drug dealer) shot two police officers and a dog. The dog and one of the police officers died and the other office is in critical condition. Last night there was a $15,000 reward for the capture of this guy. This morning, it was up to $40,000. I just now (at the time of writing this post) heard that they found the guy (think he was hiding in the woods) and they shot and killed him. So we were right there in Lakeland when all this happened just moments after it took place.

So we made it back to Tampa and decided to stop by the new house and drop off our loot into the garage. We were told to call the sellers agent for the code to the keypad of the garage door so we could get inside and unload out things. We tried calling and got her voicemail. We called over and over and were about to give up and leave after being there for about 30 minutes. Liz’s mom had just arrived to pick us up so we could leave the truck there until we heard from the sellers agent, just then the phone rang and it was her with the garage code. So we opened the door and unloaded the TV and entertainment center with the couch we got. Then we took the truck back to our house and were going to start loading more onto the truck. Liz had to leave at 2:30 to pickup Sarah from school, so she ate something quickly and left. Liz’s mom also left around that time. That left me home alone to load the truck. I was going to get as much loaded as I could and take a load to the garage so that when help came later, all we had left to move would be last minute things and the larger items I need help with. Well, once Liz left I got ready to go outside and haul stuff into the truck. I took my keys out of my pockets, and put my cell phone on the desk. I didn’t want to have a lot of stuff on me while moving. So I went outside and closed the door behind me. I didn’t realize until a few minutes later that I had just locked myself out of the house with no keys, no phone and no way back inside until Liz got back. Now Liz had to go take Sarah straight to Amanda’s house so she could watch the kids while we moved stuff. She also had to feed michael before she came back. So Liz didn’t come rescue me from my own stupidity until around 4:20pm. We originally thought that Thursday would be our only moving day since we had to be out of there for closing the next morning. So I was in a rush to get stuff loaded and moved, and was rather distraught that I had lost almost 2 hours of my moving time by locking myself out of the house. So Liz got home, and started to pack up more last minute things and I started loading more stuff onto the truck. I had put some things that were on the back porch in the truck already. Around 4:30 we got a call from our realtor, who said there was a delay on the buyers side and they were looking at a Wednesday closing now. So we had to unload what I had loaded onto the truck already, and help Liz finish getting what she needed. I then took the truck back to New Tampa and dropped it off. Liz took some things to Amanda’s house and they got Pizza for dinner. I got back from New Tampa to Amanda’s house around 8pm. I ate and helped get the kids to bed and left around 9:30. I spent the night alone at our old house since we still had most of our things in there. I didn’t want to leave it all there alone.

I got up this morning and came to work a little early so I could eat breakfast in the break room, since they provide pastries and bagels and such every Friday morning. Liz originally left me some milk so I could have some cereal for breakfast, but forgot to leave me some cereal. So I was stuck at the house with no food. I had a bagel and creme cheese for breakfast along with a yummy cheese danish.

I then got a call this morning from our realtor again with a few updates. Apparently I was not told of two more repairs to our house the buyers wanted done. Now I have to patch one more crack in the garage floor (which is normal in FL for a new house) and replace the air filter in the return on our hallway. The buyer is going to do his walkthrough on Monday while the appraiser is there.

So now we have reserved the moving truck for Saturday and Sunday just in case. Hopefully on Saturday we can get all of our stuff moved out of the house into the garage of the new house. I am meeting my realtor to get the truck at 9am tomorrow morning. This should be a fun weekend! And its killing me, I have that nice 57″ TV sitting in the new garage and no way to play with it until Wednesday! 😦 Maybe I will take my DVD player and some cables with me tonight and hook it up just to see it play. I’m so impatient.]]>

E-mail server during transition

Moving presents some unique challenges you don’t run into any other time. Specifically regarding hosting my own e-mail server. Over the past few days, I’ve been contemplating how I should handle moving to a new location with an entire weekend where I will not have internet access or a location at which to setup and run my e-mail server. I started checking into online paid mail services and searched for some open source solutions for a free solution. I stumbled upon a free beta service from Google. I think its under Google Apps for Domains. What this lets me do is setup my MX records for mail delivery on my domains, and route all mail to servers hosted by Google. I can pre-configure my accounts and settings so that I can do an immediate switch over. Once I had all my settings configured, I proceeded to change my MX records. I was surprised at how many servers are available from Google, they have 7 or 8 servers available for mail services. I configured all of them plus my two backup mail servers at no-ip.com. This way in the extremely unlikely event that the godaddy mail servers go down (all 7 or 8 of them), mail will still fail over to my backup mail servers and queue for later delivery. The good thing is that POP3 access is available from Google, so I can get to my email during the weekend transition. I plan to export both my mailbox and Liz’s mailbox in Exchange to a PST file, then configure outlook on my laptop with profiles for both of our personal accounts. I can setup the PST files so we can get to all of our old messages, and still access new mail through POP3. I am going to leave the mail on the Google servers, and once I am all moved in and have my mail server setup and running, I can have my Mail Essentials POP3 downloader get all the mail I left on Google’s servers. I may take my time getting it set back up at the new house, since I want to have Verizon come install FIOS so I can drop Road Runner. With FIOS I can get twice the upload speed of Road Runner, plus 5 more MB of download speed. So its a way better deal and about the same price. Once I have tested FIOS and made sure it will work ok for my needs, I’ll drop RR.

Network and email issues

Next, I realized that my internet speed was very slow at home. I have a cable modem high speed internet account with Road Runner and also got the 10MB speed plan, so I should get close to 10MB down and 1MB up. After performing a speed test I found I was only getting from 200KB-600KB, which is obviously really bad. I submitted an online support ticket, but never did hear back. So I decided to do my own testing. I started to shut off my home computers/servers one at a time to make sure it wasn’t something on my home network causing the issue. I sthudown my backup server, ran another test, nope, that wasn’t it. I shutdown my exchange server, nope that wasn’t it. I shutdown my AD controller (sisko) and sure enough my speeds returned to normal. Sisko must have had some kind of issue that was causing severe network problems and slowing down my internet access speeds. I’m not sure if it was sending out data or receiving data, but it was flooding my network. I rebooted the server, disabled unneeded services, ran windows update, and checked for spyware/adware and found no problems. I assume its a symptom of a software issue in Windows that went haywire, or possibly the initial signs of a bad NIC or one thats on its way out. At least I know where to start looking now if it ever happens again.

So now both of my issues are resolved. I did make a few changes though, I implimented a secondary DNS service with rollernet for shorehost.com. I also got a new no-ip mail reflector account that does the same thing as rollernet, but it costs $$. I added this service to shorehost.com and churchgang.us. This should prevent any further loss of mail or service interruption in the future. I now have 4 backup MX records in my DNS zones for both domains, and this should provide way more redundancy than I really need. ]]>

Cingular 8125 – and Exchange 2003

WOW, I just got a Cingular 8125 handheld smartphone. I must say that I love it! Its got everything I need to stay “well connected”. I run Exchange 2003 at home for my personal e-mail, so I can sync my new smartphone with my home exchange server with ActiveSync and also get my work email through Goodlink. The goodlink interface on this smartphone is great, its really fast and convenient. Pocket outlook is ok, not as good as goodlink, but very nice none the less. I had some trouble getting active sync setup. I had trouble becuase I had forms based authentication enabled with SSL, which my self signed cert was not trusted by the smartphone by default. I just discovered I could export the cert in DER format and simply open it on my smartphone to import it. This would have cleared up my issue, but I had already purchased a godaddy cert during my troubleshooting process. This is better anyway since now people I host e-mail for in my family won’t get that annoying security prompt now.