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...intermittent thoughts

Protected again

Huh, that was a quite a hard weekend for me. Intended to be a nice weekend at home with a cool party on Saturday in turned into very busy and stressy one. First of all, I identified my homeserver to extremely slowly delivering mails. Unfortunately that happened not only to me but also my parents and a couple of friends hosting their domains on the same machine. So I called the data center guys and asked them for help. The information I got back was depressing, not only bevcause I could have found this information easily for myself: The servers mail queue was packed with more than 80.000 mails. So I suggest, the machine was the whole day busy delivering mails wich where then not accepted by the counterparts because the were simply regognized to be spam. Bad enough! So I started with completely stopping the mail services on that machine. Then I had to read a lot of uninspiring texts about the reasons (ok, at least one had a funny part in it). My first intention was fortunately untrue: having a guy hacked the passwords of that machine, installed a trojan or simply having found the correct information for using that server as a spam relay. After a while of reading and monitoring the stadily growing mail-queue I found a very good text on what to do in such a case. It took me the whole Saturday afternoon to clean up the mailqueue from its then more than 120.000 bounce mails and to not loose the 68 Mails to be delivered to the users on the server. Finally i made it and the queue was clean again. The reason was found too and mail delivery was also tuned a bit then. That should be the start of a good end of the story.

While reading all that stuff about mail systems on internet servers I just got back to my personal wish on how to threat spam emails correctly on the servers side. Well, in my opinion a mail system would recognize spam at deliverytime and then would immediately reject it. While it may be that way on several systems, my server does not. If a mail pops in, the server takes it and then delivers it locally. So I took a very good and extremely reliable service to filter my mails: Spamfence.net from Expurgate. Those guys do professional spam and malicious code detection for companies and we use them in the office too. But they also offer a free version of their service for private users like me. Well, the professional solution is much more convenient and definitely makes more sense in respect of bandwidth useage but the free version is as reliable as the professional version and in the end it works to the same result. In the private version you are able to tag your mails and/or modify their subjects so you still do get the spam but you are able to filter it automatically by the mail client and that way get rid of it very easily. The thing which annoyed me about this technique is: you always have to download those Spam-Mails (at least their headers) everytime you retrieve your email. If you are abroad and the data connection is expensive - it is no fun to get 95% spam for some 2 or three important mails. So I always wanted to be able to immediately delete mails recognized as being spam. Unfortunately this is a feature Expurgate is offering to professional users only. I think that is fair enough to have features only for paying customers but it still hit me. Well there is of course one solution which may solve the problem too: Create a delete-all-address on your domain and let Spamfence deliver all spam and virus stuff to that mail address. That idea was much more easily thought than brought into practice on my machine and it took me the whole afternoon and a good friend to get it finally solved with qmail, the MTA on my server. But in fact the solution is so easy - it simply did not get it onto my radar of trying (and I did not find it in the manuals too).

So here is the solution on how to delete all incoming mails on a certain mailaccount with qmail:
1.        create a new mail user dev_nul
2.        then go to that users .qmail file in /var/qmail/mailnames/[domain.com]/dev_nul (replace [domain.com] with your domain)
3.        edit the file .qmail
4.        remove any content of that file. You need to leave a comment by preceeding it with a # in the file
5.        you are done, changes do take immediately effect

for the whole story behind this configuration, see the wonderufl descriptions in http://www.lifewithqmail.org/lwq.html#throwing-messages-away
If you want to use this user with Spamfence you have to approve this user first, so you may use this user without the changed .qmail file until you have completed spamfence approval (which takes only a few seconds)

The scary thing: I do not get much mail anymore on my private account - the Spam mails are now delivered directly to Nirvana and I do get 2 or three mails a day - it always looks like the server is not working correctly - but it is :-)

Prima Formulierung

Es ist immer wieder ein großer Spaß einige FAQs oder Tutorials zu lesen, vor allem wenn der Autor selbst nicht ohne Humor ist. Hier fehlr eigentlich nur noch die richtige Rechtschreibungm aber eigentlich ist die mir bei der super Auflockerung eines trockenen Textes total egal:
Image:Prima Formulierung

Tchibo Webcam

Today I tried to connect my WebCam to my home PC. Since I never had done this before, I needed the drivers. The problem was: Driver CD is in the office and I am here. So I needed to find these drivers in the web. Fortunately I found this very helpful Page: http://blog.subnetmask.de/2005/12/10/tchibo-webcam-und-spielereien-damit
and then I was done.

The funny part: JaBB seems to be located in Jena - where I used to live for a while. World is so small :-)