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June 2007 Archives

June 3, 2007

Sigh

You know you’re old when you catch yourself singing along in the grocery store.

Yikes.

Don’t laugh. It’ll happen to you, too.

June 4, 2007

Bugs bugs bugs!

Keeping in the spirit of this post and this post:

  • Tivo’s grouping bugs seem to have been fixed.
  • I volunteer at my church to keep all their computers and internet connectivity up and running. We’ve been having significant problems with our e-mail service provider (ESP) recently. I won’t mention their name, but if you put 1 and 1 together, you may figure out who they are. We pay a monthly fee to host about a dozen e-mail accounts on an Exchange server at the ESP.
    • Not infrequently, we find that we cannot send mail through the ESP to various domains (small/minor domains like insightbb.com, aol.com, etc.). The reject messages indicate that our ESP has been blacklisted for sending spam. These outages — where my church cannot send e-mails to its business partners and its parishioners — usually last about a week and there’s nothing that we can do about it.
    • We have had terrible luck with the ESP’s tech support. Their first-line tech support is, frankly, worthless. The scripts that they are provided with do not help at all; they never address the problems that we encounter. Getting through the first-line support to the back-end support is a difficult task; second-line support is regulated to e-mail only (which usually compounds the problem, since the problems that cannot be resolved by first-line tech support are complex issues that require careful explanations and attention to detail). Their second-line tech support is therefore also usually unhelpful; they avoid answering direct questions that I ask, give incorrect answers to the questions that I ask (e.g., “Mail sent by users outside of this ESP to my e-mail address is bouncing. Why is this happening?” / “Try rebooting your computer.”), do not answer e-mails that I have sent (i.e., ignore support requests), and can sometimes be downright surly.
    • Every once in a while, mail to some of the accounts at our ESP bounces. Why? Who knows? I cannot get a straight answer out of tech support.
    • Communication from our ESP is also terrible. They never tell us when problems are actually fixed; even problems that we have reported and/or are waiting for a resolution (e.g., when we are blacklisted).
    • Because of these problems, we’ve been evaluating other ESP’s. We tried Google Apps (reported on in a prior entry) and had a few of the church staff members have their e-mail forwarded at the server level from our current ESP to GA. When an outside user sends mail to one of the test users, it goes to our current ESP and then is forwarded on to GA. However, when a non-test-user church staff member sends mail to one of the test users, it does not forward; it simply terminates at the ESP. I have been completely unable to get an answer out of our ESP’s tech support as to why this is happening; it is tremenedously annoying to the users who are testing GA.
  • Google Apps has been very responsive and helpful in tracking down the problems that we have encountered with their service. Kudos to Brett from GA tech support for taking initiative and talking with me 1-on-1 to ensure that all of our problems get resolved. Because of the responsiveness of GA and their excellent functionality, we might be switching to GA in the not-distant future, using the “standard”/free edition while they’re still fixing some issues in the calendaring functionality, and then upgrading to the “premier”/not-free version when everything is fixed/working. We’ll then be able to drop our old ESP (can’t happen soon enough, if you ask me!).
  • OS X’s Mail.app seems to sometimes does not save a copy of outgoing mail in the sent mail folder on my IMAP server. Here’s a detailed description that I submitted on http://bugreport.apple.com/ (later marked as “Duplicate/3322819” by the Apple Bug Gods; I unfortunately cannot view this bug to see what it says):

Summary:

Periodically, Mail.app fails to store outgoing mail in the sent mail folder.

Steps to reproduce:

It’s difficult to say because this only happens once in a while. Most mail that I send shows up in my sent mail folder, as expected. It’s only a very small percentage of mails that don’t (maybe one in 200? I use my MBP for my job, so I sent dozens of e-mails a day). It may have something to do with the fact that I have very large numbers of mails in the mailboxes on my Mac (e.g., sent mail folder has several thousand messages — several other folders on my mac have tens of thousands of messages).

I have noticed no pattern to when this problem happens (e.g., only happens when I “reply”, or only happens when I “reply all”, or only happens when I compose a new e-mail — I’ve had it happen in all of these scenarios).

Expected results:

I expect all mail that I send to show up in the sent mail folder.

Actual results:

I’ll either notice at some random point later that a mail I sent is not in the sent mail folder. A small number of times, I have managed to catch this problem “in action”, so to speak. Just yesterday, I sent a mail and then immediately wanted to forward it to someone else. So I clicked “send” on the message window and then immediately went to my “sent mail” folder. The message that I sent was there at the bottom of the index (I have it sorted by date), but with an index number of “1” (even though it’s at the bottom — the message above it was index 2200 or so). The message then disappeared out of the sent mail index a few seconds later, and appears to be totally gone (I can’t find it anywhere).

I have seen this “shows up in sent mail with an index of 1 and then disappears” behavior a small number of times, but only when I’ve immediately switched to the sent mail folder and watched the message disappears.

Regression:

I’m an OSX 10.4 user on an MBP; this problem has occurred on and off over the last year (and I shrudder to think of the cases where I didn’t notice that the message isn’t in my sent mail — it could be happening much more frequently than I thought…? I honestly don’t know because I rely on Mail.app to record all my outgoing mail for me). I always keep my MBP up-to-date on all Apple patches, so it’s been constant throughout the 2nd half of 2006 until now (late May 2007).

Notes:

You will see that I have the MailTags Mail.app extension installed. I literally instaleld this extension very recently (last week, I think?); I have been seeing the “mail disappears from sent mail” problem much longer than that.

I also have File Vault enabled on my home directory. I think that I was seeing this problem before FV was enabled, but that was so long ago that I’m not 100% sure.

‘mbp-mail.app-losing-sent-mail.spx’ was successfully uploaded

27-May-2007 12:29 PM Jeffrey Squyres:

Thanks for responding so quickly.

My Mail.app is configured for 2 accounts, both IMAP:

1. One server is using dovecot. I have not directly observed problems with this account.
2. The second server (my work address) is MS Exchange; I’m afraid I don’t know what version offhand (I’d have to inquire with our IT department; let me know if that would be helpful).

27-May-2007 12:31 PM Jeffrey Squyres:

I’m sorry — I did not specify: yes, my sent mail folders are both accessed via IMAP (one for each respective server), and I have “store X messages on server” (for all values of X, including “sent”) for both accounts in the preferences accounts / mailbox behaviors tab. “Delete sent messages” is set to “never”.


Is this another one of your stories where the guy ends up being Richard Nixon?

We just returned from a week with my family in Philadelphia. The main purpose was to attend a baby shower for my sister’s upcoming fraternal twins (boy+girl), but we went for a whole week to hang out with Grams and Grandad. Oh, and to unload a whole bunch of our baby/infant twin gear on Robin. Woot!

The munchkins had a surprisingly fantastic time with their cousin Ally (who is only 6 months younger than they are). We were expecting them to do the toddlers-ignore-each-other game, but they actively played with each other quite a lot (first words out of their mouths upon waking up in the morning, “Is Ally awake yet?” / “Are my cousins awake yet?”). We measured several metric tonnes of giggling among the three of them. Some classic “three in a bathtub” pictures were taken, but we unfortunately missed taking pictures of “three ducks in a row” coming down the stairs together.

Great Aunt Amy and Great Aunt Mary were also in attendance which was quite cool; Amy had not met the munchkins yet.

K-n-K love dogs. Someday Tracy will cave in and we’ll get one. I’m patient.

About June 2007

This page contains all entries posted to JeffJournal in June 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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