December 19, 2007

Postfix and iPhones

My wife received an iPhone for Christmas this year, and she's been having fun playing with her new toy. She was very excited to find out that she could check her mail from the phone, and as I had never bothered to set up mail on mine, I took a few minutes to set her up. But, this simple exercise took a bit longer than I expected, since my mail server here wasn't set up for this just yet.

I have both POP and IMAP configured, but haven't tested IMAP extensively, and have only used it via the webmail apps I run, and the iPhone was trying to talk on ports that I hadn't set up yet.

The first order of business was to allow mail to be received on port 587, this is done by uncommenting the line starting with #submission in the postfix master.cf file. The submission port is a standard designation for port 587. If you would like to have postfix be able to receive mail on other ports, simply copy/paste that line, and change the word 'submission' to the desired port number, restart postfix, and postfix will now be listening on this new port. This may be handy for getting around certain networks that block the standard mail ports and want you to use their mail gateway. Having an alternate port you can send on may be handy to have in those rare occasions.

The next trick was editing the account setup on the iPhone. After entering all of the account info, the initial connection failed. I began tweaking settings on the mail server, but couldn't easily get back to change my wife's account setup on the phone. I found that by going to the phone's Settings, then Mail, I could select the account, and at the bottom of this screen was an Advanced option, that let me tweak all of the settings.

Despite declining to use SSL encryption, this option was still selected for both incoming and outgoing, very simple to turn off. This screen also lets the default ports be overridden, again, useful to get around certain network blocks.

Once I had tweaked the necessary settings on the iPhone, I had her mail running just fine. Thank goodness for unlimited data plans...

Posted by Jim at 11:05 AM | TrackBack

December 13, 2007

Movable Type goes Open Source

Movable Type has gone Open Source. Personally, this sounds like a great thing, opening the code to a wider range of developers who will all be working towards making this an even greater product

Posted by Jim at 4:34 PM | TrackBack

December 8, 2007

Courier-IMAP 4.2.1 compiled successfully

Well, I resolved my issue with the 4.2.1 release... I had originally mentioned that 4.2.1 just couldn't be made to compile here, and I therefore reverted to the older 4.1.3 release without issues. Well, it turns out that I apparently had some bad data saved from a prior compile attempt, and it was as simple as running a 'make clean' before doing another make that cleared everything out and let me get a good compile.

A 'make install' later, I was up and running with Courier-IMAP 4.2.1. It's the little things that get you, sometimes...

Posted by Jim at 9:00 PM | TrackBack

Otterbox Defender Review

Earlier this week, I received the Otterbox Defender iPhone case, a water resistant hard shell case with an outer silicone skin. I've taken my time checking this one out, read on for the pros and cons.

The polycarbonate shell has three catches that can be released with a small screwdriver, the iPhone pops in, then the case snaps shut around it. This shell (available in either a stylish yellow, or basic black) gets wrapped in a silicone skin, which then slides into the included holster.

I've not really been a fan of hard cases in the past, but having the flexible outer skin on this one gives it a great feeling, solid, yet slightly giving to the touch. My phone felt better in my hand than if I were holding it without any case at all.

The hard shell protects the phone very well, and the silicone skin has snap openings for the headphone and dock connections, keeping dust and moisture out of those sensitive areas. The volume buttons, power button, and home button are also skinned over, providing barriers for these openings as well. The camera lens is not covered, nor is the Apple logo on the back, nicely sized circular openings in the case allow these to show through.

For those of you paying attention, note that I made no mention of the side switch to enable vibrate mode, turning off the internal speaker. This switch is unfortunately completely covered by the hard shell case. Word from the manufacturer is that because of the size of that switch (and it is a small one!), even had there been an opening for it, it would have been impossible to activate by hand. The workaround for this is simply to use the volume controls to lower the volume to its lowest level. Note that this will not completely silence the phone, but even in a quiet room, the minimum volume can barely be heard.

The holster is likewise a very nice piece, the phone slides in easily, and can be removed very quickly as well. That is, as long as you slide the phone in with the screen facing inwards. I'm used to having my screen face outward, and didn't realize that it wasn't supposed to work that way.

If you insist on having the screen face outward, here's what you will face. If you slide the phone in bottom first, the home button may trigger as it slides into the case. Minor annoyance, the phone will go back to standby in a few moments. Sliding the phone in top first, through, is a different story.

The hard shell has a notch on either side, that will mate with ridges inside the holster, giving a very solid fit. If the case goes in top first, these parts don't line up, and the phone tends to stick in the holster. This makes it slightly difficult to remove, but not terribly bad. The more annoying thing is that the volume up/down buttons will be triggered as the phone slides into the case. If the phone is in standby, this isn't an issue, but if the phone is still active, you will note the volume level will jitter, as the up/down buttons fight for control. You may also note that the screen may blank, which the phone will do if both buttons are held down long enough (no idea why).

As much as I had been used to having my phone facing outwards so that I could simply glance at the display to see if I needed to take the call, having it facing inwards hasn't been that bad, and since it slides out so easily, I've adapted rather well to this way of doing things.

Those of you with a Dremel that really want your phone to go in facing out can probably grind down the case just slightly to avoid the issues mentioned above. I do have a Dremel, and I love hacking things (regular readers will know this), but at this point I'm not going to mess with a good thing.

The hard shell of the case includes a built in screen protector, a nice feature. The protector doesn't interfere with normal operations of the phone, finger taps and slides work just fine. But since the protector is part of the shell and not actually affixed to the display, there is a very tiny gap, and this does slow the response slightly. I have a tetris-type game installed, and have found that I can't tap quite as quickly through the screen protector. But for normal use, as I said, this isn't an issue.

The Speck iPhone case I reviewed recently had a rather disappointing clip on its holster, very loose. The clip on the Otterbox case is very solid, and not prone to opening up when it isn't supposed to, it has a very tight spring and holds where it is supposed to. My only comment on the design is that the clip's hinge is too close to the edge, making it slightly difficult to release, having a bit more room to press down on the hinge would have been nice, but it still isn't that bad.

I will say this, in the week I've been using this case, I have not once had the phone slip out of the holster. This combination is very good at what it is designed for, it will protect your phone and keep it secure. It feels great, and it looks sharp too.

If you need a case with a holster, then this is a fantastic one to try out. If you're just looking for a nice hard shell case without a holster, then this is still a fantastic one to try out. The case works great without the holster, slip it into a pocket, pouch, or purse, whatever you've got. Use it with the holster and clip it to your pocket, belt, etc. Either way, this unit works great.


Update: 6/30/08

This case still continues to be my favorite, over the months since this review I've talked with a number of other vendors and inspected their wares, and most weren't even worth picking up off the tables.

This case, despite the use it has seen (throwing into the passenger seat, drops, moisture (including a visit to Niagara Falls!), loose change, keys, etc), there are no marks or scratches at all, it looks as good now as the day I pulled it from the box. There has been no distortion of the material, the shape has held, no gaps, etc.


Posted by Jim at 6:03 PM | TrackBack

December 4, 2007

getnameinfo issue with Mac OS X 10.5

I found a rather obscure bug with Leopard while troubleshooting my postfix logs. It seems that mail that I had been getting from some of the mail lists I usually receive was being bounced by my server because it couldn't resolve the IP address based on the DNS supplied by the sending server. If you've read my prior Postfix postings, you know that I'm fairly strict about the servers I accept mail from, and misconfigured servers generally don't get any mail delivered here.

So, this came as somewhat of a surprise that formerly working servers were now being rejected after my upgrade to Leopard. Some troubleshoot assistance from the postfix mail list uncovered the issue, the getnameinfo function in the OS was not resolving DNS addresses that resolved to a CNAME record, or anything other than a PTR record. The unix nslookup and host commands though, worked fine, but postfix relies on the getnameinfo function.

The good news here is that this bug has been reported to Apple, and signs are good that this should be fixed in Mac OS X 10.5.2 when it is released. I'll report back on that after release. For now, my temporary workaround is to identify servers that aren't resolving, and whitelist them in my helo_access list.

Posted by Jim at 8:11 PM | TrackBack

December 3, 2007

Otterbox Defender case received

Good news, the case from OtterBox has arrived, and I've swapped out the Speck case for this one, and will be giving it a whirl to see how it stands up. Watch for a review posting later this week.

Posted by Jim at 5:23 PM | TrackBack