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KEYWORDS= Davrom Consulting Newsletter - Issue # 42 - Dated: 24 Aug 2008

From the desk of David Clark

In this issue I have touched on connecting to your Linux/UNIX e-mail
server with your mobile phone. Something I have taken for granted for
several years now but realise that some people didn't know they could do

I have also covered some quick strategies for handling old e-mail
mailboxes - something I have had to deal with a lot lately for various
customers. This article is a follow on from handling root user e-mail
which I covered in newsletter issue 34.

Support continues to be working on all things Linux/SCO/SnapGear and
getting into MySQL/PHP projects.

I would like to thank the reader for their time in reading this


UNIX Quote

...Unix, MS-DOS, and Windows (also known as the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly).
--- Matt Welsh

Mobile phone e-mails with Linux servers

I have been using e-mail through my mobile phone for some years now
interfacing with our Linux e-mail server and realised that there are
still quite a few people out there who don't realise this is possible.

You don't need any special software and most mobile phone based e-mail
facilities fully support POP and IMAP. The best results are to use IMAP
so the downloads from your server are kept to a minimum (mobile phone
carrier pricing still stings a bit price-wise if you go downloading too
many megabytes).

To access your e-mail you will need to enter your Linux IP/hostname,
username and password for your e-mail account on the server into the
phone's IMAP settings. IMAP also ensures that whatever actions you take
in handling the e-mail from your phone, they are reflected when you get
back to the office and use your e-mail on your PC or laptop.

You set your phone to still use your mobile phone carriers default SMTP
server for outbound e-mail.

On some phones you have the ability to use a VPN connection and all your
e-mail traffic can use this method for accessing your internal e-mail
server. My mobile can VPN into our network through our SnapGear

The alternative is to do what we do here and simply talk to the
IMAP port on our firewall/gateway which handles the port forward to our
e-mail server. The outbound SMTP e-mail goes through our mobile phone
providers SMTP server.

The mobile I currently use is a Samsung BlackJack which I chose as I need
a qwerty keyboard (going back to Nokia as soon as I can get a good qwerty
keyboard or stylus keyboard model - and yes this is also because I don't
really like Windows on a mobile). I really do recommend finding a qwerty
capable mobile if you intend to send e-mail this way. I did use the good
old SMS style e-mail through the number keypad but this takes a long time
to compose long e-mails - or this might just be my slow keypad skills.

In any event, I would encourage you to explore using your mobile in this
way as it allows you to keep in touch with the world whilst you are out
and about.

Old mailboxes never purge

If you are dealing with a Linux or UNIX server that has been installed
for a few years, particularly if the server is actively used for e-mail,
it doesn't take long for you to gather an ever growing collection of old
mailboxes that belong to staff who have moved on from your organisation.

It is interesting to see mailboxes still receiving e-mails from
subscriptions, spammers and from people who have put the person on an
e-mail list that has just continually fed e-mail into the mailbox.
(Hopefully this newsletter is not one of them)

So if you have someone who has left your organisation firstly review what
is in their mailbox. If there is important e-mail that you don't want to
lose then forward it to another user or transfer the mailbox to another
active mailbox.

Next decide if the e-mail account is to reamain as an active recipient for
your organisation and have the incoming e-mails forwarded (using aliasing
or virtual user tabling) to someone in the organisation who can process

Finally you need to delete the user from the system so e-mails sent to this
user bounce or at least ensure they don't go into the mailbox folder
filling up your hard disk.

From the Trenches

Some comic or not so comic relief from the support days gone by.
Working for a national corporation many years ago, I attended and annual
national conference where we all got together and went through the usual
motivational and team building exercises.

As I was responsible for the new Internet connection and all things
e-mail I often sent out detailed procedures via e-mail on options staff
could use to communicate with the outside world. This was in the days
when a 2400 baud modem connection to the Internet was state of the art
and ftpmail was the way to download files.

At the conference I met a group of people from one of the other state
branches and upon introducing myself they all in unison said, "Ah, so
you're David Clark, delete, are you sure, yes."

This was the option for the e-mail reader at the time to delete and
confirm deleting the e-mail.

We all broke out in laughter but it was nice to know my long procedural
e-mails were receiving some recognition, all be it bad.

Tech Tip

Simple math at the command line:

If ever you need to do some maths at the UNIX/Linux command line I would
recommend using bc. bc allows you to do all kinds of tricks with maths
and here are some simple ones below. You can just run the bc command then
type in math but below I have shown how to do some maths and also placing
one of the reslults into a system shell variable:

Simple Addition:

echo "20 + 40" | bc -l

and to set as a variable:

MINUTES=`echo "20 + 40" | bc -l`

the value for $MINUTES is now 60.


echo "60 - 20" | bc -l


echo "5 * 5" | bc -l


echo "75 / 5" | bc -l

And finally playing with two decimal places when dealing with money

echo "scale=2; 90.00 + 9.95" | bc -l

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