Category: Technology

SPF, DKIM, DMARC, and Apple mail

Recently our company migrated from an on-premises email solution to hosted Exchange. The change was surprisingly easy and everything worked as expected.

A couple of months later we moved our on-premises Barracuda to the cloud (ESS). Everything appeared to be working properly for the first few months, then some people started having issues. Mail forwarded to Apple owned domains (iCloud, was being rejected as failing DMARC.

After some investigation, correcting of SPF records, and enabling of Sender Rewrite Scheme (SRS) in Barracuda, mail was still failing the DKIM check and thus DMARC. For that reason, Apple domains kept sending NDA notices for any forwarded email.

Contacting support, Barracuda blamed O365 and O365 blamed Barracuda. We were almost to the point of hiring a contractor when I found a little blurb in the Barracuda knowledgebase about how ‘link protection’ was turned on by default and would result in DKIM failure because, of course, the body had been changed. This means a different hash and DKIM failing as it should in this case. None of this showed in the headers because the links looked normal when viewing them.

So, we turned off link protection and TA-DA email passed DKIM and DMARC without issue. That was a lot of time and research I’ll never get back, but it did feel good to fist-pump the air in joy at finding the solution.

So, if you forward mail to Apple domains, be sure that link protection is turned off or it will bounce back forever.

Vaping, or the latest way the world will destroy your children

So, there have been a lot of articles and misinformation regarding vaping, e-cigarettes, or whatever other term fits the editor’s fancy. The short version of what this process involves is heating a liquid or juice to make it evaporate and then inhaling that vapor. That’s it. This is similar to a vaporizer that someone might use to treat respiratory issues. The main difference between the two applications being that one delivers medicine and one can deliver nicotine. Also the vapers, people who vape, tend to have portable devices rather than a breathing treatment system like an asthma or other respiratory treatment which is usually immobile.

There should be a few things said about recent clickbait fear mongering articles that people love to bring up if they find you are a vaper. These are provided in bullet and answer form for your convenience.

  • You’re inhaling antifreeze! – Well, no. There is an ingredient in juice that is also present in antifreeze. It is also in a number of foods you eat. Calm down.
  • Kids and pets are killing themselves! – Perhaps. Overdosing on Drano will kill you too. It’s about being responsible with drugs, chemicals, even foods.
  • Those e-cigs blow up! – Well, so do 9-volt batteries if you aren’t careful. If someone combines an improper battery and vaporizer, yes, it can explode.
  • Kids are taking this up! – They have sex too. I don’t think kids should vape, but I’d rather they do this than cigarettes or weed. It’s a fad and will fade like they do.
  • Those things put out formaldehyde, etc. – The study that showed this result superheated the liquid to a point you couldn’t inhale it. If you superheat macaroni and cheese it might put out some nasty stuff too.
  • Do you even know what’s in that thing? – To a detailed level, no. It could be acid for all I know. However reputable juice mixers have their ingredients listed on the side and have a great incentive to be honest – money. Juice is incredibly cheap to make, especially on scale. If someone puts out questionable product word gets around and they don’t make money. People like money. Most juice contains very few things: Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerin, food-grade flavorings, nicotine, and maybe citric acid. The citric acid is in extremely small amounts and adds tartness. It’s also in your foods.

So if you have any reason in you at all you should be able to tell that the latest fad of vaping is not likely to do much harm to anyone. No, there have not been long term studies regarding the effects of vaping versus smoking cigarettes. Personally the very short list of ingredients and fact that I can now breathe easily means that I will keep vaping for the foreseeable future. Maybe I’ll grow a third arm. I can tell you for sure that smoking cigarettes will likely give you cancer, lung disease, heart disease, emphysema, and a host of other horrible things. I’ll take my chances on the new deal that I know what it contains.

Your snarkiness can suck it

I’m trying every day to be more positive. I’ll never be Mr. Sunshine, but I am actively trying to be more positive in my daily life. Sorry if it hasn’t been obvious – I’ll try harder.

Today I was working on a difficult domain fix for a user’s profile that decided to die. While trying a myriad of Microsoft suggested fixes, another employee walks by and mutters to the affected employee “Good luck getting it fixed.”

I’m quite surprised I am not now searching for a new job. Along with this profile I’m trying to not lose any data from I also have dozens of workstations to fix (update) at another location in short order, three ISP changes at other centers, a shipping printer that needs a minor reconfiguration, intermittent email connection issues, and of course personal life stuff like everyone. Pardon me if I don’t make everything available to you on your iPad, Mr. Salesperson. I’m sorry you don’t want to carry your company provided laptop that is newer than my desktop, but get over it. I’m working on making iPad-only a reality, but business processes and the imminent prom season kinda puts your wishes on the back burner.

Yup, this is me venting. Yup, future employers probably won’t like this post. Hell, if my current employer reads it I’m probably fired. I think it’s good to have a vent though and maybe this shows I effectively deal with stress in a positive way rather than blowing up at people…? I don’t know, but now I’ve vented.

Bias, Ignorance, and Hate

Recently several people whom I consider friends (real friends, not Facebook connections) have posted the picture below to their Facebook walls. Okay, fine. It is their wall and they can post whatever they want. However, this particular idiotic photo tipped something in my wee-little brain and ticked me off. With that in mind know that I am going to rant a little bit about how we (myself included) post these things with no other purpose than to spur hate or anger and perpetuate a bias that has grains of truth among an ocean of sand.

Psy with text

Filmmaker makes a crappy, obscure internet movie that upsets Muslims… Throw him in jail…

Let’s examine the text at face value. Okay, he did make an obscure film. That’s a fact. There were a few protests in Muslim nations that were reported to be about this film so I suppose you can lend some truth to the “upsets Muslims…” part. The big problem I cite with this part of the text is “Throw him in jail.” WAIT A DAMN MINUTE.

Was the dude put back into prison? Yes. Was it in any way due to the film? Nope. Still, that part is left out because this text sounds like we put the poor guy into prison because he made a movie that upsets Islamic people. This feeds the bias that our government supports Islamic people and kisses their (collective) ass.

Our government may kiss asses of many people and countries, but this picture serves only to keep the ‘Murika is good and we don’t need to associate with brown folks’ mentality alive. Should we lose our national identity? Of course not. We should also realize that we are citizens of a big world and we can’t hate a whole group of people because of a few crazies that belonged to that group. I don’t like assholes (though I sometimes am one) of any type. Supporting this type of bias only shows willing ignorance or hate. Which are you?

Idiotic rapper makes a song about murdering the families of Americans he doesn’t like… Invitation to the White House.

Now let us look at this part. “Idiotic rapper...” that’s an opinion. “…makes a song...” Um, I believe he had a couple of lines in a group sing – technically correct though. “…about murdering the families of Americans he doesn’t like…” He said ‘‘kill those fucking Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives…kill them all slowly and painfully.” Pretty harsh, but I have to say that I’m not a fan of illegal torture either. “Invitation to the White House.” Yes, he was invited to the White House due to the insane popularity of his song. So? The White House has hosted many people who have actually killed and/or continue to incite violence. One statement 8 years ago is a mere speck on that record. I’ve said offensive shit much more recently. He was part of a protest regarding a Korean missionary killed by Islamic assholes in retaliation to South Korea sending troops to support the US in the Iraq invasion. It was a reaction to a horrible event. I’ve had those too, have you? The absurd amount of ‘MURIKA after 9/11 comes to mind.

So, I guess what I’m getting at is that what this text on photo says is mostly true from a certain perspective. Unfortunately it leaves a lot of detail to your imagination with the blatant intention of making you hate all Muslims and Obama. That’s the point of this photo with text. We can play in kiddie land and say ‘I’m just presenting facts’  with this, but let’s be realistic – you’re spreading hate through ignorance to increase bias. That is being an asshole.

Blu-ray, Linux, and Digital Restrictions

At my house we use Linux as our operating system almost exclusively. The only exceptions to this rule are our iPhones and an iPod Touch. Otherwise it’s all Linux on the laptops, tablets, server, GoogleTV, and firewall. Linux is simple, free, and generally as useful as Mac OSX or Windows. Occasionally there are hiccups with specific tasks such as moving music to the iPhone since Apple locks them down, but this is usually overcome within a week after any iOS update.

Recently I have begun ripping our DVD collection into digital format. My ultimate goal is to have all of our legally purchased movie titles available via GoogleTV on a portable drive. With this accomplished, we will be able to watch most of what we own without having to track down the disc and load it into the DVD/BD player. I will not pretend that this is anything but laziness, but for niceness-sake I’ll call it  convenience. Another bonus with having everything digital in addition to on disc is that we can watch it on the laptops, tablets, or even iPhones without paying again for something we already bought.

The best selling point for me in doing this other than convenience  is that we don’t have to worry about the discs becoming scratched or hazy over time. If you don’t have kids, please believe me when I say we have lost hundreds of dollars in DVDs from kids leaving discs out, dropping them, and occasionally using them as shuriken in battle. Frankly I should have been ripping our DVD purchases since we had our first player, but I did not realize how much we lose in scratched DVDs.

The backup copies of these discs are not high-quality. I am only ripping them so that we have a backup that can be used on the network or in case the physical disc meets an untimely demise. Seriously. I’m not illegally copying anything I don’t own nor am I illegally downloading the same. According to my understanding of copyright exceptions I am making a backup/archival copy of a work that I purchased legally at retail which is considered fair use, but I am not a lawyer and you should check with one before considering doing this yourself should you have concerns.

I tell you these things to tell you this – playing Blu-ray discs (BD) on Linux is very difficult and convoluted. It borders on impossible for most mortals to accomplish. I have found several loopholes and processes (and it IS a process) to play BD movies on Linux, but frankly they are all a PITA (google it). The time v  convenience is just not there for me to bother setting this up and/or attempting to rip the movies for backup.

Why might this be you ask? This is because of the movie industry using a somewhat complicated scheme (algorithm) to attempt to curb people illegally copying or stealing their work. The problem is that those who want to steal these works and distribute them can do so easily with just a little searching and clicking around the WWW. I won’t link to such things, but I found several easy ways to do so when I googled ‘copy blu ray’ a few minutes ago. The scheme by the MPAA does little to nothing except cause problems for those of us who buy movies legally. We are the people not breaking the law, and so we won’t go copy or distribute these works illegally. If one wanted to steal these works there are many, many sites where you can download the BD quality versions of most movies already. Their scheme does nothing to stop criminals.

So my choices are to sit by and wait for someone to crack BD encryption (DVD has been busted for a long time), go rent the DVD to make my backup copy, or put up with purchasing these works over and over because the MPAA wants to make more money. Well, I’ll only say that one of those options sounds somewhat reasonable, and I’m not waiting around.