I have recently been setting up my MacBook (running Leopard) to send email using the local email delivery system, i.e. Postfix. This means modifying the default installation to relay email through my ISP/email service - in my case; FastMail. I use FastMail because they have a nice secure email setup with both IMAP and SMTP access encrypted using SSL, but the instructions below will also work with Google Mail. The advantage of having your Apple Mac set up like this is that it enables command line scripts and various unix programs to send email. In my case, it allows me to use Mutt and Emacs as my email client.
The first step is to modify the main.cf file in the /etc/postfix directory. Use your favourite editor to do this, but you will need to sudo in order to modify the file. If you are using vi, type ‘sudo vi /etc/postfix/main.cf’ in a terminal window. Then search for a commented out “relayhost =” line and add the following:
Now I am relaying my email through the server mail.messagingengine.com and Postfix will attempt to connect to the server on port 587. The square brackets around “mail.messagingengine.com” tell Postfix not to do an MX lookup on the name, but just got to that IP address. You will want to modify these values to suit your ISP/email service. For GMail you can use the line:
The next step is to create the file “/etc/postfix/sasl_passwd”. This file contains the information you need to use to authenticate yourself against the relaying mail server (in other words, your GMail username and password). Add the following lines to the /etc/postfix/sasl_passwd file:
These commands create the “/etc/postfix/sasl_passwd.db” file from the “/etc/postfix/sasl_passwd” file, and then change the permissions on the file so that they can only be read by the root user.
Congratulations! You should now be good-to-go. Try sending an email from the command line by typing “mail -s ‘Test Email’ firstname.lastname@example.org” at the command line. Type some words and then type “Ctrl-D” to finish. You can monitor the log file at /var/log/mail.log in order to see what is happening, and use the “mailq” program to see the state of the mail queue.
Matt Cutts gave an extremely interesting and dynamic talk at WordCamp about blogging and Search Engine Optimization. Not only was it extremely entertaining, but it contained lots of interesting tidbits about how to increase the PageRank of your site.
The core model for viral growth is the following: viral coefficient = (average number of users invited by each active user) x (proportion of invited users that actually join or become active) x (proportion of such users that invite others). Daniel provides a checklist of techniques designed to optimize the viral coefficient. The general techniques are as follows:
Make inviting people a core part of the process.
Keep pulling people back in
Be useful even if there are no other friends using the application.
Here is a video showing how badly Detroit has been affected by the collapsing housing market. Towards the end of the video you can see some amazing mansions in the worst-hit areas of Detroit that you can supposedly buy at a massive discount.
The first post describes what might happen if the US collapses in the same way economically as the USSR did in the 1990’s. It then goes on to making recommendations about what to focus on - essentially food, transportation, shelter and security. I thought it was fascinating because although I have been thinking for a number of years that the economic situation was going to get bad, I didn’t envision quite a collapse of that order of magnitude. As the crisis continues however, the possibility suddenly seems to become credible.
I found the comments interesting in the Boing Boing post. It seems as though quite a number of people were actually starting to find themselves in situations reminiscent of those described in the first post - primarily from posters in the US. Scary.
A while ago, I created a Mathematica plot comparing the Great Depression, the Tech Crash and the Oil Crisis with the current financial crisis. This analysis was inspired by a chart I saw last year comparing these recessions with our current situation. Anyway, I thought it was worth bringing the chart up-to-date.
[Edit] The original chart I saw was this one.[/Edit]
Here is John Howard (Australia’s Prime Minister during the start of the last Iraq War), and Stephen Harper (Canada’s Prime Minister at the same time) giving the same, almost word-for-word speech in Parliament justifying the need to go to war.