Testing an external mail server

There are times when I need to test the basic functionality of an external mail server (i.e. one I don’t control). Here’s a step-by-step process to perform some basic testing using telnet:

  1. Telnet to the remote server:
    telnet <server> 25
    If it replies, you should get a response like:
    Trying <server>...
    Connected to <FQDN>.
    Escape character is '^]'.
    220 <FQDN> ESMTP
  2. Announce your domain to the remote mail server:
    helo <myDomain>.com
    The reply should be:
    250 <server>
  3. Specify my email address to the remote server:
    mail from:<emailAddress>
    Should result in the reply:
    250 sender <emailAddress> ok
  4. Specify the intended recipient:
    rcpt to:<emailAddress>
    The server responds with:
    250 recipient <emailAddress> ok

If you get 220/250 responses across the board then this is a reasonable indicator that the mail server is performing properly.

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Skype v5 for Mac: Web 2.0 design gone bad

I began writing this post prepared to rant about the many ways I dislike the most recent incarnation of Skype for Mac OS X .

Then I stumbled onto this and realized I’d be wasting my time:

Five Reasons Why Skype 5.0 for Mac Sucks

3d-skypeIn the past few weeks, as the new Skype has been autoupdating itself onto client’s systems, I’ve witnessed something I’ve never seen in the ad agency I work for: a full-on user revolt. Our company uses Skype for much of its internal communications and our people hate this new version so much that many have taken it upon themselves to revert back to v2.8. And, so long as the old version still works, who am I to complain?

Clearly, we aren’t the only ones unhappy with this redesign, as even Skype has put out a fairly ham-handed call , a la the Gap, for people to redesign the UI for them. I’m encouraged to see enthusiasts already picking up the ball and running with it but I can’t help but to wonder just what the heck Skype was thinking when they decided that v5 was a good idea.

Skype is, in my opinion, a fantastic tool. In a world drowning in incompatible IM clients (AOL Instant Messenger/iChat, Google Chat, Yahoo! Messenger, etc.), Skype has always stood above the rest as a fully-featured, cross-platform product. In particular, it’s video calling capabilities have always surpassed those of the competition and, now that both home and wireless bandwidth is making it possible to video call from anywhere, they’re poised to take a dominant position in that communications revolution. But they can’t afford to do things like butcher their UI and alienate their users at a critical time like this when the field is still “up for grabs.” In today’s tech savvy world, the name of the game is “Do or do not – there is no try.”

Skype would do well to remember that.

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