Stupid Email Tricks #2

Microsoft Exchange can host email for several domains. Many companies take advantage of this. For example, they may have a domain for their parent company and individual domains for each separate company or product. So the company could use a single Exchange server to get email for PARENTCOMPANY.COM, SUBCOMPANY1.COM, SUBCOMPANY2.COM, PRODUCTNAME1.COM and so on.

This is completely transparent for the end user, and that’s usually a good thing. However, if someone is getting emails from all Exchange domains, there’s no easy way for them to tell which domain the email was originally sent to. Let’s say that Bob works for ABC Company. ABC Company is the parent company of TUV Company and XZY Company. Bob has email addresses in the form of Bob@ABCCompany.com, Bob@TUVCompany.com and Bob@XYZCompany.com. The Exchange server will deliver email addressed to any of those addresses to Bob’s Exchange mailbox… but Bob won’t easily be able to tell which address the email was originally sent to. If Bob tries to create an Outlook rule to “move email with ‘Bob@XYZCompany.com’ in the recipient’s address” to a folder in his inbox, the rule will fail, because Exchange treats all SMTP addresses equally.

However, if Bob enters each email address into a separate rule that searches for the address as “specific words in the message header” the rule will work. This is because Outlook will scan the actual headers of each email for “Bob@ABCCompany.com”, “Bob@TUVCompany.com” and\or “Bob@XYZCompany.com”. Bob can then have Outlook move the email to “ABCCompany.com” “TUVCompany.com” or “XVZCompany.com” folders in his Inbox, or perform any number of other notifications.

This is not new knowledge or anything. For some reason, Microsoft has never made this explicitly clear to anyone, and there are tons of posts on Internet message boards looking for a solution to this very problem. Since Microsoft couldn’t be bothered to explain this clearly in Outlook (or simply make the “move email with ‘Bob@XYZCompany.com’ in the recipient’s address” rule work with Exchange SMTP addresses), this question comes up somewhat often.

Stupid Email Tricks #1

Did you know that mailbucket.org will convert emails sent to any of its addresses to an RSS feed? And not only is it free, there’s not even a sign-up process!

All you have to do is go to the following address in a web browser:

http://www.mailbucket.org/USERNAME.xml

where USERNAME is the user name you’d like to use with Mailbucket. If you see an existing RSS feed, try another user name. If you see “No Messages” then you can assume that that user name is available. You can then use USERNAME@mailbucket.org as your email address and http://www.mailbucket.org/USERNAME.xml as your RSS feed’s address. Any email sent to USERNAME@mailbucket.org will be converted to RSS and pushed out to your client.

Why would anyone want to do this? Maybe you’re on several mailing lists, and rather than get 300 emails a day you’d prefer getting 300 RSS posts a day. Maybe you use an “online” RSS reader like Google Reader and want to access the information in the email\feeds from many computers. Maybe your company won’t allow you to receive personal emails at work, but is OK with you getting an RSS feed. Maybe your group\team needs to share information and would rather use RSS instead of email.

Whatever the case may be, this is still a pretty neat trick. I’m subscribed to several Yahoo! Groups, and instead of getting dozens of emails every day in several different folders, they all just come as RSS feeds into a single folder. Neat!

WARNING: Anyone can subscribe to this RSS feed simply by entering any random USERNAME into the Mailbucket address in their RSS client. So it’s best not to forward anything confidential and\or sensitive to your mailbucket address.

Happy Weekend!

Not much to say, except for HAVE A HAPPY WEEKEND! I hope your weekend makes you feel this happy:

Cat and Duck

SONGS I LOVE: “Quelqu’un M’A Dit”

Carla BruniCarla Bruni is an unbelievably hot French supermodel and heiress. You might know her from her modeling days, or perhaps from her well-publicized affairs with Mick Jagger, Donald Trump, Kevin Costner and Eric Clapton. But that’s not important right now. What is important is that she left the fashion world in 1998 to become a singer and songwriter. Her first album, the mostly French Quelqu’un m’a dit (Someone Told Me), was a huge hit in Europe. Three songs from the album were featured in Hans Canosa’s excellent 2005 film Conversations with Other Women, which is how I came to know Carla Bruni as a brilliant chanteuse.

“Quelqu’un M’A Dit” is the title track from the album. It’s a mostly acoustic affair, with some violins and cellos thrown in for good measure. Of course, the song’s entirely in French, so I have no idea of what she’s saying. Here’s a brief translation of the first stanza:

On me dit que nos vies ne valent pas grand chose,
Elles passent en un instant comme fanent les roses.
On me dit que le temps qui glisse est un salaud que de nos chagrins il s’en fait des manteaux pourtant quelqu’un m’a dit…

Someone told me that our lives aren’t worth a thing,
They pass by in an instant like roses wilting.
Someone told me that times slides by like a bastard,
That he makes his blankets from our grief.
At least someone told me…

OK, so it’s not a very happy song. It’s about how short our lives are, how quickly time passes… and someone still being in love with someone else. But it’s so pretty! Have a listen for yourself:

[audio:bruni.mp3]

No More Calls to Microsoft!

Most “hotfixes” (patches) for Microsoft’s Windows and Office products are available as simple downloads from MS’s website. However, many hotfixes – typically those for “just discovered” issues, issues that for some reason only affect a tiny number of computers, or issues that might require long and complex testing before release – required a phone call to Microsoft’s support line. However, as of this week, that policy is no more. You may download those “call Microsoft” hotfixes simply by using this form on MS’s site. Geeks and IT support folks might want to bookmark that page.

HOUSEKEEPING: Site update

One quick note about the website:

I’ve removed the Viper Guest Book from the site, as no one was using it. I have added a contact form to the Contact Me page. This form will allow you to contact me through the site without having to register for an account. It’s similar to the old site’s “Feedback” page, but it has a built-in challenge question (to prevent spammers from using it). I hope you like it!

News for 07/25/2007

Wow – nothing but randomness today:

  • Fox announced this week that the producers of Bones will solve the mystery of the canceled show Vanished in an episode this season. This is, as you might guess, somewhat unusual. Characters and plot lines from spin-offs sometimes intermingle with the original show, but as you probably know Bones and Vanished are completely unrelated. It’s nice of the Bones people to wrap up the loose ends from Vanished, though. Read all about it here.
  • Sad news: the Weekly World News will cease publication in August. I used to read the WWN in high school; it was unparalleled in sheer entertainment value. I haven’t bought it in years, and the times I flipped through it in the stores, it seems that the “quality” has dropped off greatly in recent years. Oh well… Ed Anger, we’ll miss you!
  • Bricklehampton, England is the longest isogrammatic place name in the English speaking world. An isogram is a word in which each letter appears only once.
  • Continue reading “News for 07/25/2007”

What You Didn’t Know About… Alton Brown

Alton Brown is the beloved host of Good Eats, one of the most popular shows on Food Network. His show is based on molecular gastronomy, which is the “application of scientific principles to culinary practices”. As a result, his show is usually half traditional cooking show and half Mr. Wizard’s World. People enjoy the show not only for its “wacky” style, but also because Mr. Brown teaches sound scientific principles that easily carry over to everyday cooking. For example, if Alton was making a spaghetti sauce, he’d show the scientific reasons why the aromatics needed to be added first, and why some form of alcohol needs to be added to the tomatoes to unlock alcohol-soluble flavors. Thus, even if you don’t use Alton’s exact recipe, you still learn how to make your own dishes properly. Which is good.

But there’s a lot you might not know about Mr. Brown and his show:

He was originally a cameraman! Actually, a lot of people know this. But did you know that he was a steadicam operator for the Spike Lee film School Daze? Did you know that he was the director of photography for R.E.M.’s “The One I Love” video?

He changed careers midstream! One day, Alton Brown decided that the quality of American cooking shows was lacking. Having little cooking experience, Brown decided to enroll in the New England Culinary Institute. He also considered himself to be a poor student of math and science, so he also read a considerable amount on both subjects whilst enrolled at the cooking school. So while it wasn’t much of a leap to go from cameraman to cooking show host, he had to spend a considerable amount of time learning about the subject matter!

Continue reading “What You Didn’t Know About… Alton Brown”

Welcome to the all-new jimcofer.com!

Welcome to the all-new jimcofer.com! If you haven’t been here since the redesign, you might want to review the list of changes between the old and new site summarized here. As always, thanks for stopping by!