Friday, September 24, 2010

It's a Good Thing that I Don't Have a Corporate Job

My university uses some sort of stupid Microsoft enterprise email system. It is very stupid.

I've been using the IMAP compatible part of it and have been accessing my email through Apple Mail. As of today, you can not send email to off-campus email addresses via the campus SMTP server. It used to be that you couldn't send off-campus email when you were off campus, but as of today I can not send off-campus email even from my freaking office when connected to our campus network. I suspect that this is part of their solution to the email blacklist problem. Our campus SMTP server is getting blacklisted from major ISPs because people use it to send spam. By blocking the ability to send email to off-campus addresses, this solves the problem in two ways. One, you can only spam people on campus. Two, attempts to send email off campus will fail when you click "send," instead of later on when the ISP rejects the mail and generates a bounce message; this way you can immediately re-send the email from a different account.

The IT people who I spoke to on the phone were unsympathetic. They give me a limited number of options. I could use the web client. I could use MS Entourage to access the Exchange server. Apple Mail is not supported. (Yet, I suspect that it may get fixed to some extent, as I believe that one of the sysadmins uses Apple Mail.)

They probably aren't going to like my solution to the problem. I'm still going to use Apple Mail. I've added another SMTP server to my list: localhost. Now when I want to send email off campus, I open a Terminal window, type sudo postfix start (and my password), click send, and then type sudo postfix stop. My bet is that IT won't notice that I'm running my own SMTP server if I only turn it on for a few seconds every now and then.