Archive for 20080318-Tue

Vista in 2008? Not a Chance

There is little or no clamor in the Windows XP community for better stability or reliability. Windows XP is a mature, stable OS with a well-known list of weaknesses and corresponding work-arounds. On paper, Vista brings a better foundation, but in practice, it addresses problems that most customers weren’t aware even existed, let alone needed fixing.

Source: PC World

This exactly correct — a nice, succinct encapsulation of the policy our little circle of tech gurus formed well over a year ago: just say NO to Vista.

Surprising, the inadequacy of Vista coupled with the urge and desire to modernize has pushed many corporate users (and users of all kinds) to another stable and mature OS: OS X.

Sender Verification

Email as a technology and public service is a mess.

It was engineered in a ‘closed system’ — ‘bad guys’ did not exist.

The need to scale to billions of users worldwide was not properly anticipated in the design.

Today we are left with a patchwork of underlying vulnerabilities and inconsistencies, made better or worse by higher-layer duct-tape fixes that sometimes even conflict with each other.

One of the technologies currently in use is Sender Verification. In short, when a server verification-enabled email server receives an email message, it queries the originating server, asking it if such a user exists. If one does, it approves the message; if one does not, it denies the message, and may go on to take further steps, such as blacklisting or greylisting the sender or the sender’s email server.

For this setup to work, it requires careful configuration, especially of the DNS records, for all the servers involved.


We just solved a bizarre error related to this setup. In this scenario, users were getting their outbound emails blocked with a “550-No Such User Here 550 Sender verify failed” error. The emails were failing the sender verification, but only for one particular domain.

After some time and some troubleshooting, we discovered it was the same error that Mick West wrote about. It was a cpanel server, and the destination server was ostensibly hosted on the same server as the originating server. In actual fact, while the website, or A-Record (in global internet DNS) did in fact point to that server, the MX-Record pointed elsewhere. However, the internal DNS did not reflect this.

So, while email sent from any other server would check the global DNS and find the right mail exchange server to verify the email address with, any email sent through the same server (for example, by the users in question who were experiencing and reporting this error) would draw the incorrect MX record from the local (to that server) DNS. When the server would then try to verify the user, (actually against itself, istaed of the real mail server in this case) that verification would fail.

We changed the local DNS copy of the MX record, and the problems disappeared.


Your Computer Genius is available to configure your hosting solution, establish sender verification for your domain, troubleshoot your DNS, setup your corporation or institution on a Google-Hosted service, and resolve all your computer woes.

What computer should I buy?

As the resident and go-to tech genius consortium for a wide range of businesses and individuals, we get asked this question a lot.

The best hardware platforms and factory hardware / software setups are being made by Apple in California.

The ideal system for the small business or home user is the iMac.

If portability is required, then the ideal system is the MacBook.

Users may run Apple’s OS X, Microsoft’s Windows XP, and any of a number of flavors of Linux on these systems. These operating systems may be also be configured to each be available on a particular machine.

There are several further considerations:

  • If the primary concern is budget, then we still recommend scanning the Dell Outlet for their cheapest offering.
  • Apple does not offer a Tablet computer at this time, however there is at least one company that professionally remixes MacBooks into a tablet version.
  • We don’t recommend running Windows Vista on ANY hardware platform at this time.


Apple Computer

Dell Outlet

Linux on a Mac