SpiralChat Rides Again

The announcement is over here, after a discussion regarding the lack of chatting here.

If you would like to join in, telnet to spiral.vis.nu on port 4000 and you’ll end up in the right place. Ports 5281 and 23 will also work from outside machines.

This time around, we’re using a different system, and Clay is arbiter and controller of all things chat. At this point, he knows nearly as much about vis.nu as I do.

Indra Gone

The hard drive is toast, and the more important functions that ran on indra have been moved to vac by either getting rid of them or changing software. If we have need for a Linux box on vis.nu, I can slap a new drive (and probably some fans) in there and make it go again, but so far I see no need.

Important: Mail Changes

SASL (Authenticated SMTP) Has Been Implemented

The SMTP server will now accept the PLAIN authentication method for sending email. This means that, regardless of whether or not you’ve checked your mail, as long as you authenticate yourself to the server, you will be allowed to send mail as any address, to any address. Every major mail client that I can think of now supports authenticated SMTP, and if you’re on a client that does not support it, now would be the time to switch.

TLS for SMTP (encrypted SMTP) is working and required for SASL

In order to prevent unencrypted usernames and passwords from being passed via the SMTP connection, the mail server will require that you use TLS for your SMTP connections. Unfortunately, vis.nu uses a self-signed certificate for encrypted connections, so most mail clients will complain at least once about this. Certificates are a by-the-year expense and not very cheap, so vis.nu will probably never have one.

Configuring your mail client to use these features should be pretty simple. In Mail.app, which is one of the more common mail clients used on vis.nu, you can find the settings under the Accounts tab, and then edit the existing vis.nu connection to look kind of like this:

Mail.app SASL Example

Use your usual vis.nu username and password. Symposium users can also use the same system using the username and password they’ve been using to log in. You’ll also note that I am using port 2500 to connect to the SMTP server. Cox cable users cannot connect to the standard SMTP port, and that includes me. In such case, use port 2500, which is usually not filtered.

The Old System Will Be Disabled

The old POP/IMAP before SMTP system, where you check your mail before you can send your mail, will be phased out by August 14th, 2006. If you’re having trouble moving over to the new system, call or email me and we’ll get you squared away.

Non-encrypted IMAP, POP, and Webmail may be disabled

Since the last reasons to allow unencrypted usernames and passwords to connect to vis.nu are now going away, I am considering disallowing non-encrypted connections to the mail system, other than incoming SMTP. This has numerous security benefits without overly bothering the you guys. If for some reason you really don’t want to be doing this, let me know and give me a very good reason.

Admins: I’m leaving soft_bounce on for a few days to make sure everything is working, so Nagios may complain about it. Also, the mail certificate has been changed out since the old one expired. It’s TLS, not SSL, but a number of mail applications do not make the delineation.