After having fought for several days with Mail.app trying to make it do whatever I wanted and failing to do so, I reached the following conclusions:
- IMAP over SSL does not work if used through an SSH tunnel
- SMTP over SSL does not work if a SOCKS proxy is in use
- When a SOCKS proxy is set, excluding a hostname or domain does not work: it just makes any connection to a matching host fail
- Using an PAC file does not give satisfactory results (I don’t remember the details of this one, but basically I bumped into a number of issues)
This is with Mail.app 2.1.1 (752.3). I thought that might be useful to others, and would love to be proven wrong.
A few months ago, I set up anti-leeching measures on my site as I was tired of people stealing my photos, both because they never ask, and because I was providing free bandwidth to all the MySpace junkies. I was looking where the request was coming from, and returning an error if it wasn’t from a legit source.
I later removed this, as bandwidth is basically free for me (DreamHost just doubled the quotas to 2TB/month, so I’ve got nothing to worry about on this side – see my DreamHost guide for more info).
Annotating photos with copyright information
So I was still bugged by the other side of the problem: people stealing my photos, not that they’re very valuable, but just as a matter of courtesy. I ended up finding another parade: annotating my images when they’re served from external sources.
Here is an example: my most popular photo (the one that even Alain de Botton enquired about for one of his books) ends up on various fora all the time:
So, if it’s linked from this blog, I serve it normally, and otherwise I annotate it with copyright information.
HttpCaching: now returning 304 Not Modified automatically
This is why I got more interested in HTTP caching in PHP a while back, as computing those images takes both time and CPU. HttpCaching now deals with returning 304′s automatically with version 0.5 that I just released, so well behaved HTTP clients should have a good experience.
If the PHP code for annotating photos is of any interest to people, I’ll look into making it available too. The issue is that there’s quite a few hard-coded things in it which make it not easy to reuse at this point.
DreamHost is trying to change the rules of selling online music and movies by introducing a new service: Files Forever. Once somebody has bought a file through this system, he or she can download it again in case the file was lost or deleted, loan it to a friend (though the way loaning works is not clear to me at this point).
This is IMO a good step forward for music and videos. The reason I still buy CDs is because I want to know that whatever happens (more or less), I’ll have access to the songs I bought. I consider them as my ultimate backup: I would not want to have spent €15 for an album and lose it completely (and this makes a lot of sense when you multiply this figure by a few hundreds), so I think that DreamHost’s idea is great.
However, I don’t see them competing with the iTunes Music Store until they have a good interface. It’s a good idea on the paper, but they will need to attract people. Maybe that will be an interesting way to sell songs for small artists who cannot get listed on iTunes (there’s not a lot of local artists there).
It does not solve all the issues of buying music online though. For example, MP3 is the king of electronic formats for music right now, but this may change. So buying a song in MP3 format is nice, but in 20 year’s time, you may want something else. I’m looking forward to the day I can buy not a file nor a physical copy of a song, but the right to listen to it on my own device (portable player, hifi system) and I will be able to get it on the electronic support I want. This is more or less what Yahoo! is getting at with Yahoo! Music Unlimited: people give Yahoo! money, and Yahoo! takes care of bringing the music to people.
As a side note, I saw in comments on the DreamHost weblog a site to buy music online: AllOfMP3. They can definitely compete with iTunes as their interface is not bad and their prices are unbeatable ($2.13 for Continuum by John Mayer!), but the legality of this service is obviously dubious.
I’m looking forward to the first real use of Files Forever.