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September 29th, 2011

The last two years

Filed under: General — jm @ 20:22
Today we officially announced the project that I've been working on since 2009. We're building a next-generation API for paid content over at LaterPay and it's awesome :-).

August 03rd, 2011

First look: Funambol connector for Mozilla Thunderbird 5.0

Filed under: Mobile,Technology — jm @ 20:21

Over the last few weeks I spent a couple of nights on porting the Funambol connector for Mozilla Thunderbird to Gecko 2.0, the engine underlying Thunderbird 5.0. Funambol for years now has been an important part of my infrastructure as I use it to sync my address book between my iPhone, my Laptop and my PC at home, so the lack of official support is unsettling to me.

Details on the changes that were necessary can be found in the Release Notes for version 1.0b4-tb5-jm-dev1 and the Mercurial repository. An experimental version for Windows can be found here.

October 26th, 2010

Running Z-Push 1.4.2 with Apache and FastCGI/fcgid

Filed under: Mobile,PHP,Technology — jm @ 20:49

I spent half a night yesterday installing Z-Push, an open-source Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync push protocol implementation, which is written in PHP. Z-Push supports multiple back-ends from which it can push data to your mobile device, including maildirs, IMAP and vCard folders. Multiple other open-source groupware projects (like Horde.org) have produced their own back-ends.

I'm using my iPhone with my own mail system with a secure IMAP server and CalDav, based on Sun's Oracle Communications Calendar Server. I want the ability to remotely wipe my phone, though.

Z-Push itself only supports the "remote wipe"-command through Zarafa's administration console. However, there is a project called iRemoteWipe that provides a Z-Push back-end that checks with a LDAP database which remote devices are to be wiped. There's a good how-to on AFP548.com that shows how to make this back-end work with a SQLite database.

I will not cover the whole process of unpacking and configuring Z-Push, as it's easily done and well documented, but I want to describe the few bumps that I've hit along the way.

The thing that left me stumped is that I'm running PHP through mod_fcgid on a Apache 2.2 server with the worker MPM. The Z-Push installation instructions however, only cover the installation with mod_php. When I tried to access the "Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync"-URL on my server, I always got the error message "No input file specified". This first error was easily fixed. Z-Push uses a Alias directive to map its index.php-file to the ActiveSync-URL. I had issues with this before, so I knew that somehow Apache will not use pass the right URL to the fcgid-script handler. I just rewrote it using mod_rewrite to:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^/Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync \
        /z-push/index.php [PT,L,QSA]

Now however, Z-Push complained that it didn't get any authentication headers. While the documentation was right in that, when I accessed the URL using a browser, I got an authentication dialog... I still couldn't authenticate. It took hours before I remembered that using Apache with mod_php passes some HTTP headers using non-standard names. "Authorization" becomes "HTTP_AUTHORIZATION" for example. Armed with that knowledge and extensive googling, I finally found this forum post, which solved the remaining problem, as Z-Push assumes running under mod_php at the moment.

So the final configuration reads:

# Enable ActiveSync (Z-Push)
RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule .* - [E=HTTP_MS_ASPROTOCOLVERSION: \
        %{HTTP:Ms-Asprotocolversion}]
RewriteRule .* - [E=HTTP_X_MS_POLICYKEY: \
        %{HTTP:X-Ms-Policykey}]
RewriteRule .* - [E=HTTP_AUTHORIZATION:\
        %{HTTP:Authorization}]
RewriteRule /Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync \
        /z-push/index.php [PT,L,QSA]

I hope this helps someone else out there :-).

January 01st, 2010

2010

Filed under: General — jm @ 15:50

... and here we are :-). Happy new year, everybody.

2009 was a good year. I finally graduated after I finished taking courses in 2007 but then had to manage two big projects all through 2008, which didn't leave me the time to put all the paperwork in until last year. But I got a lot of new projects on the road and a lot of things done.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do much for maurus.net. However, right over the last few days, I finally found the time to start bringing my notes on Sun Java Calendar Server 7 online.

February 28th, 2009

How to uninstall Microsoft’s .Net Framework Assisstant Spyware

Filed under: Cutting the crap,Security,Technology — jm @ 15:40

"Microsoft's .Net Framework Assistant" is installed in your Firefox Browser without your consent as part of Microsoft's .Net framework. It's installed via Windows Update, so its installation can't be easily blocked. It can't be uninstalled (they made it intentionally very hard) and looking at Microsoft's track record, there's absolutely no reason to trust that it's secure. Also, it transfers information about software on your computer to third party servers, again without your consent.

That I think, fits the definition of spyware.

Fortunately, there's a way to uninstall it from your machine as long as you have administrative privileges. I found a good recipe here. Basically you have to edit the registry key

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Mozilla\Firefox\extensions

and delete the key named {20a82645-c095-46ed-80e3-08825760534b}. At which point, after a browser restart, the extension will be gone.

Unfortunately, Microsoft also takes the liberty to modify your preferences to add the .NET framwork's version to your browser's referrer. To fix this, type about:config into your browser's URL bar, then type "microsoft" into the search box, right-click on the key "general.useragent.extra.microsoftdotnet" and click "reset". That's it, you're done.

January 09th, 2009

The new year

Filed under: General — jm @ 13:53

I blinked and it was 2009.

So first of all: Happy New Year to everybody reading this. I have a whole bunch of posts that didn't make it last year because I was wrapped up in a lot of projects, but I'm planning on updating the weblog again as the stress level goes down :-).

November 04th, 2008

Election Day prediction

Filed under: Politics — jm @ 07:56

Well, after reading the polls again, I predict that Barack Obama will today become the first African-American President of the United States. He'll get at least 52% of the popular vote, but I would wish for it being more than that. Of course, this isn't a very bold projection as 538.com has Obama already at a 98% chance of winning this election. Still, I'm feeling very good about this :-).

October 17th, 2008

Airport security is, for the most part, total stupidity

Filed under: Cutting the crap,Politics,Security — jm @ 23:25

When I went to Egypt a few weeks ago for two weeks of diving, beaches and general fun in the Lahami Bay Resort, me and my friend had to leave two bottles of rather expensive, but very tasty, Whiskey behind at the Munich airport. Idiots that we were, we believed that, as we were on our way to one of these "Arab terrorist countries", we could keep two obviously unopened bottles of liquid. Germany's secretary of the interior would certainly have been very proud of us if we had blown up something over there using a "magic port-barrel-aged alcohol vapor bomb".

We were wrong. I guess that duty-free shops in Germany are just as fine with the new stupid regulations as their American counter-parts are and thus these regulations are enforced regardless of the country you go to. As a western tourist you can have alcohol with you in Egypt, it's just very hard to buy some there, so we bought another two bottles of whiskey in the local duty-free store. The only difference between the new bottles and the old bottles was that the new bottles were placed in a plastic bag with huge red lettering that said "DO NOT OPEN". A MacGyver-esque terrorist that can build a bomb out of whiskey would have been clearly defeated by that security.

So this article on airport security by "The Atlantic" resonated a lot with me: "The Things He Carried". Especially, since it features Bruce Schneier, who helped the journalist print his own fake boarding passes.

October 08th, 2008

Wall Street

Filed under: General — jm @ 11:30

As seen on jwz's.

August 23rd, 2008

Here’s your ticket

Filed under: Politics — jm @ 18:02

Well, Obama/Biden it is!

I'm glad, because Joe Biden took a great position on Iran in the democratic debates. He will truly make up for Obama's lack of foreign policy experience and from what I read about him, be an informed voice of reason in international relations.

President Bush: Like a rock, only dumber

What a great team to kick Bush and the Republicans out of the White House.

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