• Hotmail rejecting forwarded email

    I’ve been using ZoneEdit to manage the DNS for our domain gardiner.net.au with reasonable success. About the only problem I’ve had is every few months, I’d discover that email sent to my wife’s Hotmail account (via her @gardiner.net.au address) is rejected with a message like the following:

    [email protected] (expanded from [email protected]): host mx4.hotmail.com[] said: 550 SC-001 Mail rejected by Windows Live Hotmail for policy reasons.

    Reasons for rejection may be related to content with spam-like characteristics or IP/domain reputation problems. If you are not an email/network admin please contact your E-mail/Internet Service Provider for help. Email/network admins, please visit http://postmaster.live.com for email delivery information and support (in reply to MAIL FROM command)

    To their credit, the Live Hotmail guys are pretty quick off the mark to resolve this once you submit a request via their support page.

    I think the problem is that because ZoneEdit hosts so many domains, some of those turn out to be used (or hijacked) by spammers, and so inevitably their IP ranges end up on spam black lists. ZoneEdit don’t have any SPF records for their mail servers either which probably doesn’t help.

    So tonight I bit the bullet, and signed up with Google Apps to manage the mail for our domain. I’m hoping that pointing my MX records to Google will mean that things all look legitimate when Hotmail goes to verify that the domains match up with the SPF record.

    Signing up was pretty straight forward. After verifying that I control the DNS records, I added accounts for all the people who have @gardiner.net.au email addresses, then logged in and configured their email to forward to their preferred address. There’s even a ‘test’ email address so you can try things out before you update all the MX record information.

    We’ll see if this turns out to be a good idea or not.

  • Book prices

    I recently ordered MCPD Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-547): Designing and Developing Web-Based Applications Using the Microsoft .NET FrameworkMCPD Self-Paced Training Kit book cover from Amazon and it cost me about $AU 60 (including postage).

    MS Press have just launched their Australian web site, and the same book is listed as $AU 120. Dave Glover mentions that user group members can get a 50% discount, but only for this month. So for this month at least they are comparable.

    It isn’t just MS Press though. I’ve seen other Australian booksellers listing this same title at equally uncompetitive prices. About the only reason you’d buy local is if you didn’t want to wait a couple of weeks for Amazon’s standard delivery to arrive.

    Certainly, the Australian dollar is very high at the moment, so that helps with the exchange rate, but I still don’t get why there’s such a huge price difference.

  • Ready, Steady, Code

    Once or twice while I was on leave recently, I happened to have the TV on during the daytime. One of the programs that was on was Ready, Steady, Cook (originally a BBC show apparently).

    The basic format of the show is as follows:

    • In the first half, two chefs (each with a regular assistant) create a meal from some random ingredients that they haven’t seen before.
    • The audience then votes on the completed dishes.
    • The second half sees both chefs then suggest a meal from another lot of ingredients, but this time the audience votes on which idea they like the best. Then both chefs work together to make that meal.

    So what I was thinking was whether you could adapt this format to a user group setting?

    Have two teams (ideally with two data projectors so the audience can see what they’re doing), and give each of them 3-4 random technologies and they have to come up with an application that uses all of them in a fixed time period.

    At the conclusion the audience can vote on which they think is the best.

    You might need a little more time, and the audience could get involved shouting out suggestions if they get stuck.