I re-visit this customer, as there is some on-going work, as things gradually get fixed up.
This time, I return her laptop, after & do some tuning & make sure it is updated with anti-virus & anti-malware software.
I notice her main computer is behaving sluggish. The second CD drive has its activity light permanently on… not a good sign (particularly with no cd in the drive). Since she already has a dvd writer, I just pull out the power plug from the cd drive, & everything is back to normal.
I try to get the laptop to work on her wireless router, but that doesn’t work (probably a faulty wireless component, as the wired stuff works just fine). She doesn’t rate the wireless as very important, so I just leave it for now.
She also has a mailing list of over 100 people & wants to email these people. This takes me into a new realm: bulk email programs, and the dangers of being labeled (and blocked) as a spammer. I found a few programs & they seems to send emails in 2 different ways:
- They act as a smtp server & will send emails directly to the destination smtp server
- They send emails through the local ISP mail server
Now, we spoke to the customers ISP, & they have no limits on how many recipients an outlook email can have, but many other smtp servers “out there” seem to refuse any email that has more that 10 recipients.
Thus I tested a bulk emailer that would send emails directly to the destination smtp server (option 1 above). It seemed to work with my test list or 3 addresses. However, a few hours later, This seemed to stop working… after some investigation, I found that my IP address was “classified” as an open-relay mail server, & regarded as a potential source of spam. Once this happens, most mail servers around the internet start to refuse any emails originating from my PC… Hmmm, this is not going to work for a regular mailing list.
So I look at option 2) sending emails through the local isp mail server. As long as I make sure the “from” address is legitimate (ie if telstra.com is my isp, & I send emails “from” firstname.lastname@example.org, then all should be fine. The nice thing here, is that instead of sending 1 email with over 100 recipients, the bulk emailer sends over 100 emails (each individually addressed). All it is doing, is automating something anyone could do manually: send the same email individually to many people.
I’ll be giving this the acid test in a few weeks time, when I go back to do some “teaching” & also do an office move to a new house.