Removing IP from AOL email Black List postmaster

I’m finding the AOL process really really annoying. We have been trying to clear up blacklist and reputation problems with a new IP range that was previously abused.

AOL have some tools that pretend to help. What you need to know is this.

1. Ensure your mail server IP has a RDNS – so when you do an NS lookup on the IP address it will show a name, like smtp.interactivewebs.com

2. Setup an email account like abuse@ or postmaster@  that domain. Make sure you get that mail.

3. Ensure that you verify with AOL that you are the admin for that RDNS lookup name. That is by submitting a ticket called Feedback Loop here: http://postmaster.aol.com/SupportRequest.FBL.php

4. Wait till they verify your Feedback Loop. AKA. that you are getting mail on that domain.

6. Use this link: http://www.mxtoolbox.com/SuperTool.aspx?action=mx%3aaol.com
to work out the IP of an AOL mail server.

7. Work out what code error is given when you try to connect from your mail server using Telnet. Follow these instructions. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/153119 but use the IP address and port 25 of the AOL mail server from step 6 above.

8. Look at the error result and compare it to this page: http://postmaster.aol.com/Postmaster.Errors.php

9. Follow the support request process from that page, to submit a ticket to have them fix things up.

Easy as that.!


Imagine if we had to do that crap for every email domain in the world. This was a recent blog from AOL about their update:

http://postmaster-blog.aol.com/2011/05/05/general-update/

We are in the process of automating email problem report resolution. This is a mid-term project, and is being implemented in stages on a queue-by-queue basis. (Ex: Each unique error code type represents a different queue, as do feedback loop and whitelist requests. http://postmaster.aol.com/Postmaster.Errors.php )
The last couple of months were spent migrating our sundry ticketing systems onto one common platform — essentially readying a back-end for the front-end logic flow that you will interface with. We are excited to finally be addressing the part of this project that will offer, in most cases, immediate resolution to your issues.
We are starting with router-level queues, the first of which will be RTR:BB errors. I will post on our progress as we push the code into production, along with what ticket submitters should expect with the automated process specific to the queue addressed. If you are seeing problems with the queues in transition, please comment on that particular blog post, and we’ll take a look.
Meanwhile, our Postmaster staff will continue handling every ticket we receive.
Thanks for your patience and support during this transition!

 


This was my comment.

1. Good that you are improving things. Sucks that your process is so stupid in the first place. An example of how frigging annoying I am finding things.
We at: http://www.interactivewebs.com have been forced by a chapter 11 of an upstream provider to move all our servers to a new IP range.
First thing we did was to setup RDNS and check mail reputation (on all the major Black Lists, and senderbase.org). What we found was that the IP range has been abused. So we set about cleaning that up.
Naturally we checked AOL, and found that the IP was "undisclosed" reputation. Helpful Right… NOT!
But it does not show AOL was listing it.
So we move and fire up services. THEN and only then do we find out that AOL does have the address on a BL and mail cannot be delivered.
How about tools that work, and a process that works to allow proper checking/de-listing.
The ironic part of dealing with your 1990 process, is that it really does not work as well as other systems. AOL users get more spam than many other reputable spam systems. There is even free spam software services that do better.
So why stick with such a lame process, when the end result is HEAPS of false positives?

Windows 2008 File Content Search resx files–Solution

Today I was trying to achieve something that was simple in Windows 3.1. Searching a directory in Windows, and checking the content of files for the search term.

In this instance, I was searching something from the content of a Web Server directory that contained some resx files. These files are used in a DotNetNuke website to deliver language content to a module.

In every version of Windows up until the "Mac Version” (that is the version that makes you get a mac… i.e. Vista). the ability to search was easy.

Now, in Windows 2008 server, they have replicated the crap that they call search in Windows 7. So basically no one know how to resolve some strange results.

I search the net and found many solutions, but non worked for me.

This appears to be one solution: (but who knows)

  1. Open Server Manager and select Roles in the left pane.  Then in the center pane click on Add Roles.

    enable search 001 150x107 Enable File Search on Windows Server 2008 with Windows Search Service

  2. If you get the Before You Begin page just click Next, depending on if you have installed a role before and chose to skip this page in the future you might not see it.

    enable search 002 150x110 Enable File Search on Windows Server 2008 with Windows Search Service

  3. Select Server Roles window go ahead and select File Services and then click Next.

    enable search 003 150x110 Enable File Search on Windows Server 2008 with Windows Search Service

  4. The next page will discuss the File Services Role and what you can do with it. After reading go ahead and click Next.

    enable search 004 150x110 Enable File Search on Windows Server 2008 with Windows Search Service

  5. In the Select Role Services page place a check next to Windows Search Service and then clickNext.

    enable search 005 150x110 Enable File Search on Windows Server 2008 with Windows Search Service

  6. The next page will ask you to select the volumes you want to index.  Place a  check next to the volumes you want indexed and then click Next. As a note this is a test server so I don’t have separate data drives, be careful indexing your system drive as it can cause performance issues.

    enable search 006 150x110 Enable File Search on Windows Server 2008 with Windows Search Service

  7. Confirm your selections by reviewing the information and then click on Install.

    enable search 007 150x110 Enable File Search on Windows Server 2008 with Windows Search Service

  8. Hopefully you see a Installation Succeeded message and you can click Close.

    enable search 008 150x110 Enable File Search on Windows Server 2008 with Windows Search Service

That’s it!  You will now be able to execute searches on the Windows server through Windows Search Services.

But

Because this is a web server, I really have no desire to turn on service that case the machine to run indexing all day long and possibly slow down my machine.

So I decided that after 30 minutes of rooting around like a novice on something as simple as this, I should stop wasting time and just do something I know.

I pulled down all the files to my local Windows 7 machine, and searched the files there. Low and behold, NOTHING. Apparently I did not give the machine enough time to index or something.

What Junk!

So I folder shared the files to my shiny Mac, and within a few seconds had the result that Microsoft failed to give me on two operating system, and to someone with years of server admin / network admin experience.

I find that as I get older, I just don’t have the time or inclination to jump through all the Microsoft hoops to get something like search to return a simple result.

Microsoft… you blow chunks!

Converting a physical Windows Machine to a Hyper-V Virtual Machine P2V Problem

We recently wanted to move a physical windows 2003 server to a virtual server. This is known as P2V. The machine happened to be a Windows 2003 Server running exchange.

One of the reasons we wanted to move, was because the hardware was getting a little long in the tooth, and for various reasons, we did not wish to upgrade the version of exchange.

We were almost successful too, but as you will see, the nail in the coffin was a typical Microsoft issue. One that is just one more reason why our future avoids Microsoft wherever possible.

Convert P2V

To the physical machine, we installed a VM ware free tool known as VMware VCentre Converter. http://www.vmware.com/products/converter/

An easy to use free tool, that converts your physical machine into a virtual VM ware compatible single file. This file could be run on a VMware server. It is really easy to use and frankly like all VMware stuff… it just worked!

Cannot go without saying, that there is no Microsoft equivalent conversion tool.

Convert VM to Hyper V

To be able to use the VM single file, on a hyper V server, you need to convert it using the free tool from VM Tookkit http://vmtoolkit.com/blogs/announcements/archive/2006/11/20/vmdk-to-vhd-converter-available.aspx

This free little took, just runs agains the VMDK file and turns it into a VHD file.

Worked great thanks guys.

Mounting the VHD to Hyper V

Next and almost lastly, you just have to create a new HyperV virtual machine, and point it at your new VHD file that you have created and start the virtual machine.

Here is where it gets interesting

We managed to do all this, and turned on the virtual machine to one big problem. Microsoft Licensing.

Because the virtual instance detects new hardware, the Microsoft server drops into an unlicensed mode and wants to auto activate the license on the internet. Normally that would be fine, and you would just click on auto activate and wait 30 seconds before it auto activates.

Here is the problem. Because you have a new NIC network virtual instance, that has not been recognised by Windows, it will not allow you to connect to the internet until you install drivers. These drivers cannot be installed until you login. You cannot login until you activate….  and around and around we go on the Microsoft License ride!

There is no way around this, so the only option that is left to you is to contact Microsoft licensing via phone. So we called the licensing numbers listed in the Windows Server activation screen. These numbers were out of date and the phone calls failed. (Bummer that a multi billion $ company cannot redirect a phone number when it changes.)

So we researched the new phone numbers. Not actually that easy to find, and before long I was talking to a foreigner in a foreign country who could barely understand my Microsoft Licensing Query.

They were asking me for the activation code, so they could generate a new license key. After about 4 attempts of trying to understand the phonetic alphabet “B as in Bravo.. you say V as in Varo… No you idiod… BRAVO”. We found that the key generated by Microsoft failed, and wad never going to work.

Solution, is to bump up the chain, and submit a support ticket. Long and the short of it all was that while we had a fully licensed server that we have been running for years, that we could still access. With new hardware Microsoft were unable to generate a license key that would activate it manually. They advised that we should just auto activate!!!! WE COULD NOT EXPLAIN TO THE MONKEYS THAT THIS WAS NOT POSSIBLE. In order to get an internet connection we needed it to be active. Round and round we go… right!

They then advised that the only solution would be to install Windows server again. This was actually something we considered, as with a Virtual machine, there is nothing lost. Only problem was that to install the OS, you need the HyperV integration tools installed. To install them you need to login. To Login you need the license active… Round and round we go!

Solution

There was non. We were screwed by Windows 2003 licensing. MS could not help, and their stupid solution of “What you need to do here is reinstall” was no solution.

We failed!

But it’s not all bad. Before this, we had never really spent a lot of time with either VMware, or Linux servers. We have now! We love it, and more and more are enjoying everything that is non Microsoft. After years of accepting headache and heartache as a normal way of computing. We find that there is a better way…. stay away from Microsoft.

In fairness

This would not have been the case with a Windows 2008 server, as the license protection gives you a trial period to play. So the above process will work if you have a 2008 server. So we should not be too hard on MS, as they did improve one thing in the 5 years it took them to release 2008 server. The licensing does a trial mode.

Summary

In summary the process to follow is:

  1. Have a Windows 2008 server ready with Hyper-V – ours is a Dell PowerEdge 2970 with 16GB RAM, Dual quad-core AMD Opteron Processors, and a RAID 1/RAID 10 split for the OS/Storage. All the Hyper-V files run from the RAID 10 volume. This is good for about 12 guests.
  2. Install the VMWare convertor on the Hyper-V server. You don’t need to install the agent.
  3. Download the VMDK to VHD Convertor and unzip it to a local drive on the Hyper-V server (the desktop will do).
  4. Create a network share on the Hyper-V server that the target server can reach.
  5. Run the VMware converter against the target (it must be a Windows box, anything from NT4 upwards).
  6. Once complete (Our PE1750 with a 70GB disk took about 20 mins), point the VMDK to VHD converter at the new disk, and create a Hyper-V disk under your Hyper-V file location. Once complete, you can delete the VMDK file.
  7. Create a new Hyper-V virtual machine, using the new .VHD file as the boot disk. Don’t connect the machine to the physical network at this point.
  8. Boot the new Hyper-V machine, log in and let the hardware detection process run. Don’t insert the integration services disk yet. Reboot.
  9. Log in again and insert the integration services disk, and let it do its stuff. Reboot again.
  10. Log in a third time, and let the install complete. One more reboot!
  11. Log in now and have a look at the network settings. If you can’t see anything, you’ll need to shut down the guest and install a legacy adapter.
  12. Tidy up stuff that isn’t needed for a virtual machine – typically hardware management stuff.
  13. If all is good, shut down the old box, connect the network to your new virtual machine and fire it up!

DotNetNuke User Experience Team Cracks Me Up

Today it was drawn to my attention that the DotNetNuke Corporation has a User Experience Team. Good on DNN Corp for caring about UI, and so they should.

What cracks me up about it is this.

Go to the webpage and seek more information on the UI team members. First from the list is Joe Brinkman. (Not picking on you Joe, but your smile is first on the list).

 

imageNotice the *******, Ohio ********* (Funny hay)

Where is my User Experience I would like to know? How can a UI team allow the details page of their team profile pictures look like that… I’m still laughing about it as I write it now.

Are you serious???

 

 

 

This is like one of those Microsoft jokes they play on me as a system admin. They give me an error log, with a meaningless code in an event view… then for a joke they give me a link to a support site that has NO SUPPORT.

image

They even call the link a help and support link. Yet every link has exactly NO help.image

Now I am sure that there is a big counter on the wall in Microsoft land, with a big number ticking over for every time a users clicks a help link and gest NO HELP! They are sitting there watching and laughing so hard that they did not see apple dominating their market for the last 5 years.

I wonder if the DNN UI team has something similar… something that at least gives them a laugh each time a user clicks for more information about the team, and finds not only… absolutely NO INFORMATION, but NO INFORMATION DELIVERED WITH THE WORST UI POSSIBLE!