Sunday, September 20, 2009

AOL is not accepting e-mail...

"AOL is not accepting e-mail from my server" "Road Runner is not accepting mail from my server".... etc Sound familiar? This is a pretty common question in the newsgroups. I have been battling this issue myself with one of my own customers.

Some ISPs (Time Warner's companies are notorious for this) check to see if your mail server has a PTR record. Does your server have an PTR record for it's public IP address? You can easily check here:

Plug in your IP address in here to see a fairly comprehensive test. Ideally, your PTR record name (eg should match the HELO or EHLO banner that your mail server sends out. Some mail servers will even reject your message if the EHLO banner does not match your PTR record. Fortunately, most don't.

Now comes the hard part: how do you assign a PTR record for your public facing IP address? You usually don't. The owner of the IP address must do that. That is almost always your ISP. Contact your ISP, tell them that you need a PTR record for your public IP and tell them what you want it to be, such as

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Enphase Inverter demo and management software demo

One of the solar photovoltaic inverters I'm considering has some pretty neat software that lets you monitor the system as well as individual panels. Take a look at the Enphase software demo.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Sending e-mail as an SMS or text message

Really useful answer by Michael W. on the Microsoft TechNet forums. If you want to send a text message from an e-mail client, most carriers allow you to do this. You send an e-mail message to number@emaildomain. For example, if you want to send a message to a T-Mobile user whose phone number is (808) 555-1234, then you would address the message to Keep in mind that the recipient may have to pay a "per text message" charge. Below are the US carriers. For more, see this link.

UNITED STATES Teleflip Alltel Ameritech ATT Wireless Bellsouth Boost CellularOne CellularOne MMS Cingular Edge Wireless Sprint PCS T-Mobile Metro PCS Nextel O2 / Orange Qwest Rogers Wireless Telus Mobility US Cellular Verizon Virgin Mobile

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Unable to Remove Exchange Mailbox Database or Exchange Server

"I can't remove an Exchange mailbox database" or "I can't remove an Exchange server".
I have seen this question a few times in the online forums recently and this is something that I frequently see myself as I move mailboxes around an Exchange 2003 organization. I usually use the Exchange System Manager to move the mailboxes around. However, one we

Microsoft has a good TechNet article on the process of removing an Exchange Server (or the last old Exchange Server): How to Remove the Last Legacy Exchange Server from an Organization

Another good KB article is You receive a "c1034a7f" error message when you delete a mailbox store: "One or more users currently use this mailbox store"

What I usually do is to add the mailbox database as a column in Active Directory Users and Computers, the go through each of the OUs that contain users and sort by that column. That is the quick and dirty way to do locate the mailbox.You could also perform a Find in ADUC and search for the old mailbox database name, but you do need the DN of the database to do that. Amit Tank recommends this custom query for ADUC:

Worst case, of course, you can navigate to the Mailbox Database using ADSIEdit and delete it. The following is an example of the path, but you would need to substitute your own organization, admin group, server name, etc...
Configuration -> CN=Services -> CN=Microsoft Exchange -> CN= -> CN=Administrative Groups -> CN= -> CN= -> CN=InformationStore,CN -> CN=

Key error messages:
The component 'Microsoft Exchange Messaging and Collaboration Services cannot be assigned the action "Remove" because: -One or more users currently use a mailbox store on this server. These users must be moved to a mailbox store on a different server or be mail disabled before uninstalling this server.

You cannot remove the mailbox database because there are still mailboxes on that store.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Heavenly Village Condos

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My home project - Using less electricity

I'm now on a kick to use less electricity. Well, at least, to "buy" less electricity. On average, my house uses about 45KWH per day (around 1400KWH per month). Current electricity cost is around US$0.20 per KWH but this time last year I was paying closer to US$0.33 cents per KWH.

A few years ago, I put in a solar hot water system on my roof. At the time, that saved me about $50.00 per month, but is probably saving me more now.

Here is some guesses as to the major power consumers in my house:
  • 2 Dell T605 Servers - 6KWH per day
  • 4 Desktop computers - 5KWH per day
  • Pool pump (8 hrs/day) - 14KWH per day
  • Refrigerator - 5KWH per day
  • Air Conditioning (22 SEER rated at 7 hours day) - 3KWH
The electric bill itself does not bother me as much as the dependency on oil. Not that I'm an environmentalist or anything (I don't even recycle cans!), but from a political perspective I think the dependency on oil is a really bad thing.

I am planning 2 separate projects:
  • Replace the pool pump with an Intelli-Flow pump. These are supposed to use 75% less electricity. They run continuously, but at a signficantly lower horse-power/amperage.
  • Install a photo-voltaic system. I have proposals to install systems that produce between 6 and 32KWH per day. I'm probably going to go with a system that produces around 15KW per day, but can be expanded the second year with an additional 20KW of capacity. So the second year capacity would be around 35KWH per day. The initial system's cost is $28,000 but there are almost $19,000 in tax incentives to do this. At the current cost of electricity, the payback on this system is around 7 years.

If any of you did the math and are asking, wait a minute, if you are producing 35KWH of electricity per day, you are only producing that much during the sunny hours of the day (peak production for these systems in Hawaii is 9AM - 3PM though they will produce some outside of those periods. Your house is using electricity 24 hours per day.

Quite right. The final system that I'm looking at will produce around 8.3KWH (per hour). However, I'm not using THAT much an hour. In that case, my power meter runs backward and I feed electricity back out "on the the grid". The electric company can then use that electricity and (by law) has to give me credit for it. Then, at night, when I'm not producing electricity I can use back up the credits.

My ultimate goal is to produce about as much per day as my house uses. I can do that if I can improve the pool pump's efficiency. The initial investment is pretty high, but the system lifetime is 25+ years so the payback is tremendous.