Browsing all articles from February, 2010

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Occasionally even in a well maintained system, qmail has issues.

One semi-common issue I get to see, is when a server we send mail to doesn’t timeout. This ties up an outgoing mail slot. Over a period of time, this can lead to issues where the whole outgoing or incoming queue is sitting doing nothing, as every connection is tied up by ‘tarpitted’ connections.

Ideally Qmail should be able to cope with these.  There are settings in qmail to control how long a connection takes, and how long it should wait for.  These settings are covered in the following files (usually set in /var/qmail/control)

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Note to clients that we will be closed from 13th – 19th February for Chinese New Year.

Urgent issues can be addressed either by sending an email to or calling my mobile number on 13901 802 269.

Have a good vacation, and a great year of the tiger!

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As I’m currently in the airport, waiting for a flight back to the UAE, I thought I’d share this small snippet of transparency vs secrecy.

As most China users will know, there is no official agency that “blocks” websites. In fact, most of the time, the government states that sites are not blocked, despite fairly obvious proof to the contrary.

China typically asserts that “connection resets” to sites like Facebook and Youtube are just network issues, despite those network issues solely appearing at the ip addresses associated with the government firewalls at the gateway routers to overseas.

Here in the UAE (Dubai), the government still blocks, but at least they’re upfront about it:
See below for an example of a blocked site

Why is this important?

Transparency is a big problem for western entities doing business in China. As with the recent Google PR stunt/debacle, most companies have no real mechanism for dealing with arbitrary judgements for / against things that affect their business.

A clear and transparent mechanism for dealing with why sites are blocked, coupled with a delisting mechanism would be a good place to start. It would also help to defuse the detractors against censorship – although most countries censor, China is one of the usual scapegoats picked on.

Maybe if China implemented a what (was blocked) / why (it was blocked) / how (to get unblocked) system, detractors would have less to complain about.