4:20 Picture of the Day (420POTD)

Short version:

  • I’ve set my phone alarm to go off every day at 4:20 PM Monday through Friday.
  • I’m going to try taking a picture at that time each day.
  • I’m going to upload those photos HERE.

Long version:

I wanted to set a daily alarm to alert me when the end of the business day was approaching. Since I have an aversion to round numbers/times (don’t ask), I did not want to set it for 4:15 PM or 4:30 PM. Therefore, the natural choice was “something in between”, and I happened to choose 4:20 PM. The primary reasoning was this would give me about 10 minutes to pack up my stuff and hit the door by 4:30 PM.

One day while surrounded by my co-workers, this alarm went off. One of my astute co-workers asked if I had to be somewhere and pointed out the significance of 4:20 PM to a certain cultural group. We had a laugh, because I had certainly not intended to make that statement with my alarm!

So what do I do? Change the alarm? Take up a new bad habit? No way! Inspired by the connotation associated with that time of day and remembering a plot point from the movie Smoke, I decided to take a photo each time that alarm goes off and upload it to my Picasa Web account.

The photos will probably be crap at first, but I hope to improve my composition over time. I may try to get creative and seek to capture something unusual or striking about my location each time, or I may just pull the phone out and simply snap what is right in front of me. Either way, enjoy!

P.S. And yes, I do realize this will probably attract a lot of stoners to my site. Maybe they will be inspired to make their own 420POTD albums? Hilarity Ensues if they do. . .

March 2009 CIALUG Meeting

Zimbra Open Source Collaboration Suite

Presented by Rich Harms

Intro

  • Zimbra is more than just a simple mail server. It is a full collaboration suite.
  • Web browser client and offline client are extremely similar.
  • Supports IMAP and POP3 clients. Outlook, Thunderbird and the like.
  • Shared Calendars, document spaces and such not only within the company but with external users as well.
  • Powerful built-in search features.* Wiki-like document features.
  • Spamassassin and virus scanning built in.
  • Built on several other Open Source projects.
  • Zimlets scripting language for administrative and feature add-ons.
  • ZMProv utility for scripting admin tasks.
  • Import utility for pulling in Exchange data (licensed).

Installation from scratch

  • CentOS 5.2 virtual machine for the demo.
  • Download the OSE edition as a tgz file.
  • Run the included installer shell script which walks you through the install.
    • Install script is text-based, and starts out with some questions.
    • After the interview, it unpacks the RPMs, installs them and configures itself.
    • After it unpacks and installs, there are a few more questions, then completes the install.
    • At this point, you should have a basic running configuration.

Administrative Interface

  • Accessible via https://{siteurl}:7071/zimbraAdmin
  • Domains are pretty easy to set up, just a few steps configures all the services on the back end.
  • User setups are pretty easy. Password is not required, but you can’t log in with a null password!
  • Resources have their own management section.
  • Class of Service controls what features that client sees and can access.
  • Built-in IM server which uses the Jabber protocol.
  • Full control over what themes are available on the webmail interface.
  • Domains can be configured to be hosted on a specific server (clustering features).
  • Can also use the Zimbra server for LDAP authentication on your network to provide authentication for users on workstations.

Good Things

  • Lots of Zimlets, or plug-ins to add features. Some which are available are Bugzilla integration, Asterisk integration, WebEx integration, etc.
  • Good statistics gathering and reporting interface.
  • Some basic Exchange integration is built in to the Open Source version. The more advanced features require licensing, though.
  • Rich search features for building custom searches for Admin accounts, locked out accounts, inactives, etc.
  • Client can pull e-mail from multiple servers such as Gmail, Yahoo, mail-enabled PBX, etc.
  • Works with smartphones such as the Iphone (via IMAPS).
  • Two-month “try before you buy” license is available for the non-OS version.

Complaints

  • Web interface sometimes truncates HTML messages.
  • Most, but not all PCI requirements can be met within the configuration. Logging login failures is a bit wonky, so hard to bring into compliance.
  • User training can be tricky. Recommend leaving all unnecessary features disabled and only enable them as needed.
  • Non-core Zimlets require manual updating. No package management system for them.
  • Large mailboxes (10+ GB) can cause issues requiring more server-side RAM.
  • Be sure to install cron on your server! Zimbra will happily re-import logs, which it expects to be rotated by cron.
  • Backup management is missing from the OS version, but present in the licensed version.
  • Missing the Assigned Tasks feature Outlook/Exchange users are used to.
  • Exchange import wizard did not import recurring calendar appointments.

Favorite Internet Radio: SomaFM

SomaFM has been streaming audio live on the Internet since 1995. I discovered them around 1997-1999 and have been listening off and on since then.

They have several channels, but I tend to listen to either Secret Agent or Groove Salad. They also have Techno, Rock, Lounge and several other styles available. They stream each station at several quality levels, so even if you have a lower bandwidth connection you can enjoy their broadcast.

They really, really need help. If you’ve listened to SomaFM in the past, please consider donating to them. If you’ve never listened to them, please give them a try. If you find yourself listening to them more and more like I did, please support them!