Routing email to another (internal) host via Postfix

16/07/12 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Networking, Mac OS X

This is the kind of thing that you'd assume that Postfix could do, after all Postfix is all about mail delivery. In essence, this is analogous to web proxying. The request comes in to the front end server, and it passes it onto a relevant back end server. The only question is how. Well, browse your /etc/postfix and there's a file called transport.

This is a brief except from the Transport file in /etc/postfix/ on Mac OS X 10.6


# TRANSPORT(5)                                                      TRANSPORT(5)
#        transport - Postfix transport table format
#        postmap /etc/postfix/transport
#        postmap -q "string" /etc/postfix/transport
#        postmap -q - /etc/postfix/transport <inputfile
#        The  optional  transport(5) table specifies a mapping from
#        email addresses to message delivery transports  and  next-
#        hop  destinations.   Message  delivery  transports such as
#        local or smtp are defined in the file, and next-
#        hop  destinations are typically hosts or domain names. The
#        table is searched by the trivial-rewrite(8) daemon.
#        This  mapping  overrides  the  default   transport:nexthop
#        selection that is built into Postfix:

So, what do you do?

Use the /etc/postfix/transport
edit and add at bottom in format: smtp:exchange1.mydomain.local smtp:exchange2.mydomain.local

postmap /etc/postfix/transport

reload postfix


The example is for routing mails for to smtp service on exchange1.mydomain.local and correspondingly for domain2

FileMaker Pro Trial links

16/07/12 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Mac OS X

FileMaker Pro Trial

So, FileMaker Pro is a database management system and 'rapid application development environment' a la Microsoft Access.

Its big strength is the ability to rapidly develop database solutions. Its weakness is that as a database system it lacks most of the enterprise functionality that you'd want, like clustering and WAN performance and a web limit of 100 connections (that can't be right, surely). It also encourages rather sloppy development. Since, it is so easy to develop, it's all too easy for a simple project to turn into an unwieldy monster. Great if you are being paid to develop, not so great for anyone else in the stream…

But I digress.

FileMaker provides demo/trial versions of its software, and for the most part these demos can be turned into fully fledged versions of the actual software just by entering the license key.

So, the trial versions are handy if you have a license key but no working media. Not an uncommon situation.

It's very easy to get the current trial version, since Filemaker plasters links to it all over the place, but try to find a link for a previous version! Oy vey! What troubles.

But since I am so elite, it's not a problem to track down links.

So I present to you links for versions 6 to 11.

And this is a link for FileMaker Pro Advance 12.


FileMaker Server 9, 10 + 11


Install Snow Leopard on Macs shipping with Lion

23/02/12 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Mac OS X

Well, this is about 6 months late, but it works.

There are a few Mac models, the iMac and Mac Pro being two, that originally shipped with Mac OS X 10.6.x but after the 10.7 release started shipping with 10.7. Now, since the hardware is the same, it should be possible to run 10.6 on these computers. However, it seems to be a little tricky to do.

You will require a valid Snow Leopard license to do this. As best I can tell, a Lion license DOES NOT let you downgrade for free. Fortunately, Apple still sells Snow Leopard.

The trick is to repartition the target drive (the boot drive in your Mac) using disk utility on a 10.6 computer. The other trick, is that you might need to install via target disk mode, and update the OS.

What you need to do.

Step 0 - optional - back up your Lion install and/or restore partition.

Step 1 - Target disk mode the computer (or if it's a Mac Pro, you can swap the drive into another computer).

Step 2- using Disk Utility on a 10.6 computer repartition the drive. It is not enough to 'erase' the drive. You need to create a new partition. This will delete the 10.7 restore partition, and any other crap apple has hidden scattered through the drive.

Now, depending on what media you have available, you may be able to run the 10.6 installer as normal. If it shipped with 10.6 or .1 or .2, then you can use also the 10.6.3 retail installer. However, if the model originally shipped with 10.6.3 or higher and you don't have the custom 'grey' install disks for that model, you will need to use some trickery.

If you have appropriate installers:

Step 3 - disconnect from target disk mode (or if you've swapped the drive out, swap it back)

Step 4 - run the 10.6 installer as normal.

If you don't have appropriate installer:

Step 3 - using target disk mode connect (or swap the drive over) connect to an older intel Mac for which you DO have an appropriate installer.

Step 4 - boot from the 10.6 installer on the older intel Mac, and select the target disk moded disk (or swapped drive) as the install location.

Step 5 - install 10.6 to the drive. You can run all the way through the installer, or you can just quit it when it reboots to the language screen (command - q).

Step 6 - install the 10.6.8 combo update. If you've quit the installer at the initial set up screen, you can run the 10.6.8 combo updater from any 10.6 computer (using target disk mode or swapping the drives), and simply change the install location.

Step 7 - Reboot the new computer (swap the drive first if needed).

Lion Server and Mirror RAID

23/02/12 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Mac OS X

So you've just bought a Mac Mini server with Lion Server preinstalled and noticed that Apple in their infinite wisdom have supplied it with two drives, but has not set them up as a mirror RAID.

If you've a server with two drives, probably mirror RAID is the way you want to go.

Furthermore, in their additional infinite wisdom, Apple have changed Lion so that it doesn't work 'properly' with Mirror RAIDs as a boot volume. To be precise, the restore partition isn't supported when using a Mirror RAID as the boot volume. This creates a second problem.

The old fix, with 10.6 Server, was to simply enable RAID on the boot volume, and then add the spare drive to the mirror. A few minutes work. This won't work anymore because of the restore partition. The way around this is to repartition the drive OR destroy the partition table by creating a RAID. Both these options will kill the existing volume meaning you need to reinstall Mac OS X... but without a recovery partition, and without DVD installers (Apple in their infinite... don't include them), and because Server was preinstalled you are stuck to download from the App Store.

So, time to get devious. The approach I am now taking is pretty straight forward. You will need another computer running Lion. Basically, you image the fresh 10.7 Server, blow away the existing volume, create your mirror, then image back.

Step 1 - image the current drive. I do this by putting the server in target disk mode, hooking up to a 10.7 computer, and use Disk Utility to create an image. This is important. For some reason Disk Utility on 10.6 doesn't seem to work quite right.

Step 2 - Using Disk Utility destroy the current drive set up. If you don't want a RAID, then you just need to repartition the drive, which will destroy the Restore partition. Alternatively, create a mirror RAID which will destroy the existing partitions anyway.

Step 3 - Create a partition on the RAID mirror (if necessary).

Step 4 - Scan the disk image for restore. This will take a few minutes.

Step 5 - restore the disk image to the created PARTITION. This will take a few minutes more.

Step 5a - optionally, you can run a manual volume verify on the restored image.

Step 6 - Boot from the new drive and verify working.

Now you have Lion Server working and booting from a RAID mirror. And although you don't have a restore partition, you will have an image of the server which you can use to restore in just a few minutes.

How to make any webpage your Mail signature

29/10/11 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Mac OS X

This works for Apple Mail in 10.5 and 10.6 at least, not tested on other versions. You might have issues with Lion, because the Library folder is now hidden by default.

Mail stores its signatures as Safari webarchive bundles. This means that you can save any Safari readable page (including all the images, links, text, CSS, etc) as a webarchive and use it as a signature in Mail. This is very handy, as it means you don't need to use the somewhat limited built in signature editor to create your signatures. It also means that for a large deployment of signatures, you can create webpage that takes variable input and use that to create standard signatures across all users. As simple as a basic form asking for Name, Job Title, Phone or whatever, that then gets output in a pretty webpage that can be saved as a webarchive.

Now, how to do this more or less easily.

Step 1. Open Mail
Step 2. Go to the Mail menu, and select Preferences
Step 3. Click the Signature tab
Step 4. Click the Plus button at the bottom left of the window to create a new signature (this is just a place holder file which we will replace with the webarchive). It will show up under "All Signatures" and you can optionally rename it from "Signature #1" (or whatever) to 'anything you like'.
Step 5. Assign the new signature to an email account or accounts by dragging and dropping it from the "All Signatures" list to an account or accounts in the pane on the left.
Step 6. Optionally set it as the default signature for an account, by clicking on the account in the pane on the left, then using the "Choose Signature" selector to set it as the default signature.
Step 7. Close the Preferences window.
Step 8. Quit Mail

Step 9. Open Safari
Step 10. Browse to the webpage you wish to use as your signature
Step 11. Go to the File menu in Safari and select Save As
Step 12. Now this is the slightly tricky bit, we need to find the placeholder signature file we created in Step 4, and save over the top of it. So, navigate to ~/Library/Mail/Signatures, sort by date and select the newest file signature (NOT THE PLIST FILE, that will screw up your signature settings), make sure the format is set as webarchive and click save.
a. Click the arrow next to the filename until it is pointing down.
b. Click your home folder from the list in the pane at the left
c. In the middle pane, double click Library
d. double click Mail
e. double click Signatures
f. click the list view (the button with the horizontal lines, middle of the set of three buttons to the right of where it says "Signatures")
g. click the "Date Modified" column to sort by date
h. click the file with the gibberish name (a set of random letters and numbers which is the GUID for the signature) with the most recent date. DO NOT CLICK THE SignaturesByAccount.plist file.
i. Make sure the format is set as "Web Archive"
j. Click save
Step 13. Reopen Mail
Step 14. Create a new Mail message and check that the webpage you have just saved as a signature shows up correctly.

Bonus extra information. When you create a new signature in Mail, it is assigned a GUID as the filename (well, GUID.webarchive to be precise), and this GUID is used as the reference in the SignaturesByAccount.plist. It is possible to modify the plist directly to point at any file, to use that as a signature. This can be useful for automating mass deployments, you just need to write the scripts. However, this method of just saving over the top of an existing signature works well for a one off.

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