Category Archives: tools

Free trial of Maileable

For years now, I’ve been managing my email, fighting spam, and spotting phishing emails through the use of an email routing system that I developed.  The problem with today’s email system is that anyone can put email into your inbox without anything more than your email address.  Yes, you can put things like filters, whitelists, and such into the mix, but they are, in my opinion, poor substitutes for a real solution to the problem.

My email routing system has to do with putting a configurable router in between all email senders and your inbox, so that no one has free, direct access to your inbox.  The key is to give different email addresses to different email senders.  As untenable as that may sound, it works extremely well and *is* absolutely manageable.  I’ve been doing it since a trip down the Colorado River in 2003 had me panicked about missing important emails because my 10MB mailbox was going to fill up with spam.

At that time, I devised what has evolved into today’s Maileable system.  Maileable is a turn-key email routing system that anyone can use to easily route emails from different sources to different destinations including the bit bucket.  And it can’t be spoofed.

Unlike email filters that try to ascertain an email’s legitimacy based on its content and other metadata (every bit of which can be fabricated), Maileable works on the To address of an email, the one and only thing you can count on to be correct.  If it’s coming to you, you know the email address it was sent to.  And that’s the only thing you need to know with Maileable.

This is the only system that works within today’s SMTP protocol and doesn’t rely on hope.  Filters make you hope that they catch the bad stuff and let the good stuff through.  Validation systems make you hope that the people and automated systems that send you email will go through the trouble of validating themselves to get past them.  Maileable is a solid system that puts the power in the email recipient’s hands, which is a place where it has never been before with SMTP.

The Maileable beta is now available for anyone to try.

The functionality is about 95% complete, but there are a few cosmetic improvements to be made.  Things will get prettier.  New and powerful features will be forthcoming, as well.

To understand what Maileable is and how it works, read the free Getting Started guide from https://www.maileable.com/GettingStartedWithMaileable.pdf.  It will walk you through the entire process in detail with dozens of screenshots.

If you’re a Windows user, you can download the free installer from http://maileable.com/prog/maileable-installer.exe.

If you use another operating system, I’m going to have to do some more research and coding before your version is available.  It would help me to know what operating system you use, so that I can prioritize my efforts.  If you want to weigh in on this, please send an email to Maileable support with your platform preferences.

I am eager to make this system widely available, so please feel free to tell others about the free beta.  I sincerely believe this is an important tool for protecting your identity, making your email work for you, and keeping you efficient.  It has certainly been all of that and more for me.

When it comes time to pay for this service, around late June, I will be offering irresistable pricing to beta testers, so please try this out and help me confirm that it works for you.  Stay in touch if things go wrong by emailing Maileable support.  And I’d like to hear your feedback, good or bad, so that I can tweak and adjust to make this the best possible product.

Symlinks for Windows

One of the handiest things I learned at No Fluff Just Stuff this weekend was from Neal Ford, who showed a way to set up soft links (symbolic links, symlinks, it’s all the same idea) in Windows. This allows you to install different versions of JDKs, Tomcat, Groovy, Grails, JRuby, whatever, and use the latest version without having to change anything but your symlink.

For example, you can install Groovy 1.0 into c:\sw\groovy-1.0. Then create a symlink at c:\sw\groovy that points to c:\sw\groovy-1.0. Set up your GROOVY_HOME and your Path to also point to this symlink. Now, when Groovy 1.1 comes out, you install it in c:\sw\groovy-1.1. Then, simply change your symlink to point to c:\sw\groovy-1.1, and you’ve got an instant, machine-wide upgrade! If anything goes wrong, you can easily change the symlink back to the 1.0 version, and everything goes back to the way it was before.

This is the kind of thing that Unix, Linux, and Mac users have been doing for years. The one drawback to the Windows version is that you can only symlink to directories, not to individual files. Not the end of the world, but a limitation to be aware of.

You can download the free utility from the great SysInternals site, where you can find dozens of other brilliant, free utilities. The symlink utility is called Junction and can be downloaded here.

Sharpcast seamlessly syncs photos

Sharpcast, Inc.I’ve long thought that digital asset management for the masses is going to be one of the big challenges in coming years. Now that our personal photos, home movies, personal correspondence, and most of our productivity are stored on hard drives, the effort and expertise required to management, maintain, and preserve these important keepsakes are beyond the ability of the average user. Even as a tech-savvy poweruser, I struggle with keeping things safely backed up, tracking if things are backed up, making sure that I don’t have too many duplicates, managing multiple versions, etc. I have no idea how my parents handle it, but I’m sure it’s terrifying. It’s a truly complex and dangerous task. All of our important memories are at risk.

Sharpcast has come out with a service that takes all the pain and uncertainty out of the equation, at least for family pictures. Photos from multiple sources are sync’ed (Sharpcast likes to contrast that to uploading), keeping all PCs and mobile devices up-to-date. An entire family or other group can share an album, comment, even chat about particular shots.

Most promising is an upcoming service, code-named Hummingbird, that promises to do the same for all your digital assets including documents. For the road warrior, or simply anyone who transitions from an old PC to a new one, the ability to store what’s important to you in a reliable and remote repository is quite attractive.

Delphi for PHP

I remember when Delphi 1.0 came out.  It was what I had been looking for for several years.  At last, I could build Windows apps without all the pain.

And now, there’s Delphi for PHP.  It’s what I’ve been looking for for several years.  At last, I can build web apps without all the pain.

Since Turbo Pascal 1.0 in 1983, I’ve been using Borland products to be a more productive software developer.  I love you, Borland!