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Zarafa 6.04 / 6.20 on CentOS 5.2 with Plesk 8.6 Set-up guide

posted in Guides on September 18th, 2008

Zarafa is a software package designed to allow you to share your email and calendars via Microsoft Outlook, your Windows Mobile (and Apple iPhone) device and also access your personal data right through your browser.

Although the official Zarafa page suggests that installing Zarafa is a piece of cake, I have found that said cake was a tad dry, hard to digest and generally: hard to get out of its packaging and it tooks us a number of tries to get Zarafa running with Plesk.

In order to keep others from pulling their hair out, getting mad at their servers, starting to doubt their technical skill and firing off angry emails and posting nasty threads in public forums, I decided to create this tutorial to help you install Zarafa 6.04 on a CentOS 5.2 server with Plesk 8.6.

Please note that the following steps worked for me and I was able to reproduce them on my home server and got the desired result. My main server runs CentOS 5.2 (32-bit version), with Plesk 8.6, Apache 2.2.3, PHP 5.2.6 and mySQL 5.0.58 and I have it set-up to use a dedicated IP for Zarafa Webaccess and also got myself a SSL certificate.

This tutorial assumes that you have a domain called domain.com where you are going to host Zarafa Webaccess and an email account at emaildomain.com - both domains can be the same, this does not alter the tutorial in any way.

It is further assumed that you have set-up domain.com with a dedicated IP and SSL certificate inside Plesk.

Index:
Part 1 - preliminary work
Part 2 - installing the basics
Part 3 - setting up Zarafa
Part 4 - storing attachments outside the database
Part 5 - setting up SSL for Zarafa
Part 6 - getting WebAccess ready
Part 7 - getting WebAccess Classic, Mobile ready (optional)
Part 8 - getting Z-Push ready
Part 9 - getting iCal ready
Part 10 - updating Zarafa to the latest version
A Final Word
Updates:
 
2008-09-18: updated guide to make it more readable and added pagination
2008-09-18: updated guide: “Part 10 - updating Zarafa to the latest version”
2008-09-19: updated guide: Attachments and Qmail

 

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get your StuffBak with Windows Mobile

posted in Guides on August 10th, 2007

There is little doubt about my love for StuffBak’s lost & found service and I have written about it on a couple of occassions.

Back in February, I wrote a guide about how to extend your StuffBak protection with a custom designed boot screen for Windows Vista. This time around, I’ll be discussing how you can protect your Windows Mobile (5) powered Pocket PC.

As with most customization guides available here, the standard disclaimer applies: I write about something that works for me. It may or may not work for you. If it works for you, feel free to post a comment with your device information, if it doesn’t work for you, retrace your steps and try to find a solution. If you manage to brick your device, don’t come screaming. I know it sucks but I can’t help you.

That said, let’s get down to the real stuff:

Pocket PCs tend to get smaller with every new revision and with more Pocket PCs being sold than ever before, its a fair assumption that a lot of important data is stored on these devices. To lose one of these devices is bad enough, but knowing that you didn’t do everything you could to help an honest finder to get it back is probably just as bad.

This guide will most probably consist of two parts, in this part, I’ll be discussing how to create a boot screen for your device, the next guide will focus on a way to create a theme that displays your StuffBak tag.

The first thing you need is a StuffBak tag, which, I assume that you already have. In case you do not have one, head on over to stuffbak.com and grab yourself a set.

Take a note of the code of your tag and grab yourself this PSD file from my gallery. You can edit it in Adobe Photoshop and many other image manipulation applications.

Pick the text tool and edit the text field. You will want to input your own StuffBak tag there.

The next step is to save the image. The name you will want to use is “welcomehead.96.png”.

The next to last step involves connecting your device to your PC, make sure that Windows Mobile Device Center (or ActiveSync) starts and copying the “welcomehead.96.png” to your device.

Finally, use Pocket Explorer, Total Commander CE or any other mobile file explorer of your choice to copy the file to your /Windows directory.

Now, whenever you soft-reset your device, you will see your boot screen with your very own StuffBak tag.

Note that this solution does not guarantee that your device will be returned to you, but at least you made it a lot easier for honest finders to get in touch with the rightful owner of the device.

Thumbs Up!

posted in Guides on August 4th, 2007

Pocket PC are becoming more and more of a replacement for small time computing. They may not yet be able to replace your office PC for a 100% but typing a long email, doing some mobile blogging or other input sensitive tasks is no uncommon thing anymore.

In recent years, a number of devices have been released with integrated keyboards and you can of course always attach an external keyboard to your device, but there is still a huge amount of Pocket PCs that have to rely on Software Input Panels (SIP) to get the job done. With such a big (potential) customer base, it is only natural that companies will try to come up with solutions that make your life easier.

One of these solutions is TenGo Thumb, a SIP that is big enough to be used with your thumbs (yet, it still works very well with a stylus). The application is aimed at people that want to input data quickly and easily on the go, without going through the additional hassle of pulling a stylus out of its silo.

Rules of thumb

After installing TenGO Thumb and starting any application that requires text input, you will be presented with a choice to either skip or follow the TenGO Thumb tutorial. While you could use the SIP without any training, I would recommend you to go through the included tutorial, for the simple reason that more advanced things like spelling words that are not yet in your dictionary, are hard to do if you have no clue as to how you can activate such a feature.

TenGO Thumb’s biggest advantage over many other large-button SIPs is that it includes a predictive text input feature called the TenGO core engine. With it, you can easily type words and just as easily go back and correct the word(s) you typed. Another useful feature of TenGO is that it stores your most used words at the most left part of the list, which can help if you type the same words a lot. You can see, in part, how the engine works, by looking at the characters that are displayed in the small box on the right hand side.

Thumbing a ride

Now, all of this is certainly very interesting, but we all know that a picture speaks a thousand words, so I decided to create a short video clip of someone typing an email, because, if a picture is able to speak a thousand words, this clip will speak volumes.

The clip is available in a variety of flavors, you can watch it right now in your browser, by going to the Flash version (4.7 mb), or you can download a smaller WMV version here (2.4 mb).

It should be noted that the typing is a lot faster than the screen recorder is capable of recording and as such, you only see one third of the keys actually being hit.

Another thing that you are not seeing is that I am actually using my thumbs to type the email. Based on the visual setup of TenGO Thumb, which basically comes down to six large keys for the various characters, typing long texts becomes a lot easier.

Thumb Problem

When I first came across TenGO Thumb, I installed it on a Windows Mobile 2003 device where it worked without a hitch. Then came my new Pocket PC and I installed the SIP there too but I had trouble activating it. In two out of five cases, the keyboard would not open and the only way to get it working again was a soft-reset.

Soft-resetting your device all the time, while harmless, gets annoying really quick and so I contacted the TenGO support team. I have to admit that I have not met support guys that walk the extra marathon (yes, marathon, not just mile) for a future customer like TenGO did. A dozen possible ways to solve the problem later, I ended up removing some of the (preinstalled) O2 applications from my Pocket PC and voilĂ  the keyboard opens whenever I need it and I have not had a problem with it since.

Thumbs up or down?

All in all, TenGO Thumb is a great piece of software and makes typing on Pocket PCs without a keyboard a lot easier and a lot more efficient. Even with big thumbs, you will not face any problems and with predictive text input, you will be typing away at your first mobile novel in no time. At a mere $12.95, this application is a steal and will pay for itself in no time.

As far as I am concerned, TenGO Thumb gets a definite thumbs up from me. The only downside I can see with this application is that you might be able to damage your screen if you are using your device without a good screen protector.

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get your StuffBak with Windows Vista

posted in Guides on February 22nd, 2007

Approximately two years ago, I wrote an in-depth review about a service called StuffBak. This service helps you retrieve lost items by means of a tag attached to your device, keycord or whatever you deem worthy of protection.

The StuffBak tags are the first thing I attach to devices that are irreplaceable and sometimes, I even create sets, so for example if you’d find my laptop bag, you’d be eligible for $100 worth in tags as well as another $600 in finder’s fee. It it works, ultimately, I can’t tell you, but at least I’ve taken steps to give people a chance to do the right thing.

When I first installed Windows XP, I created a boot screen that would contain my personal information, so if you’d find my laptop, you could use the information provided on screen to get in touch with me.

With Windows Vista, I wanted to do the same thing and as luck would have it, I came across a tutorial that explains how to create a boot screen.

Many people will go for something like a female with little clothing or an image depicting the superiority of one operating system above another, I went for something that made a lot more sense to me:


StuffBak: Bootlogo

I tried to recreate the tag that is attached to the back of my laptop as closely as possible (and no, I don’t have eight zeros as my number) and I think it will do the job.

In my gallery, you’ll find both a preview image as well as the actual PSD file (works in Photoshop CS, CS2) that I used to create the image.

Follow the tutorial and you should be good to go. It’s very straightforward and you shouldn’t encounter any problems, if you do, head on over to my gallery and download a backup of winload.exe.mui (Windows Vista RTM, Home Premium, not sure if that matters though)

As always, all stuff provided here is free of charge and comes with no support at all. If you screw up, too bad for you.

geeky tools you will want to use

posted in Guides on February 8th, 2007

FYI: If you’re living in the Netherlands, this post might be of some interest to you, if not, the following information has little value to you:

This is just a short post about some “tools” I’ve been using for quite some time now: MSN Chatbots that don’t care about mining social data from their users but rather provide them with a service.

Bot #1 is buddy@mrmovie.nl - a chatbot that provides Dutchies with information about movies that are currently running in theaters around the country.

The first step is to tell the bot where you are, then you select the number of the movie you’re planning to watch and you’ll get all the information you need:

Chatbot: buddy@mrmovie.nl

 

Bot #2 is msn@nl.abnamro.com - this chatbot is powered by ABN AMRO and provides users with an update on their bank account’s balance.

This one is really simple, there’s only one step actually: say “Saldo 1234″, whereby you exchange 1234 for the last four digits of the account you’d like to check and you’ll get an update.

Chatbot: msn@nl.abnamro.nl

 

Hint: If you’re using a custom IM Client, like Trillian, you can turn off logging for this account to ensure your privacy.

Bot #3 is encarta@botmetro.net - this chatbot is actually available to everyone. Like the name says, this is the Encarta bot. Encarta is a digital encyclopedia, that rose to fame before Wikipedia was conceived but has lost quite some users in recent years. Nonetheless, this bot is very useful, even more so if you have Encarta installed locally:

This bot is the smartest one of all, it is able to do maths and answer simple questions and follow up with stuff. It also remembers if it spoke to you before and tries to emulate feelings, so be kind:

Chatbot: encarta@botmetro.net

 

I’m quite certain that other countries have similar services available, good luck with finding them!

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