Since I moved my mail to my own mail server running on a Raspberry Pi in my apartment, I’ve been seeing weird delays in getting email. Most notably from Gmail accounts. I finally got to the bottom of what was happening. …Sort of. To tell you the truth, I found a couple of problems, and fixed them both, and only then tested sending from gmail. I’m pretty sure the last thing I fixed isn’t relevant, but who knows. This stuff probably isn’t worth a new post. But on the off chance that someone has actually been following these guides, I want to make sure they aren’t having the same problem. Plus, as I mentioned before, I’m documenting this as much for myself as anyone else. If something happens to the Pi and I need to do this all over again, I want a guide.
Calendar Syncing: Radicale
After I got a mail server running on my Raspberry Pi, I tried to find a way to sync my calendar and contacts to my phone, and computer. I was using Own Cloud, which handles contacts and calendar well. Unfortunately, Own Cloud was built for file syncing (like a self-hosted Dropbox), except it’s REALLY bad at it. It didn’t make sense to use it for the two add-on things I needed, since I couldn’t trust it to serve its primary purpose. I went looking for alternatives, and found Radicale.
Now that I’ve ranted about why I decided to build my own mail server, it’s time to explain how.
In order to build my own mail server, I decided to use Postfix and Dovecot on a Raspberry Pi. I chose these three very specifically. Postfix and Dovecot are the go-to for building a mail server, and Raspberry Pis have been the home server of choice ever since they were announced. By selecting these, I was certain I would be able to get the most community support, and I would be able to find the most comprehensive guides on how to set everything up.
Updates: @seanbonner has a great post on privacy vs security, which really gets at the heart of what I was trying to say at the end of this post, but in a much more easy to understand way. You should really check it out.
I also blogged about the technical details of how I build the mail server. That post is here.
For a long time, I’ve used Google for mail, calendar, and contact storing and syncing. I also used it for RSS. When Google announced they were shutting down Google Reader, I sort of panicked and started moving all of my various web stuffs off of free services. I moved my Tumblr and Blogger blogs to Hostgator WordPress instances, tried multiple new RSS readers, and tried replacing Dropbox, Google Calendar, and Google Contacts with Owncloud. Most importantly, I moved 6 years of email off of Gmail and into Hostgator’s mail servers.
tl;wr: I am paranoid about my personal data – especially when it comes to my phone. These are the things I do to try and make my phone secure.
About 6 weeks ago, I decided to delete all of my social media accounts (except goodreads.com). I deleted my Facebook account years ago, because I think it’s creepy, and Mark Zuckerberg hates his users. I also deleted LinkedIn before this, because for my profession there are better ways to connect; like github. But I did delete my App.net, Twitter, Reddit, and Google Plus accounts.
tl;wr: bookmarklets are awesome, and you should use them.
When I was home for Christmas, I discovered that my brother didn’t know what bookmarklets were. This sort of blew my mind, because he is a pretty savvy internetter. I use bookmarklets more than any other bookmark I have. The fact that he had no idea what they were made me realize that maybe they aren’t commonly known and used. Which, frankly, is a shame.
TL;WR: #FirstWorldProblems and Google is EVERYWHERE
Google makes me nervous. The oft mentioned slogan “Don’t be evil.” makes me even more nervous. Google has to make a point of reminding themselves not to be evil. People don’t walk around with the mantra “don’t murder anyone” repeating in their head. Unless that is actually a risk. I use Google a lot, and I’ve been thinking lately about using them less. This post is mostly just me thinking “out loud” on how, or even if, that’s possible. Hell, this blog is hosted through Blogger, which is owned by Google.
Yesterday, I canceled my Ting service. Since I posted about switching to them, I figure I should post about leaving.