E-Scribe : a programmer’s blog

About Me

PBX I'm Paul Bissex. I build web applications using open source software, especially Django. Started my career doing graphic design for newspapers and magazines in the '90s. Then wrote tech commentary and reviews for Wired, Salon, Chicago Tribune, and others you never heard of. Then I built operations software at a photography school. Then I helped big media serve 40 million pages a day. Then I worked on a translation services API doing millions of dollars of business. Now I'm building the core platform of a global startup accelerator. Feel free to email me.


I co-wrote "Python Web Development with Django". It was the first book to cover the long-awaited Django 1.0. Published by Addison-Wesley and still in print!


Built using Django, served with gunicorn and nginx. The database is SQLite. Hosted on a FreeBSD VPS at Johncompanies.com. Comment-spam protection by Akismet.


Pile o'Tags

Stuff I Use

Bitbucket, Debian Linux, Django, Emacs, FreeBSD, Git, jQuery, LaunchBar, macOS, Markdown, Mercurial, Python, S3, SQLite, Sublime Text, xmonad

Spam Report

At least 237138 pieces of comment spam killed since 2008, mostly via Akismet.

Email servers: how not to do it

I run my own mail server. I don't consider myself an especially skilled administrator, so I shouldn't point fingers. However, in recent weeks I've had the following experience more than once.

  1. A delivery-failure message arrives from an unfamiliar host.
  2. The (quoted) orginal message is nothing I ever sent.
  3. The recipient is unfamiliar to me.
  4. The "sender" of the original message is an email address I control, but not one I ever send mail with.
  5. OK, so this is backscatter.
  6. I email the postmaster suggesting they learn how to avoid sending it.
  7. The message to the postmaster bounces back because of some server misconfiguration.

Argh! Nothing spoils the catharsis of a good complaint like a bounce.

I trust that most of these servers will disappear over time, given that they already are showing signs of neglect. So maybe that's the happy ending! A bit too deferred for me, though.

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
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0 comments pending approval
Comment from Mark , later that day

Mail and junk issues like this really are frustrating and there aren't any foolproof solutions considering how any fool can start their own mail server ;)

I'd recommend also sending the complaint to the netblock owner - whois.arin.net should point you in the right direction.

Comment from Donald , later that day

We have been experiencing backscatter to our comcast email accounts. The worst part is that the edress becomes flagged as spam for legitimate emails, so they are not delivered, and email is not delivered to us. Comcast is no help. Not sure what to do.

Comments are closed for this post. But I welcome questions/comments via email or Twitter.