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Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I would like a mail provider that allows me to exclude incoming email by TLD [top-level domain]. The vast majority of spam I get comes from domains like *.icu, *.faith, *.stream, etc. This would make good spam filtering very easy... if I could do it. Network Solutions' mail, which I've used to host my domain mail for years, lets me write rules base on subject and content...
I'm pretty sure you want to get (far) away from Network Solutions and move to FastMail (or an equivalent), which will let you do just what you want... See, for example:
FastMail said:
Sieve scripts

Sieve is a programming language for filtering incoming emails. Fastmail's flexible rules system provides most users with filtering functionality, but advanced users may choose to write custom Sieve scripts for complicated filtering (such as time-based rules).

A Sieve script consists of a number of tests which are applied to incoming mail; if an email matches a test, then the actions associated with that test are performed.

Sieve scripts can be used to automatically delete or forward messages; to send autoreplies; to sort emails into folders as they arrive; to mark messages as read or flagged; to test messages for spam or viruses; or to reject messages at or after delivery. Sieve.info has more information on Sieve and its uses.

To create custom Sieve scripts, go to the Settings → Rules screen and click on Edit custom Sieve code at the bottom of the screen.

The rules system creates a Sieve script behind the scenes, and the advanced rule editing functionality allows you to write additional filtering actions to supplement your existing rules.
 


I'll pipe up with the suggestion to buy your own top-level domain and a small (10 GB) mailbox from Hover.com, for a total of about $33/yr. Keeps things simple; seems to work very well; support has been excellent. I suggest this only as a happy customer who has used this approach with many of my tutoring clients.
 


Anybody have recommendations on free or low cost, non-data gulping email service providers that they've used with Apple Mail as their client?
I've used Earthlink for decades, their spam filter is top notch. Fairly inexpensive and works well on the Mac.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I've used Earthlink for decades, their spam filter is top notch. Fairly inexpensive and works well on the Mac.
I recommend that people not use Earthlink, even though they were good many years ago in the earliest days. In the interim, I enountered many problems trying to email with Earthlink users where Earthlink demanded absurd hoop-jumping, ostensibly as a crude form of spam protection, making it difficult or impossible to communicate with Earthlink customers, while at the same time Earthlink was sending massive amounts of spam. (I ran my own email server for many years and got to deal with all this first-hand on a detailed daily level.)

All that left a very bad taste and a strong desire to stay away from anything Earthlink-related. I would encourage people to find other alternatives (at least anyone who wants to communicate with me!).
 



I recommend that people not use Earthlink, even though they were good many years ago in the earliest days. In the interim, I enountered many problems trying to email with Earthlink users where Earthlink demanded absurd hoop-jumping, ostensibly as a crude form of spam protection, making it difficult or impossible to communicate with Earthlink customers, while at the same time Earthlink was sending massive amounts of spam. (I ran my own email server for many years and got to deal with all this first-hand on a detailed level.) All that left a very bad taste and a strong desire to stay away from anything Earthlink-related. I would encourage people to find other alternatives (at least anyone who wants to communicate with me!).
I've never run into any of this and I've had an Earthlink account for so long (pre-Win'95) that they grandfathered my "underscore" when they don't allow that any longer. I love their spam filter, I find it robust and easy to edit. Webmail is a decent interface, too.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I've never run into any of this and I've had an Earthlink account for so long...
I'll spare you from masses of spam I've gotten from Earthlink (which is how, you know, mail providers get blacklisted) and just give you a couple of examples of typical mail failures:
Earthlink said:
This report relates to a message you sent with the following header fields:

Message-id: <2fd0ef7bb6ff12bc8e3ce0a81a0a592c@www.macintouch.com>
Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2018 21:15:58 +0000
From: MacInTouch Community <**********@macintouch.com>
To: ****** <*******@me.com>
Subject: Account approved on MacInTouch Community

Your message cannot be delivered to the following recipients:

Recipient address: *******@earthlink.net
Original address: *******@me.com
Reason: Server rejected MAIL FROM address
Diagnostic code: smtp;550 IP 17.172.80.97 is blocked by EarthLink. Go to earthlink.net/block for details.
Remote system: dns;mx2.earthlink.net (TCP|17.172.80.97|60328|209.86.93.227|25)


Reporting-MTA: dns;st11p00im-asmtp003.me.com (tcp-daemon)
Arrival-date: Thu, 26 Apr 2018 21:16:02 +0000 (GMT)

Original-recipient: rfc822;*******@me.com
Final-recipient: rfc822;*******@earthlink.net
Action: failed
Status: 5.0.0 (Server rejected MAIL FROM address)
Remote-MTA: dns;mx2.earthlink.net (TCP|17.172.80.97|60328|209.86.93.227|25)
Diagnostic-code: smtp;550 IP 17.172.80.97 is blocked by EarthLink. Go to
earthlink.net/block for details. ...
Earthlink said:
I apologize for this automatic reply to your email.

To control spam, I now allow incoming messages only from senders I have approved beforehand.
If you would like to be added to my list of approved senders, please fill out the short request form (see link below). Once I approve you, I will receive your original message in my inbox. You do not need to resend your message. I apologize for this one-time inconvenience.

Click the link below to fill out the request:

https://webmail.pas.earthlink.net/wam/addme?a=xxxxxxx@earthlink.net&id=11e8-4769-692d11fe-91d8-00144fe1ef92
And, like I said... don't ask for free assistance and then expect people helping you to jump through offensive hoops to provide it.
 


I enountered many problems trying to email with Earthlink users where Earthlink demanded absurd hoop-jumping, ostensibly as a crude form of spam protection, making it difficult or impossible to communicate with Earthlink customers ... And, like I said...
FWIW, that was an option that users had to enable. It was not on by default.

When it was introduced, I think users tended to think only about the flood of spam landing in their own inboxes and this Earthlink feature's capability of dropping it down to nearly zero, rather than thinking of the truly significant impact it had on operators of legitimate businesses, forums, etc.

I'm reminded of this when I hear people asking for solutions to robocalling problems, which can raise very similar issues of inadvertently making life difficult for legitimate inbound callers.
 



FWIW, that was an option that users had to enable. It was not on by default. When it was introduced, I think users tended to think only about the flood of spam landing in their own inboxes and this Earthlink feature's capability of dropping it down to nearly zero, rather than thinking of the truly significant impact it had on operators of legitimate businesses, forums, etc.

I'm reminded of this when I hear people asking for solutions to robocalling problems, which can raise very similar issues of inadvertently making life difficult for legitimate inbound callers.
Agreed! To make things worse, Earthlink's spam filter is so brain-dead that it does not recognize when you are replying to email from an Earthlink customer -- or at least it was the last time I encountered it.

My impression is that most non-technical people don't understand how spam filters work and never check for false positives.
 


I would like a mail provider that allows me to exclude incoming email by TLD [top-level domain]. The vast majority of spam I get comes from domains like *.icu, *.faith, *.stream, etc. This would make good spam filtering very easy... if I could do it.
I do that, and other good kinds of filtering, for my mail. It is a fair amount of work and involves some expense. Take a look at How I Filter Spam for a general overview of how I do it.

I do it by having my mail sent to a Unix machine that runs a mail server and hosts mailboxes.
I never touch most of the mail software, but it provides a "hook" that lets me insert a
program into the mail delivery steps. My program invokes a bunch of little helper routines
and has rules that handle mail the way I like. Specifically, I wrote a little Perl helper called
'chkfromtld' that checks the top-level domain from a sender and responds 'pass' or 'hold'.
I have a list of people I know, and their mail is whitelisted, regardless of TLD.

For example, mail sent from '.com' passes this check. Mail sent from '.icu' would be held in a spam mailbox. Once a day - or less often - I list the spam mailbox summary. Usually I can just empty it out. Maybe once a week there is some message that goes into the spam mailbox and shouldn't, so I pull it out, add it to the mailbox I choose, and fix the rules so that it will go through in the future.

As I mention in the web page, blocking mail from unwanted TLDs gets rid of 40% of my mail.
 


I'm pretty sure you want to get (far) away from Network Solutions and move to FastMail (or an equivalent), which will let you do just what you want... See, for example:
I stand by Ric's suggestion (I moved my domains, with one left to move, to Hover). Network Solutions are the scummiest and most over-priced registrars out there (second to GoDaddy). They are based in Florida under Web dot com, and it reflects on their fear-mongering emails and marketing tactics. I can't believe I had been overpaying for parked and active domains all this time. NetSol used to be a good registrar, but when Web dot com bought them up, just sleezy tactics....
 


I've been using Rackspace for about a year now, after finally accepting that the days of EIMS are over. I've been very happy with them, no problems and decent spam filtering. We have about a dozen user accounts and tons of aliases and domains.

My only complaint is that they won't allow an account to send more than 500 emails a day; we use email to communicate with our customers (not spam). I am still using EIMS at our office for this but know this is a temporary solution.
 




I've used MacHighway.com to host my website for many years. I am completely happy with them. They provide excellent customer support and support tools, the price is reasonable to me, they remind me every year about renewing my domain name and any other renewals that are needed.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I'm pretty sure you want to get (far) away from Network Solutions and move to FastMail (or an equivalent), which will let you do just what you want...
FastMail's automatic server-side spam filtering is good, but not great, in my experience (not as good as Michael Tsai's client-side SpamSieve plug-in). I always advise routing spam to a spam mailbox for manual review, in order to catch false positives.

False negatives can be a bit of a problem, and I just had to create a rule to stop incredibly obnoxious spamming from Jackson & Perkins, which I may once have ordered from, long ago, but which responded to an opt-out click by slamming me with more and more spam. FastMail makes real opt-out easy: from its webmail interface, while viewing a bad message, you can select a pop-up menu — More > Add Rule from Message — to very quickly and easily create a rule to auto-delete future spam that matches.
 


I would like a mail provider that allows me to exclude incoming email by TLD [top-level domain]. The vast majority of spam I get comes from domains like *.icu, *.faith, *.stream, etc. This would make good spam filtering very easy... if I could do it.
Do you need your spam filtering to be done at the provider level? If not, you can do this using SpamSieve, a client-side spam filter. I have been using SpamSieve for years with good results. It's not free, but then again, most good products are worth paying for.
 



I'm not sure if this has already been reported here (a quick search seems to indicate that it hasn't), but I just stumbled across an article that said that the iPhone/iPad versions of Airmail have gone to a subscription pricing model (for features such as multiple account support and push notifications), with no advance notice to existing users. It seems that existing users get multiple account support grandfathered in, but must still pay if they want push notifications:

Airmail Users Frustrated About Sudden Switch to Subscription-Based Pricing on iPhone and iPad

Even though it is not affected by this change, I will be re-evaluating my use of the desktop version. The switcheroo leaves a foul taste in my mouth, to say the very least. Even if they had a good reason for the switch, advance notice could have been given yet they chose not to do so.

If they were hoping to avoid a negative reaction from their user base, this wasn't the way to do it.
 


I just stumbled across an article that said that the iPhone/iPad versions of Airmail have gone to a subscription pricing model (for features such as multiple account support and push notifications), with no advance notice to existing users.
Yes, I was taken aback by that as well. I know app developers are moving to subscriptions, but in this case, some type of advance notice would have been appropriate.
 


We can express our displeasure by canceling the service with these Airmail folks. There are many other options. I'm currently using Spark, which works on my iPod, iPhone, iPad and Macs — now available from the Apple App Stores.

I have finished deleting all Adobe programs from all of my computers and have gone with other alternatives. I will miss CS 6, but the subscription model was too expensive for a non-professional camera buff. I had Photoshop v1.3 on the 3.5" Apple floppies on my Mac IIfx and Iici. So that is a long relationship....
 


I just had an interesting experience with Postbox 5.

I have a school email address (which had formerly been set up in Airmail without problem). The email is ultimately provided by Google. I set it up In Postbox 5, and when it went to verify settings, I was told that there was an error with the security certificate or something like that. I viewed the details, and the only thing I can say is that it is not an issue of expiration.

I then set the same address up in the latest version of Thunderbird with no problems whatsoever.

So I guess that those of us who stay on Postbox 5 for "legacy" compatibility (SpamSieve) will run into certain mail servers that will simply not work anymore. I would expect this to become more common as time goes on.
 



There is some info on Postbox's site which might apply (assuming you haven't looked at it and that it applies to version 5):
Thanks! Those settings were already correct. However, I tried again just now, and the problem is that the issuer is not recognized as valid. I must thank you, because your article did point me in the right direction. There is an article there for that situation as well.

The issuer, by the way, is listed as "InCommon RSA Server CA" with an organization given as "Internet2". Does anyone know if this is a trustworthy company so that I can follow the steps to add an exception?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I tried again just now, and the problem is that the issuer is not recognized as valid. I must thank you, because your article did point me in the right direction. There is an article there for that situation as well.
Is this what you already found?
Google said:
Use IMAP to check Gmail on other email clients

Security certificate CN error

Try the options below if you see this error: "The server you are connected to is using a security certificate that could not be verified. The certificate's CN name does not match the passed value."
  • Make sure you've set up your mail client for IMAP and not POP.
  • Check your Incoming Server setting to make sure it says imap.gmail.com and not pop.gmail.com.
 



The issuer, by the way, is listed as "InCommon RSA Server CA" with an organization given as "Internet2". Does anyone know if this is a trustworthy company so that I can follow the steps to add an exception?
The Internet 1 says that Internet2 is a networking consortium "led by members from the research and education communities, industry, and government" and one thing they do is provide low cost InCommon certificate services to schools. Top hits in Google are universities giving instructions for how to trust InCommon RSA Server CA root certificates.

I'd trust it.
 


I'm not sure if this has already been reported here (a quick search seems to indicate that it hasn't), but I just stumbled across an article that said that the iPhone/iPad versions of Airmail have gone to a subscription pricing model.
I can certainly understand the developers' need to cover their service costs, but I think they went about it in the worst way possible - essentially, what they did was:
  • take an existing major version (1.8.x) from paid to free
  • made existing features extras under new subscription pricing, thereby taking away features existing paid-up users had (which, as some have pointed out, seems to violate App Store rules)
  • gave no advance warning about the changes
What they should have done instead:
  • leave the existing version as-is
  • made a new version (say, 2.x) as free, with additional new features not already present (besides the new subscription-based extras), to entice new/existing users to 'upgrade' (as defined by Apple)
This would have given users an actual choice: if they wanted to keep the existing version they had bought or switch to the subscription-based version instead. Users of the newer version would have subsidized the use cost by users of the older version.
 


This morning I noticed that Apple Mail could not access an email service managed by Google for IEEE, and into this afternoon I could not access that email account through either Gmail's web site or Apple Mail.

Some investigation revealed Gmail had an outage yesterday (Aug 19)
and when I was finally checked email settings for that account, I discovered that, under Settings/Forwarding POP/IMAP, Google apparently had disabled both POP and IMAP (I was using IMAP) during or after the outage.

I don't know if this applies just to IEEE mail or to other hosted mail services, but if you're missing mail from a service hosted by Gmail, this may fix your problem. As far as I could tell, it did not change settings on two other Gmail accounts also set for IMAP.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Some investigation revealed Gmail had an outage yesterday (Aug 19)...
A few more details:
Bleeping Computer said:
Gmail Is Down, Displays "Something Went Wrong" Errors
Google's free Gmail email service is currently experiencing a worldwide outage which prevents users from logging in, displaying "Something went wrong" errors when they're trying to sign in to their accounts.

The authentication issues which started at 11:30 PT currently affect Google App Engine, Google Cloud Console, Identity Aware Proxy, and Google OAuth 2.0 endpoints as detailed in the Google Cloud Console Incident #19008.
...
Update August 19, 16:50 EDT: Google says the authentication issues have been resolved for all users:
The issue with authentication to Google App Engine sites, the Google Cloud Console, Identity Aware Proxy, and Google OAuth 2.0 endpoints has been resolved for all affected customers as of Monday, 2019-08-19 12:30 US/Pacific. We will conduct an internal investigation of this issue and make appropriate improvements to our systems to help prevent or minimize future recurrence.
 


This morning Apple Mail could not log into my IEEE mail via my Gmail account again, but I could log into it via Google Webmail. I fiddled a bit with setting,s but nothing happened. Then I tried sending email from it using Apple Mail, and it made the connection. I don't know what is the cause of the flakiness, but it may be possible to get the Gmail connection back by sending mail from Apple Mail through the Gmail account (ideally to another email account of your own).
 


I’m not feeling any love from San Francisco today.* I’ve been using Postbox since version 2, when I paid the original $40 price. I see today that they are abandoning their early users with version 7. I’m willing to subscribe to software when it offers continuing value, like a cloud service, but I see nothing like that in Postbox 7. Further, there’s not one new feature in Postbox 7 that is of interest to me. And finally, not even a discounted first year for longtime users. Time to say goodbye to Postbox.

*The ‘About’ window of Postbox includes “Hand-crafted, and made with love, in San Francisco, California."

Update: I emailed Postbox and found out that I misinterpreted their announcement and that I actually have a "lifetime" license, so I will not have to pay to upgrade. So depending on what one purchased and when (they have changed their licensing and pricing many times), prior users may be free of the subscription cost. However, I still don't see the value of a subscription for an individual user.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Interesting email news I just happened across:
Fastmail said:
We’re making email more modern with JMAP
The specifications for JMAP Email have been published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), marking a big victory for email tools now and in the future.

... It was clear to our team that we could offer more to email customers if we had a protocol aligned with how people use email today. As champions of open standards, we wanted that technology to be available to customers using any email client. The existing open email protocol, IMAP, was designed before mobile devices were common and makes long-lived, inefficient connections. You can learn more about our reasoning for replacing IMAP at the JMAP website under “Why is this needed?”.

... On July 18th, 2019, after months of knowing we were on the home straight, we could finally bring out the champagne glasses. RFC 8620 was published, introducing a model for efficient data synchronization. On August 13th, 2019, RFC 8621 took what IMAP does for email and made it simpler, faster, and more extendable using the JMAP framework.
 


This morning I noticed that Apple Mail could not access an email service managed by Google for IEEE, and into this afternoon I could not access that email account through either Gmail's web site or Apple Mail. Some investigation revealed Gmail had an outage yesterday (Aug 19)
and when I was finally checked email settings for that account, I discovered that, under Settings/Forwarding POP/IMAP, Google apparently had disabled both POP and IMAP (I was using IMAP) during or after the outage.
I don't know if this applies just to IEEE mail or to other hosted mail services, but if you're missing mail from a service hosted by Gmail, this may fix your problem. As far as I could tell, it did not change settings on two other Gmail accounts also set for IMAP.
Unlike in the past, it has seemed for at least the past few years that IMAP access is enabled for all new Google Mail accounts, regardless of that setting. Otherwise, you wouldn't be able to set up a new account and immediately connect to it with Apple Mail, Outlook, or other clients, because the account IMAP setting is disabled by default. (I don't know whether a vanilla IMAP client would work – maybe these widely used apps speak to Google's API in some way to enable access.) You do, however, need to enable IMAP access for control over its behavior, notably to be able to exclude undesired labels (which appear in mail clients as folders), such as Important, Starred, Scheduled, etc.
 


Google Mail behaved oddly when I upgraded my MacBook Air to Mojave a few days ago. My default browser is Firefox, but Google insisted that I open Safari in order to set up my multiple Gmail accounts (which had already been set up under High Sierra), and the system kept throwing up windows that blocked other windows in the Accounts pteference panel used in setting up the accounts. It took me a while to get the windows moved around so I could enter the passwords through the Google webmail interfaces. I quit Safari several times and tried to use Firefox, but Google insisted the setup had to be done through Safari.
 


Google Mail behaved oddly when I upgraded my MacBook Air to Mojave a few days ago. My default browser is Firefox, but Google insisted that I open Safari in order to set up my multiple Gmail accounts .... but Google insisted the setup had to be done through Safari.
I don't think that this is Google doing the insisting but, rather, it is Apple insisting on using Safari to do the authentication to the Google web-authentication system. I believe a similar thing will happen if you set up a Microsoft hosted account through the "Internet Accounts" within "System Preferences" or if you need to authenticate your account to enable Microsoft Office. Setting up a Microsoft or Google hosted account within Outlook for Mac will also pop up an authentication window that might also be supplied by Safari, but my memory on that is hazy.

Using Safari is not too unreasonable in my mind. Apple is confident that the software is installed on the system, and it is easier to test and audit a single setup rather than every possible browser that is available.
 


I don't think that this is Google doing the insisting but, rather, it is Apple insisting on using Safari to do the authentication to the Google web-authentication system. I believe a similar thing will happen if you set up a Microsoft hosted account through the "Internet Accounts" within "System Preferences" or if you need to authenticate your account to enable Microsoft Office. Setting up a Microsoft or Google hosted account within Outlook for Mac will also pop up an authentication window that might also be supplied by Safari, but my memory on that is hazy.
Using Safari is not too unreasonable in my mind. Apple is confident that the software is installed on the system, and it is easier to test and audit a single setup rather than every possible browser that is available.
I can understand why Apple trusts Safari more than anything else, but the authentication process kept throwing windows in front of other windows, which made it very hard to find the windows I needed to use. It took quite a while to figure out what I needed to do and find the proper windows to do it in. That made web authentication just not work without a lot of effort. It's another case where Apple really needs to spend more time making software work smoothly before releasing.

#appleui #applequality
 


Google Mail behaved oddly when I upgraded my MacBook Air to Mojave a few days ago. My default browser is Firefox, but Google insisted that I open Safari in order to set up my multiple Gmail accounts (which had already been set up under High Sierra), and the system kept throwing up windows that blocked other windows in the Accounts pteference panel used in setting up the accounts. It took me a while to get the windows moved around so I could enter the passwords through the Google webmail interfaces. I quit Safari several times and tried to use Firefox, but Google insisted the setup had to be done through Safari.
I have Firefox, Safari and Opera. I do a lot of testing. However, when I launch Firefox, it actually asks me if I want to make it the default for Mail. I choose no.

If you have the same question pop up. it should be easy to reset it. If, however, you have conflict areas and sites that you signed up only in Safari, that might be a reason it is refusing to cooperate.
 


I am having similar difficulties. In setting up 64-bit compatible Word for the Mac, I was asked to allow access to my machine. I tried several times. It became unclear which access was required. iCloud? Microsoft?

In any case, my Apple ID password was changed, and I ended up simply denying Microsoft access. Word seems to be fine. But in doing so and for reasons I still don't understand, access to Google Mail through Apple Mail is now impossible to restore.

Having selected the Google account in the Apple Mail Internet accounts, I clicked on the account and it asked for the name the account had in Apple Mail and my name. They were correct. But when I clicked Continue, I was told there was no such account. (If this operation is done on my desktop Mac, everything was OK.)

Failing this, I deleted the Google account from Internet Accounts and then opened up another account with the idea of signing into my current account. So, I clicked on Google in the list of new accounts and am sent, via Safari, to a private browser to "Sign in to continue to macOS." I enter the Google email address and password. It is accepted and I am taken back to Apple Mail, where I am told: "Authentication Failed / Failed to authenticate with Google, please try again later" I have done so numerous times, but I achieve the same idea. Any further operations are considered the definition of insanity.

Any ideas?
 


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