My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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ah, the magical touch

I know better. I know better. So, when i started down the path of bouncing my mail for vacation, i figured it had to be easy. This is me.

So, started out with SIMS bouncing per the suggestion. Nope, didn’t work. Why? Couldn’t get formail to get called to save my life. So, switched plans, figured out how to get vacation working so that it sent messages, overrided the time stamp and the To/CC rules. In the process, killed my procmail file which spun 600 messages into chaos. This was great except that everything forwarded from Netspace to SIMS (a.k.a. all messages) sent vacation to Netspace which was bad.

OK. So i tried to set up vacation on Netspace to mimic SIMS to do all of the messages. Vacation doesn’t exist on Netspace. So we went back to formail which worked there.

In the process, of course, i was fucking around with my procmail files and managed to fubar everything. Procmail was going into autoloops, mail was going goddess only knows where, LINEBUF was filling up, bounces weren’t getting sent. OMG.

So, getting everything set up only took a total of 16 hours and the unbelievably awesome help of Glenn, Adam, Greg, Kevin, Kevin, and Thomas. Oh, and a lot of bitching support from everyone else. Needless to say, this is not something i should’ve been doing today. But dear god.

The end result:

| (formail -r -i ‘From: Mailer Daemon Angel ‘ -i ‘Subject: Returned mail: see transcript for details’; cat /home/grrl/.vacation.msg) | sendmail -oi -t


| /usr/bin/vacation -t1s -j dmb

with a .vacation.msg that says:

From: Mailer Daemon Angel
Subject: Returned mail: see transcript for details

—– All mail to danah is currently auto-deleted —–
Bounced: <$SUBJECT>
(reason: danah needs a break)

—– Transcript of session follows —–

procmail: Refused to save
550 5.1.1 …. User exhausted

Daemons have decided to destroy danah’s mail so that she may rest without fear of returning to the dreaded INBOX. All messages sent to danah from May 29-July 3 2005 will not be delivered. If it is still important, contact danah again after July 3. Perhaps, if you feel so inclined, invite the Daemons to visit your server so that you too may rest without email.

—– Do not resend until after July 3 —–

Say bye-bye. Your message has just found a new home in /dev/null. ::wave:: bye bye cute message…. bye bye….

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