Goodbye, Dennis Ritchie

October 13th, 2011 - Brendon Rapp

Last week, we said goodbye to Steve Jobs, a man whose work had a profound impact on modern computing.

Today, we say goodbye to someone whose work reached even further.

Dennis Ritchie was the creator of the C programming language, and one of the creators of UNIX at Bell Labs.

Before C, operating systems were generally written in assembly language, limiting them to one hardware platform at a time. Ritchie created C so that UNIX could be written in a platform-independent way. It could be compiled to run on new platforms instead of having to be re-written.

C was born to create operating systems. 38 years later, it is still the #1 language for that job. Windows, MacOS, and Linux all have their kernel and other systems-level bits written in C.

Known to many simply as "K&R", after its authors

C is one of the most widely used languages in history. Every programmer worth their salt has on their shelf a well-worn copy of The C Programming Language, written by Ritchie and fellow Bell Labs engineer Ken Thompson. The book is considered by many to be the best programming book ever – certainly the best book about a specific programming language.

Dennis Ritchie (right), pictured with Ken Thompson at Bell Labs

Ritchie may be gone, but C and UNIX endure as two of the backbones of modern computing.

Goodbye, dmr.

Google Apps SMTP without SSL, part 1

October 12th, 2011 - Brendon Rapp

When setting up our hardware firewall to email logs, I encountered an issue with SMTP settings.

The software for our particular firewall did not support SSL or TLS encryption for SMTP connections. That’s a problem, as Google Apps email accounts use smtp.gmail.com on port 465 (for SSL) or 587 (for TLS). Unencrypted sending is not possible through this SMTP server.

Upon searching, I found this Google support page with the answer to my problem.

The answer is to replace the smtp.gmail.com settings with:

  • server: aspmx.l.google.com
  • port: 25

One important tidbit: what the Google support page doesn’t explicitly mention is that authentication is NOT SUPPORTED on aspmx.l.google.com. That means don’t try to use authentication┬ábecause it will bounce back instead of just ignoring the authentication attempt.

Also note, since authentication is not being performed, sent messages won’t appear in the “sender’s” Google Apps outbox. And SPF records can cause such mail to be bounced, so consult the Google support page linked here for help on updating your SPF record to deal with that.

In all fairness, the first place I found the answer was this little page, but it also sent me down the wrong path by listing authentication (username & password) as part of the required setup. Luckily, the SMTP error messages that came back explained themselves well enough to get me to correct this error.

Hello from the Cave

October 7th, 2011 - Brendon Rapp

Hi! We’re the engineering team at Jaguar Design Studio.

Jaguar Design Studio has been around for almost 12 years now, but our team is a much more recent development. I (Brendon) joined the company in July 2008, as the lone web developer on staff. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of building a small team of developers, and we have expanded Jaguar’s capabilities into entirely new classes of projects.

This growth has earned us our own space in the new Jaguar offices. Appropriately, it has been dubbed “The Cave”, and those of us who linger there, the Cave Dwellers. Far from being a dank, dark place, though, the Cave looks out on a deck that overlooks the Aptos Creek.