Apple Mighty Mouse goes wireless... but how far away?

Wireless Mighty Mouse
Wireless Mighty Mouse

Until now, Apple had a cool mouse called the Mighty Mouse with all the advanced features you'd expect from a mouse (right click, scroll weel... even better: multidirectional scrolling ball)... it just wasn't wireless.

Apple also had a Wireless mouse... but it had only one button! :(

Today, you can finally get the best of both worlds! The mighty mouse with all it's buttons becomes wireless! Apple has even improved the pointing technology which is now a laser instead of an LED. This should allow for smoother movement on more surfaces...

...except this one little detail: the problem with the Apple wireless mice is not the pointing technology... it is the bluetooth technology! Apple bluetooth is just not reliable any more if you get more than 2 meters away from your Mac. (Home entertainement use... Of course you have less issues on a desktop... but do you really need a wireless mouse on a desktop?)

It seems that the mouse can operate on either one or two batteries. So you might expect it to have more power and greater operating range when you insert a second battery. Unfortunately, I seriously doubt that will be the case. The "old" wireless mouse had 2 batteries already... :-/

Ironically... I think I'll buy it anyway... yeah, even at 69 €... I just want that thing in my living room! :P

About Apple Bluetooth

One of my biggest frustrations with the Mac Mini has been using the mouse... the Bluetooth Wireless Mouse actually...

The pointer movement just wasn't smooth enough... just not as responsive as it is on Windows...

I first blamed it on using PowerPC applications with Rosetta being so processor intensive that the mouse driver had problems actually tracking the mouse movement. But no, that's an explanation I have to keep for poor video playback on exotic formats. Mouse movement also skips when the Mac is idle.

I also blamed it on some background task like a file indexing daemon. But again, that's a poor explanation. (I still have to figure out how to ps -aux on the Mac though ;))

I finally blamed it on the Bluetooth... and I wonder why it took me so long to fgure that out. When the mouse starts skipping, all I have to do is get closer to the Mac and the mouse will instantly work smoothly again.

The sad thing here is that I'm not so far away with my mouse! I'm only using it from accross my living room... which means 2-3 meters away from the Mac. With a straight line of sight!

I thought Bluetooth was supposed to have a 10 meter operating range! Well it seems the Apple Mouse only has a 2 meters operating range. Such a shame!

I occasionally get Bluetooth disconnects of the wireless keyboard also, but those have never bothered me that much. Maybe I just don't realize each keypress has to be retransmitted 4 or 5 times! ?

Now I have 2 options: either I move the couch closer to the TV (should have bought a smaller one! :-/) or I find a way to improve the Bluetooth... I wonder if you can boost it someway! Sure you can't connect an external Bluetooth antenna to the Mac Mini... but I wonder if putting some metallic object at a very specific spot on the Mini could actually act as an amplifying antenna... :roll:

TLS IMAP with Courier on Debian

Welcome back to the daily emailing setup on Debian... :>>

The default private key for the courier IMAP server is for localhost, whiwh will issue warnings in the mail client. To generate a new (self signed) private key, you need to do this:

  • rm /etc/courier/imapd.pem (or back it up)
  • edir /etc/courier/imap.cnf and at least put the right value into CN=
  • mkimapdcert which will generate a new key, but in the wrong place!
  • mv /usr/lib/courier/imapd.pem /etc/courier/
  • chown root imapd.pem

I wonder when this is gonna end...

Mailman on Debian

Installing the mailman package on Debian is easy... but at some point, you gotta run into exim4 configuration again! >:(

Fact is exim4 does not by default and strongly discourages using piping to programs in /etc/aliases... which unfortunately is the way mailman likes to get its incoming mail. Bleh! :|

After having tried a gazillion different things I finally managed to get it to work by adding the following into /etc/exima4/exim4.conf.template ...

Full story »

Sending mail on Debian

Another late night trying to configure that Debian exim4 thingy...

I want to send email from Thunderbird using my Debian box as an SMTP relay.

The mailserver (exim4) will refuse to relay anything to an external domain if you're not properly authenticated.

So here's what I had to do (and thank God it finally works):

  • Cleaned up my /etc/exim4/exim4.conf.template as previously discussed.
  • Generated SSL keys for TLS to use with /usr/share/doc/exim4-base/examples/exim-gencert
  • Activated TLS by writing MAIN_TLS_ENABLE = true into a file called /etc/exim4/exim4.conf.localmacros
  • Activated authentication based on the courier-imap daemon I was already using for IMAP: in /etc/exim4/exim4.conf.template there is a section called AUTHENTIFICATION CONFIGURATION. In there I had to uncomment the blocks named plain_courier_authdaemon and login_courier_authdaemon. I'm not really sure why I uncommented both, but... it works.
  • There I found out (later) that I needed to allow exim to access the courier-imap socket or my /var/log/exim4 wouls state this:

    login_courier_authdaemon authenticator failed for xxx: 435 Unable to authenticate at present (set_id=yyy): failed to connect to socket /var/run/courier/authdaemon/socket: Permission denied

    This can be solved by adding the right user to the rigth group: usermod -G daemon Debian-exim. I'm not sure about how good/secure/clean this is, but it works. Comments welcome ;)
  • Regenerated the exim4 config with update-exim4.conf
  • Restarted exim with /etc/init.d/exim4 restart. I'm not sure this is needed, but it won't hurt...

Sometimes I wish I still had dear/hated old PLESK environment... :roll:

Bonus feature: make those sendings faster!

When you are connecting to the SMTP relay from behind a NAT firewall, there is a fairly high chance that the SMTP will try to RFC-1413 ident you but the firewall will drop the request. So the mailserver will wait for a response until it times out.

Exim4 does exactly that with a 30 second timeout. Which makes sending mails frustrating at best.

In /etc/exim4/exim4.conf.template there is a section about RFC 1413. Make sure you have this line:

rfc1413_query_timeout = 0s

(Zero seconds, means: do not bother wasting time on ident).