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We have just rolled out a new webmail package based on the RoundCube software. We hope that this new interface will be faster, easier, and generally a better experience for everyone.
Why the sudden change? We have relied on the horde software for many years now to deliver a consistent webmail interface to our users, and it has served well. However, the version of Horde we have been running all these years is long out of development, new features are not being developed, security issues are not being corrected, and the entire platform relies on version 4 of the PHP scripting language, which is long out of date as well. Because of all these issues, we have had to maintain a webserver running antiquated software, for the sole purpose of keeping horde running. These issues, and many more have caused us to decide to retire horde over the next few weeks.
We evaluated several new webmail packages, including the newest release of Horde itself. Consistently, people preferred RoundCube by a wide margin. If you have any question, don’t hesitate to contact us via email at email@example.com.
Since we are about ready to take the new webmail service live, I thought it best I detail out the procedure for copying your address book from the old webmail service, over to the new one. Unfortunately, since horde will only export to CSV (comma separated values) format, and roundcube will only import from vCard format, an intermediate step is needed. Follow these steps and you should have no trouble:
1) Get the data out of horde.
You will need to login to the old webmail service first, which has been moved to: oldwebmail.amplex.net
Sign in as you normally would, and go to the address book. Click on “Import/Export” at the top, and the very bottom of this page is a button that simply says, “export.” Click it, you will be prompted to download a file, this is your contacts list. Save it someplace where you can find it, because you will be opening it in a bit.
And you are done with old-webmail, you can sign out at anytime.
2) Convert the data to vCard format.
This file contains your address book in CSV format, but we need it to be in vCard format for the new webmail software. First you need to open this file, I recomend using notepad to open it, but any text editor will do.
Open the conversion tool in a new window by clicking here.
You want to copy the entre contents of the file and paste it into step 1 of the conversion tool. If you are using notepad you can click on edit, then select all, to highlight all the data in the file at once. Once you have copied all the text, paste it into the conversion tool, step 1.
Click on Step 2, you probably won’t have to change anything here, I didn’t.
Click on step 3, the text you see should be your address book, converted to vCard format. Highlight all of it, and copy it. Open a new text editor window, and paste all of the data inside. Save this file as something you can find easily, because next you will upload the list into the new webmail system.
3) Important to Roundcube
Now you should have the data in a format that the new webmail software can understand. First you will need to login to the new webmail software by clicking here.
Click on Address Book at the top, then select the import contacts icon, which should be the forth one from the left at the top of the address book page. Browse for the new file you have created, and click import. With a little luck, you have just moved your address book over to the new webmail!
Having trouble? Please feel free to send a support request to firstname.lastname@example.org, asking us to try to migrate your address book for you. Please understand, we expect to get a lot of these, so it may be several days before we can complete your request, please be patient.
The Domain Name System, often referred to simply as DNS is fundamentally important to internet communications. DNS is the system that translates easily remember names, such a www.amplex.net into something a computer can understand. Computers don’t understand English, or even the crazy subset of English that make up most domain names. When you type www.amplex.net into your browser, one of the first things your computer tries to do is figure out what that really is in a form it can understand. It asks one of your ISP’s DNS servers, Amplex has three. One of those DNS servers should get back to you, and inform your computer that www.amplex.net is in fact 22.214.171.124. This makes far more sense to your computer, and it will begin connecting to the server that houses www.amplex.net. This holds true for just about any site you wish to get to. Most DNS servers don’t actually know the answer to most sites you are going to try to find, but they know who to ask. Amplex’s DNS servers know everything about anything at amplex.net, as well as any other websites we happen to host. For anything else, we ask another set of DNS servers. Those servers might know the answer, or more likely, they also know who to ask. After many questions, you will usually get the information you seek. Our DNS servers will then hold onto that information for a little while, in case someone else also needs that information. This process is calling “caching.”
Unfortunately, almost all caching DNS servers have recently been observed to contain a software issue where a malicious third party could interfere with the data in the DNS server’s cache. So, when you try to reach www.whatever.com, your computer might be tricked into going to someplace nasty, with a virus waiting for you. Never fear, this was just a proof of concept, no known exploits exist for this yet, and most DNS software vendors, ours included had patches released this past weekend. Of the three Amplex DNS servers, I have successfully patched two of them without incident, the third one, the busiest of the three, and the one most likely to cause a disruption when I bring it down for a patch, is getting patched tonight, very late tonight. Like I said, we have three DNS servers, and most customers are configured to use the two closest to them for name resolution. But, the most centrally located, and therefore closest to the most people is the one I am working on tonight. basically means, if you are surfing the web tonight, you might notice, as I have to reboot the machine twice to properly apply this patch.
Long story short, expect a brief outage, starting at about 1am tonight, as I work my magic.
I have just finished what I hope is the last bug tests for the new FreeBSD/Apache web server. This will replace the current web server, which has been very stable and very reliable, and I hope I am not changing that, as it is running the same base software as before. What is different is that my sanity will no longer be negatively effected by administration of this machine. The current web server requires me to log in and make changes to the configuration, by hand, every time someone needs a new site, or a change to a site. This is needlessly wasteful of my time, and slows down site implementation times. New sites take me well over ten minutes to manually enter and bring live. Site visitor tracking has to be manually configured as well, and I have a nasty habit of forgetting to set that up for new sites. There is also the issue that sites on the web server, do not always get entered into the billing system. Data that needs to be entered in two places and kept consistent is never a good idea.
So, the wonderful solution was to build a new machine that is completely tied into our billing system. You want a new site, I enter it into the billing system, which provisions the site for me. I only have to input a sitename, a username, and a password. You get a site that is ready to go, ftp access, and stats tracking, all automatically.
Now I have to start moving customer sites over to the new machine, a process that should about the next eternity. In addition to the new automated provisioning system, a few upgrades were an order while I was at it. Most notable being that PHP version 4 is no longer supported, so the new webserver has version 5 installed. This is almost guaranteed to break several websites, as the differences between versions 4 and 5 are immense. But, security patches for version 4 no longer exist, meaning any new bugs found in version 4, will never be fixed. Kind of a bad thing to leave PHP4 installations around at this time.
If you have a site on the current webserver, and want to migrate it to the new machine yourself. Please let me know. I can give you access to both machines at once, and you would be saving me a load of time.