I’m in z-push Limbo

Sparked by the purchase of a new phone with Internet connectivity and native support for push email (ableit with ActiveSync), I decided to see what I could do about pushifying the IMAP server at work.

We run Dovecot 1.1 with a MySQL backend and Postfix for MTA duties. Everything requires both TLS and SSL for authentication and everything requires authentication except for sending mail from the local subnet. It works pretty well. I never touch the thing anymore, it just runs. However, it doesn’t support push email and it certainly doesn’t support ActiveSync. So I went looking for something that could do push email to my spankin’ new phone.

I was surprisingly happy to discover z-push, an open source, standalone ActiveSync implementation in PHP. Well hot damn!

I initially installed the latest stable release, but then quickly tried the SVN trunk for any potential fixes that have yet to make it out to the stable release because I wasn’t having much success. After a few simple problems got resolved and I was updated to the SVN trunk things started to work… kind of. The initial sync takes forever! I didn’t have the patience to wait for all my mail to download because it appeared to be taking several minutes per email. The folder list loaded right up and my nearly empty inbox too but any folder with more than a few messages was taking forever to sync. Not to mention the apache server started to churn CPU pretty hard on the server. Also, it seemed the sync would only even start to work if I had “No Limit” selected on the iPhone for history of emails to sync. Maybe the large volume initial sync by using “No Limit” is just too taxing and that’s why it’s brutally slow but I kept getting “Cannot Get Mail – The connection to the server failed.” on my iPhone if I selected any option besides “No Limit”.

On top of that, push didn’t work!

I’ll keep plugging away at it next week, maybe post on the z-push forums to see if I can get this figured out. Cheers for now.

So I Bought a New Phone…

…and you guessed it, it’s an iPhone 4.

My previous phone was old faithful: a Nokia 6020 that was, hilariously enough, my first cell phone. My Nokia took many beatings over it’s lifetime including two dips in the ocean and recovered from temporary problems as a result in very short order. It always just worked as a phone and nothing more. It’s battery lasted long enough that I would pretty much forget to charge it after a week or two and realize I have next to zero battery left at inopportune times because charging it was the furthest thing from my mind.

But now it’s out with the old and in with the new. Goodbye Nokia 6020, hello iPhone.

There are huge tradeoffs. Voice + data = more $$$ per month than just voice. But with that increased cost of ownership I get mobile Internet, something that a geek like me has wanted for a long time but had a really hard time justifying. The old phone would go way longer between charges but the iPhone does so much more on a charge. The list goes on and on.

Suffice to say, I’m happy for now but let’s wait for the excitement to die off and then I can really start to asses the cost/benefit ratio of this slick little black and steel rectangular box.