Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How to send email from a form ?

How to send email from a form ?

I had asked this question a few days ago myself. And have been scouting
google for the answer. To be honest, I did get quite a few answers.

But, the problem lay in finding the compatible tool for my installation.

My limitations were:
- I do not own the server
- I cannot install or uninstall any tool on to the server
- The server help was not very familiar with the installation either
- I had to scout the server details (info like the MTA used by the server)

So, was born a script that does not rely on the server configuration, for sending mail.

This script is in php (I tried to use the formmail script, but found that
this is easier) and relies on direct communication with the SMTP server to send mail.

The script uses SMTP AUTHentication for sending mail. This script assumes that you are using the Exim MTA for your email transport.

As you see in the script, though the SMT Protocol (SMTP) is standard, the request and response for different servers are slightly different and the script may have to be modified to suit your server. As mentioned, this

script is for the Exim MTA with SMTP AUTH.

SMTP AUTH means that you can post a message ONLYy after you have identified yourself to the server, meaning that you have to be an authenticated user on your server.

Hopefully, this helps!

Note:
If the php server is not configured correctly, variables defined in the html form may not pass properly into the php document, which is why the "track_vars" is used.

In addition, the phrase $HTTP_POST_VARS["b_first"] creates the appropriate variable in the document that was passed through the form, but was not visible due to some misconfiguration at the server.

Download the "form to email" script below:
form2mail script in a zipped file

Monday, October 22, 2007

Is there a science beyond science (or) Do you believe in magic?

This is a log of an incident that happened a few weeks ago.

One definition of magic on the Internet:
The practice of using charms, spells, or rituals to attempt to produce supernatural effects or control events in nature.

Magic is part of a larger science, that has not yet been accepted or understood by the scientific community.

We have seen magicians make trains and planes, even the Taj Mahal disappear, on TV live. We have always been interested and fascinated by such activities, if only in the hope to find the trick that cheats the audience.

I met with such an interesting individual in the recent past. I am logging the meeting since something interesting and fascinating happened during that time.

He is an islamic mystic with universal beliefs. A colleague had mentioned about him during a casual conversation and I had evinced an interest to meet with him.

He frequently visits Chennai. And it was during one of his visits that I happened to meet with him. He was staying in a lodge in one of the busy areas of Chennai. We bought some fruits since it is the first time I am visiting him. (In India, it is custom to not go empty handed when you visit someone)

We went on a sunday afternoon. A slightly overcast sky made our drive a bearable one. (Chennai, for the uninitiated, has three seasons; summer, summerer, summerest).

After the introductions were over, we were chatting generally. During the course of the conversation, he asked for my helmet. He took a small flat tin box, which contained black paste that resembled the eyeliner that women use. He took a little of it in his finger and gave the box back to me. He then asked me to put the box inside the helmet.

In the next two minutes something happened that you cannot explain in scientific terms (not atleast in the present scientific scenario).

He started taking new five hundred and thousand rupee notes from inside the helmet. Notes that looked fresh and straight out of the mint. There was a mild fragrance in the room. The notes also smelled sweet. This continued for sometime until the bed he was sitting on contained a small hill made of the rupee notes.

He later explained that these were brought in by the elemental that he had been given by his teacher. These currency notes are probably brought from a real location somewhere around the place (eg., a bank locker). They will disappear (which means they will go back to the place of origin) after 2 and half nazhigai (60 minutes).

Glossary:
Chennai - A southern port city and capital of the state of Tamilnadu, India
Nazhigai - 24 minutes