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A myspace email gateway?


A reader of these pages will have noted that I do not get on very well with myspace. Not to put too fine a point on it, it does my fucking head in. Even the most minimal interaction with the site tends to make me feel worse than if I had not so interacted. This manifests itself in behaviour such as my reaction to a mate's recent email; he sent me a link to a music video on myspace and I haven't watched it yet, I'm waiting until I'm in a shitty mood to begin with so I don't take myself from a good mood to a bad mood by arsing around with myspace. Especially as the fucking myspace cunts have written the bloody music video stuff in fucking flash, so I'll have to fuck around similarly to what's needed with youtube in order to be able to see the sodding thing. Only I don't know how the myspace one works so I'll have to figure it out first. Just what I need, not.

So I take steps to minimise my interaction with the site. Turning on the notification of messages received is a good start, as it means I don't have to log on to check my messages, only to read them when there are any. I don't have to log on to send messages either - I've hacked together a bunch of shell scripts which enable me to compose a message in my ordinary text editor and then fire it off from the command line, like email used to be. The obvious next step is to eliminate the one remaining reason to log on - reading messages - by automating the process with some additions to the aforesaid shell scripts. Indeed, I could configure my .forward to pass the incoming myspace notifications to the scripts which would then automatically retrieve the message and hand it on to the local MTA for delivery with the rest of my email.

So this naturally suggests an extension of the idea: hack an SMTP front end onto it to produce a myspace SMTP gateway server. The process of sending and receiving myspace messages would then be indistinguishable from that of sending and receiving normal emails and with any luck I could forget that I was interacting with myspace at all.

And then, me being into free software and all that, I could make my gateway server available to the general public. Then any fucker in the world could send emails to recipients_myspace_username@pigeonsgateway.org or whatever, supplying their own myspace username and password via standard SMTP AUTH, and have them delivered to the recipient's myspace mailbox... and if they set up the appropriate forwarding rule for the myspace notifications, or registered a pigeonsgateway.org email account as their myspace email address, the replies would be delivered to their ordinary email inbox. As an alternative it would be just as straightforward to incorporate a POP3 front end for receiving messages. (Dunno about IMAP, though. Doesn't look like the headfuck site's message box functionality is rich enough to make IMAP practical without some fairly horrific kludges and/or loads of state on the gateway with associated sync problems.)

I think that would be quite cool. There must be other people out there who are only interested in myspace for the message sending/receiving facility, and there must be other people out there who find it a headfuck. I can however see a few problems with it:

  • Sooner or later something would be bound to go wrong with it and then I'd have to dig around in its guts and sort it out. In the process I'd probably end up looking at the emails that it had gone wrong on to try and work out what had gone wrong. That would be a bit dead and chewed. It's bad enough having to poke through business emails when fixing servers I administer for work and finding ones to sexylady69@hotmail.com lurking among the serious business traffic. The sort of stuff people would be sending on myspace is the sort of stuff I really would not want to have to look through, I think. It's bad enough reading people's profiles, people put shit up in public that makes me feel like I'm poking through their handbags, yuck, private messages would be hundreds of times worse, even just the subject headers... Oh, when a problem-fixing duty's to be done (to be done), a sysadmin's lot is not a happy one (happy one). Good job this sysadmin has plenty of compensation...
  • One of the things that might well go wrong with it is that myspace might change the way the headfuck site works so the server can't operate any more. I'd then have to arse around trying to figure out what they'd done and make it work again with the pressure of a backlog of incoming mail piling up and the knowledge that since headfuck site is so bloody slow it'd take ages to clear it.
  • Traffic, pure and simple. Might turn out that there are loads of people who'd like it and my connection would get overloaded.


So what do I do... only one answer, release the project as a standard open source collaborative development. That way anyone could fix bugs or refreak it to cope with upstream changes or set up their own gateway server to take some of the load.

Update: Now the buggers have incorporated captchas into the message sending procedure, so it can't be done any more. Oh shit.




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