Wall-Skills.com Advent calender launched – one 1-pager each day

Simple Workflow diagramIt happened: we launched the wall-skills.com Advent calendar, featuring one 1-pager every day to hang up on your office walls. Daily learning and improving your skills just got easier.

As announced a couple of weeks ago Wall-Skills.com launched its Advent calendar today. For the ext 24 days we will release one new 1-pager each day featuring information worth reading and learning about agile software development, IT project management and sometimes even self improvement tips for office workers.

Get the 1-pagers, hang them upon your office and toilet walls, and share knowledge which you think should be shared among your colleagues and team members. Subscribe to the RSS feed and make sure you don’t miss any Advent calendar post.

Today’s feature is about the Agile principles:
Agile-Principles_Wall-Skills

I’d like to thanks to Corinna from finding-marbles.com for her awesome dedication to the project, her design and work – and also for coming up with the idea to transform my 1-pagers into an actual project.

If you have interesting Ideas you’d like to share with the Wall-Skills community, let us know. The Advent calendar is almost filled by now, but there we plan to release more 1-pagers in the weeks after.

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Wall-Skills – learning with 1-pagers, and an Advent Calender

Simple Workflow diagramA couple of weeks ago I introduced Learning on the Toilet here at this blog as well as at my regular Agile Meetup. It was well received, and fellow agile developer Corinna convinced me to team up and launch a dedicated project, which we called: wall-skills.com!

The idea for wall-skills.com is based upon Learning on the toilet (#LotT), which is again based upon Google’s Testing on the Toilet: it means hanging up 1-pagers on walls in places like toilets, on refrigerators and so on for people to read during their “leisure” time. The idea is to bring up information worth reading which can be summarized on one single page to improve the skills of the members of your company. Even if you read all the books about one topic, sometimes an additional tip or some prodding is just what you need. And if it’s hanging on a wall in a place where when you see it, you can’t ignore it.

The idea of Learning on the Toilet was well received when I presented the idea at my regulars Agile Meetup, I got a lot of constructive feedback. And Corinna (finding-marbles.com) brought up the idea to team up and create a project page dedicated to collect and spread such 1-pagers. Thus we met, found a name – hanging 1-pagers on “walls” to improve “skills”, aren’t we brilliant 😉 – and launched a project page: wall-skills.com was born!

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So in the future we will collect 1-page PDFs or images on Agile, Lean, development, devOps, system administration, Scrum and Kanban at wall-skills.com – ready for you to print out.

Right now we have published two sample posts to give you an idea what to expect. To kick off the project page and the entire collection we will present more 1-pagers in form of an Advent Calendar, publishing a new 1-pager each day of December until the 24th. So stay tuned – and subscribe to our RSS feed =)

Currently we’ve got ideas for most of the 24 slots, but some slots are still open and a greater diversity is always more interesting. Also, we will need more information for the future. If you got great, suitable content in your blog, tell us! Contact us on Twitter, via email, via this blog, whatever. If you are quick (that means 25th of November) your content might be included with the Advent Calendar, including a short paragraph about you and your blog.

And of course, please feel free to tell us what you think of the project, of the 1-pagers, and so on.

[Howto] Sending test mails with Swaks

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Setting up e-mail servers can become a time consuming and complex task. Test mails can help verifying the functionality of the system – and here Swaks comes into play, the “swiss army knife for smtp”.

Swaks can be used to send test mails of all kinds. The advantage of Swaks compared to sending mails with your normal e-mail client is that you are able to alter almost any part of the e-mail: to, from, header, attachments, which server to speak to, etc.

Here are some common Swaks usage examples:

The first, basic example is sending a mail to your own server (here “bayz.de”):

$ swaks -f someone@example.net -t liquidat@example.com

If you need more recipients, add them via comma:

$ swaks -f someone@example.net -t liquidat@example.com,testme@example.com

It gets more interesting if you change the “TO” to another domain, but send the mail via the server for “bayz.de” nevertheless. If that works for arbitrary domains, and if the mails are forwarded to these you have big problem: an open relay.

$ swaks -f someone@example.net -t liquidat@example.com --server mail.example.com

Or do you need to know if a certain recipient is actually available?

$ swaks -f someone@example.net -t liquidat@example.com --quit-after RCPT

But you can also use Swaks to test a spam filter: If any of the bigger spam filters out there identifies the GTube sting in an e-mail, it will mark it as spam:

$ swaks -f someone@example.net -t liquidat@example.com --body /path/to/gtube/file

The same is true for anti virus programs and the Eicar file:

$ swaks -f someone@example.net -t liquidat@example.com --body /path/to/eicar/file

But Swaks can also be used to test user authentication and tls:

$ swaks -tls --server example.com -f liquidat@example.com -t someone@example.net  -ao --auth-user=liquidat

And this can of course be used to test authentication between servers:

$ swaks -tls -s example.com -f someone@example.net -t liquidat@example.com --ehlo $(host $(wget http://automation.whatismyip.com/n09230945.asp -O - -q))

The last bit makes sure your local test machine does provide a correct fqdn.

But in case your MTA setup does rely or use custom headers, how about adding some of these?

$ swaks -f someone@example.net -t liquidat@example.com --add-header "X-Custom-Header: Swaks-Tested"

If you have other interesting examples, don’t hesitate to drop them in the comments, I am happy to add them here.