blog.absurd:li - press play on tape
November 23th 2010
Tagged snafu, apple, microsoft, mail, picky, parslet

Projects, Projects, Projects...

Usually when you don’t hear from me here, I am really busy. The policy until now has been not to write about that; but there I went and cracked.


I’ve discovered that the parser library I’ve written during my brief excursion (that is to be repeated) into the world of compiler writing is valuable on its own. In fact, its probably even more valuable than any of the things I did with the compiler. That’s just the way these projects go.

I’ve thrown together a small website for the project and am working towards an 1.0 release. Encouragements, comments, … are welcome!


On a related note, I’ve been loosely involved in helping to get picky ready for a 1.0 release as well. Picky is a search engine for categorized data, data that is organized in small fields. Like .. for example a database. But who has one of those, right?

Apple Mail woes

At work I was trying to get Apple Mail and Thunderbird to autoconfigure email. My goal was to have the user enter ‘’ and figure out the rest by looking at our LDAP database.

And I got it working. At least for Thunderbird which has a documented API and for Microsoft Outlook, which also has an API. Yeah, you read right. Microsoft Outlook. That didn’t go according to plan.

Apple Mail does two things for autodiscovery behind the scenes.

  1. It phones home ( getting a binary answer that is AFAIK not documented. Try with ‘’.
  2. It pretends to speak Microsoft and doesn’t honor the answer. It posts the same autodiscovery XML request as Outlook does. Somehow I failed to get it working with the same answer that Outlook accepts. So there.

You probably got by now that this is a tale of FAIL. Indeed I posted to stackoverflow about this, but can I really expect an answer to that? Universe? Surprise me!.