Do It Yourself mayhem

I don't have a good Do It Yourself personality. I seldom measure twice before cutting once and have been known to drill a few unnecessary holes in the wall and ceiling after a rushed once-over with the stud finder. I eventually settle down and find what I'm looking for, but in the process I create new projects for myself in filling and repainting over all those holes.

I'm the guy who jumps two steps ahead in his Ikea instructions and then has to work backwards, and either finishes with two extra screws or two screws short.

Perfection takes time, which is not something I have a lot of these days and so I tend to settle for "good enough." "Done" is always easier than "done right."

Which brings me to Monday morning and an e-mail Inbox that was frozen with approximately 79,369 new messages. This was my fault.

I was booked in for a surgery on Oct. 13 and before I left the office the day before I set the automatic "Out Of Office" reply function in my mail client to let people know that I would be away from my desk for the next week. With over 100 legitimate messages a day I didn't want to return to the office with a stack of a thousand e-mails to plow through.

However, in my haste I neglected to consider how that might impact our e-mail servers, or how it would interact with spam the way I set it up.

Ever try to reply to a spam e-mail? It doesn't work, you just get an auto-reply from your mail server telling you that the account does not exist.

So in a nutshell my mail client would receive a spam, send out an auto-reply to a non-existent site and receive an auto-reply in return from the server - essentially a new e-mail that my mail client would then promptly auto-reply to once again, receiving the same auto-reply in response. Basically I created an infinite feedback loop and a huge hassle for myself that took hours to resolve with much deleting of unread messages.

(In other words if you've sent me any important e-mails since Oct. 12 you'll need to send them again because the solution was to save my important e-mails from the last few weeks and months and then wipe the slate clean.)

This is something I probably could have anticipated if I reasoned it out beforehand but I was in a hurry. I could have called our IT guy for help, but I'm a do-it-yourself guy and I (thought) I knew what I was doing.


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