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01 August 2001

Ihug needs to go to Paradise

The gurus of cyberspace are forever telling the rest of the business world to get with it. But how do their own communications measure up?

To find out, WHAM decided to check out the ‘no-one here at that address' messages from a selection of Internet Service Providers by sending them a message to a fictitious recipient, Bollix2U.

Winner was Paradise.net, with: "Hi. This is the qmail program at paradise.net.nz. I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses. This is a permanent error. I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out. No mailbox here by that name."

The raspberry for NZ ISPs went to Ihug with: "xx is undeliverable. 501: "@" or "." expected after the xx."

Xtra appeared to be trying with their message, though we're none-the-wiser after reading it: "If the error is related to an ORBS block, you may wish to contact the intended recipient by phone, fax, or an alternative email address. If you need help to interpret the error please forward this message to the Xtra help desk if you are an Xtra customer. Emails received from non-Xtra customers will not be responded to."

Xtra and Ihug aside, messages from NZ-based ISPs tended to be easier to understand and more concise than those from their overseas counterparts.

But it's hard to know why Netlink needed to tell us, "The following addresses had permanent fatal errors. Reason: 550 5.1.1 User unknown." Surely, "Sorry, user unknown", would have done the trick.

Who knows what Net4u meant us to take from: "The following message had permanent fatal errors. 554 MX list points back to mail. 554 Local configuration error."

Sprint.com is big and ugly enough not to deal in gibberish, but they take the international raspberry for: "RCPT TO xx@sprint.com.550 Authorization failure: You are not authorised for this route: (policy block, imta (unset unset) sender (unset unset) omta (503 No recipients have been specified)."

We could go on, but we suspect you already have the picture; the Masters of the IT Universe have the technology, but many of them fail to communicate.

Now, excuse us, we're off to the doctor to check whether our Orbs are blocked!

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