Monday, June 30, 2014

Email played tricks on me

So, for past couple of days I had been receiving notifications that my corporate email password will expire soon. The kind of person I am, I like to postpone such trivial stuff until  the last day or when the password has actually expired and during one of my refresh action on emails, I get a popup window to change it. Needless to say, I see such emails, and just ignore and move on.
For past couple of months, I had been receiving notifications that our email server will soon be migrated from Zimbra to Exchange. There was no fixed date as such but that we will be notified once the migration is complete. So, here again, I just ignored.

Its Wednesday. It seemed like one of those days when the activity is very poor, like hardly 1-2 emails for the day. I've been minding my own business, trying to get through some of the works assigned to me for the sprint, which ends next week Tuesday. Lately, I had been struggling to make some progress on decrypting smime messages which has an inline attachment. I've been looking in the internet and doing my share of research but all in vain. I just couldn't figure out how some messages are working fine, while others don't.
Finally I decided to send the Openssl user community an email describing my issue. This I did on Wednesday evening. I was hopeful of receiving mountains of replies as the user community is huge and global.
I woke up Thursday and see no new emails in my Zimbra account. Confused and surprised, I thought may be my issue is indeed special. It seemed to me like a trivial one, may be I'm missing some minor changes to fix it but seeing no replies, I thought may be not. Then I shot an email to team members in Atlanta (I'm in California) asking if they have any ideas. No replies. I waited 2 hours. No replies.
Hmm, this is strange.
Now, I work in Android but our app has an iOS version as well which is few months ahead of us in terms of features accomplished. So I thought I'll ask the iOS folks how did they resolve my issue, if they have come across it.
Its Friday now. The football world cup have been keeping me busy and I didn't think too much about no replies to my emails. I thought I should leave the experts alone in their quest for solution to my problem. They must now be scratching their head. I try to search in the corporate directory for email id of iOS folks I knew the name of. I couldn't find. Then I pinged Karishma.

Me: Hi.
Karishma: Hi
Me: I'm having an openssl related issue. Who do you think is the best person to ask?
Karishma: David should be able to help.
Me: Hmm. Well, I think David's reply rate is poor especially if I've sent an email. He doesn't seem to like me :P :P :P
(The smileys were added to reduce the tone to sarcasm)
Karishma: Ha ha. In that case, ask the iOS folks.
Me: I think so too. Can you send me email id of Jonathan and Ismail?
Karishma: Sure. I'll send out an email to them including you, as an introduction.
Me: Sounds good. Thanks.

I resumed my football match thinking any minute I'll be getting the email. 45 mins later, refresh, nothing. 2 hours later, refresh, no new mails. End of day, still no emails. I'm now questioning the attitude of Karishma. This is very unprofessional. Here I'm stuck in an issue and she knows that, yet, she is so arrogant that she doesn't do her part, which is to just shoot an email. I'm cursing myself as well. I shouldn't have left it on her. I should've insisted on asking the email id right there, when I was on IM. She seemed like a nice and responsible person when I paid a visit to the Atlanta office back in May. May be people are more than they show themselves to be.

On Saturday, when checking emails on my phone after my tennis game, I see the email app saying it couldn't connect to the mail server. The password doesn't agree.
I'm like, what!!! I did not change the password, how did this happen? I try to enter my current password, but it kept failing. I'm like, fuck this email app. Must be something wrong with the app. The kind of crappy apps the developers make these days, total disregard to the software quality (I'm a sw developer myself).
Blaming it all on the app, I ignored the error. My world isn't going upside down if I don't receive emails on my phone for 2 days. I'll try to resolve this on Monday. Thinking that, I resumed my tennis game. Then later I played cricket, watched football, played tennis again. All in all, an awesome weekend, as always.
Come Monday. We have daily standup meetings at 11am. I dialed-in but I was the only one on the call. I waited till 11:10, still no one. I hung up then pinged my Boston team members (who schedule the standup) on IM and inquired about the standup. Mark said that the meeting was cancelled and that he had sent out cancel notification earlier this morning.
I refreshed my email page, I see no new mails, let alone a cancel notification.
After this, I'm little suspicious. Surely, this is no coincidence that for some reason I'm not getting emails. I logged into the exchange account but it said my password has expired. So I entered my current password, then new password, then retyped new password but the page is stuck there. It doesn't go further. Then I logged out of Zimbra and tried to log in again. I couldn't login as it said the password expired. It didn't even give me a change password page. Just a failure on the login message.
Keeping myself calm, I thought, I'll create a helpzilla ticket for the support guys to tackle this. I couldn't login to helpzilla because password is incorrect. Fuck! All the bad luck had to converge at the same time same place. Drat!!
Helpzilla page had the phone number for support and I called them up. After explaining the problem, he asked me some security questions and reset my password. I asked if my mail server has been migrated, and sure enough, the reply was affirmative.
I then logged into my exchange account and afterwards setup my outlook. Within minutes the emails get sync'd and started pouring in.

The email I had sent to openssl user group wasn't delivered in the first place. My email message had some attachments which raised its size to what was acceptable to their mail server. So there was the delivery failure message. That explained whey I didn't get the replies.

Then there was David's reply on Thursday. Contrary to my belief, he had actually replied. The issue in my machine wasn't reproducible in his, so he couldn't help much except showing me his results and asking if he was doing things right.

Then on Friday was Karishma's mail introducing me to Jonathan and Ismail. I was wrong about her :P
I felt little guilty of accusing her of negligence. Its good thing that I kept my thoughts to myself.

Then there was the cancel notification.

My email server changed hands sometime early on Thursday and then my password also expired around that time. Double jeopardy. This is my best guess based on the evidence :)

Signing out.

PS: I did manage to resolve the openssl issue. It turned out to be because of message corruption by my TextEdit when saving the email source into a text file.

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