go to the UserFriendly Web site

(No, this isn't a banner ad per se; it's just promoting one of Joe's favorite Web sites.)

This is the current home of the Philipps family's site. Sorry to say, there's nothing here of much consequence, at least not yet. In the meantime, there will be the home page of Joe, your intrepid domain admin. This page includes links to the story of Joe's 01-Jan-2012 Cessna 172 SP Skyhawk flight.

You can find my busy/free time on my Google calendar. My apologies if you happen to be using a browser which Google claims is incompatible. With most of them, clicking either "OK" or "Cancel" in response to the confirm() call will display it just fine.

Wow. I wonder why The Internet Archive doesn't have any pages for 2006. Hmmm.... Maybe putting some new content here would trigger it.


18-Jan-2004 Independent EMail Now Available

Email totally independent of any ISP's mail server is now available and set up.  The "incoming" mail server (the terminology in popular (M)ail (U)ser (A)gents, or MUAs) is "imap.philipps.us".  That address must be accessed with (S)ecure (S)ocket (L)ayer (SSL).  This involves some things called X.509 certificates, certificate authorities (CAs), and digital signatures.

I (Joe) do not have the budget for buying an SSL certificate from a CA whose certificate is distributed with SSL- and TLS-capable browsers (MS Internet Explorer/Outlook Express, Mozilla, Thunderbird, Opera, etc.).  Instead, I have used OpenSSL to establish my own "mini-CA."  So that your email client will not bother you with all sorts of warnings each time you use our mail server, please download and install the Philipps family CA certificate using this link and install it into your Web browser (and your email client, if it is separate).  The exact way to do this is different for each piece of software, so I'll try and help you if you need help, but I can't be sure I will be able to help you.  (I've done it successfully with MSIE6, Mozilla 1.5, Firefox 2, and Thunderbird 2 personally, and those are pretty simple.)

In order to set your initial password for accessing email, you will have to call me.  Do NOT email me your password request, as that is not secure.  The only exception might be is if you know how to use an OpenPGP-compliant program and you send your request encrypted with my GPG public key.  After your password has been set, you may connect to home.philipps.us with a SSH client (for example, with PuTTY for you Win32 folks) to change your password and to change your forwarding (help provided where needed, or I can discontinue or change your forwarding for you).

If you would also like to send mail through the family's mail server, I have to administer the passwords for that.  (The reason for this boils down to needing superuser access on the mail server to set up the passwords for that.  Sending mail uses a password database separate from the one used to log in via SSH and IMAPS.)  The "outgoing" server for this is "mail.philipps.us".  You must tell your MUA to authenticate when sending messages, or your messages will not be relayed.

25-Nov-2003 RIP HAL9000

Sometime in the early morning of Tuesday, 25-Nov-2003, the disk drive for HAL9000 (which handled the email for our family domains) went "crunch."  As a computer system, it could function now; it just doesn't have a hard disk to operate it.  Consequently I (Joe) have lost all my saved email since 18-Jul-2003 (the time of the last tape backup I had of that system), and I've been scrambling all this week to replace the things HAL9000 did.  On Wednesday this week, I configured another one of my computers to handle the emails, so whatever forwarding address you had in July is where your email is being sent.  For all but a very few cases, email will go where it's supposed to go.

Actually, this has an unexpected positive effect.  I have now opened up the mail system to accepting POP3S (POP3 under SSL) and IMAPS (IMAP under SSL).  Just ask me to assign a password for you, and you can set up your email client to get your mail from the family mail server directly at imap.philippsfamily.org.

(phpBB2 section used to be here)

We used to have phpBB2 forums set up on this Web server. But I was too lazy to keep on top of maintenance updates, and our setup got compromised. Since it was barely used, I decided just to take it down and not repair it.

05-Dec-2002 PHILIPPS.US Acquired

Since the .US domain has been opened up to domain registrars (and at rates comparable to .com, .net, and .org), I have reserved (for at least 2 years) philipps.us for our use. All that's required is one to be a U.S. citizen, and one can reserve a .us domain (subject of course to other restrictions, such as I would have no right to reserve "proctorandgamble.us" for example).

The way things are set up, any place you used to type "philippsfamily.org", you can now type "philipps.us." For example, http://www.philipps.us/ works (almost) exactly the same as http://www.philippsfamily.org/.

An Experiment With An Antispam Measure


I'm experimenting with everyone having their own subdomain. This allows us to have a certain amount of spam control. For example, suppose some Web site you visit requires you to enter in a valid email address. The Web server requires the email to be valid to send you a password or something. What some of these Web sites are actually doing is adding you to their marketing list. For Global Computer for example (www.globalcomputer.com), I might create the address "globalcomp@joe.philippsfamily.org" (notice the "joe." in the domain name). My sister, Pat, might want to do the same thing, and her address might be "globalcomp@pat.philipps.us". We each get emailed our respective Web site passwords (they email one to each of us). But then let's suppose Global Computer starts sending me email that I don't want to read from their promotions department (spam). I simply remove the machinery that translates "globalcomp@joe.philippsfamily.org" to my real address, and anything Global Computer tries to send me just bounces back as undeliverable. Pat might still want to receive these emails, but since the address they use to email her is different, the family mail system can accept and deliver hers (her delivery alias is distinct from mine).

E-Mail Available

We have e-mail set up; send to the family member's name followed by "@philipps.us". For now, this service will just forward to an existing email address (e.g., when this was written, shirley forwards to shirley_p14@yahoo.com.) The only proviso is that your email client must support either POP3 or IMAP. Both Internet Explorer/Outlook Express and Mozilla Thunderbird use this. Mozilla are the same folks who make the Web browser I use regularly, Firefox.

Quite A Nifty Web Site

My brother knew I got a receiver for GPS, and sent me this REALLY neat link to NASA's satellite tracking Web page. You'll need a working Java environment to run this. The Java code is even signed by NASA under the signing authority of VeriSign, a company that ensures the validity of a large share of the Internet's SSL secured servers. If your Java environment asks you about whether to trust NASA's Java code, I think it's very safe to say "yes," and always trust signed code from NASA.

Miscellaneous Domain Stuff

You can check up on the network health of the Internet link to the philipps.us domain.

Any requests to alter anything in our domain, including email or delegation of a zone, should be sent to:


To pick up an X.509 certificate for the Philipps family CA, please click on this link.

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