Much ado about scripting, Linux & Eclipse: card subject to change


Blackberry Bold + MidpSSH + Mutt = Mail Over VPN

Got a new Blackberry Bold 9000 for Xmas. Typical of Rogers, I was overcharged for it, and all the freebies I had quoted to me on the phone have yet to arrive. I'm told I'll be credited back the surcharge, but I won't see that until February.

Anyway, customer service infractions aside, setting up Gmail, TwitterBerry, Facebook, Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, and of course Blackberry Messenger was a snap. Tried to use the internal mail client for Gmail but it doesn't respect my filters so I get the flashing light notification for every bit of spam, rather than just the interesting mail I want to see.

Setting up IRC was a little tricky, but thanks to Opera Mini and, I can more or less check Freenode channels on the go. Not ideal, but tolerable.

But the real challenge was getting access to my corporate mail, since we're not running a BES server, and thanks to all the supported options, there are over 5,000 possible ways to configure Cisco VPN access on a Blackberry. I'm not that patient.

Instead, I decided to try using MidpSSH 1.7.3 to connect into my laptop (which is already connected to the VPN), then use Mutt 1.5.18 to connect over IMAP to the mail server. Because I'm connecting to a local IP within my home LAN, I set the SSH session's Connection Type to WiFi, rather than Default, BES, or TCP/IP. In order to avoid having to key in a password every time I connect to the laptop, I set up an SSH key and shared that with my laptop.

If I want to have this solution work when I'm not at home, I'll have to expose my laptop to the outside world, and connect using Connection Type = Default to that public IP address instead of my more secure internal one. Still, it's a step in the right direction.

Incidentally, this tip might help, if you're having network access problems:

Options > Advanced Options > TCP > APN: "" (no username or password) [1], [2]

Now I just have to teach myself all the keyboard commands for Mutt. I tried using MidpSSH on my previous phone, a SonyEricsson W810i, but it's nearly impossible to do anything without a full keyboard.

If you're thinking of doing something like this, here are some handy links for setting up Mutt to connect to IMAP and to send mail via SMTP.

Is there a better way to VPN over BIS for IMAP mail? If so, feel free to share your solution here or via email with nickboldt(at)rogers(dot)blackberry(dot)net.