Sometimes it’s good to be a geek

Today I’m in Dallas, attending a NASA meeting in hopes of finding ways to expand our web application amongst various groups within NASA. It’s at a Marriott hotel, so I spent the bulk of the day in a conference room watching presentations. Between those presentations (and, I admit, during some of them), I was checking email and writing to various people.

A bunch of my emails bounced back to me as undeliverable because the receiving servers refused them. Apparently the outbound IP address here at the Marriott is on a spam blacklist. Awesome. Most likely, some enterprising guest (or many of them) decided to use the hotel’s wireless connection for their fun and profit at some point. The bottom line was that I couldn’t send email through my servers because the origination point was being blacklisted.

Fortunately I’m a geek. After a few minutes’ thought, I set up an SSH tunnel to one of my servers and used it to route SMTP traffic through a local connection. I was able to completely bypass the hotel’s IP address as an origination point for the email, and when I re-sent those blocked messages, all was well. I kept the tunnel up for the rest of the day, and all of my ongoing messages worked fine.

Bam. SSH tunnels rock.