horrible tech support

AT&T & Mail.app – “The sender address was rejected by the server smtp.att.yahoo.com” [solved]

Ok now the yahoo plus mail server has stopped working so my second solution works best: You have to log into yahoo AT&T mail, click on settings, go to original mail settings, click on management, mail accounts, and verify each email address that you want to send with.
More info here, but make sure you go back to original yahoo mail to do this (new yahoo mail does not have this option):

-original post-
The horrible AT&T tech support continues but the power of the interwebs comes to the rescue again.
This time I’ll publish the solution first:

Outgoing smtp settings for AT&T DSL and Mail.app
Outgoing server name: plus.smtp.mail.yahoo.com
Port: 465
Use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) (checked)
User Name: [youremail]@att.net
Password: [your password]

Now the story.
I still hadn’t been able to send any email from mail.app. This representative I got on the phone knew the difference between incoming and outgoing mail servers (yay) but was unable to help. First, the server smtp.att.yahoo.com was rejecting my password. I was using port 465 and SSL as instructed by this page but it wasn’t working. The tech was unable to help until I tried signing onto att.net webmail and was unable to login either, and so told her my email address wasn’t provisioned correctly. She walked me through completing registering my account by going to, which is a dumb process but slightly less offensive than the AT&T software that they try to force you to install. GENDER was required in registration but phone number wasn’t, go figure. I had skipped some of these steps to try and avoid installing AT&T software on my computer (still got an autorun installed, and they tried to activex install it from this website but I cancelled it, ugh).

Anyway, so then I could set up incoming and outgoing email from my native @att.net account, but now if I tried to send email from any other third party account I got the message “The sender address was rejected by the server smtp.att.yahoo.com.” The tech tried to convince me that I should send through my third party servers and not them (I knew she knew she was lying when she said it was their problem), but I googled instead and found this page: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=6841351&tstart=0

saiena was able to direct me to use the server plus.smtp.mail.yahoo.com instead. I’m not subscribed to yahoo mail plus, but with their crazy integration with ameritech, sbcglobal, yahoo, and all their other companies I guess this is how the integration came down to it. I don’t care, at least it works now!

It looks like you need to verify other addresses before you send them. The above solution worked for me so I’m going to skip this step for now, but I got this email from AT&T after creating the account. It’s amazing that AT&T’s tech support didn’t know this.

Dear AT&T Internet Services Member,

We have received questions regarding the following error message which is received by customers when they send e-mail using a non-verified e-mail address:

“Unable to send the message. Please verify the e-mail address in your account properties. The server responded: 553 From: address not verified.”

If you have received this error message, you will continue to receive it for emails sent with a non-verified address until you verify your Yahoo! email address or any other non AT&T email addresses (e.g., name@company.com, name@college.com, name@yahoo.com, etc.). Verification instructions are available on the AT&T Help site http://helpme.att.net/article.php?item=11646. If you have already verified your non AT&T email address and are no longer receiving the 553 error message, please disregard this email.

Thank you for your attention to this matter as we work to improve your Internet service. Our goal continues to be to make you a very satisfied customer. If you are experiencing any issues and would like to speak to a customer support representative, please contact us at 1-877-722-3755.

AT&T Internet Services

Use a router with AT&T DSL [solved]

What a dumb sounding title. You’d think something like this would be easy. Sorry, I’m slightly bitter at AT&T after a week’s worth of phone calls to get my DSL up and running and to get a router on the network. Even after threatening to cancel service, after telling them that I don’t know anyone who has broadband and doesn’t have a router, and that I’d tried two routers that wouldn’t work, AT&T still wanted to transfer me to their ‘premium’ tech support service for my third party router to get more money out of me. Netgear? Linksys? Ever heard of these? Deaf ears.

I tried spoofing my computer’s MAC address but it wouldn’t work. I tried using my router to dial the PPPoE connection but that didn’t work either. Yet when I plugged any computer directly into the modem it worked fine.

AT&T told me to ‘bridge’ my modem and have the router dial the PPPoE connection. Fail. It didn’t work at all. The solution is easy enough, if any of them had access to the right information: Keep the modem dialing the PPPoE connection. Then, plug in AT&T’s DNS into the router:

Primary DNS:
Secondary DNS:

and that’s it! You’re good to go. If you run a computer with a static IP, plug those DNS entries into its network settings as well.

I tried using OpenDNS first, which worked ok, but it was a little slower, it messed with my VPN, and I didn’t like seeing advertisements when I typed in addresses wrong. This solution works best.

Toshiba SD-K860 won’t eject [solved]

My two year old upconverting Toshiba DVD/divx player from Woot.com wouldn’t eject my rented DVD (I am Legend). I would push eject and it would say “Open”, do nothing, and after a few seconds say “Loading” and play the DVD again. Once the harassing blockbuster calls started coming in I decided to try and fix it.
I found a great site called Fixya, which is similar to this site but focuses on hardware.
This page addressed a similar problem with the Toshiba SD-4990. That page linked to a service manual here (https://www.vancebaldwin.com/shop/research_new/TBA/SD4900.pdf ) which was similar enough to be extremely helpful.
Some suggested that it was a software issue and unplugging the machine for half an hour to let reset it self. However, after unplugging it all night the problem remained the next morning.
I took the machine apart (6 screws on the outside) and unmounted the drive (4 more screws), unplugging the three cables and remembering their orientation (blue wire faces the back). I unscrewed the top chasis (2 screws underneath soft rubber & glue) and got the DVD out. Then after some finagling I found the eject levers on the bottom (long slide switches) that opened up the DVD tray. I massaged the tray back and forth, and did the same with the laser mechanism on its track. The tray belt was in tact and there were no loose solder joints or wires. So I plugged the drive back in loosely (without reassembly) and plugged the power back in. Carefully, without touching any capacitors I hit the eject button and the drive tray started working again. It must have just been jammed. I unplugged the power, reassembled everything, turned it back on, and it’s back to normal!
This may not be the problem your SD-K850 or other DVD player was having, but perhaps these steps will help you solve your problem.

How to fix a broken projector dust filter, and why InFocus sucks [solved]

This is a tech support horror story for the ages.

I bought an InFocus SP5000 HD projector off of woot.com for a decent price. I’m quite happy with it, though I found out after purchase that the bulbs have a 1000 hour lifetime and cost $400 to replace. Ouch. I should have bought a LED projector. Oh well. It’s still really nice and goes well with my surround sound DIY speaker stands.

So the projector has two timers, one for the bulb life (which disables the projector after 1000 hours, but you can reset it, so it doesn’t make any sense to me), and one to remind you to clean the dust filter to extend the life of the projector. The dust filter timer goes off every 150 hours or so. After mine went off for the first time, I read the manual (downloaded off the net, since the refurb didn’t come with one) and it said to “clean the dust filter with a light vacuum.”

What the heck is a light vacuum? I don’t know, but I tried my roomba first but it didn’t work; I didn’t want the roomba to run over and eat the dust filter, but holding the little buddy in my hands and trying to run it didn’t work either, because the roomba’s too smart to run when it’s not on the ground.

So, I tried using the hose from my typical household vacuum. I turned on the vacuum, held the hose about 4 inches away, and *THUNK*, a chunk of foam ripped away from the filter and got sucked into the vacuum. Crap! I didn’t want to run my projector without a filter because I’d quickly damage the $400 bulb, and possibly the other components.

My projector was still under warranty, so I called up InFocus. After being on hold for quite a while, I finally reached an offshore tech support person and explained my situation. I looked online and didn’t see the dust filter part, so could they ship me a new one? I’d pay for the part I said.

Well, the tech support lady checked and said that that wasn’t a part that they sold to consumers. Since I had admitted user error, my warranty wasn’t eligible for service. I would have to pay $50 shipping plus a $120 service fee for them just to look at it and replace the part. Yes, that’s $170 FOR A PIECE OF FOAM AND PLASTIC. I was pretty disgusted. I told the story to my friend Bob and he asked, “woah, is it MAGIC foam?”

Well, the fix was simple enough. My great friend Katrina Nordine let me rip apart an old pair of headphones of hers and salvage the foam filter from them. Being a craft and sewing expert, it took her all of 2 minutes to sew the foam on and patch my filter for me.

projector dust filter fixed 2

projector dust filter fixed 1

The projector’s worked great ever since. Thanks Katrina! Screw you, InFocus!