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Eliminate Hangs in Eudora’s Sponsored Mode

People who have been relying on Eudora in sponsored mode (where ads appear in a box) have started experiencing problems related to Eudora’s failed attempts to contact the adserver.eudora.com host every 120 seconds. Errors appear in the Task Progress window, which pops to the foreground, halting typing in the previously active window. Maddening!

Switching to Lite or Paid mode would solve the problem, but switching to Lite mode would result in the loss of features, and switching to Paid mode isn’t possible without a registration code, which are no longer available from Qualcomm. One solution, from “apr400” on the Eudora support boards, is to use the ipfw firewall in Mac OS X to block Eudora’s access to its ad server. This approach has been verified to work in Mac OS X 10.4.11, though I haven’t heard from anyone using it in Leopard yet.

Copy the line below, open Terminal, paste the line in, press Return, and enter your administrator password:

sudo ipfw add 099 deny ip from any to 192.190.109.20

What this does is add a rule to the firewall to deny traffic to the IP address of Eudora’s ad server. There are two problems with this approach.

  • First, it lasts only until the next reboot. Annoying, but since Macs don’t need to restart often, it may not be that big of a deal.
  • Second, it prevents you from configuring the firewall in the Firewall screen of the Sharing pane of System Preferences. If you need to do use Apple’s interface again, you can either reboot or delete the rule you just created with this command before relaunching System Preferences:
  • sudo ipfw delete 099

Chris Pepper suggests another approach, which is to trick your Mac into thinking that adserver.eudora.com is actually a local Web server. To do this, you must add the following line to the hosts file in the /etc directory (note that the space between the two items in the line is a tab character; not sure if it matters if it’s a space instead):

127.0.0.2    adserver.eudora.com

The easiest way to do this without resorting to a command-line editor like vi is with Bare Bones Software’s free TextWrangler. Download a copy and launch it. Then follow these steps.

  1. In the Finder, choose Go > Go to Server, and in the dialog that appears, type /etc and press Return to display the /etc directory.
  2. Scroll down to the hosts file and drag it to TextWrangler’s icon in the Dock. You’ll be prompted for your administrator password to open it and to make changes.
  3. Add the line above to the file (I put mine after the 127.0.0.1 line) and save.
  4. Restart.

I can’t verify if this works, not having a copy of Eudora in sponsored mode, but it certainly does prevent adserver.eudora.com from resolving.

More updates as I figure this out…

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