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Updated: 10 May 2005
Chebucto AGM 2005 newsAbout thirty Chebucto Community Net members attended the 11th Annual General Meeting of the Chebucto Community Net Society April 14th, 2005. A short film on the Chebucto Fenwick Place webcam and Chebucto machine room opened the meeting.
Six Board members were elected by acclamation; returning for fresh two year terms are Ed Dyer, Bill Matheson and John McKay and joining the Board are new directors Bob Ashley, Dale Crory and Marni Tuttle.
Policy Committee Chair Andrew D. Wright announced several membership changes. The present Sustaining membership is being renamed to Chebucto Plus membership. The present Family Sustaining membership will no longer be offered but existing Family Sustaining memberships will be allowed to renew. Two new categories of membership will be offered that come with Chebucto Plus 56 K dialup access: Chebucto Plus Quarterly membership, which allows users to pay for an annual membership in four installments, rather than all at once; and a new Chebucto Plus Family membership category, which lets a family sign up for an internet connection and family member email accounts all in one go. The full Policy Committee Annual Report can be found here.
Chebucto webcam still downA trip last week to install the new Fenwick Place webcam on the roof of Halifax's tallest building met with failure. Chebucto volunteers Johnathan Thibodeau and Andrew D. Wright brought the webcam, its new stronger mounting arm and replacement power and video cable to the top of the the 98 meter skyscraper but were unable to get an image from the camera itself. Everything has been taken back to the Chebucto Community Net office for further testing. It is hoped that the problem can be tracked down and fixed shortly.
Chebucto services maintenance windowThe Chebucto Technical Committee wishes to advise Chebucto users of upcoming regularly scheduled planned maintenance downtimes. Chebucto Community Net services may be unavailable between 3:30 AM and 4:30 AM Tuesdays to allow for system upgrades. Some or all Chebucto services may go down with minimum or no warning during this maintenance window as systems are shut down and restarted.
Alan Turner New Board MemberLong-time Chebucto member Alan Turner has joined the Board of Directors of the Chebucto Community Net. He was appointed by the present Chebucto Board to complete the term of resigned director Reg Hody, elected at the April 2004 Annual General Meeting. Alan Turner brings years of experience serving on various local community organizations to Chebucto's Board.
The Board of Directors is the group of 12 volunteers charged with running the Chebucto Community Net. Any person with a paid up membership in the Chebucto Community Net is eligible to become a Director, whether the membership is Assisted, Full, Supporting, Sustaining or any of the Family membership categories. At each year's Annual General Meeting, usually held in April, six Board members come up for election for a two year term.
Chebucto Community Net RSS how-to guideChebucto Community Net has posted a guide on how to use our RSS news feed here: chebucto.ca/rss/
By putting up an RSS news feed, Chebucto Community Net is now able to alert our users and supporters in a fast and timely manner not only to important Chebucto news but also important general news such as new critical updates to widely used software or new security or scam alerts. We hope that people will take advantage of this new service to keep themselves informed fast and easy.
Updated - Recommended software listWith the recent interest in Internet security and the rise in various exploits meant to take over user machines, the Chebucto Office has compiled this list of recommended software for user computers running Microsoft Windows.
Web browser: Mozilla Firefox free from Mozilla.org
Email client: Mozilla Thunderbird free from Mozilla.org
Firewall: Zone Alarm free and paid versions from Zonelabs.com
Free anti-virus programs for home users (Note that both of these programs also have paid versions which offer additional features):
FTP Software: FileZilla free from FileZilla.SourceForge.net
RSS Newsfeed Reader: RSSOwl free from RSSOwl.Org
The Chebucto Office does not recommend using the Internet Explorer web browser for any use except for accessing Microsoft's own Windows Update page. Internet Explorer has been the subject of a number of reports recently pointing out vulnerabilities and security issues. The popular web browser has been targetted by virus writers in particular seeking to break into home computers to use them for criminal purposes such as sending out spam, sending out viruses to break into other computers and being used to disrupt services on other computer systems.
After many reports about vulnerabilities for Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express email programs, and the constant stream of user complaints about randomly altered program settings and difficulty using the program, the Chebucto Community Net Office and the Chebucto Technical Committee recommend our users do not use either Outlook or Outlook Express as their email program.
The recommendations for anti-spyware software and firewall software are in response to an increasing number of user machines that have been compromised to the point of unusability by advertiser-supported software and associated spyware and malware. Anti-spyware software can be updated with new definitions, the same way as anti-virus software is and can scan and fix problems as anti-virus software can. Note that it is not a substitute for anti-virus software and our recommendation to our users to have a good anti-virus program and keep it updated has never changed. The three anti-spyware programs we recommend can all be used on the same computer without problem.
Firewall software is also effective in helping users control their computer not only as protection against outside network attacks but to provide control over what programs on the user computer are allowed to access the internet.
Keeping Microsoft Windows up to date is also very important. Windows XP users should have Service Pack 2 installed. All Microsoft Windows users should make a point of using Internet Explorer to visit the Microsoft Windows Update site at least once a month and download all critical updates.
Cool Chebucto hats available!
We have available these excellent quality Chebucto Community Net hats. Click on photo to see larger version. These fashionable stone coloured washed cotton Chino twill hats are low fitting with adjustable strap and antique silver ring buckle for a perfect fit and are embroidered with the Chebucto Community Net logo and web address. Machine washable and drip dry with a pre curved peak, this hat will provide years of comfortable wear as well as showing your support for Halifax's own one-of-a-kind independent Community Net.
You can get your very own Chebucto Community Net hat from the Chebucto office for $20 or we can mail it out to you for an additional $10.
Chebucto Users still tops in *.NS.CA SETI processingSETI, the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, has been processing their radio telescope data with home users' computers for years now. Using an innovative screensaver which runs whenever the user computer is not in use, SETI has had more than 2,286,000 years of high quality computer processor time donated to it.
Of all the computer domains ending in the letters NS.CA, denoting Nova Scotia, chebucto.ns.ca now ranks number one, producing more than double the results of both the government of Nova Scotia and the vast resources of EdNet, the schools network combined. Current stats here. Chebucto users have sent in more than 37,000 results, representing more than 61 years of CPU time that would otherwise have been wasted.
In project news, re-observation of 226 points in the sky containing many
of the best candidates generated from the first two years of SETI@home
data has resulted in no positive matches. Researchers are currently
working to identify a new set of candidates for re-observation using the
remaining data while more comprehensive sky surveys using newer hardware
are carried out. The SETI software is in the process of being upgraded and
is now integrated with BOINC, a distributed computing
platform which will allow home users to split their computing power among
different projects at the same time.
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