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Daily Service Bulletin (M.O.T.D.) Chebucto News Archive Permalink

Updated: 17 December 2007

Spam doubles again!

While ice storms rage outside, inside a steadily increasing volume of junk email keeps flooding Chebucto mail servers. Incoming spam (unsolicited commercial ad) email has more than doubled since August 2007. Chebucto's mail system is laboring under the heavy load but is still keeping ahead of the spam, now comprising an incredible 99% of all incoming mail.

Unfortunately there are no signs that this hurricane of garbage will slow down any time soon. The spam, coming from an ever-growing network or botnet of hijacked home and business computers on high speed connections, doubled last year and the year before and now has doubled again.

Users on high speed connections should make sure their Windows Operating System software is up-to-date, have an up-to-date antivirus program, and are recommended to use a router between their computer and their high speed connection as a firewall. It should go without saying that under no circumstances should anyone ever buy something from a spammer or send money to a spammer, but clearly enough people do to keep the whole criminal enterprise in action. Users at home or at business on a high speed connection who think their computer has become slower should download fresh antivirus software and use it to scan the entire contents of the computer.


Chebucto Wireless update!

Logo: Chebucto Wireless
Software for the nodes of the Chebucto Wireless service has had a major redesign over the last couple of months. The new software design uses software virtual machines for additional node system control and stability. There has been a lot of work put into stabilizing the hardware and software so the final nodes require the minimum of ongoing maintenance.

The main transmitter for the Chebucto Wireless service has been broadcasting the free local access service from the top of Fenwick Place on a test basis for the last couple of months. This test signal is not representative of the final Chebucto Wireless service, where users would be connecting to close-by wireless nodes on the ground rather than long distance to the Fenwick Place roof.

The first area to have access to the Chebucto Wireless service is in South-end Halifax just to the North of Fenwick Place, an area roughly bordered by Morris Street, South Park Street, Clyde Street and Queen Street. People with wireless 802.11g network adaptors living in the area should look for the Chebucto Wireless SSID. Full network access will not be available while equipment is being tested and reception areas are mapped.

In recent onsite tests of the transmitting equipment a clear high speed internet connection was made over 510 metres away from the rooftop Fenwick Place transmitter with an ordinary laptop computer with no external antenna.

The Chebucto Community Net plans to bring non-profit high-speed Internet to the metro Halifax area by building a mesh network of wireless nodes hosted by users themselves.

Chebucto Wireless would offer free public access to local metro and government websites and full Internet access to Chebucto Plus level memberships, currently $100 per year for individuals.

The areas to be served by the new wireless access will be determined by the residents of metro themselves.

Chebucto is looking for residents able to host wireless nodes, the cornerstone of the network, and when we get enough nodes in a neighbourhood, we can look at bringing network access where it is needed. A node sign-up form is online here.

Chebucto's project was the cover story of The Coast's August 3, 2006 issue. It was first announced to members at the Annual General Meeting this past April.


Mousepad finds new homes!

Chebucto Community Net's computer advice column The Mousepad has found a new real world home in local newspapers Bedford-Sackville Weekly News, Dartmouth-Cole Harbour Weekly News and Halifax West-Clayton Park Weekly News. Appearing every two weeks, subject to space limitations, The Mousepad offers a mix of answers to user computer questions and how-to columns for computer users looking to broaden their computer horizons.

The Mousepad was started in January 2003 by Mark Alberstat and was published in the Sunday Chronicle Herald until August 2007.


Help promote Chebucto!

We need your help. We invite our members and supporters to help promote the Chebucto Community Net in the community by printing off and distributing Chebucto brochures and posters from our website.


Chebucto services maintenance window

The 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.


Chebucto Community Net RSS how-to guide

Chebucto Community Net has posted a guide on how to use our RSS news feed here: chebucto.ca/rss/

Our RSS feed is our way of letting people know fast about important software updates and security alerts as well as new developments at Chebucto. Stay informed with the news as soon as we have it ourselves with our RSS news feed.


Updated - Recommended software list

With 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
Current version: 2.0.0.11.

Email client: Mozilla Thunderbird free from Mozilla.org
Current version: 2.0.0.9.

All-in-one web browser, email client,
web page editor: Mozilla SeaMonkey
free from Mozilla.org
Current version: 1.1.7.

Anti-Spyware Software:

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

SSH Client: Putty free from Simon Tatham

The Chebucto Office does not recommend using the Internet Explorer web browser for any use except for accessing Microsoft's own Windows Update page. The popular web browser has been repeatedly successfully 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.

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!

[Photo: Cool Chebucto hat - click to see larger photo]   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.



 

 

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