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

Updated: 18 February 2008

Chebucto Wireless update!

Logo: Chebucto Wireless
Development continues on Chebucto's wireless node software. Stability of the wireless nodes continues to be an issue and the software is undergoing yet another re-design. Tests of the new software design will take place this week.

Development of the Chebucto Wireless project has been slow. There have been physical stability issues with donated hardware, driver issues with wireless network cards working under Linux, temperature issues with transmitter hardware and much general bug-fixing. There has been a lot of progress made however and in developer Johnathan Thibodeau's words, "We are closer than ever before to the finished product".

The Chebucto Wireless project is an ambitious design to bring secure low-cost high-speed wireless internet access to Metro residents. There has been interest in the project from community nets and other groups across Canada.

There has been zero development money from any outside source and all work on the wireless project has been in addition to the regular technical maintenance that Chebucto requires to keep operating.

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 Board news

The Chebucto Community Net Board of Directors has had two members resign. New Board member Matthew Newton, who was appointed to the Board after last year's Annual General Meeting to complete the second year of resigned Board member Tom Daly's two year term tendered his resignation at the beginning of February 2008.

[Photo: Ed Dyer] Long-time Chebucto volunteer and Board member Ed Dyer has resigned from his multiple posts as Vice-Chair of the Board effective May 2008, as Chair of the Technical Committee and as Chebucto Postmaster. He was elected to the Board for his fourth consecutive two year term at the April 2007 Annual General Meeting. Long-time Chebucto volunteer and technical staff Johnathan Thibodeau will be taking over the Technical Committee Chair and sharing Postmaster duties with Andrew D. Wright.

Ed Dyer, one of the last three original Chebucto volunteers still actively involved with the running of the community net was recognized several times over the years for his volunteer efforts with Chebucto. He will be very sorely missed and we all wish him the very best for the future.


High spam volumes continue

[Chart: Spam increase]

Spam levels remain high two months after the Christmas season peak. The amount of spam (unsolicited commercial email) doubled between August and December 2007. Currently more than 710,000 messages are being received each day, with between one and three per cent being legitimate mail.

Chebucto's mail filtering servers have been keeping up with the ongoing flood of junk mail, which has caused higher than normal system loads and congested mailing lists, creating added work to administer them. 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.

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.


Mousepad celebrates 5th year!

Chebucto Community Net's computer advice column The Mousepad celebrated its fifth anniversary in January. There have been 125 Mousepad columns written since the first column was published in the Sunday Herald in January 2003. Originally written by Mark Alberstat, since June 2006 it has been written by Andrew D. Wright. The column is currently published 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.


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 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.com
Current version: 2.0.0.12.

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

All-in-one web browser, email client,
web page editor: Mozilla SeaMonkey
free from Mozilla.org
Current version: 1.1.8.

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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