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

Updated: 22 August 2008

[EXTRA!]
All services back to normal!

[Graph: This week's mail.]

As of 8:30 PM, Friday, August 22, all Chebucto services are running normally. All backlogged mail has been delivered. The graph above showing the past week's queued mail tells the tale of a record-breaking 1.35 million mail message backlog. Red is the main server, which sorts and delivers processed email. The blue and green graphs below show mail on the mail scanning servers. Gaps are where the server was either down, had no queued mail, or was not reporting information. The graph starts with last Friday and a planned university-wide power outage. Note the tiny email backlog Saturday resulting from being offline during the Friday overnight power outage compared to the dramatic increase in incoming email during the weekdays.

During last Friday's planned power outage, staff installed extra UPS backup batteries for longer systems uptime during power outages and rearranged equipment on the machine room racks. As a result, Chebucto services now have an uptime of about an hour during a total power outage, with some services able to stay online even longer than that, up from ten to fifteen minutes uptime previously.

Sunday the Chebucto main server began mysteriously shutting down for no readily apparent reason. The main server, which sorts mail, controls user mail access, and hosts most of the Chebucto Community Net website, has been in stable use since 2003. The problem was eventually determined, after around-the-clock swapping out of hardware and testing, to be from overheating CPUs and was fixed Tuesday evening with additional refrigerated air being piped directly to the main server.

A backlog of email from the server downtime, 1.35 million messages at its peak early Tuesday evening (August 19, 2008), was mostly delivered when new junkmail started flooding in, raising the mail queue to 1.33 million messages Thursday evening. By processing about two days worth of mail in a single day, all backlogged mail has now been delivered.

In a typical relatively-heavy spam day, anywhere from 1.1 million to 1.3 million messages are received by Chebucto servers. Of these, 3,000 to 7,000 messages are legitimate email and the rest of the 1.3 million messages are junk mail, with around 5,000 to 10,000 virus-laden emails thrown in for good measure. Incoming email is scanned for viruses, scanned to determine if the message is junk or not then it is sent on to Chebucto's main server for delivery. Volumes of spam mail have been doubling and sometimes tripling every few months.

Plans are to replace the Chebucto main server with a more powerful 4 CPU Enterprise-class server we've had donated to us sometime in the near future.



Chebucto Wireless update!

Logo: Chebucto Wireless
Chebucto Wireless is online. Hardware to construct wireless nodes is on order and a number of node host candidates will be contacted in the next few weeks about becoming live nodes.

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. 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 now brings non-profit high-speed Internet to the metro Halifax area with a mesh network of wireless nodes hosted by users themselves.

Chebucto Wireless offers 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. There's a map here.

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.


Mousepad celebrates 5th year!

Chebucto Community Net's computer advice column The Mousepad celebrated its fifth anniversary in January. There have been 130 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 for Windows 2000, XP, Vista: 3.01
Current version for Windows 98, ME, and later: 2.0.0.16.

Email client: Mozilla Thunderbird free from Mozilla.com
Current version: 2.0.0.16.

All-in-one web browser, email client,
web page editor: Mozilla SeaMonkey
free from Mozilla.org
Current version: 1.1.11.

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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