Updated: 22 August 2008
All services back to normal!
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
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
Chebucto Wireless update!
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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
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:
Email client: Mozilla Thunderbird free from Mozilla.com
Current version: 22.214.171.124.
All-in-one web browser, email client,
web page editor: Mozilla
SeaMonkey free from
Current version: 1.1.11.
free and paid versions from Lavasoft.de
A-Squared free and paid versions from
Spybot: Search & Destroy free from Safer-networking.org
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
SSH Client: Putty free from
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
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!
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.
Go to the Beacon
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