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Updated: 8 December 2002

Message Of The Day Chebucto News Archive

56 K beta testing almost complete

Chebucto Plus 56 K logo Beta testing of the new Chebucto Plus 56 K dialup service continues this week with a team of 37 volunteers. According to Technical Committee Chair Ed Dyer, the new service could be activated for all Chebucto Plus users as early as next week. There will likely be an announcement mailed out to users prior to the switch-over.

While some more configuration remains to be done, the majority of the beta testers are reporting good connections and increased speeds: the average worst reported speed from the second survey sent out to beta testers was 39.7 K and the average reported best speed was 45.6 K. About a quarter of the beta testers have reported getting randomly disconnected or making low speed connections and about ten percent have reported problems getting a connection. The Technical Committee believes that changing some more settings on the Chebucto side should take care of most of these issues.

Machine room construction going well

[Photo: Empty machine room] Dalhousie Math Department computers have been removed from the machine room shared with the Chebucto Community Net in preparation for major construction work. Chebucto's own machines, pictured here next to the white air conditioner, have been pushed back against the rear wall so workers can remove the old flooring and cables. So far there have been only minor disruptions of service lasting a few minutes caused by the work, which is supposed to be completed soon. An annex to the machine room has already been completed.

Spam storm causes mail delays

Chebucto Community Net's spam and virus filtering mail server has been laboring under heavy loads several times this past week due to massive surges in the amount of incoming spam, causing temporary delays in arriving email of up to several hours. Spam, or unsolicited commercial email, has become a huge problem all over the Internet. Spam is now estimated to make up 40% of all email and the amount of spam has more than tripled in the last year. As if this was not enough, spammers have more and more been using innocent people's addresses as the From: and Reply-to: addresses in spam, so these innocent people are then deluged with thousands of bounced messages, abuse and remove requests a day.

Advice to users is unchanged: delete the spam and never, ever respond to it even to "remove yourself from their mailing list" (which is always a lie), and never, ever buy a spam-advertised product. Supposedly only one person in a thousand buys the spam-advertised product but that is enough to keep all the spammers in business.

Chebucto now accepts four credit cards

Chebucto can now accept payment by holders of Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover credit cards. Previous to this, only Visa cards could be accepted and processed. A recent switch in credit card processing services has proven far more versatile and Chebucto is paying a substantially lower processing fee than before.

Alert: More Windows updates

Chebucto advises all users of the Windows Operating System to keep updated with the latest security updates from Microsoft. There are major security holes in the Microsoft Windows Operating System, Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser and Microsoft's Outlook Express email program which can be fixed with software patches from Microsoft's Windows Update site.

Unpatched versions of these Microsoft products are vulnerable to many viruses, worms, trojan programs and exploits where hostile users can get access to your computer and files. Users are advised to keep current with Service Packs and Critical Updates for Microsoft products.

Chebucto Users still tops in *.NS.CA SETI processing

SETI, 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 1,244,000 years of high quality computer processor time donated to it.

Of all the computer domains ending in the letters NS.CA, denoting Nova Scotia, now ranks number one, beating out both the government of Nova Scotia and the vast resources of EdNet, the schools network. Current stats here. Chebucto users have sent in more than 16,800 results, representing more than 35.9 years of CPU time that would otherwise have been wasted.

Outlook user email advisory

After the continuing wave of viruses specifically targetting users of 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.

Windows Users can find a selection of email programs available for download here and Macintosh users can find a selection of email programs here.



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