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Updated: 3 June 2004

Message Of The Day Chebucto News Archive

New lens for Chebucto webcam

[Photo: New lens on webcam.] Chebucto Community Net's popular Fenwick Place Webcam has gotten a new lens to replace the four-year old lens which had started to malfunction. The webcam image now remains focussed when light levels are low. Daytime images are clearer too. Hits to the popular webcam have risen since the new lens was installed, from an average 5,000 a day to more than 13,000 a day recorded this week. Chebucto's Technical Committee is already making plans to cope with the anticipated high load on the webserver during the upcoming Tall Ships 2004 visit, July 29 - August 2.

During Tall Ships 2000, the Chebucto Webcam was receiving 5,000 hits a minute - more than 1.5 million hits for the week long visit. During the final Parade of Sail the webcam was manned and following the action. Weather permitting, Chebucto will be covering the 2004 Parade of Sail live.

Chebucto joins ACORN-NS

Chebucto Community Net has joined ACORN-NS, the Atlantic Canada Organization of Research Networks - Nova Scotia. As a result, Chebucto users can now enjoy the best possible connections to universities, schools and major Canadian research centres, with routes in some cases more than ten hops shorter than this time last month. Each hop between two computers adds lag time to all communications between them; the fewer hops, the better and faster the connection. Chebucto Community Net is now peered with all the major Nova Scotia networks except Aliant, the telephone company, which for reasons of its own will not enter into a peer relationship with any local Nova Scotia network. In a peer network, all traffic is treated as if it was local, thus is faster, more direct and there is no cost for bandwidth between the peers.

In addition to the network benefits from belonging to ACORN-NS, Chebucto Community Net is now part of a number of major projects ACORN-NS is involved in, such as the Metro Dark Fiber initiative, which is putting in high speed networking capacity for future use around Halifax.

Spam to users is down!

Most Chebucto users have noticed a dramatic decrease in the amount of spam they have been receiving. Chebucto has started using a number of different blocking lists with great success. A recent trend among spammers has been to use unsuspecting home user computers to send out their spam for them. Typically the home user computer is infected with a virus which then leaves it with an open port listening for instructions. The computer then is told to download spam from a central source and send it out using its own internet connection. The computer owner is usually unaware anything is going on except their computer seems to be acting slower.

New blocking services keep a record of the IP addresses of these zombie machines and refuse to accept any mail sent from them. It appears that a very large portion of the recent increase of spam is from such machines, which are traded amongst spammers for as low as ten cents apiece. If you want to be sure that your computer is safe as possible, users with Windows machines should keep their Operating System updated at the Microsoft Windows Update site and all users should run a recent anti-virus program and keep their virus definitions updated.

The growth in the amount of spam and virus mail hitting Chebucto has generated a lot of user feedback and questions. A letter was sent out to all Chebucto users explaining the current situation. Chebucto's two email servers are now receiving and processing around 100,000 email messages a day.

Chebucto AGM Report

[Graphic: Chebucto Community Net 10th AGM.]  About forty members turned out for the tenth Annual General Meeting of the Chebucto Community Net Society held Thursday, April 8th at 7:30 PM in Room 406 of the Dalhousie Arts Centre. Click on the AGM graphic to see the full reports presented at the meeting.

Four members of the Board of Directors stood for re-election: Mark Alberstat, Reg Hody, Treasurer Bernie Hart and Chair Marilyn MacDonald. Joining them were Tom Daly from the Halifax Regional Development Agency and Tanya Moxley from the Halifax Region Community Access Program. All six were elected by acclamation for a two year term.

Volunteers Mark Alberstat, Ed Dyer and Chris Wood were each honored with a certificate of appreciation presented by Chair Marilyn MacDonald. A reception held after the AGM drew a healthy crowd to the Arts Centre Sculpture Court.

New 1-800 Access for Plus!

Chebucto Plus users needing dialup access while travelling across North America can now connect using a toll-free 1-800 Access number. Time on the 1-800 Access line is booked in advance in one or two hour increments, $6.00 per hour or $10 for two hours. 1-800 Access details here

The 1-800 Access service has been a popular request for some time now. For the present, 1-800 Access is good only from anywhere in North America but if demand is sufficiently high, it could conceivably be expanded in the future.

When we were ten

Chebucto Community Net is celebrating its first decade and we're looking for ideas and people interested in helping out with organizing the festivities. If you are interested in helping out, please get in touch with the Chebucto Community Net office here.

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.

Chebucto Newspaper Column Give-aways!

[Photo: New Chebucto Mousepad] Chebucto's Mousepad newspaper column, written by Chebucto Board member Mark Alberstat with occasional help from some fellow Chebucto volunteers, is now archived here at Chebucto. The column is published every second week in the Sunday Chronicle Herald. The Mousepad focuses on computers and internet technologies and how they can be used by people for an almost infinite variety of purposes. People can write in questions to the column and if they are used they will get a cool new Chebucto Community Net mousepad. Email questions to the Mousepad at

Chebucto mousepads may be purchased from the Chebucto Office for $5 each or mailed out for $15 each. Contact to order.

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 1,946,000 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, producing more than double the results of both the government of Nova Scotia and the vast resources of EdNet, the schools network combined. Current stats here. Chebucto users have sent in more than 30,000 results, representing more than 55 years of CPU time that would otherwise have been wasted.

In project news, re-observation of 226 points in the sky containing many of the best candidates generated from the first two years of SETI@home data has resulted in no positive matches. Researchers are currently working to identify a new set of candidates for re-observation using the remaining data while more comprehensive sky surveys using newer hardware are carried out.

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. Mozilla Thunderbird, available free for Windows, Macintosh and Linux from Mozilla.Org is a popular alternative.



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