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Serving Your Community's Online Needs Since 1994.


Updated: 7 July 2004

Message Of The Day Chebucto News Archive

New secure online renewals

The Chebucto Community Net is pleased to announce that we can now offer secure online credit card payments for Chebucto membership renewals and service fees. The new service, available from our home page or directly here, uses Internet standard 256 bit high-grade encryption to transmit credit card information securely to Chebucto's server in Halifax. Once there the information is stored using 1024 bit encryption. Transactions are processed next business day.

There is currently no known way to break 256 bit encryption except to try all possible 256 bit keys. There are 1.1 x 10 77 (a number with 77 zeroes after the one) such keys and estimates on how long to try them all range into several hundred trillion years. The 1024 bit encryption used to store the information on Chebucto's server has 1.7 x 10 313 possible keys and is even more secure. The service is temporarily using a secure certificate issued by the Chebucto Community Net which users must accept before they can access the site. This temporary certificate offers the same 256 bit encryption as a regular secure certificate.

Incoming mail more than 92% garbage

chart of June 2004 mail

In June 2004, Chebucto Community Net received 2,312,880 pieces of mail. Of this amount, 1,898,924 pieces (82.10%) were tagged as spam and 241,204 pieces (10.43%) were caught as viruses. A mere 7.47% of the mail was delivered to user mailboxes or 172,752 emails.

In the chart above, daily mail totals for the month of June 2004 are represented. Blue is the total amount of mail that came in that day, dark red is the spam, orange is viruses and finally green is the mail delivered to user mailboxes. A small portion of the delivered mail is actually spam that slipped through the spam filters, but there is no way to determine how much of that there is.

Chebucto marks 10th anniversary with newspaper features

Graphic: Chebucto in the Herald. In celebration of Chebucto Community Net's first decade serving our community, full page feature length ads were taken out with the Halifax Herald and the Halifax Daily News. The large ads, a first for Chebucto, were a special project of the Chebucto External Committee, chaired by Marilyn MacDonald, and there has been much positive feedback from them including some new account signups.

It has long been felt that despite Chebucto's place in history as the oldest independent Internet Service Provider in Nova Scotia and the second oldest community net in Canada (after Ottawa's National Capital Freenet), there are many people in the community unaware of what we are and what we have to offer. The ads tell some of the story of Chebucto, give some useful security tips for home computers and tell about account options for individuals, non-profit groups and small businesses.

Internet Explorer not safe to use

Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser, used by the majority of people on the Internet and bundled with the Microsoft Windows Operating System has been the subject of a number of reports recently pointing out vulnerabilities and security issues. The popular web browser has been 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.

In light of this continuing and worsening problem, we recommend to our users not to use the Internet Explorer web browser (except for accessing Microsoft's own Windows Update site). We recommend users download and use the free Open Source Mozilla Firefox web browser, available for download at no cost at Other browsers are available for users to use as well. A list of web browsers available for download can be found here. Please note that many of these listed browsers are still using Internet Explorer as their base.

While Microsoft has put up many Internet Explorer related patches on their Windows Update site and we strongly recommend users download these patches, there are almost daily accounts of other, still unpatched, security issues. Still, many users of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Internet Explorer do not keep up to date with patches, leaving themselves particularly vulnerable to having their computers exploited. Chebucto Community Net has the policy of immediately suspending Internet access for computers which have been detected as being infected.

Chebucto gets visitor from Florida

Photo: Don Tate and Johnathan Thibodeau. Don Tate (in the back of the picture behind technical staff member Johnathan Thibodeau), curator of the incredible geneaology resource Newfoundland's Grand Banks hosted by Chebucto, stopped in for a visit from his home in Florida. He was given a tour of the Chebucto Community Net machine room and spoke about future plans for the website. The NGB site is now the number one source of online information about Newfoundland's peoples and their roots and is run as a non-profit endeavour by Don Tate and a team of dedicated researchers.

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 two months ago. 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.

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 1,986,000 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 31,000 results, representing more than 56 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. The SETI software is in the process of being upgraded and is now integrated with BOINC, a distributed computing platform which will allow home users to split their computing power among different projects at the same time.

Outlook user email advisory

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.

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 is a popular alternative.



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