Updated: 14 December
Chebucto Community Net first in Canada
The Chebucto Community Net has become the first community net in Canada to
have its own RSS news feed. Users with an RSS capable newsreader or web
browser such as Mozilla Firefox can now subscribe to this feed and get
all the latest Chebucto news as a live bookmark or read the feed in any
number of other ways. More information on RSS and how to use it can be
RSS news feed
New air conditioner for Chebucto machine room
Workmen this week installed a new five ton air conditioner in the machine
room shared by Chebucto Community Net and the Dalhousie Math Department.
The new air conditioner, which will be working together with the older air
conditioner to keep the main machine room and an annex cool, became a
necessity this year as the Math Department added a number of new servers
for statistical genome research.
Keeping the closed-in machine room cool is of vital importance to offset
the enormous amount of waste heat generated by all the servers. When the
heat exceeds the ability to carry it off, power to the machine room is
automatically cut off. In previous years Chebucto volunteers have manned
the machine room overnight during air conditioning breakdowns so the doors
could be kept open to the outside to let the hot air escape.
Chebucto group organizes
About 5,000 protesters showed up December 1, 2004 in an event organized
by the Halifax Peace
Coalition, a local community group whose website is hosted by Chebucto
Community Net. The protest, to mark the visit to Halifax of controversial
U.S. President George W. Bush, was widely declared to be a success both
for the number of people who turned out and for the fact that the protest
was completely peaceful with Halifax Regional Police reporting zero
protest related arrests.
The Chebucto Beacon Photo
Gallery story can be found here.
Chebucto Plus adding lines
The Chebucto Plus 56 K dialup service is
adding another T1 digital line bringing the total number of available
56 K lines from 92 to 115 lines. The move is in response to an
increasing number of users of the service. Since its implementation in
November 1998, the Chebucto Plus service has
been steadily increasing in size. Access to Chebucto
Plus requires a $100 annual membership in the Chebucto Community
The Chebucto text-only service recently cut five lines from that service
due to lack of use. There are now fifteen lines on the text-only service,
outputting on 33.6 K modems.
New Chebucto Backup Server
In November Chebucto Community Net added a new server to perform onsite
system backups of all the Chebucto servers. This nightly backup provides
insurance against catastrophic system or hard drive failure on any of the
Chebucto servers. Previously system backups were done by Dalhousie
University but there was a desire to bring this in-house both to lessen
the burden on Dalhousie systems and to have better control over the
backups themselves. Access to the backup server is tightly controlled and
plans are underway to add an offsite backup to cover
the possibility of a disaster affecting the Chase Building machine room
It should be pointed out that system backups are not intended as a means
of recovering deleted data or as an undo system for website editing.
System backups are intended to be able to get Chebucto systems online
again as soon as possible in case of major system failure.
Chebucto adds new anti-phishing
A new anti-phishing filter is the latest addition to Chebucto's already
formidable array of email security tools. Phishing is the term used to
describe a type of email fraud where an email will pretend to be from a
bank or eBay, etc. and tries to trick users into sending along
confidential personal account information to the fraud artist. The emails
will use tricks in web code to make the user think they are sending their
information to the real bank or business while they are in fact sending it
to the crooks. The anti-phishing filter can detect these web code tricks
and will substitute a warning and web code that won't work as the crooks
Email fraud is a growth industry and has become very sophisticated in a
short period of time. Chebucto has had effective and user configurable
spam filtering and virus filtering for some time now and the addition of
the anti-phishing filters provides yet another good reason to use Chebucto
email services. Currently more than 94% of incoming email to Chebucto is
spam, scam or virus mail and is successfully filtered out from real mail.
Chebucto Board news
Chris Watt has resigned as Secretary of the Chebucto Community Net due to
time pressures from his job. Tanya Moxley was elected to the Executive
Committee as Secretary at the December Board meeting. The Board of
Directors of the Chebucto Community Net Society are looking for volunteers
interested in becoming a Director and there is currently a vacancy
created by the resignation of Reg Hody. The Chebucto Board meets once a
The Board of Directors is the group of 12 volunteers charged with running
the Chebucto Community Net. Any person with a paid up membership in the
Chebucto Community Net is eligible to become a Director, whether the
membership is Assisted, Full, Supporting, Sustaining or any of the Family
membership categories. Please consider volunteering. Technical knowledge
helpful but not essential. Interested parties can send an email to
email@example.com with a brief write-up about themselves.
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.org
Email client: Mozilla Thunderbird free from Mozilla.org
free and paid versions from Lavasoft.de
Spybot: Search & Destroy free from Safer-networking.org
Firewall: Zone Alarm free and paid versions from Zonelabs.com
FTP Software: FileZilla free from FileZilla.SourceForge.net
The Chebucto Office does not recommend the use of the Internet Explorer
web browser for any use except for accessing Microsoft's own
Windows Update page.
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.
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.
The recommendations for anti-spyware software and firewall software are in
response to an increasing number of user machines that have been
compromised to the point of unusability by advertiser-supported software
and associated spyware and malware. Anti-spyware software can be updated
with new definitions, the same way as anti-virus software is and can scan
and fix problems as anti-virus software can. Note that it is not a
substitute for anti-virus software and our recommendation to our users to
have a good anti-virus program and keep it updated has never changed.
Firewall software is also effective in helping users control their
computer not only as protection against outside network attacks but to
provide control over what programs on the user computer are allowed to
access the internet.
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.
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
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
New 1-800 Access for
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
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.
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.
Chebucto Newspaper Column
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
mousepads may be purchased from the Chebucto Office for $5 each or mailed
out for $15 each. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Chebucto Users still tops in *.NS.CA
SETI, the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, has been processing
their radio telescope data with home users' computers for years now. Using
screensaver which runs whenever the user computer is not in use, SETI
has had more than 2,156,000 years of high quality computer processor time
donated to it.
Of all the computer domains ending in the letters NS.CA, denoting Nova
Scotia, chebucto.ns.ca 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 35,000 results, representing more
than 59 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.
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