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Serving Your Community's Online Needs Since 1994.
Updated: 21 July 2005
Chebucto adds new Secure Mail servicesIn another first first for Chebucto Community Net, new Chebucto Secure Mail Services were brought online this week. It is now possible to receive Chebucto mail using several different methods with the security of 256 bit strong encryption, better than the 128 bit internet encryption many banks use for their online services. With Chebucto Secure Mail, no one with access to the internet connection between you and Chebucto can see your password or read your mail. 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.
Full documentation of how to use secure WebMail, secure POP3, secure IMAP and even Chebucto's text service and PINE using secure SSH is online.
Chebucto Community Net is 11 years old!June 2005 marked the eleventh anniversary of the Chebucto Community Net, Canada's second oldest community net. There are currently no plans for any celebration and the event passed without attracting any attention from Halifax's news media but we here at Chebucto do take great pride in maintaining a high quality and ever-expanding array of services to our members and users under increasingly more challenging circumstances.
The Chebucto Board of Directors, staff and volunteers here at Chebucto wish to thank all of our members and donors, without whose continuing support Halifax, Nova Scotia's non-profit, volunteer-based online provider since 1994 would not be possible.
Chebucto webcam still downThe main Chebucto webcam continues to be plagued with problems, refusing to produce a usable picture. Work on the camera continues and in the mean time volunteers are testing other cameras and software.
Chebucto Plus memberships hit new record for May, JuneThe Chebucto Plus 56 K dialup service set new records for both May and June. In May there were 76 Chebucto Plus memberships compared to 54 the previous May. June saw more modest growth going from 68 to 69 Plus memberships but a record is still a record. Text service renewals continue to decline.
New backup power supplies mean longer uptimeNew UPS backup power supply batteries arrived last week. When fully setup they should provide about two hours of uptime for Chebucto services during power outages. Current Chebucto UPS backup power is good for about ten minutes - just long enough to ride out short power service disruptions and shut down servers properly without damage. The heavy UPS units are already in the machine room and charged up while arrangements are being made to transfer and balance the load from the various servers. Any system downtime for hookups will be announced in advance on the Chebucto Message of the Day
Chebucto Board progress on initiativesChebucto's Board of Directors has approved two initiatives to boost the organization's profile and to attract new members. It has also appointed two teams to bring the projects forward. The two closely allied initiatives came out of discussions which occurred during the Retreat on Chebucto's future, held in February and March of this year.
The first project will create a program for recruiting volunteers to contact individuals and groups in the community and to make them aware of what our non-profit, volunteer-based organization--the second oldest of its kind in Canada--has to offer. The second will create a business plan and marketing strategy for Chebucto.
Heading up the first project team is Bill Matheson, working with Board colleagues Marni Tuttle, Alan Turner and Tanya Moxley. The second project team is headed by Bob Ashley, working with Dale Crory and Tanya Moxley.
The Retreat process involved a major survey of Chebucto members which asked for their thoughts and ideas about our organizations's future development. Members, friends and supporters are encouraged to be in touch with the project teams and to provide their additional input. Contact email@example.com
Chebucto services maintenance windowThe Chebucto Technical Committee wishes to advise Chebucto users of upcoming regularly scheduled planned maintenance downtimes. Chebucto Community Net services may be unavailable between 3:30 AM and 4:30 AM Tuesdays to allow for system upgrades. Some or all Chebucto services may go down with minimum or no warning during this maintenance window as systems are shut down and restarted.
Chebucto Community Net RSS how-to guideChebucto Community Net has posted a guide on how to use our RSS news feed here: chebucto.ca/rss/
By putting up an RSS news feed, Chebucto Community Net is now able to alert our users and supporters in a fast and timely manner not only to important Chebucto news but also important general news such as new critical updates to widely used software or new security or scam alerts. We hope that people will take advantage of this new service to keep themselves informed fast and easy.
Updated - Recommended software listWith 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 Microsoft Windows.
Web browser: Mozilla Firefox free from Mozilla.org
Email client: Mozilla Thunderbird free from Mozilla.org
Firewall: Zone Alarm free and paid versions from Zonelabs.com
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 RSSOwl.Org
The Chebucto Office does not recommend using the Internet Explorer web browser for any use except for accessing Microsoft's own Windows Update page. Internet Explorer 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.
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. The three anti-spyware programs we recommend can all be used on the same computer without problem.
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.
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.
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