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Serving Your Community's Online Needs Since 1994.
Updated: 4 December 2006
Chebucto to stay up during planned power outageChebucto's technical team are going to use an industrial generator to keep all services online during a seven hour planned power outage Tuesday evening December 5th. The bold plan will involve volunteers camping out with the generator most of the night in the otherwise power-free Chase Building while major electrical work is carried out.
A second major power outage is scheduled for the evening of December 19,
this time affecting most of Dalhousie University. Current plans are for
volunteers to camp out with the generator again that night.
Spam levels up, new tools implementedA more than 300% increase in the levels of incoming spam over the last six weeks appears to be permanent. Chebucto's new and improved mail scanning servers are up to the task and there is no delay in incoming mail.
To combat these extraordinary levels of junk, making up much more than 90% of all incoming mail, mail scanning software has been augmented with additional scanning rules. A memorial gift from anti-spam resource Spamhaus in honour of noted Chebucto spam fighter Norman De Forest has been put into service and doubled the scanning efficiency of the mail scanning servers.
Currently Chebucto has three mail scanning machines active, the newest being able to scan between 400 - 600 messages a minute.
The latest deluge of junk mail, mostly promoting garbage penny stocks, weight-loss and pharmaceutical products, is hitting mail servers all over the Internet. It is coming from botnets - hijacked home computers, vulnerable to takeover because they have not been kept upgraded and patched. These zombie computers are now being linked up to tens of thousands of other hijacked computers to act in unison sending out uncountable billions of junk emails.
The spam itself is cleverly designed to make it difficult to filter,
containing random text and inline graphic files that are altered for every
individual spam. A certain amount of junk mail will pass by any mail
filter. When the amount of incoming junk mail keeps increasing as well as
being more difficult to filter, that certain amount starts to grow in
terms of actual numbers of delivered spam.
Chebucto wifi development ongoingDevelopment work continues slowly with the current mail system issues and upcoming major power outages taking up almost all staff time. Johnathan Thibodeau has constructed a directional antenna for use by wifi nodes, the backbone of the new wifi system. The antenna will be finished and tested in the near future.
The Chebucto Community Net plans to bring non-profit high-speed Internet to the metro Halifax area by building a mesh network of wireless nodes hosted by users themselves.
Currently in active development, Chebucto's plan would offer free public access to local metro and government websites and full Internet access to Chebucto Plus level memberships, currently $100 per year for individuals.
The areas to be served by the new wireless access will be determined by the residents of metro themselves.
Chebucto is looking for residents able to host wireless nodes, the cornerstone of the network, and when we get enough nodes in a neighbourhood, we can look at bringing network access where it is needed. A node sign-up form is online here.
Big mailboxes still on the wayWork continues, albeit slowly, on the plan to greatly expand the size of Chebucto mailboxes. Hardware for the expansion has been purchased and is in place. Software configuration is mostly complete except for some final software installation to be done on Chebucto's main server.
Progress has been delayed due to the recent increase in incoming junk mail and lack of technical volunteer time.
Chebucto's mail system, which offers more mail options than any other internet service provider, has been custom written, evolving over the past thirteen years tightly integrated with the rest of the software running on Chebucto's main server.
The mail system is being re-organized from top to bottom. The first
priority is to make sure it all works properly before the switch rather
than rush to get it into place. Chebucto supports many different ways to
access email - the standard POP3 and IMAP as well as Webmail and our
text-only inline PINE. We also support strong encryption for all forms of
email access on Chebucto.
Help promote Chebucto!We invite our members and supporters to help promote the Chebucto Community Net in the community by printing off and distributing Chebucto brochures and posters from our website.
We have added a new brochure for promoting our new wireless service in
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/
Our RSS feed is our way of letting people know fast about important software updates and security alerts as well as new developments at Chebucto. Stay informed with the news as soon as we have it ourselves with our RSS news feed.
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. The popular web browser has been repeatedly successfully 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.
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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