Friday, September 26, 2008

Gas Crisis - Charlotte, NC completely out of gas

Ever since Ike came rumbling through the Gulf, Charlotte has been stuggling with gas.    It all started about two days before Ike's landfall in TX when gas prices soared from $3.79/gallon to over $5.00/gallon at some stations.   Panic ensued and the gas supply has been hit hard ever since.

The Governor and the Mayor have been promising a "large supply of gas" on Thursday, then Friday, and now promising its arrival by the end of the weekend.  Well that gas delivery hasnt been made yet and I spent the last remaining "comfortable" amount of fuel left in my car in search of more gas.  After checking with seven stations in the area, expending more than 18 miles of fuel, I couldnt find a single gas station that was selling.

Not really sure what to do at this point.

10 Alternative OS's

There is more to life than Windows, OSX, and *Nix after all:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spam Filtering - Challenge / Reposonse -

I have had my personal email address / domain for over 10 years now and with that I get a lot of spam being thrown at it.   Upon a recent check, I get over 800 spam emails per day.

Almost all of the spam I get comes from forged email addresses or non-existent email addresses.  Using this key part of the equation, an open-source software project called TMDA (tagged message delivery agent), will challenge any unrecognized email senders with a simple reply asking them to verify their email address.   If the email sender is forged, then the spammer will never get the challenge and I will never see the email.   If the sender is legit and the message contains spam, I will threaten litigation (I have a legit contact now) with my state's spam email laws.   If the sender is not selling me something, then I get the email as is and their name is entered into a future whitelist.

TMDA manages all of this interaction at the email server level, so it is client agnostic and I never need to see spam email again.   You can obtain more information about this software at the following url:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Installing Ubuntu 8.04 on ASUS EEE-PC 701

I bought an Asus EEE-PC 701 a while back for my wife to use and it came with Windows XP installed on it.  While it was useful for her to browse the web/IM there wasnt much else she could do with it without having to purchase additional software ( Email Programs / Office / Finance / Games / etc)

We decided to install Ubuntu on it instead to get a better selection of programs available.  I found the following guide extremely helpful in getting everything working:

** I was having a problem installing Ubuntu 8.04 from an external USB CDROM Drive.  At about 35 - 36% into the file copy, it I would get:

"The installer encountered an error copying files to the hard disk:

[Errno 5] Input/output error"

I checked the CDROM for defects and it passed.  Tried it a couple of times again with still no luck.  I ended up creating a usb flashdrive installation using the following software and it finally worked. 


BTW: I found this afterwards and may be a good option as well.

Take a bite out of Spam - Firewall spam ridden countries

On average, my personal email address which I have had for close to a decade received about 500-800 spam emails per day.   On top of that, my blog generated about 40-50 spam comments a day.

I joined the IP's of all of the spammers, with the subnetworks found in ARIN, RIPE, APNIC, etc, aggregated the countries and found the far majority of spam originates from China, Korea, and various former Soviet east european countries.

Being an American, I dont have any need for contact with mainland east asia and I decided to block all frequent spam origination sources at the firewall level.  I found a list on the internet a while back that was called the "SinoKorean" firewall script, which the url I got it from has since gone offline.  I have also added the various subnetworks that I receive the most spam from to that list from.

The spam traffic to both my email server and my blog has been reduced close to 60% as a consequence of blocking these IP's

My Linux Iptables firewall script to block frequent spammers is located here:

Monday, September 1, 2008

Wassup Holmes

Maybe its the pleasant re-emergent childhood memories of reading The Hound of the Baskervilles in middle school or the times we poked fun at the Gen-y lingo at college, but whatever it is I find this extremely funny! 

"Wassup Holmes"