Saturday, August 16
It looks like my trusty Netgear Firewall/Router with built-in 8 port switch, my faithful D-Link DSL-300 Ethernet ADSL Modem, and my ever-reliable (ha!) Windows XP system had all decided to go on strike. After rebooting the modem (once), the Windows box (once) and the router (twice), I'm back on air.
Things were so messed up that even the switch part of the router wasn't working, and my whole home network was down.
Meh! Meh, I say!
Well, at least I'm not off the net for the whole weekend. And my boss did let me go home early, even though I hadn't finished the reports.
Speaking of which, my boss said something interesting today. He said: Addition is commutative. Which is true, and fairly basic, but how many managers have you known who actually knew that?
I got a message on my mobile from Telstra to call them regarding my home phone service. (I missed the call by about half a second.)
Sure enough, pings to my home network are failing.
So I call Telstra on the number given in the message, and I get the usual message that they are busier than usual and I'll have to wait. After a moderately interminable period, a woman comes on the line and asks me for my phone number and account details. (Which I have already given to the computer system which answers the calls.) Then she puts me back on hold.
After another interminable wait, a guy comes on the line and asks me for my phone number and account details. (Again.) I tell him I got a message to call, and he says that my account is overdue. I point out that I in fact paid it on their pay-by-phone system this very morning. But no, I don't have the receipt number. (It's recorded on my computer at home, the same computer I can't get to.) That's fine, says he.
You didn't disconnect my line, I ask?
No, says he.
It's still not responding.
I can't tell from here at work if it's a trivial problem or if I need to contact my ISP for support. My ISP's support line is only open until 7pm, then closed all weekend. I need the line up this weekend so I can... Never mind what, I need the line up! This is my internet connection!
So I have to get home by 6 so that I have time to check it and call support if necessary. Only I have another 4 creditors reports to run before I can go home, and it's already twenty past five.
Tuesday, August 12
So, one of those discount pharmaceutical spammers has decided to use my domain for their fake headers. That sucks. It's a great domain name and these vermin are polluting it by attaching it to their worthless crap.
And you know what? Hotmail can't read email headers to save its life. So when these spamming weasels hit a closed Hotmail account, guess who gets the bounce message.
Kill them all.
And then there's the in-duh-vidual at adsl-67-64-156-215.dsl.rcsntx.swbell.net whose computer is trying to use me as a relay every few hours. Hello? Either you're an idiot whose computer has been hacked by spammers, or you are a spammer. Either way, piss off and stop clogging up my log files. How many
554 Relay access denied messages does it take to get through to you? And why are you so desperate to spam firstname.lastname@example.org anyway?
Sunday, August 10
Here's what's happened.
I have a little server hosted with United Colo. I've had this server for... maybe nine months now, and it has mostly worked fine. It hosts my blog, some other blogs, a web forum, and a few other bits and pieces.
Now, according to SPEWS, the Spam Prevention Early Warning System, United Colo (or their new owners, Sagonet; I don't know and SPEWS don't say) have also been hosting spammers. Repeatedly, say SPEWS. Is this true? I don't know. I suspect it may be so; United Colo and Sagonet host a lot of servers, some of them probably belong (or belonged) to spammers.
So, if United Colo has been hosting spammers and not dealing with them in a timely manner (as SPEWS claim), they have acted irresponsibly. United Colo make money from the Internet, and spammers do nothing but harm to the Net.
So what do SPEWS do? They list the entire /19 subnet belonging to United Colo - 8192 IP addresses - as a spam source. Including me. Me, who hasn't ever sent an unwanted email of any sort. And several hundred other people who are very likely as unfriendly towards spam as I.
So, we have a second example of irresponsible behaviour. SPEWS - knowing full well that most of those IP addresses do not belong to spammers - listed the full set anyway. Whatever inconvenience this causes to the innocent people with addresses in that range is not their problem. Besides, picking out the actual spammers would take work.
And for whatever reason, their web site is basically hosed, and it's almost impossible to get any information out of them.
Now, apart from mu.nu, I have a web and email hosting account with EZ Web Hosting. I've had this one for over a year, and again it's mostly worked fine. Yesterday, though, they decided top start using the anti-spam lists at Osirusoft to filter and reject incoming email. Before, they'd been using it as an input to SpamAssassin, which works extremely well. Not satisfied with this, they decided, without notifying anyone, to start rejecting my own emails to myself.
Numbers three and four in the chain of irresponsibility. SPEWS advises that the list they provide is not necessarily made up only of spammers, but also includes (not may include, does include) people who are just on the same part of the internet as spammers. Osirusoft forwards this list without doing anything to check it, or taking any responsibility for what people do with it. Their website, incidentally, is now coming up with an Apache test page, which is truly encouraging. [Update: No, it's back now. Still deathly slow, though.] This list includes over 32,000 IP addresses belonging to Sagonet. A handful of these actually belong - or belonged - to spammers.
An attempt to use Osirusoft's online utilities results in:
Internal Server ErrorAnd to complete the chain, EZ Web Hosting blocks the whole lot. SpamAssassin was working, but just working isn't good enough; we have to actively piss off our customers.
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.
Please contact the server administrator, root@localhost and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.
More information about this error may be available in the server error log.
Thanks guys. Thanks to all of you.
(And then there are the charming people who think that mu.nu is a great domain to use for fake email addresses. So I get their spam, and my mail server rejects it, but the spammers are (of course) also using fake email addresses, so the bounces bounce and the error messages from my mail server end up in my inbox with the spam still attached! Aargh! Die! Die the lot of you!
But that's a whole 'nother rant.)
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