TechnoMagician's Weblog
(aka Tim Aiello)
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - Arthur C. Clarke.

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Kosmo Systems Inc, along with Ashley IT are proud to present their spam detection service called SimpleFilter. It is so simple, there is absolutely no software to install and it works with virtually any email client on any operating system. Checkout

Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Virus Load

I haven't heard a load of crap like this in a long time:

"We don't have any criminal inspirations [sic]. Due to many reports, we do not have any backdoors included for spam relaying," text hidden in the worm and transcribed by Sophos and other antivirus companies reads.

The Netsky authors also declare their opposition to "hacking, sharing with illegal stuff and similar illegal content," according to the message.

As for the computer users harmed by their worm, the authors say users need better education, not software updates from antivirus companies.

Click here for the full article.
9:50:38 AM    

Saturday, March 27, 2004
Groove 3 Beta Search

From Jeroen Bekkers post on search in Groove 3 beta:

Many people have been waiting for this for a long, long time and the lack of any search has frustrated a lot Groove users including myself over the past years. Although there is still a lot of room for improvement before Groove has proper search functionality, it's very encouraging to see that Groove has finally started to adress this !!!

My comment:

I use Groove extensively every day and this is the first mention of search for Groove 3 Beta I've heard of. It better work properly or I'm dumping Groove for sure. I don't care how useful the tool has been for me. Without search it is becoming useless.
7:01:04 PM    

Monday, March 22, 2004
Office XP SP3 breaks 3rd-party junk email filter

A colleague just forwarded the following to me from the NTBugTraq Mailing list. A very good reason to run a spam service like Simple Filter that doesn't require any software install and certainly isn't affected by this nonsense:

Date:   Thu, 11 Mar 2004 19:28:55 -0500
Reply-To:   Windows NTBugtraq Mailing List <NTBUGTRAQ:nospam.LISTSERV.NTBUGTRAQ.COM>
Sender:   Windows NTBugtraq Mailing List <NTBUGTRAQ:nospam.LISTSERV.NTBUGTRAQ.COM>
From:   Mark Medici <mark:nospam.DBMA.COM>
Subject:   Re: Office XP SP3 breaks 3rd-party junk email filter

I have now received over two dozen reports that Office XP SP3 breaks at least two well-known junk email filtering products.

Everyone whom reported the problem has installed the full SP3, as opposed to the individual Outlook XP/2002 update. That is NOT to say the individual update is safe, just that nobody has reported just installing the individual update.

Sunbelt Software's "iHateSpam" is affected. The vendor is aware of the problem and is working on a solution.

Cloudmark "Spamnet" is also affected. The vendor is aware of the problem and is working on a solution.

Two suggested work-arounds are:

1. If using Windows XP, perform a System Restore to a restore point prior to installing Office XP SP3. Of
course, you will loose the security benefits of the service pack.

2. You can try "Express ClickYes" from:, which is supposed to automatically dismiss the Security Warning dialog, but I have no reports of anyone experimenting with this software, and cannot vouch for its integrity or effectiveness.

I have two reports that the open-source SpamBayes is not adversely affected by the installation of Office XP SP3.
Server-based email filters are not affected.  What appears to be happening is that certain junk email filters access the Outlook contacts folder (address list) to see if the incoming email's sender is known, as a supplement to the software's whitelist. Apparently part of the update is protection of the contacts folder to prevent email worms from harvesting addresses for use when they try to send out copies of themselves. It Seems that SpamBayes does not use the existing contacts, or at least does not do so on a message-by-message basis.

I just setup a test system. Hopefully, I'll be able to narrow-down the circumstances tomorrow.

You can find the discussion here. See here for a whole bunch of other stuff that is affected as well.

4:41:50 PM    

Sunday, March 21, 2004
Fourth Generation Warfare

Was pointed to fourth generation warfare and the hunt for Ayman al-Zawahri by a post by Keith Devens here. Interesting to note that the fourth generation warfare article was written in 1989.

2:42:52 PM    

Friday, March 19, 2004
Google Adsense Channels
Google Adsense program finally came out with a way of tracking ads by what hey call channels. Its nice to see they listen to users. I'm sure I'm not the only one who asked them for this feature.
9:16:15 AM    

Saturday, March 13, 2004
Grand Darpa Challenge Bust

Grand Darpa Challenge did not turn out to be much of a challenge after all. All vehicles are either disabled or have withdrawn before they moved very far. The furthest any vehicle reached was 7 miles out of 142.

Here are the pathetic results.

Poor Dann Sheridan is heading to the finish line to blog the event. He should have headed to the start line instead as that is where he'll find all the vehicles!!!

These guys are on the net with a live audio feed. Too bad they don't have anything to talk about.

4:00:53 PM    

Tuesday, March 09, 2004
Scoble, White Lies, and Stretch The Truth Serum

Robert Scoble has certainly been through the "Microsoft Stretch The Truth 101" training course. He's been caught stretching the truth when he said this initially:

There are a ton of rumors and allegations flying around the blogosphere about SCO and trying to tie Microsoft in.

A Microsoft exec (Martin Taylor) emailed me last night on this issue.

and then clarified with this after Tim Bray thought this "The New World of PR":

I should clarify that a bit. Microsoft's employees talk internally on hundreds of mailing lists. I am trolling those lists for information that might be interesting or useful to my readers. Last Friday, I saw Martin Taylor's post on one of those lists. I took the relevant pieces of information from it, and posted them.

There were jokes about Scoble drinking the MS cool-aid. Well, now we know that cool-aid is really "stretch the truth" serum.

10:47:29 AM    

Monday, March 08, 2004

When John Robb posts stuff like this people should pay attention:

Unless someone can point me to significant new export industries for the US, I remain extremely skeptical of all claims of a bright future for the US.  The trade deficit is a monster growing at uncontrolled speed in the background of any debate on the topic of US competitiveness.

Another troubling point for me is the US tax policy.  It is currently heavily weighted towards wealth concentration (you can see this trend in a multitude of statistics on the topic).  For a consumer-driven economy this is a disaster.  Progressive taxation and the income levelling it fosters is at the core of our economic success over the last 50 years.  The reversal of course on this philosophy in the last 4 years, at the very time US workers are under extreme levels of stress, will likely result in a period of very tough times for America.

12:35:45 PM    

Tuesday, March 02, 2004
David Akin :: Study: Spam is made in America

As mentioned by David Akin here, Sophos claims:

"Most of the world's spam comes the U.S., ZDNet UK reports. The U.S. is number one with nearly 57 per cent of all spam originating there, says Sophos, a U.K. anti-virus company. Canada is number two, though, when it comes to spam country of origin. Mind you, Canada has long way to go before it is as notorious as the U.S. for spam. The report says Canadian spammers account for less than 7 per cent of the world's unwanted unsolicited mail. "

In my findings running I find this extremely hard to believe. I'd be interested to know what methods they used to come up with these results. I see a massive number of spam and spam attempts coming from Taiwan/Asia and next to nothing from Canada. In fact, Taiwan is so bad that the only recourse is to completely block some IP's from getting anywhere into our SMTP server farm. I'd actually like to block the whole country but that might affect some of our customers.

5:40:50 PM    

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