About Me

Curriculum Vitae

A brief list of my current skill set

Bloggybits

Making PDFs from HTML on your webapp in CentOS
Thursday, 29th November 2012, 14:00

Not as easy as it should be

Some Days I Wish For an Async String.replace
Monday, 19th November 2012, 12:59

MinnaHTML to the rescue!

Object Oriented Programming for Javascript Dummies - Part 2
Tuesday, 6th November 2012, 15:33

OOP it up to the OOPballs

Object Oriented Programming for Javascript Dummies - Part 1
Tuesday, 30th October 2012, 16:01

Not using OOP? Are you mad?

Strange Windows Errors and a Bowser in My Event Log
Wednesday, 24th October 2012, 11:10

It's like my own DailyWTF round-up!

Why Do People Come Here?
Monday, 15th October 2012, 15:47

They come to look at porn!

Idiot thinks Raspberry Pi Unsuitable for Education
Tuesday, 2nd October 2012, 15:24

Dumbest thing I've read since...

Upgrading to PostgreSQL 9.2 on CentOS 5
Tuesday, 25th September 2012, 14:52

It's easy as PI!

Fare Ye Well Work Email You Have Served Me Well
Monday, 17th September 2012, 14:36

Cause of death too much spam

Forest Racer - A HTML5 Game in Under 13K
Tuesday, 11th September 2012, 20:46

Including all assets, but only when zipped

Entering a 13k HTML5 Game Competition
Tuesday, 4th September 2012, 16:31

I'm so tempted to have a go at this

Faster Loops and Faster Iterations in Node.js and V8
Wednesday, 29th August 2012, 13:16

Is Object.keys faster than For...In?

And the Fastworks.js framework is Born!
Wednesday, 22nd August 2012, 16:23

Well I'm excited, even if you aren't

Libxmljs Update on CentOS 3.8 throws an SELinux Wobbley Fit
Monday, 20th August 2012, 15:40

The right way to fix this sort of issue

TV Land Doesn't Understand Technology
Friday, 17th August 2012, 17:09

Or maybe it does and thinks we don't?

Projects and Sillyness

MAME Cabinet Diary

How I built my own arcade cabinet

Loading Screen Simulator

I don't miss the ZX Spectrum, I still use it!

The Little Guy Chat Room

It's a Pitfall inspired chat room

GPMad MP3

A fully featured MP3 player what I wrote

GP Space Invaders

My first little emulator

GP32 Development Page

Some info and links about this cute little handheld

Disney Nasties

Uncensored images, you must be 18 to view them

Minna's World

The cuttest fluffy puppy in the world

Diary of a Hamster

Learn about how hamsters think, first hand

Utilities

Time Calculator

A simple little online utility for working out how many hours to bill a client

A Few Links

Fare Ye Well Work Email You Have Served Me Well
Monday, 17th September 2012, 14:36

Perhaps I should be grateful that for 13 years I had one decent work email address, which I used for everything relating to work and beyond. But finally, last Thursday, I was forced to lay it to rest, cause of death being spam.

It was 2004 when that genius of predicting the future, Bill Gates, added one of his many futurist suggestions to the litany of other equally inaccurate ones. He said that spam would be a thing in the past within 2 years, which makes it at least 8 too late. Nice idea Bill, but whatever product you had in mind to cure that, it's running a bit late.

Microsoft is an odd company, on the one hand it does a good job of actively targeting spam bot networks and taking them down, which helps a bit. But on the flip side it creates the badly written operating system which allows machines to be part of those networks in the first place.

I dream of a great operating system, perhaps Apple have it, I've not used a Mac since I sold my Quadra 700 all those years ago, and it's come on a lot since then I believe. I know that most of the time iOS on my iPad and iPhone do a wonderful job, and serve to increase the frustration the moment I turn on my Windows PC or laptop, both running Windows 7, and experience how awful it does basics like memory management and searching.

Where Did They Get My Email Address?

My spam attacks have come on two fronts, firstly my email address appears publicly on many websites, often because of mailing lists I've posted to about everything from MAME to PostgreSQL. From those, scrapers have added me to lists, which got added to more lists, and so on, this is where phishing scams and viagra offers get to me from.

It's this last fortnight that over 60 a day have flooded into my inbox, resulting in the need to throw in the towel and change it to something else.

But an equally frustrating line in spam has come from UK based business lists, scumbags who alternate between selling my details on without my permission to companies I neither care about or remotely relate to my work. Our spam laws are weak, and our enforcers of it are even weaker.

What's more, anytime I asked some crappy company that cared not where they got my email from, who sold it to them, they'd never tell me. The scumbags are in league with the scumbags. I'd post a big list but it would no doubt only help their google ranking.

Defensive Steps

It's not even as if I've taken all this lying down either. Incoming connections on SMTP are checked with various Realtime Black-Lists which helps to cut down known spam sources. I also have my own personal blacklist where any source of spam that sends me more than two, gets added onto.

Next, I run a spamd greylisting daemon on our server, which causes any new contacting mail server to be sent a temporary "try again later" error code, which all proper ones (unlike spam bots) will do. This keeps out hundreds of spam emails a day, but unfortunately not only does there seem to be a limitless supply of insecure PCs out there, an infinite supply of insecure mail servers also seems present.

The next step is the Sender Policy Framework, which checks that an email has been sent from a server which has permission to do so. That cuts down on some email address forgery, but when quite a lot of spam these days is coming from a genuine mail server such as Yahoo, SPF is less of a defence than it should be.

If something is a genuine mail server and gets past all of the above, then it hits qmail-scanner which checks for unusual things in the headers, in fact anything which might be spam, and then rejects or marks it respectively.

Only after all that does it make it to my inbox, and all the above really does reject hundreds and hundreds of messages a day, but when 60 are still getting through, it no longer becomes enough.

It's Like Reinstalling Windows

You know when you decide to do a clean install, and you write down all the apps you think you need, and start the process? Then a few days later you realise, oh wait I forgot to install X or Y, and so on, and so on. Changing my work email has been to a certain extent a bit like that.

I keep realising things that use the old address which I've forgotten, hopefully nothing major now, but still every now and again I panic and go to change it somewhere.

But this is a small price to pay, because now I get maybe one spam a day. and when that gets too high another email address is going to have to get it. :/

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