Archive for February, 2008

How do Companies Survive Without Spam Firewalls?

2008-02-29 Leave a comment

After this happened, I went into the configuration of the network firewall in front of our spam firewall and told it to drop connections from and Here’s the result. This is the hourly mail stats from our Barracuda. The blue is the “rate-controlled” rejected spam from the spam hosts.
Rate controlled spam
You can almost hear the spam firewall going “Ahhh”.

Categories: Other Work Stuff

Another Record Spam Day

2008-02-28 1 comment

Yesterday we exceeded our previous spam record by 20%. We received 58,000 spams yesterday. The scary part is that we only set the previous record six days earlier, at 48,000. I don’t think we can sustain that rate of increase for too long before our spam firewall melts. It’s still ticking over at less than 10% utilization, but who knows if there could be a rate that would be a tipping point, after which it would suddenly leap up to maximum utilization and stop keeping up.

The problem is the massive flood of spam coming from the domain name The spammers have recently added a new spamming source at Today we’re getting hammered with about 12 to 15,000 per hour.

I just modified the firewall in front of the Barracuda to reject connections from and It’s already lightening the load on the Barracuda quite a bit.

Spammers can die in a fire, please.

Categories: Other Work Stuff, Rant

Science Night

2008-02-27 Leave a comment

Last night APEGGA hosted a “Science Night” at the kids’ school. We went and had fun watching the kids build tinfoil boats, paper airplance, electric motors, newspaper towers, and gak (some kind of slimy silly putty). We also got to watch interesting demos of the structural strength of eggs, the percussive power of baloons filled with hydrogen and oxygen, and the foaming power of baking soda. Mack particularly liked the explosions, and he also seemed fascinated by the minerals that the geologist guys had. Emily was more into the tinfoil boat building, and enjoying the demos with her classmates.

I secretly thought that the chemistry demo with the hydrogen balloons would have been more fun if the chemistry professor giving the demo had shown us how to generate and capture hydrogen at home for some home-based “experiments” since blowing stuff up at home is such good entertainment.

It was so much fun that next year I think I might volunteer to man a table during National Engineering and Geoscience Week at some of the local schools.

Categories: Neat Geek Stuff

Vision Upgrade to 5.1 Done

2008-02-26 Leave a comment

A few weeks ago I cloned our entirely virtual Vision system into Engineering, and our DB / Analyst guy Bart and our accounting people went through a run-through of upgrading Vision from 4.1 to 5.1. They were pretty successful, and after doing a bunch of testing, they figured out which of our particular customizations would have to be tweaked to get working in 5.1, and declared themselves ready.

On Saturday night, I took a last backup of the whole virtual environment, and Sunday morning, Bart upgraded Vision to 5.1. He called me at the snowboard hill by 10:40 AM to let me know he was done and everything was back up and running. I love it when an upgrade goes off so well. We’ve been running on Vision 5.1 for a couple of days, and so far, so good.

Categories: Virtualization

New Record Incoming Email Quantity

2008-02-22 4 comments

Yesterday we set a new company record for incoming emails. We received 50,060 messages on Feb 21. Of those, 3701 were legitimate emails and the other 46,359 were spam and viruses. Over 19,000 came from one email address: Note to spam harvester robots: Please harvest and spam the bejeezus out of it.

Throughout this barrage, our Barracuda spam firewall allowed a single message from to come through, and blocked the rest of the 19,000. Barracuda spam firewalls are worth their weight in bandwidth charges.

That is all.

Categories: Other Work Stuff, Rant

Thinkpad R40 Getting Old

2008-02-21 1 comment

I have a Thinkpad R40 that’s been kicking around since about mid 2004, I think. It’s been a great laptop. It’s rugged, speedy, reliable, runs Linux great, and even works with Solaris. I also love the superior keyboards of Thinkpads, being something of a keyboard snob. Sadly, something is wrong with the wired ethernet subsystem. I intermittently lose the wired ethernet connection. It happens in Windows, Linux, and Solaris, so it’s not a driver issue. It’s not just the port, because the problem occurs with the docking station too. The wireless adapter still works normally, but we don’t have wireless network access to our internal networks, so it’s tough to use it for work.
Thinkpad R40
If I can’t figure out what’s going on with it, I will be sad to see the old workhorse go. Hopefully I can replace it with another Thinkpad, or dare I say it, a Macbook Pro (gasp).

Categories: Other Work Stuff

Emily’s Head Shaved

2008-02-14 Leave a comment

Emily raised over $1200 in the Valentines Day Hair Massacure.

Here’s before,
Long hair
then with pink hair, which suits her surprisingly well,
Pink hair
then shaved! She has a nice round head.
Shaved head
I’m very proud of her.

Thanks so much to our many friends and family who generously donated. It goes to two great causes.

Categories: Personal

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