Posts filed under 'Technology'

Apache SpamAssassin 3.2.4 released!

We released Apache SpamAssassin 3.2.4 on Monday. It fixes a number of significant bugs in sa-compile and includes some improvements to the async DNS code. Also included are fixes for problems with non-SQL based user configs and bayes databases. If you use either you may benefit from these fixes, although I recommend that you use SQL for both.

There have been reports that 3.2.4 is faster than previous 3.2 versions. I haven’t benchmarked it but I would guess that, while individual messages may be processed faster, overall message throughput may only improve a little.

You can download SpamAssassin here.

Add comment January 13th, 2008

My AC Input Voltage

Back in the summer I finally got tired of a number of my UPS backed machines being unexpectedly (although properly, via automation) shutdown. Since the automated shutdowns weren’t due to a power outage (I probably would have noticed the power going out; actually I do notice the power going out, those shutdowns weren’t unexpected) I figured it was due to prolonged instances of under voltage — Penetanguishene used to be notorious for prolonged periods of under voltage; so much so that, during the late 80s and early 90s, we used to literally blow up the transformers on the utility poles in front of my father’s plastics factory due to too high current draw during the too low voltage periods.

Now it turns out that in every instance, since the summer, that I’ve noticed an abnormal voltage situation it has been a case of over voltage. In one case this summer there was an over voltage of 25+ volts (20%+) with a reading of 145 VAC, on a 120 VAC nominal circuit, for more than 5 minutes. Instances of 15% overages have been seen for more than 15 minutes at a time. It’s no wonder why I have to replace so many destroyed electronics every year.

So, since I graph nearly everything that changes state, I started graphing the AC input voltage of a small APC UPS at work. The resolution is only 1 VAC, but so far, there hasn’t been an instance of over voltage since I started graphing the input voltage. Which is great since I’m not graphing it to pinpoint the cause so that I can fix the problem; there’s nothing I can do to fix the problem, aside from complain to Barrie Hydro, which I do regularly anyway.

AC Input Voltage

Add comment November 11th, 2007

MP3 Stock Spam

Cool! I’ve been waiting quite some time for this. Jay Chandler reported on a spam discussion mailing list that he received a stock spam this evening that had an MP3 attachment with audio of a speech synthesizer reading a stock spam. It wasn’t detected by the Razor only spam filtering appliance it went through.

I want one! An MP3 spam, that is.

1 comment October 17th, 2007

Funny CNET Reviews Quote

http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-3504_7-6762396-1.html?tag=nl.e497

If the trial is successful, and the airline determines that cell phones don’t interfere with navigational and communications systems, Qantas may expand cell phone use to all its flights and aircraft.

Ah crap, it did interfere with the TCAS. Oh well, live and learn. Well not so much live, or learn really, now that we’re all dead.

Add comment September 5th, 2007

Polaris IP at it again - “Knowledge base backed email autoresponders are ours!”

Polaris IP, a patent-suit-for-money firm, has accused AOL, Amazon, Borders, Google, IAC, and Yahoo of violating a patent (that was licensed to Polaris IP). Yet another patent that falls under the “f’in obvious to anyone who’s not a tard’ category.

A method for automatically interpreting an electronic message, including the steps of (a) receiving the electronic message from a source; (b) interpreting the electronic message using a rule base and case base knowledge engine; and (c) classifying the electronic message as at least one of (i) being able to be responded to automatically; and (ii) requiring assistance from a human operator. The method for automatically interpreting an electronic message may also include the step of retrieving one or more predetermined responses corresponding to the interpretation of the electronic message from a repository for automatic delivery to the source.

Whatever. I hope that Google and IAC use their massive bank rolls to destroy them. That certainly wouldn’t be doing any evil.

Add comment August 30th, 2007

Merging Subversion Repositories

For a while now I’ve had a number of Subversion repositories that contain more or less related code. They should each, individually, contain less related code than they do, but I find that if I’ve only got a checkout of one of them on some random machine I’m fare more likely to check something into whatever repository I’ve already got checked out than I am to checkout the proper repository. If I later want to move it to the correct repository I lose (or at least scatter all over) any revision history.

Enough of that… for a while I’ve been meaning to merge the repositories together so that even if I don’t have the entire repository checked out and decide to check something in where it shouldn’t be I can later move it within the repository layout and keep the revision history in tact. I’ve figured this should be an easy task to accomplish and now that I’ve finally gotten around to doing it, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is indeed an easy task to accomplish. Here’s how:

  • shutdown svnserve / block access to the repos / don’t let anyone alter the repos while you’re doing this / whatever
  • from each repos’ parent directory dump each of the repos that you want to merge together into their own dump files using svnadmin dump repos-name > DumpFile-repos-name
  • use svndumptool to merge the repos using a command something like this: svndumptool.py merge -i DumpFile-repos1 -r / /repos1 -i DumpFile-repos2 -r / /repos2 -i DumpFile-repos3 -r / /repos3 -o DumpMerged -d repos1 -d repos2 -d repos3
  • create a new repository somewhere using svnadmin create new-repos
  • load the merged repos into your new repos using svnadmin load DumpMerged
  • Sweet. I love it when things are as simple as they should be… it’s usually a sign of competent designers.

    Add comment August 29th, 2007

    Apache SpamAssassin 3.2.3 released!

    We released Apache SpamAssassin 3.2.3 two weeks ago. So far there have been only a couple people who have indicated they’ve had problems with this release, so I’d say that the current stable branch is back to normal. Along with fixes for things broken in the last couple of releases, 3.2.3 also improves some rules to avoid false positives on ham sent from some Windows Vista mail clients, avoids FP’ing on static clients in the rule RDNS_DYNAMIC, and makes sure that code isn’t run for eval rules when their score is zeroed saving you CPU time.

    2 comments August 27th, 2007

    Apache SpamAssassin 3.2.2 released!

    In our on-going efforts to break something in the stable branch every couple of months, we released Apache SpamAssassin 3.2.2 this week. It fixes a few bugs, including the inability to install SpamAssassin 3.2.1 via CPAN using sudo — at least for some Perl versions on some platforms. On some platforms with some Perl versions, most commonly Perl 5.6.1, spamd might not be able to setuid (ie., drop root privs) and proceed to continuously kill its children when they end up attempting to run as root. So if you want to upgrade to 3.2.2 make sure that you can run “make test” as root before installing the software. If make test as root fails you’d be best off waiting for 3.2.3.

    7 comments July 28th, 2007

    Blocked by Hotmail? Use a Microsoft mail client instead.

    After being told that “SmartScreen technology” had blocked his server from sending mail to Hotmail, this guy found that if he used Outlook 2003, rather than Thunderbird, he could get his mail delivered. Not that you should be surprised by that. It’s not like Microsoft client headers appear in a whole lot more spam than Mozilla headers. Oh wait a second, Microsoft headers do appear in at least half of all spam.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/15/spam_nothotmail/page2.html

    “I started playing around with clients rather than concentrating on server setup, and I’ve had some interesting results. I can send to Hotmail without a problem using Outlook 2003, but no cigar with Mozilla Thunderbird. I think that this suggests that the headers the email clients add to an email also play a crucial role in determining if the mail gets through or not. This is BAD news because as a system admin there is generally very little you can do about this.”

    2 comments June 20th, 2007

    Toronto Colocation Recommendations Anyone?

    I’m currently looking into colocation for a few of my critical services. 1U with 50 GB a month of transfer would be more than sufficient right now, but growth to 100 GB a month within a year would be a good thing to plan for.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for reliable colocation in the Toronto, Ontario area (or the unlikely availability of reliable colocation in the Barrie, Ontario area)?

    If anyone has any suggestions and knows of pricing, please post here or send me an email.

    2 comments June 14th, 2007

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