Glass is always half full

In the last few months, quite a few people had mailed me saying that whenever they visit my blog, their anti-virus software gets activated since some virus (possibly, Trojan) was trying to get downloaded on to their PCs. I ran this issue past my webhost, who said that they have run all possible anti-virus checks on their servers and didn’t find anything malicious. When people continued to complain, I again insisted on a re-check, upon doing which they found that the problem was not in any of the files, but in the comments.

Some kind soul had left a comment with a HTML code that would launch an invisible window pointing to some undesirable website. It is a window that would not show up, but is bad enough to cause the damage. Not that I am an expert in these issues, but I never knew that such stuff existed in the first place. Though I wish that this had never happened, looking at the positive side – that was a good piece of learning and I am certainly glad about that.

Fight against terror.. err.. spam

At last I (think) I have won this round against the spammers.

Couple of months back, I got a mail from my hosting company that my site has exceeded the 1 GB bandwidth allowance. Since the reader count for this blog was on the rise at that time, I didn’t give a big deal to that message. Once I even wondered aloud whether 500+ visitors a day were indeed real. When I checked the web stats, surprisingly I found that my webstat page itself had been accessed few hundred times. Also, there were quite a few referrals from who else – drug sellers. Though I check the statistics from time to time (perhaps once a week or so), there is no way that I could have accessed that page that many times. It was then I heard about Referrer Spam. Know more about it here. Now, I have password protected the webstat page. When they find that there is no point in visiting my site, they wouldn’t and thus I hope to keep those morons from eating up my precious bandwidth.

Next is the 8000 spam mails a day, I talked about recently. When I set up this website, I had configured it in such a way that when you send a mail to any address in chakkarapani.com (ex: xyz@chakkarapani.com), instead of bouncing it would get forwarded to my Yahoo! mail id. Due to the above referral spamming, there were quite a lot of mails to the e-mail ids in my domain and all were being promptly forwarded to Yahoo. Suddenly the number swelled one day and Yahoo started redirecting them all to my Bulk folders. Now, I have made all the junk mails bounce from my domain. Wonder what the spammers would come up with next.

To cut out the crap, these days I get far less number of spam than I have been getting a week before. Peace.

Spam Mails

Everyone who has an e-mail id would have got at least one spam mail. On an average, I used to get around 25-30 such emails from friendly viagara/phentermine dealers or well wishers from Africa, who would be waiting with few million dollars to make sure that I live comfortably.

I don’t know what happened all of a sudden, for the last couple of days I am receiving not less than 8000 spam emails a day to my primary email id. Thank goodness, Yahoo promptly dispatches them to the Bulk folder. Even if 5% of it makes its way to my Inbox, I would be doomed. On the other hand, if one of the genuine mails sneaks into the Bulk folder, I won’t have any way of knowing that.

Going Wireless

Not so long ago, I was still using the Dial-up connection that even invited dialler virus at my home PC. Little more than a month back, I switched to Broadband and soon after, I decided to go wireless. Not conversant with the networking stuff, I googled for info and bought a Linksys router only to realise that I have a USB modem and need to buy a cable modem if I have to use the former. Thanks to Amazon’s friendly return policy, I returned that and bought a SpeedTouch 580 router, which most the reviewers said that it is great but its a pain to configure. I didn’t take that statement more seriously than I should have, but to my surprise I was able to start browsing as soon as I switched on the router. But the joy didn’t last long as it so happened that my laptop was picking up my neighbour’s signals. Though the configuration appeared very simple, it was a royal pain that I struggled hard for quite a few days to get connected, meanwhile calling every person I know who I thought, knew a thing or two in networking. Last night, I tried once again with a tip from my colleague and bingo – it got connected. Uff… What a relief.. that could well be compared to easing yourself after being caught in an air-conditioned room for long.

P.S: Speed Touch’s customer service sucks big time. When I e-mailed them asking for help, I got a reply 3 days later asking me to look at the user manual. When I decided to call them over phone, their Customer Service number is a premium number.

Positives

I have got my PC back, up & running. The hard disk has been formatted and is now loaded with all the anti-spy ware, anti-virus software available in the market. Whether, they are effective or not, I feel a bit more secure. As I have got rid off all the stupid tools that I had installed over the years but never used it, the system appears to run fast. Having experienced the problems of using a dial-up connection, I would soon be subscribing to a Broadband service as well. See, how many positives on being bit by dialler virus. The glass is always half full.

Year 2038 problem

Have you heard about the Year 2038 problem, which the doomsayers say would cause aircrafts to nosedive, satellites to fall out of orbit and what not? Not getting into the technical stuff, it is again about the date/time handling and you can find more details here & here .

A mail I got detailed an interesting way to test whether this is really true. If you are interested, you may try these steps.

1. Login into Yahoo! Messenger

2. Send an instant message to someone to make sure that it is working.

3. Now, change your system date to 19-Jan-2038, 03:14:07 AM or above

4. Confirm whether the date in your PC has changed

5. Again try sending out an instant message to anyone…

Doesn’t your messenger application crash?
If you were using MS Outlook, it would cause you some hassles and may require you to restart your machine.

I tried the above and it happened – both the messenger crash & the Outlook trouble etc.
I am being told that all network-based applications wouldn’t work if the system date were beyond 19/Jan/2038, though I didn’t check that.

Though ‘How Stuff Works‘ says that the problem is not as difficult as it was with Y2K, I could see IT majors licking their lips in anticipation of 2038 bug fix projects.