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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Dec 1, 2003 (Vol. 8, #48 - Issue #454)
W2Knews: True IT Bloopers
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
    • RSS, It's Taking Off!
    • New Spam Technique Defeats Microsoft Filters
    • Another RBL Hits The Dust
    • Anti-Spam Bill Clears Senate
    • Windows XP Service Pack 2 Nears Beta
    • SUS Beta Launch In January
    • Redmond Retires Netmeeting
    • Guy Who Reports MS using MACs Gets Fired
    • MS Sells Virtual PC 2004 At Steep Discount
    • True IT Bloopers
    • Great LCD/Plasma Screen Cleaner
    • 24-hour Anti-Virus Tech Support For Only 10 Seats?
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
    • Zero Cost Upgrade For iHateSpam Server
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RSS, It's Taking Off!

Almost 2,000 of you are now getting W2Knews via your favorite RSS Reader. Everybody else, you should really check into this, as Redmond is going to build an RSS reader into Outlook sometime in the future. That means it's going to be BIG! Download your free RSS reader, and point it to the link below. You'll get notified by your RSS reader that a new issue is ready for you. Here comes W2Knews in RSS Form!

Quotes Of The Day:
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. -- Winston Churchill

Warm regards,

Stu Sjouwerman
(email me with feedback: [email protected])

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New Spam Technique Defeats Microsoft Filters

It's kind of simple in its deviousness. Jeff Cunningham shows in a posting (below) how he figured it out. There are a number of random words before and after the actual spam ad copy itself. I'm quoting him in the next few paragraphs:

"What the spammers are attempting to do is flood the Bayes filters with mail which will skew the statistics used to access spam. They are in effect raising the noise floor point by point so that they will eventually become far less effective.

"It is really very clever, and shows a certain sophistication on the part of some spammers I'm not sure how effective it will be in the end, but I have noticed in increase in the miss rates for both filters. And now that Bill G. is entering the spam filter market with their product (which is no doubt Bayes filter based), the incentive becomes even greater on the part of the spammers to devise methods like this."

I tried this myself, and sure enough, this type of spam sailed right by the new Outlook 2003 filter I have set up in my home office. (Just bought a new MediaCenter PC of which more later) For what it's worth, the MS engine isn't an actual bayes engine as far as we can see, as it doesn't learn. If you click on the link below, there are two examples of spams that currently defeat 'bayesian' filters.

Another RBL Hits The Dust

After the Osirusoft and Monkeys.com RBLs, per December 1st, the DNS blacklist blackholes.easynet.nl will be shut down. In this case it is not a case of continuous DDoS-attacks, but more an issue of resources. This week, a large Dutch ISP announced that the effectiveness of its spamfilters continues to decrease since spammers find ways to circumvent RBLs. They are now looking for other ways to filter spam.

Anti-Spam Bill Clears Senate

Last Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Senate formally approved the combined House-Senate version of the Can Spam Act. They unanimously approved the nation's first national anti-spam legislation. The bill now returns to the U.S. House and it is expected that the house will pass it early December, to reconcile "technical" differences. It's pretty obvious that President Bush will sign it before the end of the year.

"This bill makes spamming an outlaw business and that this will be treated as priority issue," said Sen. Ron Wyden (D.-OR), one of the co-sponsors, along with Sen. Conrad Burns (R.-MT), of the legislation. "If enforcement action takes place immediately after passage, we send a message to spammers that it is a new day." Spam Pundits are questioning if this will cut down on the amount of spam though. It's easy to send stuff from China where these laws cannot be enforced.


Windows XP Service Pack 2 Nears Beta

The expected update to Redmond's current desktop OS will enter beta in the next few weeks, according to e-mail from Microsoft posted on a Windows enthusiast Web site. We'll keep you in the loop about any progress. Our WinXP newsletter will also be watching for it:

SUS Beta Launch In January

The SearchWin2000 site reported the following: "The beta program for a key Windows patch management tool that was postponed just before it was to get under way last September will begin in January, a Microsoft executive said.

Software Update Services (SUS) 2.0 is a much-anticipated new version of a utility that comes bundled with Windows Server. An initial beta for SUS 2.0 was originally planned as something akin to an alpha test. "It was just a desire to get some initial feedback," said Steve Anderson, a director in Windows Server product marketing at Microsoft. Anderson's group now oversees the company's patch management technologies.

Instead, he said, the response to the program was so overwhelming that Microsoft decided to pull back and prepare a more formal beta program. SUS 2.0 is expected to become available in the first half of 2004.

More than 500,000 customers have downloaded SUS 1.0, though Microsoft hasn't yet started tracking how many SUS clients are connecting back to Windows Update site to download patches. The company did little to market SUS prior to this year, but the technology is taking on great significance because security and patch management has becomes a top priority for many. Full article here:

Redmond Retires Netmeeting

InforWorld got this scoop: "Microsoft is retiring its six-year-old NetMeeting online conferencing application and instead will push Office Live Meeting, formerly known as PlaceWare, for online meetings.

NetMeeting helped pioneer online conferencing when it was released in May 1996, before the advent of instant messaging (IM) and other services for real-time online communication. The software still ships as part of Windows and some of its features, such as whiteboarding and application-sharing, are used by the MSN Messenger and Windows Messenger IM applications.

But NetMeeting has served its purpose and will gradually be phased out, Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake said. Microsoft has already stopped development work on NetMeeting and links from MSN Messenger and Windows Messenger will be cut in future updates to those products, she said. Full article here:

Guy Who Reports MS using MACs Gets Fired

Remember the fave link of last week where a guy who took a shot of a bunch of G5's being delivered to Redmond had the pictures on his blog? Well he got fired for this indiscretion. Jeez.

"Microsoft has fired a full-time temp employee after it discovered that the employee posted in his blog a photo and story concerning Microsoft's purchase of what looks to be around 18 G5s. Check out the blog entry, Even Microsoft wants G5s:
and the one that follows it:

Looks like MS decided to "put-a-head-on-a-pike" an old expression meaning to make an example of some one who breaks the rules, and apparently some one in Redmond decided it was more important to send a message to personnel that this is what happens to you than the bad PR that would follow from that firing. Interesting issue for sure.

MS Sells Virtual PC 2004 At Steep Discount

Microsoft will begin shipping its Virtual PC 2004 software in early December for $100 less than its previous owner charged. Redmond acquired the products and assets of Connectix last February, will make the updated Virtual PC title available at a retail list price of $129. That's good news for everyone that needs more than one environment on their box!


True IT Bloopers

Just for laughs, here is a good one. Justin Culbreath gets many laughs and shudders of sympathy when he recounts this story about a recent trip to Blooperville. The sysadmin for a school district with 18,000 user accounts had to move up the Active Directory learning curve quickly when he attempted to fix a corrupted AD database with only the Microsoft Knowledge Base as a guide. Link to Searchwin2000 for the whole story:

Great LCD/Plasma Screen Cleaner

One of our subscribers sent me a sample with this stuff. It's quite amazing actually. I cleaned 10 screens with it here in Sunbelt and most people immediately commented their screen was clearer, less glare and easier to read. Recommended:

24-hour Anti-Virus Tech Support For Only 10 Seats?

Panda Software is a pretty cool company that has made interesting tech breakthroughs, finding viruses other products fail to get, creating a veritable product bulletproof that is very easy to use, setup and then just let it do its thing. Their GateDefender provides system wide defense in a simple plug and play installation.

However, what you may not know is that Panda provides the most comprehensive customer care and technical support in the industry? Enterprise users of 50 seats or more enjoy no charge around the clock telephone support. Now in an exclusive premiere offer to W2Knews subscribers Panda U.S. is offering this level of support to small to medium businesses from 10 seats on up. This offer is good only for purchases in the month of December 2003 and W2Knews readers are the first to find out about it. Panda is providing this level of support because they know how tight budgets and support are at the small business level and they want to give the "little guy" a hand. Panda is in the position to provide this level of service because their products do what they are supposed to do in a user- friendly manner and just plain do the job. If you want 24/7 support from one of the world?s top antivirus solution providers click here. http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=031201RN-Panda


This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

  • A nice site with short movies from fans. Amazing what amateurs can do with the current state of technology! See "Matrix Jedi's"

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=031201FA-Matrix_Jedi
  • Satire regarding spam, with a twist of tongue-in-cheek...

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=031201FA-SpamSatire
  • Dell moves tech support jobs back from India to the USA. Interesting article:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=031201FA-Dell_India
  • A novel approach that if encouraged widely could cripple some spammers severely. Spam them back in a legal way:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=031201FA-SpamThemBack
  • Spyware is being potentially simply outlawed. See this proposed Bill (PDF format):

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=031201FA-OutlawedSpam
  • Ever heard of the "[email protected]@rd Operator From H3ll?" A subscriber sent me the official site of Simon:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=031201FA-BOFH
  • Now here is a P2P bandwidth hog that will cut your phone bill! (A better Net2Phone from the KaZaA inventors)

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=031201FA-P2PTelephony
  • And while you are at it, here is a cryptophone that will make an end to telecom surveillance:

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=031201FA-Cryptophone
  • The BioMotionLab at Ruhr University in Germany has a cool site. Check out the walking stick figure--I'll bet you can quickly determine the gender. (Move the sliders left and right).

  • http://www.w2knews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=031201FA-BioMotionLab

    Zero Cost Upgrade For iHateSpam Server

    If you are running Exchange V5.5 or 2000, and need an anti-spam solution in place that truly and smoothly integrates with Exchange, you should not be punished with upgrade costs if you move platform. That's why there is no charge for the iHateSpam Server version when you move from E5.5 to E2K or E2K3. Just download the latest build, plug in the key, and you are up and running. The new V1.5 has a brand new spam detection engine, and if you need help with CDO, we have a new CDO wizard that will solve install issues in a snap. Well over 1,600 sites now run this product successfully: