Monthly Archives: January 2007

Better custom SPAM keyword filter language revealed!

Today, a revelation has occurred to me regarding custom keyword filters! I use a product called NoSpamToday and was trying to find better ways to write custom SpamAssassin keyword filters (or rules). Normally I can filter for specific words or phrases, but spammers often change their spelling. This could increase or decrease the number of characters in a word depending on what junk filler letters they throw in the mix. I just studied up on PERL RegEx (Regular Expressions), and found that PERL uses a . as a wild card character. This was important, since I’ve tried the & and * with no success. Knowledge of this, enables a whole new level of keyword filtering I can do in NST. For example, yesterday, I received 325 messages with the word pharmacy in them, just spelled 325 different ways. It was always a PHA(three lower case letters randomlyinserted here)RMACY. I can now add a single keyword filter for PHA.*RMACY and filter all of them out with only a single keyword filter. It won’t matter how many letters they put in. And if I find they change the format of that type of slepping, I can simply adapt my rule or add new rules for other forms of spelling. Now I can go through the custom keyword filter and tweak other instances of keywords and make them infinantly more effective!

Security scare

The other day in the parking garage next to my office at work, there was a security scare. Apparently two men (said to be armed) approached a woman in her vehicle and demanded the vehicle and her personal belongings. The woman was not injured, but it was still a scary thing. Thats the first time something like this has happened in the almost 2 years I’ve been working here. I never even gave security a thought during the many times I’ve been in that garage. It just makes me think how much of a shame it is, that we live in such a beautiful state, and yet it has such ugliness in it.

UPDATE 2-1-07

I recently found out that the two guys who did this were caught. They are in jail where they belong. Tampa police said this type of thing is rare in the Westshore business district.

Spitting in the urinal

I can’t help but wonder if I’ve uncovered some ancient ritual, or cultural habbit. I’ve noticed over the years (yeah sorry, another bathroom story) that most men when using a urinal, will spit in the urinal before actually using it. They will walk up, spit, and do their business. It doesn’t seem to matter what time of day it is, nor what type of person. Its everyone from the young casually dressed man to the older well dressed executives. I’ve tried to come up with some explanation, and figure out some reason for doing this. Is this some type of reflex, or habbit you pickup as a kid. Were these people taught by their parents that anytime you have to “wee wee”, you spit first? I just don’t get it. I’ve never done this that I can remember, and can’t think of a good reason for doing it. If anyone has any thoughts on this and would care to enlighten me, please feel free.

IE7 and printing e-mails

Now that IE7 is rolled out to over 1 million installations, time for problems!!! My company along with many other companies and end users, are now noticing that since the upgrade to IE7, users have sporadic problems printing e-mails from Outlook. We specifically run Office 2003 and when users print from outlook, sporadically, they will get a printout of the e-mail with the headers missing. We haven’t see any e-mails print with small text or some of the other symptoms that I’ve heard others experience. There are several workarounds and I’ll update this list as I come across more.

1. I f we use Microsoft Word 2003 to edit / compose the email and then print, noheadings are printed. If we uncheck Microsoft Word 2003 as our editor andthen compose the email it will print with headings.

2. Our firm is having a similar problem, and it is related to IE7 and ourthird party spam filter. When a message runs through the spam filterbut is passed due to the sender being on our white list, the messageheader does not print.The way to work around this, if you really need the messsage headerprinted is: forward the email to yourself which then prints perfectlyand adds the missing header back in. I do not know why this works, but it does.

3. Open a HTML formated email, select page setup, choose ‘Memo Style’, settop and bottom margins to zero (you may want to use the values above),click ok – print the emailThis problem is related to Internet Explorer 7 upgrade. Even if youremove IE7 after it has been installed the problem does not go away.

4. I found a solution: click on Format, you’ll see Send Pictures from the Internet is checked. Uncheck this, it should default check to HTML. Thiswill fix the problem. Some setting must have changed. No explanation

5. Another user suggested a less practical approach:He was able to print e-mails fine after doing the following:-Tools, options-In preferences tab, click e-mail options…-Under Message Handling, check “Read all standard mail in plain text”-Restart oulook, and you should be able to print e-mails fine.

6. You can disable font styles: Open Internet Options. On the general tab, click the Accessibility button. Check mark “Ignore font styles specified on webpages”.This will allow you to print headers on HTML emails.

7. If on emails that dont print the headers you first switch to landscape mode, they will print the headers correctly. You need to do it through the Outlook Page Setup function for it to work correctly. To do this:
1. Click on File and choose Page Setup
2. Choose Memo Style
3. Select the radio button for Landscape
4. Click OKThis setting will be for this email only and only until you close it.

The default setting will still be Portrait for other emails. This will at least let you print the missing information on these random emails until Microsoft releases an official fix for it.

8. In Outlook, go to “Tools” => “options”; in the preferences tab, click “email options”.
Under message handling, check the box “Read all standard mail in plain text”
You now need to quit Outlook and start Outlook again, and printing will be fine.

Stuff just happens

Today, I found another example of something I hate. Nothing bugs me more than finding a problem that should have been an issue all along, but things were working fine until for no particular reason, the problem shows it ugly little head. Specifically, today, I discovered that certain messages sent to our domain (at work), were being bounced with a 552 error code (Exceeded storage allocation). I found this particularly frustrating since I know we don’t set any specific size limits, other than a global limit of 10-15MB. The spam server is an SMTP proxy and we use watchguard fireboxes with an SMTP Proxy. I did some searching online and found that there may be an issue with the watchguard firebox in relation to an RFC for SMTP:

The RFC for SMTP explicitly states that the length of a single unterminated line can be no more than 1000 bytes. Sometimes email is rejected at the firewall for this reason because by default it will drop the connection when an unterminated line length exceeds 1000 bytes.

So now it appears the culprit for the issue is our firebox, which boggles my mind, because we’ve used it forever and just recently started having this problem. I hate when stuff just breaks for no particular reason and has worked in the past just fine for years. I am also checking our our spam software support team, to make sure their software when acting as an SMTP proxy, won’t be vulnerable to the same type of thing. Hopefully there is an easy fix for our firebox and we won’t have any more trouble. I’ve read several other newsgroup posts that indicate the firebox as the cause of the problem. Although the actual cause is some mis-configuration of the senders mail system, (typically), the firebox is doing the disconnecting.

Liz's lead

Liz got her first website lead for her digital photography yesterday (Monday). I get copies of all that stuff so I saw the message just before I went to lunch. I called her at lunch time and let her know. It is from a local person and she might be doing a photo CD this time. Its always exciting when you see your work on a website pay off. It would be nice if this became a good way for her to bring in some extra $$

Monday night

Last night I watched several shows that had new episodes. First, I downloaded BSG from Sunday night and watched it, it is really bad quality but I still watch it. Then we watched Heroes which was good, we both like that show. Then we watched some behind the scenes stuff from LOTR that talked about how they did the angles to make the different races seem taller or shorter than others. Very interesting stuff!

Overnight, Abby woke up early, not sure what time it was when she came into our room. I had her come around to my side of the bed and pulled her up with me. She always sleeps so good when we snuggle! I don’t sleep well, she was laying on my arm and I probably only dozed on and off the whole night. Right about the time I start sleeping relaly well, the alarm goes off and its time for me to get up. We let Abby sleep in a little this morning in our bed, while we ate breakfast and got ready to go.

Weekend summary

This was a (mostly) very nice weekend.  On Friday afternoon/evening we had some guests over for dinner and got to watch a movie, which was great.  Our kids had a great time playing together and we all had a great time.  Saturday I got a ton of downloaded shows and movies burned to DVD.  Something I’d been putting off for quite some time.  I was able to free up lots of much needed hard drive space.  Liz had a fundraiser thing for her MOPS group to go to at the St. Pete Times Forum working on the floor at a vendor’s booth.  She got home early becasue there was no business that night.  They still got paid which was good.  I seem to recall getting to rest a lot on Saturday and Sunday.  Sunday I continued to burn movies to DVD and the kids got to play outside since it was a little warmer (abotu 65). 

   Its been chilly here the last few days, and all this week the highs are only around 60ish.  Today I think the high will be mid 50’s.  I’ve completely adjusted to Florida living now, and cannot tolerate temperatures below 70 degrees anymore.  I’m still trying to find a scientific explanation for this.  When I lived in the MD/DE area, I’d never even put on a jacket till the temperatures went below 40.  But in our Florida room, I was able to sit there with the afternoon sun coming through the glass windows and warming me up nicely.  It felt great!  I sat there with Abby and watched the cloud formations and tried to find shapes in the clouds.

LOTR name translator

I came across this link today

It will translate your name into various Lord of the Rings Languages.  According to this site, my names are:
If you were a Hobbit, your name would be Merorry Harfoot
and if you were a (male) Man, your name would be Marraent
and if you were an Elf, your name would be Delithranduil
and if you were a Dwarf, your name would be Ronus
and if you were an Orc, your name would be Gudash
Your nearest Tavern might be called The Dawn Tavern
and your sword would be called Analing

New Speakers arrived

I got my new surround speaker system last night, but was very disappointed to find that they were as cheap as you can get.  The website with their description was very mis-leading.  I managed to combine them with my TV speakers and got it to sound half way decent.  But I am going to have to upgrade to a more expensive and better sounding system in the not so distant future.  Its frustrating because these things are so expensive and I don’t even want the top end major name brand or anything, and it will still probably cost me at least $300 for the speakers and sub that I would want.  GRRR.