Archive for June, 2004

Spam Control

My mail system is now useless unless I’m on a broadband connection to the mailserver, and even then it’s pretty badly bogged down. And it’s all due to spam, roughly 50 thousand messages in the last month.

And that 50,000 messages is after spamcop’s realtime block list and spamassassin discarding anything over a 5 before it gets delivered to my mailbox in the first place.

I don’t think spamcop’s blacklist is actually making a difference — in the last 5 days of mail logs, I’m seeing 18000 rejected connections, while I’ve still seen 2000 spams a day getting to my account. I’m pretty sure that the spammers are using multiple trojaned proxy servers, and they just try untill they get through.

It’s not as bad as it could be, since I do have a reasonably good client side filter that keeps all but 10 or 20 of those a day out of my inbox, so I don’t have to individually delete them. But all of them have to be delivered and download, and that’s a real pain. And why it’s now useless to connecto to my mail on anything but a fast network. GPRS is right out.

To be honest, some of this is my fault, as I have a combination of issues that makes it a little more difficult than average to kill the spam. First, I’m running all my mail through a virus filter and spam assassin before address verification. That means postfix, the front end MTA, has the same problem that usually happens with backup mx machines: it has to accept the mail, process it, then deal with addressing. That’s not a problem with well addressed mail, but when there’s a dictionary attack on your domain, it’s not a pretty sight.

Second, I have a catchall email address, and I’ve been using it. So I don’t actually know which addresses are valid and which ones aren’t. I have a pretty good idea, but they’re not exactly all in code anywhere.

Third, this interacts really badly with spammers. I suspect that their adaptive proxy attack mechanisim records when an address has been accepted for delivery, so that they can refine their dictionary attacks for the next run. So the first attack probably added thousands of addresses in my domain to their lists, which they retry with annoying regularity.

However, there is a resolution. I have recently updated postfix to a version that allows delegation of address policy to permit greylisting. So I can delegate to a script to check for: known emails that I use from the wildcard domain, addresses from the backend mailserver, and most importantly, some spamtrap email addresses. If they’re good, I can accept them, if they’re bad, I can drop the whole connection. With Feeling.

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Another solstice picture


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Golden Gardens

Right around midsummers, the evenings grow very long out here. Golden Gardens becomes quite an attraction, there being some mystical connection between sand, fire, and beer. Cellphones too, as quite a few people were wandering around with one stuck to their ear. The most overheard conversation was: ‘Dude, where are you?’

Looking out to the mountains, in the fading light of the sunset.

Looking back to the boats in the marina.

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Fremont Solstice Parade 2004

I didn’t get to see to much of the solstice parade this year, but just to keep the tradition rolling, I did get photographic evidence of cyclists not wearing lycra.


Although that one did have a tail.

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A Rose

A rose in the Garden

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From the garden

It’s now June, and for the first time in recent memory, the garden is better tended than the website. The peas that went in in march are producing more than we can handle, the strawberries are into their first big peak, and the herbs and greens are still going well. So tonight, we made a dinner salad that was nearly all garden produce.

the herb bed

Fava Beans, blanched (planted oct/nov)
Shelling peas (planted marchish)
Thyme (taking over)
Chives (assaulted by the thyme)
Salad Mix (planted early may)
Spinach (planted early, probably march)
Parsley (planted last year)
Strawberries (going nuts right about now)
Olive Oil, Salt, and Goat Cheese Cheddar, from Trader Joe’s

All mixed together. Olive oil and salt to taste. The Fava beans need to be shelled, blanched, then peeled. The Peas just need to be shelled, then they are good enough to just snack on till the other food is ready.

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