Tuesday, November 17, 2009

BarracudaCentral.org Reliably Blocks Rash of New Spam

I'm using several DNSBL's to block inbound spam, plus blocking China entirely, which makes for a very quiet inbox most of the time.

Suddenly there has been a rash of new spam that the old BLs just didn't catch and it started to escalate.

Initially I wasn't too concerned because a spam site pops up, you get a few emails, they get black listed and the DNSBL blocks them from then on.

This time nobody seemed to be stopping them, none of my go-to DNSBL's were working so I revisited the DNSBL Spam Database Lookup site and started testing the source IPs of the email to see which list would block them.

Much to my surprise only 2 lists, barracudacentral.org and spamcannibal.org were highlighting these spammers at all.

After extensive testing BarracudaCentral.org proved to be the best out of the two so Barracuda gets added to my email filter list.

If you haven't tried BarracudaCentral.org then you probably have spam ;)

UPDATE: a few spams slipped thru that only SpamCannibal flagged so since I'm in a zero tolerance mode, I added SpamCannibal to my filter list as well.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

PubCon Heals The Crippled!

Some people are aware that I've been down with a really bad back which went out right after PubCon '08 meaning I've been barely walking for almost a year now. My back got so bad, and I have the x-rays to prove it, that the State of California actually issued me a permanent handicap placard this year! Not something I'm proud of, but it got me close enough to the door of the store to go shopping.

To explain what's going on, I have a couple of lower vertebrae with no disc between them that move against each other and sometimes slip which will send me down to the ground when it slips. This has been an ongoing problem since the 80's when I had a rather nasty high speed roller skating accident which has flared up a few times over the years. Over the course of the last year I discovered it was primarily tail bone compaction really causing me problems so I had to buy some special cushions and chairs to eliminate that problem.

It got so bad that I was unable to sit at my desk and do any work for more than a couple of hours a day for a couple of months earlier this year which finally drove me to find some solutions to the problem because not being able to sit at the computer is not acceptable.

The first place I went, and you must visit, is Relax The Back which is a great specialty store with all sorts of products for people with back problems.

My cheapo desk chair was the first thing I had to replace with some fancy (expensive as hell) ergonomic chair with lumbar support, other adjustments and memory foam!

Great, now my chair remembers every time I fart in it...

The cushion I bought for the car has a cut-out in the rear so my tail bone doesn't compress during long rides or take any of the shock from bumps in the road. This may not sound such a big deal, but I got so bad at one point that I had stopped driving for a couple of months and my wife was shuttling me around. After a couple of months of ass-rehab on the cushion and the office chair I'm back in the drivers seat without any problems.

Picked up a body pillow from Bed Bath & Beyond which hugged when you sleep also helped offset pressure in a couple of problem areas, but I think the bed will be the next item to be replaced.

Then I did some physical therapy for a few months until the insurance ran out on it and I was back in action somewhat walking better, using shopping carts at stores like walkers, and still getting mild panic attacks crossing wide open spaces with nothing to lean on if my back slips.

Anyway, I was barely put back together and getting a little better in time for PubCon and here comes my biggest fear, long walks thru airports, the massive Vegas hotels and of course the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The first day went about as expected, slow, painful and very carefully plodding along to make sure I didn't jar my back.

Surprisingly, the next day wasn't quite as bad and by the end of the week I was easily walking twice as fast as when I arrived.

The big bonus was I'm back to using escalators again after one near mishap!


Not that I'm claiming to be fixed, had a few incidents throughout the week with back slipping getting in and out of cabs and such, but I'm certainly walking MUCH better than when I first got to PubCon which is a huge improvement.

So pass it along - PubCon heals!