Random Musings

An occasional blog

A word in the ear of email providers

If you’re an email provider, try to reject unwanted mail during the SMTP exchange where possible. Once you accept a message for delivery, then decide that it shouldn’t be delivered, you are faced with the unenviable task of where to send the non-delivery report. You can’t rely on the validity of the “From:” and “Reply-to:” headers, and sometimes even the “Envelope Sender” or “Retrun path” details, because sender credentials are commonly forged in order to divert attention away from the real sender. A misdirected bounce only adds to the spam problem. Even the “Received:” headers can be tampered with.

The IP address of the system wanting to deliver email to your system is one of the more reliable pieces of information available to system admins – the internet relies on accurate IP addresses in order to work properly.  DNSBL technology is a well established method of quickly and efficiently learning about the reputation of a particular IP address. Both Spamcop and Spamhaus are well established providers of DNSBL services. Using one (or both) should help you stop spam in its tracks. Be sure to read their terms of use. Take the time to read AND understand what they do and how they work.

There are several websites available to help you do your research. The resources provided by WhatIsMyIpAddress and multirbl.valli.org can be of immense help.

Don’t be fooled by claims that you are obliged to pay for removal from one of the UCEPROTECT and Backscaterer lists. If you fix the problem that resulted in the listing, the removal will happen automatically. The payment is only required if you can’t wait a week (or more) after fixing the problem.


Spam is NOT welcome

For some reason, several Chinese spammers have attempted to contact my Lisati persona with Chinese language messages – click here for an example. Any such messages which make it to my inbox WILL be reported as spam, even if the subject tries to claim that it is NOT spam. For anything that has no connection with Ubuntu, Launchpad, or the contents of this blog, please visit my other blog.


Freedom of expression

The right to express yourself freely is one that should not be taken lightly. The Ubuntu Forums have rules and guidelines that they expect you to abide by when using their facilities. Likewise, I have some basic expectations for those who choose to contact me by email.

With freedom comes responsibility. Your freedom to communicate relies on your ability to not annoy or inconvenience anyone who might hear or read your message. Effective communication depends on the co-operation of ALL involved. this might include people who might not be particularly interested in what you have to say.

There are some problems with citing rights you believe you have under the first amendment to the US constitution. A big problem is that most of your readers will have extremely limited ability to influence American law makers one way or another. Another problem is that the internet is an international community – your email or blog post might be read in an outside the jurisdiction of the US justice system, where different laws apply.

Just a thought

If you want to directly contact me related to something you’ve seen on the Ubuntu Forums, and want to keep it out of the public gaze, please use the PM or email options on my profile.  On the other hand, if you want to notify the forum staff about a particular post that’s problematic, use the “Report post” feature of the forum software.

Whatever you do, don’t send an email to lisati@voogdnz.net. I haven’t used that email address for a while, and if your email makes it past the spam filters, you’ll probably be referred back to this blog. Neither should you use lisati.ubuntu@ymail.com or lisati@outlook.com – most of the emails that arrive there these days is spam.

Advice from Dr Google

Using search engines, such as those provided by Google and Bing, can be massively useful. It can provide a lot of interesting reading, particularly when you’ve chosen your search well.

It is always a good idea, however, to be smart with which links you click. Sometimes the results won’t be relevant to what you’re searching for. Other times, the results will be to information that is seriously out-dated or flawed. And, of course, there are things you won’t want to see – some things are not easily unseen.

Seeking medical advice online can sometimes provide you with useful information. but should not be seen as a 100% infallible substitute for competent advice from a suitably qualified professional.

Similarly, seeking technical advice can often point you in the right general direction, but because technology is constantly changing, you should not assume that that the first link you visit will provide a suitable solution.

In short, don’t assume that the advice offered by Dr Google will be suitable for your situation. You might need to do some further homework before you apply the “solution” you have been reading about.

What’s in a name?

One sometimes sees a distinction online and in stores between a “PC” and Apple products. Presumably this dates back from the 1980s, when a big thing was made out of compatibility with the IBM PC – Apple wanted their products to stand on their own merits. Until then, having a computer at home was largely the realm of hobbyists – you built it yourself.

Making a distinction between a “PC” and Apple products doesn’t make sense to this writer. We’re not talking about being Politically Correct, but Personal Computers. If the latest laptop from Apple isn’t a form of personal computer, then what on earth is it?

New Phone

On Fathers’ Day (yesterday) I picked up a new phone to use as a spare/backup. It’s a Skinny F328, manufactured by ZTE. My first impression is that it’s a good starter phone that should do the trick if you’re mainly interested in the occasional call.

The screen size is a bit bigger than I’m used to on similar phones, and the keyboard easier to use for my clumsy fingers than a couple of old semi-retired phones in my collection of mobiles. Compared with my older phones, the keyboard does have a slightly spongy feel – this might be something to pay attention to.

Texting is a little bit different to other phones I’ve regularly used, the default text entry mode seems vaguely reminiscent of phones we had about 20 years ago. Thankfully it’s easily changed by using the # key, but I haven’t yet found a way of setting my preferences as default.

The phone comes with a camera which has a flash. For people who like to make selfies, the bad news is that there’s no front camera. Although image quality is better than other phones I’ve used from the same manufacturer, my initial impression is that it we shouldn’t expect the same quality as we might expect from a good android phone.

As is the case with other similar phones, there are basic internet capabilities but no wifi. My preference remains with desktop or laptop while using internet at home, or possibly one of our android devices while we’re out and about.

I haven’t had the phone long enough to get a good feel for the battery life.

As for connectivity, it comes with bluetooth (not sure which version), and the phone is capable of connecting to 2G and 3G networks. It is currently locked to a provider that doesn’t use 2G.

And here are the obligatory photos of cats.

Dear Brother Catch Spammers,

This was sent to one of my honeypot addresses, and originally posted here by mistake. The joys of running honenypots, spam traps, and multiple blogs! It’s fairly typical of the nonsense that comes my way.

From: elena baltach <elenabaltach7777@gmail.com> (a repeat offender)


Dear Brother Catch Spammers,

Greeting in the Name of God my dear brother and you are welcome for
the humanitarian works project, I want you to follow up with the
necessary instructions here below by contacting my lawyer
Mr. Richard Menseh to enable him give you the contact of the bank
for the fund transfer into your account without any delay.

That is why you must work dearly with Mr Richard Menseh. Do not let
anybody to be involve in this matter so that they will not corrupt
your good intentions.

You should contact my barr Mr Richard menseh through this email
the nurse taking care of me will
print it for me.

May the Good God continue to help and guide you with wisdom that
trancend all understanding.
May Fire of revival continue to burn in your life.

1. Your full name:
2. Address/ Home or Office:
3. Your Private Email:
4. Occupation:
5. Marital status:
6. Nationality:
7. Age
8. Current Telephone/Fax Number.

My good brother you can call Richard Menseh on this His private
telephone number +228 93 54 50 63  for more detail or any where you
needs my urgent attention in regards to this very transactions okay.

I hope everything is well understood now?

I await for your immediate anticipations response as soon as possible.

Best Regards
Mrs Elena

Malware and other nonsense.

I sometimes receive unwanted email via the email address associated with my forum account, usually with a forged “From:” address. Please don’t do this, it wastes my time. It aso confuses my email provider no end when I ask them about why malware and other such rubbish is allowed in by their spam filter, but blocked by their outgoing filters when I try to report it. They usually reply with some comment about using the “report spam” button, which they don’t currently provide on their webmail. When I was running my own email server a few years ago, it wasn’t that difficult to implement the same checks for malware and spam for both incoming and outgoing email.

Donations to help replace the dilapidated old hardware I used to use for my server would be welcome, so I can more easily set up my own email system with own rules that I can customize to my own liking.

Preferred email address

If you need to contact me, please use the contact form associated with this blog, or use the contact details on my profile at the Ubuntu Forums.

I’m not about to publicize my email address here, it is likely to become a spam magnet. I’d feel a lot better if the idiots and rogues helped me to keep things organized by sending something to one of my SpamTrap email addresses.