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Comment Re:Is there a link missing? (Score 3, Funny) 70

It seems like the only linked article is relevant to the Slashdot story immediately preceding this one...

Must be the new owners of Slashdot, working hard to correct the persistent problem the prior owners with duplicate stories getting posted, all the time. Now, the duplicate links will get posted in completely different stories, going forward!

Comment The elephants in the room (Score 3, Informative) 244

Google had no need for Postini. Google's own spam filtering in Gmail is pretty good. Probably as best as spam filtering could be, under the circumstances. So that's one elephant in the room.

The other elephant in the room is Microsoft, with Hotmail, or Office 365, or whatever it's called these days. I don't have any firsthand exposure to that service, but from what I hear its built-in spam filtering is also fairly good.

Big email providers like that have no need to use an external, third party spam filtering service, since they have the technology, and the scale, to implement it in house. Organizations that outsource their email service to these elephants get spam filtering as part of their service and, again, have little need for a third party service.

About the only likely market for third party spam filtering services would be small to mid-range ISPs or organizations that want to run their E-mail in house. They wouldn't typically have the in-house technology to implement spam filtering, and would rely on a third party. Seems like a fairly small market to me, and with E-mail generally on a slow, steady decline there doesn't seem to be a lot of market opportunities here, for third party spam filtering services.

Comment Re:Good luck with that (Score 1) 122

And how exactly did you determine the state of their mind, and what they do or do not know?

"Gee, all of a sudden my mail server acquires this mysterious configuration setting that rejects mail from all IP addresses on this particular blacklist. I have absolutely no idea where it came from..."

Comment Re:Good luck with that (Score 1) 122

You call it "vigilantism", I call it free speech.

My (strong) bet is that, if you are using any kind of blacklisting software you don't really know who are you blocking and why.

So, you think you know more about someone who employs blacklisting, then they themselves. There's a word for that too. Actually two words: "arrogant elitism". You think you're smarter than everyone else, and that you know more about blacklists then the individual organizations who use them. That is, of course, a height of arrogance.

No, I'm afraid you're not smarter than everyone else. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Comment Re:Good luck with that (Score 2) 122

Of course yes, why the hell go throw the worries of having a legal system and legal forces to enact it when we can have some random vigilante telling apart what can and cannot be done.

This phenomenon is called "free speech", perhaps you've heard of it. Anyone is free to say, on their web site, whether a particular sender's email should be accepted or rejected, and why. And it goes without saying that everyone else is free to either agree, or disagree and continue to use their own internal policy for email acceptance or rejectance.

I have found that these cries of vigilantism tend to come from those who have a peculiar belief that these so-called vigilantes have somehow hacked into million of email servers worldwide, hijacked them, and reconfigured them to reject email from the targets of those vigilantes' wrath. This is, of course, utter horseshit. The individual owners and operators of all those millions of email servers have specifically and intentionally configured their mail servers to follow the recommended mail acceptance policy of their chosen third-party blacklist. Nobody held a gun to their head, and forced them to do so. They own their email servers. They pay their electricity and bandwidth bills, and they have every right to configure them in whatever way makes them happy.

And the so-called "legal system" is 100% behind them. Fortunately, at least in the Western world, private property rights still enjoy 100% backing of the legal system. I have never read of any legal decision, that survived an appeal, which forced the owner of the email server to accept or reject email from anyone they wish, for whatever reason pleases them, and on whatever it was based on. Quite the opposite -- there's actually established case law that determined that privately-owned Internet providers are free to blacklist anyone, and for any reason, which includes third-party blacklists, which I'll be happy to cite.

That is the cold, hard truth: nobody has a civil right to email anyone, and every other privately-owned email server operator is free to refuse to accept email from anyone, for any reason. Whether it was due to their own decision, or by delegating this decision to a third-party blacklist. That delegation, after all, is still their own decision to make. Like I said, it is their email server, and they have full control of it. And it they decide to delegate some control over their email server to a third party, they are 100% within their rights to do so. And neither you, nor any other spamming parasite, can do anything about it.

Comment Good luck with that (Score 4, Insightful) 122

Bet a hundred quatloos that this so-called "ISP" are the malware peddlers themselves. Either that, or they know fully well who their customers are, and they interpret Cisco's communications as nothing more than a request to shut down a well paying customer.

This is not a unique phenomenon. This is a fairly common reaction to abuse and spam complaints. You want us to shut down a paying customer? Why would we want to do that?

The key to effectively deal with network abuse is to make the responsible party understand that it's in their best interest to do that. Otherwise they stand to lose more than they are profiting from network abuse. As long as effective public email blacklist exist, network providers will have to reluctantly terminate their spambags, else their entire network gets blacklisted and they lose more, as their other, non-spamming pissed off customers flee to other providers, in order to be able to send mail.

The same thing here. Presuming that this is a bone-fide provider, and not a sock puppet for the malware peddlers, the appropriate step of action is to escalate to their upstream, and attempt to get their cooperation, and have them agree to terminate the circuit to their rogue downstream provider, unless they get rid of the spamware peddlers. And keep escalating upstream, as far as necessary. Now, we're talking Cisco here, right? Well, it shouldn't take long before Cisco ends up talking to someone that uses their hardware in their core business. At this point, it's now going to be up to Cisco to put up and shut up, and inform their customer that unless this is dealt with, they will respectfully decline to renew their own customer's support contracts.

Could this sequence of events actually come to fruition? Extremely unlikely, but this is the only way to effectively deal with network abuse.

Submission + - Eric Raymond joins the National Rifle Association

mrsam writes: Eric Raymond is a well-known open software advocate. He wrote the seminal open source essay "The Cathedral and the Bazaar []", developed Fetchmail [], and leaked the notorious Microsoft internal memos that were dubbed the "Halloween Documents []".

So, what's the latest that Mr. Raymond has been up to? Well, he celebrated the new year by joining the NRA. Never known for being at a loss for words, Mr. Raymond explains []:

I joined because the state-worshiping thugs on the other side are doubling down, and they still own most of the media and the machinery of the Federal government. After decades of pretending that they only wanted soi-disant “common-sense” legislation aimed at specific problems around the edges of gun policy, the Democratic Party is now openly talking of outright gun confiscation. The usual suspects in the national press are obediently amplifying their propaganda.

Comment Re:Close the f'ing borders already! (Score 1) 275

Europe is unique in that we apparently cannot kick anybody out of our countries. Other countries certainly have no problem getting rid of undesirables - why can't we?

I just choked on my morning cup of tea. You really think the US of A has no problem kicking out the hordes of illegal invaders, out of its borders?

That, I got to see.

Maybe if The Donald actually pulls it off, and wins a year from now. Even then, it's not guaranteed, unless the congressional Republicans also find where they misplaced their balls, and actually decide to stand for something.

Comment My parents (Score 4, Interesting) 193

My situation is exactly the same. My parents are also retirement age, and have no IT knowledge; and I am an IT professional with a demanding, full time job.

I solved the same problem in a much simpler way. I am always happy to help them with some stupid IT-related problem, any time, day or night. Even though they live several hours away, I will get into the car at a moment's call, and come on over, if it becomes necessary.

It's the least I could do. I could never hope to repay them for giving me the gift of life, and for all the love they raised me, from birth to adulthood. I consider helping them, with some stupid computer issue, the least I could do.

Comment Lies, damn lines, and statistics (Score 1) 102

That one billion figure doesn't sound as impressive after one considers that it's fairly likely that it's mostly obtained by counting every Android install that comes bundled with Chrome. I'd be shocked, just shocked, if Google does NOT count someone who used Chrome a few times, before installing Firefox mobile. Like me, for example. I hardly ever use Chrome on my Googlephone. But, I'm sure I'm counted in that billion-plus figure.

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Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb