Monday, October 31, 2005

E-mail/Spam solution

I've settled on three tools to help me deal with e-mail:


They are all open-source, and all are SourceForge projects. SourceForge is "the world's largest development and download repository of Open Source code and applications".
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PopTray is my front-end and polls my e-mail accounts, and presents new messages or throught the use of rules, handles them how I like. I tell it to delete spam messages, and suppress notifications of low-priority messages. High priority messages get a special sound or pop-up message.

POPFile is the classification tool that identifies which categories an e-mail falls into. For example: spam, personal, work, tech. After training, it is very accurate. Here are my latest stats:

Classification Accuracy

Messages classified:43,743
Classification errors:141

(Last Reset: Wed Jun 1 10:29:05 2005 )

Only 0.33% of my mail is mis-classified. When that happens I teach POPFile the proper "bucket" for an e-mail. This did require a bit of training at first, but now it Just Works.

Lastly FreePOPs allows me to check GMail, Hotmail and Yahoo from POPTray as if they were real POP accounts. Since those three sites (that I use, there are many others supported) are webmail based, FreePOPs will scan through my messages and pass them on to POPTray. They take a detour through POPFile to be classified first.

Works for me!


Google listing

I'm #1! I'm #1!

It took a while, but I am finally #1 in the Google listing when searching for my name. Even without quotes around the name! Check it out: google listing . I probably owe some of it to my recent listing on Paul Schindler's column . Hopefully that doesn't change since he has moved to a Movable Type column. He may be cross-posting on both, which won't hurt.

I was worried that my poker tournament software listing was hurting my Google ranking, as it might be seen as a gambling site. Read more about that software in my archives.

When I was listed on Rogers Webspace, I did have #1 ranking, although that site had frames which was not search friendly; and I never changed the noframes section to reflect better content. I lost all rankings when Rogers switched to Yahoo and Geocities, even when I forwarded my pages to the new one for a while. My old pages are actually still available at: . Hopefully, stays around much longer so I don't have to move the site around. At least it can stay permanent while my static site moves around, and I just link to it from here. (It's link is at the side).

I'm also tweaking the site to come up with better "posting" so the "Read more" only shows up when there is more to read...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Coyote Linux

For a home firewall I use Coyote Linux personal firewall (CL firewall). It runs off a single floppy disk and handles my needs. I use an old 486-33 VLBus with 16M Ram. There is no hard drive in the system, just a floppy drive, the motherboard, video and network cards (two).

I have also installed this at work where the network is shared by between 5-10 people at a time. As I write this, the uptime is 45 days, 51 min, which is an improvement over the old D-Link hub. It needed to be restarted weekly to keep the internet connection running. It runs over PPPoE (DSL).

My next step is to all dynamic dns updating to both firewalls, currently I use DynSite at work and at home I use the Official Windows Update Client - DynDNS Updater. I actually didn't know it was the official client until I wrote this article, I had settled on it after my own research. I don't let it run all the time, I have it scheduled to run every two weeks or at boot up; and only to update if changed, or 28 days have passed. The latter is one requirement of any modification to the CL firewall, that it must force an update. If not, the address can be dropped by and must be re-registered. (It has happened to me once, luckily my preferred IP name had not been taken during the lapse.)
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I may upgrade to the BrazilFW made by Claudio Roberto Cussuol who has taken on maintaining the floppy disk version. Vortech Consulting is moving on to IDE based or CD based versions only of the personal firewall (plus their commercial versions).

I love being able to re-use old hardware for this purpose; I know you can buy router/firewalls for under $100 but really, you get what you pay for. We ended up tossing ours at work because it was so unreliable. The CL firewall is much more robust, and configurable, especially in its port forwarding and DHCP server abilities. I also like the DNS caching, which improves internet performance.