Archive for July, 2003

I wanted to post some photos from the author booksigning from this past week at FlashForward, but I ended up wasting several hours tonight digging through hundreds of spam emails sent to my main email account, I was so mad about wasting my time on deleting and filtering all this spam that I had to do something about it: I installed SpamAssassin on my server.
I ran across it recently looking for a solution to all the spam I had been receiving. Tonight was the catalyst that convinced me to spend the time to get it installed and configured instead of wasting any more of my valuable time on such nonsense. I had installed SpamAssassin for some clients recently and they really liked it and I saw how efective it was for them, but I never had the time to install it on my own server. I had been battling things by constantly tweaking my rules in Entourage and my other local mail clients, lately I had even taken to hardcoding some filtering rules on my server directly into my sendmail configuration, complimented by a few basic procmail filters I cobbled together. Hoever, even that was only getting like 50% of the junk that was overflowing my inbox. I was still dealing with hundreds of spams a day to several accounts. Well, I have to say that SpamAssassin does the job nicely and then some.
You can configure SpamAssassin for indvidual accounts or sitewide, and there are tons of options for how things are delivered, and many add on tools that work with your MTA, SpamAssassin, and your mail client to make things really seamless and invisible. There is also support built in for many popular RBL (Realtime blackhole lists), and several distributed, collaborative spam detection and filtering networks, including: Vipuls Razor, DCC, and Pyzor. If thats not enough it has a built in self-learning bayesian filtering system, the ability to create custom rules to determine what you define as spam, white and black lists, mime-defang, complete reporting, header tagging of spam. I am not sure there is much more you can ask for or need in the way of an anti spam system. I am really digging it a great deal.
If you are fed up with spam like I am, I encourage you to check it out as a possible solution.

Here are some links that I found really helpful to get everything installed and configured:

  • SpamAssassin.org – the main site
  • SpamAssassin Configuration Generator This is a PHP based form to help generate your config options easily.
  • procmail.org – You’ll need procmail along with your servers main MTA (mail transfer agent ie: sendmail, qmail, etc.)
  • Perl and some CPAN perl modules that SpamAssassin requires (Most newer builds of perl include the majority required by SpamAssassin)
  • Some great install instructions for RedHat Systems by the folks at Peregrine Hardware Inc. – These instructions also include links to some of the perl modules older versions of perl would require to run SpamAssassin, ie: lower than 5.8.x
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    My schedule is super tight this year so unfortunately for the first time, I wont be getting to hang around for the entire FlashForward event this year. I will however be representing New Riders from 5-6pm on July 9th at the authors booksigning and networking party. According to the schedule it will be in the Green Room on the second floor. There will be plenty of free food and drinks, and a ton of authors meeting, greeting and signing books. Last year I had a blast participating in this and am looking forward to it again. Make sure and stop by and say hello. I’ll be hanging around for a bit afterwords before I hop back on a train and head back to Philly.

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    Woops! Back online…

    Posted on July 3, 2003 by:
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    Sorry folks, I inadvertently introduced a problem onto my server over the last day or so that resulted in the main page and the blog section of my site just returning solid black blank pages to certain IP ranges. I was experimenting with filtering out some spiders and bots that were hammering my server and sucking up my bandwidth, and I got a little overzealous on things. 🙂 I was able to rectify the situation a few moments ago so all should be back to normal and everything should be viewable again.

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