Archive for the 'Internet' Category

A losing battle

Wednesday, October 5th, 2005

Here’s why we’re not winning the spam wars. This dude is offering a server based in China for a mere $599/mo.

And spam-assassin never flagged this. The Beijing based IP only shows up in a few spam databases.

Subject: BP mail Server
Date: October 5, 2005 9:53:59 AM EDT
To: [my email]
Envelope-To: [my email]
Delivery-Date: Wed, 05 Oct 2005 09:54:05 -0400
Received: from [my mailserver] by [my mailserver] with local-bsmtp (Exim 4.52) id 1EN9if-0003oK-3M for [my email]; Wed, 05 Oct 2005 09:54:05 -0400
Received: from [] (port=1409 by [my mailserver] with smtp (Exim 4.52) id 1EN9ib-0003nO-RT for [my email]; Wed, 05 Oct 2005 09:54:05 -0400

Dear [my email]:

BulletProof server:

Fresh IPs
1024MB RAM
Dedicated 100M fiber
Unlimited Data Transfer
Any software
Based China
US$599.00 per month

May use the server for:

Bulk web Hosting
Direct Mail

We also supply email list according to your
order and sending out your message for you.
Looking forward to do business with you.
Server Team


e-commerce schadenfreude

Saturday, May 28th, 2005

Passing by the Barnes & Noble fulfillment center in New Jersey always makes me giggle…in that e-commerce schadenfreude kind of way…

Barnes & Noble can't fix their sign

Google was not hacked

Sunday, May 8th, 2005

I wrote this as a response to a posting over at OTB about Google being hacked on Saturday night

Since I took so much time writing it, I figured I might as well share it with you…

No, google was not hacked. What happened was threefold…

One, a Google employee was updating Google DNS records on a Saturday and messed up the initial update. Which, hey, could happen to anybody… Even though the update was apparently fixed soon after the initial DNS edit - the edit was cached and there was a wait for worldwide DNS server caches to flush. The unfortunate thing is that the initial mistake caused 1 in 4 DNS lookups to fail. Oopsy.

Secondly, some browsers for some dumb reason will automatically append a .net to a domain name if the .com lookup fails. So, when someone went looking, the lookup failed and then their browser sent them to which apparently redirected to (FYI: I tried tonight and it didn’t work for me.). Registering the domain name of is not illegal, but pretty sneaky.

Thirdly, what caused a frenzy was that when people were doing Whois lookups and some people with a weird sense of humor used unusual names for their DNS nameserver machines. So people not familiar with DNS nameserver practices were seeing these unusual names (that don’t mean anything) and posting on various Web sites starting that “OMG Google was hacked”.

Oddly enough, the only reason why I noticed that Google was down was that I was rushing out the door and needed directions to a restaurant…so I ended up getting frustrated and had to use Yahoo…oh the humanity.

Some additional thoughts… Google’s IP address is

Here is the Slashdot thread

An interesting post at Broadband scroll down

just wanted to note

Sunday, April 17th, 2005

That this blog is not currently blocked by the Chinese Internet Censoring Authorities…as evidenced by a visitor who wanted to find out how to
download from iTunes.

speaking as a marketing person…

Saturday, April 9th, 2005

After doing a quick “link: ” review on Google this week for some of the sites I manage for my day job, I think the number one reason why I like Google Ad Words so much is because Google spiders those spammy sites that are designed/used/manipulated to showcase Google Ads. Here is an example of a “Sponsored Links” spammy site set up by an apparent domain registrar trying to get hits.

Therefore, any of your ads that happen to show up on those spammy sites during the spidering are therefore *counted as legit links back to your site*. So, not only are you getting ad impressions, but your Google Ranking would naturally tend to go up with more links.

Ask Jeeves apparently uses Google AdSense

Sunday, February 27th, 2005

Should I be amused at the fact that Ask Jeeves uses Google AdSense?

I accidentally discovered this the other day when I was reviewing referrers for some of the sites I admin. I saw a keyword for an ad campaign I designed on AdWords but the referrer was from Ask Jeeves. Intrigued by this, I of course had to confirm this was really happening, so I went to Ask Jeeves, plugged in the keywords in search box, and voila, my paid ad was the first result on the “Sponsored Web Results” part of the page.

As a marketer, I could care less that Ask Jeeves is carrying Google ads. But I thought Ask Jeeves was bought out by Yahoo?

thoughts on open relays

Tuesday, February 1st, 2005

In response to James at OTB’s post about those damn comment spammers using open proxies to harass bloggers, I just wanted to point out that current case law is unclear about using open proxies. In other words, it’s not illegal to use an open proxy, on the other hand, the issue hasn’t been decided upon in the courts.

Simply put, using an open proxy is like opening the door (connecting to a computer on the Net) to an unlocked (proxy service was up and running) house and then arguing that you could use the house (proxy service) because the door was unlocked (computer user didn’t disable the service).

Here’s the pertinent graph from The Register article…

So Sam, like other link spammers, uses the thousands of ‘open proxies’ on the net. These are machines which, by accident (read: clueless sysadmins) or design (read: clueless managers) are set up so that anyone, anywhere, can access another website through them. Usually intended for internal use, so a company only needs one machine facing the net, they’re actually hard to lock down completely.

So, people like Sam are using computers that they didn’t get explicit permission to use. Normal people tend to call that tresspass [to chattels].

why verizon why?

Tuesday, February 1st, 2005

Why haven’t I been able to connect to (verizon’s smtp server - outgoing email) during early evening hours for the past few days? Inquiring minds want to know….

I would use my mailserver on cleverhack, but, uh, Verizon blocks port 25.

Update: Someone on nanog is seeing similar behavior, I’ll post the link once it gets archived.

Bids sought for Net sales tax systems

Saturday, January 29th, 2005

From The Washington Post

State governments working on a national Internet sales tax system are moving ahead with plans to create the data infrastructure that they and retailers will need to manage the collection of taxes on most e-commerce transactions.

Working together under the auspices of the Streamlined Sales Tax Project, 40 states and the District of Columbia have issued two requests for bids from technology companies to design the software and Web-based networks to track millions of online purchases and process the appropriate sales tax payments.

A request issued by the states last Friday seeks bids to build a registration system where all Internet retailers — ranging from giants like to smaller companies — would go to declare their intent to collect and remit taxes on online sales made to customers in the project’s participating states.

The second request, issued last November, is aimed at making it easier for online retailers to collect sales taxes. The states plan to award contracts to multiple vendors who would provide sales tax collection systems to online retailers. As currently envisioned by the states, Web merchants would pay nothing for the services. Instead, the vendors would take a small cut from the revenues.

To date, 19 states — including Florida, Michigan and Texas — have modified their sales tax codes to make it easier for retailers to collect taxes on Internet sales. By October 2005, the states hope to have a voluntary collection system working in at least 15 states representing roughly one-fourth of the U.S. population. With that in place, they hope, Congress would be more likely to endorse a mandatory, national Internet sales tax system.

The Streamlined Sales Tax Project home page is Here is a list of participating states.

From someone whose day job is all about e-commerce, all I have to say is “Ugh.” You have to love the bit in the article about how this consortium is hoping to get a mandatory Internet sales tax imposed by Congress, once proof of concept for this sales tax system is implemented.

I’m guessing that the “system” that is being designed will be similar to how USPS/UPS/FedEx shipping tables are implemented for popular e-commerce shopping cart systems. In other words, the state and local sales tax tables will be updated every year and if you run your own shopping cart system, you’ll have to update the module provided by whatever vendor this sales tax group approves.

However, what I think is most interesting about this sales tax push is the fact that this consortium is pushing to collect sales tax based on the customer’s residency, not where the retailer (or the retailer’s servers) is located. Basically, this group is trying to enforce the idea that the transaction occurs where the customer is physically located. This is interesting as other parts of Internet law has been based upon where the servers are (i.e. AOL winning judgements against spammers because of Virginia laws being broken or the French decision against Yahoo).


Friday, December 3rd, 2004

Did anyone else get a strange Amazon error (on all of the Amazon properties) from 2.30-2.45ish pm EST? It was not a DDoS, Instead, I was getting an error that said something like “thank you for your order, please check back again”.

All I can say is that I’d hate to be the dude who did the misconfiguration during the holiday season.

The Internet at 35: Still Evolving

Sunday, August 29th, 2004

From CNN

NEW YORK (AP) — Thirty-five years after computer scientists at UCLA linked two bulky computers using a 15-foot gray cable, testing a new way to exchange data over networks, what would ultimately become the Internet remains a work in progress.

Stephen Crocker and Vinton Cerf were among the graduate students who joined UCLA professor Len Kleinrock in an engineering lab on September 2, 1969, as bits of meaningless test data flowed silently between the two computers. By January, three other “nodes” joined the fledgling network.

Then came e-mail a few years later, a core communications protocol called TCP/IP in the late 1970s, the domain name system in the 1980s and the World Wide Web — now the second most popular application behind e-mail — in 1990. The Internet expanded beyond its initial military and educational domain into businesses and homes around the world.


Sunday, August 29th, 2004

I’m finally listed in the Google directory (basically a mirror of dmoz) under
- Computers/Internet/On_the_Web/Weblogs/Technology/