HAL-PC Monthly eBulletin - September 2007

Welcome to the September 2007 edition of the HAL-PC monthly member eBulletin. If you wish to stop receiving these bulletins, send an email to e-bulletin-off@hal-pc.org. This month: Postini Tips, Protect Your PC, HAL-PC General Meeting, Clear Lake, SIG News, Class Listing, Ralph Roddy, Magazine.


One of the worst things to do with Postini is to put your own or any hal-pc.org email address on the approved senders list in your Postini quarantine. Email from one hal-pc.org email address to another is local delivery. This means that outgoing email with a hal-pc.org email address that is sent to another hal-pc.org email address does not go through Postini. Putting a hal-pc.org email address in your Postini quarantine’s approved senders list opens a hole through which spam can get delivered into your mailbox.

Some times Postini users complain that we are spamming them. In reality, spammers are using what looks like internal hal-pc.org email addresses to make it look as if the email is important thereby getting you to open their spam. Spammers are very good at spoofing email addresses. They can, and will, actually make an email look as if you are sending it to yourself. Never putting your own or any other hal-pc.org email address onto your approved senders list can avoid these situations.


Spammers are always on the move to develop new methods to evade detection by spam filters. The latest tricks up their sleeves include:

  • Botnets: virus-laden emails infect innocent users' PCs and turn them into spam servers, which can fool spam filters based on senders' IP addresses. The Storm worm alone has built a botnet of 1.7 million computers which can be used to launch spam, viruses or denial of service attacks. NEVER follow enticing links in emails. If the link appears to come from a trusted source, VERIFY before following the link.
  • PDF spam: Now that filtering services have caught up with last year's trick of embedding spam in image files, the bad guys have moved on to embedding spam in .pdf attachments.

88% of all e-mail traffic is spam and 11% of that is PDF spam. In one 3 day period in August, one PDF spam blast launched from a botnet accounted for a 53% jump in spam volume. It is predicted that spam will top the all-time high of 90% within the next 30 days.

The Postini Anti-Virus and Anti-Spam service that is offered by HALNet to its users Postini Email Security is upgrading its service to monitor and detect botnet attacks, and identify messages even when junk or malware content is imbedded in legitimate business file types (such as PDF or Excel®). Also, as botnets create multiple variants of spam messages that try to bypass filtering rules, Postini will block these fast-evolving attacks based on the sending system's behavior. And most importantly, Postini blocks spam BEFORE it reaches the HALNet mail server!

Postini has been acquired by Google. To begin a free 30-day trial of the Postini filtering service, call the HAL-PC office at 713-993-3300. This service is offered to HALNet users only!

Computerworld, Sept. 2, 2007 The season of spam: record growth, record irritation
Information Week, Aug. 7, 2007 DoS Attack Feared As Storm Worm Siege Escalates

Report spam that gets through the filters. Even the best filtering system occasionally misses unwanted messages. If you have the Postini filtering service enabled and receive a piece of spam, forward it, intact and without comment, to spam@postini.com.


Saturday, September 22: HAL-PC General Meeting
9:00 - Suite opens: coffee, muffins and networking
9:30 - Meet the SIG Leader panel
10:00 - Dwight Silverman: Windows Vista - A Midyear Report Card
11:30 - Door prize drawing (first round!)
12:00 - Lunch: Watch the HAL-PC home page for details
2:00 - Perimeter Firewalls
3:45 - Door prize drawing (second round!)

"Ask the SIG Leaders" panel: Take this opportunity have your questions answered by our dedicated volunteer experts! Meet Steve Kennedy, Multimedia SIG Leader and Rita Trelewicz, Web Design SIG Leader. Watch the HAL-PC home page for additions to the panel.

Featured speaker: Dwight Silverman, technology editor for the Houston Chronicle and author of the Peachpit Press Learning Series "Microsoft Windows Vista" will present 'Windows Vista - A midyear report card'. Windows Vista has been available to consumers for almost 9 months. It's been successful in terms of sales, but not necessarily in terms of acceptance. Mr. Silverman will look at some of the reasons why, and the challenges that face Microsoft as a result.

Perimiter Firewalls Perimeter security is best. Keep the bad guys, their attacks, viruses, spyware, and malware from ever getting into your network. Brandon Napier, assisted by Pete Jamison and Rick Archibald will present "Perimeter Firewalls". Brandon will explain what perimeter firewalls are and how they differ from the better known personal firewalls, like ZoneAlarm. They will demonstrate how easy it is to install and configure three open source firewall solutions: IPCop, SmoothWall Express and Devil Linux. CD sets for the first ten people who sign in (event opens at 1:30 pm) Door prizes for participation include CD sets, books and one configured firewall computer! Learn how you can use Open Source solutions to protect your home or office network and it won't cost you an arm and a leg.

Come early for refreshments, fellowship and networking. We'll have general Q&A, door prizes and more. Open to the public - door prizes for members only.


Friday, September 7 -- 1:00 pm: Computer Investing SIG - 'Introduction to Derivatives'

Saturday, September 22 -- 1:00 pm: Digital Photography SIG - 'Digital Photography Shoot-Around'

Saturday, September 22 -- 9:30 am: General Meeting - 'Experiences With Windows Vista'

Saturday, September 29 -- 9:30 am: Mini-Course "Shopping on eBay" Moises Villese, Freeman Library. Open to the public.
Shopping on eBay has grown to be a very large activity for lots of people all over the planet. But most people don't know how to post a good ad so they get the most money for their merchandise. Many people are also afraid of auction sites because they think they'll pick up malware or get cheated somehow. Moises Villese, an instructor from the Freeman Library, will give us a practical, how-to presentation on eBay shopping - the basics and beyond. Call office to register 281-316-0768. Fee at the door ($5.00 members/$10.00 public)

Saturday, October 6 -- 9:30 pm: Camcorder & Video SIG - John Neustadter, HAL-PC member, 'Video for a Local Community TV Station'


The following Special Interest Groups have specific programs posted for their upcoming meetings. Please refer to the SIG Calendar for a complete listing of HAL-PC SIG meeting dates and times. If you are interested in starting a Special Interest Group that is not currently on our calendar, contact the Vice President for SIGS

COMPUTER INVESTING SIG: Fridays -- 9:45 - 2:45 (with lunch break) The CIS SIG meets to share information on not mutual funds, stocks, bonds and other forms of investing. Members demonstrate the programs they use to assist in making investment decisions. For weekly program schedules, see the CIS SIG website

MULTIMEDIA SIG: Saturday, September 1 -- 10:00 am: Taking a look at Canon's "Power Shot Pro S3 IS", a $300 digital camera with 6 megapixels, 12x zoom, 30 frame per second VGA video, and stereo sound recording. On the effects side, we'll look at combining Wondertouch's "Particle Illusion", a powerful 2D sprite-based particle effect system that works with any video, and Adobe's "After Effects", a motion graphics and visual effects application with almost unlimited features.

HOUSTON APPLICATION SYSTEMS GROUP SIG: Thursday, September 7 -- 6:30 pm: IBM Mid-Range system pointed more towards iSeries. See www.hasg.org for details about meeting/meal reservations.

DATABASE & GUI DESIGN SIG: Saturday, September 8 -- 9:00 am: We will be continuing our hands on workshop with Codesmith tools and .netTiers. Bring your laptop or desktop. I will be distributing a VMware virtual machine with everything setup on it. This will keep everyone on the same page as we go through the process of building both Windows and Browser applications. Please download and install the VMware player in advance so the process of getting the virtual machine setup on everyone's machines does not take as long.

INTERNET SIG: Friday, September 14 -- 7:00 pm: Passwords - Do you use good, strong, unbreakable passwords? Probably not, most people don't, but we'll look at some options, and a little program to keep track of complicated passwords, and make using them simple.

FOXPRO SIG: Tuesday, September 11 -- 7:00 pm:
Rich Monroe: Tips & Tricks + Form Class Design
Rich Monroe: Session Tracking Screen
Ed Hardin: Creating Email Down and Dirty Part I
These will be incredible presentations. Developing your own form class for customers to look at and Tips and Tricks to save you hours in programming. Email using a database or response to a customer problem by Ed Hardin Author of BM-Win Plus. A program designed for bulk email postage fro your mailing list: http://www.hardin-soft.com/ Come join us and the meeting is followed by a visit to Ninfa's for those so inclined.

SCANNING & DIGITAL IMAGING SIG: Saturday, September 15 -- 1:00 pm: We will be working on some of the portraits that we took last week. We will be retouching them to get better results in our final product. We will be using Photoshop CS2 for the retouching. We will also be discussing how to keep the retouching simple and doing the minimal amount of it.

WEB DESIGN SIG: Tuesday, September 25 -- 7:00 pm: The HALPC Web Design Special Interest Group monthly meeting will address "Position is Everything: Using CSS for Layouts" on Tuesday, September 25. For many years, the only way to create compelling web pages was to use tables and spacer images. The smallest change could become a major task in column and row manipulation resulting in multiple nested tables. Pages got more and more bloated with maintenance taking more and more time. Then CSS came along and with it a glimmer of hope that this trend could be reversed. The CSS2 standard introduced positioning making it theoretically possible to do almost everything that tables do with a fraction of the weight. Find out how to incorporate CSS into your site and take advantage of the design flexibility and cool visual effect CSS offers.

Upcoming Classes - HAL-PC Headquarters

Map To Facility

Check the Class Calendar for the latest additions to the schedule


Ralph Roddy, one of the founding members of HAL-PC, dedicated volunteer and long-time SIG leader, has beem undergoing treatment for lymphoma for the last five years. Ralph has now been referred to M.D. Anderson for stem cell therapy. Ralph has access to a laptop computer when hospitalized. To send your well wishes to him, email ralphr@hal-pc.org.


Look for the following informative articles in the HAL-PC Magazine online
Beverly Rosenbaum's Window on the Web

If you do not receive your quarterly HAL-PC magazine by September 8, please contact the office at 713-993-3300!

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