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Saturday 19 November 2005 - A delayed response, The comcast agent, Thar be a spammer in the works
A delayed response

I would like to extend an apology to everyone that e-mailed me between November 10th - November 18th. Due to distractions and over-sleeping (14 hours yesterday!), I've unfortunately not had any time to respond. I've put everything else on hold in the hopes of getting all e-mails replied to within the next 2-3 hours.

I would also like to take this opportunity to apologise on the behalf of Bob McKenzie (WebGrid). Due to a disaster with Partition Magic, Bob has been offline for the past several days and thus, not been able to respond to his e-mail. He is planning on calling this afternoon and aslong as everything goes as planned, we should see him back online later tonight.

On a brighter note, I would like to announce, thanks to my brother, I now have a monitor for the 98 test system!.

The comcast agent

Everyone knows 'bot's' are supposed to be helpful, especially for webmasters that rely on them for search engine rankings. However, one particular bot from the comcast network (IP: has decided it would rather bombard my server instead.

Deciding to investigate the sudden rise in traffic on the Intranet server, I noticed most of the queries were originating from a source with the user agent of "MSIECrawler". No problem I thought, I'll stick it in the robots.txt file till I find out who it is - first mistake. A lookup on the search engine pointed me toward a Webmaster World thread that indicated it to be associated with a user downloading pages for offline viewing. MSDN confirmed this so I figured fine, no problem. Silly me, why did I expect this to be the case here?.

Whilst the "official" MSIECrawler may well be as MSDN explained it, this one does not appear to be. Starting with an HTTP hammering, the bot then went on to bombard the FTP server with numerous requests for virtually every file thats on there (all together thats well over 10,000 files, with sizes varying from 1-2K to a couple of hundred MB). In addition, whilst MSDN claims this bot took notice of, and respected robots.txt, this one did not. After adding a disallow line for it in the robots.txt file, I naturally expected it to go away - did it heck. Having had enough, the comcast bot from hell has now had it's IP added to both the HTTP and FTP server black lists, and will remain there until I either take the servers offline, or hell freezes over - whichever comes first.

Let this be a warning to sysops that run bot's, hammering my server and ignoring the robots.txt file WILL get you banned (and as has already happened in the case of some, could get your entire netblock banned).

Thar be a spammer in the works

This is just a quick note to all of the spammers that feel it necessary to spam the living daylights out of me. Whilst I accept spam as a part of being online, and no longer get frustrated when I see in excess of 30,000 spam mails waiting for me when I get home from work, I feel it my duty as a recipient of your obvious greed and selfishness to make a small comment.

First, I don't require cialis (I don't care how you spell it in the e-mail, it's not going to make me buy it!), I don't need viagra (repeat last), I don't want a rolex (already have a couple of watches thankyou), I don't want pornography (best pornography you can give me is a PC catalogue), I don't want chain letters (I'm not even going to read them, let alone pass them on) and finally, I ONLY SPEAK ENGLISH!!! (in the interest of making this as clear as possible, there is absolutely no point in sending me spam in a different language as I'm not going to be able to understand a bleedin word of it anyway, and am certainly not going to take the time to translate it).

As a side note to others that receive spam and bounce it, DON'T!. Besides letting the spammer know the e-mail address is valid and watched, you are ADDING to the spam problem by clogging the mail servers up with even more rubbish!.
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