From:         Bob Rankin 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 07 SEP 2006 - Blocking Spam / Firewalls


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

In today's TOURBUS, we'll check out the latest in spam blocking tools and techniques, fill you in on why you need a firewall, and point you to some resources for a user-friendly Linux experience. Read on!

Spam Blockers and Filters

If you're having a tough time with spam, believe me... I feel your pain! I get hundreds (sometimes thousands) of unwanted emails every day. Spam ranges from relatively benign product pitches to blatant smut to identity theft schemes. Mailboxes that are unprotected can quickly be overrun, causing the mailbox owner to miss important messages, or be duped into giving out personal information.

When you consider that over 35 BILLION emails are sent every day, and about 70% of those are spam, the impact on individual and corporate inboxes is staggering. CAN-SPAM, the US government's attempt at stopping spam, has been a miserable failure. Email users are getting more spam than ever, both at work and at home. Here are some spam blocking tips you can try, and my personal techniques for reducing spam in my inbox to almost zero...

What Happens When You Yell "MOVIE!" in a Crowded Firehouse?

Sometimes even the professionals who are supposed to be protecting you are confused by hype and false alarms. Have you heard conflicting reports on whether or not you should be using a firewall? Some people say they are only needed for dialup users. Others claim that you MUST have a firewall if you have a highspeed DSL or cable connection to the Internet.

So who's right? It turns that "Do I Need a Firewall?" is the wrong question. What you really need to know is... what the heck *IS* a firewall, why you need one, and what kind of firewall is right for your system. My article "Do I Need a Firewall?" answers all of these burning questions.

Linux for Beginners

Here's a recent question from a reader:

> "I've heard a lot of buzz about Linux as a free alternative to
> Windows, but have hesitated because it seems a little geeky.
> Can you recommend an easy way to get started with Linux?"

Before I address that question, here's a little background on Linux.

In the early 90s, a geek named Linus Torvalds in Helsinki thought it would be fun to write a Unix kernel (the core of an operating system) from scratch. He called it Linux, and it was cool but pretty much useless without all the utility programs needed to make it a complete operating system. About the same time, Richard Stallman and his pals at the Free Software Foundation were writing a bunch of freeware Unix utilities known as the GNU Project. It was cool but pretty much useless without a kernel to make it a complete operating system.

What we now know as Linux is a combination of Torvald's Linux kernel, the GNU Project software, and other nifty software bit and pieces developed by programmers from all around the world. Today Linux is a complete and reliable operating system, with a slick graphical user interface, making it a viable alternative to Windows or the Mac OS.

So... if you're a Windows user looking for a Linux environment that's not a radical change from what you're used to, I have some good news for you. New Linux variants are trying to dispense with the widely held notion that Linux is just for geeks. If you're ready to try a user-friendly Linux with all the trimming, read on here:

That's all for now, see you next time! -- Bob Rankin

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
Blocking Spam Firewalls, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, search engines, cookies, cool sites
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