May 10, 2006
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There's no such thing as a free email

A few weeks ago, we mentioned AOL's plan to charge companies for sending emails, calling it "certified" and saying that because it is designated as special that it is somehow no longer spam. We also said that we didn't think it would put much of a dent in the amount of spam we all get.

That prompted at least one protest:

Why do you think that charging to send spam wouldn't make a big difference? Saying that there is still junk mail despite the PO charging to send it is irrelevant. Do you have a clue about how much junk mail would get sent if the PO didn't charge anything for it?

We think that's beside the point. The fact is that despite the 800 per cent increase in the cost of sending bulk mail over the last thirty years or so, bulk mail is still being sent, so apparently, it works. That being the case, the junk email that has been "certified" by Yahoo or AOL would seem more likely to get delivered, if only because companies will consider that they would be paying a premium to have it delivered.

Phishing accounts for about 15 per cent of all spam email, according to MessageLabs, and now a recent study by researchers at Harvard and UC Berkeley says that the best phishing sites -- the ones that look like they should be legitimate -- fool nine out of ten people who visit them. This becomes an even bigger problem given that while banks are pretty good about making sure you're who you say you are, they aren't so good at telling you that they're who they say they are. Can you tell the difference, at a glance, between and Neither can most people, but that's an actual phishing attempt. And take a look at how many domains have the word ebay in them.

Speaking of phishing scams, our youngest brother (and fellow EE member) forwarded the following email to us:

THEY'RE BAAA-AAACK....and the "phish" smells worse than ever. Internet "phishing" scammers are at it again, and this time more people than ever are getting lured in. The email looks like an official update from the IRS, the senders email address looks official, the IRS logo is on the email ... and the subject line would lure in any hardworking taxpayer with its tasty bait that smells of a tax refund from Uncle Sam. But watch out ... even though it looks legitimate; don't let these Internet thieves catch you with their hook. You could soon find yourself tangled up and struggling to rid yourself of a nasty case of identity theft. Here is the scoop:
A bogus email shows up in your inbox from and has a subject line that reads "Refund Notice", appearing to be from the IRS. If you click on the email to view the contents, it will state that you are entitled to a tax refund for a specific amount of money, usually $63.80 or $163.80 for some reason. However, to obtain the refund you must complete a tax refund form by clicking on a link contained in the email.
Do not click on the link ... the IRS does not communicate with taxpayers via email, certainly never asks for personal identifying or financial information via email, and does not require online forms to be completed to receive a refund.
This scam has been working, since everyone "does business" with the IRS, whereas some of the other common phishing scams that copy traditional financial institutions information (like Bank of America), may not even be a company that is used by the recipient. Also, since the tax system is so confusing, it's easy for someone to believe that there may be some extra refund money laying on the table at the IRS. But if you do click on the link or provide any information, these Internet thieves are hoping they can capture your personal information and use it to run up charges on credit cards, apply for new loans, or even file fraudulent tax returns. If you receive an email of this type, here's what you should do to protect yourself:
  • Delete any unsolicited emails that have "IRS" in the email address.
  • Find out if the IRS is trying to contact you regarding a refund by calling 1-800-829-1040.
  • If you need to visit the IRS site, go there directly by typing into your web browser, never via a link within an email.
  • If you accidentally open a bogus email, do not open attachments or click on links. They may contain malicious code that could infect your computer.

We received in our personal email a very nice request from a gentleman in Great Britain that we remove his address from our spam list. The good news is that while we own the domain name listed, we don't use it for much other than storage, and never use it in email addresses, so we were able to write back and give him information about who he should be contacting.

Here's a typical email header; we've changed the recipient's domain (and ours, but left the spammer's domain and IP address intact), but for illustration purposes it will do:

Received: from his_computer.he.local ([xx.87.8.25]) by HEMV2AUKER.he.local with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.211); Thu, 4 May 2006 02:27:04 +0100
Received: from ([xxx.73.73.201]) by his_computer.he.local with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.211); Thu, 4 May 2006 02:27:00 +0100
Received: from rdrqch ([]) by (MOS 3.7.4b-GA) with SMTP id FWU10908; Thu, 4 May 2006 02:26:45 +0100 (BST)
Received: from [] (helo=wrn.ocd) by rdrqch with smtp (Exim 4.43) id 1FbSdM-0006Vo-JO; Wed, 3 May 2006 21:28:00 -0400
Message-ID: <001401c66f19$b39bb753$e7d390cf@wrn.ocd>
From: "Rosabel Stinson" <>
To: <>

The IP address is assigned to a US-based ISP -- not surprising, since about 25 per cent of the spam sent worldwide originates in the United States.

Getting Excel files to open

We've always had a bit of a gripe about this: Right-clicking using Windows Explorer and choosing "Open With" doesn't always work; Excel (or Word, or Access) will open, but it won't open the file. MtnNtwks finally got annoyed enough to find a solution, and posted it in the Suggestions topic area; we've reposted it here.

I just spent a lot of time troubleshooting a problem with Excel. I was able to find a solution but it wasn't easy. I'd like to share my data with others but since this is not a "question" worth points, I'd like to see this information posted somewhere so it can help someone else. Where can I post FYIs or other solutions that I'd like to share with the EE community, which are not the result of EE questions (no points involved)?

Here is what I want to post. Moderators, please feel free to take this and post it someplace it would be useful to someone.


1. Using Windows Explorer or otherwising browsing to the location of an Excel file, double clicking on the file will open Excel, but the workbook never opens.
2. Right mouse click on an Excel file, then select "open with" and choose Excel. An error message appears which says the file cannot be found, please check the path.
3. However ... If you first open Excel, then from within Excel say "File/Open" and browse to the file, the workbook will open just fine without any problems. Therefore it's not a show-stopper...just an annoyance.

Before posting here, I did a lot of research. Below are the posted links which relate to this problem. Many of the solutions refer to registry entries of older version of Excel. However, the affected computer did not have any older version of Excel. Other postings refer to a %1 at the end of the "open" command in the registry. Once again, the affected computer did not share this condition.;EN-US;280504 (this will probably work, but it seems a little draconian) (I'm not using Windows 95);en-us;323216 (This computer has no prior versions of Excel)

The MS KB articles correctly identify my symptoms, but the solutions don't match up with the conditions on the affected computer.

After much research, I found the winnng solution at:

Hope this helps someone.

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Tip from the Moderators: Three more from Community Support

Where's my question? If you've just asked your first question and you can't find it in the Questions Awaiting Answers list, don't panic -- and please, don't ask it again -- because it's there. When you ask a question, it goes to the top of the page that you see, in a section called Your Questions. To everyone else, it will appear on the Questions Awaiting Answers list in the order it was asked.

Okay, I've asked my question. Now what happens? When someone posts a response to your question, you will receive an email notification of it, so please, make sure that isn't blocked by your email filter. When that happens, you are expected to return to the question and respond to the post. To help you, there is always a link to the question in the email, so you can just click on it and you'll go directly to the right page. Once you have a solution to your problem, you then close the question; please see the appropriate section of the Help page for more information on closing your questions.

What's the PAQ? PAQ stands for Previously Asked Questions, and is Experts Exchange's shorthand for the database of questions and answers. If you see something that says someone is going to "PAQ a question," that means that it will be saved as part of the database for future readers.

Page Two: More News and Notes
Nata's Corner: Note-passing, revisited

woman in specticalsMaybe I'm showing my age. I remember when my classmates in high school would pass notes, but now things are getting downright silly. Some major universities are now blocking Internet access -- at least, the wireless kind -- because students are spending more time looking for apartments or reading their email than they are paying attention to professors.

Security issues were huge last week. First, Mozilla released a new version of Firefox, which is the only way to secure about twenty vulnerabilities. Then Microsoft announced "critical" patches for both Windows and Exchange, and another story said that the more Microsoft fixes Internet Explorer, the more flaws someone finds. And to top it all off, McAfee announced that it's issuing a security product for Mac OS X. Speaking of which, I've been meaning to pass along the link to this question at EE for a few weeks now. It has a list of just about every major antivirus software application.

Speaking of Microsoft, the company has started pushing its "Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications" tool, but what they might not be telling you clearly is that if you DON'T have a genuine copy of Windows, you'll see messages -- probably pretty frequently -- that will remind you that you're using a pirated copy. Oh, and don't think about uninstalling the software, because you can't. And you'll want to get used to the system if you're planning on using Vista -- because there are features that won't even work if the OS isn't properly licensed.

If you're one of those people who uses AOL's instant messenger, you need to be on the lookout for a new bot that can turn your computer into a zombie. AOL says it has blocked three URLs that are related to the bot, but I'd bet that it won't be the last one you'll read about. What makes this one nasty is that it's encrypted, so getting rid of it is really difficult.

Inside the numbers
ameba, one of EE's prominent Experts, provides us with a list of newly earned Certificates. His list of all of the Certified Experts is located at his site. The list below covers the period from April 24 through May 8.
Expert Certified in Topic Area
mbizup EMCIT dqmq JohnK813 Idle_Mind pradapkumar imran_fast PSSUser angelIII TimCottee John_Lennon slamhound bsdotnet lem2802 appari carl_tawn daniel_balla emoreau Darth_helge here4u247 apb2 _Maddog_ Kenneniah moh10ly SirtenKen elvin66 Agarici Sage Guru Guru Guru Genius Master Guru Master Guru Guru Master Master Wizard Wizard Guru Master Master Master Master Master Master Master Sage Master Master Master Guru MS Access MS Access MS Access MS Access Visual Basic Visual Basic Microsoft SQL Microsoft SQL ASP ASP ASP ASP ASP.NET ASP.NET ASP.NET ASP.NET ASP.NET ASP.NET ASP.NET ASP.NET ASP.NET JavaScript Windows XP Windows XP Windows XP Windows XP C#
Expert Certified in Topic Area
angelIII Expert1701 Vahik rakeshmiglani Jay_Jay70 rindi shivaspk RobertRFreeman Desp Jay_Jay70 jss1199 blue_hunter YZlat actonwang mgh_mgharish rorya mrblue RCorfman Jay_Jay70 dmitryz6 aneeshattingal sunilcomputer aneeshchopra Dushan911 wasifg kamermans star_trek Master Master Genius Guru Guru Guru Master Guru Guru Wizard Master Master Guru Master Sage Master Master Guru Guru Guru Master Master Sage Master Wizard Master Master C# C# Exchange_Server Exchange_Server Windows 2000 Windows 2000 Java VB.NET VB.NET Win. Server 2003 Win. Server 2003 PHP .NET Oracle Excel Excel C++ ColdFusion Microsoft Network Databases Databases Operating Systems Flash Flash PHP and Databases PHP and Databases PHP and Databases
Expert Certified in Topic Area
BillDL irwinpks NovaDenizen EwaldL KenTurner rpggamergirl SysExpert cezarF lyonst mshogren jkr war1 Redimido ozo sunnycoder njxbean strung ahoffmann tr1l0b1t anfi grblades gheist JConchie phileoca TommyTupa Sage Master Guru Wizard Master Master Guru Master Master Master Genius Sage Wizard Sage Master Master Master Guru Master Master Guru Guru Wizard Master Master Windows 98 Applications Mysql Crystal Reports Crystal Reports Windows Security Lotus Notes/Domino Lotus Notes/Domino Miscellaneous XML Win Prog. Browser Issues Linux Net. Math & Science Math & Science Macintosh Macintosh Unix PowerBuilder Sendmail VoIP/Voice over IP AIX IBMs UNIX OS Blackberry Video Conferencing CRM
2085 experts have 3498 certifications: Genius:93 Sage:164 Wizard:209 Guru:629 Master:2403
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