Sci-Fi Valley Con

I’m participating in my first “Con” this weekend.

I’m sharing booth space with Snake Eyes Gaming and Atlantic Broadband at the Sci-Fi Valley Con at the Jaffa Shrine Center in Altoona, PA.

If you get the chance stop by and see me.

Messages Waiting on Site

Lately several ISPs have been forbidding me from handling their email, notably yahoo. In short, they tell everyone not to accept mail unless it originates from an approved server, and they are not going to approve little guys like me.

This part isn’t new. What is changing is that more and more companies are respecting that request, and bouncing mail from PennsWoods. Comcast and gmail in particular, but others are as well. This really is a good thing, as it will reduce spam over all. It just happens to be inconvenient for PennsWoods.

Other email providers are going to be doing the same shortly. With the big guys doing it, it will be that way everywhere eventually, and I’m going to need to change the way PennsWoods handles messages between people.

In response to comments from PennsWoods members I’ve modified the alerts that I am sending. They will now include a link to the missing message to simplify locating and respond.

Again I apologize for the inconvenience.

In every case where I can still deliver the email directly, I absolutely am going to continue doing it. In cases where I cannot, I will make it as painless and straightforward to retrieve the message as I am capable of making it.


Bouncing Email Update

There is a workaround in place now, and you should be able to reply to ads once again without getting bounce messages.

If you DO continue to receive bounce messages, please forward them to, or let me know that you received one at least.

Those of you with ads running may begin receiving daily emails stating that PennsWoods has messages waiting for you that we were unable to deliver. If you really don’t want to see these, let me know. I’ll have a self serve opt out for you shortly.

Please note that even if you don’t want an email letting you know you have messages waiting, I still won’t be able to deliver the messages. You’ll still need to stop by the site occasionally to get messages from interested buyers.

My apologies for the inconvenience. I’ll update again when I have more to share.


Bouncing Email

The web is growing up. The way we sent email for Classifieds worked great when the software was originally written, back in the mid-90s.

Over the years I’ve re-coded the email portion of the site a number of times to keep it up to date and functioning. However all the while I knew there would come a time when email protocols became so rigid in response to spam that I would have to change how PennsWoods handles email.

That time appears to have arrived. A number of the larger providers have very recently begun requiring that email originates from specific points, or it is rejected. No longer do I have the option of adding headers and identifiers to clarify who PennsWoods is, and why we need to handle email for their subscribers.

Many other sites have gone to an in-house system. You receive a message through the site, and then the site sends you an email letting you know you have messages waiting. Rather than receiving an email from PennsWoods on behalf of someone else, you would receive an email from PennsWoods stating you have that message waiting.

For those of you having difficulties with returned email messages, I intend to have a solution in place for you by this evening.

For those of you who are not having difficulties, nothing will change. Yet. Your provider will eventually limit my ability to handle mail for you though, and eventually you also will receive the note saying you have messages rather than receiving the messages directly from PennsWoods.

I’ll post updates here as I make progress.

Thanks for your patience,

Bruce Schneier on scams

Bruce Schneier is a widely recognized expert on security, with a specific emphasis on computer security. He wrote an essay on scams a bit over a decade ago. While things have changed a lot since then, it is still an interesting read from the perspective of the scammer attacking the human behind the keyboard with ideas, rather than trying to write a virus to infect the computer.

A much more recent (June 2012) blog posting from Mr. Schneier describes why some scams seem so far fetched. In a nutshell, it seems to be an attempt to select only the most susceptible victims. Think what you like, but all of us go through difficult times. When our emotions are torn and we wake up in the morning already weary from the battle, it can be much more challenging to pick out a scam.

Mr. Schneier has written extensively about scams, and security trade offs. You can read more of his commentary on scams here:

Events Updated

Two new features have been made available on the PW Event pages today.

The first is an increase in the size of the image when the Event is viewed. The other is the ability to change the image after the Event is created.

Both features will be available for new Events starting today.


Nightly maintenances completed

Back in mid-Decemeber I mentioned that I was doing some cleanup work on the databases that power the classifieds. I tried to make sure it was completed before 4am, but in some cases people were occasionally seeing odd things as late as 6 or 7am.

Mostly this involved ads that were “deleted” early in the morning, but didn’t actually disappear until an hour or two later, or ads that were posted that were sometimes there, sometimes not for an hour or two before all the databases “saw” the ad, and it became stable.

I completed this stage of the cleanup earlier this week. I’ve still got some work to do, but now I can do one machine at a time, and I’ll remove it from service so no one sees those oddities.

Thank you for your patience, and thanks for using PennsWoods.Net!


Happy New Year

Many thanks to those who’ve written wishing me a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I hope that 2013 has treated you well, and that 2014 will bring good things.

Please remember, if you are drinking, don’t drive.

Have a Happy New Year!