Black listed, Really? WTF

One of those days today!

I was asked to take a look at a SBS2011 server by someone today as emails were not being sent but were being received.

So I set about sorting through the list of errors in the event log, as per normal there was a to be expected reboot right in the middle of everything!
It kind of reminded me of when I got contacted by my old employer, after they had made me redundant, to look at a problem that stopped their Service Management System working. The idiots that they brought in to oust me had applied all their skill (all 3 of them) to fix the problem and come up with 4 reboots! Yes 4 reboots! Needless to say that after 4 it still wasn`t working. So a quick look through the logs I found the issue and reported back to them.

Anyway, I looked through all the logs on the server, but couldn`t see anything, so I checked out the send connector and see that there was a huge old queue reporting DNS lookup failures.
So I checked that the Smart Host was in DNS. I then checked that I could connect to it on port 25, which I could. I tried a DNS Reset and Flush just to be safe, but it didn`t work.

I disabled the Smart Host connector, created a new send connector and set it up to send via DNS, and the emails left the queue.

I then reported back as to what I had done and asked them to check out to see if they had paid the bill for the Smart Host. Later that day I got a call to say that it was a fault with the Smart Host, apparently the company that provided the Smart Host service had one of their internal desktop machines infected with a virus by an employee and it has spammed out a load of crap! Jesus! Seriously?

I was somewhat surprised that
A) They got infected with a virus!
B) They were sending emails out on a connection that was used as a smart host by a customer (and most probably more than one)!
C) They told a customer exactly what had happened!

A quick check showed that they were on some black lists for sending out spam.
I will leave that a few days before I check back to see if they have been removed…

Dodgy Recruitment

Today I had the pleasure! Of dealing with a long standing issue – a dodgy recruitment company!

When I was made redundant, I signed up with quite a few sites etc. so that I could get back into work asap. Most of the sites I signed up with played by the rules but one company (or 2 as it now looks like) did not! Well actually I never signed up with them.

This is how it went…

First email was sent after I cancelled all my subscriptions and notified everyone that I no longer wanted emails

17/01/2012 – 4 Emails from Raymond Maccann – ok ill let them have that one as maybe the part time pensioner updating their database hasn’t come across the fact that I don’t want any more emails.

26/01/2012 – 2 emails from James McJarrow.  So I emailed James asking him to remove me from the database, also cc’d info@ and resource@ as valid emails addresses that I found on their website. The email bounced back with James McJarrow unknown? Strange as he had just sent me an email!?

15/02/2013 – 2 more emails from James McJarrow again! For a job in Aberdeen, FFS do they not read the areas where people live? I sent a reply asking who I need to speak to so that I can get more information about the job. This time it went through and I got a response saying it was him I need to speak to. No really! I asked him to remove me from the database. Nothing back

22/02/2012 – 2 more emails from James McJarrow again! This guy is obviously missing something up top! I let these 2 emails slide as maybe the now less than part time pensioner was on annual leave or something like that.

14/03/2012 – 2 more emails from the first spammer, Raymond Mancann (send spam emails) or it that Raymond Maccant (remove me from the database). Again for a job that didn’t mention any of the skill that I have! I sent an email asking him to remove me from the database. Again nothing. At this point I checked what I had sent in case I had sent a typo, you know it should say `Please remove me from your database` when in fact I typed `Please keep sending me shit emails as all though I am now in work I was only joking when I previously asked you to remove me from your database`
I am now sure that the database is an Excel Spreadsheet that has been replicated in several folders on their network and home computers, and are all out of sync, which is why my requests have fallen on deaf ears (no offence to part time pensioner).

14/06/2012 – 1 email from David Christian. I really thought they had listened to me and removed me as it has been months. But nice to see yet another new name sending me spam emails again. I need a macro key set up for this next bit [Reply to email, type `Please remove me from your database. Thank you. Gary` Press send]. So I recorded that and sent the resulting email. Again nothing!

25/06/2012 – 2 emails from David Christian. This time I pressed my Hot Key combination, G+F+Y, linked to the macro that sends a `Please remove me……` email. Surprisingly I get no response!
I now add a filter to my web hosting to reject anything that comes from and set it to send back a message asking to be removed from the database, and also forward the email to an archive so that I can collect evidence for a case with the ICO.

23/01/2013 – 2 emails from Catherine McAteer, who appears to be the Office Manager. Maybe she will take note of the rejection message and remove me.

08/02/2013 – 2 emails from Mychelle Matson, who appears to be a Senior Resourcer. As the Office Manager hasn’t removed me from the database maybe she can. You know, I’m not convinced that the database is an Excel spreadsheet, I think maybe it must all be on a huge Word Document which the, now 1 hours a week, part time pensioner is struggling to cope with.

27/02/2013 – 1 email from Nathan Moring, another new person, who is Senior Consultant, maybe he will be able to read the auto response and remove me. I doubt it! I have nor removed the auto response and will handle them in a more aggressive way.

07/03/2013 – 2 emails from Nathan Moring. This time I have had enough, so I compose a lengthy email to him and send, basically saying that I will report him for spamming.
Email trail is below

Hi Gary,

I’ve removed you from our database.

Kind regards,

On 07/03/2013 15:59, “Gary Rice” wrote:


Again, I find myself getting emails from
Please remove my email address from your company’s database so that I do not hear from you or any of your colleagues again.

I have never given you permission to use or email me.

I class these emails as spam and will report them to the originating ip address owner ( –

inetnum: –
netname:        RSPC-UK-Steve-Jennings
descr:          Steve-Jennings IP Space
country:        GB
admin-c:        IA247-RIPE
tech-c:         IA247-RIPE
remarks:        rev-srv:
status:         ASSIGNED PA
mnt-by:         RSPC-MNT
source:         RIPE #Filtered
remarks:        rev-srv attribute deprecated by RIPE NCC on 02/09/2009
person:         IP Admin
address:        Rackspace Hosting 5000 Walzem, San Antonio, Texas 78218
phone:          +1 210 312 4000
fax-no:         +1 210 312 4000
nic-hdl:        IA247-RIPE
remarks:         ###  Rackspace Abuse Department
remarks:         ###  Please send any complaints to the following:
remarks:         ###  abuse @
mnt-by:         RSPC-MNT
source:         RIPE #Filtered

If this request is not dealt with and confirmed within 5 working days I will be submitting a case to the ICO (

Thank you


From: Nathan Moring
Sent: 07 March 2013 15:12
To: Gary Rice
Subject: Linux Expert / Systems Engineer required, Luton

Good Afternoon Gary,

RE: Linux Systems Engineer required, Luton; £45-50K plus 10% bonus:

Worldwide IT solutions provider currently seeks an experienced Linux Systems Engineer to join their expanding UK headquarters located in Bedfordshire.

Acting as a subject matter expert for all technologies associated with server hosting, specifically those running Linux OS, the Linux Systems Engineer will be responsible for the development and maintenance of standardised configurations for all related technologies and for ensuring high-levels of performance and availability are delivered for associated services from their datacenter locations.

The Linux Systems Engineer will be accountable for ensuring all Linux based server environments achieve the best possible availability and performance, and for maintaining standard practices on specification, configuration and management of the Linux infrastructure. You`ll troubleshoot performance issues on web servers and databases, and be involved in the development of detailed best practice configuration, architecture schematics and relevant standard operating procedures. In addition, your role will extend to Data Center Service operations, Supplier Management and Resource optimisation.

The right Linux Systems Engineer will have solid datacenter experience, working with Linux server (including Apache & MySQL), SAN (including FC & iSCSI switching) and TCP/IP networking. In addition, if you have any experience of Windows server (including cluster services, IIS web server config/management), VMWare ESX or Vsphere, SaaS or cloud networking then it would be beneficial.

This is a superb opportunity for any experienced Linux Systems Engineer looking for a new role. If you`re interested and would like to apply please send me your CV asap.

Kind regards,

Nathan Moring
Senior Consultant

Gregory James Group
a 6 windsor works I sedley place I venn street I london I sw4 0ax
t 020 7078 9300 f 0870 013 6381 m 07985 524 770


This e-mail (which includes any files transmitted with it) is intended for the above named only. It may contain privileged, confidential and/or price sensitive information. If you are not the intended recipient please notify the sender immediately and confirm that all copies have been destroyed and it has been deleted from your computer system. This e-mail is protected by copyright. Unless you are the intended recipient you should not use, disclose or copy the e-mail nor should you rely upon it in any way whatsoever. All liability for viruses is excluded to the fullest extent permitted by law. Any views expressed in this message are those of the individual sender, except where the sender specifically states them to be the views of Gregory James.

Scanned by The Email Laundry


At last, I have been removed from their database!!

03/05/2013 – An email from Michelle Herrington-Smith. She is reportedly from Now you might think she is not part of The Gregory James group but looking at the emails, and a pretty poor one at that – she called me Gregory (Gregory as in Gregory James??), makes spelling mistakes and then uses multiple fonts and no formatting to get the job description across! Seriously!
Towards the bottom of the email I noticed the same address as the Gregory James Group and a website copyright of the Gregory James Group!
So I send yet another email to Michelle Herringbone-Smiff asking to be removed, but with a bit more of a warning.
After a short email conversation, Mabel finally said that she had removed me from the database. Coincidentally I am now 99.9% sure that the database is not a database,  Excel Spreadsheet or Word Document, but is in fact a VisiCalc Document!
Anyway, here is the email trail.

I have gladly removed your details on Tuesday as you say 2 working days

Sent from my iPhone

On 9 May 2013, at 07:20, “Gary Rice” wrote:


I do not think that trying to remove my details from your database, or collecting data for reporting your emailing practices is a waste of time.

But, thank you so much for confirming that my details are in fact on your system, not only that but with incorrect details.

Given that the 2 days stated have passed and you have not supplied me with the requested proof that I gave you permission to email me, it leaves me no choice but to submit my case to the ICO

There is also the issue of Data Protection, given that I have not given Gregory James Group permission to email me, I find my details now in your hands. There are very strict rules about that.

I will also be reporting your spamming to your ISP provider.


inetnum: –
remarks:        *******************************************************
remarks:        * Please send abuse reports to *
remarks:        *******************************************************
remarks:        *******************************************************
netname:        BT-ADSL
descr:          Single Static IP Addresses
country:        GB
admin-c:        BTOW1-RIPE
tech-c:         BTOW1-RIPE
status:         ASSIGNED PA
mnt-by:         BTNET-MNT
mnt-lower:      BTNET-MNT
mnt-routes:     BTNET-MNT
source:         RIPE # Filtered

address:        BT
address:        Openworld
address:        UK
admin-c:        AA12126-RIPE
tech-c:         AA12126-RIPE
nic-hdl:        BTOW1-RIPE
mnt-by:         BTNET-MNT
source:         RIPE # Filtered

descr:          BT Public Internet Service
origin:         AS2856
mnt-by:         BTNET-MNT
source:         RIPE # Filtered

Again, and I do not ask the impossible, please remove my details from all databases that you have, it’s not that difficult to do.

Lastly, as I have not seen any objection to including you and your company in my blog post, I take that as “Yes”, so thank you, I will start writing that now.


P.S. A couple of links for you to look at when you have a few minutes after you spammed people

From: Michelle Herrington-Smith
Sent: 07 May 2013 13:07
To: Gary Rice
Subject: RE: Application Support Specialist-London/Middlesex £30-£40k


How funny?  It states on our database that you live at our office

You must be an office ghost of the past

Please do not waste any more of my time

From: Gary Rice
Sent: 03 May 2013 17:30
To: Michelle Herrington-Smith
Subject: RE: Application Support Specialist-London/Middlesex £30-£40k


Firstly who is Gregory?

If he is part of the Gregory James Group, as your Telephone Number and Website would indicate, then I have requested, more times than I care to count, that I be removed from your database.

I was assured by Nathan, see attached email, that I had been removed. As detailed on the email I class these emails as spam and will pursue my case with the ICO

I request that you supply me within 2 working days, the proof that I have signed up for or given you permission to send me emails.

Secondly, very nice use of multiple fonts and minimal formatting in your email below, it really makes it look professional quality. It will be something that I might be posting a blog entry about very soon, so I hope you do not mind a personal mention for you and your company/group of companies.

I look forward to receiving the information requested.

Gary Rice

From: Michelle Herrington-Smith
Sent: 03 May 2013 16:52
To: Gary Rice
Subject: Application Support Specialist-London/Middlesex £30-£40k


Application Support Specilalst         London/Middlesex      £30,000-£40,000 Excellent Benefits Package

Customer Application Support Specialist required for well established Software Company based in London. The role will involve Delivering outstanding support experience to their customers, finding solutions to the problems, thinking analytically and working with other members of the Customer Support team to enhance product knowledge and resolve difficult systems. Ensuring that Calls and customer are updated regularly and as per agreed SLA. Experience of problem Solving, Troubleshooting while dealing with complex and critical incidents, have experience of call logging systems, please mention what call logging systems you have used when sending your CV. Good working knowledge of windows Operating systems, managing users and services rights. Experience in Supporting Web Applications ideally ASP.NET Or PHP. Experience of SQL Writing basic SQL Queries, experience with MySQL, or SQL Server or Oracle Databases at administration Level. You will be a team player and can work well under pressure. The company have a fantastic Customer base, this is a great opportunity for someone who wants a career to work in a Support role for the long term. The client offer excellent benefits package Pension, 25 days holiday rising up to 30 days depending on years of service, Private Health care and flexible working. Telephone interviews will be taking place this week and next week. Apply Now!

Have a loveley bank holiday weekend

Michelle Herrington-Smith

PSR Ltd – A leading provider of IT Professionals & Talent Management Solutions
6 Windsor Works I 68a Sedley Place I London I SW4 0AX
t 0203 489 9599 f 020 7627 2352 m 07805 721749 e

This e-mail (which includes any files transmitted with it) is intended for the above named only.  It may contain privileged, confidential and/or price sensitive information. If you are not the intended recipient please notify the sender immediately and confirm that all copies have been destroyed and it has been deleted from your computer system.  This e-mail is protected by copyright. Unless you are the intended recipient you should not use, disclose or copy the e-mail nor should you rely upon it in any way whatsoever.  All liability for viruses is excluded to the fullest extent permitted by law. Any views expressed in this message are those of the individual sender, except where the sender specifically states them to be the views of PSR Recruitment Ltd.
Please consider the environment before printing this email.

Scanned by The Email Laundry

Hopefully that is that and I will not be receiving any more emails from them.

Age limit on IT

Today I asked myself as very valid question – “Should there be an age limit on someone using IT equipment?”

This was as a result of a combined call time of 1H 18M to the Silver Fox to get his Netgear TA612V VOIP adapter up and running after I unlocked and flashed it for him.
I was under the impression that I had already configured the Lan and Wan ports to match his subnet and what they needed to be, which would of made a remote session a doddle.

Unfortunately it would appear not! So I tried to add another subnet to his network card so that I could configure it that way but that didn’t want to work either!

Next I asked him to get his laptop out and plug a network cable in the back of the laptop and then in the Ethernet port of the TA612V, that’s the Ethernet port not the Internet port. After clarifying that point a couple more times we had it connected how we wanted it to be.

Things were made even more difficult as the laptop was on the floor and he was sat on the chair and every time he leant down to do something in the laptop he had his deaf ear pointing towards the phone! Could this get any worse?

I got him to check what IP the TA612V had given him, hoping to login and make some changes, only to find that the laptop had a IP address. So I get him to reset the device and wait for it to all come back up and settle down. This time he has the expected IP address, so I get him to logon to the web interface and click on the Wan settings.

I tell him what to put in and then save it. We then wait for it to reboot and then come back up. Next I tell him to go to the Lan interface and enter some more details and save again. I then tell him to plug it back into the network and turn it on.

I then connect to the Lan interface, log on and set up his VOIP connection, save and then let it reboot. It takes a few seconds to come back up and register the VOIP connection with Sipgate.

Great so its all working, I make a test call and the phone rings but there is no voice from me!? I log back in and check the settings. Correct ports entered and the settings match my TA612V that works fine. So I suggested a reboot again and see what it does. Up it comes and registered in a few seconds. I make another call to him and get the same problem.

I then, by pure fluke, click on the Wan settings only to find a few digits missing from the IP address and the Subnet Mask! I correct the errors, save and reboot. Once registered I make a call again and hey presto it all works ok.

I told him what was wrong, and I got in response “I put in exactly what you told me to put in. I would not of thought those being missed off would of caused a problem”

I left it at that, making a mental note to myself to check and double check what settings he puts in for me next time!

Another one fixed

Today I done one of the things that I love doing – helping someone out.

I was given a laptop that was knackered and on it was the users personal and company data. Added to the already stressful situation of it being knackered was the fact that there was no backup of the data! Needless to say, they were not in the best of moods and were way from happy.

The situation reminded me of a time at my old company, where some one else was asked to look at one of the bosses computers. I had previously fixed it twice before so was surprised to not do it again.
Anyhow, I sat and watched not one, not two, not three, not four but five people spend time looking at this computer on and off with each other. It took them all day to get it working, well when I say get it working, they said that they installed a dodgy copy of Windows 7 on it and said it would be much better than the operating system that it had on it before?!?!?
Vista may be many things but it was a legal copy and it had been working fine for several years.
I had to have a laugh to myself, while thinking – Idiots!! Any proper technician would not do that, but then …..

So, back to the problem in hand, several hours later I had managed to get all the important and critical data off of the knackered disk and go about setting the laptop back up again.

Its nice to get a good feeling of helping someone out, while kind of saving their life.

Batabase Secruty!!

Today I came across a rather worrying discovery! I learnt 2 new terms that I was not familiar with.

1) `Batabase` – which I can only think is a database of batter that is used when deep frying fish (and or sausages etc.). Given one of my former jobs, that would have come in dead handy! All my attempts to locate it or find more information on it have proved negative. Hopefully it will crop up at some point – I think the possibility of that happening is quiet high.

2) `Secruty` – I have no idea what the hell this is! My attempts to research this have led me round in circles so much so that I have disappeared into my own backside and come out again. It might be some kind of dodgy ware from what few results I have seen. Again I will have to keep an eye on it to see if it crops up again! Hopefully it won`t but again it might 😐

Well and truly up shit creak!

Well, 3 days into my new job and I get the phone call that I have been expecting.
My former employer seems to have been shafted by the people that were brought on board to force me out of the company.

Of course, I was only too willing to help – considering that the company was locked out of the entire computer system, there was nothing else I could do really.

It seems very odd to me that the people doing this were good friends with one of the Managing Directors, I mean why would you want to do that to a friend and to a company that is paying your wages? Very strange!

Anyways, I will do what I can to help them, not sure what I can do remotely with great effect but I guess I`ll soon see, but I do have certain ways of doing things that can be of benefit to me, so I might do a few of those.

Before I do help, I need to make a quick phone call and send a few emails……