Spam Spam Spam


Spam! It's making me nuts. I currently get somewhere around 100 spams a day on my e−mail and it finally prompted me to install a filter but damit, what's the point?

First off I use Microsoft Outlook for my e−mail. No, I have never gotten a virus. I like having my schedule and e−mail in the same program. Many programs have that now but they didn't when I started using Outlook in 1995. Outlook does have it's problems though, mostly having to do with editing messages and addresses, it's editor sucks and so does it's auto address completion. Although Microsoft is supposedly going to fix all that in the next version I thought about switching but probably the single most important feature for me is Outlook's AutoPreview lists.

Basically Outlook will show you the first 3 lines worth of each unread message like this.

I love that feature, it makes it easy to see what I want to respond to without having to select each e−mail and it makes it easy to spot the spam and delete it. In fact, I hate the preview−pane that is on many e−mail programs. I means I can't see as much of my mail list as I would like and it means I might actually have to see some of the HTML based spam ads as they appear in it so I turn that off.

I've tried downloading a few other e−mail clients, a bunch of people were raving about the Mozilla group's e−mail client but it didn't have AutoPreview mode so it was a no go for me.

But, even so, lately there's been too much spam. I'd say it's doubled in the last 2 months. So, I finally broke down and looked for some e−mail spam filters. Many of them are POP/IMAP proxies. They are a program you install on your machine, you configure them to get your e−mail and then you re−configure your normal e−mail program to get your e−mail from them. That way there's this middle program between your e−mail provider and your e−mail program and it filters out the spam. The problem is, who wants to run yet another program? Now when you read your e−mail you have to also go over to that other program and check that it didn't mess up and mark stuff as spam that it shouldn't have AND you have to tell it which messages are spam that it didn't figure out.

I found one that is for Outlook users in particular as it's a plugin for Outlook. It's called Motino and it just adds 2 simple buttons to Outlook.

You just select any spam in your Inbox and press "Junk Mail". Motino then watches as new e−mail comes in and anything it thinks is junk mail it moves to a folder called "Motino Quarantine". You can go over to that folder and select any messages that aren't spam and pick "Good Mail". After you've done for a couple of days it gets pretty accurate. In fact in my last 200 e−mails it had no false positives. It's great, it's super simple!

There's a psychologic benefit in that before it felt like my Inbox was full of spam. Like it was being abused. Now, my Inbox has no spam, it's all been moved to the quarantine folder and I get to go search for diamonds in the shit when I go to the quarantine and see if there is any good mail.

But, that's just the problem, there's a chance with any of these filtering softwares for it to get a false positive. What if that false positive is a job offer or important e−mail about an account, or e−mail from friend or business person about a meeting/appointment that needs to be re−scheduled, etc. Since I can't trust it I've got to go look at the Quarantine folder and double check. If I was using other software it'd be even worse since I'd have to go into that other software to find the mislabled e−mails.

So, what have I really saved? It hasn't really dealt with the spam at all. I still have to manually sort through it all. 😞

And that's not the end of it, finally, like I predicted before, blogs are getting spammed and in particular, my family's blogs have recently gotten spammed.

There are similar solutions for that but they have the same problem, you have to trust the filter. The only good part is most people are unlikely to get any comments declared spam that would effect their life so they can maybe just not even look at the spam to see there are any false positives. Except of course you never know, maybe you are blogging about a problem you are having and someone posts the solution but for some reason the filter thought it was spam.

Spammers, just like other crooks, are going to ruin it for the rest of us. If everyone was nice we could all just, for the most part, live in piece. We wouldn't need police or locks or car alarms or lo−jacks. But the few crooks ruin it for the rest of us and we need all that stuff. The same is happening on the net. One way or another we will have to deal with this since spam is making e−mail and the net unusable and that will mean things like having net police, spam filters, blacklists and a zillion other problematic and annoying things 😞

By the way, if you know of any other e−mail software with the AutoPreview (3 lines per message) lists please tell me so I can take a look.

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The Foreign Buyers' Club