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Friday
Jan182008

Junk


Much of my life it seems is spent dealing with junk; junk urging me to buy more junk.

Surely before long we will all be buried and suffocate under junk.

Junk on television was easy to deal with; I just quit watching most of the time, and when I do watch I am selective in choosing programs. Mail addressed to “Resident” goes straight into the garbage can.

However, the time I save not watching television or reading offers that come to my mailbox, just free up more time to deal with all the junk on my PC.

I used to have a contact page on my website where people could give me their name, email address, and write a message. It was then an easy matter for me to copy and paste the whole page into an MS Word file.

Then I would type in my reply under each message, ready to be copied into a return email. I also had a permanent record of the person who contacted me, their message and my response.

It was so easy, it worked so well for the longest time, then spammers started loading up the page with HTML code. I think the theory was, by putting all this HTML code onto my successful website, it would somehow help them get picked up by the various search engine robots.

Like some life sucking parasite that will eventually kill the host plant, they eventually killed my contact page. Each day I had to scroll though pages and pages of this HTML junk to extract the genuine messages. It became so time consuming that in the end I had to reluctantly scrap my contact page.

The only way to contact me now is through email. The last thing I want to do is break contact altogether. Part of the joy and satisfaction of maintaining this blog and my website is the contact it brings with other like-minded people out there.

Old friends have found me, some from as far back as my teenage years, and I have made many new friends, many of which I have yet to meet face to face, and shake hands.

This blog does extremely well on the search engines. The parasites out there should note that the way to get picked up by search engines is to spend a great deal of time writing quality fresh content on your site.

I must get hundreds of emails a day, most of them junk; I am pretty well organized in dealing with them. I keep on top of my inbox and check it regularly several times each day. However, my system is not perfect and if anyone reading this has emailed me in the past and didn’t get a response, I sincerely apologize.

It is not my intention to ignore people; as I write this I have a backlog of emails I intend to respond to. I do not open every email, I don’t have time, but rather I scan down the incoming list, first reading the names and the subject line.

People who email me regularly, I know their names. If a message comes in with a name like Elmo Fuckstick I can pretty much guarantee it is junk. But many junk emails have a genuine sounding name, so then I have to rely in the subject line.

If the message is offering hot stocks, Rolex watches, or extra inches, it doesn’t get opened. If I am not sure I open it, just to check, I believe that I don’t miss too many genuine emails.

Emails I am going to respond to, I click and drag into a special folder, and then I hit the delete button to remove the rest in rapid time.

Last evening I received an email and the subject line read: “Question about geometry of FR1.” I almost missed it, the FR1 was hidden from me, but the word ‘geometry’ caught my eye. Had the sender put “Fuso geometry” in the subject line, I would have spotted it immediately.

The email was regarding a Fuso for sale on eBay. I always try to respond to these emails immediately and did so even though my wife was serving up dinner at the time. The ebay sale ends this coming weekend, so it would be of little use to answer it next week.

I do not want to get one of those spam removing software programs, I don’t trust a robot to spot another robot and I am afraid genuine messages would get blocked or delayed.

That is my mild rant about junk, especially junk emails. Please do not let this deter you from contacting me if you so wish.

Just remember, if I don’t know your name, the first word in the subject line needs to be “Bike,” “Bicycle” or “Fuso.” Something that will make it stand out, and shine like a little diamond amongst all the junk.


No offense meant to the makers of Spam; a food that was a staple throughout my childhood during WWII.

Reader Comments (11)

You talk about e-mail like you hated it. To me your rant gives an impression that you have been using wrong tools for the job and are now angry because they didn't work like you expected.

Thunderbird mail client has a good spam filter: http://www.mozilla.org/mailnews/spam-howto.html
January 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
Anonymous 8:01 AM,

I love email; I thought I made that clear, I hate JUNK. But like many things in life I dislike, I will deal with it.

Thanks for the tip, I’m sure I will get more.
January 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter Dave Moulton
I wondered why you didn’t respond to my email.
January 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter Elmo Fuckstick
Well, your contact form should also have a captcha (just like your blogger.com comment posts). Check out http://recaptcha.net/.

Some Spam filters are really really good - GMail's for example is excellent: catches all my spam, and false positives are extremely rare.
January 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter phraktle
You should really give gmail a try. It has the best spam filter I have ever used. And you don't even need to change your email address or your workflow.

Sign up for a gmail account.
Set up gmail to check your current email account.
Use your current email program to check gmail.

You get the benefit of gmails great filter, but you don't have to change your email address or anything else in your work flow. And your spam messages aren't deleted, just moved into another folder, which you can search every now and again for false positives, but I bet you won't find any.
January 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter FigBug
Elmo made me laugh...
January 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
Dammit! The real elmo fuckstick here!

That other guy isn't me.

I'm a victim of identity theft!
January 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter elmo fuckstick
I can't help thinking of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZ7YedEopp4 anytime I hear the word "spam."

...and gmail does a nifty job of sorting out the spam.
January 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter blackmountaincycles
Three things.

1. Tivo, or a digital vcr. A great way to watch what I want when I want (which isn't much and isn't often). Now affordable.
2. Of the free email platforms, I have found Gmail spam filters to be good. Those used by Excite are crappy.
3. Monty Python and Vikings (above poster probably beat me to it.)
January 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter mojito
Many of you suggest Gmail. Sure, I too think it’s the best of the whole bunch of web-based email programs. I have a couple of Gmail accounts, but I’ve still found it’s sent perfectly innocent emails to the spam folder and missed others. Moreover, all web-based email programs are quite cumbersome compared to genuine email clients right on your own computer. I’m sure that’s why Dave uses Outhouse Express and sets up his own filtering. I also use Mailwasher to preview and screen my mail on the server before actually downloading it. Spam is very obvious.
January 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter johnb
Spam filters are great and very effective Dave, give them a try. False positives are rare and you can "teach" it when it makes a mistake.

I'm off to refresh my memory with your headstem cup removal article. Keep up the good work :-)
January 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter lemmiwinks
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