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Journal Entries
Note: Background images in February 2003 are selected from the analyticalQ photo gallery.
Photo: Caricature by Chinese artist, October 2000, Brighton Pier, England

Bon Journal

Victim of spam

For a few weeks now I've been obsessed with counting spam, getting rid of it, and figuring out the cause of spam. I'm not talking about the spam that's edible, but rather the kind that takes up space on my e-mail postboxes and wastes my time. [Note: Spam is not a Freudian slip for sp**m.]

For every good, genuine, important e-mail I get, I have to navigate through twenty spam e-mails. Because sending spam mail is free from postage and easy using automated e-mail generators, it's a new form of direct marketing that pollutes electronic communication. As a recipient, I am personally affected by this "pollution." As a result, I vow not to be a sender of spam.

How did it come to this? In my discussions with the Hungry Poet, I learned that certain e-mail programmes, such as hotmail, sell their e-mail lists. No wonder my hotmail has become seriously spammed. If not for the 2 MB mail box limit, I would receive an infinite amount of spam.

I also figured out that I get spam on e-mail addresses that have been posted on a Web page. Creepy spam crawlers sniff the Web for e-mail addresses. While I can't undo this, I can at least delete those displayed e-mail addresses on my site and prevent more spammers from accessing those. I can also change the e-mail addresses that I use in my Contact Webmaster and other input forms.

Most e-mail programmes have so-called spam assassins or filters. While I can approach this problem scientifically, by identifying regular spammers and blocking them out, I wish there's a way to retaliate. I wish I could cause the spammer to become a victim. "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" is not only childish but also promotes the vicious circle of spam.

A more effective way of combatting spam is to educate and get educated about what causes spam and how to prevent it. For this, I've asked the Hungry Poet to elaborate --- "Weapons of Mass Disruption."

22 February 2003 Saturday

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Anne Ku
writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.