A note on E-Mail. As many people noted the amount of daily junk mail increased significantly this year - from less than ten messages a day to be detected by Mail's spam filter to 30 to 50 messages a day. While I didn't see too much of it, except for the steadily rising number behind Mail's 'Junk' mailbox, this was pretty annoying.
In fact it was so annoying that spam filters seem to have become quite popular since, judging from what I read on the internet. Even our university installed a spam filter on their mail servers and so did GMX recently. My e-mail is submitted to a fair bit of forwarding, for several reasons, including accessibility both on the web and via POP and making sure all my past e-mail addresses continue working wherever possible. This is more a historically grown thing than some immensely clever scheme. In the spirit of never touch a running system, I am reluctant to change anything about it as, frankly, I don't remember all the connections and rarely, but still occasionally, receive messages from accounts I have had forgotten for long (in fact Jimmy played a find all of Sven's e-mail addresses and cc every message you send him to all of them-game on me a few years ago and it was as interesting as it was annoying).
Right now, this chaotic and potentially inefficient system pays as it makes sure that lots of my e-mail, particularly the spam-ridden bits pass through two spam filters before they even reach me. This has significantly decreased the number of spam messages Mail's filter has to cope with each day, to a handful perhaps. That's great as my Powerbook will now go to sleep much more easily as the hard drive can spin down more frequently.
When looking at GMX's new spam filter, I was positively surprised. Positively, because all developments at GMX during the past few years consistet of making it more bloated, ugly and useless. The spam filter, however, combines a number of different techniques, including banning of certain servers or mail originating from the wrong server as well as filters based on all of the millions of messages they must be processing each day. And it even lets you set up which techniques you want to use in which way.
While looking at other places in GMX while in the site, I got the following message
First Name Invalid. For a first name that has served me well for over 25 years know and for more than five years on GMX's service. Who is writing these messages? What were they thinking? If at all. I assume the problem is caused by the hyphen in my first name, an obstacle to modern 'information technology' that had already caused Lufthansa's server to fail. But I don't care. I won't change it just for the carelessness of programmers.
Another note on spam: Unlike what other people suggest, most of my spam came in over my firstname.lastname@example.org address. And address that I used exclusively for the Usenet in the past years and not at all since I suspended my activities there last summer. I receive very little spam for the address I publish on all of my web pages. Odd, isn't it?