[lug] Getting mail out of the Qwest/MSN mire

Collins Richey crichey at gmail.com
Sun Jul 9 10:35:37 MDT 2006

I take a very simplistic approach to spam. It won't work for those of
you who choose to run your own mail handling setups and it won't work
for those of you who have an allergic reaction to commercial offerings
and/or those of you who are absolute privacy nuts.

I use gmail.

The drawbacks are:

1. Google posts commercial links on every page where mail is
displayed. These are on the right hand side of the page, and I don't
usually pay attention.

2. Horror of horrors, Google scans my mail looking for content to
select the appropriate commercial links in 1. above and, no doubt, for
other purposes. You privacy nuts who consider this to be an abuse may
tune out now. I could give a #!@$ about this minor invasion of my

3. My mail is stored on an external server not under my control. See below.

4. Not all browsers are approved for access to mail.

5. The service could become non-free, but I would probably pay for it
if necessary.

The benefits are many:

1. I can access my mail from any location with access to the internet
and an approved browser (firefox, of course, is on the approved list).
When I put up a new distro, I don;t have to worry about setting up
mail and converting existing mail. As soon as I get a browser running,
I have mail.

2. Gmail has one of the simplest (from my standpoint, but I'm sure the
hoops they jump through on my behalf are vastly complex) most
effective spam handling mechanisms on the planet. Some spam is
classified and rejected by Google automatically from the get go. Any
spam that gets through, I mark as spam and the gmail handler learns to
recognize this as well. All spam resides in a special folder. When the
numbers reach a few hundred, I scan and whack the crap a page at the
time. There are occasional false positives, and I can retain these. I
get a few missed spams in my regular mail each week. Overall score:
the spam handler is about 98% effective, and I don't have to do squat
to maintain it. Entries in my spam folder run about 20-60 per day, and
I whack them with a few key strokes to free up storage for the

Some times the spam handler is slow to learn. I went through a period
when I joined the Boulder LUG mailing list where gmail wanted to flag
list postings as spam. I had to flag the false hits for a week or so
before gmail learned not to reject these.

3. My mail is stored on an external server not under my control. Gmail
does provide a pop retrieval facility, so I could choose to download
the stuff to my system.

4. I get excellent organizational methods (automatic labels - the
equivalent of folders - by rules that I set and search functions.

5. I should reach the maximum storage permitted in about 15 years!
Currently I'm using about 10%.

So, I sit here fat, dumb, and happy and get p###ed when my attempts to
send mail are occasionally blocked by those of you who need/choose to
employ more drastic measures. A la Bill Clinton, I feel your pain, but
I only have a solution that works for me.

In actuality, the only time I have had mail blocked in recent years is
by a list member on another Linux email list. Occasionally his mails
are encoded such that when I reply, gmail sends a copy to him as well
as the list. I just ignore the rejection, knowing full well that the
gentleman in question (an ISP) is fully committed to blocking all
posts from the Comcast IP range. BFD, I don't need to contact him


Collins Richey
     If you fill your heart with regrets of yesterday and the worries
     of tomorrow, you have no today to be thankful for.

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