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New in Gmail Labs: Smart Labels

New in Gmail Labs: Smart Labels Wednesday, March 09, 2011 | 10:00 AM Posted by Stanley Chen, Software Engineer People get a lot of email these days. On top of personal messages, there are group mailing lists, social network notifications, credit card statements, newsletters you might have signed up for, and promotional email from a shopping site you used once months ago. Gmail’s filters and labels were invented to help manage the deluge, but while I have about 100 filters that triage and label my incoming mail, most of my friends and family have all their messages in a giant unfiltered inbox. Last year, weContinue readingNew in Gmail Labs: Smart Labels

A New Image for Your Email Address

John Graham-Cumming, author of Bayesian spam filter POPFile, points me to a neat tool he’s created which will turn an email address into an image that may spare you some spam from bots scouring web pages for email addresses: This site converts a text-based email address (such as me@example.com) and creates an image that can be inserted on a web site. The image contains the email address and is easily read by a human, but is intended to fool web crawlers that search for email addresses. I can’t guarantee that this is foolproof, but Project Honeypot reports that image obfuscation of an email address isContinue readingA New Image for Your Email Address

Put My Book in Your Toilet

John Graham-Cumming, the father of the excellent Bayesian spam killer POPFile, has written a review of my column collection, Loose Wire. It’s a fun read (the review, not the book, although the book is. Really.) He even adds a word to my lexicon: ‘wagstaff (v): to poke any new technology with a long stick, make sure it does what it says on the box, and summarize the experience in less than 2,000 words’. John concludes that the book “should be in the toilet. In fact, I think it’s such a good book for reading in small doses in a small, quiet room, that a globalContinue readingPut My Book in Your Toilet

The Email Hole

Email is not something to get too upset about, until you lose one to downtime by your provider of choice. And then you realise that it is too important to be left to free services, or even a domain hoster. I use a hoster called Hostway, and they went spectacularly down last week. (This despite the fact, or perhaps because of it, that Hostway launched a new service recently offering 150 GB of space for $10 a month.) It was only about a day, but several domains I based there lost email access when their storage failed. Now I have no idea who might haveContinue readingThe Email Hole

Keep a Blog, Get Fired

Here’s an interesting statistic, in the light of Scoble’s departure from Microsoft (no direct connection, I promise, but it does raise issues about whether corporates really like blogging): 7.1% of companies have fired an employee for violating blog or message board policies. According to email security company Proofpoint, whose survey you can download from here, decision-makers at large U.S. companies show growing concern over sensitive information leaving the enterprise through electronic channels such as email, blog pages and message boards: “In fact, 55.4% of these large companies (with 20,000 or more employees) have expressed their uneasiness that regulations guarding the firm’s privacy will be violatedContinue readingKeep a Blog, Get Fired

From the Ashes of Blue Frog

The Blue Frog may be no more,  but the vigilantes are. Seems that despite the death of Blue Security in the face of a spammer’s wrath, the service has built an appetite for fighting back. Eric B. Parizo of SearchSecurity.com reports on a new independent group called Okopipi who intend “to pick up where Blue Security left off by creating an open source, peer-to-peer software program that automatically sends “unsubscribe” messages to spammers and/or reports them to the proper authorities.” Okopipi has already merged with a similar effort known as Black Frog and has recruited about 160 independent programmers, who are dissecting the open sourceContinue readingFrom the Ashes of Blue Frog

Spammers Get Authenticated

Until now, most spammers sent their stuff through open relays — Internet-connected computers that were either unprotected, or else had been compromised by viruses or trojans into sending the spam without the owner being aware. But that is changing, says AppRiver, and it has big implications for how spammers work and may render useless today’s big thing: email authentication. Up until now, AppRiver says, ISPs could presume that if they forced a system to authenticate their message before sending it, they could be trusted because spammers couldn’t have access to the authentication mechanism. Authenticating a message basically means you must use a password to sendContinue readingSpammers Get Authenticated

The Blue Frog vs PharmaMaster

I’ve been trying to make some sense of this recent drama involving Blue Security, an anti-spam registry that effectively tries to deter uncooperative spammers by overwhelming their servers, and recent outages at TypePad and LiveJournal apparently caused by a revenge attack by spammers on Blue Security. (Here’s some more information on Blue Security and the Blue Frog.) The outages were caused when Blue Security redirected the spammers’ attacks on its website to the company’s blogs which were hosted on TypePad and LiveJournal. So what really happened? Blue Security’s web site has been under attack for most of this past week, via a distributed denial-of-service (DoS)Continue readingThe Blue Frog vs PharmaMaster

How to Make More Use of the Vicar

In last week’s WSJ column (subscription only, I’m afraid) I wrote about how Bayesian Filters — derived from the theories of an 18th century vicar called Thomas Bayes and used to filter out spam — could also be used to sift through other kinds of data. Here’s a preliminary list of some of the uses I came across: Deconstructing Sundance: how a bunch of guys at UnSpam Technologies successfully predicted the winners (or at least who would be among the winners) at this year’s festival using POPFile, the Bayesian filter of choice; ShopZilla a “leading shopping search engine” uses POPFile “in collaboration with Kana toContinue readingHow to Make More Use of the Vicar

Where Did That Email Come From?

An interesting new tool from the guys behind the controversial DidTheyReadIt?: LocationMail. (For some posts on DidTheyReadIt, check out here, here, here and here.) LocationMail tells you where e-mail was sent from. It uses the most accurate data in the world to analyze your e-mail, trace it, and look up where the sender was when the message was sent. Find out where your friend was when she e-mailed you, or where a business contact is really writing from. LocationMail integrates seamlessly into Outlook or Outlook Express; once installed, it shows you location information next to each message. LocationMail shows the City, State, Country, Company, ISP, and ConnectionContinue readingWhere Did That Email Come From?

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