This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Posts here are rare these days. For current stuff, follow me on Mastodon



April 2024

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Spinning Wheels!

In the latest Curmudgeon’s Corner…

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Spam Fighting
  • Newt and Romney South Carolina
  • Newt and Romney Florida / General Election 2012

Just click to listen now:

[wpaudio url=”″ text=”Recorded 22 Jan 2012″]


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My Inbox is now Whitelist Only

I admitted defeat earlier today. The Spam load on my mailbox was just too big, even with several layers of anti-spam stuff on top of it. (And of course, I still had the occasional real message make it to my Spam folder, so I was hesitant to ramp that up even further.) It made my actual inbox pretty useless, and just annoyed me and made me think of looking at my email as a chore.

So anyway, as of this morning, I added a rule to automatically move any incoming message that was not from someone in my address book into a separate folder. A separate folder that I’ll check occasionally, and probably more often than my spam folder, but probably not every day. We shall see.

I considered adding an auto-reply sort of thing to emails that got filtered this way, with a “Sorry, you got filtered, but reply with BLAH BLAH BLAH to bypass the filter if you are a real human being.” but for the time being I haven’t done that. Those can be kind of annoying from the other end. I know that. If I discover (which is very likely) that I can’t empty the “Not In Address Book” folder at least once a week looking for real people who get stuck in there, then I may add something like that anyway.

I’m also aggressively unsubscribing from stuff. If you are a company I do business with, I’m going to whitelist you for getting order confirms and stuff like that, but I don’t want your marketing email. Sorry.

I’m also going to start aggressively “fixing” my address book, since it is a mess from years of bad synchronization between devices and other stuff. Well, as aggressively as I can without actually spending much time on it. :-)

Anyway, maybe this means that when people send me personal emails, I’ll actually notice and respond in a timely fashion rather than months or years later.

Spam Mystery Solved


I guess I should follow up… turns out my spam spike was pretty much an illusion. I wasn’t really getting much more spam than before. Rather, the mail client on my iMac, which is also the machine I use to automatically check the size of mailboxes, etc, had an issue with one of the indexes it uses (I think). Each hour it would get confused and redownload a bunch of messages from the server that in fact it already had. It would do this over and over again, basically as fast as it could. After rebuilding the mailbox, suddenly all that fake mail was gone, and things were basically back to normal. (Minus a bunch of spam I had deleted in the mean time.) You can see the pattern above, showing when the problem started, and when it was fixed.

Spam Subsiding


Not quite back to the original rate, still significantly greater actually, but just as suddenly as the onslaught began, it has subsided. It would be nice if it returned to where it was before, but I’ll take what I can get for now.

Sudden Increase in Spam Volume?

This is a chart of the amount of spam I have in Spam folders that I haven’t yet glanced through to look for things that got in there by mistake. (Yeah, yeah, I’m way behind.)


As of around 12 UTC (plus or minus a few hours) on Friday 7 Aug, the number I’ve been getting has moved from about 500 per day, about the rate it had been at for basically years, to almost 22 THOUSAND new spam emails per day.

Is this happening to other people? Or is it just me?