Category Archives: Email

Yahoo groups spam

On a couple of Yahoo Groups I’m on, we’ve noted spams coming through from long-time members in the last week or two.

The good news is there’s no need to panic. Most probably a spammer out there has worked out that person X posts to list Y, and is forging emails from them from a remote location. Which means it is unlikely that X’s computer has been compromised. (Though of course it’s good practice to have virus protection and regularly do scans.)

If you’re an Admin of a Yahoo Group, you might like to check the Posting settings (group management / Group Settings / Messages / Posting and archives). There is a Spam Filtering option which I believe is switched off by default (it might be a newly added setting).

On the groups I’m on, we had spam coming through, but setting the Filtering on seems to have prevented more of it.

Hello to Sam Hamilton and James Dee

So I was looking at the comments awaiting moderation. Two showed up on this post: Why Facebook sucks, a rollicking read about over-bearing security dialogues just to use Facebook’s video application.

Here’s the first comment — I’ve zapped the email address, but one was left:

Sam Hamilton
Submitted on 2009/05/29 at 9:37am

If you are tired of facebook but want a way to connect with artists and musicians
then you should check out
If you are tired of facebook but still want to connect with your friends then pick up the phone…

Fair enough.

Here’s the second:

James Dee
Submitted on 2009/06/03 at 3:16pm

I’m an artist and I haven’t been satisfied using facebook or myspace to promote myself… too slow and too much junk. I’ll give putiton a try… it looks clean

The problem here is that the first comment is still awaiting moderation. (Yes, it’s several days old. I don’t check as often as I should.)

So why would “James” decide to try putiton, a social networking site which basically nobody has heard of (well at least I haven’t) if nobody else has suggested it (eg the first comment isn’t visible to anyone)?

Curiously, “Sam” and even “James” have left similar messages on other, similar posts on other blogs.

(Sam has a profile on the offending site.)

Directing Mailman replies

For an announcements list, you don’t want people replying to the list, which will reject their messages. I had to do some digging to find out where to set this in Mailman. It’s under the General Options:

Where are replies to list messages directed? Poster is strongly recommended for most mailing lists. — which lets the recipient replies go back to the list, to the poster (which is the old-fashioned way to do it on discussion lists) or you can set to go back to an explicit address — which for reasons I won’t go into right now, is the way I wanted it.

OK, so this setting probably should have been really obvious, but I only just found it. Call me slow if you like.

mailto: no more

It’s time to stop using mailto: links.

I mean c’mon. You think I still read my email in a local client? That’s just so twentieth century.

Captcha FAIL

I think my eyesight is okay. I know I’m a bit colourblind, but other than that and a lack of perspective, it’s okay.

These captchas, seen on the Oz-Astra web site forums though, these are too much. I know you have to fight spammers, but there comes a point where real humans are going to be defeated too, and eventually give up in frustration. Thankfully you can refresh the image and hope for something a bit more readable, but why not bring the difficulty level down from eleven so it’s not so hard?

Captcha image Captcha image Captcha image

(I’m not trying to single this site out; there are others that also frustrate. And I suspect this is down to an over-zealous implementation in vBulletin.)

The dangers of HTML email

See what happens if you don’t properly anticipate how your HTML email might be rendered?

Dangers of HTML email

Yep, the world’s thinnest and lightest 17″ notebook… featuring a really odd-looking askew display, apparently.

(GMail in Firefox 3.0.6 on Windows)

Twitter spam

Spammers have discovered Twitter. That's not really surprising; it had to happen sometime.

What is surprising is that, in this example, 45 people have blindly followed the spammer when they followed them. Do people not even look at who it is?

I mean really. “Jenny” of “online friend”, with such an obviously spammy bio?! Could it be any more obvious that this person intends wasting your time?

Twitter spammer

Lost in translation

Welsh translationNews that council workers in Wales sent an email request to their translation officer to translate the English “No entry for heavy goods vehicles”… what they got in reply was an Out Of Office reply in Welsh, but not realising, they printed that on the sign.

So the Welsh part of the sign reads: “I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated.”

Spam bounces

I’ve been getting an extraordinary amount of spam bounce email. One mailbox got thousands and thousands over the weekend, and I know I’m not the only one.

Which means of course that my address is being used in vain by some git of a spammer.

Unfortunately my spam detection software isn’t so crash hot on zapping the bounces, because it’s a bounce, not an actual spam message. And there’s probably not much to be done about spammers forging my address.

After trying in vain to keep up with it all, I eventually blocked the common bounce From address, by adding them to the Plesk blacklist:


Hardly ideal, since I’d never see genuine bounces. But it has slowed the flow.

What’s annoying is that about 10-20% of bounces come from a myriad of other addresses. These include the intended recipient’s address, and a variety of apparently semi-random addresses set up as support emails or automatic bounce processes.

There’s also a smattering of “MAILER-DAEMON@” — which isn’t even a legal address. And a lot of them come in with no date field. Very dodgy!


And maybe it’s time someone came up with a viable way of verifying sender addresses, and stopping From address fraud.

Getting used to Thunderbird

I'm liking Thunderbird. Ditching Windows Desktop Search and installing Google Desktop Search has worked well — suits my filing system. Well, except for the occasional __GD_something_or_other process that wants to keep running when I'm shutting down the PC.

Things I've had to get used to in the switch from Outlook:

Alt-S to Send doesn't work. Alt-Enter does (Outlook supports that too.)

The column sorting icons being upside-down.

It defaults to sending from the account you're looking at when you start the new mail, rather than a fixed default. Easily changed if you remember to check it.

ex gf how to get your ex back

It also inserts the signature automatically when you change the From account, which is neat.

It didn't take long to get used to the vastly better IMAP performance in Thunderbird.

I don't use a Calendar plugin. Tony pointed me to a Nokia phone sync, but I haven't tried it yet — I do backup my phone contacts, but for most of them I don't have email details, so syncing is not really a priority for me.

That's about all at the moment. I've imported all my old Outlook folders into Thunderbird, which took ages, but works fine. So, byebye Outlook!