Spam: Email, IM, TXT/SMS...

A recent article states, "The number of spam email messages has tripled since June [2006] and now accounts for nine out of 10 emails sent worldwide..."

My own experience bears out the trend of spam overload mentioned above. There were 98 emails in my Junk (spam) email folder last night when I emptied it only 24 hours after the previous deletion session. Those Junk folder email From and Subject fields were briefly scanned one by one to make sure the filter didn't have false positives (a 'good' email marked judged to be spam). About fourty of those were missed by the spam filter and showed up in my Inbox, where I marked them as spam for future filtering.

Six months ago, there would have been about ten emails collected in the Junk folder in a 24 hour period and five spam emails missed by the filter which ended up in the Inbox.

Six months ago it didn't seem worthwhile to spend time on stand-alone email spam filters or develop an email address strategy to significantly reduce the time spent dealing with spam. It seems that situation may have changed.

Unwanted mass communications are driven by several factors. Foremost is the fact that unwanted mass communications often result in the sender making money from the communications. As long as the mass mailers make money and there are negligible penalties for sending out their junk, they will continue to increase the amount of junk coming your way. Complicating factors with respect to email are a couple human traits and the low cost of sending out mass emails. The human traits are greed and gullibility (thinking they can get something for free, or nearly free) and a generally low level of computer or technological savvy.

Many young people use IM (instant messaging) much more than email, partly in response to spam and partly due to preference for faster and shorter communications. It is likely, however, that mass marketers will increase the amount of unwanted communications (spam or, for those not adverse to buzzwords, 'spim') in the IM world, just as they did with email. The same holds true for text messaging on cell phones (TXT/SMS) and whatever other communication methods are developed in the future.

These unwanted mass communication trends are a result of two truisms:
  1. Any tool that can be used can also be abused (e.g. nuclear energy)
  2. Human greed (a Chinese proverb says "Love is blind and greed insatiable", Socrates said "All wars are undertaken for the acquisition of wealth", and Virgil said " O accursed hunger of gold, to what dost thou not compel human hearts.") A Quote Garden webpage has some more interesting quotes about greed, including one by Gandhi warning what will happen if India adopts the industrial ways of the west...
Two lessons about take away from the above discussion are:
  • Commonly used forms of communication will always be subject to unwanted mass communications from 'marketers', and a strategy is advisable to minimize the annoyance caused by those mass communications
  • Utilizing communication methods which have not yet been adopted by a majority of people will minimize the amount of unwanted mass communications

Below is the final list of issues for the TUESDAY, 28 November 2006, NEW NET (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Economy and Technology) 6:50 pm weekly gathering at Mister Churro, 207 N. Richmond St., Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

The ‘net

  1. Could the end of net neutrality kill online gaming? http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20061122-8275.html
  2. Web 2.0: AJAX is not a robust internet tool http://www.regdeveloper.co.uk/2006/11/25/forward_to_the_distributed_revolution/
  3. Xbox 360 Live Overwhelmed by Demand http://news.yahoo.com/s/nf/20061124/tc_nf/48219
  4. Create your own free social websites with Ning http://www.ning.com/
  5. Why Web 2.0 is more than a buzzword http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2006/11/why_web_20_is_m.html

Security & Privacy

  1. "Psiphoning" data past the censors http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20061122-8274.html http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/27/technology/27censorship.html?ref=business
  2. Kevin Mitnick's Security Advice http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,72116-0.html
  3. Catching Cyber-Criminals By Thinking Like Them http://www.prweb.com/releases/cyber/criminals/prweb483300.htm
  4. PGP creator: Net is like 'downtown Bagdad' http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/11/21/pgp_at_15/
  5. The Story of PGP: Past, Present and Future http://www.net-security.org/article.php?id=870
  6. Mobile VPN is better choice than SSL VPN http://www.networkworld.com/columnists/2006/112706-mobile-ssl-vpn-yes.html
  7. Justice Official Opens Spying Inquiry http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/28/washington/28nsa.html

Mobile Computing & Communicating

  1. Cell phone owners will be allowed to break software locks http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061123/ap_on_hi_te/digital_copyright
  2. Pando Breaks Attachment Limit For Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail http://news.yahoo.com/s/cmp/20061123/tc_cmp/195900056
  3. The Six Biggest Ideas In Chat http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/11/24/the-six-biggest-new-ideas-in-chat/
  4. More than 15% of people carry two wireless phones http://blogs.zdnet.com/ITFacts/?p=12114
  5. Loki Location-Based Search and 'Virtual GPS' http://loki.com/how-it-works/determining-location.html

Open Source

  1. Mark Shuttleworth invites OpenSUSE developers to join Ubuntu http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20061125-8286.html
  2. French MPs dump Windows for Linux http://software.silicon.com/os/0,39024651,39164312,00.htm
  3. Open Source Gift Guide http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2006/11/open_source_gif.html
  4. Open Source Event Kicks Off in Bangalore http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=19884&hed=Open+Source+Event+Kicks+Off
  5. Linux Cellphone partners with Open-Source Developer http://www.slashgear.com/linux-cellphone-partners-with-open-source-developer-272645.php


  1. Google shares climb past $500 barrier http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2006/11/22/cngoog22.xml
  2. GoogleOS: What To Expect http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/googleos_what_to_expect.php
  3. Google shuts down Gaia efforts with cease and desist http://blogs.zdnet.com/Google/index.php?p=400
  4. Philanthropic Google jobs http://www.google.com/support/jobs/bin/topic.py?dep_id=10093&loc_id=1116 http://google.org/

General Technology

  1. The Long Now and SALT http://www.longnow.org/about/ http://www.longnow.org/projects/seminars/
  2. In the Wii-PS3 Playoff, Nintendo Upsets Sony on the Fun Factor http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/22/AR2006112201857.html
  3. Make your Mac's Speech Recognition work for you http://www.lifehacker.com/software/speech-recognition/hack-attack-make-your-macs-speech-recognition-work-for-you-215764.php
  4. Health fears lead schools to dismantle wireless networks http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2461748,00.html
  5. Guy Kawasaki Interviews Steve Wozniak http://www.zbiz.tv/2006/11/19/guy-kawasaki-interviews-steve-wozniak/
  6. Mac vs. PC: How to Decide http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/25/AR2006112500045.html
  7. Price war over online photos hits new low http://www.usatoday.com/money/media/2006-11-26-prints-usat_x.htm
  8. My productivity has peaked http://management.silicon.com/careers/0,39024671,39164347,00.htm

Economy and Technology

  1. Flickr Blows up Market Research Biz http://paul.kedrosky.com/archives/2006/11/21/flickr_blows_up.html
  2. Investing time and money in virtual worlds: Caveat Emptor http://www.venturebeat.com/contributors/2006/11/22/investing-time-and-money-in-virtual-worlds-caveat-emptor/
  3. The Rise of "Freeconomics" http://www.longtail.com/the_long_tail/2006/11/the_rise_of_fre.html
  4. SaaS adoption set to explode http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2006/11/cio_interest_in.php
  5. Mistakes Made On The Road To Innovation http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_48/b4011421.htm



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