Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - Arthur C. Clarke.Simplicity is the key to brilliance - Bruce Lee
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View Article  SEC Suspends Trading Of 35 Companies Touted In Spam Email Campaigns

The Securities and Exchange Commission this morning suspended trading in the securities of 35 companies that have been the subject of recent and repeated spam email campaigns (see examples). The trading suspensions - the most ever aimed at spammed companies - were ordered because of questions regarding the adequacy and accuracy of information about the companies.
View Article  Another Reason Why Rogers Sucks
Michael Geist has the full blog post here:

If true, this form of network interference - implemented with virtually no transparency and now affecting basic Internet services such as email - demonstrates why a dedicated consumer complaints commission is a good start, but a place to complain is not enough.  The solution lies in creating mandatory net neutrality provisions to ensure that essential communications tools such as email are not surreptitiously degraded.
View Article  Sender Address Verification considered harmful
Excellent post by Justin on why SAV isn't that useful in fighting spam:

Some view this as a useful anti-spam technique. In my opinion, it’s not.

Spam/anti-spam is an adversarial “game”. Whenever you’re considering anti-spam techniques, it’s important to bear in mind game theory, and the possible countermeasures that spammers will respond with. Before SAV became prevalent, spam was often sent using entirely fake sender data; hence the initial attractiveness of SAV. Once SAV became worth evading, the spammers needed to find “real” sender addresses to evade it. And where’s the obvious place to find real addresses? On the list of target addresses they’re spamming!

View Article  Dave Still Doesn't Get It
Dave says that most RSS readers are wrong. Well, I hate to tell him that he is wrong. He'd never understand that but it is just plain true.

Dave still doesn't understand that people have different ways of working and different views. I used a river of news view with his Radio Userland product many moons ago for who can remember how long. I hated the fact that I was tied to one way of reading news and had less than zero options to change things. At least other RSS readers (I'm sure Dave hasn't looked at one) do things in many different ways and allow one to view news in the way they like and NOT how Dave thinks everyone should.

Stop crying me a river.

Update: Just found this here:

For something to be wrong, there must, neccessarily, be something that is right. When Dave says that RSS Readers Are Designed Wrong, he implies that there is a right way to design them, and the lack of qualifiers and means that there is one right way. Unfortunately, Dave contradicts his own theory in the second line of his post when he says “One of the first rules of software design is also the primary rule of business — ‘The user is always right.’”

Repeat after me Dave, "The USER is always right, the USER is always right, the USER is always right ........"
View Article  SimpleFilter And Google Apps For Your Domain / GMail
I've been slowly moving my various domain's email management to Google Apps For Your Domain. After a bit of success I let Brent know and he is happily also using Google Apps Gmail thingy.

One thing I noticed right away since I let things run outside of our SimpleFilter corporate service is that a ton of spam piles up that I never ever see. Now Google Apps Gmail does a very good job at moving this stuff to the spam folder but one still needs to scan a million emails to see if any false positives get through. One thing we did with SimpleFilter early on was to classify spam into LOW, MEDIUM, and HIGH probability of being spam. That way one can quickly scan through the LOW for false positives and completely ignore the MEDIUM and HIGH. In fact, SimpleFilter allows one to block the delivery of MEDIUM and HIGH to the users inbox. I've been running in that mode for years (most customers do too) and I've never had an issue with a false positive falling into either of those higher categories. It is very rare actually to get one falling into LOW as well.

This is a huge difference and I can't see how one could possibly managing their email with just Google Apps Gmail spam filtering. There is just way too many spams to scan through. With SimpleFilter in place it takes me about 5 seconds every day or two to scan for false positives.

I ran a little test and without SimpleFilter in the mix, I'd have to scan through approximately 300 emails a day. With SimpleFilter in the mix and throwing away MEDIUM and HIGH spam, I'm down to about 11 a day. Thats a huge difference.

Here is a screen capture to show the difference. Jan 17th ones go on for at least a few pages (like I said about 300 or so emails). I slipped SimpleFilter into the mix at the end of the 17th.
View Article Bookmarks Extension For Firefox
Looks like Yahoo released a new firefox extension for It really integrates with the browser now with tons of very nice features. For some reason the actual website does not reference this version but you can get it from here -
View Article  Heads Or Tails?
What is it with the fascination of that TV game show "Deal or No Deal"? Is North America really reduced to this level of mindless television? Is there anything remotely interesting about this show? I was able to stomach approximately 5 minutes of this show before vowing never to watch it again. How is it so popular? Mind you I watch as little TV as possible and there are times I like to completely unplug my brain and stare at the tube but even then I don't think I could watch "Deal or No Deal" ever again. What is the appeal?

Having said all that, if people are looking for this type of mindless game show then  I have a great idea. Lets simplify things even more. Make it even more mindless. Lets make the choice dead simple. Heads or Tails? Thats it. No boxes to chose from, no phone calls, no nothing. Just start out at $100 and the contestant picks Heads or Tails. Flip a coin. You either win or lose. Perfect. If you win, you increase the dollar amount to the next level and the contestant can take the money and run or continue. And then the all important decision once again. Heads or Tails. This continues all the way to a million dollar prize.

Ok, thats my idea. I'll sit back and wait for one of the networks to contact me now and by this time next year I'll be rolling in the dough with the most popular game show on TV!!!!

Update (Feb 23, 2008): Since this post there is some odd phenomena of comedians hosting game shows. I guess some genius moron producer thought, if Deal or No Deal can be so popular with a comedian hosting then it must mean we can throw any comedian a game show and it will sky rocket. Just off the top of my head, we have 1 vs 100 with Bob Saget hosting, The Price Is Right with Drew Carey and Amnesia with Denis Miller (I'm sure I'm missing a bunch).

I'm going to see if Seinfeld would like to host Heads Or Tails. Without a doubt it would be the #1 show!!!! Or better yet, Howard Stern since he seems to want to host a real simple game show.

View Article  Mailinator Architecture
Paul Tyma, creator of the great service Mailinator wrote a post about the architecture of the system. The reason I point to it is because of the simplicity/beauty of the system. Here is a short couple quotes:

At this point, Mailinator averages approximately 2.5million emails per day. I have seen hourly spikes that would result in about 5million in a day. In addition, the system also services several thousand web users and several thousand RSS users per day.

In the world of email services, this probably isn't all that much. The most interesting part to me is that the complete set of hardware that mailinator uses is one little server. Just one. A very modest machine with an AMD 2Ghz Athlon processor, 1G of ram (although it really doesn't need that much), and a boring (IDE , low-performance) 80G hard drive. And honestly, its really not very busy at all. I've read the blogs of some copycat services of Mailinator where their owners were upgrading their servers to some big iron. This was really the impetus for me writing down this document - to share a different point of view.

Reminds me of how Brent and I typically approach similar ideas. Take SimpleFilter and Blogchat for instance. Without going into details, they both were designed to run and operate as very simple services on extremely modest hardware but also with the ability to scale well.
View Article  My Vote For Quote Of The Year
As with Ross, I rarely blog about politics and crapola like this but I found his quote to potentially be the quote of the year for 2006 when describing Sadam Hussein:

"He was," I finished. "As ruthless and terrible as Hitler, but far less successful."

And then Ross went on to say:

I'm blogging this because I think that we've lost sight of something important. Somewhere along the way, Bush's atrocities have take a more prominent place in our minds. Bush is guilty of his own sins, and the world will be a better place when he is out of office, but I don't think he deserves to be deposed and hung either. Saddam Hussein was not the pathetic old man hiding in a spider hole that we've come to remember him as. He was a tyrannical despot that deserved to die.

The world is a better place without him.

What I find highly ironic here is that Bin Laden was adament about leading a jihad against the Iragis and oust Sadam with his so called Islamic army after the invasion of Kuwait. When Bin Laden's ridiculous plan was rejected by the Saudi Defense Ministry, and American forces were brought in, I think this was the turning point in Bin Laden's view of the US and the beginnings of a very radical Bin Laden. This is from my understanding of reading "Ghost Wars" (end of Chapter 11).

Maybe they should have let Bin Laden go ahead but who knows of his real intentions. Look what happened with the rise of the Talaban in Afghanistan. Not to say that Bin Laden was fully responsible for that but it seems he had some sort of hand in it.

For those of you who mainly make up their views on all this political crapola on either side of the fence from the mainstream (propoganda) press, I highly recommend reading a book like "Ghost Wars" to really get a feel for how grey these issues really are.
View Article  NeXT Apple Merge 10 Year Anniversery
Interesting post from John Romero about NeXT being used in the early Id Software days. I remember checking out and wanting a NeXT machine around 1990 timeframe. And somehow I didn't realize or totally forgot that NeXTStep became Cocoa.
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