Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Spam Control

The past 24 hours has been SPAM HELL. I set my email up on my Dell desktop system, so that I could continue working until I decided what to do about the 'sick' laptop. I managed to get all seven email accounts set up and working - which meant remembering them all, and then remembering the passwords and set-up info (lol - after all of that running in the background for almost a year - you tend to forget the details!).

And then came the TIDAL WAVE of spam

Oh geez. I had forgotten about all of the rules and filters that I had spent so much time setting up. That perfect combination that kept my Inbox clean and viagra-free. *sigh*

Step One: Set up my spam arrest account. This little gem is a SAVE, as it requires confirmation from the sender before being delivered to my Inbox. All unconfirmed email (aka JUNK) sits on a remote server, which I can check if I like. I use spam arrest on the email account I've had for 5+ years - some clients still use it, but it's no longer my primary address... and it is the main source for spam emails. As in over a thousand a day! But like I said, a few clients do still contact me through this address, so this is the best solution.

Step Two: Set default email to "fail". Often, spammers will send out email to anything@yourdomain - because default email (email with no account already set up) generally forwards to your primary account. It's wise to set this up to go "into the blackhole" or to "fail" (which will cause it to bounce). This is a MAJOR source of junk mail with one of my email accounts, so this cuts out a lot of the clutter.

Step Three: Set up Rules or Filters. Right now I am using Outlook Express (yuck!) as that is what was installed on this system - and I didnt plan to be working here for long. If I decide to keep the email over here, I'll probably download Eudora. Anyway, for everything that sneaks through - I use "Rules" to filter it straight to the Deleted folder. I start with the basic list of "bad words" and anything to do with pharmacies and colleges, and then add to it as offensive messages arrive. I usually do a quick scan of these before a permanent delete, but this keeps the nasties out of my Inbox.

That covers all of the basics for me, and puts me in a good position to begin sorting through my legitimate email. Which, it turns out, is still A LOT.

On my laptop, I have 30-something directories set up for email to filter into automatically. Newsletters, updates... you name it. Obviously I dont have those set up in the "temporary" Inbox... so everything just piles right in together.

I had no idea I was still getting half of it. LOL. Hmm - time for a little maintenance! Newsletters that just dont hold my interest anymore - most of which have transformed from info to promo. Updates from sites I no longer frequent, etc. And too, this is forcing me to really trim down even further - and decide what I can live without.

This is a good thing. Getting organized, trimming out the extras - setting things up to run as efficiently as possible. I like that!

And... after sleeping on it, I decided I'll call HP this morning and have them walk me through using the Recovery Disks - or whatever they suggest to repair windows, but keep my data. I just bought this laptop 8-10 months ago, so it should still be under full warranty.

I need the data. I say that, but the truth is that most things can be recovered - with a little work. And what can't, probably doesnt need to be. With a really good memory, decent records, and an unorganized - yet useful - set of backups... I can certainly get by. But I do need to get the system back up and running at the very least - I miss my mobility!

Wish me luck ;)