inessential by Brent Simmons


I’m not using Gmail or similar — I use the mail server my hosting provider gives me.

That mail server has SpamAssassin, so I have that enabled and set to quarantine everything that scores a 1 or above.

A fair amount of spam gets through to my mail client — Apple Mail — anyway. And so I have junk mail filtering turned on there too.

But Mail’s junk mail filtering doesn’t do a very good job.

To be fair, it’s dealing with messages that SpamAssassin didn’t catch either. The tough ones. But there are a lot of those.

Tonight I got fed up and went back to SpamSieve. It had been years since I used it — but I’m so happy it’s still around. It always did a great job.

* * *

You know what great technology doesn’t have a spam problem at all? RSS.

Not that RSS is a replacement for email or Twitter or anything else. It brings you what you asked for — blog posts and podcasts, mostly — and nothing else gets through.

(RSS feeds may contain advertising, of course, but so do web pages and we don’t call that spam. It’s a different thing.)

What you don’t get with RSS is blog posts from some entirely other blog than what you asked for. If you subscribe to a podcast, you don’t get episodes from some other scammy podcast.

There was a sort-of spam problem many years ago. Back then there were blog search engines (which have all shut down, as far as I know), and those search engines would index spam blogs, and so if you had a feed that was a search you could end up with posts from spam blogs.

But I’m probably the only person who remembers that. And the problem wasn’t with RSS, it was with the search engines and the providers who allowed spam blogs.