Scott Hanselman

Two good things this weekend...movies and spam

September 28, '03 Comments [1] Posted in Movies | Web Services
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Two cool things this weekend....

One, saw The Rundown which is probably the most all around fun I've had at a movie in years.  Probably since the Matrix (the first one).  I'm a bit of a gourmand when it comes to cinema, and certainly there have been lots of great movies in the last few years, but name one that you walked out of saying "That was so fun!"  I recommend it highly.

Two, I hooked up all my emails (and my family's) with the SpamSoap service and I'm LOVING it.  It's and interesting hack.  There appear to be a range of anti-spam solutions for the Home or Home-Office out there that fall into some basic categories, and those categories are organized by "tier". 

  • Client - catch it as it shows up with SpamBayes, SpamNet, OfficeMavin, etc.  Also, Outlook 2003 has quite good Junk Mail filtering built in, and allows you to whitelist at the client side.
  • Server - actively run a spam filter on your server (if you control your mail server) and while you still have to download the spam (so the spam actually uses YOUR bandwidth) it can be caught before you or your users download it.
  • Server with Human Interaction - I almost decided on a solution like SpamArrest.  Basically, if someone emails you, the get an immediate bounceback email that tells them that you hate spam, and if they are really a human, would they please enter in the words that appear in this obfuscated image to prove it.  If they are a human, their email gets delivered and they are added automatically to your whitelist. 
  • MX Record - Since I don't control my mail server (ORSCWeb does) and I don't want to, I wanted a server-side solution that was in the "chain" of email processing, but not email client-specific. So I modified the MX record to point to the SpamSoap service (they offer a 30 day trial).  My DNS's MX record usually points to my mail server.  Now it points to SpamSoap, who receives my email for me, scans it, and redirects spam to a special "spambox" while real email moves along unmolested.  Here's an interesting article about "Fighting Spam with DNS."

It actually worked so well in the first few hours that I thought my mail was broken.  I had never hit "Send/Receive" and NOT received SOMETHING.  Here I was hitting F5 wondering if I'd messed it up.  Then, a legitimate email showed up.  Boom.  Very nice.  Since I turned it on Weds, I've NOT downloaded over 1500 spams. 

It's a shame that a service like this is almost required (for your sanity) but it's also a joy when it works so smoothly.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2003 2:42:15 AM UTC
Excellent. ;)

For server-based software (that you would run at your place of business, MailFrontier Anti-Spam Gateway is awesome.

Greg Hughes
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.