Meeting Notes - 11 February 2014

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Meeting Notes - 11 February 2014

Post by bdahm on Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:14 pm

It appears that our efforts to drive some people off are succeeding as our numbers are down a little this week. Nevertheless newcomers like Tom continue to show up, probably by accident.

Spam Way Down
My weekly spam count, measured by the number of email messages that have found their way into my Gmail spam folder, reached an all-time low of just two this week. It has been hovering around 8 recently. I don’t expect that I am representative in this matter, but I think that generally the number of spam messages people are getting is down.

I can recall not all that many years ago getting close to 200 message a week. Thanks to some highly publicized arrests of high-profile spammers that count has come way down. Also what one does on an individual level counts as well. Here are a couple things I have done.  First, I maintain a separate “throw-away” email address and anytime I am asked for my email address, except from people I know personally, because I am registering for something on-line or subscribing to something, I never give my personal email account. I give my throw-away account. It’s good if this throw-away account has a “white list” whereby anyone not in your contacts automatically goes into the junk folder. Then it’s easy to go there every week or so and see if anything really useful shows up. Those things that are can be moved to the inbox or other folder and the rest deleted. Hotmail seems to serve this purpose quite well.

Another thing I do is whenever a spam message makes it’s way into my Gmail Inbox, and that isn’t very often, I mark it as spam so it gets added to Google list and these message either get filtered out further up the food chain or it ends up in my spam folder in the future.

If none of these suggestions are effective, you can always create a filters so any future messages get deleted as soon as they are detected. They don’t even end up in the spam folder.

One thing I would advise again is taking the option you see on some spam messages to remove yourself from the distribution list. For the most part these options only serve to identify the email address as a “live” one and therefore more valuable to the spammer. One of Howard’s suggestions is that if you have a goodly number of recipients is that you send the message Bcc rather than as a “to” addressee. That way potential spammers never see the addresses in the first place and they can’t be harvested and sold.

Is it Down Right Now?
Sometimes it’s hard to know if that website you’re trying to get to is down or if there’s just a lot of network traffic along the way. Here’s a site that will tell you just that. It lists a bunch of sites that have just recently been checked and some that are down at the moment. It also lets you enter a specific site and check it on the spot. In addition to the latest results, the inquiry will give you some tips for things to try in the the future. There are also comments on alternative ways to get to the site.

It was by using this URL that I was able to find an alternative/proxy method of getting to, which in this case was . 

What Do You Primarily Use Your Smartphone for?
We also had an opportunity to go around the room and see what folks primarily use their smartphones for. I was surprised last week when Bob said he uses his Samsung Note III primarily for reading. Yes, there was even  a couple of people who used it as a phone. There were the expected number of people who used it for email, or web browsing, or for texting and even one other person, who like myself, uses it for podcasts.

Well, that about does it, so let’s call is a wrap. See you next week.



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