Sun, 16 Mar 2003

AOL is silently dropping your mail

Note to those of you using AOL as your ISP (I'm especially directing this to some members of my family) -- AOL has implemented an anti-spam strategy that relies on brute-force rather than intelligence. They are now dropping inbound mail based on the MAPS DUL, which is practically guaranteed to throw the baby out with the bath water. Because my IP address is in a DHCP range, AOL treats me as though I were Alan Ralsky or something, rather than a responsible admin who has never sent a single spam or allowed a spammer to relay using his resources.

At times like this, I really do wonder why the heck AOL bought Netscape. After all, the Mozilla project, the basis of the Netscape browser, has actually implemented intelligent spam filtering, and Apple has very successfully implemented latent semantic analysis in a widely deployed, real world mail client, so we're definitely outside the realm of theory here. Instead of putting these sorts of smarts to work in their client, AOL puts out press releases.

My recommendation to end-users is to go with an ISP who lets you decide what's spam and what isn't, and provides you with intelligent tools that help you block the mail that you want to. And if I owe you email and you haven't gotten it, maybe, just maybe, it wasn't my fault. ;-)

:: 17:04
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And he climbed with the lad up the Eiffelberg Tower. “This,” cried the Mayor,
“is your town’s darkest hour! The time for all Whos who have blood that is red
to come to the aid of their country!” he said. “We’ve GOT to make noises in
greater amounts! So, open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!” Thus he
spoke as he climbed. When they got to the top, the lad cleared his throat and
he shouted out, “YOPP!”
And that Yopp… That one last small, extra Yopp put it over!
Finally, at last! From the speck on that clover their voices were heard!
They rang out clear and clean. And they elephant smiled. “Do you see what
I mean?” They’ve proved they ARE persons, no matter how small. And their
whole world was saved by the smallest of All!”
“How true! Yes, how true,” said the big kangaroo. “And, from now
on, you know what I’m planning to do? From now on, I’m going to protect
them with you!” And the young kangaroo in her pouch said, “ME TOO! From
the sun in the summer. From rain when it’s fall-ish, I’m going to protect
them. No matter how small-ish!”
— Dr. Seuss “Horton Hears a Who”