No More Junk
Spam. Spyware. Viruses. These are just a few of the landmines regular folks like us face on the Internet everyday. While I have successfully avoided virus infection for some time now, there's no end to the spam aimed for my inbox and I occasionally bump into a spyware app during the course of testing software. Every now and then it's tempting to just abandon technology for the life of an alpaca farmer.
Fortunately there are people working hard at finding solutions to these digital problems on behalf of all our inboxes. Education is the best way to avoid spyware and virus infections - be suspicious of everything unfamiliar. Spam is a little trickier. All you need to get spam is an email address. The easier your email address is to remember, the more likely you are to get a truckload of spam.
Tools to block and filter the junk help reduce inbox overload, but sometimes at the price of massively inconveniencing both you and the real people who are trying to send you legitimate email. One of the people actively working to solve (or at least contain) the spam problem is Anne Mitchell. I've swapped mail with Anne for ages before finally meeting her in person during Search Engine Strategies in San Jose.
Anne goes back a long way in the spam fight, first as part of the team behind MAPS Realtime Blackhole List, which is one of the first coordinated efforts to shut down spam at the source. She's currently the President and CEO of the Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy (ISIPP), a team of people working to find solutions to differentiate between legitimate email and the stuff we'd all rather avoid.
Anne, aka Aunty Spam of the Internet Patrol, provides news and editorial comment on the war on spam. Just this week, Aunty Spam announced the launch of a comprehensive guide to stopping spam for Windows in collaboration with ISIPP. I've read the guide cover-to-cover and consider it one of the best resources available for finding ways to prevent spam in your inbox. If your inbox is buried in ads for chemical substances and ways to swell parts you didn't even know you have, look no further than How To Stop Spam For Windows Users.
Of course the best way to stop spam altogether is by convincing people to stop clicking on the offers. More than anything, spam is an economic problem. As long as people keep buying the stuff in spam messages, the senders will keep delivering the garbage to everyone. I think it's time to adopt the school marm method of spam prevention. The next you hear of anyone you know buying a product advertised in spam, wrap them on the knuckles with a ruler.