Archives » August 8th, 2003

August 8, 2003


I finally got tired of manually deleting all the spam I get at work, so I went looking for a program that could automatically delete it for me. I’ve stayed away from anti-spam programs for a long time, since it seems like all the ones I’ve seen have far too many false positives for my taste. And if I found one that worked well, I’d be rolling it out to others in my company, including my boss, so I definitely didn’t want too many false positives. I tried Outlook’s built-in Junk E-mail system, but there were way too many false negatives. So I kept on deleting them one by one.

I finally found a system I liked and that worked well, but there was no way to integrate it into Outlook. It was the system that AOL put into its new Communicator program, and I fell in love with it right away. Spam was marked orange in the Inbox. If there was a false positive, one click would fix it. A false negative, one click. And the system seemed to learn as you went along. The false positives were fewer and fewer every week. I had only heard of the term “Bayesian Filters” before. Now I was living it. Why couldn’t there be something like this for Outlook?

Well, like most things, you do a better job of finding something if you actually go out looking for it. So this week I went on a hunt for Bayesian plugins for Outlook, and I found one that did exactly what I wanted, right down to the one-click buttons for false negatives and positives. And, better yet, it’s based on a SourceForge project, so it’s free! Here it is: Spam Bayes Outlook.

I’ve been running it for a few days now, and it definitely gets a thumbs up. The training has gone well; after three days it is getting noticably better about false positives, and I think I’ve had five false negatives all week. It doesn’t integrate with my Exchange Server, so when I open Outlook first thing in the morning, all the night’s spam is in my Inbox. But SpamBayes fixes that within twenty seconds.

So if you’re running Outlook, go grab it. And keep checking for updates—it progressed from version 003 to 006 over the course of July. Who knows how much better it will get in the coming months.

Notepad Popups

First time I’ve heard about this one: Notepad Popups.

A Notepad popup is a text window which is displayed by a HTML email message or Web page using the Windows Notepad utility….A Notepad popup Window is displayed in Internet Explorer using the “view-source:” protocol. This protocol takes a complete URL as an argument and displays the HTML source code of the URL in the Notepad utility.

He says that by calling view-source: in an <img> tag, anybody can create a plain-text popup that cannot be blocked. Luckily, it only works in Internet Explorer. And that’s only, what, 98% of the internet audience? No biggie.

Website on CD

In poking around today I came across the simplest way I’ve seen to auto run an HTML file from a CD.

Create autorun.inf containing:

Create autorun.bat containing:
start index.html

Add those files to your CD. It works in Windows XP and 98. Presumably it won’t work on a Mac. In 98 the DOS window stays open, so you might want to echo a line like “Please close this window when you are finished.” But this simple method beats all the other ways I’ve seen of doing it, where someone wants you to buy a complete CD burning program.