Comp-U-News from Comp-U-Talk

Feb 2008


"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit." ~ Aristotle

February - The love month. (sigh!) What do I tell my customers? That I love Neal. I love my kids. I love my family. I love my customers and I especially love it when my customers give me their money! Yeah, that's it - I'm certain my readers will be impressed. And then I caught a brain wave and decided to share with you some information concerning what has become known as 'Scam-Spam'. Now a normal reader would probably be thinking my thought train has jumped off the tracks! What does spam have to do with love or February?

Several years ago, I was driving home from work. My oldest child was with me. She was approximately six years old. As we drove, she was telling me about things she hated. Now, hate is not a word or an attitude that I want to subscribe to, and I certainly don't want my children subscribing to it either. So I explained to my wee one that we don't hate people or things. As I came to a stop at the next traffic light, my daughter exclaimed: "Mom, I don't love red lights!" Years later, I still chuckle about love and "don't love". And when it comes to computers, what is the one item that causes me the most amount of grief? The one item that I definitely DO NOT LOVE? That would most definitely be spam, of course!

This morning as I scanned through the log files of multiple mail servers, I noticed that the rate of legitimate email to garbage email is running at roughly 2% good / 98% bad. Why does this happen? The following explanatory quote was taken from

McAfee, of Santa Clara, Calif., throws around figures like these: If half of the population in the United States (about 150 million people) use e-mail on a daily basis, and if only half of them (75 million) are gullible, and only 1 percent (750,000) buy into scam-spam on a given day, and if those victims were to cough up a mere $20 per scam, the potential market amounts to $15 million a day, or $105 million per week, or nearly $5.5 billion per year in just the United States

That's a lot of money! I don't know about you, but I suspect I could pretty easily survive for a year or longer, on just the spam earnings of a single day. So how do we combat it? With such an enormous amount of spam, it is impossible to filter out every single piece. The following list, which is also found at, offers valuable suggestions for helping to halt to barrage of spam:

  • Don't unsubscribe from mail if you don't recognize the sender or company sending the mail.
  • Don't publish your e-mail address on any Web site or discussion forum. If necessary, obfuscate e-mail address: for example, write an e-mail address as "myname at mycompany dot com."
  • Use a separate e-mail address to sign up for newsletters, online posting and trade shows. If the mailbox gets unwieldy, you can delete it or filter it more aggressively. (Janet's note: Think yahoo, google, hotmail accounts - all free!)
  • Don't reply to spam.
  • Don't buy anything from spammers, but it's ok to buy stuff from me. I still love your money!

    To happier computing,