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November 12, 2002

Sharing Personal Data

Xeni Jardin writes in Wired about Plaxo a new company started by one of the Napster founders. Like Napster, it involves P2P sharing with an index system. But this time it's personal data. See the Plaxo site and how Plaxo works. I'm not convinced.

It apparently works by taking my Outlook address book and sending a request to each addressee asking them for updates. This sounds like a spam solution to me. If I did it, all the addresses that I have automatically added to outlook would be spammed or I would have to spend considerable time editing my address book first. How will companies respond? When their employees start downloading Plaxo? Where does privacy sit and as Xeni notes... where is the business model.


I'd much prefer a real peer to peer system. Something that just automates or calls for an updated record everytime I e-mail. Or should my details change automatically update my addressees using an invisible exchange method. I see no reason why this should sit on a central server Let's hope it doesn't take off. It may be a beta, and you will have to search for the privacy policy. The privacy policy appears leave you at risk.

January 3, 2003

Rethinking Mail - COMsumer POST

I've been listening to Tom's search for heritics recently and was reminded about the stamp story and the origins of the postage invented in Britain in 1840. Postage created new industries, including advertising and rapidly accelerated literacy rates. The parallels are important today, for e-mail, spam, and digital identity.

The printing and publishing industry of the time was caught up in the 'Industrial Revolution', benefiting from changes in manufacturing and exploiting developments in other network technologies - railways and telegraph.

Stamps were a reformers idea. Rowland Hill wrote"Postal Reform; its Importance and Practibilitiy" in 1837. The plan introduced stamps and uniform low rates, which made it universally affordable. It also dramatically cut the accounting costs of the Royal Mail who up and till then logged each individual letter. Let's be clear. Up until 1840 the "receiver" paid. After 1840 the "sender" paid. Until 1840 the system was high cost, with frauds on it common.

Within a few years the stamp revolution spread around the world. For additional statistics see The Economic and Social Background to Victorian Print Culture

Post packets.gif

Today 163 years (May 2003) later the postal revolution has peaked. The efficiencies driven to a point where AOL can create metal non-recyclable CD sign-up trash and still make a business case for putting it in my mailbox. An with e-mail yep we have improved the immediacy of the delivery and reduced the costs. And behold.... just like pre 1840 the receiver pays, the system is increasingly spamed and fraud is more rampant.

What was the platform they launched the penny post on? "Mothers and fathers who wish to have news of your absent children; Friends who are separated and wish to write to each other; Emigrants who do not want to forget your motherland; Farmers who want to know the best place to sell your produce; Workers and labourers who want to find the best work and the highest wages" to support their postal reform measure."

It went beyond their wildest dreams. The rapid rise in literacy; an unexpected consequence. The passion to learn played a great role. With the internet we have the greatest learning and productivity tool so far.

The case and outcomes for a digital COMsumer Post will go way beyond our thinking today. The final comments here introduce an idea, that creates markets for digital identity by moving the postal system from an industrial paradigm to today's knowledge paradigm.

Should we look at POST another way? At issue is the value of access to our personal mailbox. We think about e-mail without thinking about the history and purpose of the postal system. Today the post box in front of my house is public and I receive 98% ineffective direct mail offers. Some put up no solicitation signs etc. The telephone directory is public and I suffer more abuse from telemarketers. However e-mail is completely free. Get my address get spam! Put an e-mail on a website, get more spam.

Is it possible that what we have is the postal system before the stamp revolution? Stamps put a price on sending. However they also drove efficiencies that enabled lower tarriffs, and accelerated more profitable exchages, be they personal or business. (Can anyone tell me where bills and checks fit into this story and early timeline?) Have you looked recently at the value spent dumping trash in your mailbox? Postage plus printing costs?

Our digital mail system is currently free, and increasingly suffering from receiver based inefficiencies. Could the price of free acceptance be too high? It seems the few are spoiling it for the many. It's also costing senders. It's harder than ever to look up an e-mail address. Why can't I just look it up and link it with a phone number? We give our phone numbers away almost without thinking. With e-mail there are reservations. Many have multiple addresses, separating public, business and private, with different levels of profiling information (and honesty) attached to each.

Perhaps it's time to re-think mail. How can we keep it free for the public, our preferred business suppliers etc. while putting a price on spam, that turns it back into information we want to eat.

At the same time we can return the stamp value of "post" to the people. It's no longer efficient to get your power bill via the post or pay it using the postal system. Done correctly, it's USPS that will have a problem. Perhaps literally we only need one physical delivery per week.

Let's start thinking out a solution. I'll call it COMsumer Post - after The COMsumer Manifesto. This is a world in which we all are paid to receive mail. It's a world where different levels of transparency surround our profiles. COMsumer Post is the system that enables the market for consumer information to arise.

Let me say this is not choice mail! Both Kevin Werbach and Jon Udell made recent posts on that subject. This piece on the impact of choice mail Jon's Radiois a great illustration. Choice mail assumes all incoming mail is spam unless it's mails from a buddy - approved source.

More to come.... Tying Smart Mobs to Post and Digital Identity.

January 7, 2003

COMsumer POST TWO

Do we want spammers to think before sending? Would there be value in incorporating a postage system for e-mail? What opportunities for commerce may arise? What are the benefits for the people?

Suspend your disbelief! Let's imagine a simple scenario where all electronic mail carries a postage stamp equivalent. We would have a rate card... A personal, home, business and government package would be provided. And then levels. Let's just introduce it first for it can begin simply.

Like Paypal provided a verification system for linking e-mails with physical names and addresses, the same can be done for our digital mail box. A PayPal POST type system would enable "franked" mail only to go though. Franking can be determined by the rate card and other features, like contact list updates.

By setting a fee for a "registered" mailbox.... direct mailers, billers etc can quickly move expensive inefficient mailing to more effective online formats. It works virally. Imagine I open an e-mail box for everyone in the whitepages and enable direct marketers to send mail to these accounts. They will pay me a portion of the fee for mail handling (just like Visa) and the balance of the fee will be handled like an unclaimed PayPal account. When the unclaimed digital post value reaches $10.00 then a traditional physical postcard is electronically printed and sent to the physical address. It says... you have digital post, sign your account and collect $10.00. The recipient then opens the account and receives payment for each "letter" opened. This is now an active account. Legal obligations can be contracted, eg collection daily or levels of frequency.

This would be made rapidly smarter with different levels of profile access. In the beginning 25 cents may almost represent a drop box. However, additional levels will use mail profiles to create additional value. Eg accept mail from Sears, Wallmart, Target.... rejects from Nordstroms, Macy's etc. may enable another retailer to more appropriately search paying a higher value to obtain a more targeted distribution. This might pay the consumer a dollar for looking! I can see agents emerging manipulating this info trying to find markets. Now consumers may also be prepared to sell additional profile information. Eg age, favorite brands, plenty of possibilities, these could be bundled as well. A few simply research questions would create a system vastly more sophisticated than the current one quickly. The more partiticipation the greater the definitions and the larger the market for segmenting data. I might even tie it to my TIVO account!

In a world like this.... a few consumers may enable / invent new directional mailbox tags. Each tag can be approved just like each new Visa Bank.... Each tag will get a percentage of the revenue. Tag holders will also work to bundle their assets. By bundling they will make certain "info nodes" more valuable. These might become super agencies.

Senders will know where and to whom mail was delivered. They will with each drop improve targeting and performance. For example when mail is opened... if it recieves a click though additional postage may be due (a return receipt posted).

COMsumer Post participants can speed their participation by collecting money for changing their bills over to electronic systems. AT&T would love me to give up my paper bill -- but I refuse, an electronic or e-mail bill does not result in a discount. Imagine.... the screen option to select all your bill providers... and collect the postage from the invoicing companies. PG&E doesn't bill another company does it. Imagine millions of customers saying.... redirect my bills electronically.... the reduction in paper waste, the legal transfer simplified, and then being paid for putting efficiencies into the system. I'm green and better off!

This will create new efficiencies and are the first steps to creating market aggregators. Super agents for consuming communities. There was much written on meta-markets over the last few years. In this scenario they can become reality. Using your post box to register guarantees etc can link you to other consumers. Only one consumer needs to code a guarantee for each product for everyone to participate. See the CD song id. Similarly consumer complaints can be handled by this mail system. I wrote anti-port some time ago.

What are the core concepts here.

The majority of postage is payed to consumers. There is an incentive to enable certain levels of public information. It is built off of current mail and profiling systems. We work first to eliminate waste paper of direct mail.

It will create a more efficient postal system, which no longer penalizes the receiver with spam, for the sender will now pay for access, just like our current postal system. By definition corporate mail boxes will be different to personal mail boxes. Rates and exchanges for business post may also be different. Licensing opportunities are also available. Eg post approved for children.

By moving all post into digital space, we have made post mobile, so new options will become available. Eg paying for gps link and timed delivery to a consumer. If the consumer doesn't collect it within an allotted time then it is simply void and disappears. Under the right set of circumstances... informercials might take on a different pricing structure. Ah...new learning on the run.

There is also an important social issue here. By enabling the payment for post, we are endeavoring to make Internet access free for everyone. Not everyone may move over. Still if we are smart enough to create a social - community - postal system that incents business and pays enough to cover the costs of access and equipment then we have done good. It may be easier than we think. WiFi PDAs may just collect your mail as you walk around.

Lastly this is not a posting that suggests we should raise the rates between friends. In fact there are many ways round that. Though even at the simplest level if I mail you 25 cents and you mail me back... except for the "VISA" percentage we are even. So to make it better... You can join... become a COMsumer for $35 per year we will enable you to exchange mail freely with your friends and close contacts.

Who could set this up? It's a mighty attactive proposition for some banks. PayPal may have a head start. Then again hotmail, or yahoo, AOL (help us!) or Earthlink? Quicken maybe? Banks are closet to providing the trust and security over data. They are important to the linking aspects and perhaps more so when we begin aggregating this info to enhance consumer purchasing power.

Ultimately, this is more like Visa. It is chaordic in nature. It must also be consumer owned. Afterall it is our consumer info we are talking about. The majority of the assets our personal info at the edge of the Network. Just like in David Isenbergs's Stupid Networks. We are close to the point where consumer can have a STUPID POST OFFICE. I'd like to think it was more open source... a postal bazaar, than a new cathedral.

Idea? Thoughts?

January 9, 2003

TDMA - INBOUND POST

Suggestion. Use TDMA an open source protocol along with a postal charging mechanism to control and incent the development of inbound digital mail and eliminate SPAM. Putting a cost on digital mail will make marketers more efficient and selective. It will also create a market when you pay consumers for more detailed information.

After my COMsumer POST blog on Tuesday; Mitch Radcliffe blogged a segment of my post (ah for an editor!) and the discussion that followed was very helpful to me. His objections my para-phrasing was one I have heard before. People won't give up their current e-mail addresses to do this. There are a great many problems with ISP's and you can't fiddle with how it currently works.

The discussion led to looking at TDMA. TDMA works on the basis of whitelists.

" The way TMDA thwarts incoming junk-mail is simple yet extremely effective. You maintain a "whitelist" of trusted contacts which are allowed directly into your mailbox. Messages from unknown senders are held in a pending queue until they respond to a confirmation request sent by TMDA. Once they respond to the confirmation, their original message is deemed legitimate and is delivered to you. Updating your whitelist insures they won't have to confirm future messages. TMDA can even be configured to automatically whitelist confirmed senders. To see what the confirmation process looks like, send me a test message, and then reply to the confirmation request.

This methodology has the advantage of being very selective about what it allows in, while at the same time permitting legitimate, but previously unknown senders to reach you......"

TDMA is not alone in developing a whitelist approach. See Bruce Simpson's September thougths. Kevin Werbach also wrote "Death by Spam" in November. TDMA may be the only open source choice however.

So consider. Is it possible to use TDMA as part of a spam-killing postal system? You know add a postal metering / franking system link it to my paypal account, which means I'm verified to get my digital post. Then if you can also insure that everything is encrypted as it goes each way? I'm assuming it is P2P, and that I will adopt a standardised or recommended rate card.

Then I'm not only getting money for receiving post and making the planet a better place, I also know the commission I pay to the service (like VISA) is adding to the security and integrity of the overall system.

This solution alone doesn't answer the pressing business issue. How can I improve my returns on direct mail beyond just going digital? For marketers require profiles -- data. TDMA with a payment system can improve inbound effiencies with verified accounts - addresses. The same system can work in the reverse, when consumers create profiles of real value.

The very same consumers can enable whitelist profile sharing in exchange for postal access.

February 6, 2003

Spam Fixation

Bob Frankston provides a very thoughtful article :Spam Fixation reinforcing the economics of attention and promoting (in my view) typical "tech views" about consumers who don't think. There is lot's of great thought here. Particularly when I've been writing about a digital post.

"We need to restore the balance. We need to control access to our attention and we must be able to determine our own priorities."

"The problem is not that email is free. It's that we treat our email address like our home address and then act surprised when everyone assumes they have a right drop in unannounced. After all we asked them in by giving them our address. ........."

"We can start to find a balance by giving people tokens that can be used to vie for our attention. Each token is unique and we can use it to prescreen the access. ............".

There is much more to think about here. Bob rejects the idea that people should pay me and provides the telemarketer as the example. I'd beg to differ. In both the direct mail and the telemarketer examples there is a cost of probing for our attention. With spam the cost is an order of magnitude different. Similarly an argument for CRM customer relationship management is inserted. The paradigm proposed remain supply side driven. Maybe the economics of attention identify the problem, perhaps the answer lies in the economics of cooperation?

To use the telemarketer example. Currently x calls y misses and an economic hit rate. We can assume the credit card companies, the mortgage brokers, the magazines etc, would all change this in a minute if it could be done for a lower cost. Your best marketer is the consumer. When the consumer spreads good news you grow. When one consumer spreads a complaint we know what the cost is. At the moment Consumers don't share the good news very effectively. If they did, we may find an invisible collaborative solution that informs other consumer more effectively. Could this replace telemarketiing?

February 12, 2003

SPAM Polls

I just read in the SF Chronicle this morning more research on SPAM. The research is all flawed. It assumes that the government or organizations or both should take some form of action. The questions are all asked that way. Simply because no-one understands that perhaps you and me and others together can do something about it. How can you change paradigms when the research is constantly promoting a dialogue round the current impasse?

More government regulation particularly of the opt-out kind will only make the problem worse. While almost certainly (I presume) giving the government more power to track, and even tax exchanges.

April 22, 2003

Musings - Rich Profiles

Tom Portante and I have held many conversations over the last few months, testing them, working them forward.  He's posts a collection of examples today. It's a little long in this format. Note this.   

"An unintended consequence of all of these possibilities -- once you establish a system that allows e-mail recipients to charge for their attention (by way of a token 17-cent 'postage' rate or some other fee structures) ...

...spam goes away."
There are three good example of how the knowledge innovation boundaries will be stretched. 

You will see the common themes.

  • Economics of Attention
  • Relationships, trust, circles,
  • Personal Knowledge Management

Look more closely and you will see the emergent knowledge sharing opportunities, the benefits of rich profiles, and database technology that with redefine connectivity.  If you were a corporate you may see that as KM is individualised the relationships become more personal.  As the number of relationships grow the organization has new opportunities.  Real links with the outside world have always been treasured. The difference is every employee will add 150 and probably more like 1000. Each of those links will add to brand value.  The organization can once again become / have a conversation..... 

The last observation for tonight.  Is certainly one I've been experiencing today.  Websites for companies appear aggregated - centralized.  Well I've got news.  The new tools are decentralizing, not top down, no one controls all of them.  If you just look at this blog.  It's personal, it uses MT,and all the ecology items I just added add functionality.  Some come with a cost.  The KM field failed to centralize knowledge.  At the end of the day it's knowing 'who' to call.    

September 3, 2003

Digital Authentication Cures Spam?

A user centric approach to solving the spam problem using digital signatures from First Monday Giving E-mail back to the users by Trevor Tompkins and Dan Handley

"This paper argues that current legislative and private attempts to stop spam are either ineffective, or involve unacceptable tradeoffs.

We propose a system that possesses the following features of authentication:

  • The authentication process should be easy to initiate. Just as in face-to-face communication, users should have an effortless way to grant their family, friends, and coworkers immediate authentication status.
  • Authentication should have the option of being transferable. Users may want their friends to be able to give other friends authentication for your e-mail address. This is not unlike the real life situation ó "Bob referred me to you."
  • There should likewise be the option to make authentication non-transferable. Users may not want certain friends to be able to give other friends authentication to contact the user.
  • Re-issuable. Users may want to re-issue permissions.
  • Changeable. Users may want to change the authentication status and/or attributes of a particular person, or groups of people at any time.
  • Revocable. Users need the option to revoke anyoneís authentication ó meaning ability to contact them ó at any time for any reason they deem fit.
  • Hide or announce authentication status. Users may or may not wish to let someone know that they have revoked their authentication.

Authentication on this basis is very similar to the levels of access I'd like to give different names on my buddy lists.  Then perhaps this is more complex than it at first seems.  The end-user is getting closer to wanting a solution that they can implement. 

If we turn off spam can encrypted keys to verified profiles owned by you and me be far behind?  Similarly enhanced public directories?  Could be useful. 

Then their solution might also cure the comment spam this blog has recieved in the last few days... (deleted as quickly as I note it and I know I am not alone.) .... Shoud we be helping these guys? 

October 11, 2003

Comment Spam - Solution Wanted

Who can solve the COMMENT SPAM on MT and without turning off the comments? Please share with me.

What I really think of these comment spammers is unprintable. There were two busy with my site this am. Just used Feedster to find the "lolita" cuplrit. (see below - my IP was up one number). Then I've had the "interesting" example and the "click the name at your own risk" warning. I'm sure I could find viagra if I looked. I could spend my whole day linking to others with comment spam. Feedster provided 823 items in seconds. I have no reason to doubt the facts below.

Reading & Writing: Comment Spamming Comment Spamming The last couple of days a robot named Lolita has been leaving the comment "Nice site!" on a number of my posts. Spam is bad & while I think pornography has been & will always be with us, comment spammers are the lowest of the low. Bottom feeders, the catfish of the internet, eaters of rotten feces . . .

Here is some information I found about the person who has been spamming my comments:


209.210.176.20
Leonid@yahoo.com
domain: video-lo.com
status: production
organization: Video LO
owner: Guy McFarland
email: video_lo@yahoo.com
address: 4009 Dancing Cloud Ct. #42
city: Destin
state: Florida
postal-code: 32541
country: US
admin-c: video_lo@yahoo.com#0
tech-c: video_lo@yahoo.com#0
billing-c: video_lo@yahoo.com#0
nserver: ns1.smartdns.org
nserver: ns2.smartdns.org
registrar: JORE-1
created: 2003-03-09 15:54:35 UTC JORE-1
modified: 2003-08-31 16:07:25 UTC JORE-1
expires: 2004-03-09 09:54:19 UTC
source: joker.com
Phone: 850-269-2814
4009 Dancing Cloud Ct,
Destin, FL 32541-3388

Amazing what you can find out in fifteen minutes on the internet. I began looking around after the second set of messages from Lolita showed up. I'm actually very easy-going about porn, but pretty hard-line about trespassing, which is what I consider spam. This is my space, .......

Update: Same guy now spamming as Preteen. Am not alone.


Jackass Spammers

I got hit again, this time by "Preteen," as did others. Same first parts of the ip address as last night, just the last two digits varied. Is there anyway to ban that whole string?


October 12, 2003

MT Comment Spam Solution

James Seng creates a brilliant MT hack that I hope STOPS COMMENT SPAM dead! I've just installed it and it works. Take a test drive with a comment to this post. I particularly want a few fellow sufferers to know....Cal, John Cole, Teresa, Sassy Lawyer, Liz Lawley, Ton Zijlstra, Joseph, Abe, Glen, Dean, and Jay Allen Can someone please compare what Jay is doing vs James Sengs solution?

James Seng's blog: Solution for comments spams

"Apparently, there are some automated bots which has been spamming comments on movabletype blogs. While it is easy to ban the IP and remove the posts, it takes a lot of time and effort to play the cat and mouse game.

To cut the story short, I wrote a plugin to MT that will verify if it is a human before it allows comments to be posted. The idea is pretty simple: Display an image with a Security Code and demand the user to enter a Security Code manually before allowing posting to go through.

To see how it works, try posting some comments on this site.

If you like it, you can download it here. (It is pretty rough since it skip my sleep to do this. But it should work. I hope I have covered most of edge cases...)"

Go now and get the code and instructions from James here. Then let him know with a trackback of thanks.

I'd note these additions to James' ReadMe instructions. You must CHMOD the cgi file and the new temp security directory to 755. If you need a text editor to open your MT/App?Comments.pm then go and get Boxer Otherwise it is a fairly simple install. If you installed MT you can do this. I'd also note it works with the Simple Comments plug-in working.

Gee now I can think about Skype and other things again! Not the preferred way to spend a Sunday I'd add! Good luck with your installs!

October 17, 2003

Update Comment Spam

I've been running James Seng's last solution for a week. Now he's got an even better one. I've not had time to try implementing it yet. I might just wait another week. Hope those "numbers" aren't bothering any of you.


Bayesian filter for MT
Many people have complained about my "Solution for comments spams" is unfriendly to disabled or those who do not have a graphic browser.

Hearing your feedbacks, I spent the last 2 days working on a bayesian plugin. To cut the story short, the plugin will allow you to train your movabletype blog to automatically identify spam comments and pings.James Seng's blog: Bayesian filter for MT

November 4, 2003

Bonded Future for E-Mail?

Interesting thoughts on the future of e-mail. See the link to Bonded Sender and the Economist article on this approach to putting a "price" on e-mail.

VentureBlog: The Future of Email

While people may debate the death of email, there is no question that many email servers are already overloaded with spam. Current spam solutions are beginning to address the problem, but so far they all suffer from the arms race issue - as fast as we come up with new ways to fight spam, spammers are finding new ways to deliver it to us.

One solution is to charge people to participate in the system. Anybody who pays a fee is automatically on the whitelist. Several companies (such as the Bonded Sender program) are working to provide this solution to legitimate bulk emailers (e.g. travel specials from United Airlines, etc.). United Airlines pays a bond to the company, which they lose if they actually send any significant quantity unsolicited email. The company then provides this list to all of the anti-spam companies so they can properly distinguish bulk email from spam.

When the change comes, it will deliver the future of email to Microsoft.


January 12, 2004

Comment Spam

It is a shame to start a year complaining about comment spam. At least the numerical count was down today. I've really been hit in the last few days at a time when a couple of projects have compressed time and left me short on participation in many areas including blogging. While I feel like I am MIA these attacks are a complete time waste.

When comment spammers escalates into an arms race that the individual must respond to and manage too much value and goodwill is being destroyed. It's not just time, it is also my perspective. There are really XXXXXX people out there. It simply sucks that it is a priority to further arm this blog with additional counter measures.

From my vantage point almost every blogger on MT has this problem or exposure. Comment spam is beginning to leave a slightly bitter taste for an otherwise great MT experience. It also provides a cautionary note for any new bloggers and how comments should be activated. Real-time comments are important to many blogs. Filtering comments kills the immediacy and capability to extend dialogue. Locking comments after a period of time may help and yet freezes entries at a point in time and eliminates important later additions or references. Separately, I'm yet to see much comment spam deposited as a result of a RSS feed update. Although I expect that strategy will come.


Removing spam destroys blogging if "blogging providers" don't engineer more effective solutions into their products. Fixing comment spam forever is unfortunately not what I do. It's something SixApart needs to fix! Having not read my newsreader in detail in days I could learn that it has already been fixed.

Tomorrow I'll return to composing for the art of blogging rather than the laments of being a blogger in a spam filled sick world.

Now how long until this post is spammed?

January 20, 2004

Throttling Down - Comment Spam

I spent two hours today on additional spam countermeasures. It's has become almost intolerable. I quickly caught the Many to Many comments last week. I'm not prepared to give up on comments and I stand by my earlier spam comments that this is an MovableType problem and they must fix it.

So when I looked up today I learned of MT's 2.661 upgrade complete with Comment Throttling. I downloaded and installed it. I learned of via Jacques Distler
Musings: Comment Throttle here and then followed it to Phil Ringnalda, both who have been fine-tuning the comment throttle. After a quick study of the hacks i just set them aside for now. Maybe later or perhaps MT will just add them in.

I felt I'd had a good run with James Sengs Security-Code plugin, however the spammers got around my implementation. The install instructions are now improved. So I reinstalled it. Having read all the comments and accolades again I then downloaded his Bayesian Filter solution. It installed easily and what a bonus that move was. This appears the most undersold plug-in on the Internet for an MT blogger with a blog full of spam. Getting rid of the 100 plus weekend comment spams was going to be a problem. I'd been putting it off. James solution allows them to be deleted as a group rather than 1 by 1. Simply added to the pleasure of the clean-up task.

I'd like to think I'm again finished with comment spam for awhile. However I'm probably not. Legitimate commenters are always welcome. If you have problems leaving comments please let me know. Thanks.

July 19, 2004

Comment Spam Control

Iíve been down in the Arizona desert and watching my blog collect or is that attract comment spam as if it was a sweet sticky desert for all spammers. Iíve said before that this is wrecking blogging and certainly kills the conversational aspect.

Are some blogs more attractive to spam? Why me? At the rate of last weeks spam it began to feel like a personal attack. I finally had to turn off the e-mail advice for new comments when I was receiving 3-5 comment spams per minute for over eight hours. Each was from a different DNS. With a combination of MT-Blacklist and MT-Bayesian Iíve been able to correct the 3000+. Still it is the usual time waste.

Iím still ambivalent about MT3.0 Iíll probably upgrade although recent searches suggest that there are no realistic solutions yet for comment spam.

September 8, 2004

PC Cess Pools and DIYIT

I'm afraid that the enthusiasm for Decentralizing IT may just be the dream of some techies who want to choose their tools. Frankly if I walk round my neighborhood and look into the garages and check out the tools that really get used we kid ourselves if we think those that have their lawns mowed are going to get out a spade and do some digging. What brought this on. This little clip:

One aspect is that the people previously known as consumers can not only source and modify their own tools if IT fails to serve them -- but arm themselves with information to influence what should be group decisions. Especially as social agreement on how to use a tool is a determining factor for realizing productivity gains. Ross Mayfield's Weblog: Decentralizing IT

There are days when I want to embrace the DIYIT thrust and I still see control accelerating to the network edge. However by the standards of my friends I am very tech oriented. What I do day in and day out they won't do and have no interest in. Far from hoping for a panacea for decentralized IT this past weekend was an exercise in cleaning up the home network. It lives at the edge and my family had turned some of these devices into dumping grounds for ad software and viruses. After a day I finally had them almost back to normal. Still Norton failed to automatically erase all the viruses and after another evening poking around in the registry and the temp folders I can finally say we are "clean"! This I'll add was not a job I wanted to do, it made me mad and was a complete time waste. I also know that the PC's in this house are better cared for than many.

So the real problem is the majority have no idea what goes on in their PC's AND MORE IMPORTANTLY THEY DON"T WANT TO! Like the telephone you just want it to work. Instead if they are not managed they go out of control. When I spend time fixing things I am just like the DIYer and the home car mechanic. However for me one major difference emerges. Fixing shit in PC's is not the same as driving with a new set of brakes or building a new trellis and then sitting in the shade. It's also more time consuming, (like waiting for paint to cure sometimes.) as the hard disks go over 100gb and yet another reboot. So as we are rush towards a world of home networks, home entertainment systems, increased file sharing there is a good risk that we will end up with PC cess pits everywhere.

I'd like to know what amount of time we think consumers (those previously known as) will really spend on either fixing their networks or DIYIT. For the most part it will be very little.For now we survive on a diet of Norton Anti-Virus and Windows upgrades SP-2 that take ages to install. If we only knew how many hours of babying these things needed we probably wouldn't want them at all. At least by contrast my cellphone doesn't yet require the same sort of reboots, virus control etc. Then they aren't exactly on open networks and even there spam is increasing.

I don't believe that even a large minority will pay much attention to the tools or their selection. They don't have time, and don't want the hassle. Let a few do the sifting to improve what we have so the rest of us can just adopt it.

January 12, 2005

Upgrading MT - Comment Spam

I am completely sick of comment spam. I recently upgraded to MT 3.14. However, had had little time to develop new templates to use the newer features. Plus after 2.5 years of generally adding and subtracting bits it is time to start over. So what you see today is a stock standard MT set of templates. The comment spam is still pouring in.

Tonight I experienced something I thought was reasonable. The Social Software Weblog now asks for a confirmation via e-mail (if you are new). Click on the link and your post is updated. That's new since the last time I left a comment there. I'll have to chase directions for installing it. Anyone else implemented this?

So watch for new templates soon.

January 13, 2005

MT-Templates New

It's easy to see why so many love Typepads relatively easy to use stylesheet system. I'm not finished messing around here. While I've now got quite a portfolio of different templates and functions created over time every change takes time. It's still a long short list that needs doing. Not sure yet what I'll do on the color front. On the upside spam is definitely down. I've installed almost all of the MT recommended spam approaches. We'll see how it goes.

Please send me a message if you have problems with comments. Aftlodging comments too difficult defeats the purpose.

About Spam

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Unbound Spiral in the Spam category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Social Software is the previous category.

Spirals is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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