As usual for when I'm out of town one or more of the computers are running fetching mail, sometimes monitoring the house via webcam, that sort of thing. During the break a curious thing seems to have happened: the rate at which I was receiving spam actually started to exceed the rate at which Eudora could accept mail. At least the way I had Eudora set up. The result was that Eudora crashed sometime after Christmas and when I checked Botzilla again on New Year's Eve, I had close to 80,000 messages awaiting receipt.
It was more than my Eudora could handle at that point, and it just croaked when trying to load that many messages. Or maybe some message was killing Eudora. Either way, I couldn't proceed and by my estimation I was receiving another message on the server every second or two. So I did two things:
1. Made my mail handling on botzilla.com MUCH more strict about sending undefined mail into /dev/null
2. Switched my mail handling at home from Eudora to Apple Mail.
The switch was precipitated by Apple's famous anti-spam techniques, which Courtney's been using for some time. I found that they were at first ineffectual but as the collection of junked messaged grew it became very effective indeed easily hitting the promised 98% tag rate. Of course, 98% of 10,000 messages still leaves 200 spams in the inbox, but 9800 dismissed messages about cut rate pharmaceuticals.
Unfortunately, Mail.app looks like it tends to bog down when mail boxes get really large including the "Junk" mailbox. With some 20,000 junked mails under its belt, Mail.app did well on filtering but was reading very slowly. So I followed some errant web advice and set the Junk mailbox to start clearing itself. Big mistake! The mail-reading speed increased, but the spam-filter success rate when right into the floor again. So I spent another good chunk of a morning hand-junking mails, until the filter was back up to fighting strength.
It's still not done. At the time I started this post Mil.app still had 35-40,000 emails left to process, after a long full day's run. Oh joy.
January 04, 2005
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