In email hell

I’m tagging this ‘rdf’ so it finds it’s way to my various friends and collaborators in the RDF and SemWeb community via planetrdf.com.

Just a brief tale of this week’s woe, and a note on how to contact me while I fix things up.

Since leaving W3C at the end of last year, my email hosting has been moving around a bit. I have various addresses all of which have been forwarded to a single account, which I typically access via IMAP and sometimes SSH/mutt. For years, this was at ILRT, Uni Bristol. And then it was at W3C. Post-W3C I had my mail live on the Porklips/Postdiluvian community box, but decided to move over to Dreamhost since we’d never gotten IMAP working successfully for me on that machine, I was missing the mail-tagging capabilities of Thunderbird, .. and because I’d already bought Dreamhost hosting for some Web sites I run. So a few weeks back I flipped the switch and danbri@danbri.org moved again, to Dreamhost.

What’s the big problem? In short, Spam. I get 1000s of junk mails daily, … plus a generally high amount of email from mailing lists of various kinds. Spamassassin has been my main tool for dealing with this, along with (at W3C) a rather large whitelist, which I’ve not managed to set-up again since.

On Dreamhost, I’ve been finding that if I turn my back for a couple of days, my mailbox is drowning in junk. And that the Spam Assassin config options I chose, even though supposedly quite picky, … seem to be letting loads of rubbish through. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but it got to the stage that Thunderbird was so slow and unresponsive (due to the size of the junk-filled inbox) that it was barely ussable for deleting things, let alone reading/writing.

At which point a few days ago, I decide to give Opera a whirl. It has a good reputation, so I tried it. It spent a long time doing something, what exactly I’m not sure since Thunderbird doesn’t work so well any more. But it has a nice virtual folders look, with much mail apparently sorted by the mailing list it was sent to. I think this is ‘views’ based, but am rather unclear which mails are being moved down to this laptop where I’m running Opera, and which are via IMAP. And things are still pretty slow.

I need to count to 10, calm down, and figure out a cleaner way of handling all this. Either staying at Dreamhost or moving elsewhere (recommendations welcome!!). At the moment I don’t have procmail on my Dreamhost setup (due to confusion between 2 kinds of inbox offering there). If I can get whitelist-based protection up and running again, maybe I’ll be OK.

In the meantime, if you need to reach me. Try IM, or my increasingly used Gmail account (ie. danbrickley—at— gmail -dot- com). Please try to keep that address more or less safe from spam harvesters. I should try zapping the few places it does appear.

Sorry for any inconvenience. If you’ve sent me anything urgent or very important in last week or two, I’d be grateful if you could re-send it to danbrickley….at…gmail.com

Oh, last thing to tie this back into RDF and justify the planetrdf.com tag, … if anyone’s interested to throw around whitelist sharing ideas again, I’m all ears. There’s got to be a better way of doing things. I’ve spent all week getting a sinking feeling at the idea of even trying to open my inbox…

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