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More effective spam hunting

The last year or so, spam on my main account has been driving me crazy. Gmail is good about filtering, but my regular account that lives locally is not. On average, I’d get 60 to 100 spams a day, and if I didn’t bother to log in to my main machine for a few days…what a mess!

I discovered Outlook has advanced manual filtering, but I flailed around for a while trying to work out how to craft a filter that would catch the bastards.

At first, I tried filtering based on subject words, like Costco or Southwest or rewards, but that meant multiple, multiple filters that changed over time and the risk of stopping a legit email that contained a stop word.

Then I tried based on certain words in the sender’s address, which ultimately worked but had a learning curve. The filter completely ignores the informal part of the address (Costco Smart Shopper or Southwest Rewards). It has to be something in the @ itself, and those were always different.

Or were they? I noticed the name@name.name was different every time, but the top level domain – .boats – was always the same. Poor old .boats is a legitimate TLD for, like, boat people. So I set all .boats email to go into quarantine, and viola.

How the spammer latched on to it and what the advantage is to do it this way, I can’t figure out, but my filter worked like a charm. Until today, when a flood was back in my inbox. I checked and there was not a single .boats address among ’em – it’s now all .lat. Poor old Latin America, but easy fix.

That suggests to me the majority of my spam is coming from a single source. Oh, and the nrsc – for god’s sake filter out .nrsc for the next year.

Now that legit filters out all of my spam, except this guy:

ypyz2015@163.com is the spammer. He’s an oriental gentleman trying to sell me engineering. His address is always the same, but the sender’s address is always different. Outlook seems blind to the second address on send on behalf, even though it’s an Outlook thing.

Why, yes…I do talk like this at parties.

November 8, 2023 — 7:08 pm
Comments: 3

I hope this isn’t an omen

Poor little dead stoat. Not a mark on it (or the cat) so it wasn’t the cat. It was in a flower bed that my chickens peck around in so okay, I guess. But sad anyway.

Just got this in email:

Dear Weasel Times,

I hope this email finds you well. As the editor of Whatfinger News, I’m writing to inquire about potential advertising opportunities with your publication.

If you could share your advertising rates and the contact information of the person who handles advertising inquiries, we’d greatly appreciate it. Please feel free to reply to this email with your response.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best regards,

Sgt Patrick O’Reilly
Editor, Whatfinger Newsew [sic]

If the intent was to get me to look up Whatfinger News and then post about it, it succeeded. Odd site.

According to a post on Quora, “It’s a news aggregation site, similar to Drudge. However, it specializes in taking sources from the extreme left and extreme right on the same stories, giving the reader a chance to see how both extremes spin the news of the day.”

That’s an interesting idea. I’d like a site like that, but – unless I’m missing something – that ain’t Whatfinger. It looks like a straight up populist wingnut link site, but uglier.

I was going to say Free Republic with a fonts problem, but erm…check out what Free Republic looks like these days. Eesh.

June 14, 2023 — 5:08 pm
Comments: 9

Another soothing YouTube channel

Well, yes, the video above is particularly amusing. It made the rounds on Twitter yesterday He cuts a copy of Spare into little strips and uses them to make a beautiful…no, go see it for yourself.

The channel is David’s Woodturning and it’s really interesting. Glad I found it. He uses a lot of epoxy resins (and dyes and glitter) so that he can make gnarly chunks of driftwood and burl into something he can work on a lathe.

The resin appears to be pressure-cured somehow – he puts the unfinished bits in some kind of steel vessel with a pressure gauge for several days.

If you’re interested in his methods, he does talk through his project. If, however, you want a soothing meditative experience, I recommend you turn the sound off and play his videos at 2X speed.

March 6, 2023 — 7:41 pm
Comments: 14

I have shamed us all

Bot sentinel doesn’t so much measure bots as people who break the Twitter terms of service. And I have scored satisfactory. Folks, I very nearly scored normal!

To be honest, I’m not surprised I register as mild mannered on twitter. I’m more of a scalpel than a hammer. Okay, more of an empty tin of Spam with a super jaggedy edge.

Call a lefty an asshole and you give him a spasm of anger. Gently mock his beliefs in their weakest places and you make him howl until he rage-blocks you. Even better, ask sensible questions politely until he cracks.

It’s a sport.

I was checking up on myself because last night, I really did cop a timeout for a tweet – my second ever. Twitter demanded I delete the offending tweet. Whatever could it be? I wondered.

You know Dylan Roof, the shit-heel who shot up a black church and killed nine people and got the death penalty for it? When Fox reported his appeal to the Supreme Court had been rejected, I tweeted this. And caught a ban for it.

Twitter’s algorithms are so busted.

October 12, 2022 — 6:37 pm
Comments: 9

I didn’t feel a thing

That dip on the graph is a pressure wave from the volcanic eruption in Tonga, as recorded in Sussex. Per the article: “Tonga is just over 10 000 miles away and, at the speed of sound, that’s around 14 hours away.”

They said it would have a measurable impact on air pressure locally but we wouldn’t actually feel it, and it did come to pass. Though…doesn’t that look like a drop in pressure? Does that make any sense?

Man some of those videos were wild: boom, satellite, infra-red, before and after.

Oregon Muse, one of the contributors to the Ace of Spades group blog, has died. He was the curator of the popular Book Thread (and also the Chess Thread). If you were an enjoyer of either of those, you can follow the link to pay respects.

It’s always such a strange feeling to lose an internet person.

January 19, 2022 — 7:48 pm
Comments: 9

Have I shilled for Brave yet?

I really like this browser. It’s built on Chrome, so it can use all Chrome’s extensions, and it’s got some great built-in features for blocking tracking cookies and so on.

But its real claim to fame is the Basic Attention Token, or BAT. It’s a crypto-currency that you earn by putting up with ads. You can decide how frequently you want to see ads, including not at all. The ads pop up unobtrusively in the bottom right of your screen. Some of them are even interesting (chess.com, which is exactly what you think it is, is a regular advertiser).

I don’t use this machine to browse much, so $3.72 is not too shabby for twelve days. I’ve got it on my phone, my laptop, my desktop and the Linux machine in my art room. The accounts aren’t linked (I could link them if I wanted) so each one is totting up separately. I haven’t totalled it or cashed any of it in, but I reckon I have a few bucks in there by now.

The second part of the equation is tipping creators with BAT. If you see a red triangle in the upper right corner of your address bar, or the lower right corner of a Tweet, you can tip that site with BAT. Not many in my daily reads have signed up for it, sadly.

And no, this site is not BAT-registered. I’d have a whole different relationship with this blog if I asked for money, and I don’t want that.

True fact: Uncle B came up with the basic idea twenty years ago. He called it “nergs” – each worth a few pennies, for tipping creators.

Heh. Turns out, I’ve blogged about this before.

January 12, 2021 — 8:59 pm
Comments: 18

Got to say goodbye to the bird site

I’m a tad annoyed that Twitter didn’t think me scary enough to ban. I am smol and wik.

I have to get off of there, though. It’s making me nuts. But I’m not quite ready to walk away from social media entirely.

I don’t think I’m a great fit with Gab. I’m not exactly the demographic. I didn’t like Parler when it existed – the interface was klunky and slow. I’m not sure changing what basket we put all our eggs in is the right way to go.

I’m exploring the nerdy open-source apps like Mastodon or Pleroma. (The two can talk to each other). They have a refreshingly ‘old Internet’ feel about them.

They’re decentralized, which has to be the direction we move in to get out of this mess. The way it works is, anyone can set up a Mastodon node (called an “instance”). The interface looks like Tweetdeck, with multiple columns. One column is system messages and your blank message form. One column is for your notifications. One column shows what people you follow are saying (“tooting” in the local lingo, which makes me smirk). And one column can either be your local instance feed, or the federated feed.

The “fediverse” is what they call the loose association of machines that communicate with each other. You can follow anyone in the Fediverse, in theory.

In practice, though, each instance makes up its own rules, sometimes really restrictive rules, and can block whole other instances (and therefore the people on them). And Mastodon, being new tech, is dominated by young people who are either far left or, at best, shitposting libertarians. The tools for finding other instances are really terrible – mostly just great long lists.

It’s really important that you find an instance that is well suited to you. I haven’t managed. I will let you know how the search goes.

January 11, 2021 — 9:38 pm
Comments: 16

Are you still Drudging?

I’m running into a lot of people on the online complaining the Drudge has gone NeverTrump. I still go there for the quick headlines, and I’ve always assumed the negative stories were intended in a know-thine-enemy way, but I dunno. Is there something better?

One alternative I saw promoted was something called Spinquark News. It looks similar to Drudge – I mean, font and everything – and it does appear to be an adequate headline aggregator. But it has me blocked unless I set my VPN to a US server, which is a nuisance. I exchanged some messages with them about it, but as it’s a US-centric site, they weren’t inclined to drop the blocks as it stopped a lot of nuisance traffic.

I use Twitter for breaking news and the BBC for UK headlines, but with the understanding that everything they both say is a lie.

Who are you using for headline news?

p.s. Not really a news site. More like a few inspirational life hacks a day. May I recommend Fucking Homepage?

February 4, 2020 — 10:01 pm
Comments: 8

No, YouTube. Let us not go.

This popped up at the top of my YouTube tonight, as though they haven’t been interrupting my programs flogging this thing for months and months. That and their ‘premium’ service — which, as far as I can tell, just lets you play videos in the background on your phone.

No, YouTube. Nobody wants this. Go away.

Anyway. Got jammed up with work tonight, ‘Shopping pictures and watching ‘Tubes.

p.s. Uncle B just reminded me — they’ve started shoving ads randomly and badly all over videos now, too. Like, plop in the middle of an album.

March 28, 2019 — 10:32 pm
Comments: 6

Well? DO you?

No, no. Not me. Not here. This place dun’t have no rules!

I nicked the graphic off FaceBook, where people are potty about rules. Have you noticed? Is it true in your groups?

I got booted off an anatomy group once because my drawing of an armpit looked like it had flesh on it. Which, I dunno, I guess I didn’t KNOW THE RULES. I saw someone get scolded off a ‘bad art from junk shops’ group because her bad art was from a flea market. I guess she didn’t KNOW THE RULES.

And don’t get me started on the chicken groups. There aren’t so many rules about actually keeping chickens than there are posting in the chicken groups.

What is with people who get a little taste of the whip hand?

January 21, 2019 — 9:38 pm
Comments: 11