Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Shades of Spam

Why don't the major email services have a way to separate email they know is spam from email they think is spam? If they did this then false positives would be less troublesome, and they could even tweak their filters to capture a few things the currently slip through. I know that this is possible and some people already do this sort of thing, but why don't the big three (Google, Microsoft*, and Yahoo) do this?

Imagine if Google had a "possible spam" tag where items that scored within a certain range in their spam filters would go. Then you could tweak whether you wanted these items to go to your inbox or your spam box, and they would be easy to filter through in either one. Or, maybe if Yahoo showed the percentage of which they were convinced that the email was spam. The default view in the spam folder could be sorted by this field, ascending, so that the least spammy emails would float to the top.

Since no spam filter is perfect, you have to choose between more spam in the inbox or more false positives in the spam folder. I'd rather have some control over the threshold for this, it'd make me more confident that I don't have to sort through the stuff that I know is spam just to get to verify that nothing of value got lost in its midst.

* I haven't used Microsoft's offering since shortly after they bought Hotmail. To my knowledge this post applies to them as well, though.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Wouldn't Ralph Nader be doing a lot more for the country and the world if he ran for an office he had a chance at winning? I don't care who he does or doesn't sap votes from, but if he really wants to change things he should focus on actually getting elected. Were he to run for governor of one of the states he could have a real impact, and if his policies are as effective as we'd be led to believe then he would set a standard for other states to follow. At that point he could point to how he's helped a group of people and run a government, then he'd be an electable presidential candidate. Right now he's just wasting everyone's time, especially his own... and his time is more valuable than the average person's.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Just a Parking Space

This weekend we made the mistake of going to the Palisades Center on a Sunday. Despite the frigid weather, a very many folks had ventured out to the mall. The parking lot was absolutely packed.

There was stop and go traffic throughout most of the poorly designed parking space. People were frustrated. The general attitude that I witnessed was "me first." Any intersection involving a left-hand turn was backed up.

None of that was really remarkable. What was remarkable was how positively ridiculous people were being over a parking space. I saw several people speeding around the lots trying to beat others to a space where someone was pulling out. There were many instances where multiple drivers laid claim to the same space, first one in wins.

One of these instances blocked our path for about 5 minutes and nearly resulted in a fist fight. Both drivers involved, as well as someone else who seemed to want to claim the space, were shouting obscenities out their windows. One went so far as to get out of his minvan and approach the other's. All three vehicles had young children in them, some of them visibly scared.

It was just a parking space. Next time leave, it's not worth it.