links for 2006-08-31

Unattached spam

I’ve been getting these gmail spams for months now, with no predictable way to filter them out, since the spammers use variable email addresses, subject lines, and text content. For Gmail to filter them completely, they’d have to scan every image for text and apply that to spam filters, which is probably too much processing required.

Today I came up with a way to kill them forever, but it is definitely overdoing it, as it basically means no more .gif attachments in email from anyone anymore. But I don’t mind since I rarely get legit .gif attachments. Here’s what I did.

– Hit the Create Filter button next to the search box at the top of Gmail.

– In the field “Has the Words” put in: .gif

– For the Has attachment checkbox, check it.

Run a test search (middle form button) and check your results. Chances are you’ll probably see a ton of spam, but look for the legit emails. I saw some from former coworkers, a blogging service, and a company I do ad stuff with. To keep those people safe, do this:

– In the field “Doesn’t have” put in text that their emails would contain somewhere. In my case, I just put in their domain names.

Run a test search again, and make sure you don’t see any false positives. I just made this filter permanent and found out I had 13,000 of these in the past month.

Thanks to spammers, email is getting more and more broken everyday, but at least there are ways to make it manageable.

update:this looks even better (thanks Cory!)

yet another update: this looks like a combo of how you’d put the hawk wings idea together with the one I presented, for Gmail. I’d strongly suggest going this route until spammers wise up and change their content types.

Two good bits of eco-friendly news

Two interesting climate crisis-related items in my feed reader today:

The First Solar Powered Biofuel Station Opened in Eugene, Oregon. They’ve got five blends of biodiesel and ethanol available from a solar powered station. Someday soon, all gas stations will be like this but for now it’s a novelty.

Terrapass, the company that has guilted me into buying carbon credits to offset my truck :), has partnered with Expedia to offer carbon credits when you buy airline tickets, so your trips are carbon neutral. This is a great convenience and I hope they strike a deal with Orbitz and the airline sites soon, since I don’t buy from Expedia. If it is as easy as clicking a checkbox while I’m buying a ticket, I’d probably go for it.

Give yourself a raise

Here’s something obvious and kind of dumb I figured out this week. When you pay off a debt, you suddenly have a lot of extra money in your pocket, especially on an annual basis. I recently finished paying off my student loans and my wife is about to finish hers, and our old car is just about done with payments. All told, we’ll be saving around a thousand bucks a month that would normally been sent away, which isn’t too bad at all, especially on an annual basis ($12 grand in my pocket!). Then I started looking at all my bills as annual raises.

I bet if you check your own budget and monthly bills, you can find some ways to save. When you finish paying off that $300/month student loan, you’ll get a $3600 raise. If you ditch a second car you were paying $500 per month for a loan/insurance/gas, it’s like giving yourself a $6,000 annual raise. If you have a $850 monthly rent and you, say, move in with someone you’re dating and they pay the rent, you’ll make $10,000 more this year.

Future of Web Apps

In a few weeks I’ll be in SF for the Future of Web Apps conference.

Every conference I’ve been to has had its share of shortcomings, and often my friends talk about someday doing our own conferences so I’m happy to see developers like Ryan Carson take the initiative and do their own. I’m looking forward to and I like that it’ll be a single-track speaking schedule. There’s something extra you get out of being stuck in the same room with everyone that you don’t get in a big sprawling multi-track conference that forces you to ask everyone “were you in the talk on X?”

It looks like it’s in a huge theater so I bet there are still tickets available.