The trouble with E-mail

There was a time when I thought e-mail was the greatest technology that I had ever encountered.
I was fed up with the phone because it was getting harder and harder to get to talk to people. They were always away from the office, in meetings, or whatever, and contacting them, which should have taken you a few minutes, was now taking a couple of days on average.
E-mail was cool because it offered you the chance of firing off a message to someone with full details of what you needed to say to them. They would then reply whenever they had a quite time and you would have your answer without the stress of playing telephone tag for a week.
This was great until the less ethical sections of the commercial world woke up to the possibilities of fraud and advertising by e-mail. It was cheap to do and so you could send out e-mail in vast numbers and it didn’t matter if you had a tiny response rate.
At first there were comparatively few junk e-mail, or SPAM, messages and it sometimes felt like an honour when you had been targeted. In those days of not so long ago, people often read their SPAM messages for amusement and swapped stories about them, when they met for drinks after work.
SPAM has grown enormously since then and has very definitely stopped being amusing. I am nothing like the worst affected but I am now getting about 60 messages a day and, of those, I estimate only two or three are not SPAM.
Most of those are advertising various products but there always seem to be a couple which are designed to infect my computer with a virus or try and find out what my bank account number is.
The most frightening part of SPAM is that it works well enough for the spammers to keep on doing it. You wouldn’t have thought that people would be fooled by it but they are, and they have the same vote that you and I have!
I don’t know what the answer to SPAM is going to be but I have a feeling that we’re eventually going to have to pay real people (not software) to sift through our mail for us. In the meantime, however, I’ve been using a free program called Mailwasher which is available from don’t think that it actually reduces the amount of SPAM you get but it does let you look at your messages and delete everything you don’t want before it gets anywhere near your computer.


2 thoughts on “The trouble with E-mail

  1. i also use mailwasher – very nice and non obtrusive. in addition i have found that by using a gmail address google filter out 99%of all spam, and you can add to their spam site list very easily.

  2. Thanks for the comment. It looks as though Gmail will be very useful and I intend to try it as soon as it comes out of beta testing. A lot of people have been invited to use the system but, at the moment, you have to have be in the US because they send account confirmations by SMS.

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