New Year Wishes

New year wishes

By Allan Jackson

Last week I mentioned that I hadn’t started my Christmas shopping and nothing has changed since then.

Instead, I have turned my attention to a wish list of stuff for next year and, being essentially unselfish, I have been wishing for things that will benefit us all.

Achieving peace in our time isn’t at all likely, so I haven’t bothered wishing for that but, instead, have been hoping that something bad happens to Spammers so that they stop jamming up the works and using up our precious bandwidth.

E-mail makes up the vast bulk of Internet traffic and, of that, the majority is unsolicited advertising, or Spam, and scams of one sort or another.

The exact figures vary, depending on which source you read, but Spam could make up around 90% of all e-mail traffic. That figure was about right a couple of months ago but, based on my own recent experiences, I believe it’s increasing.

In the last month or so, the number of Spam messages arriving in my e-mail box has doubled and so, from getting about 3000 a month, I have had over 7000 in the last 30 days. I know this because, even though Gmail filters out most of the Spam, it keeps it for 30 days before deleting it.

E-mail scams and Spam marketing obviously work because the perpetrators keep on doing it. There are lots of people out there buying stuff from people they don’t know, based solely on e-mail that manages to avoid their ISP’s Spam filters and arrive in their in-boxes.

These stupid people are screwing up the works for the rest of us and, as its obviously pointless to try and tell them not respond to Spam messages, I think the underlying structure of the Internet is going to have to be changed to make it too time-consuming to send large numbers of e-mails cheaply.

And talking of the Internet, my second wish is to have fast and reasonably priced broadband connections available to us next year. Our Internet is still slow and expensive by world standards, but there has been some optimism lately.

Neotel, our second national telephone network operator, is set to start offering us its products early next year and there is the hope that we could end up getting more speed for less cash.

I wish I could be as hopeful, but I can’t dismiss the thought that competition in the South African market is often not that at all. We have three mobile operators and I have yet to see one advertise cheaper airtime than the others.

Whatever happens, I don’t think we will be getting anything like the deal I saw advertised by UK firm Carphone Warehouse recently.

For £19 (including line rental) per month, calls in the UK under 70 minutes are free, anytime, you get free international calls to a selection of 28 foreign countries (calls to SA cost five pence a minute) and, get this, you also get a free 8-megabit broadband connection and 40Gb of uploads and downloads each month.

Have a happy time over Christmas and see you in the new year.


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