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Thursday, March 24, 2005

BobF at 7:17 PM [url]:

How Spam Makes Email Safer

Today was one of those days -- a "little" disk problem meant I spent the day putting my system back together again. I'm writing about that separately -- about why current computer operating systems are so bad.

The Email system is also pretty bad -- it relies on open loop signaling for delivery. One byproduct of today's problems is that I lost a whole chunk of mail. Somehow my incoming mail directory turned into a single file. I suspect one of the powerful commands like ROBOCOPY and XCOPY. Unlike Multics copy command, they make it too easy to confuse files and directories and don't have an undo command.

The good news is that because of spam people are now accustomed to mail being lost and they try again. These days losing the mail is still bad but at least those who send very important messages need to consider that it will likely be lost among the spam. At least I hope they do.

If you did send me mail today -- try again. In fact, if you've sent me mail and don't get a reply perhaps it really was lost in the spam. Of course I also lose mail in my "should've responded" pile.

At least spam removes the illusion that email is reliable and may encourage the development of better protocols.

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