Okay, I give up. I…

Okay, I give up. I surrender. I'm probably the only person I know who still uses an old-fashioned shell account and pine to read their e-mail. And the spam is just killing me -- it's something like 90% of what's coming in at the moment, makng it almost impossible to deal with mail at all; I'm sure I've accidentally deleted some real messages in the last few weeks.

I need something that can filter out spam. And that can ideally handle looking at a subject line and if it had a pre-assigned code, like BLOWFISH SUB, could move that mail directly to a particular mailbox. And again, ideally, could auto-respond with an acknowledgement. And can work off-line, so I can try to slog through some of this backlog of e-mail when I'm in a cafe, or on a plane. Help?

Do I need Eudora? Or will Eudora Light do? Or the MacOS Mail program? I know nothing on this subject, and I suspect I have a big mental block about it, but the time has surely come for me to just get over it -- educate me, please?

12 thoughts on “Okay, I give up. I…”

  1. I use pine, and I have a spambox, and I have a filtered mailbox as well. Mark installed SpamAssassin recently, but even before that I could have a spambox. It’s not pine’s fault, really!

  2. I still use a shell account, and until a couple of months ago I used good old UCB mail. (Finally got fed up and switched to Mutt when I got tired of not being able to forward or save attachments without using some command-line tool.) I use other things for work mail and whatnot, but there’s nothing like a shell account for accessing your mail from a flaky Spanish internet cafe.

    SpamAssassin does a good job of flagging spam. Subject filtering you ought to be able to do with something like procmail, but I’ve never bothered to figure out exactly how. 🙁

  3. I’ve been a happy eudora user since 1995, though I recently learned that it sometimes has problems downloading mail from an imap server (as opposed to a pop server). you can enable a spam filter in the pair account email management and then create a eudora filter to dump everything the spam filter flags into a separate folder (if you want to check it to be sure it’s really spam) or directly to the trash. I’ve got dozens of eudora filters directing messages into dozens of different folders depending on words in the subject line or addresses in the to: field or addresses anywhere in the header, etc.

    I use Eudora-with-ads because it’s free and I’m very cheap and I find the ads easy to ignore.

  4. Mail.app has been pretty good to me in terms of spam filtering (assuming OS X.) Office’s Entourage was the best application I used for creating highly customized filters that could move your messages and changing colors and auto-respond and flip them over and take them out of the oven and such; not free, of course…

  5. This thread has finally gotten me to set up Pair’s spam filter on my account. Pair’s filter is based on the highly acclaimed SpamAssassin, as it turns out, and I’ve now got it configured to mark spam as spam by adding headers (such as X-Spam-Flag: YES) to each message it considers spam. So far, in a sample space of 4 messages, it’s doing a great job. 🙂 In Eudora, I’m filtering based on that X-Spam-Flag header, moving all incoming mail that has that flag set into a separate Spam folder; this should be much more accurate than the ad-hoc set of filters I’ve been using for the past few months.

    I suspect a few people’s submissions will get marked as spam, since HTML messages that use red text and boldface are (minor) spam flags, but I’ll keep an eye on that spam folder and glance over all the subject lines before deleting. Actually, now that I think of it, I’ll filter for our standard submission subject line before I filter for spam.

    Yes, this is Jed musing out loud. I’ll stop now.

  6. Oh, but I forgot to say: it doesn’t look like Pair’s spam filtering learns/changes over time. The Mail.app spam filter does learn: you tell it which messages are spam and which aren’t, and it gets better and better over time at distinguishing. Or at least it’s supposed to. I haven’t used it much, as I’m still using Eudora for the time being. I imagine at some point I’ll switch over to Mail.app, though.

  7. It’s not just you… I’m a shell-and-Pine diehard myself, and the amount of spam I get has shot up dramatically in the past few weeks. (I’m not implying a connection between these these two facts.) I’ve always resisted automated spam filters on grounds that I might lose some legitimate mail, but I’ve been deleting so many messages without opening them lately that I’m not sure that doesn’t happen anyway. It’s a dilemma.

    Anyway, the upshot is that I’m reading this thread with interest.

  8. I used Pine in college, and switched to Eudora because it was easier to manage much mail in it. Like Heather-above, I use the Eudora supported thing because I’m willing to put up with an ad to avoid having to pay $40 (interestingly enough, if I run Adaware and delete the folder it tags from my eudora folder, it gets rid of the ads for awhile.)

    One of the things I like best about it is that it can be set up to check multiple accounts and filter the mail from them into one or more folders as needed. Right now it checks mail for 5 accounts and filters them into about 20 different folders. It won’t autoresponse, though I think that’s the only thing on your list it won’t do.

  9. Eudora can actually do autoresponse pretty well and easily; you use a filter to reply using any of your “stationery” form letters. The autoresponse doesn’t go out until next time you send mail (which you can set it to do every n minutes if you’re connected to the Net), so it’s not quite the same as a really automatic response — if I’m away from mail for three days, then stories that come in during that time don’t get their autoresponses sent until I get back online. But it has the advantage that I can do a sanity check on the autoresponses before they go out — if we received multiple copies of a story, for example (which happens fairly often), I can make sure only one copy of the autoresponse goes out. Eudora can also filter outgoing mail, so my copies of the autoresponses are automatically moved into a separate folder.

    I have about 50 filters in Eudora, automatically sorting incoming mail into maybe 30 different folders, and I have dozens of other folders that I move messages into by hand as they get resolved. Of course, I’m a packrat; Mary Anne hates to have old mail sitting around, so the dozens-of-folders thing probably doesn’t sound like an advantage to her. 🙂

    I also use Eudora to check multiple accounts, but most of them are accounts related to ISPs, with addresses I never tell anyone, so I don’t check those often. I do regularly use the feature whereby I can specify any email address I want for the From line; very handy to be able to say that mail is from fiction@strangehorizons.com rather than from me. (You can do this in Pine too, but it’s a bit of a pain to switch back and forth.)

    I tried the adware version of Eudora for a while, but eventually got sick of the ads.

  10. “I can specify any email address I want for the From line… (You can do this in Pine too, but it’s a bit of a pain to switch back and forth.)”

    Which is the last version of Pine you used? It’s easy in the more recent versions; you choose which “role” you want to use when you compose (or reply to) your message. I use several myself…

  11. Cool! I didn’t know about that — it’s been a while since I’ve used Pine. (But can you specify different domain names, or only different usernames within your domain?)

  12. Different domain names are just fine; it’ll let you use whatever address you want. The only catch is that if anybody bothers looking at the full headers, there’s an “X-X-Sender:” line giving the e-mail address the message is actually being sent from. (See just about any message you’ve gotten from me in the past couple of years for an example.) I don’t know whether the competition allows you to leave that out, or whether this is standard. On the other hand, given the prevalence of spam that started this thread off, I can see the sense behind requiring its inclusion…

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