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A Periodic (P)review Of Leaping Forward

By: Johan

Saturday, February 19

Beating Spam: Gmail + Thunderbird

Don't you love free stuff? I do! I love it even more so when it is so much better than its paid for alternatives.

I've had a Gmail account for a while now and ditched all my Hotmail accounts in favour of it. I just need to sus out how to get MSN Messenger to work without a hotmail account and I can abandon my last Hotmail account as well. I've got plenty of Gmail invitations so drop me a line if you want one.

Google claims to have 'sophisticated spam filtration technology' in place. Some people disagree but others can confirm its usefulness.

No matter how careful you are, not exposing your address unnecessarily to potential internet evil, spam is unavoidable. It only takes a virus on one person's machine; if they have your e-mail address in their address book it will be spread and abused. Nothing you can do about. So you will always need spam filters and that's why Gmail in combination with Thunderbird seems like a perfect combination to me.

is Mozilla's e-mail client and RSS reader. It is said to be better than Microsoft Outlook, just like their FireFox browser is better than Internet Explorer.

So I'm about to install Thunderbird, set up Gmail for POP downloading and enjoy a spam free inbox. I hope. Google isn't the only one making efforts to prevent us from crap though. This is Mozilla's comment on Thunderbird's spam features:

Smartest Way to Stop Junk Mail
Thunderbird provides the most effective tools for detecting junk mail. Our tools analyze your e-mail and identify those that are most likely to be junk. You can automatically have your junk mail deleted or you can put it in a folder you specify, just in case you like reading junk mail.
So Thunderbird has its own Spam prevention functionality built in already so it can catch those e-mails that slipped Gmail's nets. But if you want to take it to the next level in spam busting you can tie in Thunderbird with AntiVirus software and/or spam classifiers like SpamBayes. William Bartholomew has written an article on 'Configuring Thunderbird with Avast! and SpamBayes'.

The AntiVirus part of that should be easy to understand but the SourceForge project SpamBayes is the smart part of it. From http://spambayes.sourceforge.net/:

SpamBayes will attempt to classify incoming email messages as 'spam', 'ham' (good, non-spam email) or 'unsure'. This means you can have spam or unsure messages automatically filed away in a different mail folder, where it won't interrupt your email reading. First SpamBayes must be trained by each user to identify spam and ham. Essentially, you show SpamBayes a pile of email that you like (ham) and a pile you don't like (spam). SpamBayes will then analyze the piles for clues as to what makes the spam and ham different. For example; different words, differences in the mailer headers and content style. The system then uses these clues to examine new messages.
These 4 killers applications should be able to turn a vulnerable Buckingham Palace into an impenetrable Fort Knox Gold Vault as far as e-mail client software is concerned. Let's get started...


Blogger Johan said...

This post gets an awful lot of traffic but it doesn't quite match what people are searching for.

If you visitors want a write-up on how to get GMail going with Thunderbird, let me know here and I'll sort it out for you.


June 05, 2005  

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