Purging spam

by Michael Alderete on 3/31/2002

Update: I no longer recommend Mailfilter under any circumstances; see my Personal Survey of Anti-Spam Tools for more current recommendations.

I get a lot of spam (unsolicited commercial e-mail), primarily because I have a lot of public web sites with my e-mail address on them. The spammers have robots that spider the web, scanning for e-mail addresses and adding them to their databases of victims to send offers for free porn, herbal viagra, multi-level marketing opportunities, transfers of money from Nigeria, and the like.

I get dozens of spam messages a day. For a long time I sent them to the Spam Recycling Center, but recently that started bouncing the messages back to me, so I had to find something else to do with them. And frankly, I’m tired to trying to fight spam; now I just want to get less of it.

I recently found a utility called Mailfilter that is my new answer. Basically it pre-scans my incoming e-mail, and if anything matches a spam rule, it deletes it before I ever see it. I’ve been using it for less than a week, and it’s already deleted more than 200 spam messages. I am a very happy user.

The best thing, for me, is that it runs natively on Mac OS X, and integrates quite well with my e-mail client, Eudora, via AppleScript and cron.

It’s not for the faint-of-heart, technically. If you don’t know what a compiler is, or cron, or a shell script, then it’s probably not for you. But if any of those things sounds familiar then Mailfilter may be a pretty good solution for you, too.

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