Zero Inbox items!

by Michael Alderete on 12/13/2004

Zero E-mail Inbox Items!It’s pretty hard for me to believe, but right now my e-mail Inbox has zero items in it. I think the last time this was true was about 2 minutes before I first got e-mail. It’s taken quite a bit of effort, and a lot of letting go, to get to this point. (And I suppose I cheated by filing a bunch of stuff, when I should either read and delete, or just delete.)

How long will it last? Well, I’d like to make this permanent, and follow procedures similar to those advocated in the Good Experience guide to Managing Incoming E-mail. That’s even more discipline, but now that I’m at zero items, it becomes a whole lot easier, because I can tell instantly if I am getting lazy.

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Latent semantic analysis is not Bayesian filtering

by Michael Alderete on 5/4/2003

Macworld recently ran an article about anti-spam tools for Mac OS X, which incorrectly simplified the world of anti-spam tools down to Boolean, points-based, and Bayesian filters.

Two additional categories are distributed recognition, such as the Distributed Checksum Clearinghouse (DCC) and Vipul’s Razor, and latent semantic analysis. I don’t know of any distributed recognition products for the Mac (there’s a very good one for Windows Outlook, SpamNet by Cloudmark), but there certainly is a latent semantic analysis tool — Apple’s Mail in Jaguar!

The simplification (or oversight) is relatively understandable. From an end-user perspective, there’s no meaningful difference — even though the math is very different. It’s not clear which will prove better at filtering out spam, even though in the article Mail’s filtering did the best. Seems like it’s good to have both in the fight!

While I’m posting about it, I should note that the article was written prior to the release of my new favorite anti-spam tool, Spamnix, and so it doesn’t include it in the roundup. From my own experience with Mac OS anti-spam tools I think that, with the caveat that it only works with Eudora, it would have done well in the evaluation. Perhaps Geoff Duncan, or someone else at TidBITS, will review it soon, and confirm that guess. I know they like Eudora at TidBITS — they literally wrote the book!

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