November 7th, 2003

NaNoWriMo, Day 6

Novel update:

Today - 1,542 words
To date - 10,605 words

I'm pleased that I finally broke 10,000 words, but I'm disappointed that I didn't make my 2,000 quota today. I certainly could have, but somehow writing the concluding scene of the chapter was really, really hard and I'm still not very happy with how it ends.

On the bright side, tomorrow's chapter two!
  • Current Mood
    vaguely disappointed

It's All In the Head

I used to not get spam. Didn't we all, back in the good old days? But I used to be obscure enough that even a year ago, I hardly got more than one or two messages a day. I was careful about who I gave out my email address to; I didn't post it online; and I even had a special spam account for signing up for online services.

Then I got involved with a couple of fairly public projects and was famous, in a very small way and a very small circle, for a bit. (I may still be; things have been kind of complicated in my life recently so I'm not exactly on top of that. That's another post and another story.)

To make a long story short, now I get spam.

Enter Cloudmark: I heard about their collaborative spam-filtering system and absolutely had to try it, but they didn't have a plug-in for Outlook Express. Yesterday they released one (and anyone who is planning to mock me for using OE can just go eat a hedgehog - raw - so there), and I of course had to try it right away.

The idea is this: when a user gets a new email, they can "block" it if it's a piece of spam. If enough users block a particular message, it gets listed as spam in their database and automatically filtered into a spam folder. So only a few users ever see a given piece of spam. If the system screws up, you can "unblock" a message and reduce its likely-to-be-spam rating on their servers. (There's also a reputation/trust system. Read more here.)

I'm finding the most interesting thing about it, though, is how much it changes my psychological attitude toward spam. I actually really enjoy every piece of spam that slips through the filters - because POW! ZAP! I can actually contribute to the success of Cloudmark and the Cloudmark community. When a piece of spam gets through, it's not just a failure of my filters. It's an active chance for me to improve my reputation and trust in the Cloudmark community, and a chance for me to stop anyone else from getting that particular message. I feel good, now, when I see spam (admittedly because I see very little of it) - now that's smart design .....
  • Current Mood

NaNoWriMo, Day 7

Novel update:

Today - 2,037 words
To date - 12,687 words

Major writer's block today, until I got past the end of the scene that finishes chapter 1 and begins chapter 2. I wrote 700 words in three hours (though admittedly I was also working at the time), then the rest of today's quota in under one. Whew! I'm glad that's done!

Now it's Shabbat - actually, it probably was Shabbat a few minutes ago. Must go. Shabbat Shalom, all.
  • Current Mood