A 360 degree panoramic photo of Tower Hill in Peterborough, Ontario.

Suspect Information, Ideas, and Opinions - rarely updated and of dubious quality.

Spam Opera

Mmmmm, this kind of spam is ALWAYS welcome... Like the sands of time, so comes the unwanted, unstoppable and inexorable flow of spam through my inbox. Spam actually has its root in ancient Greece, when in frustration Herodotus exclaimed, "how can I stop the delivery of all this @#*$! parchment!?!?" And now, more than 20 years later we still have to deal with unwanted spam for such things as enlargement products which simply do not work, despite the fact that I followed the instructions exactly.

After putting it off for quite some time, earlier this year I finally bit-the-bullet and changed all of my email addresses to try to put an end to the literally hundreds of spam emails I was receiving every day. (Note that I didn't actually receive all of the hundreds of emails - my spam filters were doing their job admirably - but even good filters need to be checked every once in a while to make sure nothing of value gets through...) and I was tired of spam getting through to my regular accounts, and I was tired of having to sift through the junk mail folders to make sure nothing of value was going there. Actually, rather than completely new addresses, I just added a "7" to the end of the old ones like so:




The effect was immediate. The spam simply and completely evaporated leaving behind only a slightly unpleasant smell...oh wait a minute. I realize now that the smell might not have been the spam...whatever, the spam was gone. That was roughly 6 months ago. Now, it's starting to creep back into my inbox again. 1 to 2 per day. Why? Why?! WHY?! (picture me dropping to my knees, arm raised, pleading to the sky, like Star Trek's Captain Kirk would after losing some young unnamed female crew member to an alien virus on some rocky planet where the rocks look an awful lot like papier mache...)

I think the reason why might have been the email field in the comments just below each post on this page. Though I've taken great pains to obfuscate the email addresses elsewhere on the pages of this site, in the comments area they were still there in all of their unadulterated glory. And because I tend to respond to many comments and faithfully fill-in the email and web page fields when doing said responding - my mail address has been picked up by the bots and now the spam deluge will start again.

Now, I first figured this out about 2 months ago. What I have been doing thus far is to manually go in and remove the addresses from the comments if anyone actually supplies their (optional) email address. I don't want the commenters to pay for my programming omission. But it's been getting tedious to manually go in once a month for 1 minute to make a quick, manual change when I can instead spend several HOURS working on a script to do things automatically. So, thats what I did. And it turned out pretty good!

Now, if you supply your email when making a comment, my script:

  1. First checks to make sure it's a well-formed (but not necessarily valid) email address. (i.e. shane.feldman@sympatico.ca)
  2. Then changes the @ to AT and the . to DOT (i.e. shaneDOTfeldmanATsympaticoDOTca)
  3. Then it converts each character of the email address to its corresponding ASCII code. (i.e. shaneDOTf

Now, if you are at all inclined to check one of the existing comments, and why wouldn't you be? I would...then simply mousing over won't allow you to see the codes, If you really want to see the ascii codes then view the source of this page. But the important point is that now your emails are safe here. Feel free to comment away - and I defy any spam bot to be able to harvest email addresses from my web site now!

Spam Opera
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