Archive for November, 2008

Is spam email really down 75 percent?

The media is reporting a massive reduction in worldwide spam as a result of a Washington Post investigation.  That investigation led to the shut down of a web hosting company called McColo in California.  So is it true?  Did spam volumes really go down by 75 percent since Tuesday?

The answer is “no”, but spam is slowing down.  How do I know this?  I work for a company with about 1000 employees.  We use an external mail filtering provider, and I assume that our little slice of the pie is probably representative of overall Internet mail.  In an average month, we get about 2.4 million inbound emails.  Of that volume, about 80% is spam, and 20% is legitimate.  So I decided to trend out weekly data for the last six weeks.  The decline has been gradual … there was no single massive drop point.  But in just six weeks, our inbound mail volume has gone down 46.3%.

While I agree this is a large reduction, it by no means signals the death of spam.  In just the last week, our filters stopped over 233,000 spam messages from reaching our employees.  That is over 33 messages (per day, per user) that are still getting blocked.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to declare the war over.  I think the Washington Post has some more work to do.

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Blizzard Fumbles Lich King Launch – DVD Read Problems

The magic day finally arrived.  Copies of Blizzard’s “Wrath of the Lich King” expansion to World of Warcraft went on sale last night at midnight.  Sadly, I was asleep (I had to work Thursday).  So I took off a little early this afternoon and ran up to Best Buy where my pre-order copy was waiting for me.  Fantastic!  Now all I had to do was go home, run the install, and update my account.

When I put the DVD in my drive, nothing happened.  After trying to read the disc contents, my DVD drive would just blink.  It couldn’t even tell there was data on the disk.  Fearing a bad disk, I tried it on my Dell laptop.  The Dell system could see it, so I decided I would just copy the files to an external hard drive and then use that to run the install.  That was about an hour ago.  The files are STILL copying off the DVD … in a painfully slow way.

While I waited, I thought I would try the technical support forums to see if others were having the same problem.  Check out this post called “DVD Read Errors – Post Here“.  There are over 566 posts on that thread already, and we are not even 24 hours past launch!!!  Lots of very sad / angry people out there.  Blizzard suggests trying DVD drive firmware updates.  So I did that … why not … after all, I’m just waiting anyway.

I don’t know if that will help.  Someone on the thread already posted my exact model of Plextor DVD drive.  That individual claims it does not work even after the firmware update.  So I guess I will just sit here and hope the copy works off my Dell laptop.  Way to fumble the ball Blizzard.  Consider this my formal request for compensation … I’ll settle for one free month of game play.

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Google spots the flu (Faster than the CDC)

So Google has figured out that they can take flu related search query data and match it back to geographic regions across the U.S.  They are compiling that data to present an up-to-date map showing outbreaks across the country (by state).  They claim that this gives them a one or two week head start over the traditional reporting methods used by the CDC.  Take a look for yourself.

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