Linking ≠ Abuse.

Got this e-mail today.  Addresses redacted, but otherwise verbatim:

Subject: Link removal request
From: Rodger Lodge <>
Date: 14-01-27 08:46 AM
To: abuse@my hosting, me, hostmaster@my hosting


We have recently received a notification from Google stating that our website has unnatural links pointing towards it. This has really damaged our rankings on Google and as a result, we’re trying to clear things up.
Our website url is

We noticed the following links are pointing to our website from your site:

I appreciate this is inconvenient and isn’t a reflection on your website at all, but if you’re able to remove the links, we would really appreciate it and would be very grateful.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Rodger Lodge

Entrust, Inc.

So, one of the prime security companies (I’m strongly resisting the urge to link to them here, but I’m above that) is using gmail to send out official notices? Why not a securely signed e-mail from their .net domain? That might be more legit. Also, sending me a copypasta response lifted  from the “Ultimate Guide to Google Penalty Removal” seems a little … gauche.

If this is for real, then I’m annoyed. I wrote the original article in 2006 in an attempt to help Mac users get work done with a popular remote-access package. I’m not dissing the company in any way: I’m helping people use their products better. Linking is not abuse.

It’s probably just spam, though.

Update: Nope, not spam. Got an apology by e-mail from Nate Plaunt of Online Performance Marketing, saying: “This was an automated email generated by this digital agency and your sites were mistakenly targeted”.  Still no apology for the e-mail to abuse@…, tho’. That’s never an acceptable first communication.

help help I’m being harassed by the New Democratic Party

You’d think that Canada’s New Democrats would be a bit more respectful and techno-savvy, but for the life of me, I can’t get them to stop sending me e-mail. I donated last year, but I don’t want to get updates any more.

I’ve hit the unsubscribe page five times, and received confirmation each time:

  • on Fri, 12 Aug 2011 17:18:04
  • on Fri, 11 Nov 2011 11:57:58
  • on Thu, 26 Jan 2012 08:07:21
  • on Sat, 28 Jan 2012 14:25:09
  • on Sun, 29 Jan 2012 11:35:33

I’ve now sent something via the contact form. Do I have to fax them, too?

the old familiar way

$ telnet
Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.

CIX Conferencing System
login: ......
CIX Version 3.4.3 of Aug 12 2005 running on Fri Sep 18 14:24:48 2009
Copyright (c) CoSy Conferencing System, University of Guelph, 1984
Portions copyright (c) Compulink Information eXchange Ltd, 1985-1999
You are on line: 5
Nickname? (Enter 'new' for new user) scruss
Checking your conferences
You have 1 mail message(s) in your in-basket.
There are 1 unread mail message(s).
You are a member of 1 conference(s).

xdusraojwuvup   371170 . Thu Sep 17 23:42 2009. Just to be invited is a privi
To: scruss@.........
Enter subject: You've had this e-mail address for 20 years
Enter message. End with '.'
>How does it feel to be that old?
> Stewart
Sending..Memo 376095 sent
There is unread Mail, do you really want to quit ? (y/n)? y
scruss, you have been online 2:12 on line 5
Goodbye from CIX     !!!HANGUP NOW!!!

memo to self

Yes, I really have opted out from the MAKE e-mail list. If I get any more e-mail, O’Reilly — formerly publishers of useful Unix books with animals on them — are just a bunch of filthy spammers.

once mighty edifices crumble and fall


After discussion with the other list managers, we've decided to end
our policy of asking that list members not "top post" their replies.
That's the default behavior of most email clients, and just reminding
people of our recommendation to "bottom post" or interleave your
replies has become more trouble than its worth. From this point
forward, top posting is no longer an issue.

Dan Knight, list owner

auto-CC’ing someone with Outlook

If you’ve ever forgotten to cc someone on an e-mail and you’re forced to use Outlook, this could be useful.
Real example: R is an external contractor. T manages R’s company’s account for us, but isn’t involved in all communications with R. By setting up an outgoing mail filter, I can ensure that all mail I send to R is copied to T.
The Rules wizard lives in the Tools menu, and the option called (I think) “Rules & Filters”:

setting up a mail send rule in Outlook

This particular example is made more complex by R’s having two e-mail addresses. Multiple addresses in the distribution list become a logical-or, so it works out. I’m not sure if I strictly needed the exclusion clause to only cc T if T is not explicitly in the To: or Cc: fields, but it works.

Outgoing filters only work if Outlook is running, so won’t work if you are not logged in.

how to get craigslist searches by e-mail

  1. Go to <>
  2. Enter your search term in the “search craigslist” box
  3. When you get the results, scroll to the bottom. There is a final paragraph that says “RSS (?)”. Copy the RSS link address (move the mouse pointer over the RSS link, right click, and select “Copy Shortcut”)
  4. Open an new window (Ctrl-N in IE)
  5. In the new window, go to <>
  6. Paste the link you copied from craigslist into the “Enter a feed to subscribe” box – the link should look something like <>, and hit Subscribe
  7. Enter your e-mail address on the next page – before you hit Subscribe again, you might want to check the preview of the feed that’s shown on the page to see that it’s finding what you want. You probably want to keep the e-mail type as “Normal – Send each update as individual e-mails”, and uncheck the “Share at Popular Feeds” page
  8. You will get a confirmation e-mail – hit the confirm link, which will take you to a page you probably don’t need to understand
  9. rssfwd should mail you within a couple of hours of new items being posted. Each e-mail should have unsubscription information

Standard Offer is Go – March 21

From OSEA:

The moment we have all been waiting for has arrived! The Ministry of Energy, the Premier, David Suzuki and OSEA will be announcing the Standard Offer Program on March 21st. We are organizing a celebration and press event in partnership with the Ministry of Energy that will take place at 3 pm at Exhibition Place, Toronto, home to Ontario’s first community wind turbine.

Please mark this date in your calendar and watch for further notices (via email and at on details regarding location, speakers and entertainment.

This is a celebratory event – please everyone, let us celebrate the positive role the Standard Offer Contract program will play in Ontario for renewables, for community power, for cost effective power, and for our air quality and health!

Thanks to everyone for their efforts!

If the province has got this right, we really will see a lot more wind power in Ontario.

most. annoying. spamfilter. EVAH!

Remote-MTA: dns; (
Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 550 Spam filtering has blocked this message. The recipient will receive a summary of all blocked messages tomorrow morning and will be able to “whitelist” non-spam e-mails. If your message is of an urgent nature and cannot wait till tomorrow, please contact the recipient by phone. Thank you.

45 hours, you’re spammed!

I placed a new and valid e-mail address on my blog on Friday, July 1st, 02005 at 13:55:59. On Sunday, July 3rd, 02005 at 11:03:43, I received a spam e-mail from, subject Qatar Tenders. That’s a few hours shy of two days, from post to spam.

Those spammers certainly don’t hang around. I wasn’t expecting it to be that quick. Conclusion of this story? Don’t ever let anyone publish your e-mail address on the web, ever.

windows is killing usability, pt. 314

Sent some urgent data to a client yesterday. This morning, a couple of frantic e-mails in my inbox: “Our IT dept has blocked zip files ‘cos they’re a security threat. Please resend!”

So basically, Windows now means we have to:

  1. create the zip file
  2. rename it to .zap, .zep, .zop, .zup, … or whatever
  3. send the file
  4. the recipient has to save the attachment, and rename the file.

Listen, I want to go to a sensible place today. How long will it be before those alternative endings are compromised (or that Windows gets a less lobotomised security model)?

Chance encounters on the Ivor Cutler list

I joined ivor-list during the week. In this short time, I’ve met on the list:

bad and wrong things about Firefox and Thunderbird

I just installed Firefox and Thunderbird. They have some major suckage points:

  • there’s no site navigation bar
  • typeahead find doesn’t work in “View Source”
  • e-mail file attachments have been moved to the bottom of the message view, eating screen real estate
  • clicking a link in Thunderbird opens a new Firefox window; it should use an existing one

Mind you, what do you expect when they name their products after a crap movie and cheap wine?

thunderbird icon
A logo that looks like a levitating disembodied blue haircut?

Mozilla Mail Went Nuts

Update, 7/8/2004: It’s probably better to use Mozilla’s configuration editor from the URL about:config, rather than using a text editor on your prefs.js file. This is explained in Restoring mozilla mail local folders

For the last few days, Mozilla has been bugging me with “Please
enter a new password for user scruss@…”. It happened after I
added an extra mail profile to reply to a mailing list
unsubscription from my address. The popup would appear
randomly, sometimes several times a minute. Using Password Manager
to save the POP3 password didn’t seem to help.

If you ever notice an extra account in the “From:” drop-down in
the Compose window, you could be having this problem. Today, I
found a messy way of fixing this.

After making a backup copy of prefs.js, edit it. Look for the
section that begins something like:

user_pref("mail.account.account1.identities", "id1");
user_pref("mail.account.account1.server", "server1");
user_pref("mail.accountmanager.accounts", "account1,account2,...");

Check the mapping between

  • id1, account1 and server1
  • id2, account2 and server2
  • id3, account3 and server3

and so on. You’ll probably find an id that’s pointing somewhere
broken. In my case, id2 was pointing to that dummy entry to that I thought I had deleted.

Edit out all references to the broken id, and restart Mozilla.
All is well, for me at least.