On Spam and Ham

Years ago I made the switch to non-Microsoft products for web browsing and e-mail. Though I liked Internet Explorer back in the early days and thought Outlook (and Outlook Express) were nifty little programs, reports of their security failings prompted me to look elsewhere for my Internet needs.

The choice of Opera as a web browser was a simple one. Yes, it cost money where its competition in Netscape and its heirs was free, but its rendering engine was fast and it had the highest CSS compliance of any browser I’d seen. For e-mail I tried Pegasus Mail, and later discovered a nice program from a Russian developer, The Bat. Opera a year ago became a free program, but the Bat is still shareware, and I’ve never regretted my purchase decision.

One of the selling features of The Bat is its spam-filtering. It has a Bayesian filtering method built into the program, a function called BayesIt. For years now I’ve been marking e-mail as spam or marking it as ham (a term for “good” e-mail), but it never seemed to make any difference in my inbox. Every day I’d have dozens of e-mails that I’d rather not have seen, and I’d decided that the spammers were just too good, that they’d found ways even around the best Bayesian filtering.

No, actually the BayesIt plug-in wasn’t configured properly.

Last night, frustrated with the day’s spam, I spent time on Google searches looking for information on how the damn thing should have been configured. And though I found widely divergent information, I think I have it configured right.

It’s catching spam now. And it’s moving it to the Junk e-mail folder. 🙂

At last, some measure of freedom from spam!

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