Let technology set you free

I finally got to bed this morning at 2:30am. I figured if I was going to set up a RSS feed I might as well update the software that I run the blog on. There were a few glitches, hopefully none of you were online at that time to see them. Let me know if anything is broken.

BTW, technology is important to the Psychology of the Deal when it improves your effectiveness. Playing with shiny new toys may or may not add to your net worth.

Sim’ shared some experiences on fighting spam. Manual spam filters take too much work. Sim’ wouldn’t have a problem whitelisting my many wmail addresses if he let technology set him free.

For smart spam filtering I’ve used POPFile for about a year now. From the english-language page

POPFile is an automatic mail classification tool. Once properly set up and trained, it will work in the background of your computer, scanning mail as it arrives and filing it however you wish. You can give it a simple job, like separating out junk e-mail, or a complicated one – like filing mail into a dozen folders. Think of it as a personal assistant for your inbox.

It uses Naive Bayes filtering, which I first heard about at Paul Graham’s website. In simple terms, it is a content filter that rapidly learns what the spam you receive looks like. The only way spammers can get by these sorts of filters is to change the way they write — to make it indistinguishable from your normal email. If that were to occur it would no longer be spam you might actually want to read it. So if you have an interest in say, film investments, any non-hyped unsolicited email about film investments would actually be interesting to you.

An beneficial side-effect occured for me. I subscribe to a couple of e-newletters that contain some interesting and useful information. The publishers also promote offers to their list and occassionally try a hard sell. When they send a “sales-speak” email, my filters put it in the spam folder. I manually glance at the spam folder to ensure accurate classification.

I have 93.34% accuracy since 16 December 2002. That understates accuracy as I also use POPfile to classify my inbound email into 10 categories (spam and nine others). Manually reclassifying a film investment email from film to invest counts as a classification error. However the filter now sorts all film investment emails as investment related and leaves the rest as film related 100% accurately.

10 responses to “Let technology set you free”

  1. Looks good PZ – congrats on the move to WordPress.

    One thing to be careful of is the default template doesn’t like you changing to large fonts – if a user sets their browser preference to larger or largest font size, then they will miss some words at the edge of the blog as they get hidden under the sidebar on the right.

    I haven’t got around to working out how to fix this yet – it’s a sizing issue with the DIVs I think. Let me know if you sort it out before I get around to it.

  2. G’day Paul,
    I like the nice “clean” look of this new set-up. One thing that is occurring (with my laptop, at least) is that the links, etc at right are over-writing about two characters of the main data.
    e.g. the “Comments field” looks like this:-
    Comments ( i.e. I’m not seeing the last 2 characters

  3. I am furiously writing a new template that will hopefully be ready tonight. And I think it will address the overlap problem.

    Sim’ is right it’s about the sizing of the Right box. The problem is actually a bug in versions of Internet Explorer. If it complied with the specification we wouldn’t have the problem. And the bug is different between IE 5, 5.5 and 6.0!

    Actually Les you’ll be really interested in my upcoming comments on using RSS. I’ve set that up today and it is FANTASTIC. It let’s you get the news stories in a powerful new way.

  4. Geez, will you tech heads stop the IT autoeroticism and get back to making meaningful and insightful comments about life, investing, the universe, investing and everything??? *grin*

  5. Well, I felt like “Alice in Wonderland” !!!!! Or is that Al-Les ???

    Anyway, Paul, here I was navigating my way thru your “new look” site, then, all of a sudden, I was reading stuff that sounded like Sim’s diary !!!! And it was!!!! Somewhere, somehow, something I clicked on led me to someone else’s site !!!!!

    And, guess what?? The two sites look ALMOST identical !!!! So WHO is copying WHOM ????? ;^)


  6. hmmm. Do you get the blue sidebar here? Sim’ and I collaborate in fixing design problems so for the time being the sites should be similar. But they aren’t currently identical on the default design.

    But if you are not seeing the blue navigation bar on the right side, then you may be using the “print-friendly” design. Try this link and tell me if it’s identical to your default. http://www.wealthesteem.org/index.php

  7. Les – Paul started it all and got me onto b2 – then I moved to WordPress (replacement software for b2) and Paul followed, but then Paul updated his design. So it’s more of a cooperative effort than following so much. One of these days I’ll get around to updating my design and they will look less similar. I also make the point of having all links to other sites from my blog open in a new browser window, so it’s obvious you’ve left my site and are in a new one.

  8. And wordpress v0.71 has fixed the Manage Links section to hide some links and it correctly saves the setting to open links in a new window. So my links will now open in a new window for you.

    Great work Sim. This is really a collaborative porject where we each do our thing but it leads to benefits for both (and some lurking readers)

  9. Try this link and tell me if it’s identical to your default. http://www.wealthesteem.org/index.php

    Yep – it is. Like I said, I don’t HOW I managed to get to Sim’s website (didn’t even know he HAD ONE (silly thought, maybe – OF COURSE he’d have one…) – but it didn’t twig immediately, simply because it was “almost” identical.

    Of course, I wouldn’t even know how to get back there (since I didn’t know how I got there in the first place !!!!!)

    How’s the “succession wars”, Paul??? Any major events on that front?


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