Gmail, spam and POP3: Part 2

A few weeks ago I posted about the insane amount of spam I was getting in my gmail account while using POP3. Around a week later, the problem disappeared. Completely.

I woke up and immediately fed my crackberry addiction, as I normally do, first checking my work email then then gmail. (I love the gmail app.) There was no spam. Not even one. By this time I had become accustomed to at least 7 to 10 new spam emails in the morning, more if it was a weekend day. My first instinct was to swear at my host, thinking that they had been down all night. I sent myself an email from my work account and it showed up in gmail almost immediately. Okay, so it wasn’t my host!

I held my disbelief that the problem was truly gone for about three or four days. I would log in to gmail and find that I had no mail, or just a simple newsletter. My crackberry addiction took hold for those few days while I got accustomed to the lack of spam. Now I could only just check my email, there was nothing else do to. No “report spam”. No “delete”. I didn’t realize how ingrained in my routine it had become!

Now I can fill my days with other, more pleasant yet useless tasks.

Lists are evil.

The problem with to-do lists is that once you write it down, it’s hard to cross it off until you’ve done it…which means if it’s a low priority, it stays there. Then you end up with a list of 3 high-priority items and 20 low-priority items, and it looks like you’ve done nothing.

Such is my life lately. My project at work is getting into the next gear, so I’m going faster and burning more oil. (Why does everything work with the Car Analogy?) Our logo is done, the design map is in progress, we’re hiring to fill out the team, and our soft launch is coming up soon. I can’t wait!

I’m going to the Web 2.0 Expo in April, which will be very exciting for me because I love GeekyThings, especially when combined with internet technology. And I’ll have cool business cards to pass out, don’t forget that.

No browser is superior.

Recently I was engaged in the tired old debate of FireFox vs. “other” with my boyfriend, Jake. Intially I started using FireFox because of tabbed browsing. I think the first version I used was v1.5.0.2. I had tried MyIE2 a long time ago, specifically because it had tabbed browsing, but I had tons of problems with it and went back to IE. Eventually MyIE2 became Maxthon and I tried it again, but still without success. Back to IE.

He’s using a Mac now and is going through a search for which browser works best. He’s an Opera fan, as well. I tried Opera, and I liked it but, unfortunately, about a third of the sites I visited wouldn’t render properly and it was just plain annoying.

Then one day I downloaded FireFox and have used it ever since. When IE7 came out, I did try it out, but I just wasn’t as impressed. Maybe I was already biased. I’m not anti-IE, or against any browser. I think each person has their own preference and what’s good for you may not be good for me, and vice versa. The only reason I use IE now is because our company’s intranet runs on Sharepoint and Firefox doesn’t play well with the versioning for documents.

Extensions I must have:

  • Bookmarks – I love and the “Tag” feature for this is great because it pulls your tags as you’re typing, leaving out some of the guesswork. (Crap, what tag did I use? “Download” or “downloads”?)
  • ShowIP – I don’t really need this anymore but when I was the IT guru I needed it due to the number of websites and IP’s we use.
  • DownloadStatusbar – Useful.

Extensions I’m trying out:

Extensions I’ve used, but don’t now:

  • Tab Mix Plus – I pretty much stopped using this when Firefox v2 came out.
  • FoxyTunes – now I just use Winamp or
  • ForecastFox – a lot of my memory problems went away when I stopped using this.
  • The one that added a Google search box – FireFox now has it by default.

Here’s a list from Lifehack naming their Top 10 Firefox Extensions. You’ll notice I’ve listed some of these already.

Three’s a crowd: Gmail, spam and POP3.

I decided recently to re-configure the way I use my POP3 email with my website hosting account and Gmail.  Previously, I just had an alias forward to my address.  I use Gmail’s web interface for email so I configured Gmail to reply from my address by default, so it was seamless.  With this method, Gmail’s spam filter was really effective.  I rarely got spam, and if I did the “Report Spam” feature pretty much made sure that type of spam (and you can usually tell by the subject) never came back.  However, the problem with doing it that way was that my POP3 account on my host would fill up.

Now, that said, my host does have a configuration option to delete any mail older than X days, but for some reason it didn’t seem to work.  I have a cheap host, and while they’re really good at responding, sometimes they screw up other things on my account while trying to fix something.  I decided to leave it alone and just try to reconfigure a different way.

I removed the alias forwarding to Gmail and configured Gmail to pull from my POP3 account instead.  Gmail can delete the messages off the server after they’re downloaded, so that will take care of the possible space problem.  Everything should be groovy, right?

Well, it’s not.  Now I get anywhere from 20-30 spam a day, minimum, in my Gmail account and no amount of clicking checkboxes and Reporting Spam will help.   Since Gmail’s spam filter was working previously with the alias, this leads me to believe that Gmail’s spam filter does not check downloaded mail from POP3 accounts.

I would love to verify this with a different host.

Better than LaunchCast; discover music with Finetune.

I started using StumbleUpon a few days ago, and the first site it recommended to me was so awesome, I’ve been afraid to let it suggest anything else to me. does social networking for music the right way. I’ve tried Yahoo!’s LaunchCast, which is okay but doesn’t seem to vary enough with it’s suggestions.

The first cool thing about Finetune that I noticed was that it was very intuitive. All I had to do was plug in a name of an artist/band I like (I chose Cake) and off it went. It started up a song by Cake and continued to play similar artists until I changed it. It didn’t even require registration. You can change the artist at any time by going back to the home page and entering a new artist. The site displays a small player on the left hand side of every page with the album art and linkable text (when you hover over the album) to the artist, album, or song page.

The second, and what the site builds itself around, is the ability to create your own playlist. Take that LaunchCast! Not only create it, but once you have at least 45 tracks, you can share it. You can name your playlist, upload your own icon for it, and give it a description. This feature requires registration, of course.

That leads me to the third Cool Thing about Finetune. When you’re browsing artists, you can claim yourself as a fan of that artist as well as see other users that are also fans.

Cool Thing number four – they have pre-made stations. I used some of these to add more artists and songs to my playlists.

Finally, number five, although the list is a tad bit longer. The design is pretty intuitive, although I had kind of a hard time figuring out how to create a second playlist after the default. You have to close your current playlist and then attempt to add a song using the + icon; then it will pop up a menu asking if you want to add it to an existing playlist, which is listed, or add it to a new playlist.

[Update: Cool Thing number 6, which I forgot, is the “related artists” feature. This does exactly what it says, lists related artists for the band/artist you have selected. If you have eclectic music tastes, this might be a little lacking, but I only expect their lists to get better.]

The site is still a little buggy. For example, using your back button in the browser can cause some playlist issues if you’re adding songs to different playlists, and there’s no seemingly intuitive way to go back to your previous selection. My second complaint is the lack of a “don’t play this song/artist” feature. Sorry, but I just don’t need to hear yet another U2 song. They do allow you to skip forward, however, just as long as you’re not going nuts on the forward feature.

And I wish they had more of The Format and Delerium.

Here’s my profile. If you check it out, let me know what you think.