trapped in a Hitchcock movie
Tuesday, September 5 2006
I wonder what Hardibacker actually contains. It's a kind of fibrous cement board you install as an underlayment for tile, and today I cut pieces and installed it in the part of the laundry room not presently covered by linoleum (approximately 14 square feet) as well as the unfinished particleboard floor of the short hallway connecting the garage to the house (nearly 15 square feet). Grey and covered with an embossed grid pattern, Hardibacker isn't an especially attractive material, though I do wonder if it could suffice as an industrial-style flooring material all by itself, in the general style of concrete kitchen countertops, which were all the rage back when we were replacing our laminate kitchen countertops (the ones that would one day become countertops in the shop).
This evening I had another one of my spam crises. A spammer was sending out a bulk email to many thousands of addresses and he was using, as a return address, TashaoiMajor@asecular.com. Since I get every email sent to [anything]@asecular.com, I was being deluged by bounced emails, out-of-office messages, and spam filters telling me that I was violating some policy. This evening when I first became aware of the problem, I already had over 400 emails in my inbox. But the deluge was only just ramping up. I'd thought that I'd fixed the problem of emails sent to asecular.com but not to my actual email address, but evidently so much spam was being rejected by my spam filter that it had only seemed that way. My spam filter was, for whatever reason, powerless to do anything about this evening's crisis. So I had to quickly brush up on my procmail knowledge, nearly all of which I'd forgotten since the last spam crisis. I deal with the procmail recipe language only when I absolutely must; it's brutally non-intuitive and not the sort of thing I want junking up the limited capacity of my brain's memory.
As I groped toward the solution to my spam problems, I kept uploading variations on my basic procmail script. Sometimes the latest version eliminated all of my mail, even the stuff it was supposed to let through (something I could confirm by emailing myself). Other times it let everything through, 99.99% of which was now unwanted. I noticed that during the brief time it took to upload the .procmailrc file, my account lay temporarily wide open to anything coming its way. The spam deluge was now so bad that I could get more than twenty emails in those few seconds. Later, when my procmail script was broken for a minute or two, over 4000 emails poured in. I was trapped in a Hitchcock movie!
After much research and the examination of plenty of examples, I managed to write a procmail recipe that rejected all emails where the To: field contained an asecular.com address that was different from the two I actually use.
The operative section looks like this:
And no, neither firstname.lastname@example.org nor email@example.com are email addresses that I actually use.
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