Thumbs-Up For “Spam Weasel”

Many, many of you tried "Spam Weasel" ( http://www.mailgate.com/products/spamweas/sw_feat.asp ) the free spam prefilter for your email that we discussed in the last issue. ( http://www.langa.com/newsletters/2002/2002-01-14.htm#5 )

Most of the letters were along these lines:

Fred, In your last edition, you mentioned a free software product called Spam Weasel. Having been a personal computer user since 1981 (yes, nineteen EIGHTY-one), I have seen a quantity of software and hardware products, as you can imagine, not all of which lived up to their promises.

So I approached the Spam Weasel with caution. I was desperate, though, as the amount of spam I receive, despite the care I take, and despite my ISP’s excellent filters, has increased to dozens per day, each requiring time to process. Since I am on several lists, and since Outlook’s rules seem to fail more often than they work (an article addressing why that is so, with any possible fixes, would be well received in this household), I must examine each item to make sure it truly is spam before I delete it.

If I weren’t such a reserved person, I would say that I am almost ecstatically happy to report that Spam Weasel works as promised. I spent a few moments poking around it to see how it worked, then spent a minute entering some known spam phrases, and about an hour entering my known "good" addresses (copying and pasting individual addresses from my Outlook address book, one at a time; if there is a way to get a text-file listing of all email addresses from Outlook, that would save a lot of time), et voila! The next time I started up Outlook, the incoming spam was marked. I made one further rule in Outlook (to delete email marked by Spam Weasel as spam), and made a few refinements and additions to my good list, and now all I need to do is scan my Deleted box to make sure nothing got deleted inadvertently. Otherwise, Spam Weasel has freed up a tremendous amount of time for me. So thanks once again for the tip. Weasels are not all bad. :-)

So, in general, it looks like Spam Weasel gets a big OK from your fellow readers.

One exception seems to be people who are already using some kind of email prefiltering. For example, by default (it can be turned off) Norton AntiVirus sets itself up so that your email client talks to Norton, and Norton itself actually communicates with your ISP or corporate email server (via a mini-mail server that’s part of the Norton package). This kind of email indirection makes it harder to set up something like Spam Weasel, or any additional prefiltering tool.

But in all other cases, Spam Weasel gets a big thumbs up. If you’re drowning in spam, you may want to give it a look.



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Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.