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Back again

So I’m back — I was up in Sunnyvale last week, on a work trip. Met up with Dan Kohn for the first time, which was great, and also had an impromptu SpamAssassin summit with Craig and Dan Quinlan — and got to meet the newest arrival in the Hughes family, the very cute Evan Alice.

I was hoping to meet up with a few more people, but didn’t quite organise it in the limited time there. Maybe next visit!

ObLAvBayAreaComment: Amazing how much better the drivers are up there, too. ;)

Still averaging about 68 SoBig.F virus mails, at about 100Kb each, for a total of about 7Mb per hour. That means my ‘reject’ mailbox is at 412 megs since Friday afternoon. Beats Charlie Strosser’s figures ;)

It’s all getting quietly bitbucketed, but the side-effects are still nasty. Take a look at this, for example; someone at ( has been spewing SoBig.F’s at the FoRK list, using my address, non-stop for weeks. Argh.

Patents: Richard Allen MP tackles the thorny software patents issue. It’s great being able to follow his thinking on these lines — more politicians should consider starting a weblog along these lines. True transparency.

Much better than Arlene McCarthy’s railing against ‘The Misinformation Campaign … by the Free Software Alliance’, whoever they are… I particularly like this statement from her PR:

If we were to follow the demands of these lobbyists then we would be handing over inventions to US multinationals and getting no return on our R&D investments in the field of computer implemented inventions. This will sound the death knell for our brightest and best European inventors, whilst the US and Japan will demand licence fees from European companies for the use of their patents. Without patent protection there will be no financial incentive for our most creative industries to develop genuine inventions.

… but — given that (a) software patents cannot currently be enforced in Europe, and (b) that 77% of the (currently-unenforceable) EPO software patents are registered already to non-EU companies, the only way for the US and Japan to ‘demand licence fees from European companies for the use of their patents’ would be if McCarthy’s proposed directive was passed, allowing those patents to be enforced in the EU. Oops — own goal!

VR: so I don’t lose this, Jaron Lanier’s 11 reasons why Virtual Reality has not yet become commonplace.

History: Came across the original SpamAssassin pre-release ‘try it out’ mail:

after quite of while of thinking about it, I’ve finally rewritten the spam filter I’ve been using for a while, and released it as free software.

It’s called SpamAssassin, and it’s a mail filter to identify spam using text analysis. Using its rule base, it uses a wide range of heuristic tests on mail headers and body text to identify spam, which it then tags for later filtering using the user’s own mail user-agent application.

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