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Buried in email? 209

Jethro73 writes "There is an article on Yahoo! about how Workers are mired in e-mail wasteland. They say employees waste an hour a day managing e-mail. This page at Cisco claims employees spend two hours per day, but cite a 15% increase in worker's productivity despite that." A few weeks ago I blew up my laptop and lost all my mail filters. When I got everything back up, I discovered that over 70% of my email is junk (compared to 25% after all my filters were in place). Filtering my mail is the only thing that makes reading my email possible. Well, that and ignoring any message complaining about Karma :)
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Buried in email?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    This really has nothing to do with anything. Since I am in involved in computers as a profession, commonly people will ask me for help, like my parents friends (when I'm home visiting).
    One of these people is old. Like...I'd say...70-80's old. She insists that she must be getting porn spam because some young man ( maybe her nephew I think) sent her an email, and he looks at porn. I tried to explain to her that it wasnt the case. She didnt believe me.
    Ohwell, I guess maybe I should stop putting her email into all the porn sites I vist.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Woman don't look at porn, bah

    I've caught at least two girls at work looking at naked musclemen on the web. Once one of the girls here was just about demo a website design to 5 of us. She clicked the wrong tab on the windows desktop, to reveal the porn site she was browsing. Embrassed she hit the close window button, big mistake, the evils of respawn porn ads quickly filled the screen.

  • Didn't some of the comments contain shit like poems and mindless ramblings and long, wordy descriptions of simple functions? That's the story I remember anyway.

    - A.P.

    Forget Napster. Why not really break the law?

  • Until you sign up for a mailinglist that automatically adds a "how to unsubscribe" section on the bottom of each message. :)

    Not that it helps, even with a little note on the bottom of every message people still manage to post "How do I unsubscribe?" messages about once a week or so on even moderatly crowded mailinglists.

    Down that path lies madness. On the other hand, the road to hell is paved with melting snowballs.
  • True, but at least with email it is easy to skip the long winded but useless parts.

    "Hi hank, this is andrea at extention 123, thanks for getting back to me on the bacon problem, I have one more question: how many cysts are accaptable in a slice?" Said aloud I waste a couple borning minutes before getting to something useful. A reply by voice mail is just as bad because I have to give a summery of the question first. In email I just replay with an answer "5", while in voice mail my reply is "Hello andrea, about your questions about the acceptable limit of cysts in bacon, 5 reasonable limit."

    Of course the above example is completely made up. (A engineer who knew a female to talk to should have been your first clue.) You get the idea, voicemail is nice, but it wastes a lot of time with redundancy and boiler plate. Email has the same thing, but you an quickly skip it.

  • 1. I take care to write only meaningful e-mails. And only when a phone call or voicemail won't suffice.

    People do this where I work, and I think it's bothersome and rude. The default strategy should be to communicate asynchronously, and only right my phone when an email will not suffice.

  • >Im not so sure I agree that short thank you or acknowledgement email
    >is really that harmful. After all, how long does it take to read one
    >line and click delete.

    Yeah, it's quality marketing, not spam . . .

    hawk, now taking his tongue back out of his cheek

  • At the school I was visiting last years, the tech guys were annoyed that I had a mail server running on my box--but also told me they had no power to stop me. So when I needed email lists for my classes, I sent them a message to request that these be created.

    Their response was to send me a URL to a form I should print out, fill out, return, and wait for my "request" to be considered.

    It was a lot easier to just install list managing software on my own machine . . .


  • >"telephone skills" are often cited as necessary when a job is advertised.

    While I didn't advertise that (and didn't expect it myself at first),
    when I hired secretaries while practicing law, the *bulk* of my decision
    was actually made during the initial phone call inquiring about the
    job. For a small law practice, the secretary's phone presense
    is a make or break issue . . .


  • by hawk ( 1151 ) <> on Friday April 20, 2001 @08:59AM (#277014) Journal
    that the post office let us have two boxes/slots, one for !st and 2d class, and one for everthing else. That would do 99% of the needed sorting . . .

    hmm, maybe 4th class, too--I think that that's the classification for books . . .


  • Does not mean that you have anything of intrest to say! Actualy I don't get much junk at all, most of what I get are mailing lists that I want to get.
  • Most of the spam I get is from accounts at hotmail or whatever similar service. Some spammers seem to have scripts to create multiple accounts on these sites and abuse them quite easily.

    If you're concluding that the spam is from accounts at hotmail, etc, because a free account address appears in the From: line, you're making an erroneous conclusion. From: lines on spam are almost always forged, and typically do not indicate the real originator or the spam. For the originator, you have to trace the Received: lines, and the best that can typically give you is an ip address. A better conclusion would be that it's popular among spammers to forge a free account in the From: field. I don't think this is something that you can hold hotmail et al responsible for.

  • What's up with that bill ? Is that true or is it just FUD, a lie ?

    Well, it's true that that bill passed Congress. That, however, is irrelevant because it didn't pass the Senate, and wasn't signed by the President. It isn't law in the U.S. or anywhere else.

    It gets rather amusing to see this disclaimer appearing on spam that originates outside the U.S. or advertises products/services for non-U.S. businesses. Gee, the U.S. must have become really powerful if a bill that didn't actually make it into law affects the rest of the world.

    All in all, it again reinforces the 3 laws of anti-spamming:

    1. Spammers Lie.
    2. If a spammer appears to be telling the truth, see rule 1.
    3. Spammers are stupid.
  • Exactly what were they using their products for, if not electronic mail?
  • Pegasus handles some of these things well. It supports multiple identities very well, has a good filter system w/ color highlighting and such... The current version works fairly well, and there's a major new version due out later this year...
    Best of it, it's free (as in beer, not speech).

  • I have a filter that drops any mail I am copied on instead of my name in the TO field. I tell people this. If you only want to CYA don't bother me - I won't read it. I probably won't read it anyway unless you also call me and ask me to. For all short stuff we use an IM app - usually because we're all on the phone most of the time.
  • Who can possibly read all their email in an hour?

    : )
  • My dirty joke email is the only decent email I get all day! And if your spending 49 minutes a day on junk mail, you need to learn how to use filters. Damn IT (aka desktop nazi's)!, they put up proxies so I cant surf pr0n or pop my email, they filter my exchange email for jokes/exe's, they run startup domain scripts to install bigbrother software, whats next keyloggers and ankle chains?! BTW, to fight IT, I ssh tunnel to my home linux box, and run a proxy, I disabled login scripts, and put jokes/exe's inside of word docs.
    I quit when they get ankle chains!
  • root@
    nslookup, get domain owner
    Email upstream provider
    Filter Filter Filter!
  • Who's the idiot who moderated this "redundant"?

    It was the first legitimate response to the story, how the hell can it be redundant?

    If you're moderating, set for "oldest first (ignore threads" and shit like this won't happen.

    Whomever you are, I'm off to remove one of your karma points now...

  • Personally I wouldn't complain about getting some Hot Slippery Teens in my mailbox.
  • I check my email when I've been working on something for a while and need a break to think about something else. If I didn't check email, I'd have to read /. instead, and we all know what a productivity suck that is :) The average worker is going to waste a certain amount of time every day - email makes it possible to be somewhat productive during "mental task switching" time which would otherwise be involved in gossiping, smoke breaks, or pranks on coworkers. That's why, even with almost an hour "wasted" on email every day, people are more productive now.

  • well, you could still write the code! It just wouldn't do much...

  • That's not coming until the NEXT version... :)
  • Wow, I just spent an hour on the 'Death to Spam' it was v interesting, thier entire site seems so genuine it is scary.

    I advise anyone to visit the page for at least 5 mins, you might learn something usefull :)

    (P.S. My first email account was a hotmail account, I viseted a site and put in my email address about 4 years ago, Now I get anywhere between 80-160 messages a day. I use this address to register at most websites now even /., it is totaly unuseable, but I do like a cheerup every now and then so I read some of the messages, y'know, 'Mortgages' 'Low credit?' 'Ultra Teex XXX' etc.., I have made it my challenge, to get as much spam as possible into this account, then reply with all the messages attached every now and then, only problem is the account size limit!)
  • S.1618 "The Murkowski Bill" was never passed, and never signed into law. The S.1618 designation identifies it as a bill introduced to the US Senate.

    If it had passed, it would be referred to as Public Law XX-YYY, and as a US Code citation, i.e. XX USC YYY (differing values of X and Y for both cases cited above. . .)

    Yes, it's FUD. Feel free to ignore it. Any remove that actually hits an address will likely add your address to 6.02x10^23 additional spam lists. . . .

  • Email addresses were supposed to be the ultimate in portable commmunications - you could read your email everywhere, and you'd have it forever.

    But the reality is, the longer you have an email address, the more lists it gets put on, and the more crap you get, until even the filters can't hold back the tide of crap, and you're forced to just give up and get a new address.

    I've had this email address since 1995, and let me tell you, I get the craziest crap on a daily basis - probably 80% to 90% of the stuff I get is spam...
  • I agree. Just think how much more bonding we would have among our employees as they have to wait for each other in meeting rooms to discuss a problem, instead of just sending a email to several recipients which they all can read at their own leisure. Of course, since the points are documented in a nice compact format, the engineers and all will get to meet a second time when one forgot.

    For the /.s that don't understand sarcasm: People have a lot of email because it is often better than discussing stuff in the halls.

  • A copy of S.1618 can be read at the following address: 618es.htm []

    As the notice at the top says, the bill never became law, but it probably doesn't surprise anyone that the morons who try to make money fast with unsolicited commercial mail don't know any better than to copy and paste the canned paragraph you quoted!

    More about this bill and why the "This message cannot be considered spam" claim is nonsense can be read at: []

  • In a slowing economy, where businesses are looking for ways to cut costs and increase productivity, simply cutting out unnecessary e-mail will have an immediate impact. What a load of crap. Looks like the "research firm" Gartner is suffering from a slowing economy itself and needs a quick shot in the arm. Oi! Doesn't the preview button work anymore?
  • I get 100 to 200 messages a day, and usually no spam. Every one of these messages is relevant in some way to the things that I do or like. Many are the communications between myself and people I'm setting up business transactions with. I don't think that the time I spend reading and answering all of this is wasted time in the least bit. In fact, it is only because of e-mail that I'm able to handle all of this in only an hour or two. Let's imagine what my life would be like if all these contacts had to talk to me on the phone. I would basically have to sit by the phone all day to make myself available to take the calls, and also I would have to deal with constant interruptions. With e-mail, I can handle messages when I want to and actually get other work done. Without e-mail, my productivity would be approximately zero.

    SecretAsianMan (54.5% Slashdot pure)
  • Non-time critical?

    Hell, I love coming back from a day off, and finding the flood of messages, including the ones from my boss with the subject 'where are you', when he forgot that he granted my leave 2 days ago.

    And it doesn't help when people outside my department send me the 5 'urgent' notices to go along with their first request.

    Or, my favorite, people who don't understand mailing lists, and so, set up their own distribution lists in their address book, and I have a dozen messages regarding a project I'm no longer assigned to, and even when I do mail people to get them to stop mailing me about it, the next day, someone who was out the day I asked everyone to stop mailing me does a 'reply all' to three of the earlier messages (not reading the whole thread first, and then writing one message), and it starts all over again.

    That's not to say that e-mail doesn't have its advantages, but people need to learn how to use it correctly, and not assume that it's a direct replacement for a memos/meetings/phone calls/etc.

  • Jesus Fucking Christ, I don't believe this. There is not one post yet which points out that in the corporate environment, EMAIL CLIENTS ARE TOYS NOT TOOLS.

    Of course workers are getting bogged down in email. They're using Outlook for heaven's sake, or Netscape or Eudora or Notes. These products are the most unspeakably half-assed crap -- I have used all of them extensively, and know whereof I speak -- and it's impossible to manage email in them.

    How do they suck? Oh, let me count the ways:

    Anything which does formatting (HTML email, etc.) takes longer to render, so you have to pause for that much longer on every message. It's infintessimal on a single message, but it adds up fast when you have 100 messages a day.

    The filtering on those products is unforgivably lame. To the extent they manage to filter, they then are helpless to cope with filtered mail.

    Speaking of rendering time: they go to all that effort to have snazzy window-y GUIs, and then don't put the power to, say, color code on a filter basis into the hands of the user. Brilliant.

    They have no flexibility of identity, which is one part of the equation of functional corporate email. It is imperative that the user be able to specify both Reply-to and From fields in his out going message. If Joe Rep is one of the several people receiving the emails sent to "", he must be able to send email From, or at least Reply-to "".

    The concept of filtering as implemented in those packages is the paradigm of paper in cabinets. WHAT THE HELL? It should be possible to put one message in multiple "mailboxes", but only have one actual copy stored -- and the client should tell you where the multiple copies are, and behave sanely if you delete one.

    There is no, not one, no, not any of these products with any provision, whatsoever, of the timely retirement of email into archives. Some permit something like manually saving things to archives, but none let you say "this folder, move read messages into that archive after two months". So these email clients are completely unscalable through time. After you have used one for a year, you're drowning in relics, which you want to save but are in your way. The idea that anyone would routinely throw away email is absurd. Diskspace is dirt cheap, there is no excuse. A sane method of archiving is vital -- a method which allows you to "put away" things you're not using, but take them down when they are needed again.

    I could (and someday will) go on and on and on about how worthless the tools corporate users are expected to use. But it's not just the mail clients! If you want users to not spam everyone, have a viable place for them to send that info: set up lists and boards sanely, so people use them. Make it easy for people to be added or removed from lists. Have policies in place to handle contractors and temps; it is not sane to expect all important instructions to go over email lists which your temps aren't on, and expect for your temps to know what to do. Duh.

    Have aliases or lists for interfacing with the public, so that outsiders don't have to know the name of the relevant person they should contact. "" (for example) should go to the right group of people, and every time they respond to one of those emails, everyone else in that group should be notified. Duh.

    And, Duh, their email client should prominently clue them into the fact the email they are responding to is not to them personally, but to the "sales" alias.

    It all boils down to the fact that corporate email systems -- their configurations from a usability standpoint, and their god-awful clients -- are at best children's toys, not professional tools for getting real work done.

    There is no product up to that description, frankly. Meanwhile, we geeks will continue using terminal-based solutions. Some swear by emacs, some by pine. Me, I have a homebrew concoction of nmh, procmail, several bzillion little shell scripts, and my own domain (so I can have all the email addresses I ever want). It's not even close to adequate, but it's so far in advance of corporate toys it's pathetic.

    I know that lots of people sneer at geek's tendency to try to solve human problems with technological solutions, but DAMN, this is precisely the kind of problem to be solved technologically.

  • I discovered that over 70% of my email is junk (compared to 25% after all my filters were in place). Filtering my mail is the only thing that makes reading my email possible. Well, that and ignoring any message complaining about Karma

    Oh! I figured the best way to get CT's attention was to put a catchy subject line, MAKE MONEY FAST or even INSTANT SLASHDOT KARMA. And now I find the reason not one of my submissions has ever made it is because he filters out such great subject lines. Its good to know that he gets 30% legitimate emails, that tops me.

    the AC
  • > "telephone skills" are often cited as necessary when a job is advertised. I wonder when "email skills" (you could even say "written word skills"!) will receive as high a priority?


    Because if they were, half the PHBs in America would be exposed for the illiterate, dr00ling cretins they are.

    On voice mail, nobody knows you can't spell past the sixth grade level.

  • Story from an online acquaintance:

    This friend, let's call him Arp, works for a company big enough that they're in at least two buildings. One day, everyone in the company got a message reading, quite simply:

    Date: whatever


    And that, well, was that.

    Apparently there had been a false fire alarm at one building, and in a panic the receptionist was told to have everyone ignore it. She didn't think to filter out the people who worked at a different facility & weren't aware of the alarm, and she didn't take the time to fill in the blank about what, exactly, it is that is not real.


  • Disclaimer: I didn't actually get the mail in question, so there may have been a subject line. I'm sure about the message body though. Quoting from the original email I learned about it from:


    The original, perhaps 'all your base are belong to us'-eventually-rivalling, was DO NOT LEAVE IT IS NOT REAL, sent by a receptionist at [$company] because they were doing a fire drill that went wrong because the alarm kept going, but she sent it to everybody in [$office] including the people, such as myself, in the other building where we were unaware of the fire, so we just got a message saying DO NOT LEAVE IT IS NOT REAL from out of nowhere.

    I'm going to use it a lot in the future.

    I got this message at the beginning of March & I'm still laughing....

  • 4:30 Break

    Shouldn't that be 4:20?

    "In spite of everything, I still believe that people
    are really good at heart." - Anne Frank
  • this is SO TRUE. I worked as a consultant at a company that used Voice mail like most people use EMAIL. Forwarding Voicemails, the whole nine-yards... some voice mails would be 5 or 10 minutes long! I can scan a long message, looking for the 'key' peices of info, in WAY LESS than 5 minutes.

    For me, the only alternative to email would be to communicate less.
  • Open mail relays are how spammers manage to send out thousands of emails, not web-based free email. For some reason there never seems to be a lack of open relays.
  • I know there's software for this, my ISP used it once on me. The best part is that it said I had an open relay when in reality the Exchange server was already patched. I can't imagine this kind of software being very hard to write. First scan for port 25, get a list of mailservers, run a mail message through to yourself. Once your mailbox is nice and full you can read the headers and send letters to sys admins. I'm sure that part can be automated too.

    Imagine if this was the download of the week at Cnet's Expect lots of network scanning and firewalls going off at first, then a quiet spam free internet.

    Then again there are other ways to spread spam without open relays.
  • I found that the easiest way to manage e-mail is to have 3 accounts:

    1. Work account-this is obvious, only give the address to people that will be contacting you for work purposes, maybe family members for emergencies.
    2. Home account-at your normal ISP, give this one out to all your friends, family, etc...anyone that wants to BS about how the weather sucks or tell you about their life.
    3. Junk account-this is the most important one to me. Get a Yahoo! account or something similar, that way if you get spammed it doesn't matter. Use this address to fill out forms on webpages etc. That way, if there is some e-mail newsletter you are interested in, you can have it sent to that address without interferring with work life or home life.

    This may seem obvious to a lot of slashdotters, but if you are careful who you give your addresses to, there shouldn't be a spam problem. This really works, try it. Keeping track of 3 passwords...that's your problem :-P
  • Slashdot Employee Email Filters:
    • General Complaints
    • Notices of Mispelings
    • Bad Grammer Files
    • Same story Complaints
    • Goat Sex Pics
    • Goat Sex Pics I want to save
    • Hanson fan club mail
    • CNET news flash emails
    • Microsoft Update Emails
    • Employees, Family, Friends (if I had any)
    • Story Submissions / other Trash
  • I can't decide which is more appealing, the lack of a subject or the reckless use of CAPS LOCK.

    Somehow this email reminds me of the Southpark movie . . .


  • by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <> on Friday April 20, 2001 @07:29AM (#277063) Homepage Journal
    A lot (or in slashdot-speak alot) of people are say (to paraphrase) "yeah, but without email you'd have to try to reach people on the phone or in person."

    I don't think that anyone is debating the usefulness of email. OTOH, people do things (that in my opinion they shouldn't do) via email that they would NEVER do in person or via phone.

    At my last job I'd say I got 40 messages a day that had NOTHING to do with work.

    To: Everyone[company name withheld]

    "Chili cookoff on Friday!" (Reminder number 12)
    "Used mattress for sale."
    "Marking newsletter for [today]" (that only marketing people care about. EVERY F---ING DAY!)

    To: EveryoneAustin[company name withheld]
    "Someone [at the building across town] left their lights on."
    "Cake in the breakroom [at the building across town]"

    Now, I LOVE email. But Merciful God STOP THESE PEOPLE.

    Of course these people think this stuff is important, and think they are doing every one a favor. What they fail to realize is that they are wasting my valuable (slashdot) time.

    Anyway, that's my rant.


  • and just pay them per line of code

    this has actually been done. frightening, really.
  • And how is this worse than everyone needing to walk to someone else's cubicle, or calling someone on the phone to find that the person is at a meeting or going to the bathroom? You certainly can't attach the latest financial reports to a voicemail.

    On the whole, IT definitely leverages your workforce and makes them more productive -- can you imagine how many jobs would be impossible to do without computers these days? l


  • by RollingThunder ( 88952 ) on Friday April 20, 2001 @10:01AM (#277071)

    I'm watching a NasaTV stream as I'm surfing slashdot, and guess what they're doing?

    They're debugging Yuri's Outlook setup. Looks like NT dropped a drive mapping to where Yuri's outlook .pst was, so it remade it's own.

    Even in microgravity, email kills productivity and MS sucks. ;)

  • I use procmail with an accept-list and I get no spam (I define spam as UCE with a forged From header). Here's my .procmailrc [].
  • I mean, for Cisco to trace back to when they did n't use email and use stats from those days to compare to modern day worker productivity, they're going to have to account for a lot more than just the fact that they have email now.
  • by bill.sheehan ( 93856 ) on Friday April 20, 2001 @07:09AM (#277075) Homepage
    I read this article yesterday and thought, what a crock! Now I've had the opportunity to examine it again in a cold and dispassionate manner, and my option has not changed. This should be printed, run through your horse, and put on your roses. Doesn't anyone remember the paper memo and all the nonsense we had to go through with that (stamping as receiving, filing, writing replies, routing through interoffice mail)? Doesn't anyone remember Telephone Tag?

    Look, if workers aren't communicating, there's a problem. E-mail is the least obtrusive, most efficient communications method, bar none. I have enough interruptions in my day without Instant Messaging!

    Now, if the Gartner Group were to analyze the amount of time IT workers spend reading Slashdot... Ooops! Gotta run, boss is coming!

    Never take a beer to a job interview.

  • What's up with that bill ? Is that true or is it just FUD, a lie ? Since i'm not from the US i don't know anything about their laws.

    The bill S.1618 [] was introduced in 1998, but didn't make it into law. There's more information on this [] at SpamCop [].

    (What's particularly silly about this is that so many of the spammers are outside the US. If, as has happened, I'm in the UK and I get spammed by a guy from the Far East who's faking an address in Latin America, how can what the US Senate might or might not have thought about it be in the least applicable?)

    Anyway, if i reply i only get a "user killed" or something similar...

    NEVER REPLY, at least, not to the sender. If you do, they'll keep your address on file (and possibly sell it on) because your address is suddenly more valuable for spam-- they'll know there's a real human who's reading mail sent to it. If you really want to complain, you could try mailing abuse@ their ISP: it works, sometimes.

    Death to Spam [] is a good read on the subject. You might also like to check out the alt.spam FAQ [].

  • Gartner notices that people spend a lot of time on mail, and concludes that the time is 'wasted'. I'm not sure why. A large part of my work is done in responding to mail. I previously worked at a very stone-age company where communication was via fax, phone, email, and snail. It was very inefficient and I had to put a lot of energy into chasing people down and logging inbound and outbound snail and fax. Now I work at a place that is 100% mail and web - I haven't seen a single paper document since I've been here.[1] It is much more efficient, less messy and easier to search, archive, forward, and grind through ad-hoc scripts.
    Having said that, it can be challenging to deal with a high volume of mail. If you're on Unix, implement a good filter in perl with the Mail::Audit module. Separate stuff addressed to you from lists, so you don't miss an urgent mail while drowning in list traffic. Use an efficient MUA like mutt.
    I do wish very much that corporations would instill some basic mail rules in employees, like:
    • Don't quote the entire message you're replying to. If you're forwarding to a new person, then forward and quote. Otherwise, trim, quote properly and attribute properly. And don't quote Jeopardy style.
    • Trim the recipients before replying - do they all need to see your reply?
    • View the message through the recipient's eyes - did you include all the information needed to understand your message?
    • Value the recipients' time above yours. Take the time to compose a clear, concise message. Don't include word/excel/pdf attachments if the data can be expressed simply in the body of the mail.

    • [1] Meaning, a document inflicted on me by others. I've printed out a few program listings and mails.
  • Yeah, but if you work in an orginization of BAD LIARS like I do, when you talk to them in person their body langauge can tell you wether they're telling the truth. :)

    On the otherside, I'd like to say that Yahoo article was DEFINATLEY junk science.

  • by ( 114827 ) <> on Friday April 20, 2001 @06:58AM (#277090) Homepage
    The pisser is that email is such a useful business tool, but many people are scared off from it because of the volume of email that they receive.

    The asynchronous method of communicating is almost always best in business. I find that 95% of my questions for someone are not time-critical, and can be handled at the other person's convenience (say, in a day or two), and allow me to keep working without having to interrupt my task to go find the person.

    Yet I hear so many people say "Oh, I get 30 messages a day!" I say "Yeah, but those are 30 communications you were going to get anyway, but now you can handle them when YOU want, without the other person having to track you down."

  • Yeah, but if you work in an orginization of BAD LIARS like I do, when you talk to them in person their body langauge can tell you wether they're telling the truth. :)

    Sure, sometimes you need face time. Part of the problem is not knowing which medium to use. Roughly, the rules I use are:

    • Intranet site: Information that could be widely useful, but probably not by everyone.
    • Email: Simple questions that aren't time critical.
    • Phone: Simple questions that are time critical, or the person is far away.
    • Face-to-face: Anything involving idea or knowledge creation, or anything involving personal/personnel issues.
    • Overhead paging: Only reserved for someone being on fire.
    This last one is a pet peeve of mine. I'm so annoyed at how my employers for the past 10+ years have no idea how intrusive overhead paging is, and how 90% of the time it's not as time-sensitive as that sort of immediacy requires.
  • I don't think the argument is that by abolishing email you can increase productivity. I think the message is that by getting people to follow a few guidelines in both sending emails and dealing with the stuff they receive, you can increase productivity even further.

    Email is great because it improves communication, but some of that improvement is swallowed up by the time it takes to go through all the additional communication, and the overuse of communication because its become so easy to pass on anything you care to think of to everyone in your company. Exercising a little judgement before hitting the Send button can save a company a lot of time. Mine is going through exactly this kind of exercise at the moment and the increase in efficiency is really a "low hanging fruit" in terms of efficiency gains.

  • Doesn't anyone remember the paper memo and all the nonsense we had to go through

    Hear, hear!

    Back before spam, I worked at a Very Large Company That Isn't So Large Any More Because They Trivested. At one point, TPTB decided to make each organization separately accountable for its existence--pay your own way--which meant they had to have some tangible internal or external source of funding. This applied to everything from product development to the mailroom.

    So, system admin organizations would advertise to try to convince you to let them admin your machines for a fee, that sort of thing. The advertising was in the form of paper that was sent to every single person's (physical) inbox. The worst was the training organization, who would send out a separate piece of paper for every occurrence of every class ("Introduction to vi", May 2, 9:00-5:00). At the worst of it we were getting 2-3 paper adverts per day.

    Thousands of reams of paper per year, unread, from the inbox to the recycle bin. Saved them TONS of money. Uh-huh. Right.

  • From: lines on spam are almost always forged

    But wait, there's more!

    Since a lot of email gateway machines now do address checking of From: headers, newer spamming software picks (randomly, I think) an address from the list to put in the From: header.

    That has three effects:

    1. If anything tries to filter nonexistent From: addresses, the spam gets through as long as the randomly picked address is indeed valid.
    2. The poor schlub whose address got put into the From: header gets all the bounce messages generated by the original spam.
    3. People can naively presume that the address in the From: header really does belong to the spammer, possibly forcing that address's owner to answer some difficult questions from their ISP or employer.

    The last time this happened to me, I got over a thousand bounce messages. I immediately documented the hell out of it and reported it to my employer, going to them before they came to me.

  • They say employees waste an hour a day managing e-mail.

    An hour a day? Sure, if 'managing email' includes writing recipes to aunt Sally, forwarding the latest virus hoax to EVERYONE YOU KNOW, and deleting all the pr0n spam you get because you surf pr0n at the office.

  • You know, with only a little effort, you could probably rig a mailbox that sorts out mail by size and weight. Anything that feels like an ad gets dumped into a shredder, and the shredded paper pours out into the recycling bin sitting in the driveway next to the mailbox...

    Or you could describe a riculously impossible to implement Rube Goldberg device [] for karma whore points!

  • People have a lot of email because it is often better than discussing stuff in the halls.

    Indeed. My managers are fighting a constant war against "hallway conversations" - well, sort of.

    We still feel that hallway conversations are excellent for providing a certainl comfort level of human interaction, but we also feel that hallway conversations suck a bowl of rocks when it comes to clearly specifying and documenting project requirements or work requests.

    Email and similar tools make my job possible, and save me insane amounts of time. Of course, I actually bother to optimize these tools - with filters, sorters, and an understanding that most email is unimportant and can be ignored/deleted. This approach saves me even more time, and makes me so productive that I can spend most of my workday posting long-winded rants to /.

  • * if workers pee at home and hold up their pee untill they're back home: a lot of time saved which was otherwise spend at the toilets!
    * if workers start to camp outside the office instead of driving each morning to work and back in the evening: no more hours wasted in the traffic jam, which can then be spend on business!
    * if workers are only allowed to drink water from bottles they have to bring themselves and have to fill at home (or when they're camping outside the office, with rainwater): no more time is wasted at the coffeemachine or watercooler! Which can then be spend on business and work!
    * if businesstrips and meetings weren't done face to face but using email: no more time wasted in hotels/planes/dull offices..

    oh wait...


  • If you really want to complain, you could try mailing abuse@ their ISP: it works, sometimes

    Yup. I *always* go upstream on them. Seems to be a lot more effective.

    Another thing to note. Not everyone checks the 'abuse@' address.

    So send to 'sales@' as well. You can be absolutely darn tootin' certain someone's checking that one.

    Oddly I learned this one in meatspace, on the phone. *Never* bother with the customer service hotline. It's understaffed and underfunded. Call the sales line and you'll find they're very eager to get you off the line so they can make some money. They can be remarkably helpful.


  • by The Pim ( 140414 ) on Friday April 20, 2001 @08:39AM (#277104)
    It's probably hard for most people here to imagine, because email is part of our way of life. But inefficient use of email is a real problem at some companies. Of course, as is typically the case, the fault isn't with email, but with dysfunction in the company.

    Email is an incredibly efficient means of communication. Senders can compose their thought without taking anyone else's time. They can multicast without getting people in the room or on the phone. All communications can be archived. Recipients can automatically file and prioritize. They can decide what to read, when to read it, when to stop reading. They can delete, file, defer. They can compose a reply to whichever points they wish, along-side the original message, all on their own time. Linux kernel developers probably get (at least) an order of magnitude more mail than the average office worker, but kernel development remains efficient.

    Yet companies really do try to curtail email, all because some employees have bad email skills, which sets off the managers who have the old-school intuition that communication should be carefully channelled. This matters because, incredible as it may seem, it will probably affect you sometime. You will find yourself in a situation where there is pressure, or even a dictum, to ration email. To combat this, we must help people use email efficiently.

    Unfortunately, I don't know exactly how to do this, because I think the biggest factor is psychological. People who have become comfortable with traditional business environments are used to hearing only what they need to hear. Yes--this includes techies, many of whom expect to think only about their particular domain. They become anxious or confused when they get something that doesn't directly apply to them. They need to learn that 1. skimming this email can be valuable, because they will learn more about related activities in the company, and discover unexpected ways in which they can advise or contribute; and 2. deleting or filing messages without reading them can be ok.

    Has anyone seen an "email skills" approach that worked?

  • Gartner recommended that managers train employees to use e-mail more efficiently, including using distribution lists with caution by sending e-mail to only those who need the information or avoid sending needless responses, such as "I'm with you 100 percent" or "Glad to be of help."

    And with their usual zeal, American CEO's decide that politeness is a waste of productivity, deciding en masse that it must be rooted out to get a nice 2% more time out of their employees' workday.

  • I posted this before in a previous discussion about spam, thought it would be relevant here.

    I have a little Perl program that does all of my filtering based on rules in a block file. Bascially, if the mail is not directly sent to me, or it's not in my block/pass list, then it gets dumped into a "potential-spam" folder (you can just send it to /dev/null if ya want.)

    Email me if you have any problems with it, or have questions.


  • You can use it, hack it to pieces, whatever. I guess that falls under the premise of GPL so I'll update it to reflect that.

    The problem with using the JunkBuster, is that spammers usually use "borrowed" SMTP servers and very rarely link themselves back to a domain.

    As for fetchmail...I'm not sure...anyone?

  • by clare-ents ( 153285 ) on Friday April 20, 2001 @07:22AM (#277112) Homepage
    Email massively improves productivity.

    Most middle managers spend all day emailling their friends and contracting email viruses rather than irritating the socks off the engineers in extremely long boring meetings.

    Anything that takes up manager time is bound to improved productivity.
  • by Saint Aardvark ( 159009 ) on Friday April 20, 2001 @07:07AM (#277114) Homepage Journal
    I work at a small/mid-sized ISP, and one of my jobs is to keep an eye on the procmail filter we run to try and catch spam. It staggers me how much we catch: right now we've got about 8000 messages -- *31 megs* -- that we've caught in maybe three days (ands that's just the ones we can catch w/o collateral damage).

    A lot of our customer's are in Canada's Bible Belt (Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission -- British Columbia), and let me tell you: you haven't heard moral outrage until you've heard an offended Xtian mother complain about receiving Hot Slippery Teens in her mailbox...

  • by AntiPasto ( 168263 ) on Friday April 20, 2001 @06:52AM (#277118) Journal
    ...worked on the box at the end of my driveway.


  • by L Fitzgerald Sjoberg ( 171091 ) on Friday April 20, 2001 @07:07AM (#277119) Homepage

    We, the upper management of eSourceTec Inc., have discovered that employees have been wasting valuable time dealing with unnecessary e-mail. Here are the steps we are taking to eliminate this waste of time and energy:

    1. All employees will be required to attend a series of company meetings on the subject of "Eliminating Unnecessary E-mail."

    2. Following these meetings, employees will be required to attend department specific "E-Mail Task Force" meetings to come up with specific strategies for eliminating unnecessary e-mail.

    3. Each day, employees will be required to send e-mail to their managers summarizing the amount and type of e-mail they have sent that day, flagging any e-mail exchanges that they feel could have been shortened or eliminated.

    4. On a weekly basis, managers will have a one-on-one session with each employee in which they discuss how well e-mail strategies have been implemented, and what new strategies might be employed in the elimination of unnecessary e-mail.

    We feel confident that these steps will drastically reduce the amount of time spent each day on pointless and unnecessary tasks, and lead our company into new strata of efficiency.

    D. R. Baskerville
    Vice-President, Attention Allocation Resources

  • But then, I'm a very quick reader in general.

    When reading email, I also tend to skimread first and then dig deeper for any relevant details. And I'm somewhat used to automatically filtering out anything irrelevant, like re-re-re-quoted material. What does slow me down when reading email is that it's often plagued by errors in spelling, grammar and even basic punctuation.

    I'm also not terribly long-winded when I myself send out email. I make sure my spelling is correct - again, I'm fortunate in this regard as far as natural skills are concerned. I think that overall, each second extra spent when composing an email saves at least two seconds at the recipient's end.

    Plenty of jobs require you to have good communications skills, and "telephone skills" are often cited as necessary when a job is advertised. I wonder when "email skills" (you could even say "written word skills"!) will receive as high a priority?

  • There is this spam filter list [] that some guy put together for Outlook. [Warning, the webpage is pretty hideous]

    All said, the file is in text file format and is a simple list of spammer addresses, which I am sure someone could convert/import to the format needed.

    The nice thing is that people send him the names of spammers. And so it is constantly updated.

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [] comic strip

  • A bill is a *proposed* law - it is not a law in itself.

    This one was never signed into law. You can read more about it at [].

    Also, the following interesting discussion was posted here []:

    I opened a piece of Spam mail this morning and got this:

    Under Bill s.1618 Title III passed by the 105th U.S. Congress this mail cannot be considered Spam as long as we include contact information and removal instructions for removing you from our mailing list. To be removed from our mailing list, reply with REMOVE in the subject heading and your email address in the body, and include complete address and/or domain to be removed. <<

    Have you received an email with one of these statements yet?

    Let me see if I can translate it for you.

    We are going to send you a ton of email whether you like it or not. Get off our backs. If you don't like it, get yourself off our lists.<<

    Does that sound about right?

    Well then! I guess I'd better read it. The information contained herein must be of some importance since the information has the A-OK under federal law.

    Wait. Federal law?

    If I remember my Saturday morning School House Rock episode correctly, for something to become a law, it has to be passed by both the House AND the Senate plus a really important person has to sign it.

    It must be a law then, right? The Spammers are using it. They wouldn't lie, would they?

    It would seem that enough time has passed for the president to sign the bill into law. It's been two years. We're in the 107th Congress now. I've never heard of a law allowing people to Spam me.

    Hey - wait a minute. Maybe there never was a Bill S1618. I mean, it's not a law.


    There was a bill S1618 back in 1998. It passed by a 99-0 voice vote. It's called the "Anti-Slamming Amendments Act". There was even a House of Representatives equal to it, HR3888. It also passed.

    The Senate version of the bill stated that S1618 was, "To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to improve the protection of consumers against `slamming' by telecommunications carriers, and for other purposes."

    Hey! Wait a minute.


    Is the Congress a bunch of really poor me?

    I thought this was a bill about Spamming.

    Well, it is. It's just not the main push of the bill. You don't get to "Spamming" until title three. It's right in there between "Switchless Resellers" and "Miscellaneous Provisions". The Spamming section is an amendment to the amendment. There were actually four versions of bill S1618. The Spamming section didn't show up until the third incarnation. (Source: )

    But still, it was passed. It was passed containing the Spamming amendment so it's on the books so we all have to receive the Spam emails sent to us by people we don't even know as long as the Spammers follow S1618 Title III outlined below:



    (a) INFORMATION TO BE INCLUDED IN TRANSMISSIONS- (1) IN GENERAL- A person who transmits an unsolicited commercial electronic mail message shall cause to appear in each such electronic mail message the information specified in paragraph (2). (2) COVERED INFORMATION- The following information shall appear at the beginning of the body of an unsolicited commercial electronic mail message under paragraph (1): (A) The name, physical address, electronic mail address, and telephone number of the person who initiates transmission of the message. (B) The name, physical address, electronic mail address, and telephone number of the person who created the content of the message, if different from the information under subparagraph (A). (C) A statement that further transmissions of unsolicited commercial electronic mail to the recipient by the person who initiates transmission of the message may be stopped at no cost to the recipient by sending a reply to the originating electronic mail address with the word `remove' in the subject line. (b) ROUTING INFORMATION- All Internet routing information contained within or accompanying an electronic mail message described in subsection (a) must be accurate, valid according to the prevailing standards for Internet protocols, and accurately reflect message routing. (c) EFFECTIVE DATE- The requirements in this section shall take effect 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act.

    In other words, include the paragraph that started off this newsletter and offer a viable method to getting your name off of the Spammer's list. Do that, and you can Spam away because technically what you're sending cannot be considered Spam.

    This sounds too bad to be true.

    Great! Just great! Now I have to allow a ton of Spam to come flying through my front door and I have to read it all because the Spammers have the power of the U.S. Government behind them. It just cheeses me off. I

    Wait. What's this?

    S1618 died in committee?

    That means that it's null and void? It's dead? It doesn't have any power?

    Oh. The Spammer never bothered to tell me that.

    Never mind.

    I'll just go delete that piece of mail.

    (The death of S1618 in committee: Source: )

    That's that. Thanks for reading.

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [] comic strip

  • My whole damn day is spent emailing!
  • In the past 10 years as an internet user I've gone trough many aspects of the use of internet. Regardless, I deal with some 600 emails a day and find time for my regular activities in between. Of course the worst things always is coming back from vacation and catching up with the backlog of emails that built up when you were out. That always seems to take a day. Still I would claim email, on average doesn't take more then 10% of my time these days.

    Anyway, I think there is a method to successful email management:
    1. use filters (server based filtering like procmail works best but use whatever you can get your hands on.)
    2. clean and review your filters regularly (otherwise you will end up filtering something you wanted to keep around.)
    3. do not check out the spam you get (this usually just solicits more spam.)
    4. check your mail regularly (it's better to spend 5 times 5 minutes a day reading/replying then spending an hour. This will help you stay focussed.)
    5. Be critical (after the 5th email with a guy, take the phone and end the discussion that way.)
    6. Once a month, throw the old trash out. (Keeping your mail spools to reasonable size will improve your chances of finding relevant information in it!)
    7. If you're on a mailing list you'd like to get off: unsubscribe (try it, it usually works.)
    8. Be carefull who you give your email address to.

    Happy mailing!

  • by mblase ( 200735 ) on Friday April 20, 2001 @07:57AM (#277140)
    The survey, which asked workers about their e-mail and instant messaging habits, found that 34 percent of the internal business e-mail they receive is unnecessary. The survey also said that only 27 percent of the e-mail that workers receive demands their immediate attention.

    Most employees I know would say that about 50% of the meetings they attend are unnecessary, and that only 10% of the discussions I hear in meetings demand any of my attention at all. Any dissenting opinions? No?

    E-mail is a huge advantage, then, in that it gives me the power to delete memos and announcements that aren't important to me in just a few seconds, instead of having to throw away dead trees or walk in and out of useless meetings that do the same.

    I say, viva la company e-mail. We'll always have to deal with useless intra-office crap, but at least with e-mail we can deal with it in the most efficient and least wasteful way possible (well, unless you're the network administrator).

  • Most people hide behind e-mail and voice mail.

    This is an interesting statement and I really don't see how that is a reasonable statement. If someone sends an email it is FROM THEM. If it says "You are an asshole" then they are being 100% forthright and truthful. Perhaps they wouldn't say this face to face for whatever reason (which are multiple, including often saving face for the recipient), however hiding is not taking action, and conveying the information is anything but. Let me put this into a sociological context: I have a friend who is a real social butterfly, and he has particular skills that allow him to dominate conversations (Toastmasters, blah blah blah), giving him the upper hand regardless of his actual technical knowledge. It is his belief that what we're doing here (conversing via a public board) is unnatural and perverse, and it's the domain of only the lowest of people. This medium marginalizes his skills so it offends him greatly. You see to him people should only discuss things over a snifter of brandy at the local club, and anything but just isn't right.

    Most office communication should be done face to face or over the phone, not e-mail. Really important issues are *always* communicated in person.

    I totally, absolutely, and positively disagree. I have found by professional experience, and this isn't 100% so don't take it as an offense, that the people who have a distaste for email and like to take things "face to face" are people with limited technical skills trying to remorah off of coworkers, people who are old school and have never adapted to technology, or bullshitters. Bullshitters are the kind of people who will do anything and everything to maintain deniability (and you reference this : Perhaps just maybe people want a paper trail because of historical reality jading them for discussing this with people?). I work in the software field and the number of times that particular people have called for face to face meetings to discuss technical issues blows me away. "Uh, why did you use a critical section on line 745?" Gee, I could give you an answer in 2 minutes if I was sitting at my desk and you sent me an email, however sitting here in a conference room talking about this "important" issue regarding software I wrote months ago I can't give a valid answer. Maybe we should call in some managers and more coworkers to ensure that the time wastage is at it's peak, and then afterwards we can all file out certain that we've ACHIEVED something, when in reality we've achieved nothing.

    Another interesting thing you say is that since two people in cubicle's are near each other, communications should be verbal. Guess what : That presentation you are working on might be super duper important to you, but maybe, just maybe (and you really have to step back and take a "I am not the center of the universe" perspective to see this) it isn't my top priority right now. Maybe I'm in the middle of debugging some code. Maybe I'm writing a document. By wallowing over and intruding into my work you are imposing your priorities on me. That is the purpose of emails. Got a simple question? EMAIL IT.

  • But save your troll mods for the M$ apologists ;)

    M$ would have gotten the joke back in 1978 [] . . .

  • [] is my choice, and it works. I never give out a real e-mail address anymore to anyone I don't know, and compared to my previous addresses I've had, I get virtually NO spam.

    There is a heaven on earth...

    Mr. Ska

    I slit a sheet
    A sheet I slit

  • sneakemail does the same thing, but you dont need a domain
  • Employees waste nearly an hour a day managing work e-mails, according to a new survey.

    But wait:
    workers spend an average of 49 minutes per day managing e-mail....34 percent of the internal business e-mail they receive is unnecessary

    Um, the reporter (or maybe it's the actual Gartner people) needs to take a remedial math class. 34% times 49 minutes is 17 minutes per day, not remotely "nearly an hour". Presumably the other time spent managing e-mail is productive. I know plenty of people who waste more than 17 minutes a day smoking or chatting by the water cooler or exchanging pleasantries on the phone or reading the sports section in the men's room. What's the big deal here?

    Yes, some people use e-mail really inefficiently. I think all managers should train employees two fundamental principles of e-mail etiquette:

    • Never use Reply to All when a reply to the sender alone would do.
    • Use informative subject lines so people can see instantly whether your message requires immediate attention or not.

    I expect that those two guidelines alone would eliminate 90%+ of the "wasted" time.

  • Aw, c'mon Mr. Moderator sir, this was not a troll. Off-topic, yes. Over the heads of many readers, maybe. Not quite funny enough to get a +1 mod, maybe. But save your troll mods for the M$ apologists ;)
  • I know the feeling. I still have my original very first e-mail box. It got it's first spam about 2 years ago after 4 years of being spam free. Now it's 90% spam. It was only used for close family and nothing else. I now have to filter by rejecting all except what's in my address book. Still my dial up takes too long to find the ligit mail and toss the rest. It was probably found by guessing as it is just a very common name@server. I don't have cryptic stuff in the name as I thought it would be nice to have a very simple box using my first name. I got it when the ISP first started so I got my choice of names. My next valid box will be spam@server. I have a new ISP.
  • Would it be a waste of time to set up 2 mail servers in a company? One would be for internal communications and the other one for internet mail only (with a block rejecting stuff from the same company to prevent it being used for internal mail). I think this could be used to manage spam and keep internal mail from being abused as policies could be set up on the internal mail and MAPS could be used for external mail. I would vote for it. It would keep my official business box from being plugged up.
  • by unformed ( 225214 ) on Friday April 20, 2001 @06:57AM (#277163)
    Having lots of mail is extremely useful on the job. For example, at my last job, my schedule would go like this:

    12:00 Get to work (I have classes, so I was allowed to be late) drop my cds in my office, turn on my computer
    12:15 Go on break with friends, recount last days events
    12:45 Go back to office, check mail
    1:15 Go on break, talk about email and office rumors
    1:45 Go back to office and eat lunch
    2:15 Cigarrette break
    2:45 Reread mail to make sure I didn't miss anything
    3:15 Look for work
    3:30 Cigarrette break
    3:45 Try to find a manager to get work to do
    4:15 Found manager, got work
    4:30 Break
    4:45 Begin working
    5:00 Leave unfinished work for tomorrow
    5:15 Break
    5:45 Relax
    6:15 Read email sent today
    6:45 Turn off computer
    7:00 Break
    7:45 Go home

    If it wasn't for email, I would've had to actually work
  • Much of the useless email is not pesonal correspondence as much as it is a bulletin announcement. In one group I worked in we set up a news server for this type of thing. We'd subscribe to topics we needed or wanted to monitor. It eliminated hundreds of copies of email each week.

    The office email systems need to provide an easy, alternate interface to allow people to set up such bulletin boards/news groups within their organization, perhaps even setting up personal or arbitrary group posting areas. It would eliminate mass mailing and message bloat that comes with forwarding.
  • The bill was never passed by the U.S. Congress:

    U.S. Senate Bill 1618, an Anti-slamming Amendments Act, contained a Section 301, relating to transmissions of unsolicited commercial electronic mail. S.1618 was approved by the U.S. Senate on May 12, 1998. It was then referred to the House Committee on Commerce on October 21, 1998. The Bill DIED in committee and was never passed into law by the 105th Congress. Nor has the 106th Congress passed anything similar at this time.

    -- htm []

    More information on the bill: s1618.html []

    Google Search []

    Also: DON'T REPLY TO THE SPAMMERS "REMOVE" ADDRESSES. "Remove" addresses are almost always just a drop box to confirm the validity of your email address so they know whom to spam next time.

    ...I am the Raxis.

  • I always cringe a little when I hear a client (usually male) say that he won't give users email at the desktop because "it will waste too much time." Usually, these are older business owners/managers who are operating from a time-clock paradigm of what it means to "work." These are the same people who complain if someone talks to coworkers at the water cooler.

    More and more, businesses are realizing the importance of the informal networks within a company (as opposed to the formal org chart.) As stated in The Cluetrain Manifesto, business is conversation, both within the company and between company and its customers. Email is the killer app for the Internet because it facilitates these conversations. Just as in real life, not all conversations are especially useful. But that's okay. You get clues about who people are and how they like to communicate, even if the substance of the message isn't on target.

    I'll grant that anything can be abused, including time at the water cooler. Some email netiquette would go a long way to reducing the problem. But having said that, I think that on balance, letting people be people and communicate like people may seem to be wasting time, but it's not really. It's building a community.

  • Darn, I'm out of mod points. This is very funny -- and unfortunately, I'm sure some corporations are actually putting out memos much like this. Yes, I spend an hour a day on e-mail; 50 minutes of that is dealing with real company business. If those people had to track me down on the phone or come over to my desk (1) I wouldn't get much else done between the interruptions, and (2) they'd be wasting many hours, because either my phone would be busy, there'd be a line forming at my desk, or I'd be off at someone else's desk waiting for him or her to get off the phone.
  • True, sometimes. We used to have a corporate VP whose memos sounded worse than an impromptu Bush speech. The top (and only) MIS guy here finally printed one out, edited it with blue and red pencil for spelling, grammar, and nonsense, and posted it on his office door. He didn't know the VP was about to fly up here for a visit...

    Remarkably, that VP is long gone, and the MIS guy is still here. 8-)
  • >>For some reason there never seems to be a lack of open relays.

    I happen to agree with you. I get hit by this one spammer every tuseday for the past 2+ years. The e-mail style is always the same. What I have been doing every tuseday is tracing the e-mail to the open relay and then send an e-mail & call to the sytem operator. It's worked very well. And system operators are very friendly about this.

    My question is. Is there a way that I could run a scan to find these open relays. I would love to take a segment of the internet and run the scan and issue an advisiory to the system operators. I bet I could check a few thousand IP addresses per week. Maybe I could even form a group that does different sections.

    any advise is welcome


    spambait e-mail
    my web site hip-hop news
    please help me make it better
  • Hah! You're telling me! I write code all day. My job would be impossible without computers!
  • You know, with only a little effort, you could probably rig a mailbox that sorts out mail by size and weight. Anything that feels like an ad gets dumped into a shredder, and the shredded paper pours out into the recycling bin sitting in the driveway next to the mailbox...
  • "Or you could describe a riculously impossible to implement Rube Goldberg device for karma whore points!"

    Nah, if you make it too complicated, you'll get that much more pissed when those "damned kids" run over your mailbox again. :) Unless you work in a Stinger or a TOW missile into the design somehow...

    Nah. If you go down that road, you'll end up with ED-209 as your mailbox. I can see Halloween now...

    This mailbox is owned and operated by the federal government. You have ten seconds to drop the eggs and step away from the premises.
    On the flip side, your local mailman/lady would be too scared to put ads in your mailbox, or bills for that matter...
  • The big guy at the top has a stupid idea. He has a PC at his desk. He sends the idea via email to his subordinates. They spawn it to the underlings beneath who do the same ,,,etc. It finally reaches everyone in the corporation and along the way has been BCC and re-worded numerous times. Comments like AWESOME, FANTASTIC, WE GOTT DO THIS, ad nauseum have been added via kiss-ass mode guppies and bimbo "take my body" chicklets til its 10 times its previous size. Hours even days of productivity are wasted and the big guy or whoever thinks he has the importance to actually make a decison has even forgotten the idea and if someone brings it up he kills it as stupid. More emails are generated as a result. The game continues for weeks with more interspersed stupid email brainfarts. Only the few souls in IT have no time to even open their mail actually do some productive work and keep the organization running. The rest of the drones are useless except to croon and curry favor with the upperlings up the food chain. This is part of the reason for the dotcom scenario and why it burst and why it will be back. Solution: Remove or render useless the PC on the desk of the upperling/s. Most useless dorks will then transfer out or quit in confusion or fear of being found out. This WILL NOT HAPPEN. Lets talk about American High..duhhhhhh wat dat?
  • I have never felt overwhelmed by e-mail.
    1. I take care to write only meaningful e-mails. And only when a phone call or voicemail won't suffice.
    2. Don't CC/BCC people unless they *need* to be.
    3. If it's important - call first, then briefly summarize via e-mail to prevent any confusion.
    4. Ignore e-mail that is irrelivant
    5. If I ignore something important, they'll call me or talk to me in person. Eventually they will learn to write better e-mail if they want me to read it.

  • by sllort ( 442574 ) on Friday April 20, 2001 @07:01AM (#277207) Homepage Journal
    Let's eliminate email, so that all those employees will instead spend that nearly an hour a day talking to the people they used to email!!

    We've got MBA's and we're brilliant!!!

    Why do those engineers think they have to communicate with each other to write code? Silly engineers. We should keystroke monitor them to see how much code they're writing per minute, and just pay them per line of code. God it's great to be a middle manager!

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.