Nobody likes spam. I’m not talked about the canned meat product, although you could make a good case there as well.

Spam is any unwanted, uninvited and unsolicited solicitation that pops up in your e-mail inbox. Usually these are bulk mailings with obvious sales pitches or nondescript subject lines, although some may appear to be tailored to you, addressing you personally. I find the personal approach considerably more chafing because it means one of the Web sites I have given personal information to has sold me out.

Between April 10 and April 13, I received more than 70 spams in my Hotmail account. I do put blocks on every piece of spam I receive, to the point where I’ve hit my limit for blocks allowed by Hotmail, and yet they keep on coming.

"Stop Searching and Start Earning Immediately"

"Order Viagra, Phentermine, and Other Drugs…"

"Increase your earning potential online!"


"Find out who your secret admirer is"

"Lose weight for free? No Way!

"Free Cell Phone"

"Reverse the Aging Process"

"Build Your Dream Car!"

I get offers for university diplomas, pleas from charities I’ve never heard of, one time deals on everything from cars to vitamins to fine wine, invitations to check out hot co-ed dorm action, and scads of propositions to help me consolidate my debt. It could all fall neatly under the heading "Crap."

Hotmail offers four different junk mail filter levels, from "Off" to "Exclusive." Exclusive removes mail from all but pre-approved senders.

Mine is set on high, which means Hotmail detects bulk mail and reroutes it to a special junk mail folder that is routinely cleaned out.

Yet 70 messages still made it through in three days, which means the spammers have found a way to send an e-mail so it can’t be identified as bulk.

A friend of mine uses Yahoo’s online e-mail service, and he claims to get a fraction as much spam as I do. At the same time he’s on the Internet half as much, and has never given out his name, address, or credit card number, and has yet to subscribe to any Web sites.

I don’t get unwanted e-mails at my work address or through my Telus account, but only through my Web accessible account, which means these service providers have found a way to screen for spam. So at least I get some reprieve.

I still need my Hotmail account because I need to be able to access some e-mail remotely, and because I use it to keep in touch with my friends. It would be a huge inconvenience to write everybody who has that address and tell them it has changed. All right, so I’m lazy.

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