Readers may have noticed that because of an e-mail glitch, last week's CC-Tips appeared twice. My apologies, but unfortunately the problem was out of my hands.
You can thank spammers for the current state of e-mail confusion. In fact, you can thank them by not EVER buying anything advertised via unsolicited e-mail (UCE) otherwise known as spam. The problem is that if even one person buys their garbage it remains profitable to advertise via UCE because it costs the spammer almost nothing to send it out.
However the more insidious way spam affects all of us is in the great lengths Internet Service Providers now have to go through to keep the endless stream of garbage e-mail from annoying their customers. Now we have the concept of the "blacklist." Unfortunately, if your mail server is on the same computer as a spammer, you can be blacklisted. (Guilt by association.) This happened to us. Some outgoing mail started bouncing when we sent to certain domains because our old mail server ended up on a secondary blacklist.
So we had our hosting company switch our mail server to a different computer. The new mail server is password protected, so only authorized (read: real) e-mail can go through. This sounds like a good thing, but it isn't playing nice with my dial up connection. Sometimes it just doesn't work. So I have tried running the outgoing mail through my dial up server. Except sometimes *that* doesn't work either. Or sometimes it takes FIVE days to get to its destination because the servers are overloaded.
In any case, my short range solution is to just use James' dial up connection, which works with our new mail server. I'm not sure why, but it does. Of course, his connection doesn't let me send large attachments. So at the moment we have two sort of iffy dial-up accounts and endless e-mail frustration.
Yet again, the idea of chucking dial up completely and switching to satellite connections is looking mighty fine. Clearly, it is time to start playing the lottery again.