Sunday, November 09, 2008

Dumping Pacific Internet

I wrote before about my frustration with Pacific Internet and how they had been black listed as a source of spam. My outbound emails were being blocked, and there didn't seem to be any interest on the part of the Company to do anything about it.

I decided to give up my account, though at the cost of many, many change of address emails and web site configuration sessions. Ironically, it is easier to send change of address letters by snail mail than it is to find and change one's address on all the subscriptions and web sites that pile up over the years.

One side effect of stopping my account has been the massive drop in the amount of spam mail I receive. On a typical day, I would get 50-75 emails, of which 90% were spam. I have been using a very powerful and free spam filter called SpamBayes,
which was handling the traffic well, so I didn't really notice the problem.

Now however, the time to download email is significantly shorter, and I can safely check email on my phone without being flooded with crap.

It is incredible to me that Pacific Internet would allow itself to fall so low. They are an international pariah ISP and provide lousy customer service by failing to filter spam at the gateway. Even from a business point of view, it would be cheaper to dump the spam rather than store and forward it to subscribers.

Goodbye and good riddance.

Book Recommendation - Halting State

What are they putting in the water in Scotland?

For some reason I have not been able to discover, some of the best science fiction writing is coming out of Scotland these days. Wikipedia lists 19 writers, although I doubt most people would know Arthur Conan Doyle as a science fiction writer.

Whatever the cause, Charles Stross is writing extraordinary fiction that challenges, frightens, and provokes the reader. Like others before him, he takes societal trends and technologies that exist today and projects them into a future that is recognizable but definitely uncomfortable.

His latest book, "Halting State" is liberally strewn with Scottish words and geek speak, which can be difficult at times if you are unfamiliar with the vocabulary. It is worth persevering however, as the reward is a mind-bending journey through crime, virtual worlds, technology that changes laundry, and conspiracies, all wrapped in a good thriller.

Book Recommendation - Manhattan Nocturne

I have recently "discovered" an author whose books are really quite wonderful.

Colin Harrison
combines the standard elements of detective and mystery stories with absolutely riveting prose description. His muse is New York City, and while some of the plots have holes you could drive a truck through, all is forgiven when one is transported into the world he creates.

Picador is re-releasing Harrison's works, and so most of the back catalog is available. My favorite to date: Manhattan Nocturne.

His most recent effort, The Finder, is also well worth the read.