Physician, Heal Thyself!

If Apple wants to stop spam, it can start by policing itself!

by David Lang (Posted: 8/20/02)

Spammers, beware. Apple Computer has you in its sights!

In it's latest update to OS X, affectionately known as "Jaguar," Apple is promising to reduce the amount of unsolicited e-mail we receive through something called "adaptive latent semantic analysis." Sounds impressive, huh? Basically, this technology is supposed to learn by example what kinds of e-mail messages we consider to be junk, a technique which (hopefully) promises to be much more effective and hassle-free than any current filtering system.

As someone who despises junk e-mail, I applaud Apple's engineering efforts and am keeping my fingers crossed that Jaguar will largely deliver on its promise of making junk e-mail a thing of the past. However, I can think of an even better way that Apple can reduce the amount of junk e-mail I receive: it can stop SENDING it!

Ever since Apple announced its plan to convert its wildly popular iTools services into a subscription-based suite of services known as .mac, it has been bombarding my two e-mail addresses with elaborate html e-mails telling me why I should be happy to purchase .mac. Technically, I suppose this doesn't truly qualify as spam since I probably checked a box somewhere saying it was okay for Apple to send me occasional e-mail notices of special offers, but c'mon! Do I really need to be reminded once or twice a week that I must soon pay up or lose what was previously billed as a value-adding feature of the Mac operating system?

I know that Apple has every right to begin charging for services which it cannot afford to continue offering for free, and while I may not like it, I am grudgingly willing to accept it. I now have less than a month to decide whether I want to pay up or opt out, and I'd like to be able to consider that question in peace, without being pestered with Apple-generated spam. So while I'm eager to try out Jaguar's new spam-fighting features, I'd like to respectfully request that Apple resist the temptation to send unsolicited advertisements for .mac, lest it be guilty of paying too much attention to the speck of dust in the eyes of those cash-laden Nigerian officials and herbal viagra vendors, while ignoring altogether the plank in its own!

David Lang is CMUG's Content Editor. David works as a developer of Accordance Bible Software, and lives in Maitland, Florida with his wife and four children.