One Aging Geek

Friday, July 21, 2006

Gmail amazing shrinking spam folder

I've had a gmail account for a while now and after getting acquainted with it I have moved all my personal mail to it. I have a vanity domain that I've used for several years that I configured to forward to the gmail account. I did this after gmail started offering name spoofing so that my return address would remain as my vanity domain.

Of course having a long used email address meant I immediately had a significant spam load. Gmail's spam filters worked pretty well and the 100 or so spams a day were all going to the spam folder. Like anyone with sense, as I was learning to trust Gmail, I would check on the contents of the spam folder every day or two. But I recently stopped bothering. Gmail automatically deletes spam that arrived more than 30 days ago and the spam folder contents don't count towards the space limit.

So here's the odd thing. It's been about two, maybe three months since I stopped examining and deleting the spam. For the previous several months, perhaps year, that I used gmail I was at a pretty steady diet of 100 spams a day. Plus or minus maybe ten percent. And for the first month I saw the spam box build up to around the 3,000 count that I expected. But for the last month, the total spam count sitting in the spam folder has been steadily shrinking.

Looking into the spam folder I see that a month ago there are about ... 100 spams per day. But over the last few days the number is under twenty per day.

Not that I'm complaining or anything but ... where has all the spam gone? I can think of several possible explanations:

  1. The ecomonic model that supported spam has change sufficiently that the amount of spam on the network really is going down. Doesn't jibe with other articles I see that list total spam as the lion's share of all email on the 'net.
  2. Gmail has instituted some global "front door" filters that stops more spam before it gets to my inbox.
  3. Gmail learns my spam by my leaving it in the spam folder instead of deleting it and then filters more before storing it.
  4. Lack of response from my email address is causing that address to fall off the spammers' lists.
But of course, writing about things causes me to think about them more. And there is another possibility. I used to have a "catch all" forwarder on my vanity domain. So any random email address at the domain would get forwarded to my real address. Some time back I gave that up as a bad idea and now only forward selected addresses. So I guess that's the real story. Eighty percent of the spam I was getting was being sent to addresses that were guessed or simply made up.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Semi weekly house update

Been a busy few days at the geek household.

The cabinets went in last Saturday, they look gorgeous. While the cabinet installers did an entire kitchen installation I managed to fit and install the three base cabinets in the library.

Getting the kitchen cabinets in let us move the wine chiller into it's cubby (sans countertop still). Discovered that I had bunged up the back end of the chiller in the process of moving it out of the kitchen. I must have slid it off the tile and caught the whole weight on the shell instead of the feet. Cosmetic only and it will be concealed but annoying.

With the cabinets in, it was time to move all the downstairs furniture onto the tile floor (foyer, kitchen and breakfast area) so that the areas that are getting wood were clear for the installers. That involved some creative stacking. Some stuff had to go upstairs or into the garage. The plasma TV and digital cable box/DVR are offline for the duration. Man, there are a lot of commercials in TV programs!

Monday morning I escaped for a short business trip to Nashville. Total WOFTAM but getting out of the chaos had a certain appeal. I'm back now. While I was gone, Mrs. Geek dealt with details with the wood installer. Two rooms, the library and dining room have the wood installed but no trim. They also made a start on the big living room. Schedule is for all the wood and trim to be done by Friday.

Except, that is, the library. The wood and threshold will be done but no shoe molding. I couldn't match the baseboard to go across in front of the built in cabinets so I ripped it all out. New baseboards will be a DIY project. The wood guy included a hand stained cherry shoe molding in his quote so he'll leave me pieces for that room to install myself. Mrs. Geek wants crown molding in that room, too, so one big molding project is in my future.

Also in the last few days, Mrs. Geek slaved away doing the faux plaster texture and painting in the powder room. I haven't seen the results of that because we can't cross the partially installed wood floor.

Other stuff done: new dishwasher arrived and is hooked up to water supply but, since there is no sink or disposal, that's as far as it goes for now. New microwave is installed and usable. The old gas range went off to a new home courtesy of the microwave installer. I don't really care if he took it to the local flea market and sold it. We were going to push it to the curb for the sin of being the wrong color. So anything that keeps it out of a landfill is a plus for me.

Turns out the granite place released our slabs but didn't actually sell them. Our stone and tile guy came by to make measurements Monday. He took the new sink with him so the sink-shaped hole in the granite will match the sink. Probably a couple of weeks to fabricate the countertops out of the granite.

Then there will be lots of shimming and fitting to get the countertops installed. Part of the pony wall that separates the kitchen from the breakfast area was built right at the height of the cabinets. But we raised the cabinets a fraction of an inch by tiling the entire floor first and putting the cabinets on top of the tile (instead of them in on bare concrete and tiling around them). So the pony wall will have to be built up a bit. And of course it wasn't exactly level to begin with.

Probably some time this weekend we can actually start moving what furniture we have (the things that aren't at the upholstery shop) into the living room and dining room. Set up the hutch and unpack it. Kind of like moving into the house all over again.

Aside from the libary project, I also have to move the kitchen phone outlet. I keep trying to forget that. Got to get that done prior to the backsplash install!

Seems like we're only a couple of weeks or so from having all of the rooms in the house back in a usable state. If not exactly ready for the "grand opening". Still lots of painting. And the powder room to get back in working order. And the garage to deal with.

Friday, July 14, 2006

House progress

There will probably come a day when my life contains more than just remodeling the house so I might post something else here... but not yet.

The tile is done. Done. Finito. All laid in the correct direction and grouting all done. It looks great!

Last night we jammed all the furniture from the study/library and dining room into the breakfast area and living room so the wood floor installers could come pour leveller into the low spots in those two rooms. When we took the carpet up in the dining a couple of weeks ago we discovered there had already been some leveling done. There is about a 1-inch hump in the dining room that was probably worse before that leveling. The wood floor guys will work to minimize it but there's just going to be a little hump there. On Monday they'll come spread the moisture barrier onto the dining room and study floors. They also want to be able to level the floor in the living room but... I don't think we can put the entire floor's worth of furniture into the breakfast area.

Saturday the new cabinets will be installed in the kitchen. That starts that room back towards normalcy. At least the kitchen contents can once again come out of boxes and go into cabinets. But the granite place released the slabs we had put on hold so we're waiting for their next shipment. The tile and counter guy will be out Monday to measure for the counters. With that info and some granite in hand it will take a couple of weeks to shape the counters. Along with the counter install will be the undermount sink install including redoing the plumbing and new garbage disposal.

The big pink couch and a giant chair left to be reupholstered today. The new couch arrived yesterday. Once all the pieces come back from being upholstered I think that takes care of furniture.

Mrs. Geek is doing a plaster texture treatment in the powder room. When she's done with that we'll either have someone install the new sink or DIY. Shouldn't be a big deal either way. I'll put the toilet back in myself.

This weekend will be consumed with assembling and installing the cabinet bases that are going in the library. We want those in before the wood... just because. They're going to be permanent so no reason to have expensive wood floors under them. Also it simplifies our life a bit if the baseboards don't have to come up and be reinstalled on top of the wood floors. If I have time I'll also rip out the sill on the end window in the library and box in the area that will be a sort of window seat. We're finding that most of the inside trim is particle board. Easy to yank out at least. And if I have more time I'll be unpacking the boxes in the garage into the cabinets out there.

We're now at two weeks without a kitchen. It's kind of like living in a motel that has no restaurant, the lobby under construction, and the maid service on strike.

The general grubbiness level is going down as we get time to clean up stuff that got coated in dust from the tile removal. But the chaos level is still pretty high.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Three steps forward, one step back

The continuing saga of a house undergoing some minor remodeling...

Over the weekend, as I was installing the old kitchen cabinets in the garage, I kept looking at the kitchen tile. It wasn't laid square to the walls. There's a pony wall that separates the kitchen and living room. At one point it takes a 45 degree corner that echoes an angle in the exterior wall where the breakfast area "bays out". But a line from the corner of the pony wall to the "matching" corner of the exterior wall isn't square to the rest of the house. If the house was built a little more carefully that line probably would be square with the walls. But it isn't.

The tile had been laid with that off-square line as the baseline. So the whole floor was at about a 4 or 5 degrees to the walls. It took a couple of phone calls to the tile company owner to convince him that is how it was. It is not what he had told the crew chief. What he (and I) had wanted done was for the tile to be laid in a grid square to the walls. The last course of tiles were to be cut along a straight line snapped between the two off-kilter corners.

So today the tile in the kitchen came back up.

I'm working from the house so I can check up on it and all looks good this time around. Since the tile was only down for two days it came back up with little or no breakage. The noise around here is something. Got a guy with a grinder outside taking mortar off the back of tiles. And some occasional wet saw work as another guy fits tiles to edges and corners. Earlier there was also a little jackhammer device going that breaks the mortar loose without going into the foundation. There's four guys working on this so it's going in faster than last week when two were in the kitchen and two were in the foyer. Expecting tile laying to finish tomorrow and grout to go in on Wednesday.

Moved to the "done" column now are:

  • Final tiles in foyer (they had left a couple out at the door so we could get thru it if necessary).
  • Powder room tiled.
  • Old cabinets and countertop installed in garage (DIY). I've cut but not installed pegboard to form a back wall. It's going to be a nice workbench. And 9 feet of upper and lower cabinets will hold all the stuff now in boxes on the garage floor.
  • New kitchen sink purchased from Home Depot. This one may go back too. Lowe's has a nicer one that might work.
  • New kitchen faucet arrived (black, special order)
  • Installer has inventoried and checked the cabinets. One drawer front arrived with a big nick so he'll rush order that. Not a hold up for install, though.
  • Kitchen cabinet Install tentatively scheduled for Friday or Saturday depending on tile completion.
  • New microwave ordered. It's black. The old one was white. Wouldn't do.
  • Faucet for powder room purchased.
It will be nice someday to be able to walk into a hardware store without a list that comes to four to five hundred dollars.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Past the point of maximum chaos?

The remodeling is proceeding well. We hit the point of maximum chaos with the entire downstairs down to bare concrete floors and the kitchen and powder room stripped of all fixtures. Plus the tile out and a layer of powdered mortar all over the downstairs. Done:

  • Wine chiller arrived, mail order from the Beverage Factory. It's a little noiser than we'd have preferred, hoping that shoving it into it's cubby when that's done will muffle it.
  • Old cabinets and fixtures removed. This was about the only DIY part of the kitchen redo. I have neither the time nor the talent to do the kind of job I want done. Most of the old cabinets will go up in the garage, some went to a neighbor, one got destroyed in the removal, stripped screw heads were stronger than the cabinet. The sink base sans it's back went to the curb but disappeared before trash pickup as did the kitchen and powder room sinks.
  • Gave old microwave to a friend to replace her even older microwave
  • Electrical changes for wine chiller and for built-ins in the study
  • New cabinets arrived on schedule and are sitting in garage.
  • Old tile in kitchen, breakfast, foyer, and powder room was taken out yesterday.
  • Barstools arrived
  • Washing machine broke. After about 26 years it was time for a replace, not repair.
In progress:
  • New tile is going in. Foyer is done, most of breakfast area, some of kitchen. About half I'd estimate.
  • Bought and returned new sink. The 150lb black porcelain over cast iron looked great but we would have had to fill the base cabinet with bracing to hold it up. We'll go with a black resin sink and black faucet.
  • Much more painting accomplished.
  • Two chairs off being reupholstered
  • New couch arrived, will be delivered next week
  • New dishwasher will be delivered next week.
Still to go:
  • Clean up dust from tile removal (DIY)
  • Finish tile install. Laying, grouting.
  • Kitchen Cabinet install
  • Template build for the granite
  • Granite fabrication (shape etc)
  • Counter install
  • Dishwasher install
  • much more painting (DIY)
  • Study cabinets to assemble and paint (DIY), then build shelves to ceiling (DIY)
  • Old cabinets install in garage (DIY)
Ugh. I wish I hadn't made that last list. It's going to be a busy weekend.