AOL Feedback Loop … Love/Hate.

I just received an AOL SCOMP feedback loop email a few minutes ago. Well, actually I received several hundred of them, which happens all day long, but one in particular stands out:

To: abuseaddressATchuck’ (note, this address is not real)
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 14:50:14 EST
Subject: Email Feedback Report for IP XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX
X-Loop: scomp

This is an email abuse report for an email message received from IP address XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX on Fri, 17 Nov 2006 10:50:38 -0500

Note the two timestamps. Today is Tuesday, November 20, 2007. The mail in question being reported as spam was sent …


I’ve grown accustomed to a certain amount of lag in AOL’s feedback loop, but I never would have expected it to grow to OVER A YEAR!

Mind you there is a lot to love about this system. Carl & his crew built a wonderful tool for netops to monitor-by-reflection what is going out of our networks… but the user-generated nature of it tends to rear its head in ugly ways. Mostly it serves us in locating the occasional web forms that are being exploited by spammers, which was the case in the above example. But the firehose of legitimate mail being tagged by AOL users as spam far outweighs the trickle of actual tinned-meat smelling stuff. Mailing lists, ecommerce confirmation emails, morons who forward *everything* (I eventually will hunt every one of them down and .. sigh), and honest-to-goodness personal correspondence makes up 99.999% of the feedback loop from AOL. It truly provides insight into the feeble mind of most AOL users.

We have setup a mail filtering system that files away all the vast majority of legit stuff based on sender, and it leaves the oddball stuff for human parsing. This one above ended up for me to parse, and I just had to say something about it in public.

So there, I have.

Miss January 2006

Winter is just around the corner.

Roger called me yesterday looking for a high-res copy of a photograph for his 2008 calendar. Next years contribution will not be a photo of my car (though he is holding one in reserve in case he can not contact an owner for permission to use his photo) but will instead be a car I photographed from the passenger seat of my car. Well, technically I was hanging out the passenger DOOR of my car but that is a mere detail. 😉

Anyway it reminded me of my car’s FIRST calendar appearance, as “Miss January” of 2006. I love this photo.

To those that do not know the story it was taken on Super Bowl Sunday of 2004. I had just replaced the leaking cam cover gaskets on the car and took it for a test drive up the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River near my house. This spot below Whitehorse Mountain is about 12 miles from my house and a convenient spot to turn around. The view isn’t bad either. I stopped here to check for leaks, and sure enough found one and tightened up the acorn nuts on the cam cover just a wee bit. Sharp eyed observers will note the drops of oil on the road from my (then)leaking engine. I then closed the bonnet and took some photos.

The original photos posted upon my return home can be found here. The weather looks ominous, but it was actually a “nice” day by Seattle area standards for winter time.