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Spambayes anti-spam filter shows promising signs

Review The Outlook is bright
Sat May 22 2004, 20:37
IF YOU USE an Outlook email client and you're plagued with spam, like the INQ is, it might well be worth your while taking a look at SpamBayes, as we recently have.

The software was recommended to us by our web wizards at Xclaimprojects, and after using it for around a week, we think it's a pretty good answer to a huge problem for INQ hacks.

While you can always bung a filter on the server, we prefer to get our spam, not because we're masochists, but because there's occasionally news in there - whether it's a phishing expedition or a new help us relieve you of your excess cash scam.

As well as an Outlook add-in version, SpamBayes also offers software for Unix/Linux but not yet for email programs for the Mac, although its server app works with Mac OS X and Mac OS 9.

The software tries to mark email that arrives in Outlook as spam, as good email, or messages it's unsure of.

You have to train your client to recognise which are good and which ain't, SpamBayes - when it's installed creates two additional folders in Outlook called Junk E-Mail and Junk Suspects.

For example, when we installed it waded through about 10,000 email messages in our inbox and started classifying. And, in our opinion, it is pretty good at picking up the junk and separating the wheat from the chaff.

You have to check the "junk suspects" folder regularly and by highlighting an entry and pressing the recover from spam button, you gradually train SpamBayes to get it even righter in the end.

Here's a screen shot of the Junk Suspects folder to show mails SpamBayes picked up.


If you find mails in there you want to keep, you just press the Recover from Spam button on the top left to return the stray to your regular inbox.

As for the Junk Email, once you're satisfied that it's working well, you can just select the entire contents of that folder and kill it all at once. See the Junk Email folder size? That's 2644 just in the 24 hours since we last emptied this folder.

While the software is downloading your email, everything appears initially in the Inbox but then you have the satisfying experience of watching SpamBayes gradually pick em all off and send them packing.

So far we've only had SpamBayes installed for less than a week, but we're really beginning to like the approach, and if you get spammed to death, this one is really worth a try.

Right now the software is free, and the version 1.0 release candidate - both binary installer and source, is available from this page. µ


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