iHateSpam (Microsoft Outlook Edition)

Reviewed by: Howard Carson, send e-mail
Published by: Sunbelt Software, go to the web site
Requires: Microsoft Outlook 2000 / 2002 (XP), Internet connection speed of at least 28.8 Kbs, Microsoft Windows 95/98/ME/2000 or XP, Pentium 200MHz processor or higher, 32 MB RAM, at least 6MB of free hard drive space
MSRP: $19.95

Spam may not be the ultimate bane of my existence, but it sure ranks near the top of the list. I have never purchased anything from a junk/spam e-mail link or inquiry. I have opened lots of junk/spam e-mail primarily because I'm interested (as a researcher) in keeping up with the latest scams, social engineering language and the most current twists on old con games. Mostly, I'd just like spam to disappear. Permanently. iHateSpam is one of many spam filtering solutions offered by more than a dozen different software makers.

iHateSpam for Outlook is a small program which scans all your incoming e-mail and makes decisions about its content based on a list of criteria. The list is stored and updated regularly. E-mail which you consider spam and which gets through the current filtering can be submitted to iHateSpam for consideration simply by clicking a button. Persistent spam mail can be bounced back to the sender with a single click (which is supposed to make it appear to the sender as though your e-mail address is invalid). You can manually add or remove e-mail addresses from the spam filter.

Does it work? In a word, yes. After installation you'll find a new toolbar has been added to your Outlook window. Configure iHateSpam to your liking and then go about your business as usual. iHateSpam will monitor incoming e-mail and make decisions about letting it into your Inbox, sending it to the Delete folder, or placing it in Quarantine for you to review. Like most other spam filters of its kind, the process can be a bit arduous in that you still have to check all the filtered e-mail in order to ensure that something valuable was not thrown out with the real trash.

Cons: How much higher any anti-spam or spam filtering utility rates above manually deleting your e-mail junk is moot (see Pros, below). Where's the gain if you've got to browse quarantined e-mail to ensure nothing valuable has been junked? We're not sure. Novice or non-technical computer users may have a bit of trouble with the configuration wizard. Use the online help system. The bounce function can't work on e-mail with spoofed headers (essentially, e-mail which has been altered not to show its real origin). Since this sort of e-mail accounts for a larger and larger percentage of spam there are days when iHateSpam may look like it's not working at all.

Pros: How much higher any anti-spam or spam filtering utility rates above manually deleting your e-mail junk is moot (see Cons, above). On the other hand, if you really work hard at refining the filtering settings, iHateSpam may save you time every week, particularly if your inbox is genuinely busy. The configuration wizard works well and is relatively straightforward to use. If you get queasy over the sexual organ enlargement come-ons, muscle drug pleas, low rate mortgage offers which are nothing more than quasi-legal theft, and help-me-get-the-money-out-of (fill in the name of an east, west African country) idiocy which seems to be at flood tide right now, then iHateSpam is a good choice. With a bit of effort on your part, it can keep this stuff out of sight and out of mind.

Letters to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public. Send e-mail to: whine@kickstartnews.com





© Copyright 2000-2006 kickstartnews.com. All rights reserved. legal notice
home | previous reviews | forums | about us | search | store | subscribe


Forums Search Home Previous Reviews About Us Store Subscribe