TechnoMagician's Weblog
(aka Tim Aiello)
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - Arthur C. Clarke.

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Kosmo Systems Inc, along with Ashley IT are proud to present their spam detection service called SimpleFilter. It is so simple, there is absolutely no software to install and it works with virtually any email client on any operating system. Checkout

Tuesday, May 25, 2004
New Technomagician Weblog

This blog has officially moved to its new home at as provided by KosmoBlogs (unofficially described here). This blog will remain in place for as long as possible but don't expect any further entries here other than to point to the new blog.

New blog feed URL is

6:23:41 PM    

Thursday, May 20, 2004
Symantec snatches up anti-spam vendor Brightmail

From Network World Fusion I've reproduced the article here:

Symantec snatches up anti-spam vendor

Symantec Wednesday signed an agreement to acquire anti-spam vendor Brightmail for $370 million to complement its lineup of gateway security software.

Symantec said that anti-spam technology is key to its product lineup because spam has become one of the most severe threats to individuals and enterprises today.

Brightmail uses multiple proprietary technologies, a globally deployed detection network, and a dynamic rule delivery mechanism to identify and filter unsolicited or unwanted electronic messages. In the month of April, Brightmail filtered 96 billion e-mail messages and reported that 64% of the e-mail that passed through its filters was spam.

The acquisition is the next step in an established partnership in that Brightmail already has integrated Symantec’s anti-virus technology into its infrastructure.

Brightmail’s technology is currently integrated with two anti-spam appliances from Borderware and IronPort and is used in hosted services offered by Critical Path, eDoxs and Syntegra. Symantec did not indicate how those contracts might change or whether they would be renewed.

“As IronPort's anti-spam partner, Brightmail is an important part of the IronPort product offering, and this new ownership only expands the possibilities for IronPort," says Tom Gillis, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for IronPort.

Symantec made a strategic investment in Brightmail in July 2000 and currently holds an approximately 11% equity stake in the company.

Just last month, Brightmail filed a registration statement for an initial public offering, but its board of directors and stockholders concluded the combination with Symantec was a more favorable strategic alternative.

Brightmail Chairman Eric W. Spivey, said in a prepared statement, “This is a tremendous win for Brightmail… The combination of the two companies will be an impressive force in the security space.”

The deal is expected to close in July.

Competitors say the acquisition validates the anti-spam market, but points to another trend.

“I think the acquisition was a smart move for Brightmail,” says Gary Steele, CEO of Proofpoint, which develops a gateway product called Protection Server. “The market has shifted from point anti-spam solutions to total message-protection solutions -- and that includes anti-spam, anti-virus, as well as outbound filtering and content compliance solutions. Brightmail only had an anti-spam story, so its days were numbered as a serious player.”

12:39:20 PM    

Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Chinese Specialty - Spam
This spam report aligns much more closely to what we experience running SimpleFilter as I've said before.
5:20:11 PM    

Christopher Allbritton is Back In Iraq
Christopher Allbritton a journalist-blogger is Back In Iraq. I followed his reporting during the Iraq war and he's back to see what he can dig up this time. Definitely recommended.
5:10:18 PM    

Tuesday, May 18, 2004
ISP block legitimate email while trying to block spam

I feel sorry for poor users of AOL and other large ISP's who have implemented horrible anti-spam solutions. Being in the business, I hear about this all too often. Just like this person, a lot of people don't have the option to switch or do anything about their ISP's implementation without it being a big hassle. Usually since they likely need to move to another ISP.

This is why we decided to run SimpleFilter in the manner we do. Users will NEVER loose an email. In our corporate version we do have various options for blocking spam completely and customers typically do block MEDIUM and HIGH tagged spam. Of course since we have never seen a false positive tagged MEDIUM or HIGH its a pretty safe thing to do.

5:31:10 PM    

Monday, May 17, 2004
blog software equals BlogWare
Over the past week or so I've been noticing more and more people using the term blogware to describe blog software in general. Lets not confuse this with BlogWare !!!
5:32:06 PM    

Friday, May 14, 2004
Moveable Type Licensing Announcement

With the latest announcement of Moveable Type licensing fees (see feedster search) I thought it would be appropriate to announce (earlier than expected) that Kosmo Systems will be offering a blog service of its own very shortly. Unofficially called KosmoBlogs. We aren't ready with the signup process and pricing as of yet but if interested in a free trial please send an email to You can even import your Moveable Type blog.

Following is our current blurbage on KosmoBlogs:

KosmoBlog is the most intuitive weblogging program available! Everything you need to quickly and easily publish online - whether it is pictures, video, documents, opinions or more, is included. KosmoBlog accommodates everyone - from first time bloggers to experts!

There is nothing to install, no HTML to learn or confusing technology to understand. You will easily be able to create photo albums, edit photos, post comments, articles, documents, and more. You can choose from over 20 style templates or if familiar with HTML, you can create your own! It's easy to customize your weblog and have something truly unique and your own.

Key Features Include:

Rich Text Editor - What you see is what you get! KosmoBlog makes publishing easy. When creating your entry, the layout, font type, size and color will publish on the web exactly as you see it on your screen.

Photo Album - Share photos with family, friends and colleagues with KosmoBlog easily! With the photo management tools, you can resize your images, create customized photo albums and keep them all up to date from your desktop, handheld or cell phone.

Privacy - You have total control of who is authorized to view sensitive or confidential information with KosmoBlog's easy to use security tools.

Visitor Interaction - One of the key differences between a weblog and a traditional website is the ability to actively communicate with your visitors. With KosmoBlog your visitors can leave comments and add to the ongoing conversation.

Web Site Statistics - Curious how many people are reading your weblog? KosmoBlog includes a highly detailed statistics report outlining how many visitors you have, how much bandwidth you're using and even what search terms people are using to find your weblog.

Syndication - KosmoBlog automatically generates all of the leading syndication formats. RSS, OPML, OpenReviews and email alerts are KosmoBlog 's simple way of helping you let your readers know when you've added something new to your weblog. No user intervention is required!

8:43:36 AM    

Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Voice Mail Spam

Email SPAM isn't really an issue anymore for me thanks to SimpleFilter but its getting to the point where voice mail spam is starting to bug me. I figure I'm getting a voice mail spam once every two weeks or so now. Its more annoying since it happens on both phone lines here within minutes of each other. Call blocking is of no use since this latest phone spam is sent directly to voice mail without an actual call being place to the number (which call blocking can handle).

I just spoke with the phone company and they say their hands are tied. This kind of automated dialing of a bunch of numbers in bulk is illegal in the US I believe but apparently according to Bell the CRTC has been sitting on the companies request to do something about this since 1999.

Anyone who has more facts on this please comment here.

2:41:15 PM    

Sunday, May 09, 2004
Migrating apps and settings between OSX boxes

An interesting post from Jeremy about his new Apple Powerbook. Its related to my post about the simplicity of installing apps on the MAC which was related to his post about Linux still being a work in progress.

I guess not only installing apps on OSX but according to Jeremy migrating his apps and settings from one OSX install to another is about as simple.

More reasons for Windows and Linux folks to wake up here.

2:15:39 AM    

Friday, May 07, 2004
Decentralized SuperNova Terrorism

I've said it before and I'll say it again, people should be listening to John Robb:

Asked Kevin Werbach if there was any interest in a presentation at SuperNova on decentralized terrorism issues.  Nope.  No interest given the already full docket.  LOL.  Frankly, almost of all the standard big sky tech issues are starting to fade into irrelevance for me, and they will for the rest of you as soon when we get attacked a couple more times.

11:57:08 PM    

Thursday, May 06, 2004
Linux a work in progress

There is no doubt Linux is still a work in progress. They really need to get to the point where install and upgrade of software is dead simple. We used to joke about this with Microsoft and their own products many moons ago but its pretty much a dead subject now.

Perhaps both Microsoft and Linux camps should learn a lesson or two from Apple. Installing an app on OSX is usually nothing more than dragging and dropping.

12:12:47 AM    

Tuesday, May 04, 2004
Cable companies wake up
Ok, cable companies need to wake up. Offer me something useful like this DVR and you've got a sale. Looks like these guys are marketing to the cable companies directly but I don't see why they wouldn't market direct to consumers. I'm basically waiting for something like this or I'm just going to have to put together something myself. The important thing here is the multiple tuners and ability to just put the unit by the coax distribution box (mine is waiting for something useful). Its not like one couldn't do this with a home cooked PC, some modulators and remote infra red senders/receivers or a number of other methods.
12:06:33 AM    

Wednesday, April 28, 2004
e-dreams - the story of (not

For those of you who haven't seen e-dreams (the story of, I recommend checking it out. Its been available on VHS for a few months I think and the DVD is being released June 15th. It is also being played on movie channels from what I've heard. I'd link to the official e-dreams website but it doesn't seem to exist anymore. The director's (Wonsuk Chin) website doesn't seem to exist anymore either. I couldn't be bothered with a VHS copy so I'm waiting for my DVD copy. I lost contact with Wonsuk so never did get a copy.

Its a better movie than if you ask me. was released widely but e-dreams couldn't seem to get any traction.

I saw e-dreams at the premier in New York a few years ago along with the founders and some other ex-Kozmo people. I had talked to Joseph Park and some other founders a number of times before that during Kozmo's rise so it was interesting to meet a few of them in person at the party. While talking to Joseph Park a reporter overheard us and wanted to get a scoop from me about the KoSmo thing. You see, it is a little known fact that most people spell KoSmo with an S. During the KoZmo hayday I'm sure my website received more visitors than they did. You wouldn't believe the number of articles that pointed to the website, the number of emails that were mis-addressed (even from employees within the company who apparently didn't know how to spell their own company name), the number of people who just typed into their browsers and the number of searches that ended up at In fact, its almost 3 years after Kozmo shutdown but the folks still looking for just keep coming. Hence the reason the kosmo website is what it is. One of these days I'll have to do something about it and remove the links and such but I know as soon as I'll be swamped with emails asking where the video rentals are.

Interesting, this is the first time I heard about Cosmoz having a similar problem!! I used to track all kozmo related news in the day so not sure how this one slipped through.

11:26:22 AM    

Tuesday, April 27, 2004
A representative will be with you shortly - NOT

Ok, I clicked on the Linksys online support chat link at least an hour ago and continued on doing various other work. It says "A representative will be with you shortly" and has said that since I clicked it. I guess shortly could mean anything but if it doesn't mean within a reasonable amount of time then they shouldn't be displaying this at all. It is misleading and only pisses off the customer. It reminds me of the sign I keep reading at the local Deny's: "In order to serve you better we do not accept Interac/Debit card payments". WHAT? How exactly does this serve me better? I have one less method of payment so it certainly doesn't help me any. Why don't they just tell the truth and say "the banks wouldn't authorize us to collect debit payments" OR "we're not smart enough to setup a debit payment system so its not available to our customers" or "we aren't interested in paying fees to the bank to allow our customers the convinience of using their debit cards" (pick any one). I'll accept any of those vs the BS they have up there now.

Every now and then I confuse the heck out of the staff because I make some crack like "Hey, I guess service is going to be really fast and great today since you aren't accepting debit payments." I think I'll add "maybe you'd serve me the better than ever if you also did not accept credit cards or cash" next time.

Come on people wake up and get a freakin clue.

And any company offering any sort of customer service tools like online chat support should be able to give a more precise estimate of time when a representative will be with you. It isn't easy but we did it as part of our online tutor offering a few years back. And if you can't figure out an important feature like this then you shouldn't be in that business. Perhaps KANA should wakeup since they just bought HIPBONE which provices the service.

Update: I figured I'd leave the customer service chat app spinning its wheels while I was out for a meeting. Four hours later and the customer service chat app is still spinning saying a representative will be with me shortly.

12:41:32 PM    

Anti-Spam Protection Pays Its Way

From Information Week / Security Pipeline:

Companies that put anti-spam defenses in place can cut their spam-associated costs by about 19 percent, according to a study released Monday by research firm IDC.

11:45:40 AM    

Monday, April 26, 2004
BlogLines References
Yet another nice BlogLines feature. I guess its like trackbacks but they show up in the bloglines aggregator view while reading a post.
7:30:35 PM    

Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Price of SPAM higher

Funny that this article came across my daily SPAM news alerts. It threw me for a second.

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Hormel Foods Corp. (NYSE:HRL - news), the maker of Dinty Moore beef stew and Spam luncheon meat, said on Tuesday it will raise prices for those items and other canned goods, in part because of higher beef, pork, and poultry prices.

3:01:50 PM    

There's logic in moving beyond Bayesian filters
Our philosophy at SimpleFilter is to provide as many levels of defense as possible. We factor in a great number of methods to determine the probability that an email is SPAM. As this article suggests, you have to look beyond a single method like Bayes or anything else for that matter. We are actually ahead of what experts suggest we should be doing which is a comforting thing to know.
10:46:15 AM    

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