Taming spam with spamassassin and evolution

I’ve found the anti-spam support on Linux to be pretty poor overall. Considering how common this problem is and how ingenious OSS guys usually are, I’m a bit surprised.

I am trying to use Evolution with SpamAssassin, and finding horrible slowness and bugs in the bayes_* databases to be the norm.

If you are attempting this setup, I recommend the following hacks:

1. Do not use bayesian autolearning in spam assassin, as this is a broken way to update your spam filters.
2. Instead, create a JUNK and HAM directory in Evolution, and move your junk mails and ham mails there.
3. If you have already tagged mails as Junk using Evo’s “Mark as Junk” feature, you need to hack these mails out of that folder and move them into a regular Evolution folder. “Mark as Junk” is really not moving mail anywhere, but just “tagging” it, and then the Junk folder is like a vfolder which searches for all mail tagged as junk. This is cool, but sucks if you want to run sa-learn on your mbox in order to train spamassassin. The way to get around it is to create a mail filter in Evo which says: “if mail is marked as junk, then mark it as not junk AND move it it to folder named JUNK.” Then you apply the filter to your Junk directory and Evo will copy them out. (Note: if you try to merely “copy” the mail messages to another folder, they will simply not move — again, Junk is a “tag” in evo, not a location).
4. Now from the shell, go to .evolution/mail/local and find your mbox for your mail. You can use sa-learn –spam –progress –mbox to learn it as a spam, and change –spam to –ham for ham.

This is much better than using the built-in Evo stuff. Do this every few weeks until you don’t have to anymore.

The Working Life

I never knew working all day would be so draining. Don’t get me wrong: I love my work, I love working on software projects with smart people, but I get home and just want to hack around on UNIX, read a book, or watch some Bill Maher and I haven’t even the energy for that.

Tonight I violated my own rule (hence the 2am post), but will probably pay for it tomorrow in coffee during the day.

I need a kick-ass job that’s only part time but pays full time salaries.

p.s. been using the Spring Framework extensively on a project at work. All I can say is, “Wow.” I’m finally enjoying Java development again. The framework truly rocks, but you just need to give it some time. Once it grows on you (I suggest Manning Press’ “Spring in Action”), it becomes like a fungus that permeates the way you think about software design. Really cool.

p.p.s. it fucking rocks, btw, that the Dems won the House and Senate. Bill Moyers 2008?

My Italian Restaurant

I recently did a vanity search for “Andrew J. Montalenti” on Google, only to find the prestigious travel site “MyTravelGuide.com” had usurped my personal website for the #1 hit. In particular, the developers of this site seem to be convinced that “Andrew J. Montalenti” is an Italian restaurant which happens to have my address and phone number. You can post reviews, photos, whatever you like.

I did think it kind of odd when I started receiving letters in the mail offering me things like ice sculptures at wholesale prices, china with my restaurant logo imprinted on it, and kitchen supplies. Clearly, someone was told that my name was simply the name of a badass italian restaurant in Manhasset, and it’s stuck.

Well, every time someone has posted a profile on my “restaurant,” I’ve requested it be taken down. But the folks at MyTravelGuide.com are basically unresponsive. So, I decided to post a photograph of the restaurant, since I know it better than anyone else.

Does anyone know how to find out what marketing database thinks I am a restaurant, so I can purge this misconception once and for all?

Colbert Follow-up

Check out this site:


After Stephen Colbert’s (IMO, historically significant) roast of the president and the press, someone started this website to thank him for his “truthiness.”

Yesterday, it had 14,000 thank you comments from the Internet community. Today, it has nearly 23,000. I think this an amazing example of how Internet bloggers and news scourers will simply not be dictated the news by a spineless mainstream press.

Anyone who thinks Colbert’s speech, words, and satire weren’t newsworthy is simply pissed that Colbert spoke truth to the faces of power. The fact that the mainstream press by and large marginalized the Colbert speech and glorified the modest “Dumb Bush/Dumber Bush” act just disgusts me. It also confirms, I think, that Rove and others know that Bush’s general lack of eloquence or sophistication masks his true flaws: the lack of reason or any capacity to reflect on his actions. It was precisely those flaws that Colbert’s speech pointed out. For Bush, the “jury is still out” on issues like evolution and global warming. Why? Because he dosn’t believe in facts.

Listen again to the Colbert speech, and you’ll notice he never once criticizes the president for his inability to say big words or his “Bushisms;” instead, he criticizes him for being able to make complex political and foreign policy decisions without appealing to the facts. That’s what makes Bush dangerous.

Stephen Colbert at White House Correspondents’ Dinner

I just wanted to point out that if you haven’t seen it yet, you should see Stephen Colbert’s speech, in front of the President, at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. I think it will go down in history as one of the funniest and most awkward comic coup d’etats ever committed.

At first, you think Colbert is just going to play the Bush sycophant he always does on the Colbert Report. But then he just takes a step farther and mocks all mainstream journalists there, and the President himself, right to his face. Really amazing stuff, you can’t dream up better situations!

Take a look:

part 1, part2, part 3.