I’ve been “officially” on the Internet since 1985 when I was given a good old fashioned dial-up Unix account on a system named bilver (wbeebe@bilver) by the late Bill Vermillion, about a year after I’d moved to Orlando, and right after I moved into our first house. I’d gotten to know Bill through the Central Florida Computer Society, and voted for him becoming the society’s president in 1986. It should be noted I got the account before the election, and no, he wasn’t buying my vote as some (perhaps jokingly) noted at the time. I voted for him because he was highly competent and very easy going, a rare combination in technical people.
He ran bilver for his own personal contracting use. He allowed myself as well as a few others to use bilver and never asked me for any recompense. During the time I was there I was careful not to abuse his generosity. One way to abuse his generosity was to abuse bandwidth by requesting news groups that distributed source packages as binaries that’d been tarred up for easier distribution. I tried to grab some of the packages via those newsgroups until Bill politely asked everyone not to, and why, at which point I stopped. Right after that I began to dabble with ftp sites, which Bill helpfully pointed out.
Through bilver I had standard email and Usenet access and the opportunity to home some of my basic Unix skills. That lasted into the early 1990s when Bill changed the nature of bilver, at which time I switched to using commercial email services such as the then-new email account with Bell South, and later with Time Warner’s Road Runner. I lost something when I left bilver, most of which finally came back only many years later with Solaris and then Linux. But the camaraderie that existed within the small group is gone forever…
It was 2000 that I registered for an official Web-based email service with Yahoo which I still have it. Looking back the oldest email is from 27 September 2000, an order confirmation from Borland for JBuilder 4 Pro (remember those guys? and that product?) Yahoo was my one and only mail service until 2005 when I applied for Google mail. The date for the first email I still have is 20 February, the original greeting email from Google.
Over the first 20 years I had perhaps six or seven (I can’t remember them all) personal email accounts. And no email spam.
And that’s not including all the corporate accounts (mostly Outlook) that I had in parallel.
I never had real problems with spam until the early- to mid-2000s when it started to trend up. Over time spam filters have appeared and grown ever sophisticated to the point where I now have automatic spam filtering and ubiquitous spam folders on all my email accounts, personal and corporate. That’s the only kind of spam I was exposed to until the mid-2014s when I was introduced to referrer spam on my Blogger blog. Being unable to control that kind of spam (Google provided no clear and reasonable tools) I walked away from that blogging platform to WordPress and opened this blog. It looks like WordPress keeps that kind of spam at bay because when I look at views and visitor statistics, they’re all real; nothing massive from Russia, which is where all the Blogger referrer spam was coming from.
Now, however, I’m getting a lot of comment spam. Fortunately the comment spam filters provided via Akismet have kept comment spam out of my postings, for which I am extremely grateful. Yes, there is the possibility of false positives blocking a legitimate comment, but when I look at what does get through to the spam comment holding area for me to check later, I don’t think I have much to worry about. I have yet to find a single comment that was incorrectly flagged as spam. And no, Blogger doesn’t have comment spam blocking either.
I’m very happy with WordPress and Akismet. I hope to stay this happy.