by Chris Bertram on December 1, 2003

Like everyone else I’m plagued by spam. Since 1930 gmt on Saturday I’ve received 17 legitimate emails and 353 spams. The good news is that using “Mozilla Thunderbird”: ‘s spamblocking software I’ve filtered out nearly all of it (and the latest version of “Mozilla Firebird”: is very good at stopping annoying pop-up advertising). People who use different (better?) operating systems may have better options, but for those of us condemned to Windoze, those two programs may be the best mail and browser options.



jdsm 12.01.03 at 8:56 am

I find Mozilla (browser) really slow and am therefore condemned to IE


Chris Bertram 12.01.03 at 9:29 am

There’s standard Mozilla and Mozilla Firebird (different programs). I find MF much faster than IE.


James 12.01.03 at 9:46 am

I think by far the best option for browsers is a free programme called Proxomitron (search google for download, though unfortunately the author has discontinued supporting it).

Not only does this stop every — and I mean every — popup advert, it also removes other adverts, stops flashing gifs, doesn’t allow windows that you can’t close, or where the ‘back’ buttton is disable, and a thousand other things that make surfing enjoyable again.


Brian Weatherson 12.01.03 at 11:55 am

I’ve been pretty impressed with Thunderbird’s spam-blocking abilities too, but there’s one feature it doesn’t have that I would like.

When spam comes in it still registers as new mail, i.e. the new mail sound plays and the mail icon comes on. What I’d really like is a way of having those things not happen at all when spam comes in. That is, I’d like the system to deal with incoming spam without me having to worry about it at all.

Right now the main annoyance with spam is that I constantly have to open up the mail program just to find that the ‘new’ mail is just spam. If I never had to open my mail program unless real mail had come in, I’d more or less regard spam as defeated.


Matthew 12.01.03 at 2:16 pm

There’s an interesting discussion of this over at Calpundit.


Alex Halavais 12.01.03 at 4:18 pm

jdsm: Have you tried mozilla lately?

I was underimpressed with earlier versions (too slow, tendency to die), but 1.5 is rock stable and quick. And the baysian spam filter rocks.


neil 12.01.03 at 5:37 pm

Proxomitron is a non-optimal solution. It actually rewrites the HTTP request before your browser sees it, which can lead to some problems. Of course you can easily disable it if anything doesn’t work, but fundamentally it’s a hack. If Internet Explorer is giving you popups and letting websites break its interface (unclosable windows, disabled back button), then you should either fix IE, or if you can’t, use something else.

So my vote is for Mozilla — it’s a browser written for users rather than corporations, by which I mean that they don’t have an interest in putting in “features” that are annoying to the computer operator, for the benefit of people trying to sell stuff over the web. No unclosable windows. Popups can be disabled. Cookies can be blocked by domain, as can images (no banner ads). Perhaps most importantly, it’s not able to install software on your computer without some serious user interaction; IE, on the other hand, will cheerfully deliver a window where one only needs click ‘OK’ to install a piece of spyware. Add to this the long history of security holes and the ominous shadows of those which are yet to be undiscovered, and it’s hard to imagine why anybody uses IE except that they haven’t really given much thought to an alternative.

By the way, as someone mentioned earlier, Mozilla is quite new as a finished product (having spend months as a work in progress), so if you haven’t tried it in a year (or even six months) you might want to give it another try. I began to find it preferable to IE over two years ago, but your results may vary. It wasn’t all that long ago that its memory footprint became decisively smaller than IE’s…


Matt 12.01.03 at 5:43 pm

So.. checking the ‘spam’ bit in the header doesn’t work, eh? Hmmph. Back to the drawing board…


msg 12.01.03 at 6:27 pm

Firebird latest build is getting real close to the prosthetic ideal, you forget it’s there. Customizible in bazillions of ways, the plug-ins and modifications are the result of the active participation of true elves whose craft goals are altruistic and benign. Way faster than ie way humaner. The only thing, and the only reason I write except to second the positive comments above is: Opera has this thing where if you crash it or just shut it down quick, even if you have 25 tabs open, it will open back up with those 25 tabs next time.


Keith Burgess-Jackson 12.01.03 at 6:37 pm

I get almost no spam. I have Earthlink. I get no popups, either.


Avedon 12.01.03 at 7:32 pm

If you’re stuck with Windoze and you want a browser that refuses pop-ups you haven’t asked for, I recommend Crazy Browser, which has the advantage of being really tiny. It has tabs a la Mozilla but it downloads fast, opens fast, and takes up very little room. It uses IE favorites so you don’t have to fiddle with it, and it’s free.


crayz 12.01.03 at 9:53 pm

Mozilla is a great browser. Really fast, and more stable than Firebird IMO. Everyone should try it out. First time you get it, here’s the options to mess with:
theme: modern
internet search: google
tabbed browsing: load links in background, middle-click, control+click, etc.
– block unrequested popup windows
Scripts & Plugins: uncheck first four
HTTP Networking: enable pipelining for both

Good tips for general use: control-click on links to open in new tab. Middle-click on tab in the tab bar to close tab. Type a google search in the URL bar and hit the down arrow twice and then hit enter to do the google search.

Mozilla is great for all, but if you really get used to using it, it becomes even better. A much more pleasant and efficient way to browse the web


crayz 12.01.03 at 9:55 pm

Sorry, edit:

Popup Windows: block unrequested popup windows


xaxx 12.02.03 at 1:46 am browser with individual control over
pop ups.


Wo 12.04.03 at 9:23 am

The problem with “new mail” notifications for junk mail is fixed in the next version of Thunderbird (0.4, for which RC1 was released yesterday).

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