It does, you know. You just have to get it hot enough.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Seriously, Dreamhost, What the Fuck? [somewhat resolved]

[update: response from dreamhost CS attached to the end of this post.]

[update: final(?) resolution appended.]

“This is our new mail interface! We love it, you will too! ”

No, I fucking DO NOT love it.   But you didn’t ask my opinion as a customer, you told me how you expect me to feel.

I’ve been a happy Dreamhost customer for almost fifteen years.  They host many of my domains and many domains that belong to my clients.

Happy until this week, that is.  Some clueless fuckwit(s) at Dreamhost had a brilliant idea — let’s pre-filter people’s incoming email in to new IMAP folders WITHOUT ASKING THEIR PERMISSION or even WARNING THEM that this is going to happen.    Oh, and if they don’t like it?  DON’T GIVE THEM A WAY TO TURN IT OFF.

Yesterday I discovered new IMAP folders on my work account ( client), “Social” and “Promotion”, and dreamhost is filtering my incoming email into these AND I CANNOT TURN THE FILTERING OFF.  Turned on with out my permission and I can’t turn it off.  Seriously.  So after filing a customer-support ticket they apologize and say they’ll turn it off and that due to customer feedback they’ve turned it off everywhere.   If it’s turned off everywhere why did it just get turned on for this account yesterday?

I was wondering why I never noticed this on my personal account (Thunderbird client) and checked my settings.  Oh, I’m only showing IMAP folders I’m subscribed to, let me turn that off.

And there they are, as I never subscribed to the Social and Promotion folders.  They  were added two months ago with mail going in to those folders instead of my inbox.   I sorted all that misfiled mail in to folders yesterday and today find even new mail going in to those folders which means they haven’t turned it off and there’s still no way for me to disable it.  I’ve deleted the folders after emptying them, maybe that will be similar to turning them off.  Assuming they don’t just delete the mail if they can’t find the folder…

Then the unrequested changes to how spam is filtered, making it more difficult for me to manage spam.

It looks like only dreamhost owners can have whitelists/blacklists for spam.  “You cannot access this page if you are NOT the DreamHost account owner. If that is the case, please contact the owner or administrator of your DreamHost account and they can modify these settings for you.”  Which means I (as the account owner) have to personally update the whitelist for each email account in each domain.

Spam is no longer sortable by its potential spam score.  Think about it for two seconds: now to deal with spam I have to go through my entire spam folder and un-spam legit email.  Today that’s 1108 messages in one account, and I can’t even list them all on a single page.  Instead I get to skim through 50 messages per screen, select-all, then delete.  “Select-all, delete” takes a minute and a half (I timed it with a stopwatch).  So it will take me half an hour to delete 1108 spam messages.

Can I bill that time to a C-level at dreamhost as I’m not billing it to a customer?

This is the first time I’ve thought about changing hosting/email vendors in a decade.  Dreamhost costs more but the service, until now at least, was excellent.

Losing my email with clients and vendors by whimsically filing it for me IS NOT providing a valuable service.  If you think it is, let me filter the email of dreamhost C-level execs without their knowledge or permission then make it damned difficult for them to change anything.

Edit 12 Oct, 2016

I filed a ticket about this on 5 Oct.  Today, seven days later, someone at dreamhost CS got around to answering the ticket.  I’m wondering if the CEO change also involved changes in senior operational staff.


Re: How do I turn off IMAP filtering on the dreamhost side?

Message #: 125684297
Time: 1476278807


I apologize for the delay responding to your support ticket. A
configuration ran on a few of our incoming machines that caused the
setting to temporarily revert. We fixed it soon after reports started
coming in.We’re using a new spam filtering system that no longer works with the
junkmail quarantine through mailboxes.[domain].tld. You still have
access to any messages that were filtered there before. Otherwise, all
new spam will be filtered to the spam folder. Also note any
white/blacklist settings need to be managed through the Mail -> Anti-spam
page- let us know if you have any additional questions or need anything

Email with CS continued, basically getting  canned responses on the newest way to work around spam filtering problems and DH’s aggressive spam filtration.   I moved from email to Twitter, thinking maybe it would get bumped to a C-level’s notice instead of just being parked in tickets that were ignored.  In mid-January 2017, I received a response from CS that explained things (follows).  I also turned off the auto-Junk feature of Thunderbird and, it appears that moving mail out of the Spam folder marks it as not-spam, even if it’s moved to “Junk”.   It’s still not as accurate as the old system when it comes to marking legit email as spam, I’ve had to whitelist over a 100 domains, including,,, dozens of vendors, and several friends.   Today I received the weather-related delivery advisory from UPS at three different domain accounts, one of them marked it as junk.


[…] if you want to mark things as spam and not spam, the only way
to do so would be within atmail.”

“Since you are using a separate mail client, best case is to use
whatever spam filtering mechanism it already is using”

“Please allow some time for us to work out all the kinks, but for now
best case is to manage your spam settings within your respective
client, and if you want to mark mail as spam or not spam, you would
need to do so within atmail.”


posted by jet at 13:55  

Friday, December 14, 2012

long form, short form, and communications frameworks for the Internet

And if you’re still reading after that title, carry on!

This is a port/cross-post of something I wrote for my friends on FB, but I want to share it with all the people I know and don’t know over on Twitter and on my blog.  This isn’t a pro/con XYZ topic, it’s about how I see the world as long complex conversations.  Because I see the world this way I really suck at not looking like an idiot on Twitter, forget not pissing off my friends in the process.

—cut here—

Over in the BBS and USENET worlds we had ideas like conferences, groups, and topic and discussion threads. Today I see a lot of “why don’t we discuss XYZ?!?” and I think, “but we do. There’s an XYZ conference and at least three or four ban/support XYZ topics in conferences like Current Events, Politics, and Today’s News. We’ve been talking about this weekly, if not daily, for the past 20-something years. Yes, some of us are tired of hearing the conversation on legalizing XYZ or making it a felony, but it’s there if you want to join.”

On Facebook there is no place where those sorted discussions happen, have a specific context, and are archived for future reading. I can’t easily say, “last year Bob and Alice had a big argument about this topic and did a bunch of research. If you start reading at Ban XYZ 2011 around post 37 you’ll see links to all the .gov sites that contain the stats.” Likewise, if I don’t care about professional sports, I can’t just unsubscribe from ProSportsTalk and have all that discussion removed from my feed.  Go talk about football or baseball, have fun, I just won’t wade through it all every day.

Over on Twitter the posts are so short that it’s hard to get past posting URLs, simple statements of fact, opinion, or belief. Hell, that sentence probably wouldn’t fit on Twitter, much less something like this with paragraphs and quotes and such. There’s going to be no real discussion on Twitter as a result, and long-winded people like me end up sounding like idiots more often than not by trying to take a post (like this) and sum it up in 140 characters or less. Which is also to say, I’ll go back to using Twitter to post URLs for the public and not much else.

Where this all really breaks down is that emotionally charged events, from politics to crime to natural disaster can be hard to actually discuss in these forums. Chris Rapier and Fawn Fitter both started some, well, adult conversations on Facebook, especially compared to what is impossible to easily filter out on Twitter and that I refer to as “yelling”. So if you draw a line from Twitter to Facebook then keep going you get to the sort of conversational forums that I’d like to see more of. Yes, there’s lots of topic-specific websites these days and I do use them, but I’m not personally friends with people on those forums as I am on Facebook.

This lack of discussion context makes it hard to be relaxed about some classifications of posts, especially on various sides of a topic. On a more complex conferencing system than Facebook or Twitter, if XYZ is a crazy new diet we can make jokes about it over in the DarkHumor area and have a serious discussion about nutrition over in HealthEating.   In the same way, there’s no  conveient regional topics on Facebook  for all of your favorite local restaurants there that I can avoid until a few days before my next visit to your town when I want to scope out where I’m going to eat.  Right now I probably don’t care very much about the best seafood where you live, but a week before I visit I want a core dump of restaurant info.

So why is all this important? (And why are you still reading?) I think that for some of us, our Facebook and Twitter friend/follow lists are kept short, local, and relevant.  I don’t think I’m friends with many people on Facebook that I wouldn’t go have a cocktail with after work, ride motorcycles, hack a 3d printer, or otherwise do fun, “real world” things. For those friends and I there will often be disagreements over politics, religion, or just sheer boredom with someone’s hobby. (NO really jet, shut up about lasers and 3d printers. I know, I know.)

I just made up the name “unintentional tension” for this. There’s probably a better psych term I could use, but at the end of the day, the difficulty in classifying our posts and finding ones from others leads to a lot of us having to skip things we just don’t want to read. I do want to read about your bicycle collection but I DGAS about quilting, and if we were chatting about something in person you’d probably skip the quilting just as I’d skip what is to you annoyingly dull trivia about how lathes worked in the 1950s under belt power.


So, I really am sorry if I’ve pissed you off or hurt your feelings on probably any subject I’m passionate about, you’re bored with, or the other way around.  I’ve been in online conversations since the 80s, starting with the BBS then moving to USENET and later to The WeLL and Twitter and Facebook.   For the most part, I don’t participate in these forums to  poke reactions out of people, pick fights, or convert you to whatever OS I prefer.   If we’re really friends in the so-called “real world” I’d like to keep it that way.

This entry is an example of why I suck at Twitter and barely pass over on Facebook.  Some write comic strips, others write songs, a few write poems, a few more write books, but some us write a never-ending journal.   Maybe it’s because I’m from the south or read too much Burroughs and Pynchon in college; but these dialogs, the long, complex, and sometimes tedious or boring is simply how I see and understand the world.
posted by jet at 22:04  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

head bumps and reading skills

One of the things the docs warned me about in rehab was that post bonking my head I might perceive reality a bit differently than before. I’ve noticed a few minor kinetic bits here and there, but they’re mostly related to two weeks of being in bed and losing some of my muscles. (I can play catch and walk backwards already, not sure I could do that before the fall…)

However, after bonking my head in the basement I also found the latest Jameco catalog, and something about it just isn’t right.

posted by jet at 17:39  

Friday, October 28, 2011

why have a 3d printer, redux

Awhile back I made a simple stand for the NookColor (that I posted to thingiverse) and sometime in the past few months I apparently lost it, as I can’t find it now.

I discovered this while getting ready to assemble my Mk.7 Stepstruder and realized I could print another pair out faster than I could dig through the entire house looking for the first set I printed.

Which makes me wonder — why can’t I do this when I can’t find the cap for my pen or some random generic plastic part for a battery pack? If it’s easier to print one out than find it, what happens when I find the one that I lost? Toss the one I printed in the Imaginary ABS Recycling Bin?

posted by jet at 22:30  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

So why would someone own a laser cutter?

I asked a similar question almost a year ago, Why would someone own a 3d printer?.

Is the answer different? In my limited experience, yes. You can make a lot of useful things with a laser cutter, but it’s not as trivial to own as a 3d printer. To begin with, the laser cutter is far more dangerous to operate than a 3D printer. Most of us think of cheap red laser pointers when we think “laser”, but those a far cry from a Class IV “cutting” laser that can sever a finger or permanently blind you.

Oh, and it’s invisible. An invisible laser that can permanently maim or kill you. Thus the various safety interlocks that prevent the machine from operating when the door is open, just like a microwave oven.

That being said, I think laser cutters are in the same class as “professional” 3d printers used in manufacturing. It’s probably not something you would own as much as something the local co-op or library or commercial printing shop would own, maintain, and use for you. When you need a stack of flyers printed and go to the local print shop, they run the machine for you, it’s not going to be much different than that.

The other issue is finding a place to use it safely. Laser cutters are safe to operate in self-test/alignment mode, but as soon as you start cutting and etching you run into the problem of toxic fumes.

Most of the media I’ve seen go through a laser cutter has been acrylic, polycarb, and other plastics — all of which generate some seriously nasty fumes when they are etched or cut. My experience is that the warnings in the Plexiglass(r) MSDS are %100 correct. Not only do you need space for a laser cutter, you need an exhaust fan that can move a lot of air outside very quickly. (The commercial Epilogs I’ve used had fans that were loud enough to drown out normal conversation, I don’t know who specified them so they might have been overkill.) Cutting / etching wood has similar problems — lots of smoke from the wood and whatever byproducts come from burning the glue if you’re cutting plywood. Paper’s not really a problem, and cutting PVC and some other materials will actually destroy the lens so those aren’t cut in the first place.  [Edit: When laser cut, PVC releases free chlorine gas which combines with atmospheric oxygen to form hydrochloric acid which is bad for the mechanicals.  I suppose If you had a laser cutter filled with an inert gas it only be a matter of safely disposing of the exhaust gases.]

So going back to the original question, I think the answer for now is “because they can”. If you have the space (a big garage or a studio/hackerspace) and time (I’ve got 50+ hours into my lasersaur build) it’s certainly an experiment worth trying.

posted by jet at 12:16  
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