Clogged Email: Choices and Consequences

The only good thing about this current spate of worms and viruses is that the spammers seem to sending less spam. Naively, a few months ago, I bemoaned the state of automated spam filters. Now I wish my mail program (Eudora) and spam filter (SpamSieve) could detect these ridiculous pif files and delete all mail with a pif attachment.

I've come to the conclusion that we buy our tools for emotional reasons, not logical reasons. Why else would so many companies and individuals buy an operating system with easily-exploited security holes? It can't be for logic. Logic dictates that the second or third (or fourth or fifth or…) time the OS was exploited people would move to a new OS. But they haven't. (Yes, there are options.)

I'm not out to convert everyone to buying my kind of computer (Mac) or OS. We live in a heterogeneous-OS world, and that's to everyone's benefit. If I could, I'd make everyone buy anti-virus software when they buy a computer. If I could, I'd make anti-virus software a part of Windows, so it wasn't an option. It affects me (and huge number of other people) when other people don't take care of their environments.

When we choose to own computers and connect those computers to the network, we need to take responsibility for our environments. In my town, we're not allowed to burn leaves in the fall, because of pollution. When we connect computers to the Internet and don't install the latest security patches and anti-virus software, we're polluting the Internet. I don't know what the right consequences are, but allowing people to be naive is no longer acceptable. Allowing companies to ship security-holed software is not acceptable. Allowing the worm-generators or virus-generators to get off with a slap on the wrist is no longer acceptable.

I don't care what tools you choose to use. Multiple environments create richer environments for each of us. I care when your choices make my tools difficult to use or prevent me from performing my work. Choosing tools is a personal choice. And my obligation when I choose my tools is to act in an environmental-friendly manner. You too.

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