How to fight spam, and where to go for more storage
John from Kaimuki wrote me recently to ask if he could acquire a spam-fighting program separately from an Internet security suite.
He also wanted to know if it's available inexpensively or even free.
Yes, John, it is possible to get spam software and spam services outside of a suite from Norton one of the other major vendors.
Most ISPs have spam services and some are free of charge. For example Lava.net has a free service, but I found it sometimes latched onto e-mail that wasn't spam. Other services, such as PauSpam from local entrepreneur Ho'ala Greevy, work very effectively but aren't free.
There are other programs that you can download online for free. I've heard very good things about Spamihilator (spamihilator.com). It utilizes a Bayesian learning filter (based on the rules of Thomas Bayes, an 18th-century English mathematician), which means you can "train" the application to recognize spam based on previous messages. It has a word filter so you also specify certain words, which often appear in spam mails. Finally, it's compatible with Windows, and it works with any e-mail client that uses a POP3 connection -- which is just about everyone.
Dorleen from Kahuku asks if there's a good Web site (free, preferably) for storing files such as photos, Word docs and PowerPoint presentations.
She teaches photography and her colleagues would like to share photos and other files with each other.
The answer is that you're in luck, Dorleen. There are all kinds of sites that offer lots of free storage for exactly the kinds of files you mention.
The ones I like include Mediamax (mediamax.com), AOL's Xdrive (xdrive.com) and Gigasize (gigasize.com). The good thing is that all have file storage and sharing capabilities.
Gigasize has a free version with unlimited storage, but files can only be stored for up to 90 days. Xdrive provides 5 gigs of free storage and has some cool utilities for file management and sharing. Mediamax offers 25 gigs of storage for free, but there are caps on individual file sizes. That could be an issue if you store huge files.
All three of the sites offer pay-for services that give you more options for a modest fee.