25 April 2008

Spamming In My Name

Attention, folks. If you received an e-mail offering any kind of product or service - like a Rolex, Tag Heuer, or "15 Hot Leads" - purporting to come from any e-mail address "@sascha.com": it is fake.

Completely FAKE. Spoofed. Not from me. (And there's no one else here; it's just me.)

I feel bad for anyone who gets spam, and worse for people who think the senders are actually those whose e-mail addresses appear in the messages. They usually aren't; most spammers seem to use systems that (semi-)randomly replace the "sent from" address with something real-looking.

Not only is it obnoxious, it's terrible on e-mail and mail server systems: in addition to the spam messages that others receive, I have received several hundred auto-generated bounce-back messages for spam messages that apparently didn't go through or were otherwise blocked. And I didn't even send the spam!

There are systems one can use to report spam, such as SpamCop.net. Or, if you are facile enough with your e-mail system to find the detailed headers in the e-mail, you can likely identify and contact the network administrator whose system is being misused all by yourself. Either way, the scourge of spam continues - and its costs are not limited to the recipients alone.

12 April 2008

Water, Water Everywhere

Well, it’s done: our Kenmore 2-Stage Drinking Water Filter, Model #38461, is installed, and it works beautifully. Reports I read online of water pressure problems have not been an issue, and after a few minutes of running water through the system to prepare the filters, everything has been great – and our water tastes much, much better. Moreover, as a follow-up to my previous two posts on this issue (“Sears, Please Hold” and “Sears Responds”), I did receive three free filters from a very kind Sears store manager; but no note was included, so this will have to do by way of thanks.

BUT, if the installed water filter seems like it should be the end of the story, there are two other notes worth making. Readers of my “Sears, Please Hold” column will recall that my original issue was trying to determine what model replacement filters would be required for this water filter unit. When the box arrived and I unpacked it, I was more than a little amused to find that right there on the front were the replacement filter model numbers! This makes it even more difficult to understand why it was so hard to get this information from Sears itself.

Just as funny is that the box directs buyers to call the toll free Kenmore Water Line at 800-426-9345, or look on kenmorewater.com for help. I did not call the number, but I did go look on the web site. This model filter (#38461) is not shown there as of today; the previous model, #38460 is listed, along with the corresponding replacement filter information. The Sears.com web site does not have any reference on the various filter product pages to the Kenmore Water Line or its web site. Once again, not very helpful.

Fair is fair: I’ll add my positive product feedback to the relevant Sears.com page, and tell Consumer Reports, too. Seriously, though, as I said in my first post on this issue: these are the kinds of comedy-of-nuisances that discourage customer loyalty, even when product quality is strong. For Sears’ sake, I hope someone fixes these things soon.