Saturday, September 10, 2005

Guest Blogotorial: By Steve Greene

This is an email I am sending to all JMC Faculty. I thought it would make good material for your blog

Last Wednesday I attempted to email the jmc faculty via my cell phone a picture I had taken with the phone of me standing outside my Cayuga Lake cottage saying “Leaving paradise is hard.” I wanted to convey to them in a light vein that I was headed back to California.

I also did it because I am impressed with how fast technology is moving. As members of a school of mass communications, we should be staying on top of those developments.

Unfortunately, my message took Wednesday, Thursday and part of Friday as well as two more emails and lots of hair pulling to reach your email inboxes. The reasons for this delay tell a sad tale about the state of SJSU technology.

As I said, I snapped the picture and sent it over my Verizon cell phone which also takes and transmits videos and sends them along with voice recordings and pictures to either other cell phones or internet e-mail sites.

For an email sender adddress, Verizon uses my 10-digit phone number plus

That’s pretty straightforward. Here comes the problem. Someone at the CASA web site has determined too many numbers in an email address is suspicious and thus rejected my email.

I emailed on Wednesday to see what had happened. The next day I received an email from the SPAMFILTER that said, “Number of numbers in MIME From exceeds maximum threshold.”

Soon thereafter, I received another email from the CASA tech that said, “Number of numbers in MIME From exceeds maximum threshold.” Thank God, they told me twice.

He added don’t worry my cell phone number would be put on the “white list” so that it would go through in the future. He ended by making a joke about Verizon hoping I would use up my picture quota too fast.

As a matter of fact, that wasn’t much of joke because I had sent out several messages already when the first one didn’t go through.

Despite him telling me my message was now permissible I had to wait until the next day and send another email before it appeared in everyone’s inbox with an ominous note from SPAMFILTER declaring it had been determined to be suspicious..

What does all this mean?

1. Who decided for us that the “number of numbers" in phone number email addresses could "exceede the maximum.” That seems rather short sighted, especially in a week in which Apple is bringing out a new cell phone. Cell phones are becoming ubiquitous. We should get ready to receive them. Note to SPAMFILTER: all phone numbers in the US are 10 numbers long. And, I know this may be too advanced, but overseas countries have even more.

2. Who decided that messages from Verizon were from a “known spam email site.” Perhaps someone ought to take a mass media law course and learn what a “common carrier” means. Common carriers always carry the most spam.

3.Who decided the SPAMFILTER should use techno babble to communicate with users. Who ever says “Number of Numbers,” “Mime From,” etc. to anyone else?

4. How did putting my phone number on the “white list” accomplish anything but let just my messages (perhaps) go through. All other phone email message senders in the future will still be rejected.

5. Why didn’t I receive the original message because I have repeatedly asked to be taken off the SPAMFILTER and I have been repeatedly assured my JMC e-mail won’t go through it anymore.

We are a School of Mass Communications. We have to wrest control of our communications back from CASA. They don’t work in our interests. They are only interested in making things convenient for their understaffed technicians.

Are you also aware of the FEMA Mac glitch?

Stephen Lyon Wakeman Greene, Ph.D. 

Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communications, 
San Jose State University. 
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