Reference: Apple email domains

What are Apple's email domains, in case you were wondering? For end consumers, customers who have registered for Apple IDs and/or email accounts, those domains are:

Lycos Mail: Free accounts to be eliminated

Remember Lycos Mail? No? Then you're probably under 40 years old. What I didn't remember is that it still existed. But while it shall continue to exist, current users enjoying email service from Lycos Mail for free are being asked to leave as of May 15, 2018. It's not quite the same as shutting down the domain overall, but I'm guessing that 90+ percent of their user base was on a free plan, so it does suggest that soon, most mail to addresses will start bouncing. You can read more about it here.

It looks like Lycos Mail is hosted by OpenSRS (Tucows), which has an active Return Path-managed ISP Feedback Loop. I'm guessing Lycos got tired of footing the outsourcing bill for free users. If you're an ESP and you start to see lower complaint volume from your OpenSRS feedback loop after May 15th, that could be why.

This weekend: Gmail spam, from me, to me

"9 to 5 Google" reports on a new spam run that seems to have found and exploited some sort of loophole in Gmail spam filtering. Anybody else get hit with this? I did; starting last night, I got upwards of 40+ spams like this, falsely purporting to be from me, sending to me, and getting through to the Inbox. Google says they've fixed it and the spams don't appear to be getting through to my inbox any more, which is good. This is just spam; I have no reason to suspect a security breach of any kind. Some spammer just got lucky testing some old school spam filtering rule that people perhaps haven't been tripping in a while.

I guess it also tells me that I come to rely on Gmail's spam filtering pretty heavily. It generally does such a good job that a failure that lets something slip through, if even only for a day, is enough to make me see a bunch of spam that I normally wouldn't. So I am actually going to say thank you, Google, both for your overall good job in Gmail spam filtering, and for responding to this issue so quickly.

40 Years of Spam

Recognizing the upcoming 40th anniversary of spam (the bad kind), Forbes shares 25 facts you may or may not have known about everybody's least favorite kind of email messages. There's a couple of nits possibly worth picking there for accuracy's sake, but it's mostly an interesting trip down memory lane.

H/T: Multiple folks.

Cloudflare Launches DNS Service

Cloudflare just launched their own public DNS service. To try it, simply configure your computer to use the DNS servers and Then your computer's DNS lookups (the internet's mapping of domain names to IP addresses) will route through Cloudflare instead of through your ISP.

This is being described as a privacy-focused tool, even though Cloudflare is getting access to gobs of data and traffic and could be doing stuff with that data. But if it's fast and works well, and your ISP's DNS servers don't work so well, it might be something to try.

There are actually a number of other DNS services like this out there.

Google Public DNS is perhaps the most well known one. (It's the one I use most often.) To use their service, you set your DNS server settings to use and

There's also OpenDNS and Quad9 that are intended to help block bad stuff.

And you can find even more services like that here. With all these options, does a savvy geek even need to run their own DNS server nowadays?

Though, I'm not sure it's safe to try to query DNSBLs (anti-spam blacklists) through these DNS services. It's entirely possible that some DNSBLs block them as they may appear to be overwhelmingly large sources of traffic. (Or possibly a DNSBL might like this if the DNS service effectively acts as a cache for them; but I don't have any data on this.)

Message Header & Message Checking Tools

Need a tool to parse message headers? Trying to break down how long it took to hand off an email message between servers?

Check out this tool from Microsoft, and this tool from Google. Both do basically the same thing -- you paste in the email headers and it will parse them, giving you a breakdown of how much time it took between each server hop.

Here's another Google tool you should bookmark. It lets you decode blobs of Base64-encoded content. Sometimes you'll find this handy when viewing the source of an email message and running into content encoded in this way. I just used it to decode an odd bounce message yesterday.

And here's another thing that a coworker shared with me -- Mail Tester helps you check your emails against SpamAssassin in an easy-to-use way. Check it out!

April 20, 2018 Update: Here's another neat tester: This widget from Litmus tells you what Gmail tab a message gets delivered into.


Did you use to shorten links in email newsletters or text versions of emails? Looks like the ability to do that is going away. Doesn't every ESP or email platform have its own click tracking or URL rewriting mechanism by now? And using third party URL shorteners has long been sort of a mixed bag, anyway.