Spam WOW!

So it turns out that my painstaking work in writing and rewriting my library loan tracking script was only half as effective as I thought. For weeks, the script has been chugging along, sending my wife and me a daily morning email that summarized the loan and hold information for all the library cards in our family. The idea was that by putting all the information in one spot, our trips to the library to return items and pick up holds could be consolidated. A good idea, but my wife never got the emails.

The spam filter at our service provider--WideOpenWest, which refers to itself as WOW!--had silently blocked all the messages to my wife, probably because they were coming directly from my office computer via sendmail rather than from an “approved” mail server or gateway. I didn’t realize this until yesterday, when I asked her why she had let a few magazines go overdue when she’d been getting a warning about them every day.

“What warning?”

“The email you get from me every morning with the list of everything we have checked out.”

“I don’t get an email from you every morning.”


I got into her email settings at WOW, turned off the spam filter, and ran the checkcards script. Bing! Up popped the message in her inbox. Of course, no spam filter at the server end isn’t a good solution. And WOW’s filter can’t be tuned because it’s still on what the nice customer support lady called the “old” system; migration to the new system--which has a tunable spam filter--is “still in progress.”

So I turned her spam filter back on and worked out a different solution. The email to me, which comes through GMail, has never been classified as spam. I went into my GMail settings and created a new filter--based on the contents of the To, From, and Subject fields--to forward these library messages to my wife’s address. Since the forwarded message is coming from the great and powerful GMail, WOW’s spam filter lets it through. Problem solved.

But I am still a little annoyed. When the automated messages started coming to me, I just assumed that they were going to my wife as well. I never checked with her, because I figured she was reading the posts here, knew that I had set up this automatic script, and would tell me if the emails never got to her. Turns out she’s not the devoted reader I thought she was.