Nice not hearing from you

Welcome to this week's Reno News & Review.

I've complained about this before: Email, which in the '90s was the most efficient method of communication ever, has become the least efficient form of communication. I am not exaggerating when I say I receive hundreds of emails every day and not 10 out of 100 are actually intended as communications to me.

That means 90 out of 100 are communications where it's efficient for the individual sending the information, but I'm supposed to waste my time winnowing all those emails to get to the 10 percent that are actually relevant to me and my affairs. Here's a visual in which 10 percent of the information is useful:

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Last week, I started a zero tolerance policy for irrelevant emails. Our company has a filter that weeds out most of the Viagra ads and such, but lately I've been using two additional filters to block irrelevant messages before I receive them.

It works like this. I open Chrome, and then I open three tabs. One has my inbox, the other two have these two spam filters. I go through every single email. If it is even potentially relevant to me, like from a Nevada government agency, I let it though. If it's an advertisement for an event in an area code that isn't 775, I put the domain name into one spam blocker, but if I can identify a word or phrase that is always spam, it goes into another. (For example “Brand new Govt program.”) One filters out “legitimate” spammers, like New York PR agencies, and the other filters out “illegitimate” spammers who constantly change email and domain names to evade guys like me who are tired of noise.

I'm not there yet, but it's already more manageable. And I feel better every time I push the button that says, “Add Sender.”