Category: Uncategorized

Reblog – Remove distraction of JunkMail arrival

This post 2 Steps to Auto Mark Junk Emails as Read is a godsend.   At my job I get a ton of unsolicited commercial email (UCE).   After I black list the domains of the companies that SPAM me, I still get distracted when new emails arrive because it makes the Junk Mail folder bold and a count gets incremented.

This article shows you how to silence both the count of unread emails and also automatically mark new junk emails as read.   You’ll never be distracted by unwanted SPAM again!

List of company domains that send UCE

The following is a list of company domains that send out opt-out SPAM / UCE.  These companies have no problem sending you daily SPAM, sometimes more than once a day, and then require you to fill out a form to opt-out.   I’ve also had instances where a year will go by and new salesman from the same company I’ve opted out start emailing me again, so I’ve stopped opting out and gone to domain blocking.  It’s GREAT!

Feel free to import this list into Outlook and make them invisible.   I’ve spent months curating this list.

Self-disciplined Surfing at Work

I found, given recent political developments, that I get tempted to access news sites, social media sites, and other non-work related websites at work more and more often lately.    I wondered what I could do to force myself to be more disciplined.

One day as I was rigging my hosts file to point to a particular webserver to do some testing, it occurred to me.    I should make it harder for me to access these sites by modifying the hosts file for this purpose!

What is a hosts file?   If you’re a computer newbie this might be a revelation to you.   The hosts file is a legacy system that has plenty of useful applications in today’s networked world.    I won’t go into them here, but for the purposes of this post, we want to edit the contents of the file.   On most computers, you will need elevated access (Administrator on Windows, root on MacOS) to save changes to this file.

The location of this file on Windows is in the \Windows\system32\drivers\etc folder.   It’s named “hosts” without a file extension.   This follows the UNIX convention, although years ago it was “hosts.txt”.

Normally this file is almost empty but usually has the “loopback” address there as a lonely entry:          localhost

You can leave that there.   On a new line, you can start making entries to start blocking access to websites.   Here’s a few of mine:

Make sure to save the file and close all open browser tabs and the browser itself.   Now when you access twitter in an impulsive moment, you’ll get a nice 404 message.


Note that this technique is also useful for blocking out ads without triggering the “You’re using an adblocker” warning from the website itself.   I recommend adding this in, too:

Bye-bye Google ads!

I’ve done this to my work computers several months ago and I’ve found myself to be tremendously more productive.   Now, if I want my internet fix I pull my phone out while getting coffee.   Hope it helps you too.