POPFile on PowerBook

You’ll perhaps recall that when I moved my e-mail to the PowerBook, I provisionally moved it into Apple’s mail.app.  That provisional decision has become permanent; for my purposes Mac Mail (with POPfile) is a fine application.

I resisted installing POPfile for several weeks–partly because I wanted to be more familiar with the Mac environment before installing something so far out of the ordinary, and partly because I wanted to give mail.app’s junk filter a test.  By January’s end, it was pretty clear that the Junk Mail filter doesn’t work as well as I’d like, and I missed POPfile’s more general mail sorting capabilities.  As I’ve mentioned before, I sort incoming mail into a couple dozen categories.  Teaching POPfile to recognize those categories lets me get by with two dozen rules, rather than a couple hundred.  Much better.

So I installed POPfile on the Mac on January 31.  While the process was harder than I’d have liked (I’d walk you through it, but John Graham-Cumming is aware of the problem and plans to simplify the Mac install), in the end I had a working installation.  Three thousand messages later, I’ve got POPfile trained again and continue to be delighted with the system.

I’ll again use the format I was using for last fall’s reports….


The test span ended March 25, 2004, at 3,028 messages.

  • 211 (7.0%) were sent to the wrong bucket.
    • (Therefore) 93.0 % were sent to the right bucket.
    • Keep in mind that this is a new install, and the first several hundred messages are sacrifices to training….
  • 1,241 (41.0%) were spam.  (Basically no change from November.)
    • I’ve dropped the virus & bounced categories; they’re now counted as spam….
  • 110 messages were auction-related; 9 of these were false negatives and 9 were false positives.  That’s about like before; this will improve with training.
  • The Vendor (90 messages/15 false +/21 false -) and Mailing List (251/45 f+/19 f-) categories, both of which are catch-alls, need serious training.  This reflects my earlier experience.  The problem in both cases is that “well-designed” spam looks superficially like these categories.
  • There’s a rather odd behavior which wasn’t a problem in the previous installation:  I use Change Detection to track a number of web pages which really ought to have RSS feeds.  For some reason, POPfile’s having difficulty telling notifications about Blogs (4/20 f+/2 f-) from notifications about General Baseball (77/22 f+/29 f-)–which suggests it’s more aware of the similarities (which are numerous) than the differences (which I consider really blatant).  The really odd thing is that I’ve got several other Change Detection categories, which it’s handling well.  We’ll have to see how this plays out over the next few weeks, when the baseball sites get really active.
    • (This could, of course, turn out to be operator error.  But I think I’m smarter than that.)

Thus my early report.  Things are about where they were at 3,000 messages last time Iinstalled PF, so I’m satisfied.  I’ll keep you informed.