What Have You Been Up To?

JapanNew York was the place of business for me on five occasions during the past four days (you can read that as my excuse for not writing many stories on patrickWeb this week). I ran into several people that I had not seen in a very long time and invariably, one of us asked "What have you been up to?". I was happy to learn that some of them were CEO’s or CFO’s of major companies and I am proud to know them. In my own case, since e-tirement at the end of 2001, I have yet to develop a really succinct and clear answer to the question of what I am "up to". The short version would be writing, speaking, serving on boards, attending conferences, and spending some time (not enough) on my hobbies. I feel very fortunate to be able to keep an active participation in the technology industry and to help out in various non-profit organizations.
There is a long queue of things that I plan to write about when I get back from Japan, including the status of WiFi, blogging, various Internet technologies, and spam. I am very bullish about all of them — yes, even spam. One thing is for sure and that is that legislation can not solve the spam problem. However, some of us have been saying for quite a while that technology can and will solve the problem. Numerous companies are focused on this and venture capital money is flowing to them. More importantly, the technical community — including some of the best and brightest people in the industry — are on the case. I knew this would happen. Spam has reached the point where the intellectual curiosity among computer scientists has been aroused.
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has a new working group that has been dubbed MARID. It stands for Message Transport Agent Authorization Records In (the) Domain Name System. How’s that for a catchy name? The concept is to store and distribute information that authorizes an email server to send messages from a particular domain. If an email says it is from [email protected] but the server which sent the email was actually x5qyw4ze.ru then it is likely spam. This isn’t the entire answer but techniques are being explored that will catch most spam based on basic characteristics of the sending address. I would say somewhere around 95% would be good. Maybe it will be better than that would if we end up with a system that catches 100% of spam then we have gone too far. I attach a lot of value to getting emails from complete strangers who have a suggestion or question for me. More to come on this subject.
There are so many interesting things going on around the evolution of the Internet, and I look forward to writing some more after my visit to Japan. On Tuesday and Wednesday I’ll be at the Search Engine Strategies and WiFi conferences in Shinjuku. Wednesday afternoon I plan to visit the IBM Yamato Research Laboratory. On Thursday I will be giving a speech in Yokohama and then coming home on Friday. The nice thing about the return trip from Asia — crossing a dozen or so time zones — is that you get home before you leave!
What are you up to? If you want to share, please drop me a note. Unless you say otherwise I will assume anything you send is private and not to be shared with other readers.