Next stop Washington D.C.

After his time in Rwanda the Little Peacekeeper is traveling again. This time he is visiting Washington. On the picture you find him just in front of the Library of Congress – a truly impressive library! He marvels at the amount of knowledge available here and remembers the World Digital Library which has been launched by UNESCO, the Library of Congress and other institutions and which features “unique cultural materials from libraries and archives from around the world”.

UN Job List E-Mail Alerts and issues with Boxbe

If you don’t know what “Boxbe” is, you have nothing to worry about and you can ignore this post.

If you use Boxbe and you haven’t put the UN Job List’s e-mail on your guest list, chances are you will receive a note from me telling you that I deactivated your e-mail and that you will not receive the UN Job List E-mail Alert in the future.

Here is what you need to do in order to use the UN Job List e-mail alert together with Boxbe:

  1. Make sure that you put the UN Job List’s e-mail on your Boxbe guest list
  2. Please make sure you tell Boxbe to not send me any messages
  3. That’s all it takes, you’re all set

A bit of background: “What’s wrong with Boxbe?”

Boxbe is a service that promises you to get rid of SPAM. All you need to do, is give it your e-mail password and let Boxbe do the magic. In my opinion, using any service like Boxbe is not a great idea and I will try to explain why. We all don’t like SPAM (and hosting the UN Job List gets me a lot of SPAM, trust me I really don’t like SPAM) and I’m all for anything that reduces my SPAM. But fighting SPAM by spamming all your friends is not a great idea in my book. Unfortunately that’s what is happening if you use Boxbe and are not carefully managing your guest list. The issues I observe are:

  1. For every user that uses Boxbe I get a message requiring me to solve a CAPTCHA before the UN Job List e-mail alert is delivered to the user. The UN Job List has thousands of users. If I would start solving CAPTCHAs for every every alert my users want me to send, I would not do anything but solving CAPTCHAs (remember that I’m doing the UN Job List in my private spare time and don’t get paid for providing this public service)
  2. The system Boxbe uses does not send real bounces and so I don’t know if my mails are reaching the recipient or not. My server resources are expensive and I have no reasons for sending messages that are not wanted. If you don’t need the UN Job List any longer, please click the link in the message I send and you will never hear from me again. If Boxbe prevents me from knowing if my messages are wanted, how I can make sure that only people who want my alerts receive them? I spend a lot of time sending my e-mail alerts. I also spend a considerable amount of time working on e-mail error messages and pride myself in keeping my newsletter very clean so that no message is wasted. So not only Boxbe wastes my resources by asking me to solve CAPTCHAs but also Boxbe wastes my resources by not telling me which messages are received or not.
  3. Lastly, I think it is good practice to not trust anybody with your mailbox credentials. It’s bad enough that you need to trust your e-mail provider with your digital life but letting anybody, be it Boxbe, Facebook’s Friend finder, Twitter etc. into your e-mail account is not a great idea. Remember that your e-mail account is your life. Your bank, your taxes, your Facebook, Twitter and virtually all other services are setup using your e-mail. And most of these services offer to reset your password sending it to you via e-mail. Anybody who has access to your e-mail controls your digital life. See why I recommend to NEVER let any service have access to your e-mail account? (Just for the record: I would never imply that Boxbe, Facebook or any other service is not dealing well with your e-mail credentials but errors, hacker attacks and other things happened to pretty much every service that’s out there and the fewer people have access to your account, the better).

So what can you do to minimize the amount of SPAM you get?

There are many different ways and this blog is not the best place to list it all but the things below helped me to deal with the issue:

  1. Don’t give out your e-mail unless you need to. It’s not a secret that most commercially driven sites use your e-mail for all kinds of advertisements etc.
  2. Have an e-mail for the important things in life (e.g. the UN Job List e-mail alert) and a second e-mail for your “less important” things. Sometimes you need to give out an e-mail in order to download a program, sign-up to see information etc. Provide an e-mail address that you check every now and then and not daily. Any SPAM piling up in this mailbox is not going to bother you too much.
  3. Have your e-mail be “complicated to guess”. Spammers “guess” your e-mail but going through a combination of [name]@[popular ISP]. Chances are that joe@[domain].com will get a lot of spam but aW2432JU4eai3w2er234@[domain].com will not get too much. However this is a balance you need to get right; keep your poor friends in mind who may need to remember you e-mail which is not that easy if it is a complicated and long word.
  4. Advanced users: Use existing standards to deal with SPAM. If you have the means look into DKIM/SPF and other standard conform ways of dealing with SPAM. And if you host a server, reject the connection if you suspect SPAM to give legitimate senders a chance to check their bounces.

Alright, thanks for your attention and if you have questions or ideas on how to improve this post, please let me know in the comments below.

The Kigali Memorial Centre

The Little Peacekeeper is visiting the Kigali Memorial Centre He is deeply saddened as he learns more about the Rwandan Genocide. At the same time he is encouraged when he is seeing that the hard work on reconciliation and care for survivors has advanced Rwanda so much.

At the memorial at one of the mass graves, the Little Peacekeeper is standing in silence to remember the victims of the genocide. He feels that there are immense organizational responsibilities as well as deeply personal duties for each and every one of us to prevent genocide from happening again.

The UN Job List Widget for your Website

Some of you may already discovered the UN Job List Widget which is in the lower right side of my blog. The reason for creating this widget is that I wanted to create a simple and easy way to include UN Job List jobs into websites and blogs. Of course you can always use any of the many RSS feeds that the UN Job List produces – you probably know that every search result on the UN Job List creates a custom RSS feed just for you. But the widget is a nice and optically appealing way of listing UN Job List vacancies in your blog.

The UN Job List widget is available for WordPress as a regular plugin and for any other website via an iFrame code. The way it works is pretty simple: Get your UN Job List widget code over at the UN Job List Search page. The widget code can be quite long depending on your search but essentially it tells the widget which kinds of vacancies you would like to display in your website. Play with the search results and make sure you really get the jobs you want to before you proceed.

Finally, enter the widget code into your WordPress plugin or into your iFrame code. The instructions on how to do this are on the widget documentation page.

Please let me know in the comments below if you have any questions on the widget and how to improve it – thanks!

Happy Birthday Little Peacekeeper!

Today is the Little Peacekeeper’s first birthday. Who would have thought of all the many adventures he experienced in just one short year when he first appeared? Do you know his first post? It’s here: So, now the Little Peacekeeper is celebrating with some cake and you are all invited – come join the Little Peacekeeper on Facebook and feel free to bring you friends!