SpeakUp with Sundial Systems from 08/02/99

<Judy>  we'd like to welcom Randell Flint and Rollin White this evening
<Judy>  Randell: would you like to get us started here
<randell>  Thanks, Judy, let me begin with a little background...
<randell>  Then I'll turn it over to Rollin to explain more of the details...
<randell>  Then we'll open it up for questions...
<randell>  As I mentioned before we got started, Kiwi is the codename for a new product we will
<randell>  be releasing later this fall...
<randell>  It's been in development for quite some time and has benefited from the feedback
<randell>  from a number of test users and a couple of focus group events... including two different
<randell>  "preview" presentations at SCOUG.
<randell>  Basically, what Kiwi attempts to do is deal with the problem of "junk" email.
<randell>  Most people (but not quite everyone -- the marketers having found everyone yet) have
<randell>  an ongoing problem with getting mail they would rather not really receive.
<randell>  Kiwi is designed to "filter" this email out before you see it.
<randell>  That way you don't have lots of extra "junk" filling up your mailbox.
<randell>  Now, I hear you say, can't I just do all that with my current email solution?
<randell>  Maybe yes, and maybe no...
<randell>  Yes, just like with your snail mail, you can go thru you inbox everyday and just trash anything you don't want to see...
<randell>  And, with many email programs, you can setup filters to do some of the work for you...
<randell>  But junk email is a "nasty" thing... it's self breading in a way.
<randell>  That's why we are taking an approach somewhat like the folks that provide you with
<randell>  anti-virus software -- we're gonna try and worry about the junk so you don't have to.
<randell>  Rollin will explain more about that later...
<randell>  But the basic idea is that we are constantly scanning junk mail...
<randell>  stuff that we get, stuff that we *intentionally* try to get, and stuff that people forward on to us.
<randell>  From that, we build a database of information about what consitutes junk... and what doesn't.
<randell>  Based on that, we will be providing frequent updates to the "rules" that Kiwi uses to filter your mail.
<randell>  And, importantly, the things that are necessary to make sure we don't throw away the mail you really want to see.
<randell>  And, since one person's junk might be another person's treasure, we are giving you control over how
<randell>  Kiwi actually does its job and uses the rules we provide.
<randell>  Rollin, anything else you want me to cover before you talk a bit about *how* Kiwi works?
<rollin>  Nope, It think you've done a good setup.
<randell>  Then it's over to Rollin...
<rollin>  Kiwi works by sitting between your mail server and your email program.
<rollin>  When your mail program requests mail, it asks for it from Kiwi.
<rollin>  Then Kiwi in turn requests it from the server, scans it, and if appropriate return the mail to your email program.
<rollin>  If it looks like Junk, Kiwi will do one of several things, including flagging it as junk so that you can do with it what you wish.
<rollin>  How does Kiwi decide what is junk? As Randell said, it uses a database of information about other junk mail.
<rollin>  There are several important parts of the database.
<rollin>  One is that it holds the characteristics of junk mail. The second is that it can easily be kept up to date.
<rollin>  We also use several other techniques to compliment the database in identifying junk mail. Most of those we're not prepared to talk about :)
<rollin>  We've built into the product the concept of updating the database much like the Anti-virus people can update their databases.
<rollin>  Plus, as Randell said, we've gone to great lengths to ensure that there are no incorrect identifications of your email.
<randell>  (We wouldn't want all those people *sending* junk mail to be able to figure out how we *know* it's junk mail would we.)
<rollin>  And, you have complete control over which parts of the database are active, including the ability to create your own.
<rollin>  I think that is a good start.... Would Randell or anyone who's seen the product care to add?
<randell>  Sounds like a good start to me. Shall we open it to questions?
<Judy>  I have used the filters in PmMail, but Kiwi has a much broader ability for the user to configure the filters
<rollin>  And most important, if you don't want to screw with it, you don't have to.
<Judy>  One think I like is the "global exceptions"...rollin can tell about that please
<Judy>  think=thing :)
<rollin>  Oh, thanks!
<Judy>  hehe
<madodel>  Sorry I was late, and this may have been answered, but Does Kiwi download the entre post then delete it, or can it just delete things on the server and save the bandwidth?
<rollin>  The Global Exceptions is a list of criteria that you NEVER want to be considered junk email. For example, if you have a friend that is always talking about getting rich quick, you might want to add his email address to the exception list.
<rollin>  madodel, Kiwi sits in the middle, so your mail is only ever downloaded once. It's scanned, if it's good it's passed on, if it's junk it's flagged as such.
<madodel>  But you can't just have it delete the message on the server without downloading at all?
<rollin>  It has to download it to do a complete scan of the message. It's scanning the message body as well as the header.
<randell>  While working on this project over time, we found that *exceptions* are a key thing.
<DavidA>  rollin: Could you explain "flagging" a little more? What options do we have?
<randell>  madodel, we've looked at doing junk identification just based on subject information... but that's not as reliable as we would like.
<rollin>  DavidA, there are a couple options. The harshest is to just have Kiwi delete the message. The more common option is to have Kiwi add a line to the header of the message. Then you can create a single filter in your email program to look for that line and then trash the message, move it to a folder, or whatever you like. Kiwi also has a few options for forwarding the message, saving it to a file, etc.
<randell>  And, importantly, sending a copy to us for further analysis...
<KoolAde>  rollin will Kiwi work with a java email program to do what you are describeing
<rollin>  It will work with ANY POP3 email client.
<KoolAde>  thanks
<DavidA>  randell: Is sending a copy to you required? Or optional?
<randell>  As Rollin mentioned, one of the great things is that Kiwi "sits between" your email program and your server...
<rollin>  That's actually an important point. The previous iteration integrated tightly with several specific programs, but that turned out to be too limited. By making it generic, we've gained a lot.
<rollin>  DavidA, definitely optional!
<randell>  thus, for the most part, your email program just needs to "see" Kiwi as the POP3 server where your mail is.
<randell>  DavidA, to repeat what Rollin said, optional. You need not ever send us any of your mail. Kiwi treats everything it recieves as private to you.
<solitario>  Does Kiwi support IMAP servers too?
<DavidA>  randell: OK, thanks
<rollin>  solitario, not currently, but possibly before 1.0.
<eTronik>  Is Kiwi running locally in the PC ?
<rollin>  eTronik, yes it runs on your PC.
<randell>  There goes Rollin promising features again...
<Judy>  sitting right on your desktop :)
<randell>  Judy, but not taking up space...
<rollin>  And it's designed to take as little desktop space as possible.
<Judy>  randell: very little :)
<eTronik>  so all the rules are resident on my PC ?? how are they updated ??
<rollin>  Unless, you're a "watch it work" type who can run the monitor and see the gory details.
<rollin>  eTronik, they are updated through email. It's possible....
<randell>  Essentially, Kiwi is an "always running" utility program (or service) that you hardly need to worry about... just let it do it's job.
<eTronik>  what about the junk database ??
<rollin>  That you might be getting email locally on a corporate net without being connected to the internet. So the best transport is the email itself. The updates are coded in the email, encypted, and secure.
<Judy>  is the final version also going to send an email when it detects junk mail?
<rollin>  That's an option (that's in the current PR), to send it to an arbitrary email and/or sundial.
<eTronik>  are the rules and junk database separate repositories or one and the same ??
<Judy>  is a new beta being released soon?
<rollin>  Judy, I'm glad you asked!
<Judy>  :)
<DavidA>  Is there some sort of "learn" option, where I can point to an email and say "That's junk, figure out how to catch it"?
<rollin>  Yes there is, and we're looking to expand the scope of PreRelease testers. So if you're interested, send me an email to rollin@sundialsystems.com
<solitario>  Does Kiwi monitor the mail you send also, so it can automatically add "trusted senders"?
<rollin>  DavidA, not currently, but that's generally the type of thing we're working on.
<rollin>  Solitorio, not currently, but it's now on the feature list :)
<randell>  There will also be a public prerelease closer to the time the product becomes available.
<eTronik>  OS/2 only or multi-plattform ?
<Judy>  rollin: current beta testers need not apply?
<rollin>  Judy, correct.
<randell>  DavidA, part of the problem with that is determining what is junk about it and what it not.
<DavidA>  randell: True....
<randell>  eTronik, we'd rather not comment on that too much at this time...
<eTronik>  what about tentative price range ??
<randell>  However, let me say that it will certainly be available *first* on OS/2...
<randell>  However, let me say that it will certainly be available *first* on OS/2...
<solitario>  I assume Kiwi can recognise a modified version of a chain letter as junk mail if it has the original in the database?
<rollin>  eTronik no price has been determined, but we think you'll be happy :)
<rollin>  solitario, we hope so, remember we're looking for characteristics, not specifics. So just forwarding a message won't mask the symptoms.
<eTronik>  rollin: I'll be happy with a copy of Kiwi in my PC !! :-)
<randell>  eTronik, let me turn it around... what price would you want to pay for all that help sorting out your mail?
<eTronik>  rollin: ahem ! a REGISTERED copy !
<rollin>  What would you pay for Kiwi, and this deluxe set of kinsu knives? And the pocket fisherman?
<randell>  Let me add that this isn't a "blue sky" product... we are actually quite close to release...
<rollin>  And it's not your normal 1.0 product. It's been through several MAJOR redesigns and several pre releases.
<eTronik>  if it really works I would tolerate up to $30
<eTronik>  BUT!
<Judy>  the infamous BUT!
<randell>  The main things we are working on at this point are further enhancements to our TCPIP Wizard that makes sure your environment will be a happy home for Kiwi..
<KoolAde>  sorry I came late, but I dont see what Kiwi is going to do different than a filter in the email program that auto's to trash, thanks
<eTronik>  problem is, I'd still have to download the mail, do I save the hassle of looking at them and deleting them manually, but would not save the bandwidth and phone charges
<Judy>  KoolAde: you have much more control over configuration with Kiwi (code name)
<rollin>  KoolAde, several things. First the database is not something YOU need to build, we provide that for you. Second, we're providing several other techniques for identifying the junk email....
<Judy>  plus Sundial takes 3/4 of the work out of it for you by including numerous filters...which you can del/edit etc
<rollin>  Our choice of using the email program to handle some of the filing is to give users the most flexibility. The idea is to set it up once and never worry about it again, much like anti-virus software.
<randell>  eTronik, with most email programs, Kiwi does the deleting (if you want it to)...
<KoolAde>  Hmmm sounds like something I would use, then tired of getting to much trash
<rollin>  KoolAde, exactly. It's a problem that just keeps growing...
<randell>  eTronik, so, for the most part, it's a "set it and forget it" type of program that looks at your incoming mail, filters out what you don't want, so you end up seeing just want you want to see
<rollin>  At our first demo, about 20-30% people said they had a junk mail problem. Many people had no idea what we were talking about. At our last demo,it was closer to 90%.
<DavidA>  It sounds like you have most of the guts of a POP3 server in there. Could it be used as a mail server for more than 1 machine on a LAN?
<lmaxson>  Rollin, does it treat duplicate messages as junk mail?
<rollin>  DavidA, down the road, perhaps.
<eTronik>  will Kiwi filter those mails that contain for example Win32 executables that we're bound to receive at least 3 times from different riends ??
<randell>  Rollin's the one with the *big* junk mail problem! What's your estimate of the number of junk email messages in our testing "libary" now?
<randell>  "library", not "libary"
<randell>  We don't support it's just as a mail server at this time.
<rollin>  lmaxson, no that's not one of the criteria, duplicates are not necessarily bad for some (many) people.
<WarpHoss>  Multi-threading and memory management, any performance "benchmarks" been done?
<rollin>  eTronik, you could easily add that critera to the database, although it's not specifically one of criteria today.
<rollin>  Randell, I don't know, in the 1000's possibly close to 10,000
<randell>  WarpHoss, it's a Sundial product! Need you worry at all about performance?
<Judy>  lol
<eTronik>  ahah lol !
<Judy>  past history speaks for itself :)
<WarpHoss>  well with 1000 mesasges a day that go across one of my desktops it is a concern.
<eTronik>  ok! I just need to know: When, How Much, electronic delivery available ??
<KoolAde>  Judy you want an email I got from IBM on the 128 stuff today
<randell>  WarpHoss, agreed...
<Judy>  Koolade: sure, send it to bri@gt-online.com
<rollin>  WarpHoss, For testing it goes through marathon session validating against my different test beds.
<Judy>  just don't put FREE in the subject line :)
<randell>  WarpHoss, in general, it's not signficantly different that the load imposed by filtering within any email program.
<randell>  WarpHoss, to be honest, threads don't buy us alot here since the delivery of messages *thru* Kiwi must be serialized to keep your mail program and your mail server happy
<solitario>  Does Kiwi allow REXX scripts to extend it?
<rollin>  But there are 3-4 threads, one for the UI, one for management, and one for the scanning process.
<rollin>  solitario, not now, but it's high on the feature list (But probably not for 1.0).
<eTronik>  so will Kiwi act as some kind of e-mail server ? will be the incoming mailbox for the e-mail clinet, and Kiwi will be the equester for our real pop server ??
<WarpHoss>  , randell, picture clearer. thanx.
<randell>  eTronik, price/availability to be announced later (perhaps in connection with certain upcoming OS/2 events)
<rollin>  You can think of Kiwi as a pass-thru mail server. By itself it's not a mail server, but to everyone it looks like a mail server.
<eTronik>  whats the size of each updated rules file ?? on average ?
<randell>  eTronik, the program (remember, Kiwi is the codename) will be enabled for electronic delivery; it will be up to our dealers to provide you the option to purchase it that way
<eTronik>  great
<SteveS>  To make sure everyone understands the need for Kiwi, Rollin has Just sent the entire collection of 10,000 junk emails to everyone on the chat.
<rollin>  We're about to do our first quarterly update test, so we'll find out. I'm guessing only a few hundred lines.
<randell>  SteveS, would that be fun!
<Judy>  SteveS: LOL
<rollin>  AND, I put Steve's name as the from address!
<Judy>  and I filtered them to forward to SteveS !
<solitario>  Poor Steve, get's him killed by 10000 copies of the bible!
<randell>  Another key thing about our rules, and Rollin has done a ton of work on this...
<eTronik>  rollin: and thats the only update ?? the rules file ??
<Sector>  SteveS: Good luck, they'll bounce back my ISP's mail server isn't working
<rollin>  Yes. It drives the entire process.
<randell>  Is that when you make changes to the rules (eg, disable some or add excpetions), your changes are preserved when you get our updates...
<eTronik>  ok, lets assume I buy a copy , for how long am I getting the updated rules file ??
<randell>  eTronik, to be announced.
<rollin>  eTronik, that hasn't been decided yet
<solitario>  Can you give an impression of the functions you can use in the filters?
<rollin>  It can be limited to a particular part of the message (header, body, or specific fields in the header), and specific text. There are also exceptions for each entry in the database. So, for example...
<randell>  eTronik, but it will be a "decent" amount of time... and you will not have to upgrade the product once that time expires... it will be more of a "low cost subscrition" type of thing (much like with the anti-virus folks)
<rollin>  If you've selected the super agressive filter and are removing mail from bigfoot.com (For example), but a friend uses bigfoot, you might add their email to that exception (ro to your global exceptions).
<eTronik>  ok! good.
<solitario>  Is it possible to make a rule like: If (CompletelyInCapitals(header)==TRUE) then DeleteThisMessage ?
<solitario>  Note especially the CompletelyInCapitals!
<rollin>  Not currently. There aren't free-form rules (yet), And again, I would suggest that's not as foolproof as you might think :)
<randell>  Let me second what Rollin said...
<eTronik>  will you offer some kind of trial ??
<rollin>  Eliminating false positives has been the hardest part of the job. You'd be surprised what people will do in their legitimate email.
<KoolAde>  LOL
<randell>  One of the key things this experience has shown us is that it's not easy to come up with rules that *consistently* identify junk mail (and *only* junk mail)
<rollin>  etronik, it will probably be like the rest of our software that you can download and evaluate the features.
<WarpHoss>  MailShield - Read Your Mail and Only Your Mail, Your Way. I think I got it. copyright,1999 Warphoss ;-)
<randell>  WarpHoss... that goes another name off the trademark list...
<rollin>  On the flip side, you'd be surprised how stupid (lazy) some junk emailers are.
<eTronik>  well, looks very promising , I'll be eagerly awaiting the product, and the very best of luck with it !
<Judy>  eTronik: you can always beta test it just to get a taste of what is yet to come :)
<randell>  eTronik, thanks... and once the demo is available, please give us your feedback.
<solitario>  Does Kiwi use fuzzy logic to determine whether an e-mail is junk?
<eTronik>  sure !
<rollin>  solitario, not currently, but there are several advanced technologies like that that we are evaluating.
<randell>  solitario, in a sense, yes, but per the formal defintion of "fuzzy logic" no
<solitario>  I tend to ask for things you don't yet support, but want to support. :-)
<rollin>  That probably means they're good ideas!
<KoolAde>  rollin did you see the last post I was looking for an answer on that , I would have preferred to have that filter,
* Judy pats rollin on the back so he doesn't hurt his arm :)
<randell>  Our goal right now is to get 1.0 out the door! (But that's a "Sundial" 1.0, not your ordinary 1.0)
<Judy>  ordinary 1.0=buggy 1.0
<rollin>  KoolAde, The chain letters? Yes, that could have been caught. That's one of those that is on the cusp of legit vs junk mail.
<Judy>  Sundail 1.0=bugfree to the best of our knowledge 1.0 :)
<solitario>  Rollin: Beware if you get an e-mail from me, you will be in an daily e-mail conversation with me for at least a week. (unless you Kiwi me)
<rollin>  solitario :)
<KoolAde>  Judy email sent :)
<Judy>  Koolade: I've already read it, thx ;)
<DavidA>  Is that a new verb? "kiwi" someone?
<Judy>  lol
<rollin>  I like dodo'ing them better
<WarpHoss>  As far as sub-system development and the Database goes are u at liberty to give info on some of the tools used to develop the product?
<Judy>  David: only for your fruity friends :)
<SteveS>  Hey, what is all this junk e-mail I am now getting! Did Judy forward all her junk to me like she promised?
<randell>  Judy, thanks for the Sundial definition of 1.0...
<Judy>  :)
<rollin>  Sundial uses the VisualAge compiler. Beyond that, the tools for collecting and analyizing the email are all stuff we've built in house (including using DBExpert!)
<Judy>  SteveS: :)
<solitario>  Shows you stand behind your products.
<WarpHoss>  Comforting info, thanks randell.
<DavidA>  OT, but are you using VA4 or 3?
<rollin>  For the most part we're using three. We tend to be very conservative when it comes to compilers. We don't want a broken compiler breaking our product.
<randell>  VA 3 -- and no OpenClass or other similar stuff..
* WarpHoss relaxes a little more after rollin speaks.
<DavidA>  R&R: haven't yet heard of serious projects in VA4
<rollin>  This is a typcial Sundial product in that I'm working hard to make the jump from one disk to two disks!
<rollin>  One other thing I forgot was the TCP/IP Wizard...
<SteveS>  You might consider electronic only delivery for the product. That way you will not have to worry about the number of diskettes.
<rollin>  One of the things we found in our testing is that many people's TCP/IP is really screwed up!
<SteveS>  Since you have to have e-mail to be able to use the product, you can always e-mail the product to the receipient.
<eTronik>  I would favour electronic only delivery !
<randell>  SteveS, electronic delivery will be an option, but some people still prefer to have media in their hands.
<solitario>  I for instance treasure my Mesa 2 and DbExpert disks.
<rollin>  It might work enough to get them out on the net, but that's about it. So, we've developed a Wizard to identify and correct many of the common TCP/IP errors. To prove the point, last week I discovered another error on a machine that I configured!
<SteveS>  Randell, then have the receiver make a diskette from the file sent!
<randell>  eTronik, we are enough customers that tell us they want those disks, etc, that we aren't planning on going "electronic only"
* KoolAde likes to do electronic but likes have those disk's when its time to have to update new puter :)
<Sector>  Hey, who turned out the lightsł
<Judy>  and manual in ipf format
<rollin>  So, the installation process should be as simple and painless as possible.
<Judy>  err .inf :)
<randell>  SteveS, works for some people... doesn't work for others. We try to give the customer what they want (within reason).
<rollin>  Manual will actually be in HTMl. The Help is in .HLP.
<solitario>  Does the TCP/IP Wizard generally speed up your TCP/IP configuration?
<SteveS>  Randell, like cantaloupes!
<rollin>  solitario, no, it just corrects configuration errors that would interfere with Kiwi's operation.
<SteveS>  Rollin, Can the TCP/IP Wizard upgrade your TCP/IP to the latest version/fix level?
<randell>  SteveS, I'm not going down the cantaloupe route... that's too much of an inside joke to explain.
<rollin>  No, we're not willing to tackle that issue.
<randell>  (No folks, "cantaloupe" is *not* the codename for our next product.)
<solitario>  Which flavours of TCP/IP does it support? All?
<solitario>  I mean OS/2's, which versions?
<Judy>  watermelon will suffice :)
<rollin>  All, although we still need to do some testing.
<randell>  Judy, "watermelon" *was* the codename for one of our Taligent products!
<Judy>  ah :)
<KoolAde>  and IBM blew that one for you :)
<DoubleT>  IBM=Gallagher!
<WarpHoss>  The configuration errors of which u speak? perhaps u can relay the most common off the top of your head?
<rollin>  The host name and the IP address do not resolve to the same. Also if you are dialup only...
<rollin>  we need the loopback interface to have a consistent interface to pass mail back and forth.
<randell>  The goal of TCP/IP Wizard is to make sure your TCP/IP configuration is compatiblity with Kiwi... it's not a "do all" "end all" TCP/IP configuration and diagnostic tool. If it was, that would be another product.
<randell>  KoolAde and DoubleT, yep on both those counts.
<solitario>  Does it work with all versions of OS/2's TCP/IP?
<WarpHoss>  mail concerns only addressed that's good rollin.
<os2hq>  randell: But, what you learn about OS/2 TCPIP on this project.... could lead to other goodies.
<randell>  WarpHoss, or not having a hostname...
<rollin>  solitario yes, although we need to do some testing.
<randell>  os2hq, no comment other than we don't have any plans along those lines at this time...
<WarpHoss>  hehehe rollin keep goin ya might sell this thing yet!
<Judy>  I think once folks see the demo in action, it will sell itself :)
<randell>  os2hq, but to put it another way, we (especially Rollin) now know a whole lot more about how screwed up TCP/IP configurations can be...
<randell>  Judy, thanks... but if Kiwi hides all that junk mail from you, what's there to see
<Judy>  randell: the important email that you WANT to see :)
<Judy>  and saves you the time of having to wade through the "garbage"
<solitario>  No spam, which is very rare here. I have two accounts I use only rarely, where 99% is spam. (about 3-5 mails a day).
<randell>  Judy, but you don't *see* all that in the demo (unless you look at the statistics and the logs)!
<Judy>  randell: then in the demo, I would suggest that you don't make it an option to notify of junk mail...make it the default :)
<randell>  We have time for a few more questions before its time for the trivia question and a wrap up..
<randell>  Judy, good point... we'll look into that for the demo!
<Judy>  it'll just say "I'm doing my job whether you know it or not"
<Judy>  do we have anymore "fruity" questions/discussion?
<randell>  I know a few of you might want to find out more later by visiting our website...
<randell>  But you won't find anything about Kiwi there yet!
<Judy>  lol
<Judy>  so don't bother looking :)
<randell>  Remeber, Kiwi is only the codename for this product...
<randell>  And we haven't yet announced anything about availability, price, etc.
<solitario>  And the trivia question is what the real name is, and the price.
<Judy>  hehe
<randell>  But you might be able to tell that some of our beta testers have been with us tonight...
<Judy>  who'd have known :)
<randell>  Look for further annoucements as we approach Warp Expo West and Warpstock.
<KoolAde>  that its tease us , and throw us away,
<Judy>  great!
<randell>  solitario, I didn't think of that one
<Judy>  koolade: did you see Rollin's offer about emailing him?
<KoolAde>  No I miss that Judy
<Judy>  Rollin.....
<Judy>  I don't think my buffer goes back that far :(
<rollin>  If you're interested in PR testing, just send me an email. rollin@sundialsystems.com
* WarpHoss says his buffer does......
<Judy>  well, maybe your buffer is bigger than my buffer!
<randell>  (We are only adding a few more testers at this point... so get those requests in early.)
<rollin>  Stay tuned to the web site for the product announcements, etc. as well as the upcoming OS/2 events.