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Just as historians and mythologists over the centuries have searched for the Holy Grail, computer programmers are forever seeking their own Holy Grail, or “killer app,” as it’s called in the profession. Perhaps the biggest “killer app” of all is e-mail, which, while in use by the military, scientists and a few early adapters, didn’t come into its own until the mid-1990s. But since then, e-mail has changed the way we conduct our business and personal lives, as instant electronic communication and document transmission have become universal. (Does anyone still use a fax machine?) But while e-mail growth has exploded exponentially, along with it has come junk e-mail, or spam, so-named after the Monty Python skit devoted to the Hormel meat product everyone loves. The spam threat has grown so large that it could potentially destroy e-mail as a “killer app,” since no busy legal professional has the time to wade through hundreds of junk e-mails looking for that one important message. State and now national legislation has been enacted to curtail spam, but as predicted by many, no one has seen a decrease in the number of junk e-mails being received, since many of them are being sent from offshore locations beyond the scope of federal jurisdiction. While the issue of what to do about spam, such as potentially charging companies to send e-mail, is being debated in lofty circles, users can take steps now to make their workdays less interrupted by Viagra pitches and Third World kings seeking investors. SOME SIMPLE SUGGESTIONS A few basic rules for preventing spam apply:

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