You have mail

March 4, 2008

I felt sorry for Gary Sinnott, the computer enthusiast from Suffolk who set up a website to promote his local town of Mildenhall. Unfortunately his domain name of was similar to that of the US Air Force base just down the road –; not that similar really, but Gary found himself the unwitting recipient of an increasing number of emails meant for personnel at the base.

As webmaster for, he received all the emails addressed to that domain. It wasn’t just junk and spam… his inbox was cluttered by some classified information, including the flight plans for George W. Bush on a visit to the region.

When the incoming emails reached 30,000 a day (according to the newspapers) Gary had to admit defeat in the face of US firepower. He closed down his website; Apparently the US authorities were unable to persuade their employees and correspondents to check the email addresses on their correspondence before clicking send. Personally I was quite surprised that the person sending the President’s flight plan didn’t pay a bit of attention to the address field.The thing is, familiarity breeds contempt and it’s all too easy to let your fingers do the thinking as they fly across the keys…

The suffix .com flows so smoothly from your fingertips compared to (try it!).I felt sorry for Gary because I sometimes get the wrong emails. Many of you would have already experienced the problems of having a name that is shared by at least two other people in the organisation. It is very easy to type half the address and to let the automated address book fill in the rest… I sometimes get emails about claims that need settling and I’m sure that poor  Sud in claims gets fed up with IT related matters.

For the last couple of months I have been in the trainee actuaries mailing list for some reason as well. I don’t know if I share a name or part of a name with one of our actuarial team. I’ve been quite interested to read about the varied topics, meetings and presentations that our actuaries attend… Although I would have been more interested in military secrets.


One Response to “You have mail”

  1. ila Says:

    Oh.. Just came to know that having a website is very dfficult..

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