Ralf's Ramblings: Rant

Jul 24, 2020 • Rant, SysadminEditsPermalink

Outlook.com Considered Harmful

I am administrating the server that hosts this blog myself, and this includes running and maintaining my own mail server. Email is a messy and complicated bit of infrastructure, born in a more innocent age where everyone connected to the internet trusted each other. Over time, is has grown many layers of band-aids to provide at least some level of security. Email is also beautiful, it is the most widely used example of federated infrastructure: in principle, anybody can set up a mail server and communicate with everyone else, no matter which provider they are using. This is an amount of organizational resilience and user freedom that most messenger services can only dream of.

Perhaps surprisingly, I have had very little trouble with my own server; most big email providers do a good job blocking spam while permitting small independent mail servers to operate smoothly (this includs even Gmail, to my astonishment). There is just one exception: Microsofts Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail.com) and the other services using the same underlying infrastructure (such as live.com).


Dec 12, 2018 • Rant, ResearchEditsPermalink

Google Scholar Considered Harmful

I am currently applying for academic positions, and several people recommended I get a Google Scholar profile because hiring committees will look for that. I even found one vacancy that explicitly requested submitting a Google Scholar profile alongside the application. Google Scholar provides not just a list of publications (which is of course part of the application, and which is also available on dblp), but also a citation count and computation of several publication-related indices. This post is about why I don’t have a Google Scholar profile (yet).