Comcast may be guilty of many things, but competence is not one of them. All over the country, ordinary users are finding their mail access blocked by bots.

One of the latest victims is retired technology publishing exec Michael “Mac” McCarthy, the fellow who invented the “Dummies” books among many things (Editor of Linux World, Sun World etc.)

The other day I got a robomessage (an automated email) from my ISP,, saying that my computer was being used for spam, and thus they were blocking me — I would be unable to send email.

Not a big problem, I thought, I’ll just use Gmail as my Reply ISP, which I did – for two weeks, and then that stopped working too.

According to the Comcastic tech support person, the bot decided Mac was a “zombie.” But Comcast didn’t have a human being who could reverse the bot’s judgment. The rest of McCarthy’s tale is here.

At least Mac got an email. In many other cases, Comcast just changes the mail delivery ports without informing people with the result that mail simply doesn’t get delivered. But the sender gets no notice their mail has been lost. Just like the U.S. Postal Service.

I wrote about the widespread problems in August. Comcast still can’t deliver the mail.

  1. Special Ed says:

    Comcast = MCI – and we know what happened to MCI.

  2. GregA says:

    Oh I found his problem, He is using Thunderbird. From the sounds of it, he is using an older version. Comcast only accepts SSL connections on email(the change to port 465), and Windows Mail properly interprets it and corrects for it, while Thunderbird does not.

    Wow, I’m smarter and more informed than the for dummies guy;)

    Oh this is all stuff that is right there on their web sight;) You would have to be an idiot to not know that;)

    I support Comcasts spam blocking efforts more than I support the clueless for dummies guy right to run a poorly supported email client because he has an irrational hatred of Microsoft, and is too much of a chump to go buy a Mac.

    Also, Once again, a freetard run blog, is clueless about basic computer operation issues;)

  3. Special Ed says:

    #2 – Greg, I guess the A stands for asshole.

  4. GregA says:


    If being an asshole means just pointing out when freetards are being clueless idiots, and blaming Comcast for problems caused by their own irrational hatred of Microsoft, then yes, I guess you are right, I am an Asshole;)

    I would love to see Perkel chime in about getting Open Crapware Email Servers working in the current spam infested environment;)

  5. gquaglia says:

    The Slowsky’s rule. Feel the burn!

  6. QB says:

    Actually Windows Mail keeps trying all the ports in sequential order until it finds SMTP. A lot of security experts have criticized this behavior but likelihood of threats is rather low.

    BTW, Comcast suggests you use port 587, not 465 as GregA cheerfully suggests.

  7. GregA says:


    Unless you are a freetard moron, such as yourself for example, and using gmail as the author in the original article is using, then you very definatly want to use port 465.

    Now on the other hand, if you wanted to send mail with Comcast, then yes, port 587 is the way to go;)

    Or you could just dump your Open Crapware email client and not have to know those details;)

  8. #7 – GregA

    Why the bug up your ass about gmail?

  9. QB says:

    #7 As yes the bitterness is deep with this one, you have a solid future in customer support. 😉

    Yes, 465 will often work, depending on your mail server, zone, and network. Your mileage will vary.

  10. QB says:

    Mustard, I can’t wait for the response. 😀

  11. GregA says:


    I use gmail, I like gmail. I have no problem with gmail.

    If you want to send a message with a gmail smtp server you connect with SSL on port 465.

    On the otherhand, if you want to send a mail message on comcasts own smtp servers you need to connect with SSL on port 587.


    Bitterness is what causes this sort of gem of denial that I found on slashdot today:

    “It’s common knowledge by now even amongst the general public that Vista exploded on the launch pad.” +5 informative

    But you are right, I used to work help desk;) From there I moved into management and now manage 7 stores, and am a part owner of one of them;)

    If there is a bug up my ass it is that the freetard in the original article somehow manages to blame Microsoft and Comcast for Google working poorly with their own corporate Open Crapware email client, Thunderbird. Microsoft and Comcast have nothing to do with the Freetard “for dummies” guys inability to send email.

  12. QB says:

    Darn, I thought I was going to be called a freetard again, or at least a moron. Oh well. I hope you have a decent Christmas season at the stores GregA.

  13. GregA says:


    We are flat(in Michigan!!!), this year that means we are doing better than everyone else;)

    On the other hand, it is looking like next year, our region here, is gonna get 50-75 billion in government pork;) So onwards and upwards next year.

  14. bill says:

    can you say DSL?

  15. jescott418 says:

    What is wrong with stopping needless traffic from going out? You would think this person would thank Comcast and would be concerned about his computer being used as a botnet?
    Rather then dissing Comcast.

  16. My Constitution Tells Me says:

    If my name is McCain and I use “robots” to make auto-calls on the phone, there is no blocking by AT&T is there? Yet there are these schemes to block email. Sounds unconstitutional.

  17. GregA:

    You obviously have some valid points. I don’t think you have to be so insulting. It hurts your argument. This isn’t middle school.

    And I think you have something stuck in your eye.

  18. J says:

    # 17 Dan McDermott

    “This isn’t middle school.”

    Yes it is. Haven’t you noticed?

  19. Lewis Perdue says:

    #15: read McCarthy’s whole post.

  20. Lewis Perdue says:

    #17 – Dan, thank you for a rational post.

  21. QB says:

    #20 OK, that’s it. Let’s give Lewis Perdue a pink belly.

  22. hhopper says:

    GregA got up from the wrong side of the bed today.

  23. Glenn E. says:

    Nice to see a big corporate monopoly like Comcast, reverse-engineering something as simple as email so that it no longer works reliably. What are they going to offer in place of it, their own proprietary cloud computing mail? Ugh!


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