Jackie Danicki is a young woman who writes a blog that I read from time to time. She moved from Ohio to London about ten years ago and has recently moved back to Cincinnati. Due to her work situation, she now travels back and forth between Cincinnati and London, spending a few weeks at a time in each place. She has had considerable experience with the British National Health Service as compared to that in the U.S. Here is one of her recent posts on the subject, inspired by Michael Moore’s new movie.
Earlier this week Helen Evans, a veteran senior nurse in the National Health Service (the nationalized health service in the UK) and a director of Nurses for Reform, a pan-European network of nurses dedicated to consumer-oriented reform of European health-care systems, wrote an editorial piece in the Chicago Tribune that is worth reading.
This could be coming soon to a city near you.
Okay, here’s the techie tip, which coming from me – a total computer Luddite – is a real hoot.
I wouldn’t dare try to give computer advice to anyone who reads this blog because I would imagine most are vastly more computer literate than I, but on my recent trip I ran into several people who are very smart, but who didn’t know this tip. So, on the off chance that some readers out there are in the same boat, I’ll pass it along.
The Chicago Tribune article that I linked to above requires registration, which is free. Once registered, you can pretty much read the paper at will. In order to register, you must provide a username and a password along with your email address. You can’t just use a bogus email because these folks are on to that gimmick. The Chicago Tribune (and a zillion other papers that use this same registration system) will send you an email message, which you then have to click on to activate your free subscription. If you use a bogus email, you never get the email allowing you to activate your account. When you use your real email, after activation of your registration, you can read the paper for free, but you pay by getting bombarded with offers and headlines and other emails that you would probably just as soon not have.
Here is the solution. Go to Yahoo or Hotmail or any of the other free email providers and open a free email account under whatever name you want. Then use that email account to register for all the stuff you want to register for or for the times that you order something over the phone and someone asks you for your email account. All the spam, free offers, news headlines, etc. will go to an account you never use, leaving your own personal email account unsullied by all the junk that these ‘free’ registrations engender. You get all the benefits and none of the downside.
Pretty simple, eh? I hope the one reader that hasn’t already figured this out benefits from my techie tip of the year.


  1. On the computer tip: actually, the easiest way to accomplish a “throw away” email address is to use Gmail, which allows an unlimited number of such addresses using a very simple means.
    Say your email address is myrealemail@gmail.com, and you want to register with the Chicago Tribune without using this email. All you have to do is register with the Tribune using myrealemail+chicagotribune@gmail.com.
    Gmail will essentially ignore the “+” (and anything after it) for purposes of email delivery – but with the added bonus of being able to create filters/rules based upon whatever is after the “+”.
    It is a perfect solution to the myriad registration-required websites.
    (Hope that makes sense; I’ve not had my coffee yet this morning!
    Hi Chip–
    If you do this, will all the junk emails from all the outfits you’ve registered with make it through to your regular gmail account?

  2. Doc, here’s another way to deal with those types of sites-go to http://www.bugmenot.com-you provide the web site address, and in most cases, they provide valid id’s and passwords that will work (unless it’s an obscure site).. it’s a good way to go if it’s a site you aren’t likely to use much.

  3. Yes, that’s a good tip. Also, you can try bugmenot.com where people share logins for sites that require registration. You might have to try a few before you find a working login, but I was able to get into Chicago Tribune this way. pookmail.com is pretty interesting, it provides disposable email addresses and you don’t even have to fill out anything to create them. I rarely use it though because I already have a few accounts with the free email providers.

  4. Uhm, if I use Gmail or Outlook to read email, I can register, than promptly add the Trib to my junk list and never see an email from them.
    I’m happy to report, I didn’t go and see Sicko this weekend. I will. But I wanted to see something less thought provoking. So, I saw Live Free or Die Hard. Which was a ton of fun. And a nice paeon to all the “analog” people out there. It’s a nice bit of nostalgia, feeding the egos of people who are still pre-computer. Mostly nonsense, but why not? Those people buy movie tickets too.

  5. You can also use http://www.mailinator.com. When you are registering with a service, just make up a username @mailinator.com. When mailinator receives an email for that address it will create a mailbox. Go to mailinator and read your mail. In two days that account will be automatically deleted.
    NOTE: There is no security around that account. Anyone who knows what name you created can go an view the mail. So this should be used for throw away things only.
    Interesting.  Thanks for the tip.

  6. That’s why if you’ve ever noticed, my e-mail addy when posting is a hotmail account. For whatever reason, I get very little spam or junk on it which is nice.

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