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The NYTimes Taks A Long look at the fight against spam. Advances in spam-catching techniques mean that most computer users no longer face the paralyzing crush of junk messages that began threatening the very utility of e-mail communications just a few years ago.But spammers have hardly given up, and as they improve and adapt their techniques, network managers must still face down the pill-pushers, get-rich-quick artists and others who use billions of unwanted e-mail messages to troll for income. "For the end user, spam isn't that much of a problem anymore," said Matt Sergeant, MessageLabs' senior antispam technologist. "But for the network, and for people like us, it definitely is."