Archive for March 2008

Being Stupid

March 11, 2008

Do you have to be stupid to do stupid things? I guess it depends on how often you do stupid things. Or maybe it is related to how stupid the deed has to be to declare someone as terminally stupid. Stupid is as stupid does? By their deeds you will know them.

Apparently you do not have to be stupid to do stupid things as long as you do not make a habit of doing stupid things. Apparently there is a danger of becoming stupid if you do enough stupid things or engage in things that are stupid beyond description. Guess maybe you could call it being Spitzerized. That is sort of like being sanforized except you still have the wrinkles you started with.

Recently I did a very stupid thing. Cruised a bunch of sites containing information on new Linux releases. Turns out there are no significant new Linux releases. Just Linux release want-to-bees offering lots of fluff and no substance. Wasting my time perusing such worthless tripe was stupid all in itself, but I did not leave it there. I replied to a pop-up proclaiming I had won a new laptop.

Yup, I entered my real name, my real address, and my real telephone number all the while picturing my bony ass sitting on the front porch waiting on a special delivery from the UPS man.

An hour later my inbox was flooded with 200 new spam emails.

No problem. Just set the filters and let google handle the spam. Heck, you can even get google to forward the spam to the FTC automatically.

Some might say that this new traffic really cannot be considered to be spam because I willingly submitted my contact information. Hmmm….maybe but there was still a high level of hopeful expectation of gain offered. The same sort of expectation that accompanies most political promises and virtually all fraud. It is similar to a devout believer describing a trip to hell as a religious experience.

The google spam filter is good and I am not sure why it is so good. Such excellence usually requires a degree of knowledge about spam that could only come for the spammers themselves. It takes one to know one. However I did not realize the accuracy of the filter before testing it to make sure no desireable mail was being trashed.

After a week of looking I found nothing desireable being trashed but I did find a lot of vendors listed that I would never have suspected resorted to spam as a means of ‘getting their message out’.

In case anyone is wondering what that message might be, here is the message that I get when I receive unwanted e-mail. ‘Hello, I am the royal pain in your ass, I am here to provide a nuisance factor to your otherwise pleasant existence, I offer you fraudulent offers that are sure to ruin your belief that people are generally good, these messages come straight from hell and are personally endorsed by the devil himself, they are designed to waste your time, waste your bandwidth, take over your computer, and generally cause as much damage as possible, thank you, call again, no never mind, we will call you again.’

Yes, that is somewhat of an over-reaction, but it places an accurate perspective on how I feel about spam. Having such a negative reaction to spam, could you guess what my reaction is to those who engage in the distribution of spam?

The trick is finding out who these miscreants are and educating them to how much they are reviled.

Turns out that is not entirely impossible. After all, when a person advertises, be the offers genuine or fraudulent, he has to identify himself, he even has to disclose where he lives.

My recent perusal of spam I receive in an effort to verify the accuracy of the google filters has revealed some very surprising names and companies. Names that I would never have thought would stoop low enough to engage in anti-social activities such as spamming.

I guess these folk do not realize that years of building positive images can be destroyed in seconds by sending even one spam e-mail. That is certainly what happens when that one spam e-mail arrives in my inbox uninvited.

I prefer to do business with vendors who value and respect their customers. Nothing good can come from dealing with the devil and his minions. Unfortunately those minions are not always readily identifiable. However, they are always identified in the spam they produce.

I guess companies can be stupid too!

What is needed is a list of companies engaged in producing spam. Perhaps under the heading of ‘Companies who believe that spam is their most important product’.

Fighting Spam

March 9, 2008

I am no longer really bothered by spam. I have upgraded to an email client that is smart enough to recognize spam and keep it out of my in-box. Sometimes it filters out messages that are not spam but those messages I want come from people that know how to get them to me. Those who don’t, really do not matter anyway.

Okay, so now I have a special ‘spam’ area which fills up with crap on a regular basis. Perhaps up to 100 messages per day. I do not have worry with them because they are not costing me anything. I do not have to read them. Just ignore them and they will go away. Quite literally, they are deleted on a regular basis automatically.

Still, I would like nothing better than to do as much damage as possible to folk that feel a need to send spam. So here is an idea that I am sure is not entirely new.

Spam is illegal. There are laws against sending spam. Some of these laws may have their own special definition for spam, but there are governmental enforcement activities designed to target spam, spammers, and fraud. How about we help them do their job!

If my email client is smart enough to filter out spam, it should be a trivial task to program the client to dispose of spam in a more creative way. Like forward it to enforcement agencies tasked with fighting spam and doing so automatically without need for user intervention. I do not need to be fighting spam when my computer can do it for me. After all, spammers use computers to do their dirty work, what better way to fight them than to use their own tactics.

So, spammers beware! You are being watched. Best of all, I don’t have to do anything special to make that happen! Your spam is automatically sent to the enforcement agency. It is like you are directly sending this crap to the feds and begging them to come get you for being a spammer!

An Asylum run by the Inmates

March 9, 2008

Woke up this morning about 7:30 thinking I had plenty of time. Woke up again around 8 and realized it was really 9. I did get to talk to my normal 9am sched on 75 meters. They are fine and say hello.

We talked about what we would do with all the daylight we were saving. We finally decide the best thing to do was to turn off the lights and go back to bed. Made more sense to save electricity than daylight

Had a dream that I was attending a McCain rally. I could tell it was a McCain rally because it was raining and everyone was crying. Even McCain was crying. The entire crowd was circled around a hole in the ground. At the bottom of the hole lay a coffin that had a ‘Free Speech’ banner pasted across it.

After I woke up I began to wonder what an Obama rally would look like. Lots of happy, delerious folk talking about how they were changed. Everyone was 29 years old or younger. Some felt so good about it they passed out unconcious (drugs?). Used to be they had money. Now all that was changed and everyone was dirt poor. No more crime and envy. With everyone poor there was no need to be unhappy about someone having more than you. You gave all your money to Obama and he provided change. Glorious change! There was not a wet diaper to be found on anyone anywhere.

Then I thought about a Hillary rally. She was surrounded by deleriously happy people too. They were all happy because they had free health insurance. No health care just insurance, but you didn’t need health care because no one got sick anymore. They all had health insurance that modified their behavior so they did not get sick. Those that did not feel well did not feel well for long. Without health care they died. Everyone was dirt poor too because they had to pay up front for the free, mandatory, health insurance.

Still working on a Bush rally. With his superior view of reality, economic genious, and military strategery its going to take some particularly creative writing to pin him down.

And now for something completely different. Welcome to the tower of babble. Or is it the babbling tower of power?

# Choose Language
# Auto
# English (US)
# English (UK)
# Deutsch
# Español
# Português (Brasil)
# Português (Portugal)
# Français
# Italiano
# Nederlands
# Polski
# Svenska
# Norsk (Bokmål)
# Suomi
# Dansk
# Български (try to say that 3X real fast)
# Hrvatski
# Magyar
# Slovenský
# Slovenščina
# Українська
# Tiếng Việt
# Ελληνικά
# Íslenska
# Bahasa Indonesia
# Català
# Český
# Eesti keel
# हिन्दी
# Lietuvių
# Română
# Русский
# Filipino
# Hebrew
# Arabic
# Bahasa Melayu
# Latin

Or just press 1 for Mexican and 2 for English.

Never knew that ‘Auto’ was a language. Don’t recall pulling that one out of my rear. Perhaps it fell out on its own.

How to Lose Votes

March 3, 2008

Folk seeking political office should be aware that some of the people who can vote for them have certain rules they expect prospective candidates to follow. I will not vote for anyone that participates in any of the activities listed below and will admonish my friends to do likewise. This, regardless of what the candidates claim to accomplish in a positive light.

1. Telephone solicitation: This is an abuse of my personal property. You think I want this kind of miscreant to occupy a governmental office of any kind? No! We keep an accurate and complete listing of every incoming call. You better hope yours is not in there if you want my vote.

2. Negative ads: A candidate for office is not qualified to voice opinions regarding their opponents. I am smart enough to figure out that part of the equation myself. I am much more interested in why a candidate cannot come up with positive attributes of his own. Could it be he does not have any?

3. Too much advertising: Ads are a good way of letting people know your intentions. Don’t let them become a nuisance. Nuisances do not get my vote. Over eager candidates are viewed with suspicion.

4. Don’t claim experience you do not have or experience that is not even remotely applicable to the political office you seek. Claiming to have old military experience, to having been an eagle scout in your youth, or other long lost accomplishments do not say anything about your qualification for or suitability to any current political office. In fact, reference to inconsequential or very old experience merely raises suspicions that current applicable experience may be missing. Such suspicions cause prospective voters withhold their support.

5. Experience can be both good and bad. If yours is not good, no amount of spin will change that.

6. Endorsements are meaningless when compared to a full disclosure of your political views and objectives. Endorsements can be bought. Influential people are not above taking bribes. Endorsements from unusual places raise suspicions. If you have ever received a ‘Powers’ award, best keep it a secret.

7. Should you be unfortunate enough to receive the enthusiastic endorsement and support of some famous entertainer or actor, you might as well quit now. Such endorsement is the kiss of death. You can’t possibly think that voters would take seriously the advice of people who have chosen to make a career of fantasy and make believe.

How to Lose a Day and Most of the Following Night

March 3, 2008

Recently it came time to once again take a look at finding a use for some old computers. Several pentium II, pentium III, and better machines were gathering dust. They are worth more to me than anyone is willing to pay, so I keep them in hopes of finding a use for them.

Last week I decided to set them up with Debian Etch, Apache2, Mysql, PHP5, and WordPress.

That was the start of an unexpected learning curve. I have been working with computers since the mid 1970’s. I thought I knew what I was doing.

The first problem was getting networking to work with Debian Etch. Every Linux installation I had previously done activated networking on boot. Once installed Debian Etch requires a user to activate networking after boot by selecting it on the GUI. This meant I would not be able to go with a headless, power-on to boot and activate system if I settled for the default installation.

Turns out the problem is due to a new bit of software called Network Manager. Intentions were good but results were bad. I would welcome anything that really does make networking easier but Network Manager just adds an additional level of un-needed and (in my case) unwanted complexity.

I un-installed the problematic Network Manager and returned my computer to sane operation. It now enables networking on boot without need for user intervention.