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Vintage Outlandish!

This Content From 2003 (or earlier) see index

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Does Liking This Spam Send me to Hell?

In light of recent events...

I get a lot of odd spam at times. I'm on the "married by lonely housewives" list in spite of being neither married or interested in married people. I get regular messages from a 20-something pharmaceutical sales rep who "saw my profile online" and "bets this doesn't happen to me every day." Actually, sister, it does.

Usually I detest spam. It's annoying and a waste of resources, just like all those credit card offers I recycle without opening. However, every now and then something worthwhile comes along. Maybe it's a really sick porno invitation, maybe it's a perfectly-worded appeal for help from my friend Itanke Ngato Shange at the Central Bank of Nigeria. In this case, someone sent me anti-microsoft spam making reference to the most recent MS-related virus outbreak. I've always been annoyed with how the media will sensationalize these things, quoting damage costs in the high millions or even billions, and then completely fail to mention that they only affect MS products. It was a little different this time around, but it's still not the spin I would give. The conclusion offered by the article is that "the internet is too insecure," which is total bullocks.

Anyway, It looks like some creative hacker has taken it upon him/herself to start a counter-information campaign. I especially love the authentic spam flourishes: run on sentences, vast generalization, hokey personal experience (real story and no bull). Here's what I got in my inbox today:

Dear value M$ customers,

Many of you might have noticed the Internet was clogged during the last weekend. The cause is from the M$ SQL server security hole, allowing your lovely "easy-to-use" (maybe from the hackers point of view) M$ server to accept and execute artbitary code. The SQL worm generates massive network packets which seriously jamming the Internet traffic and blocking Internet access in areas with serious infection. Innocent people like me who are using Linux based systems were also affected. Our servers are safe from the worm, but it was completely blocked from the Internet for almost three days. Cannot receive emails and people couldn't browse to our web site. This causes me enormous financial lost and affects my reputation. If you can remember, this is not the first time. Last time almost the same thing happened, the M$ IIS virus "Red" did a similar attack which also blocked my Internet access for days. Thanks for M$ fans, who paid big bucks to M$ to make them richer as they could inv ent "easy-to-use" software for hackers. I think M$ fans are regarded as Internet "Friendly", friendly to Internet hackers and "friendly" to innocent Internet users like me.

Commercial software vendors should have delivered high quality software as they shipped the software (Especially the richest software company should have a better QA, but unfortunately not). However, it turns out they even blammed their customers. See the news about the game of blamming


Obviously, users who paid M$ not just suffered from a high TCA and TCO, they are also loosing their face and reputation which regards as "lazy" by M$ spokesman. Saying such thing to their customers are really rude. Well, your pocket is obviously being ripped but also your FACE! I am wondering how can you continue with such unfair customer/supplier relationship? However, why the open-source Linux delivered a high level of security and reliability out of the box, and were not affected even it already took a majority of the Internet server market? Please be smart, move away from M$ . I paid absolutely nothing, ran a M$ free shop with Linux for more than 3 years with zero virus infection history (real story and no bull).

Please pass this email to your friends and save the Internet!

regards, The Internet Friendly User

See also: why technology is revolutionary | A quick rap on Open Source/Free Software

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Trips in Space and Time 8/02/03

Big Wheels in Berkeley
I scored a set of west-coast wheels today at the Ashby BART station flea market. It's a very tall schwinn road bike, black, deceptively heavy but smooth-riding. Thirty-five dollars to boot. I oiled and cleaned the works, dialed in the bakes and took it out for a shake-down cruise immediately. Nice riding on a beautiful saturday, realizing how out of shape I am as I wheezed my way though the hilly area behind the Berkeley campus.

After about an hour I started to get the swing of it. Made some minor mechanical adjustments (including a free wheel truing at the bike collective on Shattuck), drank a few liters of water and started finding my groove, cruising up and around and ending up with a beautiful view of the whole bay. The roads here are not kind to the speed inclined -- too many stop signs and crosswalks and lights -- but it was good to get out and proj for a while. This changes my summer dramatically.

...older trips...


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