spam

Finally, an honest spammer (and a few other unrelated topics I needed to catch you up on)

Direct from my inbox to you:

honestspam.gif

Now that’s a subject line I can at least respect.

In development news, I accomplished the bulk of the site’s database migration last night (staying up later than I really ought to on a school night) so I should be able to post with more frequency now. I haven’t finished user commenting, or the moblogging bit, but rest assured they’re on the list. At least the primary gag order has been lifted.

It’s 3:45 and I’m trapped at work, done with everything I need to do for the day/week/month/quarter but imprisoned by a meeting my boss scheduled at 4pm. On a Friday. On the sunniest week we’ve had since October. How do I feel about that? I’ll let you come to your own conclusions. Would it be unprofessional to show up with my jacket on, keys in hand, bag over my shoulder?

Last Sunday was the first big Nissan meet of the year, and now that the season’s open the calendar events are popping up like mushrooms after a week of rain. I crammed the few days before and managed to swap out springs and shocks with new, better-performing ones and install sweet new wheels – the SpeedStar’s I’ve been wanting for ages – in time for a rainy day in a waterfront park with 200 other Nissans. Specs are on the modlist if you’re into that sort of thing. I’m so happy with my car right now I can’t even express it. Just enjoy the pictures with me in quiet awe:

new wheels
more wheels

The Horror Is In Your Mailbox!

I receive a lot of spam. I think we all do at this point. You sign up for a free webmail account from Yahoo or Gmail or whathaveyou, pick out a nice username that is clever and easy to remember and unique to you, and when you log into this new account for the first time there are already 37 unwanted messages waiting to persuade you to join a thinly-veiled pyramid scheme, to convince you that cialis is the answer to all your troubles, or to sell you prescription drugs you can’t get anywhere else at this low-low price.

I can expound all day on how much this annoys me, and not merely because I’m annoyed by people wasting my time (which I am) or because I’m annoyed by the flagrant inefficiency of untargeted marketing (which I am). What drives me nuts about spam – babbling, drooling, thumb-sucking, straightjacket-wearing nuts – is that it works. Somewhere out there, not just one but hundreds – if not thousands – of people are reading these messages, thinking “maybe my weight problem will simply go away if I buy these pills!” and clicking their way to another dead-end purchase. The supposed effectiveness of these products aside, is this really a viable economy? Are people actually sending real, legal money and in turn receiving an actual, tangible shipment of miracle herbs, Home Depot gift cards or “Exquisite Replica Watches”? Despite my optimism and my strong desire for the “most people are good people” belief to be true, I have to think that’s a huge “NO”. Show me the person who is a happy customer as a result of a spam message, and I’ll… well, just show me one. If you can actually drum one up, then we’ll talk recompense.

This is where it gets scary, because you know what? It doesn’t matter. People are reading, believing and clicking this stuff anyway! Some of them are new to the internet and haven’t yet developed the thick, jaded coat of misanthropic armor that inevitably grows with each passing pixel. Some of them are actually in the market for hot stock trading tips, or free virus software, or erectile dysfunction medication without a prescription, and maybe the promises in those subject lines are just too tempting to ignore. Some of them are just idiots, and that must be a lot of them, because have you actually read your spam lately? So much of it is auto-generated via scripts written by programmers who can’t even spell “english”, much less speak it, that only a card-carrying-fool would mistake their senders for legitimate businesses. Still, it must work. Somehow, somewhere, someone clicks, otherwise it would dwindle and die. If i’ve learned anything about online advertising from working in the industry it’s that advertisers want to see results, and they’re completely ready to pull their financial rug out from under any strategy that isn’t generating bucketloads of revenue after two days into the program.

So, by extension: spam is working. That’s seriously freakin scary, you guys. That’s your Halloween nightmare right there. Want to freak yourself out? Picture the person who just clicked on that email titled “CIAli$ mail for you!” (actual spam in my inbox right now). It’s not pretty. I’m very worried for the gene pool.

If Alfred Hitchcock were around to make a movie about the horrors of spam, I think this little gem from my inbox today would be the stark white text scrolling across a black screen, read by a grim announcer over the sound of tortured screams and chains dragging across cobblestone floors, in the opening scene. This auto-generated abomination, spawned from the misguided union of a random number generator and an english dictionary, would set the tone for the entire film:

    Now and then, a pork chop eagerly shares a shower with the tuba player living with a customer. A plaintiff completely seeks a polar bear. A movie theater shares a shower with a chestnut. An eggplant gives a pink slip to the tuba player. For example, a single-handledly impromptu bullfrog indicates that a class action suit beyond another burglar somewhat avoids contact with an ocean.

    Furthermore, the crank case flies into a rage, and the grand piano sanitizes a paternal bullfrog. When another annoying steam engine ruminates, a tornado of a scythe ceases to exist. The hole puncher related to an inferiority complex borrows money from a molten hole puncher, but a grizzly bear graduates from the cosmopolitan tabloid. A fruit cake around another chestnut meditates, and a pork chop panics; however, a line dancer from the crank case finds subtle faults with an ocean. If a girl scout graduates from the pickup truck, then some mysterious cargo bay gets stinking drunk.

Good luck sleeping tonight. Mwah ha ha ha!

Spam and Pac Man

In an effort to waste less of everyone’s time and bandwidth, i’m trying to more closely monitor the spam rolling thru schuss.net’s mail server. For those of you with hosted accounts here, check out schuss.net/spam for more info about what gets filtered, etc. If there’s a legitimate domain on that list, let me know, so i can keep your real messages from getting blocked. You’re also welcome to send me a list of “from” addresses that have been spamming you, and i’ll add them. Please don’t simply forward all of your spam to me for analysis, though… i may have to hurt you. 😉

In an effort to waste more of your time and bandwidth, the crazy people at Pac Manhattan are staging live PacMan games in the streets of NYC, using people dressed up as the arcade game characters. So if you’re in Manhattan near Washington Square Park and see a guy in a round yellow suit running from another guy in a square red suit… do the yellow guy a favor and trip the red one. 😉

Spam and a meaty exhaust note

In an august survey by Yahoo 77% of yahoo users would rather clean a toilet bowl than sort thru the spam in their inbox. That’s pretty funny. Spam is probably the number one complaint i get at work from users. Especially ironic considering i’m only responsible for their internet connection and keeping their keyboard working – i have no control over anything related to their email accounts. And i get as much spam as they do. 😉 What’s really so frustrating to me about spam is the same thing that drives me crazy about telemarketing: it wouldn’t happen if it didn’t work. People out there are buying stuff when called randomly during dinner, they’re clicking the link in their email to purchase viagra without a prescription, they’re being swindled out of their credit card numbers by the shiny baubles on qvc. If no one succumbed to such evil sales tactics, they would not be viable business methods and they would cease to exist. You hear that america? Stop complaining about annoying sales tactics; smarten up and stop buying their stuff!

Okay, so spam is annoying. Know what’s not annoying? “Free money!” Well, yes. “Sunny weather!” Ok, yes, unless maybe it’s really hot. “Free candy!” Okay, enough guessing for you. What’s really really not annoying is my lovely new Z. 😀 I actually tried to sleep in today, but couldn’t do it – i was too excited to get up and drive to work. You catch that? I was excited to get up and drive to work. Yes, my new car is getting me to work on time, because it calls my name so loudly from across the yard that it keeps me awake at night. 😉 Of course, if our flake-tastic landlord will ever call me back, it might be calling my name from the garage instead – i really hope she wants to rent that! Anyway, it’s very pretty and fun. My friends have been great and are all very excited for me. I do still really need to figure out what everything is and how it all works, but i can already tell this is the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship. 😉