It's Just this Little Chromium Switch Here

Weblogging and commentary by Chip Rosenthal

Leave No Spammer Behind

Link: Spam Composition

It's a delight to see somebody taking on one of the most troubling parts of the spam epidemic: that atrocious grammar! (thanks Justin)

FTC Schedules Spam Workshop

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Link: FTC to Hold Three Day Public Spam Workshop

The FTC is scheduling a 3-day workshop this spring (April 30 through May 2) to "address the proliferation of unsolicited commercial e-mail and to explore the technical, legal, and financial issues associated with it."

The last time the FTC held hearings on the spam issue was all the way back in 1997. That workshop lasted for just half a day. The increase to three days alone indicates the seriousness of the current spam problem.

Back then the FTC failed to respond aggressively, so the results were discouraging. That workshop closed with the FTC encouraging the marketing and ISP industries to develop their own regulations to manage the problem. As I noted in a recent posting, the idea that industry can be depended on to watch out for consumer interests is an exercise in wacky pre-bust thinking. I hope this time the FTC is more willing to exercise its regulatory capabilities.

Freddie Steady's Midnight Howl

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My pal Freddie Steady Krc is booked for a regular gig down at The Saxon Pub. Freddie Steady's Midnight Howl will be playing the midnight show Tuesdays through February. Freddie has toured with folks ranging from Jerry Jeff Walker to Roky Erickson. He's currently fronting The Shakin' Apostles.

The Howl will feature Freddie along with Bill Browder and Layton DePenning from Demin, and fellow Apostlite Waco Jack McVey. Awooooo!

We're from TRUSTe and We're Here to Help

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Link: TRUSTe on spam and industry adopting best practices

TRUSTe wants to do for the spam problem what they've done for Internet privacy. This concerns me. I'm not concerned they may fail. I'm shaking in fear they may succeed.

Tragedy

Link: NASA Press Release #03-030

Their sacrifice in the cause of science and for the advancement of humanity is the noblest, and the most tragic.


Updated 5:36 PM: It had been another very late night of hacking, so I'm surprised I awoke a little after 8am CST today. I don't know what aroused me, but I stumbled bleary eyed out of bed. I poured a bowl of cereal and sat down for the morning news. Yahoo! had an article with a "posted one minute ago" tag. It was one of those flash stories, just two paragraphs saying contact with the shuttle had been lost and it never landed. "Oh bummer," I thought and crawled back into bed, still half asleep.

I awoke a few hours later and it finally dawned on me. "Oh fuck! The shuttle has been lost."

I'm still surprised that something should stir me this morning. Doesn't seem likely the booms were audible here in Austin.

Blog Aggregation

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A bunch of us Austin bloggers have banded together. So far we've formed a mailing list and set a date for our first get-together dinner.

One of our more interesting projects is a meta-blog, that aggregates postings about Austin. Adina Levin prototyped the original over at The Internet Topic Exchange. Later, I contributed a web server and some tools to host it locally.

Toward that end, I developed a utilty that runs as a CGI, receives a trackback ping and posts a synopsis to a Movable Type weblog. It's in Python. Drop me a note if you'd like a copy.

Save the Oppressed Telemarketers!

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Link: DMA Sues FTC Over "Do Not Call" List

"The FTC is singling out this form of advertising now, what will be next?" said H. Robert Wientzen, the [Direct Marketing Association's] president-CEO.

Spam, Robby. Spam.

It Seems the Country's Going to War

Firefly: Then it

Worm Header of the Week

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Due to numerous design flaws in Microsoft software, email worms are an Internet pandemic. While the situation is mostly aggravating, it has its moments of amusement.

The current generation of email worm forges header information, picking some random email address found on the infected computer to stand in as the supposed sender. This can, on occasion, be entertaining, such as in the case of this message received last week:

From: torvalds <torvalds@transmeta.com>
To: chip [at] unicom [dot] com
Subject:
Message-Id: <E18c8JD-0000Dt-00 [at] gull [dot] mail [dot] pas [dot] earthlink [dot] net>
Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 10:12:07 -0800

I Scare Myself

Headlines seen on today's newswire:

Yoicks! What do you do when your most bitter, cynical, paranoid fears become cold, hard reality? I fear it means I better begin brushing up on my, "You want fries with that?"