04/30/2004

This is an absolutely awesome spam message:

“This email was sent by the Citibank server to verify your E-mail address. You must complete this process by clicking on the link below and entering in the small window your Citibank ATM/Debit Card number and PIN that you use on ATM.”

It would take someone with the brains of rotting cabbage to actually go to the web site and fill out their credit card number. Then you know they’ll call Citibank (the real Citibank) a week later and complain about those mysterious four-thousand-dollar charges against their card.

The sad thing is, scams like this must work. Otherwise they wouldn’t exist.

04/30/2004

Seen in a newsgroup:

“Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.”

Great, I need to stop writing such clever code!

04/29/2004

An oft-overlooked benefit of digital cameras is the ability to have kids grab them and take pictures… and not get upset that they’re “wasting film” or costing money in development.

Take, for example, this masterpiece photograph of what I can only assume is Zack’s little Lego creation.

04/29/2004

We were biking along a little trail through town, and passing through an area that had a lot of trees looming over the trail.

Kyra was right in front of me, and she said, “I’m pretending I’m a girl going through a bunch of trees.”

Wow, what an imagination!

04/29/2004

She’s an eBay fiend!

You know how all those people write books (and send spam) about how you can quit your day job and make a fortune buying and selling crap on eBay? Well, Laralee is the most diligent researcher I know when it comes to getting a good bargain. She’ll spend hours looking at different items, comparing prices and shipping and feedback and whatnot. She builds spreadsheets– no kidding!– showing the different items and their total cost of ownership, yada yada.

And in the end, she’ll have a new pair of knee and elbow pads she can wear while roller-blading.

04/27/2004

I think I set a new record last week, when I wrote five different proposals for work.

They say when it rains it pours, and I guess the clouds suddenly opened up… I’ve been presented with a whole bucketload of opportunities and I figured I might as well jump at them and see what happens. My usual success rate with proposals is pretty meager; for every three I write I might land one of the jobs.

So far I’m one for five… one of the proposals has already been accepted. Woo hoo!

04/22/2004

If you know anyone who died just after saying “Hey, y’all, watch this!”, you might be a redneck.

04/14/2004

From The Register:

“A Chinese man has paid the equivalent of $1.1 million for a mobile phone number. The unnamed buyer shelled out a whopping nine million yuan for 135 8585 8585, which is apparently pronounced as “let me be rich, be rich, be rich, be rich” in Chinese.”

Ha! I’m thinking this guy WAS rich until he bought the stupid phone number…

04/13/2004

Let’s recap a few recent news splashes regarding airline passenger privacy:

September 2003
JetBlue Airlines : “Uh, we gave the Gov a million passenger records.”
American and Northwest : “Ha! We didn’t!”
U.S. Government (specifically, the TSA) : “We don’t have any data.”

January 2004
Northwest Airlines : “Okay, actually we DID give TSA passenger data.”
American Airlines : “Not us.”
U.S. Government : “Nope, no data here!”

April 2004
American Airlines : “Okay, okay, so we did hand over data.”
U.S. Government : “What data?”

Is it me, or is this some kind of comedy of errors? Three major U.S. airlines– after first publicly denying it– have now admitted they gave the TSA huge databases of personal information about their customers, presumably to be used for testing the oh-so-fun CAPPS II database. And the TSA maintains that they never asked for or received any such data. But even the TSA subcontractors– Fair Isaac, Infoglide, Ascent, and Lockheed Martin– say that yep, they received data and used it to test their algorithms.

(Let’s not even get into the algorithms they must be using to figure out if Joe Blow is a terrorist… but it’s true that having a huge sample of data would be immensely helpful to the software development process.)

Now the Department of Homeland Security, everyone’s favorite big brother, is getting into the act by investigating the TSA and preparing a report (ooh, I can’t wait!) about whether the TSA violated privacy laws. Of course it’s a legal requirement that providing personal information like that in the airlines’ databases must be announced publicly. Because such notification was never given, the TSA may be subject to– uh oh– a $5,000 fine.

It would be a funny situation if it didn’t indicate that not only is the government doing things it shouldn’t (or at least not following the rules), but the airlines are complicit in their involvement and have repeatedly lied about it. I don’t fly any of those three, but I do fly United and Frontier and I suspect it’s only a matter of time before they admit to some fishiness as well.

Anyway, maybe I should just throw my hands up and accept the fact that the Gov is going to keep tabs on me, throw me around a few databases, and ask me to take my shoes off now and again. Sigh.

04/12/2004

“Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.”

— Jim Horning