New spam going around:

Have You Been Caught By A New Traffic Camera Yet?

Render them completely ineffective with the AMAZING PHOTO BLOCKER SPRAY! As seen on TV, reported 100% effective by Fox and CBS news and many other stations. Visit our website for more information and see actual TV news videos and what actual police had to say.

Wow! Actual news videos about actual police! Methinks this AMAZING PHOTO BLOCKER SPRAY looks something like this:


I can’t even count the number of times clients call me asking for help troubleshooting their e-mail configuration. With one exception, every one of them involved Outlook. (I guess this isn’t too much of a surprise, since it’s probably the most popular e-mail client around.) That program has so many configuration problems and security holes it should be an embarrassment to Microsoft.

Thus, it struck me as funny when I read this in a Linux newsgroup:

Just remember what the Magic 8 Ball says: “Outlook not good”.


I’m seeing an interesting new development in the exciting world of e-mail spam. I’ve been getting some replies to spam messages that are (falsely) using my domain name as the sender address. For example, a message containing this lovely text:

With the o~nli`ne ph’ar_m`a_cy that carries over 220 m,~ed_s, o..f`fers
f.a`st and reliable service, your ordes on m_,ed,s like v.i`agr-a,
Le^vitr,a, Xa~-na-x, Telf_a_st, Premarin, , V^al.`ium and d,ar’von are
always secured and taken care of.

Was sent from jeff@bitrelay.net to some guy named Damon Bouillon. He replied to the message with:

small: for they are the most dangerous discontentments, where the fear

Naturally his response came to me, since the original spam used my address. Nice. Although on the one hand I think it’s funny to send automated responses with the same kind of crappy confusing text the spammers use, I also think it shows some lack of insight to recognize that almost all spammers use fake sender addresses. Thus, in playing your little joke you’re bothering legitimate users.

Why can’t they all just go away?


Here’s a log of an actual IM conversation between my friend Steve (playing the role of VirtualSmitty) and his brother, as SmittysPetShop.

VirtualSmitty: campjinx.pictureshowfilms.com/bls/leonard/im_fight.html
SmittysPetShop: campjinx.pictureshowfilms.com/bls/leonard/im_fight.html
VirtualSmitty: why did you just send me that?
SmittysPetShop: so you could check out
VirtualSmitty: but i sent it to you
VirtualSmitty: just before you sent it to me
VirtualSmitty: did you forget who sent it to you?
SmittysPetShop: ohh yeah
SmittysPetShop: that was funny


Today I went to lunch with my friend Glenn. I ordered a grilled-cheese sandwich and fries, mostly because I remember the sandwiches being pretty good the last time I was at the place (about a year ago).

The waitress came back with my order and informed me that there would be an additional one-dollar charge because the grilled cheese was technically on the Kids’ Menu, and I wasn’t a kid. I asked her if I therefore received a bigger sandwich, or perhaps more fries. Nope, I just got charged an additional dollar. Apparently it was some kind of “adult tax”… who knows.

It reminded me of the lovely practice employed by, say, ISPs– who charge twice the price for the same services if you’re a “business customer” rather than a “residential customer”.



Well, it’s official. The extended edition of The Return of the King, to be released in December, will be 250 minutes long. Holy ringwraiths, that’s just over four hours!

Back in college Nat and I hosted several Star Wars movie nights where we showed the whole trilogy. Those were fun, but after six hours even the die-hard fans (and there were a lot of them, believe me!) were pretty worn out. Imagine the Lord of the Rings trilogy showing– it would approach eleven hours if my math is right. Wow.

Still, I’m excited to see almost an hour of new footage. Yessssss, my preciousssss…


… So I see today that the House of Representatives passed a bill yesterday that would bar federal courts from striking the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. This seems pretty weird to me, as the point of the legislative branch of the government is NOT to tell the judicial branch what they can (or can’t, in this case) do. What happened to the separation of powers in the government we all learned about in fifth grade?

It’s sad to watch as this separation of power is being eroded a bit at a time– with minor things like this to major things like suspension of trials and due process in certain situations. While I typically gripe about how the executive branch is overstepping its bounds, it’s clear the legislative branch is following.

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the House Minority Leader, said it well:

“I love the pledge. But this bill … violates the spirit of pledge by professing a lack of faith in the constitutional framework.”

In a way, one wonders if this sort of thing is really just a thinly-veiled attempt to win votes. That’s the worst kind of lawmaking, if you ask me, because it’s so painfully short-sighted.



As I drove to ultimate today, I was following a car and watching with great amusement as the driver battled a balloon floating around the car. He had a silver helium-filled balloon in the car (the “happy birthday” type), and the window down– so the wind was whipping that thing all over the place. It kept attacking him, and he’d take a swing and punch it to the back seat, where it would lurk for a few seconds before lunging forward again. Another punch, another defeat, another pause and jump for the kill.

I wonder if the balloon made it to his little girl’s party or wherever it was destined, or if it finally succumbed to relentless pummelling when he got so mad that he turned on it at a stoplight and beat the helium right out of it.