|log (2002/10/11 to 2002/10/17)|
Thursday, October 17, 2002
>ASK SAM ABOUT BOOK
Also, the WORLD DIRECTORY OF PASTA SHAPES AND NAMES (impress your friends with your knowledge!).
Rather than reading this, you should be reading ftrain's latest. A completely realistic story featuring a giant lobster and a magic tiger.
So I think I will try to spend less time doing Computer Stuff; less of my discretionary time on metababy, less on GNE, less on Neopets. (Less time, in general, on things that can be linked to with just a hostname, and no selector.)
And therefore more time reading books, writing novels (almost November!), daydreaming, tickling children.
We'll see how much this "I think I will try" actually influences my behavior. A recent "I think I will try just having nice healthy salads for lunch" hasn't had much effect; on the other hand "I think I will try avoiding asterisks in Java 'import' statements" has been going very well.
I don't think I count this here log-entry writing stuff in the Computer Stuff that I want to spend less time on. I might spend less time mindlessly surfing the Web with my eyes glazed over and occasionally finding amusing stuff to blog; but that just means that I'll have to occupy the space with (say) actual thoughts.
Still no word from Barrister T. Adams. Shucks!
Man, everybody's sick. Them GNE folks are sick, and the guy next door is sick, and some people I hang out with online are sick. And I'm still sick.
Head for the Hills!
I like that phrase (at least tonight I like that phrase). There's this settlement, it sounds like, a town or maybe even a city, that's down on the plain, or in the valley, and in the background, against the sky, there are the hills, brown or green and dark at twilight, and the hills are somewhere that you'd head to in an emergency, places of safety or comfort or refuge, but not where you normally hang out, maybe wild hills or rough hills, but still the place that you head to when the chips are down.
A reader informs us that "stock people are real! really!", and encloses a link to an amusing Slashdot story (see also an amusing Register story) about a Microsoft ad campaign that tried to mirror the "real people switching" Apple campaign, but was quickly withdrawn when it turned out that the pictures of the people were stock clip-art, and at least one of the people worked for an advertising agency hired by Microsoft. Ooopsie!
Various readers sent in scammer response suggestions. Some favored the stringing-along idea, others didn't:
Just tell them where to go and what to do with themselves when they get there.
Well, it's not old hat for me, 'cause I never done it before yet.
Some pointed out that:
It's been done, and there are several web sites with transcripts of the e-mail dialogs.
Some very funny stuff there indeed; I think I blogged the three-dollars story the other month.
Other readers had specific suggestions:
Offer them some beachfront property in Arizona.
And one had a warning:
Stay anonymous, these people are reputed to be dangerous (though I'm not sure I believe any stories about assaults committed against respondents in the U.S., but people who have followed up by eventually going to Africa are probably in real danger.)
I definitely don't plan to go to Africa. In fact I doubt I'm up for elaborate counter-scams intended to trick the scammer into hopping around on one leg in the public square in some African capitol flapping his arms like a chicken. I just want to send him some odd text, and see what sort of odd text I get back.
Anyway! In composing a trial next response to our scammer along the lines suggested by my readers, I found that I could hardly even bring myself to lie. I'm such a prude! Here is the next missive, sent off sometime yesterday:
Subject: re: RESPONSE TO YOUR MAIL
No reply received so far. Perhaps I stepped a bit over the line somewhere in there; maybe 419 scammers drop you if you mention that you've heard of 419 scams. Or perhaps the Barrister is just busy, and will reply soon. We'll see!
If only for the sake of the eagles, I will note that certain infections, while having really no symptoms that could be called at all serious, still leave the victim with no energy at all, where "no energy" (at least in this case) doesn't really mean no energy; I went to work and edited a document, and defended an invention, and went up and down the stairs (although a couple of times I did, after going up the stairs, have to sort of hold myself up on Ian's doorframe and catch my breath before proceeding with the activities of the day), and so on, but I don't have any energy, which is to say (something like) although I can do all these things, I don't have any energy.
Today's Random Images from Klez (scaled and compressed for the log):
Really! I am Not Making This Up.
There was also a copy of the readme file for "Microsoft(r) Visual FoxPro(tm) ODBC Driver Version 6.0a". Just to round things out. And also a bunch of html files and things that I didn't look at.
Speaking of randomly delivered digital images, genehack comments on how the random images fetched by the WebCollage module of XScreensaver seem to have changed over the last three or four years (more pr0n). Continued evidence of the immanence of the eschaton.
Keep those 419 suggestions coming. Various people have also sent URLs of previous (more or less successful) efforts to taunt or otherwise play with the scammers; I'll summarize those eventually too.
She apparently inspired metababy (which, oh my god, seems to be back; must resist the temptation to dive in with both feet again), and also built AfterDinner, a nice looking site about reading and writing which deserves to have more traffic than it probably will / apparently has.
I've put a story of mine up there as a "workshop", which means just that people can send me comments on it without actually knowing who I am. A neat idea. When I have that quiet study with the fireplace and the windows overlooking the meadow and the woods, I'll spend years writing stories and doing online workshops. That'll be nice.
The eight-game contest comes five years after IBM computer Deep Blue beat then- world champion Garry Kasparov -- the first time since the invention of a chess program in 1958 that a machine had beaten a human.
Also from NTK, this.
So I got a typical piece of Nigerian scam-spam the other day:
Subject: URGENT BUSINESS PROPOSAL
(That's just the start; full text here.)
Unusually curious for some reason, I sent a reply:
I didn't really expect to hear anything back, but in fact I struck gold:
Subject: RESPONSE TO YOUR MAIL
(That's just the first little bit; the complete text is here.)
Pretty cool, eh? I especially like that l33t zero in "C0NGO". The horrible diction, awful spelling, hopeless grammar, and random capitalization make both letters lovely examples of the genre.
So now what? I'm not going to call him, of course, but it might be fun to send some more email. (I've been using a random username at theogeny.com, which provides a trivial amount of anonymity.) Should I try to string him along? Taunt him? Send back a detailed critique of his spelling and grammar? Try to convert him to Zoroastrianism?
I couldn't decide, so I thought I'd ask my readers for suggestions:
I don't promise I'll actually send anything in particular, but at least we can toss some ideas around for next time.