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User Journal

Journal Journal: Rumsfeld's Anti-Spam Campaign

The front page of the Washington Post web site usually displays a news photo and caption. The page is set up to randomly select one of several different photos every time the page is reloaded. Every once in a while, by some quirk of the page or my browser, the photos and their captions get mixed up. The juxtapositions are often very funny.

It happened again this morning and I was lucky enough to get an awesome screenshot.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Other Slashdot Effect 1

Have you found yourself wanting to write letters to the editor of every newspaper or magazine you read? Do you get unexplainable urges to call in to talk radio shows? Me too. And I think it's Slashdot's fault.

I had never been the type to care enough to write letters to the editor. There's a man in my community who writes letters to the editor all the time. He was a substitute teacher in my school when I was a kid, and we all thought he was a crotchety old guy with a mean temper*. He writes letters to every local publication full of stubborn complaints about everything. I think that the editors must be sick to death of him. So I've always felt that I didn't want to grow up and become like that.

But I've recently found myself wishing that newspapers had comments enabled. Sometimes I'll want to make a side observation about a small point related to a story. Other times I'll start writing furiously about a vitally important distinction that must be made, or how a magazine should never have printed such rubbish, only to sit back and realize that I'm making a big deal over nothing and a letter to the editor would just be overkill. I hate to say it, but I'm almost becoming crotchety in my not-quite-old age.

I realized that my desire to discuss the things that I read is a direct effect of posting comments on /.. To risk sounding JonKatz-ish, this forum has got me thinking about what I read and encouraged me to talk back. That's definitely a good thing, but I still don't want to turn into a stubborn pedant. Bitterness, irritability and knee-jerk reactions are not character traits that I want to live with. That's not the kind of person I want to be.

So this /. effect is a good one, as long as I make sure that it's affecting me in a positive way.


(*)To his credit, I later found out that as a young man he was a hero who participated in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising during WWII and escaped from the Nazis before they liquidated the ghetto.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Spammers with Chutzpah

I've recently started to receive spams that have my address in the From:, To:, and Reply-To: fields, with a faked Received: header that's supposed to make it look like the mail was sent from my SMTP server. Amazingly, the spam includes an explanation which claims that they are faking headers for the greater good:

This email was sent to you via Saf-E Mail Systems. Your email address was automatically inserted into the To and From addresses to eliminate undeliverables which waste bandwidth and cause internet congestion. Your email or webserver IS NOT being used for the sending of this mail. No-one else is receiving emails from your address.

In other words, "We're sending out so much filth into the universe that we can't bear the weight of the undeliverables that bounce back at us, so we've found this way to magically make them disappear! Aren't we nice!"

A Google search for Saf-E Mail Systems turns up nothing relevant. Who are these guys?


User Journal

Journal Journal: Next April 1st

Next April Fools, I would really like to see Slashdot add a feature that displays the user's user agent string next to their comment. That way we can all see what OS and browser they're really using, as opposed to what they proclaim in their posts.

Just for fun of course.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Slashdot Geek Code 2

A while ago I wrote up this geek code entry for Slashdot but never did anything with it, so I thought I'd post it here. Enjoy!

/.+++ I am CmdrTaco.
/.++ I have had a submission accepted. I have karma to burn.
/.+ I am CowboyNeal.
/. I read Slashdot daily and post regularly.
/.- I only post as an Anonymous Coward.
/.-- Slashdot? Isn't that a hacker site?
/.--- First Post! Beowulf cluster!

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