Damn you spammers are good

I love seeing the new spammers techniques

I’ve had the same e-mail address for 10+ years now. I had it long before the first spam was ever sent and while I’ve added new secret and non-published e-mail addresses over the years, I still read mail at my old address which has become a spam honey pot getting several hundred spams a day. Entourage does a decent enough job of catching it, but I still need to check out that junk mail folder to see if it caught something it shouldn’t have. I sort my junk mail folder by subject (since sender is usually something made up anyway), so I constantly get to see what new tricks the spammers are up to in their titles, trying to get you to read them. Sure, you get the “Hey Joe! Read This!” kind of stuff, and then you get the zillion different spellings of Viagra and Pharmacy and Cialis. For a while they were just using random combinations of 2 or 3 words which led to some really cool post-modern band names (the best of which I’ve been keeping in a file for my next musical venture). Then they moved on to random sentences from books. Now they are using random sentences from CNN or something because it is very topical. Being a news junkie myself I have to admit being tempted to open a few of these since they aren’t too different from the various e-mail news alerts I get.

I’ve found that if I can’t be amused by the spammers, I might as well just get off the internet once and for all. They’re like dung beetles or cockroaches.

The End of LinkedIn

It has begun

I got my first bogus invitation from LinkedIn the other day. The person wanting to make a business connection had an undergraduate degree from Harvard and an MBA from Wharton in 1997, but only had a two year internship at Real Networks and was now a major manager at Microsoft. I had a friend check the Microsoft address book. This person wasn’t in it. Yet somehow this person had amassed hundreds of links. I contacted LinkedIn to find out what to do and was basically patted on the head and told to mail some generic e-mail address related to Privacy. They obviously didn’t care.

LinkedIn has a few major flaws. The major one has to do with it’s main concept. It wants to be a source of trusted business contacts by brokering your network. You are only supposed to connect with people you know (and can vouch for) and they you can contact new people through your trusted contacts. To ensure this, LinkedIn requires you to know the e-mail address of someone you want to add to your network. This is good, and bad. It makes it difficult to add people to your network whom you’ve lost contact with (like former co-workers). LinkedIn solves this by letting you invite people who worked for companies that you’ve worked for without knowing their e-mail address. This has been good for me as I’ve re-connected with co-workers I worked with years and years ago. The problem is that there is no way for LinkedIn to verify your information, you contacts are supposed to be that. So anyone can say they’ve worked for Microsoft and instantly invite everyone on LinkedIn who have every worked there to join their network. Now, theoretically, you aren’t supposed to add anyone to your network that you don’t actually know. The problem is that having a small network goes against your better interests. You want to have a big network of contacts, not a small one. Also, people are starting to treat LinkedIn like other social networking site, trying to see who could have the most contacts.

I’m getting regular invitations from people I don’t know these days and I’ve stopped adding them now that I realized that people are just faking their virtual resumes. The problem is that at first I did add one or two people to my network who I might have known, but wasn’t sure. Here is another LinkedIn flaw. There is no way to remove people from your network.

Now that people are taking advantage of LinkedIn’s flaws and they seem uninterested in doing anything about it, I think that you will quickly see LinkedIn go the way of Friendster, Orkut, etc…

what the hell happened to Orkut?

It has become the best Portuguese language social networking service on the internet.

As someone who used to work on virtual worlds software, I’ve followed the internet communities sites with some interest. It has been interesting to see each new one emerge become the leader and then recede as another site takes it place. There was friendster then orkut now myspace. I just visited orkut again for the first time in many months to see many of the communities abandoned, without a post in the last 6 or 8 months. The only recent posts seem to be in Portuguese. Even in the Seattle group, there are events for Sao Paulo listed! The Brazilians have overrun every forum and group and claimed it as their own. I wonder if Google is planning to do anything about it, because otherwise, it is certain that Orkut will continue to decline until it isn’t worth the support costs.

Dear USA Today dot com

a plea

Dear USAToday.com,

if I can’t find an article that was on the front page of your paper after half an hour of trying, do you think I’ll buy the paper? Do you think I’ll visit your website again?

(spoiler space)


I’m mostly over podcasts

Podcasting is like, so last year.

Last year, it was kind of fun. There were not too many podcasts and it was kind of exciting and new. I subscribed to a bunch of them and tried to keep up and as new ones (even those which were only slightly interesting to me) came out, I’d subscribe to those too. I was getting hours of new audio every day. Pretty soon, I couldn’t keep up. These days, I’m pretty much only listening to the KCRW and WFMU podcasts with the occasional BBC or Adam Curry podcast thrown in. I’m kind of tired of listening to the equivalent of bad college radio downloaded to my hard drive if I’m interested in a specific episode or not.

I think now that the podcasting is established, it is time to move to the second generation of podcasting clients. I think that IT Conversations has it right. IT Conversations gives you a text RSS feed with info about new shows and then you can add any show you are interested to into a custom podcast rss feed. It isn’t that I don’t like Dan Klass or Dawn and Drew, it is just that I don’t have time to listen to every one of their shows to find the stuff I care about. It isn’t like text, I can’t scan it and it takes too much time to listen to the whole thing. I’m hoping that iTunes 4.9 will work more closely to this.

Weird Weird blogging law

the FEC is extending some laws to the internet and it is getting really stupid.

Article on ZD.net

If this goes through, it could have an incredibly chilling effect on the new world of discourse and public participation in politics that the internet provides. It would also provide a tool for the ruling party to target on-lines sites they don’t like.

Very chilling…