Archive for Monday, July 10, 2000

Site Seeing

July 10, 2000


No movie rights

Being the master of one's own work hours plays tricks on the mind. I've been toying with the idea of doing a computer book, since I've convinced myself there are enough hours in the day to make a living and to write a book. Those in the know have warned me against such a project because it will wreck my personal relationships, drain my meager finances, stop my chickens from laying eggs and make what little hair I have left fall out.

So rather than taking the advice of friends, I took to the Net in search of answers and found this gem. If this site's content -- a sometimes hilarious tale of authoring a technical book -- isn't enough to put a person off, then masochism must be in the blood. If you enjoy Philip Greenspun's style after reading this page, there's a bonus: a free electronic version of his work.

Abuse of trust

Security guru and well-known computer author Simpson Garfinkel kicks off a thoughtful column on Web-mag Salon touching on unsolicited e-mail from companies one should trust.

If you've had an e-mail address for any period of time, you've almost surely been spammed, the term for these unwanted invitations that ask you to visit seedy Web sites, join get-rich-quick schemes or buy CD-ROMs containing millions of valid e-mail addresses (so you can spam them, no doubt).

A worrisome trend that he points out is that companies seem to think they can collect e-mail addresses and then subscribe them to any internal list they see fit. How many times have you ordered a product online, given your e-mail address and then been bombarded by mail you didn't want? My personal solution is to create a mail alias for each vendor I use.

Captive market

Pagers, cell phones and now elevators, oh my! Just when you thought it was safe to take a quick 30-second rest between meetings, it looks like vertical people movers are going to bombard you with ads and other "useful" information.

By the looks of the company, it targets the most salubrious high-rises. Should you walk into the elevator and notice polished marble on the walls, you might want to bolt for the stairs before the doors close and the brainwashing begins.

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