HTMLGOODIES EXPRESS (tm)
December 4, 2000-- Newsletter #109

By Joe Burns

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HTMLGOODIES EXPRESS (tm)
December 4, 2000--Newsletter #109
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Please visit http://www.htmlgoodies.com
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Greetings, Weekend Silicon Warriors,

Did you hear

In opposition to some of the studies found in some earlier newsletters, some new research out of UCLA suggests that the Internet might not isolate people anyway. The study suggests that over two-thirds of all U.S. citizens have gone online. The majority have self-reported that they do not feel estranged from any other people. I've always felt the Internet was a form of communication and that always outweighed its isolation capabilities.

In other research news, a random poll by America Online found that online users see the future of the Web and computers advancing to the point where computers can actually think within the next 10 years. Hmmmwhat is the Matrix?

By the way I just loaded a Matrix screen saver that looks like the screens in the movie. Students really think that's cool.

Microsoft's WebTV has settled up with the U.S. federal Trade Commission admitting that their advertisements mislead consumers into thinking the service gave the same capabilities as an ISP/personal computer connection. The penalty is for the company to distribute literature explaining their mistake and also to reimburse many for some long distance charges.

It was reported last week that AOL has just crossed the 25 million-subscriber mark. You've got maila whole lot of mail.

Here's some food for thought:

The chairman of General Electric, Jack Welch, told the television show 60-Minutes that once major corporations, like GE, go to an e-business model, that dot-coms are in trouble. My guess is that he meant bigger trouble than they are right now. Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubun told the Internet World conference that as soon as major brick and mortar stores come fully online, they would have the advantage over the current dot-coms.

Now onto today's topic

The Holidays must be just around the corner. My email box is filling up with more SPAM than the ham factory. Merr-E Christmas.

The amount of email really doesn't bother me. Well, it's bothering me more now I guess. The reason is not because there's a lot of it, it's because the SPAM email subject lines are getting better at tricking me.

Plusand I hate to admit itI'm spamming myself.

It used to be that I could pick one of these SPAM emails out at fifty paces. The subject was always a step below a bad local used car spot. It screamed out:

Best Investment Decision You'll Make Today

Or the more apropos: BEST INVESTMENT DECISION YOU'LL MAKE TODAY!!!

That's obviously not a note from my aunt. She doesn't play the stock market a lot.

Oh sure, the subject lines would often try to get chummy and buddy up to me as if I was one of the guys. They would tell me, in hip-cool, voice:

Chicks Dig You

I actually don't know anyone that would use the word chick nor do I know anyone that would use the word dig. I certainly don't know anyone whom would use the two words in the same subject line.

Of course, then there's my all time favorite:

Hope I'm not bothering you

Just like that. It would have the ellipsis at the end. I would actually speak out loud to my computer screen, You're not, as I erased it.

Oh, I was a pro at killing SPAM, but as of latethey're getting smarter, the Spammers that is. They're getting me. I'm being tricked into opening the mail through the subject line. They're taking on the Melissa strategy. I decided to write this newsletter after I got up this morning and plopped down in my computer chair to peruse the morning emails. There it was:

RE: The information you requested

I thought it odd that I didn't remember sending out an email with the subject line, The information you requested, but apparently I must have. I mean, there it is, complete with RE: in front. I'm a professor. I impart knowledge every day. Obviously this was my imparting knowledge to a student who has replied in order to graciously thank me for being so good to him. I opened it ready to accept my lauds.

I now know all about an overseas investment that will make me rich.

Aaaaauuuugh! I screamed out. It woke my wife.

They got me. Another SPAM letter attempted the same type of underhanded, sneaky trick using the familiar FW: in front of a subject line.

They almost got me but then I noticed I have seven copies. That tipped me off.

Why? Why have I become more susceptible to SPAM? Could a simple RE or FW really trip me to read about the newest money scheme that made Bob rich while he sat on his rump and watched The People's Court?

I think the reason I'm getting caught is because I have lessened my own Spam radar by

Spamming Myself!

I have made the mistake of signing up for too many pushed pieces of information. Have you ended up doing this lately? I have numerous news sites sending me stuff, a sports site, CNN sends me the topic of that evening's Crossfire, HBO sends me an email about when their next documentary is coming on, and just yesterday a favorite site of mine popped up a box that allowed me to get daily jokes, horoscopes, political stuff, and movie reviews. I am signed up for numerous sights that let me know when they are updated. I'd like to get angry at someone, but

I'm spamming myself.

I've become so use to seeing subject lines that are cold and non-personal that I'm off my game. They slowly sucked me in. I figured I'd just sign up for one or two but then I needed ten or eleven. Man, that's a lot of email. The next thing I knew, I was getting 20 extra emails a day.

When you get bombarded with all of those day after day, you tend to let your guard down. Now and again, you start to concern yourself if your overseas portfolio is really as diversified, as it wants to be.

I'm sure it's only a matter of time before I end up on every SPAM list known to man thanks to my own interest in daily boxing updates. I've got to be more careful.

The other day my wife received a SPAM offering to SPAM her site to 100,000 email addresses. We actually considered it for a short time.

But only if we can use the subject line: RE: The information you requested

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

That's that. Thanks for reading.

Joe Burns, Ph.D.

And Remember: According to the Fast Food Facts Web page, the fast food item that contains the most calories in the form served to the public is the Schlotzsky's Deluxe Original at 2638 calories. Oh, I'll bet that is soooo good.

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