Tag Archives: spam

spam, AGAIN…

so i just thought i’d put it out there… since, apparently, some people just won’t take a hint

every spam comment that is submitted to my blog is marked as spam (which is why it doesn’t immediately appear as a comment: for that, i have to approve your comment, which won’t happen if it’s spam) and shuttled off to a “spam” folder, where i get to take it apart, dissect it, and add any domain names, IP addresses and specific key words to my blacklist and my anti-spam plugin, so that any further spam which contains ANY of the previously mentioned items will also be marked as spam.

in other words, any message that I DON’T LIKE will be dissected and any domain names, IP addresses and any key words that i find therein, will be added to my blacklist,
GUARANTEED!

i currently have almost 300 IP addresses (blocked at the /16 or /24 level), and almost 600 domain names blacklisted, and EVERY SINGLE SPAM COMMENT that gets submitted to my blog just makes the possibility that you will be able to post a comment on my blog that much less likely

just give it up, already… go and bother someone else, why don’t you? ๐Ÿ˜

i woke up this morning to 31 spam messages and nothing else…

i wish a merry xmas to all of you who aren’t spammers. i wish a hearty, humourous, slow, painful death to spammers.

.htaccess

this is going to be a heavily geek-ified post, because i am frustrated and don’t have time to explain all of the stuff i already know about this…

there is this intensely useful text file on my web server that’s called .htaccess, which does things like control rewriting domains, and blocking undesirable IP addresses and stuff like that. i know it exists on my web server, because when i type ls -a in the public_html directory, it shows up there right at the top.

you’ve probably noticed by now that .htaccess is kind of an unusual name for a file: it doesn’t have a “file extension” like .pdf or .exe, except that – possibly – the entire file name is the “extension”, because it all appears after a period. on UNIX and linux machines, file names that start with a period indicate that they are “hidden” files, which means that they only show up if you go into the terminal, navigate to the directory where the files exist, and type ls -a which means “list the current files in the directory, plus list all the files, whether they are hidden or not”

the problem i’m having is that i have a “working” copy of my web site, on my local computer, and when i’m “working” on that site, i have to save the document and then upload it to the “live” site, which is on my web server, currently in los angeles. the “working” copy is on my mac – which, fundamentally, runs a version of UNIX with a fancy GUI over the top. when i use the terminal to view the local site, i see the .htaccess file, but when i use the GUI and the application that i use to modify the web site, i do not see the .htaccess file, because it is a “hidden” file and i don’t see them with the GUI…

and – this is the important part – the only way i currently have to modify “hidden” files is to use vi or emacs or something like that, on the terminal RATHER than using the GUI and my code-authoring application.

currently, as far as i have been able to tell, there is no way to view “hidden” files like .htaccess on a mac, in the GUI at all: they don’t show up in the finder, they don’t show up in the application, and there’s no way to make them show up so that you can work on them like you would be able to work on .html files, or .php files…

if you happen to know how to make hidden files visible on a mac, i’d appreciate a comment.

also, within the past hour, i’ve received 6 spam messages at a time, about 4 times, with an identical subject line, and 10 more messages with the same subject line at spamcop. if i wouldn’t read it once, why does anybody bother sending multiple copies anyway? also, it looks like the beginnings of the spam-flood that happened on saturday… why me?? ๐Ÿ™

OY!!

today was one of the most infuriating days i have lived through in a long, long time…

i woke up this morning and turned on my computer, and it wouldn’t connect to internet… wonderful… ๐Ÿ˜ and, of course, it’s saturday, so the technical support goons at drizzle aren’t going to return any calls until monday anyway… so i fire up the mac, which – for some mysterious reason – is connecting to internet, and i log into my webmail account… and i discover three thousand messages with the same subject line in my inbox… and, of course, because of the fact that they’re IMAP (“Internet Message Access Protocol” or webmail), i can’t delete them all at once, i have to select each one… so i log into my spamcop account and discover fifteen thousand more messages with exactly the same subject line… and, once again, because of the fact that it’s IMAP and not POP (“Post Office Protocol”, or local mail), in order to delete them all, i have to select every one of them individually before i can delete them… and because of the fact that my drizzle webmail account is on drizzle, they’ve set things so that i can only see twenty messages at a time, which means that i can only delete 20 messages at a time, even after i have selected each one individually (because the “Select All Messages” button at the top of drizzle’s webmail interface conveniently doesn’t work… ๐Ÿ˜

quite apart from everything else, i wonder why it is that people do things like that… the only thing it does is waste a whole hell of a lot of time, and infuriate people massively… it doesn’t actually do anything positive for your business, and in most states, it’s actually illegal (which doesn’t make any difference on internet, as long as you don’t get caught, but that’s not the point)… examining one of the messages i discovered that one of the reasons i got so many of them was because each one had been addressed to me no less than 7 times, so there’s a strong probability that whoever is responsible for this is a professional spammer that i have reported often enough that he’s angry with me and is doing it as revenge, but even that doesn’t work the way he would expect, because i reported every single one of his 20,000 email messages…

anyway, i delete all the messages i can (which turns out to be around 800) before i have to leave for the opening performance of the panto…

the way i’ve got it planned, i will get finished with the first show around 5:30, and then i have arranged for a cab to take me from the panto to the gage art academy, where i’m scheduled to play with snake suspenders until 6:30, whereupon i have arranged another cab to take me back to the palladium for the second show. if i hit all the stoplights just right i should have enough time to get back to the palladium for the 7:00 show, right?

except for the fact that the cab that was supposed to show up at 5:30 actually showed up at 5:00, and the guy said he couldn’t wait, and to call another cab… except that when i call, the dispatcher says that they can’t get another cab there for an hour…

so i call thaddeus (what did i ever do before cell phones were invented?) during my 10-minute intermission and tell him that i can’t make it… at the last possible minute, before i have to start the second act of the current show…

i REALLY hate having to bail on a show at the last minute, and i hate even more to have to bail on a show at the gage, because last year i got to ogle a lot of well-built naked models, play my tuba and i got a nifty picture out of the deal as well, but there was nothing to be done.

after that, though, things started to go better. i finished the second show and came home to discover that my computer had magically decided to work (i blame demons, and i’m probably right), which meant that all those spam messages hit my “second wave” of spam filtering and were deleted without my having to do anything. and, now that i’m home and don’t have to go anywhere until tomorrow, i reset the spamcop webmail application to display 1000 messages at a time and reported/deleted all of them in a lot less time than it would have taken me deleting 20 messages at a time…

and now, i’m going to bed.

hopefully tomorrow will be less frustrating… it would have to work fairly hard to be more frustrating than today was… ๐Ÿ˜

geek ≡ me

the rules (to which i contributed) state that this shouldn’t be done, but rules were meant to be broken from time to time. not only that, but i think this is a very good example of why i’m perfectly happy using the operating system i am using, which is kubuntu, rather than either mac or windows… although, to be honest, i’ve experienced essentially the same thing on a mac, but at this point, my impression is that macs have turned into expensive toys for geek-wannabes with too much money.

anyway…

i got three spam messages that made it through my principle spam filter. of course, the spammers didn’t count on my having a secondary spam filter, and they still ended up in my waste messages bin without even hitting my inbox, but that’s not the point. the point is that one of the three messages was in arabic text, and it rendered correctly on my machine. keep in mind that arabic is written right-to-left, and english is written left-to-right (which is why i didn’t copy and paste the text: wordpress, for all of its advantages, doesn’t deal well with LTR and RTL languages and non-standard text – i.e. not unicode – in the same post). i took a screen shot of it, though, and here it is:spamof course i reported it to spamcop, and deleted it without replying, but it’s not often that a spam message makes that much of a positive impression on me. it wasn’t the words themselves, but the fact that my computer knows enough to be able to differentiate between RTL and LTR text in the same message without some kind of special prompt from me.

another week closer to the eschaton…

i woke up this morning, and checked my email. i had 4,856 new messages, all with the same subject line, which included the word “MLM”… please stop sending me these messages. they’re not accomplishing what you think they are, they’re really annoying, and i’m about to block your country’s IP addresses because of it. there are better ways of doing… whatever it is that you’re expecting to be able to do by sending out 4,856 spam email messages… ๐Ÿ˜

A piece of their mind – they share thoughts… in spite of the fact that they have two sets of eyes, one can “read” what the other is seeing, without actually seeing it… The Fascinating Story of the Twins Who Share Brains, Thoughts, and Senses has more, including a video… fascinating!

The Return of the Stoned Ape – smart people do more drugs because of evolution. now it all makes sense… ๐Ÿ˜€ and, while we’re at it, Smart people SLEEP LATE as well… so there!

and now, to more mundane topics…

Fnord33 Conspiracy Theories That Turned Out To Be True – fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord. beware, the paranoids are watching you. fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord fnord.

The Information Super-Sewer: Will the Internet be Hijacked by Corporate Interests – funding a civilization through advertising is like trying to get nutrition by connecting a tube from oneโ€™s anus to oneโ€™s mouth. also Final nail in coffin for Net neutrality?all 95 house and senate candidates who pledged support for net neutrality lost their races. what does this mean? it means that your unlimited, uncensored, unthrottled and open internet service will be going away as soon as the major corporations that now own internet are going to get to decide how much to charge you for how much access… which means that it won’t be too long before internet will be exactly like television, unless you can afford to make it better.

A Modest Proposal to Republicans: How to Trim the Budget – hint: it’s something that a republican would never think of…

Chomsky: US-led Afghan war, criminal – to date there is no evidence that al-qaeda has carried out the 9/11 attacks, and still we use that as justification to make war on a people who have their own problems.

The Surprising History of Copyright and The Promise of a Post-Copyright World – copyright was never primarily about paying artists for their work, and trying to make it about that now is obfuscating the real reason, which is to make the distributors as much money as possible. copying is not theft, piracy, or anything else illegal, and the sooner we toss the current copyright law fiasco and start over again, the better.

Minnesota Mom Hit With $1.5 Million Fine for Downloading 24 Songs – copying IS NOT theft! (my new mantra).

Bankruptcy of U.S. is โ€˜Mathematical Certainty,โ€™ Says Former CEO of Nation’s 10th Largest Bank – yep… the end is coming, and it’s not looking like it’s going to be particularly pretty when it gets here.

Voters Approve Sharia Law Ban – meanwhile, fear, insanity and unreasoned reactionism comes to oklahoma, whether they like it or not… oh well, there are always 49 other states… ๐Ÿ˜ meanwhile, it appears that Oklahoma Voters May Have Accidentally Voted Against Ten Commandments, Too – that’s what they get for being stupid and making nonsensical laws without thinking them through.

Details on PayPalโ€™s Site Outage – they have been doing okay, despite the bad things that i continue to hear about them, but they apparently went down for anywhere from two to twenty four hours, depending on where you are, and so far they’ve not released any information other than to say “something broke. it’s fixed now, and we’re sorry.”

Google calls bug bounty hunters to YouTube, Blogger – $3,133.70 a bug seems like a lot, and i seriously doubt that their actual testers get paid anything like that. what this is, really, is an attempt by google to have volunteer “testers” hammer on their technology without having to pay them for doing so. then, when a “tester” discovers something, google can claim that they found it, pay the “tester” a minimal, one time fee and never mention the “tester” to anyone ever again… everybody’s happy, at least temporarily, and the big corporation profits at the expense of the american drone, who doesn’t notice because he’s too busy telling all of his friends how 733T he is… you can’t make a living on it, but it’s the american dream come true… ๐Ÿ˜

Seagate squirts out rectal cleaning sprayno shit… ๐Ÿ™‚

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: President Obama Visits Chicago and a Homeless Man Begs Him for Alms – no further comment needed.

Marijuana Legalization: Not If, But When – agreed, it’s just a matter of time, but it’s going to have to be the entire country, or it’s not going to work… and whether or not the entire country legalises it through a revolution or through a civil election still remains to be seen.

New Mother’s (False) Positive Drug Test Leads to Baby’s Removal… Poppy-Seed Bagel the Culprit – the only way to solve problems like this is to legalise all drugs, but if proposition 19 is any indication, even when we’re winning, we’re really losing… and while we’re at it, No reason for pot prohibition – when are we going to get the idea that the war on drugs is a collosal failure? not for the next couple of years, at this rate… ๐Ÿ˜

not only that, but A molecular link between the active component of marijuana and Alzheimer’s disease pathology – the active ingredient in cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydracannabinol (THC), competitively inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE), the key pathological marker of alzheimer’s disease. are we ready to legalise it yet?

Cargo plane bomb plot: passengers to face ‘ludicrous security measures’ – now that we have successfully prevented another terrorist plot from even reaching the country, of course, the logical response is to put more stringent measures in place to insure that innocent citizens are harrassed, poked, prodded, scanned and examined in new and unusual ways, to make sure that the terrorists don’t win again… oh, and by the way, Yemeni mail bombs suspect ‘had identity stolen’ – so we really don’t have any clearer an idea who did it then we did a week ago… swell…

For the First Time, the TSA Meets Resistance – they’re now searching your “crotchal” area, and they really want to get you to use the “Dick-Measuring Device” back-scatter imaging device, so be warned…

Pollution in China – this is why stuff is cheap in america. remember that the next time you buy something.

Obama may let CIA run more โ€˜hunter-killerโ€™ teams roam abroad – this is premeditated murder and i question what the real intent is…

Why I don’t voteW? T? F? i can understand a multitude of reasons for not participating in the farce of elections these days, but basing your abstinence in voting on 1 timothy 2.12 is far beyond anything that i could possibly figure out…

McDonaldโ€™s furious after San Francisco bans Happy Meals – apparently they didn’t get the memo

Ram Dass Has a Son! – DNA tests confirm it, and ram dass is okay with it, so it doesn’t look like it’s going to cause a major uproar (like it has with other “spiritual” teachers), but it also is pretty much not what you would expect…

spam!!!

i’ve been getting A LOT of spam from, or by way of russia and china recently, and in my normal news perusing, i discovered that the guy who is responsible for the “canadian pharmacy” spam that you have, no doubt, seen in your own inbox – who is really a russian, and only nominally connected to any “canadian” pharmacies – has recently been arrested for operating a business without registration, but what i notice even more in this particular article is the apparent fact that spam is not illegal in russia… which would explain a lot.

this brings up a possibility that i have considered for a long time, which is to completely block all email from russia, and/or china. i have known, more or less, ever since about 1998 that it was possible to block people from sending you email from certain IP addresses, and i was vaguely aware that different regions can be identified from the first couple of IP address blocks, but i’ve never been exactly sure of how. i’ve been even less sure (although i’m pretty sure i knew at one time, having worked as a tester for a company that makes email server software) how to drop incoming email messages from a blocked IP address range with no response – i.e. if you’re in that IP address range and you send me an email, the email message just “disappears” with no reason given, but – and this the important part – i’m about 99.8% certain that it can be done fairly easily.

anybody who has ideas about how to do this should get in touch with me. i think it’s time to block email access from russia and china. the only email i get from those two countries are spam messages or malware, and it’s time to take action.

if it works as easily as i believe it will, i’m also thinking of blocking email access from africa – yes, the entire continent – as well.

ETA: something along this line is what i’m thinking of.

spam, again…

i don’t often admit to hating pretty much anything, but i will admit, whole-heartedly, to hating spam with a white-hot passion… ๐Ÿ˜›

i’m going to use this as an example of how i determine something which is not labled spam, is actually spam.

the following is a text-dump of the entire message, with the headers intact. the only thing i have done is to obscure my host server.

Return-path: <x>
Envelope-to: [email protected]
Delivery-date: Fri, 01 Oct 2010 03:40:48 -0700
Received: from hybridel by x with local (Exim 4.69)
     (envelope-from )
     id 1P1d2m-0005OP-Im
     for [email protected]; Fri, 01 Oct 2010 03:40:48 -0700
To: "salamandir" <[email protected]>
Subject: Enquiry from Hybrid Elephant
X-PHP-Script: www.hybridelephant.com/contact_us.php for 122.163.114.169
From: "Randall Tuttle" <[email protected]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-Mailer: osCommerce Mailer
Content-Type: text/plain;
  charset="UTF-8"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Message-Id: <[email protected]>
Sender:  <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, 01 Oct 2010 03:40:48 -0700
X-Bogosity: Unsure, tests=bogofilter, spamicity=0.583091, version=1.2.0
X-UID: 
Status: RO
X-Status: R
X-KMail-EncryptionState: N
X-KMail-SignatureState: N
X-KMail-MDN-Sent:  

We noticed that you are not at the top of the search engines for a number of your key terms.
We have helped companies similar to yours to achieve top organic rankings. Please reply to this
message and we will prepare a special proposal for you, to show you how we can achieve similar
results for you.

first, i look at the subject line: “Subject: Enquiry from Hybrid Elephant

this is not labled “spam” because it’s an enquiry from my web site, which means that if it turns out to be spam, i can’t report it, because it doesn’t have a message path that can be traced. i get a lot of spammers trying to abuse my response form (hint, it only sends to me, so it’s not much use for spamming), so that increases the probability that it is, actually, spam.

next, i look at the sender name and email address. usually people who submit legitimate enquiries to my business have an email address that doesn’t stand out. this one – From: "Randall Tuttle" <[email protected]> – stands out: “Randall Tuttle” has an email address that includes the name “rachelle”? the probability that it actually is spam just went up to 99.98%. i have never seen an example of a message that comes from someone who is apparently male, which has an email address that includes a female name, unless they were trying to mislead people in some way.

as i said, because of the fact that it is an enquiry from my web site, i can’t report it, but i can delete it without even reading further.

but i am going to force myself to read further, because deep down, i am a masochist… or something like that…

We noticed that you are not at the top of the search engines for a number of your key terms.

now i’m starting to get perturbed… i knew i shouldn’t have read any further… patience, patience… ๐Ÿ˜

yes, i know that. it is because i haven’t gotten to the top yet. if you google “html escape sequences” you’ll probably notice my site within the top 5 on the list. that is because i have offered the only complete list of html escape seqences on the net, for the longest time, without changing its URI. i haven’t been offering incense for anywhere near as long as i have had that list of escape sequences on the net. not only that, but i just upgraded from a flat html structure to a php/database structure within the past couple of years. one of the advantages is that if you search for specific products, like “aparajita special durbar incense” you will find my web site on the first page, despite the fact that i have upgraded my web site recently.

yeah, i’m not at the top of the list for all of my keywords, but i’m getting there, and if i leave my web site alone for long enough, i’ll probably get there without using possibly illegal and most likely nefarious ways to get there sooner, which is what you’re probably suggesting…

We have helped companies similar to yours to achieve top organic rankings.

organic ratings? organic ratings!? nothing about the web is “organic” in any sense of the term. and if they were, in some miraculous way, “organic” ratings, then why would a person named “Randall” be trying to sell them to me, writing to me from “rachelle”‘s email address, at gmail.com?

Please reply to this message and we will prepare a special proposal for you, to show you how we can achieve similar results for you.

reveal more about how my mailserver works to you, and give you new and innovative ways to break into my web site and email server, so that you can “prepare a special proposal” for me? i don’t think so, especially since you haven’t actually proven to me that you have actually done that for anyone.
 

PLONK!!!
 
for those of you unfamiliar with the term, “plonk” is the sound a spam message makes when it is deleted,
or the sound of a person’s email address being added to a “do not send” or “banned” list.

 
oh, by the way, the form gives me a little bit more information about the sender than he probably realises:

X-PHP-Script: www.hybridelephant.com/contact_us.php for 122.163.114.169

aha, his IP address. a quick “host 122.163.114.169” tells me that his computer is named “abts-north-dynamic-169.114.163.122.airtelbroadband.in” which is a dynamic range coming from AirTel Broadband, in india.

yeah, i’m really going to respond to a person who didn’t give me his real name, offering sketchy SEO services from a wireless connection in india… ๐Ÿ˜

by the way…

LinkedIn Zeus spam run targets prospective business marks – i’ve been getting this spam for three weeks and i haven’t picked up the ZeuS trojan yet…

of course, i haven’t been clicking on any links in mail that crosses my desk labled as “spam”, and i have been reporting messages that claim to be from LinkedIn that are labled “spam” for three weeks… i have opened (as text-only, not as html) precisely one message that claimed to be from LinkedIn that was labled “spam”, about three weeks ago, to determine that it was, in fact, spam, and that has been it.

once again, the principal reason that email should not be sent as “formatted” or containing html code, is because, if it is, you can’t tell immediately that things are not as they should be. most people don’t think to look at the bottom of their screen, at the status bar of their email client or browser, to make sure that the link that they think they’re clicking is actually the link they’re clicking. most people assume that when they see a link, if they click on it they will be taken to the site indicated in the link, but that is NOT TRUE and especially so when the link is in an email message.

if i type in a link – http://www.hybridelephant.com/ – if that link is “active” (which this one is not), most people would assume that clicking it will take you to the site indicated, which is Hybrid Elephant. however, if you see the words Hybrid Elephant with no link, unless you look down, at the status bar of your browser (because you are viewing it in a web page, which is formatted using HTML), you won’t know that the link takes you to somewhere you may not have been expecting.

email was originally intended for communication on a very basic level. the web was intended for delivering “richer”, more “complete” content. you can say “check this out” without saying it in letters that are “formatted”. it may be “cooler” to say it in bold, purple, 72-point letters, but if you send such a message, the only thing you’re doing is forcing people who may not want it, to get a large quantity of essentially meaningless code along with a relatively short message, and sending people the possibility of getting their machines infected with a virus without you or them knowing about it, until it’s too late.

it not only saves space, but doesn’t have the potential for screwing up someone’s entire machine, as this LinkedIn/ZeuS spam tries to do.

HTML in Email is EVIL!
TEXT-ONLY EMAIL!
THE WEB IS THE PLACE FOR HTML-FORMATTING!

๐Ÿ˜›

spam sucks!

on saturday, i was present when a post to freecycle south king county arrived, with an offer of a tunturi recumbent bike. naturally, i replied instantaneously, but i got no response. two days later, i replied again, but no response. two days later, i replied a third time, but again, no response.

there has been no “taken” message posted to freecycleskc, so i decided to do a bit of sleuthing, and discovered that the person who posted the message has only posted one message, started their account shortly before posting that message, is not currently online, and hasn’t been online since saturday. to me, this is an indication that the post offering the recumbent bike is a ruse to get people who will be sent spam the “chance” to respond, so that the spammer will have their email addresses, which, then, will be added to spam lists that are circulated among other spammers.

i wrote the list owner for freecycleskc, a person with the charming email handle “PrayingMommy4”, who isn’t concerned, because the person “gave very good answers when they applied for membership a few days ago”, but i’m not convinced. to me, this has all the earmarks of a spam harvester, in fact it may be an automated process… 8/

a few days ago, i got a google alert for my name, which was a link to a spammer’s discussion group, where they were discussing this “opt in” list that had my email address, and other email addresses from spamcop.net on it, and the spammers were wondering whether or not this was “really” an “opt in” list or not. the conclusion of the discussion is that it was “really” an “opt in” list, but they recommended that they “not use” the spamcop.net addresses.

by the way, it’s off topic, but are there any speakers of what i assume is turkish out there, who can tell me what this is all about?

i have NEVER signed up for any “targeted” lists with my spamcop.net address, so any list that includes my spamcop.net address is, by definition, going to be reported as spam. automated processes and clueless list owners don’t make this any easier, but i’m going to keep reporting spam until i stop getting spam.

imagine a day where 100% of ALL EMAIL TRAFFIC ON INTERNET are legitimate messages, and not a single UCE of any kind… it’s possible, you know…

i don’t normally do this, but…

this is so over-the-top ridiculous that there has to be an exception this time…

McDonald’s announces a drink made of Shrek-jizz.

Mint Shrek-Jizz monstrosity

yeah…

not as if i ate at McD’s regularly (or irregularly) anyway, but this doesn’t encourage me in the least. it is either going to be good for business in a way that they probably haven’t realised yet, or it won’t last very long and they won’t know what you’re talking about once it’s gone…

i wonder how long it’s going to be before someone makes a bukkake joke and ruins it for everyone…

spammers

okay, this is getting ridiculous, but at the same time, i’m really glad i got myself far away from 1&1 internet services, and now i’m going to recommend that my associates distance themselves from 1&1 as well… and you spammers have succeeded in irritating me enough that i’m ranting about it in public. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

it started out with a spam message that “made it through” the spamcop defense, but didn’t make it through my local instance of spam assassin that i run on my local mail host. one of the reasons why i’m satisfied with doing so is that if i use a web-based service like yahoo, hotmail or gmail is that, none of my mail, contacts, calenders and that sort of thing “live” on a computer over which i have direct, physical control… and my information is my information, thank you. it also makes it a hell of a lot easier to parse headers and report the spam messages that do manage to sneak through my defenses (which are around 5 or so a week, these days). spam assassin puts the messages that it detects into my wastebasket, without any prompting from me, but if i’m feeling obstreperous, i’ll pull it out and report it anyway, which is what i did with a message that looked like it had come from me: it had someone else’s name, and my email address in the To: line – which is notoriously easy to spoof. it also had a URI that tracks directly back to oneandone.com.

yes, a host provider that i used, and then discarded a year ago when they tried to scam me, hosts spammers.

and spammers dumb enough to think that i might respond in any way other than the way i did, to a message that looks like it came from myself!

that’s all the justification i need to avoid them. ๐Ÿ˜

miscellaneous honk blat wak wak wak ungow

one doesn’t tend to notice annoyances that have disappeared, but i just realised that the guy who has been sending me spam with great regularity, at least once a month, for five-plus years hasn’t sent me a spam message since november of last year. i won’t claim sole responsibility for ridding the net of this annoyance, but i would be willing to bet that the multiple reports of his spam i made to the washington state attorney general’s office couldn’t have slowed down his departure too much.

the new Ganesha The Car is probably not going to be a car very much longer. there’s nothing wrong with it currently, but the transmission is on its last legs, and from what the people at the repair shop (not the repair shop from which i got the car, a different one) told me, the ’93 Mercury Tracer (which is also called a “Ford Fiesta Escort” for some unknown reason) is notorious for transmission and engine problems, and pretty much anything that goes substantially wrong with it will very likely cost more to fix than the car is worth. at the same time, i didn’t actually pay for the car to begin with, and the repair shop that i got it from will very likely do things like replace the transmission for far less than other places would, because we fall under the “friends and family” category with the owner of the shop – which is also part of the reason why i didn’t pay for the car to begin with.

in the short term, this means that i have even more impetus to create “temporary” artwork on the car, using paint pens instead of a brush and one-shot. daniel smith’s has a piss-poor selection of paint pens, but i picked up some black, and some gold pens. i’m hoping that i can find a wider assorement of colours somewhere else.

frustration is finding a bittorrent of something that you really want, and downloading 99.3% of it – with 8 “leeches” and a “seeder” who only logs in after midnight – before getting stuck and spending weeks repeatedly opening up your network to a DOS attack while you wait for the remainder to appear… all i need is 1.16 MB of information and then i’ll have the whole thing… is that too much to ask?

a guy advertised “Goldblatt drywall stilts. Rubber is good, but the straps are shot and some minor hardware needs replacing.” on freecycle, earlier in the week, and i responded, because i can probably fix the things that they have wrong with them, and then i’ll have a set of drywall stilts… unfortunately, i didn’t notice that the guy’s email host is christian.net, and the quote that automatically appended to the signature of my message was “Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world. — Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet), 1694-1778″…

he didn’t reply, so i sent him another message this afternoon. the quote that automatically appended to the signature of that message was “The more you complain, the longer God lets you live.” i still have recieved no response from him, but i get the impression that the probability of my recieving a response from him is miniscule at this point. oh well… if nothing else, i can post a wanted to freecycle for drywall stilts. if i’m really lucky, the same guy will respond… ๐Ÿ˜‰

i’ve got to get up and go to a gig that banda gozona is playing for part of Honk! Fest West at 9:00 tomorrow morning. there’s another gig that banda gozona is playing at 3:00 pm as well, which means that i can’t even go home and get some rest between the shows. the music that we’re playing is all stuff that i know the tuba parts for quite well. unfortunately, i’m playing trombone for tomorrow’s gigs, and the trombone parts are really fast, with a lot of notes that range from E an octave below middle C to A an octave above middle C within a measure. i’m reasonably certain that i can play most of the notes, and i’m sure i can play all of the notes at a reduced speed, but the fact that there’s going to be at least one other trombone-range instrument (most likely euphonium, but another trombone isn’t out of the question) makes me a lot more at ease with this performance than i would be otherwise.

bleh

it’s only been less than a week, and the spam has already started regarding who killed michael jackson, or that michael jackson isn’t dead. he’s already had two autopsies and there’s already a number of tasteless jokes about him, like this one: since he was made of plastic anyway, they’ve decided to melt him down and make legos out of him, so that kids can play with him for a change. a legal battle going on over the custody of his kids between his ex-wife and his mother. if it weren’t so gawddamn predictable, it would be entirely awful for everybody. as it is, it probably is entirely awful for everybody involved, and predictably boring or sensational depending on whether you were a fan or not.

another order of business cards for NBAC is on the way, and one is in the works for MIVC. i can’t get helvetica narrow, narrow oblique, narrow bold and narrow bold oblique to load on my mac. i suspect that it is at least partially because of a font-type conflict with which i haven’t adequately dealt.

portland and in-laws saturday, OCF in a week.

brain injury, paypal, credit card accepting, spam and frustration – in that order

so, now that the moisture festival is over with for another year, i decided to get to work on the “accepting credit cards using some other service than paypal” part of my web site. they have been sending me two or three messages a day concerning different aspects of getting my site set up. i had told the guy initially when i signed up that i wasn’t actually going to be able even to look at email about the web site until after the moisture festival was over, so i was somewhat surprised when i got a statement in the email this morning, saying that my checking account had been billed $33. i called them up, and the customer service lady said that she couldn’t help me, and transferred my call to a sales representative, who, after some convincing, admitted that he had the email where i said that i wasn’t going to be able to start until april, but said he couldn’t help me, and transferred me back to customer service.

this is after i got an email, last week, in my “spam” folder (in other words, it was downloaded directly from the server into my “deleted items” mailbox, which gets deleted when i shut down the computer). the email contained a “From:” address at CheckCare.com – which i seem to recall them saying something about when i signed up with the credit card accepting place – but nothing else that indicated where it was from or who i should contact if i had any questions – which was the primary reason it ended up in the spam box. the email also contained a “Merchant” identification which was “SPAY60102”, which i considered rather odd, and a list of fees, most of which were $0, except for the last one, a “Gateway fee” for $11.85. i called the credit card accepting place and went through a couple of hours of being connected to people who reputedly were going to be able to help me, but finding out that they couldn’t help me and putting me on hold while they transferred me to someone who could. at one point i ended up being put on hold, which was answered by someone who not only doesn’t work for either of the companies in question, but works for one of their competitors. needless to say, i hung up and called in again. as it is, the whole process of getting set up to accept credit cards is way more irritating than a person with a brain injury – such as myself – can handle, and i certainly don’t want to be the focus of two competing companies attempts to get me to give their company money i don’t have to begin with. eventually, after two hours and calling the main number 3 times, a guy answered who, before i had the chance to regail him with the entire sordid story, said that he “was aware of the situation” that had caused me to have to call back three times, and he would figure it out and get back to me… and i’m still waiting to find out whether or not it was spam or an actual bill.

you would think that a company which presumably does hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of business each day would be a little more lax about a $33 dollar refund, but no, the customer service rep that i was connected to said that i would have to talk with a manager if i wanted to complain about the sales representative’s misunderstanding. i said that if it was not resolved to my satisfaction, that i would gladly take my business to a service provider that cares about its customers, so she emailed me a (.doc file!!!) “Merchant Request to Cancel” – which has to be faxed or scanned and emailed back to them, but i don’t have either a fax machine or a working scanner.

they make it as difficult as possible – something which i don’t completely disagree with – to get an account in the first place, but once you have the account they start spamming you just like that was their business, and they make it even more difficult to cancel your account… it makes me wonder how any of these companies stay in business at all, especially with the economy the way it is these days.

i hate spam! part 75

somebody registered on my blog today, something that isn’t necessary to comment. it was from someone who has never commented, i don’t know them, they registered a username that was unpronounceable, and the TLD of the email address was in russia.

needless to say, i deleted them. i don’t know about other wordpress users, but i get the impression that you’d have to be pretty dense, or not paying the slightest bit of attention, to NOT notice that this was created with the intension of abusing the services for which i pay for and for which i am responsible. ๐Ÿ˜›

spam?

i got this very strange email today. it said:

you drive like you have sand in your vagina. your car smells like ass and I thougbt my friend crapped her pants but it was just your nasty car. I hate you.

i’m puzzled that anyone would respond that way to me. i’m not surprised that people react to my car, that happens all the time. what puzzles me is the combination of stuff that, if taken separately, would each represent a valid, if totally ludicrous complaint about my car and/or its occupants… but taken as a whole, i just have to sit back and wonder who they are and why they were so upset with me.

i don’t know what it must be like to have sand in ones vagina, but i can’t imagine that it would be very comfortable, and it would probably limit ones mobility quite a bit. i don’t know about anybody else, but i use my car to enhance my mobility, and if they saw me driving, then they would doubtlessly be aware of that. also, i am a very contientious driver: i make mistakes from time to time – i just got a ticket from one of those automated corner-watcher-robot-flashy things in federal way – but most of the time i’m a very safe driver, whether it’s on the street or on the freeway.

and if they saw me driving, then how can they be sure that it was my car that smelled like ass? i have driven through some mighty smelly areas within the past week or so, and the smell was definitely not coming from my car. if they saw the car while it was parked somewhere, i can understand why they might react that way, even though i know for certain that my car doesn’t smell like ass. it also doesn’t smell like what you would expect a car to smell like, and i’m pretty sure that some of the numbskulls around here would not be able to tell the difference. but at the same time, it makes me wonder how they saw me driving poorly enough to know that i drive like i had sand in my vagina?

and to wrap the whole thing up, they say “i hate you” – in case what they said previously hasn’t sunk in yet. well, personally, i would think that if a person was wound up enough to say the other things about me, saying “i hate you” is overstating it a little. it’s as though they thought they weren’t being clear enough about their feelings, and wanted to make sure that i knew what they were talking about. it also makes me think that they were just ranting to rant and picked me because my email form was easily accessible.

i think, and this is all just conjecture, because i’ll never know for certain (the return address on the email response form was [email protected], and i’ve already tried and failed to sent email to that address), but it’s possible that this was written by one of the teenagers that sped past me on the freeway this afternoon, only subsequently to get pulled over by the police. my guess is that they got pulled over for speeding and/or reckless driving because they incredulously and minutely examined all sides of my car – at freeway speeds – before blasting forwards at about 90 miles per hour… whereupon the fuzz, who was in an unmarked car to my right rear, and who i knew was there, flipped on their lights and went after ’em.

i guess feedback is one of the reasons why my feedback form is there, but sometimes i really wonder whether such things are good to have in a place where just anybody can get hold of them… 8/