My Response to Spammers


Thanks to the Spam Filter in Gmail, it is seldom that anything annoying gets into my real mail stream.  For that, I’m eternally grateful.  But, it’s good practice to take a peek periodically and see that nothing legitimate ended up in the wrong place.  Then, even though Google does it automatically, I do have the desire to delete them permanently.  I love the “Delete Forever” button.  I just wish that it had some sort of algorithm that could just reach out and do permanent damage to the spammer who sent it in the first place.

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That technology doesn’t current exist (or it isn’t implemented) so managing spam is just part of your digital life.

Since the last purge, I’ve managed to pick up 207 more entries.  I just wish that I could respond to the senders directly but we know that doesn’t work.  So, the next best thing is to do it here publically.

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Looks like the “postmaster” is making a few bucks on the side.  Hey, go back to your day job.

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Is my postmaster’s name really Eleonor?  I’m not really into Alpha testing though.  Come back when you’re at least in Beta.

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It appears that these folks with the Russian website could use an English spell checker.

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I think Shaunna works for Eleanor.

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We’ve got a Shopper’s Drug Mart and Rexall in town.  I’ll pass on this offer but will take the wishes  for a Nice Day.  After all, it’s a holiday weekend.

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Ever wonder where expired drugs go?  I’m guessing they go on sale online from this Russian pharmacy.

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Whoops!  How did that get in there?  It’s a legitimate message.

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@alfredtwo would never forgive me.  Pass.

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Who would name their child or business starting with a “<”?

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I have no way of validating this claim.  My statistical sampling is 1.

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Just a little premature.  I haven’t had the operation yet.

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This one just made me laugh.  Even Babelfish would help out here.

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Nothing but persistent.

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Ever notice that Timex is never listed in the Rep1ica list?

Well, that was a real waste of online time.

Problem solved in two clicks.

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And I’m left with this feel good moment.

links for 2010-07-30


Application or Web


or who cares?

A couple of weeks ago, I had done my regular #FollowFriday routine recognizing some of the active Ontario Educators on Twitter – only this time, I had used the website paper.li to create a newsletter of the daily activity.  It’s very cool – all that I did was provide my list of these folks to it and through the magic of the internets, the newsletter is created from an amalgam of recent posts.  You can read the original blog post announcing this concept here.

I have the notice of new content emailed to me as well as incorporating the webpage into my browser startup on my Tizmos page.  All of this affirms the great contributions to “the conversation” that is originating from Ontario resources.  I like to refer to it as a newsletter created by “us” whenever someone asks about “my” newsletter.  I’ve got to tell you; I’ve written a lot of newsletters and this is the easiest one since it’s all automated.

The contributors are the folks that are on the list and have been contributing content whether it be news stories, twitter messages, photos, etc.  The website bundles it up quite nicely and displays it for anyone who cares to look.  I check it out regularly as sort of a daily summary of what’s going on.

This past week, Brenda Sherry and Peter Skillen lead a Web2.0 workshop for the Ontario Teachers’ Federation and one of the activities must have been to get a Twitter account as I had all of these new followers using the tag #otfsmile.  As quickly as I could get to it, I added them to the Ontario Educator list and they became contributors to our online newsletter.  What a hoot!  In fact, the tag #otfsmile must have caught the eye of paper.li because it became an embedded live feed during their workshop.

And yet, the newsletter was still a web page.  You had to visit the website to read it.  Not a big deal, I suppose since it is online!  When you look at it in a browser, typically it’s in a separate tab or a separate window.  It does look good.

But, it can look better – if you are using Google Chrome for Windows or Linux.  (The setting is there for the Macintosh version but ghosted out so it may be coming in a future release.)  All that you need to do is head to the “Control the current page” pull down.  It’s the second icon from the right on the release version of Chrome.

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Select the option to create an application shortcut.  What we’re going to do is create an application from the current page.  Here are your options for what to do with this new application.

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Choose what you want and click the create button and you’re done.  You’ve now created an “application” from the current window!  It is accessible from however you chose in the options above.

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The result?  You’ve created your own application that can appear full screen with no menu bars or status bars as shown above.  (It’s shrunk to fit in this blog)

So, Chrome for Windows and Linux using Ontario Educators, you can now say – I’ve got an app for that!  Seriously though, think of the websites that you visit regularly where reading content is important and toolbars, navigation, status, etc., all get in the way.  Creating an application resolves all this. That might not be of interest to you with your 24″ screens, but wouldn’t it be nice to optimize your netbook real estate?

Plus, it gives an idea of what a cloud based operating system can be.  Is it an application or is it the web?  Try the above and you’ll see that, as long as you’re connected, it doesn’t really matter.

The latest version of Ontario Educators Daily is always available here.

links for 2010-07-29


A Very Cool Day


Yesterday for me started with this update from my FourSquare account.

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When he was a little boy, every other Sunday morning had been spent together watching Formula 1 with Michael Schumacher in his Benetton days.  He moved, of course, to Ferrari and we followed his career and his spectacular driving abilities there.  Like most guys, our dream was to drive one of the blood red cars.

These dreams came awfully close yesterday.  The Boy had gifted me a full day driving experience at GTA Exotica Cars in Oakville.  What a treat it was.  Along with 10 other people, we experienced the area north of Burlington and Oakville on the backroads ending up in Guelph before our return.

In pairs, we left Oakville and took turns driving some of the most incredible cars.  Along the way, we saw some of the most incredible scenery as well.  We toured downhill hairpins, single lane roads, wooden bridges, wildlife, and so much more.  I had no idea that such incredible scenery existed.

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So, we tore through this area and enjoyed the drive, the vehicles, and the opportunity to talk about all kinds of things.

When you’re at the starting gate, with all of these vehicles, where do you start?  It really didn’t matter because we were going to drive them all anyway.  The Boy lucked out and had his first choice.  After an introduction to the vehicles and a quick overview of the uniqueness of driving each and we were off.

Dodge Viper
This bright red car was our first ride.  It was pretty bizarre to fire it up and head out onto city streets before heading north.  But, off we went.  It wasn’t long before we were off the beaten track and on a path of discovering.  For me, the Viper seemed to be the most powerful of the vehicles and the gear shift located quite comfortably higher up.  We were warned before starting and it came true that

Chevrolet Corvette
When we stopped to exchange cars, the lady that passed us the Corvette claimed that it was boring to drive.  Like her grandmother’s car.  It was the only vehicle with standard transmission in the bunch.  It did drive like a bigger car but I enjoyed it.  The heads-up speedometer was cool.  We had a few controlling moments as a bit of rain had started to fall on top of the oil that had seeped to the top of some of the roads.

Ferarri 360 Modena
The only disappointing this was the car wasn’t blood red.  But, it was the brilliant yellow that just made this car stand out from the rest.  I’m guessing the scheme is called Giallo Fly Yellow.  Inside, it was the roomiest of the cars and the engine roared as we took off.  At 2500 revs, it was powerful.  I can only imagine what it would be like in an F1 car with its higher revs.  We both learned how to use the paddle shifters in a heartbeat.  What a cool experience.  I could get used to that.

Porsche
I’ve never really been a Porsche fan.  The only model that I’d ever seen was the Boxter.  But, we were off and quickly in charge of this guy.  It really handled nicely and my stint behind the wheel was on some particularly curvy roads.  The Boy had an interesting comment – with what we were guessing to be the pricing, he’s going to aspire to own one.

Lamborghini
This was the star of the show.  The Gallardo appeared to be the newest of the cars and was a really unique orange colour.  It got special attention before we started as it was designed to ride low, hugging the road.  This wouldn’t quite work through road construction and over the wooden bridges.  No problem – we were shown the buttons to raise and lower the vehicle as needed.

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How do you know when to raise or lower or be careful with all vehicles over the bridges and railway tracks?  That’s easily done – our rally leaders led and trailed us on motorcycle.  When it was time to be careful or to adjust the Lamborghini, hand signals were sent down the line.

It was a long day and our turnaround point was at a shopping mall in Guelph where we enjoyed some pizza.  Who needs or wants to eat in or dine at a picnic table when you have the flat back of a Corvette to serve as a table?

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Lunch – Corvette Style!

Like most good things, it was over far too soon.  The ol’ heart was racing as we enjoyed vehicle after vehicle.  This was just an amazing opportunity.  It does seem a waste to have a speedometer that goes to 340kph when we’re driving through a 60 though!

As The Boy called it in his Facebook gallery of images that he posted last night, it was “The day I realised how much every other car in the world sucks.”

links for 2010-07-28


Age of Discovery not Dead


This is one of the most exciting things I’ve read in a long time.  This story appears in the National Post this morning.

Having just returned from Alaska and seeing the huge impact that glaciers can have on the environment, it’s easy to see and understand how this could happen.

If you’re interested in discovery and history, you’ll want to follow this.

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Thanks, smjb – CC

Thanks, National Post, for making this the lead story this morning when there could have been so many other sensational things in competition for the top spot.

links for 2010-07-27


Readers Without Posting


It was with amusement that I sat down in my blogging chair last night and decided to take a peek at the analytics for this blog.  I don’t normally spend too much time there but periodically check in to empty the spam and approve any messages that are being held for approval.

I had expected to see a flat line graph.  After all, I had been pretty much off the grid on holidays and so there were no original posts or scrapings from my Delicious account for about a week or so.  Instead, I found readers.  In fact, as you’ll see below, there were 61 of them on July 22 when there was, in fact, nothing new posted.  What a deal!  No time, no effort, no proofreading, no editing, no posting, no bandwidth and the blog still gets readers.  Could like get any better than that? 

Well, yes, as I look to the left of the timeline, there were days with hundreds of readers who visited when there actually was something that I had made available.

 

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Now, I’m not in this for the numbers.  I use the blog as a way of recording my thoughts and observations as things pass my way.  My only regret was that I didn’t have these tools years ago.  In particular, I think of all of the great computer science problems that I could have documented and had fun solving.  Oh well.

So, why the readers?

A couple of reads this morning helped understand this. 

First of all, Stephen Downes had reflected on D’Arcy Norman’s post about class blogs.  My comment to this interesting post dealt with the difference between product and process.  In my mind, product puts a period at the end of things.  You’re done – finished – stick a fork in it.  Process means that the discussion is never officially over – as long as there are willing participants, let things continue.  In my mind, that’s where the true power of blogging resides.

Secondly, Sue Waters had posted an entry “What You Wanted to KNOW About Blogging”.  She shared some of her thoughts and tips about creating a successful blog.  There are some good tips in there including some about reader loyalty.  Hopefully, some of the 61 are loyal readers and not just drivers by looking for a train wreck!

And yet, there’s still something about readers that show up when there’s nothing new.  Let’s hope the number goes beyond 61 now that there’s new content!

links for 2010-07-26