Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, October 30, 2021

IT security researcher Mark Wade buys something from a spam email link just to see what happens, and the main reaction seems to be amazement that it led to an actual retail transaction (albeit an incomplete one, apparently due to Post Office mishandling).

This incident, although illustrative, reinforces a basic misconception about, really, the worst aspect of spam:

It’s unsolicited communication that eats up resources — yours and the networks. And — this is key — that’s the case regardless of the source and content of that spam.

That means it doesn’t matter one bit whether a spam email (or blog comment, which is what I contend with moreso these days) contains something blatantly harmful, like a phishing attempt to steal personal information; or if it contains a completely innocent request for, say, a donation to the Red Cross. Fundamentally, despite their intent, getting a hundred of one or the other jamming your inbox wastes the same amount of time and energy by having to dispose of it.

And obviously, that goes for the middle ground between those previous two examples: The shady business deal that actually results in a sale of some merchandise, and in fact achieves the 1-2% success rate that makes spam a viable enterprise. Again, the intent and ultimate result is irrelevant.

I guess the overemphasis on hacking, malware and other spam-delivered scams has obscured this reality. Bottom line, spam is spam, and it doesn’t matter what it’s sending your way. The problem is volume and management, and that’s what the focus needs to be on in terms of combating it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 10/30/2007 11:11:18 PM
Category: Internet
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Daylight Saving Time sorta sneaks up on us this year — a week later than usual, AKA this coming weekend. That’s causing problems for software and (especially) electronics that are on the old schedule:

It’s devices that aren’t connected to a wired or wireless network — including many wrist watches, alarm clocks and VCRs — that need extra attention. These often are the devices that need to be reset after a power outage, said Jenny Pareti, spokeswoman for [the Consumer Electronics Association].

“Anything that isn’t connected to a network or a broadcast source will need to be manually reset,” she said. If the product was made before August 2005 and it uses an internal calendar, owners should disable the daylight saving time feature and/or change the time manually, according to the group.

To me, this indicates that manufacturers of digital clocks and the like are due for a healthy spike in sales, as people junk their outmoded, non-patchable devices rather than put up with the hassle.

And that’s just one of the tangible business benefits of DST:

Of course, the candy manufacturers are likely happy about the change too, [Tufts University professor Michael] Downing said.

“They’ve been pushing for it for 30 years,” he said, adding that candy manufacturers think they’d be able to profit enormously if kids stay out an extra hour trick-or-treating.

It’s a possibility: When a month of daylight saving time was added in the 1980s, both the barbeque industry and the golf industry saw increases in sales due to the extra hours of light people had after work, Downing said.

So I guess this is all grist for the mill for those clock-conspiracy theorists out there.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 10/30/2007 10:22:54 PM
Category: Business, Tech
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Jeez. Are you supposed to feel worn out after taking a day off?

In a sense, that worn-out feeling should have come yesterday, after I managed to coordinate my client deliverables in order to allow myself a free day. As it was, that took until well into last night. I figured I should take this window now, since, aside from the major holidays, I won’t have any meaningful downtime for myself from now until early January. Such is the consulting life.

Then again, I’m not sure I know how to have a “day off” anymore. True, I didn’t have any pressing responsibilities. But I still wound up running around town until early evening. It was all me-time stuff, including a couple of gratuitously frivolous purchases. But still, that accounts for my current weariness.

Thank God for caffeine…

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 10/30/2007 08:42:11 PM
Category: General
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