Another Slight Variation on 419 Scams

07/29/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Internet, Spamming

I have seen a remarkable decline in the variant of the 419 scam with civil servant/general needing to get millions of dollars out of the country and having chosen you to help with this sub-legal endeavour.

The slightly newer take seems to be asking people to "be their company representative", and that it is "inconvenient" to do the cheque cashing or payment transfer themselves, and that you could do it for them for 10% of the take.

This type of scam has been floating around for a little bit (since late 2005 at latest) but things usually don't cross my e-mail pile until the technique starts to become more popular.

Why they would choose you, at random, instead of any number of myriad merchant services with a known track record is, of course, the important question, and the essence of the scam, I should surmise.

Here are the first two scam variations I received:

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Wikipedia Edit Wars

07/28/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly


One of the standard criticisms of the Wikipedia is that anyone can edit a page and thus effectively vandalize it. One of the standard defences is that such behaviour is typically caught quickly and the edit reverted.

The difficulty is determining when it's not vandalism but correction. At that point "edit wars" begin with the content rapidly switching backwards and forwards as each contestant endavours to have their own stamp on the page.

Naturally, there's a Wikipedia entry on these. And, just as naturally, it too has been home to a large number of edit wars.


Typeface nitpicking

07/26/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly


Every asked yourself what irritates a professional font designer or typesetter when watching movies? Wonder no more!


Review: D-Link DPR-1260

07/25/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Reviews


Summary: 4 USB port 802.11g print server with some extra functionality

Due to heating issues -- it's been a warm summer here in Calgary -- I've moved my D-Link DNS-323 NAS out of my office to somewhere a bit cooler. The downside of this is that I've also lost my print server, something the DNS-323 did really rather well. After a bit of wandering around town, I picked up another D-Link unit, this time the DPR-1260 print server.

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Novel anti-gravity invention

07/24/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly


Well, technically I suppose all anti-gravity or perpetual motion engines inventions are novel as none actually work, but Wired has a nice graphic showing their stab at it based on two truisms: toast always lands butter side down, and cats always land on their feet. So, what happens when you attach one to the other (butter side up of course) and drop them?


The disappearance of the honey bee

07/23/07 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri


There's a quote which has been circulating some time, purportedly from Alfred Einstein, which goes something like this:

"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."

Slate has a fairly straight forward commentary on why that's not the case -- mostly due to honey bees not being the only capable crop pollinator - but all the same why it's still a concern in a more general way.

(Via Liberalism without Cynicism)


High Tea

07/22/07 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri


I know that Wikipedia can be dodgy on its information, but goldarnit, it's absolutely correct with this definition:

High Tea (also known as Meat Tea[1]) is an early evening meal, typically eaten between 5 and 6 o'clock in the evening. It would be eaten as a substitute for both afternoon tea and the evening meal. The term comes from the meal being eaten at the ‘high’ (main) table, instead of the smaller lounge table. It is now largely replaced by a later evening meal.

It would usually consist of cold meats, eggs and/or fish, cakes and sandwiches. In a family, it tends to be less formal and is an informal snack (featuring sandwiches, biscuits, pastry, fruit and the like) or else it is the main evening meal.


In recent years, High Tea somehow became a word for exquisite afternoon tea.

So, you ersatz-Anglophile reprobates in Victoria, B.C., please don't do this in the future. If Wikipedia's got it right, there're no excuses.


Jerks And Their "Malware Scanners"

07/22/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Ethics, Internet

We show no referrers to the world, but we still get referral spam, i.e. something pretends to have visited your site through someone else's clicks. Referrals used to be a fun way to show who was visiting you. Spammers have crapped all over that feature.

I went to ban a number of them that have come recently from, which doesn't even seem to have decent cover as a free hosting site, never mind anything for bloggers. I accidentally launched the site in question instead (probably blinded by my rage over discontinued dinnerware patterns) and got treated to the loveliest set of lies I think I've seen on a web site in a while.

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Cool Dinnerware Always Doomed

07/22/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions

Okay, okay, I'm exaggerating, but I feel the sting of lines of dinnerware and flatware being discontinued because it seems to affect the stuff I really like... disproportionately.

When you're on the hunt for plates and such, you generally have choices of kitsch, flowery, arse-plain, or every now and again, 'interesting'.

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Nut On The Run

07/22/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, People, Religion, Science

Wired picked up on the saga of an overly-enthusiastic off-kilter creationist making escalating insults and threats to University of Colorado professors, as well as a few other folks online.

Well, he has absconded.

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Oh well. I tried.

07/21/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly


Just days after I said I wouldn't, here's another Potter related post. I couldn't resist wondering about this statement from the CBC Arts page:

The book was attracting scores of fans dressed as Ron, Hermione, witches, Death Eaters and Muggles

CBC, dear, "muggles" are the normal human beings of the Potterverse. Given the non-existence of Ron, Hermione, witches, Death Eaters, wizards and magic, it probably means the Potter fans were in mufti.


Irregular Webcomic

07/20/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, Reviews


One of my favourite places to visit online is "Irregular Webcomic". The strip runs several independent plotlines which sometimes overlap, including Shakespeare as a modern technical writer, an incompetent fantasy-world adventuring party, an entirely amoral spacefaring group, aliens invading Earth in groups of three, Mythbusters parodies, Terry Pratchett-like incarnations of Death, and many more. In many respects, it's a fairly standard jokey comic with a strong fondness for puns and the absurd but with a couple of signficant differences.

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M.A.S.S., "The Music Of Alan Parsons"

07/19/07 | by Adam | Categories: Music, Reviews


Oh, it's bad. I knew it was going to be weak, and then it managed to be even worse than that. This frisbee is a rendition of the instrumental works of the Alan Parsons Project performed on what sound like some remarkably cheap synths by an anonymous German. I'm not even convinced there's a second person involved as perhaps they might have had an opportunity to destroy the recording before it was committed to a harddrive, never mind a 5" silvery plastic disc.

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Wired reviews the spells of Harry Potter

07/18/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly


Lore Sjöberg, Wired's resident humourist, takes a look over the various spells from the world of Harry Potter.

This will be my only Potter-related link ever, promise. Ritchie, on the other hand, will happily post reams on why magic is entirely unscientific and therefore only marginally more believable than string theory.


Obsolete already?

07/17/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology


The Panasonic Lumix TZ1 is my newest digital camera. I bought it new after a bit of careful research (well, kinda), examining the competition and cocking an eye to upcoming releases. I've now owned it for probably ten months at this point.

It therefore seems appropriate that not only is it now obsolete, but it's two generations so. Oh well, at least it still takes nice photos.


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