More Junkmail from Bob!

Wednesday, November 29, 2000
Important Stuff.

About 3 Junkmails ago I said, "I'm writing this as the 'score' in the presidential election is 231 to 229. By the time you read this you'll probably know who won." That shows what I know.

Junkmail and Sugarplums

Did you ever wonder where junk emailers get your email address? Well, maybe I'm an exception. Most of my email addresses come from my inbox. If you email me, you get on the Junklist. If you and I get the same email, you may get on the Junklist.

This is OK because I'm not asking you for money or votes, and I have easy-to-follow directions at the bottom of every email on how to get delisted. Incidentally, there are now 1400+ victims on the Junklist.

But other companies who send out millions of emails instead of hundreds have to keep their lists fresh. They collect email names using programs such as such as EmailSiphon or Cherry Picker to scan the internet for email addresses. These programs are called spam-bots.

Devin Carraway is fighting back. He wrote a program called Sugarplum to feed the spam-bots bad information, such as thousands of invalid email addresses, or addresses of other bulk emailers. It might even launch a denial of service attack, I'm not sure.

You can download sugarplum here. It's written in Perl and runs on Apache web servers.

Coronal Mass Ejection

Last Friday there were some radio blackouts and some spectacular northern lights. Southern lights, too. The sun is the culprit. I thought I'd get to the bottom of this, so I checked out the sun in detail. Here's what it looked like about 3 hours ago:

        suntoday.jpg      suntoday2.jpg

These pictures came from the SOHO spacecraft, and are in wavelengths other than visible light so you can see more detail. For more information, or for the latest solar images from the SOHO spacecraft, go to

The SOHO spacecraft is flying around the sun inside Earth's orbit. Yesterday they had some orientation problems (SOHO had a bad attitude) but that's fixed now.

Windows Media Player

I was doing some whining and complaining the other day when Windows Media Player was trying to access the internet when I only wanted to play an MP3 file. Why was that happening, what information did it want to send to whom, and why didn't it ask me first? Then, as with most of my tirades, I forgot about it in a few minutes.

A few days later I ran across an article proclaiming a security hole in Windows Media Player. This is only a program that plays music and shows video, after all! How can Microsoft incorporate security problems in something this simple? You'd think they're using it to access the internet or something.

There's also a minor problem in Internet Explorer.

You can fix all these free (if you have been assimilated) by going to the Windows Update web site. You can even mess up your hard drive at this site once in a while.

NPR Quote of the Week

(I had to exclude all the election quotes from contention because they are outside the realm of reality.)

National Public Radio News reported that some holiday shoppers are spending less this year because of outstanding credit card balances. They said half the holiday shoppers plan to spend about the same as last year, but almost 1/4 say they will spend less, boding ill for retailers.

Let's do the math here... Yep. It comes out the same every time. MORE than 1/4 of holiday shoppers intend to spend more this year than last. Maybe things aren't quite that bad after all.

Business Method Patents

"Business Method Patent Improvement Act of 2000," has been introduced in Congress, requiring the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to stop passing out so many stupid business method patents. Now if we could just get them to ease up on the stupid software patents.


This is a huge URL. If the link doesn't work, you can go to and search for patent under news, November 15th.

Speaking of stupid software patents,'s lawyers seem to be fighting labor unions now instead of patenting the obvious. Some people will consider this an improvement. Details in the New York Times:

Stupid Passenger Trick

Did you ever think that if you were late for a plane flight, you could call the airline and make a bomb threat to delay the departure? A few days ago, a guy in Greece named Nikita decided that would be a good way to keep from missing his flight. Nikita is one of these guys who is either too dumb or too lazy to dial his own phone numbers, so he had his secretary ring up Axon Airlines in Athens.

When she called them, she said something like, "Please hold for a call from Mr. Kotiadis of Fage Dairy Products." Then he got on the line and told them there was a bomb on the 3:30 flight to Brussels. Being very astute, the airlines figured out who it was and had him arrested when he came to get on the plane. He is being charged with malicious stupidity.


In last week's Junkmail I had the wrong link for Google. Here's the correct one:

The hydrogen-powered cars were pretty interesting anyway.

Important Notice!

The most distant object in the universe isn't. The galaxy called Sharon (a.k.a. STIS
123627+621755) discovered last year was the most distant object from the earth until they figured out they made a mistake in the red-shift calculations and it's closer than they thought. Now the most distant object is a quasar discovered last September. They're both pretty far away -- more than 50,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles. stock is below $1.00 now. I didn't do it!  I haven't been there since February!!

Some other dotcoms aren't doing so well either. There are record dotcom layoffs already in November.

Pictures of Today

It's ski season! Here are some beginners at Breckenridge last Friday:

(Yes, he crashed.)

        Img_6951.jpg      Img_6954.jpg

A curve in a road:


(-) 1932, all rites observed. Any unauthorized duplication of this fine piece of work will be counted, recounted, and possibly recanted.

If you would like to add someone to the Junklist, or if you are warped enough to want to see other Junkmails, go to

If you would like to stop receiving Junkmail, which would certainly be the sensible thing to like, please change your email address or contact about a furniture moving job.

I'm Bob Webster and I reside at Feel free to email me any questions, comments, suggestions, criticisms, or diatribes.