Friday, February 25, 2005

Weird thing of the day 25 February 2005/16 'Adhar Ri'shon 5765 (Go Bowling Day)

Greetings.

I have too many URL files for weird news articles cluttering up my desktop:I would also like to make fun of some spam I received yesterday. It purports to be from “Web@FBI.gov” and says:
Dear Sir/Madam,

we have logged your IP-address on more than 40 illegal Websites.

Important: Please answer our questions!
The list of questions are attached.


Yours faithfully,
M. John Stellford



++-++ Federal Bureau of Investigation -FBI-
++-++ 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 2130
++-++ Washington, DC 20535
++-++ (202) 324-3000
This one, like a lot of other spam, assumes people are downright stupid. Most obviously, the quality of the language is substandard (e.g., “we” should be capitalized, “Yours faithfully” has no place in a formal letter), which is a tip-off it is not from the FBI. (The government tends to use proper English, George W. Bush excepted.) Secondly, the sender would likely have a username more sensible than "Web". Thirdly, I have major doubts the FBI is conducting that draconian level of surveillance of the Internet, which would involve a lot of peaking at data passing through their computers on the way to other computers or (worse) spyware; either way, an invasion of privacy is involved, and as such they would arguably be trampling on my constitutional rights unless they had probable cause and a warrant. Finally, if the FBI wanted to ask me questions concerning alleged illegal activity on my behalf, I would presumably be visited by their agents personally. There have to be smarter ways to get people to activate a virus.

Today’s weird thing is the article “Wright This Way: iPod Shuffle RAID” and its sequel “Wright This Way: Shuffle RAID Redux”. For the uninitiated into the obscure world of computer geekdom, RAID stands for “redundant array of inexpensive drives” and refers to a way of configuring a bunch of small drives to act as a bigger, automatically backed-up drive. Using a bunch of music players for the job is simply creative silliness. (Challenge for anyone seeking ultimate RAID silliness: a floppy disk RAID.)

Enjoy, and Shabbath shalom.

Aaron
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