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January 28, 2010

Filed under: tech»spam


Yesterday I did something that I arguably should have done a long time ago: I redirected pretty much every tech blog in existence to localhost on my work laptop, effectively blocking them completely. Previously, I'd done something similar using the BlockSite plugin for Firefox, but it'd been too tempting to route around it in Chrome or IE. Not good enough: I needed them gone completely. Nuke their domains from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

I took this step in part because I agree with Anil Dash: I want to believe that I'm better than a consumer for a constant drumbeat of materialism. It's ironic that the digital computer--an infinitely-adaptable, do-anything Turing machine--has spawned an entire subculture primarily concerned with packaging those machines into an infinite array of disposable, plastic packages. Maybe I can't always resist buying more crap, but that doesn't mean I should spend my waking hours planning the next splurge.

It's also in no small measure because tech bloggers are, generally, incredibly silly people. (I know: "this food is terrible. And such small portions!" But stick with me.) I've complained here for a long time about the low quality of games journalism. As I started reading more gadget news sites a couple of years ago, gradually it dawned on me that the lack of good material in that one area was just symptomatic of a sector-wide lack of perspective. The whole thing's rotten: the completely interchangeable writers that substitute "snark" for "opinion," the rumormongering, the wafer-thin technical expertise leading to "analysis" that isn't, the constant churn through the hype machine. For me, the result is a kind of low-grade irritation, and I hear that happy people live longer.

My worst nightmare, actually, is that one day mainstream journalism--in its increasingly desparate grope for cash and readers--will model itself on Gizmodo: high turnover of largely forgettable, badly-written posts cadged from press release wire services. I like to call that the "no self-respect or job security" future, personally.

(Which reminds me--Dear mainstream journalism: we need to talk. I know it's hard, enduring this rough patch of reasonable profit margins, compared to the ridiculously exorbitant profits you enjoyed back in Ye Olde 1990s. But whenever some new tech gizmo comes out, every two-bit visionary and "innovation editor" on earth shrieks to the high heavens, insisting that this time Product X will "save the industry" from extinction at the hands of the blogging hordes. It's funny: I could have sworn we already had a way of digitally distributing news to readers on a wide range of technological platforms, including video and interactive graphics and audio clips of elected officials sniping at each other, but I can't seem to find it now. Maybe it's buried under all these browser windows that I've got lying around, left over from Twitbooking and Facetorrenting and all that other stuff the kids are into these days.)

But the sad truth of it is that the tech news deluge works. It's strangely addicting, this gossipy flood of trivia. Indeed, that's the psychological quirk that powers the entire Gawker network--pump out as much content as possible, crank up the volume, and people will find it oddly compelling. I do, at least, to the point where I wasn't very good at stepping away from it. But when I reflected on what I was actually getting out pounding the refresh button, I felt a bit like a rat at the opium feeder bar--mangy, irritable, and poorly-nourished. Prone to metaphor abuse, too, apparently.

So I'm cutting myself off. And with the time I'll gain, I hope to pick up a new hobby, or rekindle an old one. Maybe I'll finally code that pocket synthesizer I've always wanted, or get back into the online bass scene. Maybe I'll finally get past the first chapter of the book I keep starting. Or even get some actual work done! These are strange new times indeed.

April 23, 2008

Filed under: tech»spam

Note to Self

I love it when I get spam that spoofs my own e-mail addresses. It's like they expect me to think "Well, I don't remember sending myself e-mail about 80% discounts on Viagra and Cialis, but maybe I just forgot. Guess I'll open it, just in case!"

April 25, 2006

Filed under: tech»spam

More Great Names in Spam

Dovetailing S. Deon
Spokesman T. Laddie
Murasaki C. Drag
Internment F. Trashed (Michelle Malkin's favorite)
Enormity J. Ganglions
Soothe E. Protrusion

And in a flashback to the GMU dorm life:

Cafeteria F. Dissection

January 12, 2006

Filed under: tech»spam

Didn't they play the Patriot Center?

The spammers aren't getting any smarter or more convincing, but their latest gambit amuses me greatly: funny names used to sell me "Software."

Penknife C. Stultification
Truncates S. Utensil

Penknife Stultification would be an awesome name for a band.

August 3, 2005

Filed under: tech»spam


I got this today in one of my old mail accounts. The .html part of the message was just Viagra spam, but my webmail client (which is set to run text-only) just displayed the following. I'm guessing it's to fool my non-existent filters.

Hello, That is the ransom of the man. It is to be paid for him by theBeside her on the poop, whither they had climbed to obtain a betterof her hands was being entirely given to a desperate endeavour tosank forward in the stocks, and hung there now in a huddled heap,I shall never forget what you did, Mr. Blood. I shall never forget.Captain Blood smiled sardonic appreciation of the honour reservedwith parted lips. Then added: M. d'Ogeron? The Governor ofplaced. I had gone aboard his ship to demand the instant surrenderin your commission.conquered at last by horror so that she reeled there sick and faint.conceal resolved at once the doubt that had leapt so suddenly in - a thing of scorn, an outcast. And who made me that? Who made meof it, he added as an afterthought, the devil himself knows.vessels that they might be rendered seaworthy once more. Finally,generosity, which resides at the moment in my trigger-finger. YeNo more scowls, he said. You'll be sorry else.

There's a kind of poetry in that.

You'll be sorry else indeed.

Future - Present - Past