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13 May, 2003

Junk Fax From CalTrust Bancorp

I got a junk fax ad from the slime balls at CalTrust Bancorp. Amazingly, a Google search for "caltrust bancorp" returns no results. Well, it will as soon as the Googlebot hits my site.

Here's a quote from the web site:

Why choose CalTrust Bancorp? Because your best interest is our only interest!

Gee, that's very original. I'm sure that meaningless statement will bring in the customers.

CalTrust Bancorp is a locally owned and operated mortgage brokerage that utilizes cutting edge technology and a commitment to superior customer service in originating and processing mortgage loans.

Yep, sending junk faxes is certainly cutting edge technology. Why don't you guys try sending email spam? That's a lot more cutting edge, and it seems perfectly appropriate for your business.

I must say that junk faxes really piss me off. It's worse than spam. Who in their right mind would even consider doing business with a company that resorts to this type of advertising?

If you'd like to let them know what you think of their advertising techniques, their toll-free number is 888-245-4399. Or maybe you'd like to send them a fax. I'm sure they'd be happy to receive any advertising material you'd like to send. Their fax number is 858-974-7010.

(Thanks to Hans for the fax number)

Posted on 13 May, 2003

Bush's Long Day

A detailed account of what George W. Bush did on September 11, 2001.

There are many questions that deserve answers. So many pieces of the puzzle do not fit. Simply by reading the mainstream media reports, we can see that mere incompetence doesn't explain what happened to Bush on that day. For instance, it makes no sense that Bush would listen to a story about a goat long after being told the US was under attack, and even after the Secret Service decided to immediately evacuate him from the school. It defies explanation that Air Force One's fighter escort took two hours to appear. And it is mind-boggling that there are seven different versions of how Bush learned about the first crash.

(via New Media Musings)

Posted on 13 May, 2003

Update on FoxPro / Linux

Last month I linked to an article about the EULA for Microsoft FoxPro. Apparently, the EULA states that the software cannot be used on a non-Windows system. Here's an update to that story. Ed Leafe asked Microsoft to clarify the EULA. They responded with some non-specific verbiage, followed by:

As with any contract, you should seek your own legal counsel's advice when interpreting your rights and obligations under the Visual FoxPro End User License Agreement.

An attorney, John T. Mitchell, picked up on this and wrote an article.

But the Microsoft tactic is pure rubbish, and it is disappointing that, perhaps due the enormous cost of defending a copyright infringement lawsuit, or the cost of suing to prove Microsoft's position is rubbish, the software developers trying out FoxPro on Linux operating systems fear sharing their findings with the public. As a result, the public is denied the benefits of these new developments, and Microsoft gets to enlarge the scope of its FoxPro copyright to control lawful conduct unrelated to it.

Leafe notes a possible side effect of this controversy:

If this persists, the controversy might end up costing Microsoft in ways they never anticipated, as more and more companies learn of a tool that can develop data-intense applications for a fraction of what they would pay in license fees for a Visual Studio/SQL Server solution.

(Thanks, Zaine)

Posted on 13 May, 2003

Scouting in Germany

I'll be the first to admit that I have no idea what this site is all about (even though I accessed the English version). I think it may be designed to promote scouting?

It's a Flash site, with the most unusual navigational system that I've seen. You basically take a walk through the woods, and then click on something and see what you get. There's a lot of stuff going on here and would be kind of fun if you're a kid. But if you're actually trying to find out about this organization, they could not have chosen a worse way to do it. Overall, any information that is conveyed at this site is overpowered by the user interface.

See how long it takes you to find the recipe for Grasshopper Fritters.

Posted on 13 May, 2003

Update on My Spam Experiment

On April 21, I created a throw-away Yahoo email account, and clicked one of those obnoxious jiggly banner ads. I submitted some fake information, and waited for the spam to show up. Within a week, I had 167 spam emails. And now, my Yahoo inbox contains 401 spams.

Frankly, I'm a bit disappointed. Only 401 spam messages in 23 days? Hell, my real email account attracts more than that in just two days. How do these guys expect to sell me anything with only 17 attempts per day? I can only conclude that it takes a while for a new email address harvested in this manner to get packaged up and sold. I suspect that things will pick up soon.

I must admit, however, that some of these offers are very tempting -- for people who are about three standard deviations below the average IQ. For example: I can get out of debt, get free audio books, get free grocery coupons (aren't all coupons free?), get a free auto insurance quote (aren't all quotes free?), get a free cell phone (aren't all cell phones free?), start a home business with no investment, win a luxury car, get free cash for paying my bills, view pictures of singles in my area, and I can be pre-approved in only three minutes.

Posted on 13 May, 2003

911 Things

This Russian site has a list of 911 things to hate about America. By "America," I assume the author is really referring to the U.S.

One problem: By my count, the list contains only 852 items.

(via Attu)

Posted on 13 May, 2003

Philosophy Professor Wanted

This is a true item, according to Snopes. It's a job listing from Southeast Missouri State University. A few excerpts.

Southeast Missouri State University is a regional university which serves students in the southeast portion of the state including St. Louis. Our students tend to be poorly prepared for college level work, intellectually passive, interested primarily in partying, and culturally provincial in the extreme.

The academic environment at SEMO is distinctly non-intellectual -- somewhat like a Norman Rockwell painting -- and the candidate cannot expect to attract students by offering courses that assume innate curiosity about ideas and books, or intellectual playfulness, or independence of moral and political thought.

Posted on 13 May, 2003

National Obituary Archives

Go here to find an obituary of a dead person. Almost 60 million are available.

Posted on 13 May, 2003

Nuked CDs

This site has photos of several "toasties," which are CDs that have been zapped in a microwave oven. Some are quite beautiful.

The image shown here is a green CD-R, that failed.

Those are always fun to toast. If you look carefully, you can see the "dataline", where the CD failed at.

Posted on 13 May, 2003

Copy Protection Is a Crime

An interesting article at Wired, written by David Weinberger. The crime, he says, is against humanity. He argues that society is based on bending rules, and copy protection allows no rule bending.

There are times when rules need to be imposed within that marketplace, whether they're international laws against bootleg CDs or the right of someone to sue for libel. But the fact that sometimes we resort to rules shouldn't lead us to think that they are the norm. In fact, leeway is the default and rules are the exception.

Fairness means knowing when to make exceptions. After all, applying rules equally is easy. Any bureaucrat can do it. It's far harder to know when to bend or even ignore the rules. That requires being sensitive to individual needs, understanding the larger context, balancing competing values, and forgiving transgressions when appropriate.

Posted on 13 May, 2003

Domino Art

Pictures from dominos? Yes, at Domino Artwork:

We at DominoArtwork.com are truly obsessed with making pictures out of dominoes! We start with a target image---for example, a picture of Abraham Lincoln---and a certain number of complete sets of double nine dominoes. Our goal is to position the dominoes in such a way that when you step back from them, they look like the target image. What makes this difficult is that we use *complete* sets of dominoes. If we decide to work with 48 complete sets, for example, then we must use precisely 48 blank dominoes, precisely 48 dominoes that are blank on one side and have one dot on the other, precisely 48 dominoes that are blank on one side and have two dots on the other, and so on.

They have a number of prints and posters for sale, and they even do custom domino portraits.

Posted on 13 May, 2003

Library Cats

I used to spend a lot of time in libraries, but I don't recall ever seening a cat in a library. Here's a map that shows libraries that have a cat in residence. So far, there are 518 known library cats -- but only 191 of them are current residents. If you know of one, you can submit it.

(via Iconomy)

Posted on 13 May, 2003