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A Directory of Spam-like Intrusions

A week or so back I wrote in my WSJ.com column about language and the Internet, Evoiding Pedestrian Ways (subscription only, I’m afraid) in which I explored some new words and how they catch on: People have been coming up with new words for a long time. But the Internet may be shifting the balance, not just in terms of creating words to describe our tech-dominated lives, but in making these new words spread fast — and stick. I particularly liked how Words that originated online have started to define life offline, illustrating the shift in descriptive emphasis: Think “snail mail.” Or “face mail,” a pseudodictionaryContinue readingA Directory of Spam-like Intrusions

Hacking Into Falun Gong’s Email Accounts

Another interesting twist in the allegations of spying and harrassment of Falun Gong members in Australia: Jeremy Howard of FastMail.FM, a very good and very secure email service run from Australia, tells me the story of how, four years ago, someone, or some people, or some organisation, or some country, tried to hack the accounts of six of his customers who happened to be Falun Gong members. Jeremy was notified automatically when a host of computers tried guess the passwords of six customers he later found out were Falun Gong practitionera. The attacks were brute force dictionary attacks, meaning that the passwords were being guessedContinue readingHacking Into Falun Gong’s Email Accounts

SkypeIn And Miscalls

Just got my first SkypeIn miscall! That was fun. A guy called Christian, calling a guy called Simon, somewhere in the UK, but got my UK SkypeIn number. Simon, he’s only going to be there until five pm. That was fun! Could I be the first? I feel that the least we should do is to be more polite and helpful on miscalls. Should I call Christian back and tell him he dialled the wrong number? Or should I put his number on my blog so someone else can do it?

Update: Office Update You Should Probably Have

 If you’ve already upgraded to Microsoft Office 2003 (why, exactly?) there’s an update you should download. This update, Microsoft says in its understated way, “fixes a problem that occurs when you try to open or to save a Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003 file, a Microsoft Office Word 2003 file, or a Microsoft Office Excel 2003 file that includes an OfficeArt shape that was previously modified and saved in an earlier version of Microsoft Office.”   It turns out that if you save one of those files containing an OfficeArt shape (a particularly kind of graphic) in Office 2003, then open it in an earlier versionContinue readingUpdate: Office Update You Should Probably Have

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