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Contacts who die and U.S. intelligence

Nov 13, 20063 mins

On contacts who die, U.S. intelligence and allegedly sexist hypertext.

When your contacts die

I admit it: I don’t use LinkedIn. Sure, like everybody else, I set up an account back in the day, and every once in a while I get requests from people who want to LinkIn to me (or whatever they call it), and every once in a great while it’s a request from somebody I actually know rather than somebody who wants to sell me insurance, and so I’ll add them to my network (which now has some ludicrous number of members, given that, like a public-service ad about a communicable disease, their members become my members).

The other day, I friended (oops, wrong social network) somebody. Curious as to how mighty my LinkedIn network now was, I went to the My Contacts page – where I saw that my very first LinkedIn contact was still there, even though he died several months ago. He was a very nice guy, so it was kind of sad to see his “current” profile.

But also, what happens when a member of a network like this dies? Where’s the final virtual resting place for the deceased? Do such disembodied accounts just keep getting LinkedIn requests? What happens if LinkedIn survives, and I go back in 40 years (if I survive that long as well) and everybody I knew is dead, and then I notice that my network now has 3.8 billion members because on the Internet, nobody knows you’re dead?

A blog about a wiki

All About Intellipedia is a blog about the wiki run by and for U.S. intelligence agencies. The wiki itself is supposed to be hush-hush, natch.

This comes via Bill Ives, who says the fact that the government is running such an effort is further proof of the value wikis can have in any large organization.

Sexist hypertext

Mark Bernstein points us to a couple of interesting things:

Figurski at Findhorn on Acid is a hypertext novel: It comes on a CD (Windows or Mac), and you decide where to go once you’re in it (it’s actually been around for a while). It’s comprises 354 nodes with hundreds of links. You can read more here >>.

Jessica Laccetti’s review of the novel is interesting, although possibly as much for what it says about her and big-word academics as for what it says about the book. I admit that I was struck particularly by one of her footnotes:

“[T]he prefix, ‘hyper’ problematizes feminist thought (which has sought to destabilize hierarchies such as mind over body and vision over touch), as it adds inscriptions of hierarchy to an already seemingly hierarchical and male-dominated field.”

Huh? Hypertext is hierarchical? Since when? Sure, it can be used that way, but we’ve gotten way beyond gopherlike menus, haven’t we?

Got malware?

CWSandbox lets you upload a piece of suspected malware. It analyzes the code, then e-mails you a report on what it found. Sunbelt Software, which has exclusive commercial rights to the application, also is running a copy of the tool that features additional automation around the sandbox technology

Tyler Reguly, who tested it with a copy of a virus he’s studied in the past, says he was impressed – after he realized his own antivirus software wasn’t letting him upload samples (he set up a virtual machine to upload the code).

Contact Gaffin at Or just read Compendium,

Responsible for editorial content on this Web site, so blame him, especially when it comes to Compendium. In his spare time, he runs Boston Online, a service devoted to the Hub of the Universe. He is learning to talk wicked good.

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