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2003: Spam, talking fish, spam, jiggling toilets, spam

Dec 15, 20034 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMalware

* Year-end musings, 2003

It’s the end of the year, and no one is in the mood to get really serious about much of anything work-related right now.  I’ll use this opportunity to share with you some technology-related observations I find amusing.

* A super-sized order of spam

My colleague Andy Gibbs has a theory about how spam seems to come from nowhere, yet it never ends.  “It’s almost like Jesus Christ feeding the big crowd with only a couple of fish and loaves of bread – they just passed the basket and the stuff kept coming out, just like a server spewing spam,” he says.  I guess we could call this the Creationist origin of spam.

* Calling all bounty hunters

Speaking of spam, the newly enacted CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 has raised the prospect of a bounty plan, whereby the first person to report the identity of a false header source in unsolicited commercial e-mail could be eligible for at least 20% of the total civil penalties assessed in a violation of the law.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is drafting suggestions now on how to implement this bounty system.  I can see it now:  “wanted posters” in the post office depicting false headers and IP addresses. 

Anti-spam bounty bill planned

IDG News Service, 04/28/03

* Scotty, please beam this guy up!

In an interview with Network World back in November, actor William Shatner, most famous for his role as Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise, confessed his love of technology.  “The toilet is a mystery to me. How the water stays at the same level. Why you have to jiggle the handle sometimes and sometimes not.” Wow, this guy is deep! 

Techies, tribbles and toilets

Network World, 11/03/03

* Beanie me up, Scotty!

Network World Executive Editor, News Bob Brown recently wrote about the whirling world of propeller beanies.  If you missed the craze the first time around and still want to get some good geek gear for your cranium, check out these Geek Culture caps ( 

Called the “Rolls Royces” of propeller caps, these beanies will make any techie proud to wear one!

Whirling through the world of propeller beanies

Network World, 12/08/03

* Curse you!

Many of us curse our PCs every day, but have you ever thought about putting a curse on your PC?  As this ad says, try a little magic and voodoo to show your PC who is boss. in Network World lately, here are a few amusing items you may have missed…

If you haven’t been following Adam Gaffin’s Compendium (

* Say WHAT?!

Do you remember those annoying singing Big Mouth Billy Bass plaques from a few years ago?  If yours didn’t end up in a garage sale yet, dig it out and have some fun with it by making it say whatever you want.  Visit this Web site ( to get instructions on converting Billy Bass to run on Linux.  Once converted, the fish becomes a video teleconferencing host.  Amuse your friends and coworkers by giving Billy your own instructions on what to say.  Are you at a loss for words?  View these videos ( to see what someone else has already come up with.

* Stuffed duck

Who says computer peripherals have to be boring?  Here’s a removal storage device that’s just ducky (  The i-Duck is a USB Memory Storage Device that stores up to 16M bytes of your data.  It connects to your computer’s USB port and lights up when connected.  And, oh yes, it looks like a little rubber ducky.  Just don’t try to put this ducky in water, or your data will drown.

*  Finally, a good use for Bluetooth

There’s a new craze sweeping the U.K. called BlueJacking.  It’s the practice of anonymously sending someone a message via your Bluetooth device.  According to the official BlueJackers Web site (, this activity is meant to be fun and harmless.  Imagine the possibilities:  you can flirt with someone near you on the Underground train, or simply give a stranger a happy greeting.  The Web site warns not to get rude or abusive, as your message can be traced back to your device.  So much for anonymously telling your boss to take this job and shove it!

Linda Musthaler is vice president of Currid & Company.  You can write to her at