Monthly Archives: May 2002

Across the GAZM

Bar conversation with man-with-the-memes Kevin on Saturday night bubbled GAZM.org to the top of my inbox of sites to check out. A little rough around the edges, but an interesting take on an old idea: letting users rate just about anything they care to post. A strange essay titled “Obvious Questions Don’t Have Obvious Answers” is, as of this writing, the site’s highest-rated item.
· GAZM.org – The Digital Campfire [gazm.org]
· Obvious Questions… [gazm.org] MS Word file.

Good Times!

From the front page of today’s Times:

In a survey by the University of Michigan, half of those polled said that they believe that the next five years will bring continuous good times, more than did at any point from 1970 to 1996 and up from a low of 8 percent in 1975…

In a monthly survey, the Conference Board asks people to evaluate the economy as positive, negative or neutral and to predict its condition in six months. In April, the index that the company calculates from the responses was at 109, up from a recent low of 85… In the 60′s, a decade of mostly good times, confidence measures behaved much as they have the last decade.

I love that pollsters call people with regularity to inquire if they are having good times. “Good times? Why, yes.”
· Despite A Year of Upheavals, Economic Optimism is High [NY Times]

Satellite Radio Fun

The Pharmer’s Almanac today launched a grassroots campaign to get the new satellite radio stations, XM and Sirius, to start a jam rock channel on their service. Great idea. But me? I’m convinced satellite radio companies will find themselves deep in bankruptcy proceedings by this time next year. Financials for XM indicate that the service (with a $10 monthly fee) needs 4 million subscribers just to break even. Are you kidding me? Since service launched last winter, XM has trumpeted “huge” subscriber numbers — somewhere around 70,000 as of last month, nascent techno-scribe CS tells me. They’ll be lucky to get to 400,000 before they crater. (TiVo, by the by, will probably plateau in that range too: “During the year ended January 31, 2002, TiVo activated approximately 226,000 new subscribers to the TiVo Service bringing the total installed subscriber base to approximately 380,000 as of January 31, 2002,” sez their 10-K. 400,000 subscribers ain’t making anyone rich.)
· Bring Phish to Satellite Radio! [pharmers.com]
· Can Digital Radio Get Clear Signal? [NY Observer] Good piece last fall from the ever-reliable Christopher Byron.

Virus Fun

One of the Internet’s better-kept secrets is that, with minimal effort on my part, I can send an email that appears to have come from your email account. The brandspankingnew Klez virus, which paid a visit to my home PC last week thanks to the friendly users of Survivor Deadpool (running a high-volume website ensures that you will get dozens of copies of each new virus) exploits this weakness in hilarious ways. According to Wired News:

The latest variant of the Klez virus started spreading 10 days ago. The virus e-mails itself from infected machines using a bogus “From” address randomly plucked from all e-mail addresses stored on an infected computer’s hard drive or network. Recipients of the virus-laden e-mails, not understanding that the “From” information is virtually always phony — or even that they have received a virus — have been clogging networks with angry and confused e-mails that are causing a great deal of cyber-havoc…

A mailing list for fans of the Grammy Award-winning Steely Dan band has posted an explanation directed to those who were subscribed to the list by the virus: “We are not infected with the Klez virus. We don’t know if you are infected with the Klez virus. You may be. But even if you are not, someone out there who is infected has both your address and our address on their computer … and therein lies the problem,” the explanation reads, in part…

E-mails containing an invitation to view what purports to be an attachment with pornographic images appears at first glance to have been sent out by Catholic parishes in New York and Maryland. The attachment actually contains the Klez virus, and tracing information indicates the e-mails were actually sent from an Internet service located in the United Arab Emirates.