Category: "Net usage"

URGENT BUSINESS PROPOSAL blah blah blah...

Ever wondered how it comes you now receive at least five of these urgent requests for assistance a day?

Check it all out at this pretty complete site: http://www.scamorama.com/

Make sure you read at least one of those hilarious stories where the spammed actually manage to scam the scammers/spammers! :))

Firebird, bleh [en]

[Version française]

Almost everyday, I read someone saying "why would someone still use [a suposedly abandoned] IE when he could indeed use a [supposedly better] Firebird ?".

Hold on guys... you know brainwashing may not be the best way to evangelize, right? ... and could we at least try to sound a little less naïve?

I'll tell you why: because, as of today, Firebird is just a prototype, far from offering the usage comfort IE does! :(

Firebird may be good at respecting web standards... nevertheless pretty poor at respecting windows standards. And the sad thing is, the average user reacts to that! Even unconsciously!

For example: while Windows menus look "outset" by default, Firebirds menus look "inset"; toolbars cannot be moved (I'd like to have those links in that wide empty space right to the menu); the windows resizing handle is invisible; etc... globally Firebird really doesn't fit into the OS it tries to conquer...

Add all those annoying details like the ALT texts not being displayed (even when no TITLE is specified) or the insertion point not being blinking whenever there happens to be an animated GIF on the page... and you'll probably understand why Firebird just doesn't feel natural to plain Windows users. (Not mentionning incompatible javascripts...)

Don't get me wrong, I am *not* saying that IE is the best browser. As a developer, I favor Mozilla... but as an end user, I definitely favor IE! By the way, as an end-user, I really don't need to open 30 pages simultaneously that often... thus, not even needing tabbed browsing that much... ;D

(Once again, don't get me wrong: I think Firebird has a great future and can't wait to see if the next versions get better on these flaws... but it just isn't ready to seduce the Windows world yet!)

Unsubscribring from spam *STILL NOT* ;)

Following up on wether or not to unsubscribe from spam, Cédric [site gone] adds some clarifications:

I am talking about the particular case of a spam email that defeated my filters and ended up in my Inbox. This is the one I want to get rid of. I don't care if more spammers end up getting my email address this way because their spams will most likely join all the others in my Spam folder (I suspect the success rate of my various filters is about 99% these days).

Very interesting point! Unsubscribing from those particular spams that pass the filters makes total sense and may succeed in getting less visible spam... but still, I'm not sure: what if they resell your qualified address to 50 spammers and 10% of them use clever spam filter defeating techniques? You run the risk of replacing one known spammer by 5 new spammers.

But I must admit: I'm far from conviced myself that 10% can really make it through the filters! :.

What puzzles me more is this:

[...] we are fighting a different war on spam these days. The goal is no longer to eradicate spam (this will never happen) but simply to acknowledge that spam is a reality and therefore, do your best so that its nuisance is limited to a minimum. In other words: design excellent spam filters.

=> I think that filtering is only the worst solution we have found so far: all the extra spam we allow to generate but don't see in our inboxes still harms network and mailserver fluidity... sometimes a lot! So replacing 1 unfiltered spam with 50 filtered ones just doesn't feel right to me...

...and I'm so glad I'm not administering mail servers any more :>>

Actually, we're all bearing the costs generated by all that spam on our networks! So we really may want to think twice before we promote any behaviour potentially allowing for (even slow) exponential growth! |-|

Unsubscribring from spam *NOT*

Cédric [site gone] posted some interesting thoughts about whether or not to unsubscribe from spam.

Cédric advocates that unsubscribing has become less a trap than it used to be, basically because spammers are better off collecting new masses of addresses than preventing their mailers to automatically unsubsribe people who'll never buy from them anyway. And also, because there are legal risks in spamming twice someone who asked to be removed.

Cédric also says:

Another thing I can see coming in the near future is that these "do not spam" lists will one day be forced to be shared among spammers. In other words, any "do not spam" list you are a member of right now might end up in having your email address removed from others as well.

=> Well actually... this is precisely the point: some day spammers will have to share their "do not spam" lists...

Oh... actually they do it already! It's just that they do not share, they resell... and they donto not call them "do not spam" addresses, they call them "qualified" addresses!

The buyer can spam you without worrying too much... after all you haven't yet asked to be removed from this one!

The problem with spammers is that they are dumb and smart at the same time!

Google & BlogNoise: the blogger's responsiblity

We have talked about the annoying BlogNoise problem before. And most bloggers have agreed that Google would probably be smart enough to fix the problem shortly in order to provide a better service to their users.

A great part of the BlogNoise is generated by the fact alone that we - bloggers - have so many unrelated posts/subjects on the same web page. And when we - bloggers - link to each other, we let the indexing robots follow these links and then index a lot of crap at the other end. This is because, most of the time, the permalinks we refer to, just point right into the middle of a monthly archive page with so many different subjects!

I have suggested a technical google-side solution using RSS, but the more I think about it, the more I am getting convinced that it is not Google's job to fix this! It is rather our bloggers' duty to fix this!

We have created crap on the Internet; now we just have to clean up!

The blogger-side solution is actually quite simple: all we need to do is stop using permalinks pointing right into the middle of monthly archives! We need to make the permalinks point to single posts (possibly with comments and trackback). This way, when someone refers to the post, and later the indexing robot follows the link, it will only index a single post. And all the keywords being indexed will actually be related to that post! No more indexing soup mixing hundreds of unrelated keywords from dozens of unrelated posts!

Still, some questions remain:

  • What happens with the old permalinked posts?
  • How do we exclude navigation from indexing? (this is actually a general question about indexing the web)
  • And last but not least: Do bloggers actually want clean indexing? Or rather, do they prefer to continue flattering themselves with all those illegitimate search-result-hits that so easily rocket up their monthly hit counts? And it's even better when you consider unique visitors!

    Let me add that this is very contradictory with another typical blogger trend stating, in the name of interoperability and public's interest, that the only valid markup is the latest XHTML DTD!

PS: I like interop. I like standards. I am doing my best to support them. And I AM working on cleaning up my permalinks. I'll get less google hits... but hits don't matter! What you want from now on is increasing your google-hit satisfaction ratio! You want no more visitors coming to your blog by mistake! :P