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August 24, 2002

Cracked Quartz

By Glenn Fleishman

On my G3 iBook and iMac, the new OS X 10.2 is having some real rendering problems in Internet Explorer. Words appear and disappear, especially with cursor movement and selection. Some words turn into greeking (little vertical lines that look like type from a distance) when scrolling or mousing. I tried turning Quartz Smoothing off in IE, tried using a Mozilla OS X browser, tried changing the settings in General for text smoothing, all to no avail. This was never a problem with 10.1, so I’m assuming it’s a 10.2 Quartz error. It’s frustrating. (I’ve even reinstalled Internet Explorer 5.2.1.) Here’s a 500K QuickTime movie of the problem.

Posted by Glennf at 4:16 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Nun Blog

By Glenn Fleishman

My college classmate Stephanie Simon writes in the LA Times (reprinted in the Seattle Times [no registration needed!]) about a contemplative order of Carmelite nuns in Indiana who have employed an ad agency, pro bono, and the Web to reach out with their thoughts, as part of their efforts to bring in novitiates and perpetuate the mission of the monastery they built with bulldozers and their own two hands in younger days:

The heart of the site is the News Perspective page, where sisters post essays about current events from famine in Eritrea to pedophilia in the church, from corporate scandals to the temper of basketball coach Bobby Knight. “It’s like we’re raising our antenna, so if someone out there has a calling to this life and is raising her own antenna, we might be able to communicate,” said Sister Terese Boersig, 69.

Yes, they’re blogging, and it’s beautiful.

Posted by Glennf at 12:37 PM | TrackBack

Jaguar Review

By Glenn Fleishman

My take on Jaguar, Mac OS X 10.2, appears in today’s Seattle Times. They don’t have the graphic online, which shows a few details in place. For those who want to iChat with me, I’m glennf@mac.com, and, depending on how much time I have, I might even iChat back!

Jaguar is a huge improvement primarily in two fronts: in taking advantage of graphics processing on newer G4 machines or cards with graphics upgrades through something Apple calls Quartz Extreme; and in supporting Windows machines and virtual private networking.

Quartz Extreme fully offloads a number of calculations that formerly were split between the OS and the graphics cards. For newer graphics cards, this can result in a multi-fold improvement in rendering.

On the interconnection front, you can easily mount a Windows-style (or Unix/Linux + Samba server) volume, or share a Mac volume using SMB. Jaguar also includes a PPTP client for VPN, and the resources to build IPSec VPN clients. (Several companies I’ve spoken to are hard at work: by early 2003, there will be at least three packages with IPSec clients, and I’m not entirely tied into the community yet.)

Should you upgrade? If you’re running 10.1, probably, sure, do it. There are a variety of speed and interface improvements that just make it worth it, and all the software out there pretty much already works under 10.2, or updates are happening. There are only a couple pieces of software that didn’t put out pre-Jaguar patches, even.

Posted by Glennf at 11:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 22, 2002

Back in Google

By Glenn Fleishman

Way, way back in March, I discovered that my book price comparison site, isbn.nu had been dropped from Google. Read that March post for details, but it wasn’t nefarious. After months of gradual improvements, they were finally able to spider me like crazy, and as of this morning, I have 90K results (up from 4K yesterday).

As I said at the time, even though I experience a nearly 50 percent drop in revenue from commissions from bookstores because of falling out of Google’s index, Google’s business model is not to make me money. Rather, my success at being listed and getting sales indirectly was an epiphenomenon of how they index. Still, I’m happy to be back.

Posted by Glennf at 9:34 AM | TrackBack

August 19, 2002

$5 Billion Might Save 1,000 Lives over 35 Years

By Glenn Fleishman

Here’s my takeaway from Paul Boutin’s excellent article on a connection between power lines and certain illnesses: despite tons of information, the three lead scientists on this report from the California Department of Health Services didn’t find a smoking gun, and are only mostly convinced that there’s a connection.

It obviously warrants even further study, but a report from a group with a more vested interest estimates that $5B spent on mitigating risks (although the health group’s report doesn’t define how to solve the problem) might save only 1,000 lives over 35 years. This kind of estimate boggles my mind because I start thinking about $5B put into homeless shelters, drug abuse programs, and job training (saves 500 lives a year? contributes $500M to the economy?); $5B put into AIDS research (saves 10,000 lives a year?); $5B put into airbag research; $5B put into solar-power research; and on and on.

Of course, it’s all about position: like parents who want to ban certain innoculations because a very small percentage of children die or develop complications (a known fact and calculable risk but not on a per-child basis), it’s all about their child. Forget the fact that stopping many useful innoculations — not all are useful anymore, apparently — a huge percentage of children could die or develop lifelong ailments. That happens directly: the cause and effect aren’t needle + child = death. They’re cough and hack + disease spread = outbreak.

Once we find a cause, however, we Americans are determined to fix it. If we could really turn the greenhouse gas debate into a cause and effect, and we’re getting closer with Republicans starting to admit that we are warming the Earth, maybe that’s what it takes to “fix” greenhouse emissions? A smoking gun, or at least one with wisps of steam.

Posted by Glennf at 7:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 18, 2002

Levy on Blogging

By Glenn Fleishman

I like this Newsweek story by Steven Levy. It captures the encompassing blobbiness of blogging, and he doesn’t fall into any of the old monolithic warblogging/techblogging/navelgazingblogging traps. Way to go! I’m mentioned only vaguely…he mentions a variety of kinds of blogs including those on 802.11 wireless networking.

Posted by Glennf at 2:58 PM | TrackBack

August 17, 2002

Revised Dell Versus Apple Comparison

By Glenn Fleishman

Based on the feedback received over the last few days, I decided to go back and rethink starting points. Instead of the more robust Dell workstation, I chose a lower-end machine with a slower bus and processor. Instead of the base-level PowerMac, I chose a dual 1 GHz unit. Other features are now closer I believe, such as the graphics card, and I was able to add FireWire/IEEE 1394 to the Dell configuration and remove the modem cards from both. The Apple is pushing 2 GHz versus a single processor running 1.8 GHz on the Dell, but many comments indicate that the Pentium architecture allows faster bus speeds and memory access, which offsets the better raw performance of the G4, cycle for cycle. More feedback welcome.

















Dell Precision Workstation 340

Apple PowerMac dual 1 GHz

Price with these options

$1,823 (includes $250 mail-in rebate, but excludes $100 small business purchase discount which you must qualify for)

$2,519

Processors

Single Intel Pentium Processors, 2.20 GHz, 512K Full Speed Cache

Power Mac G4 Dual 1 GHz w/167 MHz system bus: 256K Level 2 Cache, 1MB DDR SRAM Level cache per processor

Memory

256MB PC800 ECC RDRAM (2 RIMMS)

256 Mb PC2700 DDR SDRAM

Keyboard

Entry Level Quietkey Keyboard, PS/2, (No Hot Keys)

Apple Pro Keyboard

Graphics Card

ATI Radeon VE, 32 Mb VGA (dual monitor capable)

ATI Radeon 9000 Pro dual-display w/64Mb DDR

1st Hard Drive

80GB ATA-100 IDE 1-inch (7200 rpm)

80GB Ultra ATA drive

Floppy Drive

3.5” 1.44MB Floppy Drive

None

Operating System

Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional

Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar), OS 9.2

Mouse

Dell, PS/2 (2-button, no scroll)

Standard optical mouse

Additional Network Card

Intel PRO/1000 XT, Gigabit PCI NIC

Built-in gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000)

Modem

none

none

CD ROM, DVD, and Read-Write Drives

“32X” DVD-ROM/CD-RW Combo Drive

8x DVD-ROM/16x CD-R/10x CD-RW/32x CD-ROM (Combo Drive)

Sound card

Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live! Value

Front headphone minijack and speaker, rear Apple speaker minijack, audio line in, audio line out

Hardware Support Services

Promotional support deal: 3Yr Same Day 4Hr Response Parts + Onsite Labor (M-F 8am-6pm) and Gold Technical Support by phone (no details as to limits)

3-year AppleCare warranty (carry-in, onsite w/in 50 of service center, prepaid express mail in) which includes both hardware and unlimited phone support for software and hardware

Extras

IEEE 1394 controller card

Two FireWire ports


Posted by Glennf at 4:56 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Apple Slash DDR

By Glenn Fleishman

I posted the benchmark article noted below onto Slashdot as a story and they accepted it generating a really informative thread. I’ve learned quite a bit from it, plus the posters on this blog. Man, you have to love the Internet when it’s used for collaborative, threaded discussion!

My summary would be this: Apple designed the Xserve architecture to support full DDR (double data rate) memory speed, and the only flaw is that the Motorola chips don’t have support for this. All of the other system components, like the graphics processor, can make full use of DDR memory’s higher speed, and some mythical day when a better G4 (or a G5?) ships, Apple can simply plug the new chips into existing architecture and produce enormously faster memory interaction.

One wise poster on Slashdot reminds us: Apple has never offered processor upgrades. The Xserve architecture apparently has component on daughtercards that could be swapped, so it remains to be seen if Apple finally opens up and sells processor upgrades or if we’ll still be relying on third parties.

It also reveals an interesting strategy question: was Apple hoping for full-DDR-capable chips from Motorola and built their boards with the chance that they wouldn’t be available? Because Apple didn’t raise the price (more or less) from the previous generation of PowerMac tower models, people buying machines today are definitely getting faster computers for the same price that they paid a week ago.

Posted by Glennf at 9:16 AM | TrackBack

August 16, 2002

Me Me Meme

By Glenn Fleishman

I’ve become part of a meme: a new site named Gizmodo.com references my decision to take sponsorships as part of their announcement. I was also one of the crass folks who started taking money way back in 1995 when I was trying to figure out how to run my business Point of Presence Company while investing 5 to 20 hours per week running the Internet Marketing Discussion List (archives live on).

Back then, I asked for voluntary donations, which people paid via CyberCash (long gone at least in that form — what did they become?), if I remember right, and possibly via First Virtual Corporation (long gone). So now, to fund my Wi-Fi blog, I, uh, ask for donations — but more efficiently via the Amazon.com Honor System and PayPal.com.

Gizmodo.com looks like a must-stop-every-day site. They’re also smart from the outset: items are linked via affiliate programs, so if they’re popular, they’ll fund through downstream sales.

Posted by Glennf at 6:36 PM | TrackBack

Pro-ReplayTV Goes Forward

By Glenn Fleishman

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) suit against the folks suing SonicBlue/ReplayTV over capabilities in the 4000 series digital video recorder is moving forward. The judge dismissed the objections raised in the churlish brief filed by the plaintiffs which tried to further a legal fiction that you can sue a maker of a product over uses that can only infringe on rights when carried out by an end user not exercising fair use rights.

To summarize what I think Lawrence Lessig and others have said: devices that may potentially be used for infringing purposes cannot per se be banned or regulated when they have many, non-infringing uses. All of Hollywood’s machinery for digital control appears to be focused on removing all fair-use rights (non-infringing) which are constitutionally protected, I’d argue.

Posted by Glennf at 3:26 PM | TrackBack

August 15, 2002

Speed the Fruit

By Glenn Fleishman

Unfortunately, according to Rob Art Morgan who has tested this, the new PowerMacs from Apple that use DDR (double data rate) memory like its Xserve rank-mount unit cannot access the memory any faster than the cheaper and slower SDRAM found in the previous system arch. A controller limits the data rate to 1 Gbps, while DDR could work more than twice as fast. Unfortunately, this makes mincemeat of the architecture, as it bus/memory-bounds 2D and 3D graphics and rendering.

In practical terms, my chart showing the Apple vs. Dell server comparison is now pointless: the new Macs can’t compete with the same-price or cheaper Dells because the Macs are just as slow as the old Macs. You can boost the processor speed somewhat (jump to dual 1.25 GHz), but you can’t extract nearly enough speed from the memory.

Posted by Glennf at 7:41 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 13, 2002

New Apples Versus Comparable Dell

By Glenn Fleishman

Apple’s announcement this morning, of new dual-processor, DDR memory (double data rate — super efficient memory), gigabit-Ethernet PowerMacs made me ask: what does it really cost now to buy a fully equipped Mac server with this new architecture versus Dell, one of the cheapest and best Wintel providers. The answer honestly surprised me.

I choose comparable equipment, with the primary exception being processor: I chose the slowest Intel available in this workstation configuration versus the slowest Mac processors because Apple’s Photoshop and rendering benchmarks show a pretty high advantage (better than 2:1) for PowerPC chips by megahertz over Windows. Removing an Intel processor cuts the price by $400. Add to that the faster DDR RAM, and it’s works out to a wash or better.

Feedback is welcome on whether this is a fair comparison.

Dell Precision™Workstation 530

Apple PowerMac dual 867 MHz

Price with these options

$2900 (includes $100 mail-in rebate, but excludes $250 small business purchase discount which you must qualify for)

$2127

Processors

2 Intel® Xeon™ Processors, 1.80GHz, 512K Cache per processor

Power Mac G4 Dual 867 MHz w/133 MHz system bus: 256K Level 2 Cache, 1MB DDR SRAM Level cache per processor

Memory

256MB PC800 ECC RDRAM® (2 RIMMS™)

256 Mb PC2100 DDR SDRAM

Keyboard

Entry Level Quietkey Keyboard, PS/2, (No Hot Keys)

Apple Pro Keyboard

Graphics Card

nVIDIA,Quadro2 EX,32MB,VGA

NVIDIA GeForce4 MX dual-display w/32MB DDR (ADC and DVI connectors; DVI to VGA adapter included; dual display support for mirror, extended desktop)

1st Hard Drive

80GB ATA-100 IDE (7200 rpm)

80GB Ultra ATA drive

Floppy Drive

3.5” 1.44MB Floppy Drive

None

Operating System

Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional

Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar), OS 9.2

Mouse

Dell, PS/2 (2-button, no scroll)

Standard optical mouse

Additional Network Card

Intel PRO/1000 XT, Gigabit PCI NIC

Built-in gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000)

Modem

V.90 PCI Data/Fax Controllerless Modem

56K internal modem (V.92)

CD ROM, DVD, and Read-Write Drives

16X, DVD-ROM and 24X CDRW with Decode Solution

8x DVD-ROM/16x CD-R/10x CD-RW/32x CD-ROM (Combo Drive)

Sound card

Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live! Value

Front headphone minijack and speaker, rear Apple speaker minijack, audio line in, audio line out

Hardware Support Services

Promo! 3Yr Same Day 4Hr Response Parts + Onsite Labor (M-F 8am-6pm) and Gold Technical Support by phone (no details as to limits)

3-year AppleCare warranty (carry-in, onsite w/in 50 of service center, prepaid express mail in) which includes both hardware and unlimited phone support for software and hardware

Extras

Two FireWire ports

Posted by Glennf at 11:29 AM | Comments (41) | TrackBack

August 11, 2002

OS X Squared Conference

By Glenn Fleishman

I’m speaking at what looks to be one of the best OS X conferences thrown to date: the O’Reilly Mac OS X Conference. Full of the rich, creamy goodness we all expect from O’Reilly products, this event has a very open source, free software, tool building/using focus that’s desperately needed. The OS X kernel and BSD subsystems are good and fine, but it’s all the stuff on top of that (Apache, MySQL, PHP, GNU tools like gcc, etc., etc.) that make OS X an incredible server, workstation, and development platform.

The O’Reilly conferences may, at first glance, look like other events you might have attended where droning voice present canned speeches. Not so, though. The several conferences O’Reilly has launched and repeated in the last couple of years are uniformly considered to be summits not conferences. Let me explain my definition of those: a summit is an event where the leading people in a field gather, speak, listen, and synthesize, leaving with plans of attack that result in tangible changes. A conference features slideshows and an opportunity to ask questions. The Emerging Technology conference is one that I’m still slapping myself for missing; Amazon.com Web Services is one of the things that emerged, in part, because of that event.

You can get 30 percent off through a generous offer by Tim O’Reilly to the Interesting People list, a list run by spectrum guru Dave Farber. Read this post and follow instructions. Everyone should subscribe to the IP list, too: it’s the most interesting few pieces of moderated mail I get every day. Because Dave is like unto a god, you get the CEOs and leading academics and veteran Internauts all sending him first-person accounts of events, or stories that might slip through the cracks.

Posted by Glennf at 11:10 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 10, 2002

AmaSpam.com

By Glenn Fleishman

I can’t believe it, but I just received what looks an awful lot like very clearly identified spam from Amazon.com’s Associates program. I emailed their abuse address to confirm whether this came from them, cc’ing three colleagues at Half.com who I have known for a couple of year. Say it ain’t so, Amazon.com! Ironically, I’ve been an Amazon.com Associate registered under the address they emailed to for about four years.

Return-Path:
Received: from mm-outgoing-106.amazon.com (mm-outgoing-106.amazon.com [207.171.188.106])
by americano.glennf.com (8.11.6/8.11.5) with ESMTP id g77K9WG23264
for ; Wed, 7 Aug 2002 13:09:32 -0700
Received: from mail-ems-101.amazon.com by mm-outgoing-106.amazon.com with ESMTP
(crosscheck: mail-ems-101.amazon.com [10.16.42.228])
id NAA23312; Wed, 7 Aug 2002 13:13:42 -0700
From: llindberg@amazon.com
X-AMAZON-TRACK:
Received: by mail-ems-101.amazon.com
id NAA09353; Wed, 7 Aug 2002 13:13:42 -0700
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2002 13:13:42 -0700
Message-Id:
Subject: ADV: Earn more with Amazon.com Associates
To: comments@isbn.nu
Reply-To: associates-feedback@amazon.com
Content-type: text/html
X-UIDL: 1No!!GoI!!#

Dear Half.com Affiliate,

As you may know, the Amazon.com Associates Program is the most recognized program of its kind, but we recently noticed that you have yet to join. Perhaps it’s because you thought we didn’t pay referral fees for used or 3rd party products. Well, put your worries behind you and join our program today. Amazon.com has expanded its Associates Program by paying referral fees on items sold by Amazon.com Marketplace vendors, including Target and Toys “R” Us. We’d like to welcome you to our program, and offer you a $25 Amazon.com Gift Certificate for joining!

Here are the details:
1. Join our program and place any Amazon.com Associates link on your Web site
2. Reply to this email with the URL where your new link resides
3. Include your new Amazon.com Associate ID (you will receive confirmation of your Associate ID via email shortly after you submit your application)
4. Generate five or more “3rd party product sales” by September 9
5. We will send to you a $25 Amazon.com Gift Certificate

To increase your chances of selling “3rd party products”, we encourage you to adopt one of our Amazon.com Recommends links that will automatically display the lowest price available for our best selling products. Or grab one of our brand new “used product” buttons or banners, available for every product category we offer. You’ll find everything you need for building links in our easy-to-use Associates Central, to which you’ll have access upon joining our program.

Need more reasons to sign up? How about these:
1. You can easily link any of your site’s content (news, recommendations, or reviews) to complementary products at Amazon.com. Our program makes it easy for you to supplement your content with easy commerce solutions from the web’s leading retailer.
2. We now have over 30 million customers so chances are good that visitors to your site are already customers of Amazon.com. Once you join our program, we pay you when your visitors shop with us.
3. You can earn between 5-15% of each new product sale and 2.5% of each used or 3rd party product sale through our program.
4. We have a strong, internationally recognized brand name among consumers, and a proven track record in converting browsers to buyers.

Once you sign up with our Associates Program, just place any Amazon.com Associates link on your Web site and generate five 3rd product sales by September 9. We’ll send you a $25 Amazon.com Gift Certificate. It’s that simple.

Join today and see what all the hype is really about!_ [IMAGE] _

Sincerely,

The Associates Program Staff
Amazon.com Associates Program
_ http://www.amazon.com/associates _

Posted by Glennf at 7:09 AM | TrackBack

Brunei Alternative

By Glenn Fleishman

All cons breed variations, just like virii. Each variation is a test, and the mo

st successful test breeds into millions. This is the first time I’ve seen this v

ariant on the Nigerian scam. Unlike the various Nigerian variants, this one has

some interesting qualities: mostly good grammar and spelling; an altruistic elem

ent (the bait for someone who wants to be a con-man themselves — the oldest tri

ck in the book!); a young woman’s voice:

My name is Haja Laila from Brunei I am a 23 years old and a British citize

n who was taken
to Brunei by my father 10 years ago. He married me out of my

will to a Prince in Darussalam.
Over the years I have been able to acquire

some money, which I intend to transfer out of
Brunei to Europe,after which

i intend to flee from Brunei.That is why I contacted you.

I need your assistance because I do not want my husband to know about

it. If you know you are capable of handling this transaction contact me
imme

diately. Note also that this transaction must be kept secret and confidential. I

await
your quick response.

Posted by Glennf at 7:08 AM | TrackBack

Talking back to bloggers boosts your Google rank

By Glenn Fleishman

It struck me in adding an entry to my Wi-Fi blog in which I credited a reader who sent a URL in to a useful article that merely by sending that to me and having me link to him in turn in thanks, that I’ve boosted his Google rank. All of my blogs are highly ranked — thank you, everyone, for linking to me — and thus my magic URL wand goes plink, plink, plink.

I saw a related phenomenon this last month. Also on my Wi-Fi blog, I have an article called Cheap Home Gateways that describes several sub-$300 wireless Wi-Fi access points that support various cable/DSL modem gateway features (DHCP, NAT, firewall, PPPoE, etc.). I couldn’t figure out how to make the kind of chart I wanted to at weblogger.com, so I created essentially a big blank canvas on which I could offer up a huge color chart for someone to review or print out. I put that at my site here a couple of months ago.

What I didn’t anticipate is that because glennf.com is more highly ranked than the Wi-Fi blog, that people searching for cheap wireless get my glennf.com fairly highly ranked, while the Wi-Fi blog is much lower. This ranking difference has put money in my pocket, because each item that’s in the cheap list and is available at Amazon.com has an associate/affiliate link. Revenue from these link last quarter: about $150 per month. Revenue this quarter? $500 per month (so far).

Who says blogging doesn’t pay?

Posted by Glennf at 7:06 AM | TrackBack

August 9, 2002

Me, Lance, and Facial Movements

By Glenn Fleishman

I was reading last week’s The New Yorker, and was sucked into an article about how people interpret other people’s emotional response through their faces. The article noted how a very few people could practically always tell whether someone was lying (using a controlled video tape of people lying and telling the truth), while most people were hit and miss. A pertinent part of the article quoted someone who said that because people can be trained to recognize these facial cues, most of us see and ignore them because we accept socially and intuitively that information not given freely, by voice, isn’t ours to use.

This dovetails neatly with a sensation I had while going through chemotherapy in 1998. I felt that I had this immediate emotional access to people that I did not have prior to that. I’m not a cold fish, but the level to which I could relate to people and understand them was an order of magnitude above my normal workaday life. It felt like being empathically psychic.

Putting two and two together with this article, I realize that the minor changes in my neurochemistry that resulted from the chemo and my more fragile emotional state at the time enabled me to bypass the normal social constraint and actual watch people’s faces and more intuitively interpret their reactions. I could meet strangers and be crying with them over events in minutes, which was a staggering thing, and something I sort of miss.

The Lance Armstrong connection comes in, as I started reading his well-co-written and engrossing autobiography written in 2000. He paints a stark picture of himself, a kind of undisciplined party boy loyal to his single mom who raised him. No self-pity, no fear, no stupidity. In the parts of the book in which he deals with the diagnosis and treatment for cancer, I can see his emergence into this larger emotional reality, and some of the things he says he said and his observations in the book are practically verbatim to my own thoughts and experiences.

It’s a nice thing to connect with the rest of the world, no matter how grounded in physical reality. Ineffability doesn’t always require mysticism.

Posted by Glennf at 1:43 PM | TrackBack

August 7, 2002

Shred before reading

By Glenn Fleishman

I’ve often joked about plugging the output of a fax machine’s paper tray into a shredder. Fortunately, I can stop worrying about that because Fax.com got hit with a super-sized fine by the FCC for oodles of junk faxing. Junk faxing is illegal, which has got to be one of the most pro-consumer, coolest laws on the book. I wonder how it ever got passed? The same law spells out the guidelines and penalties for calling people without a prior business relationship.

For a while, I was getting piles of junk faxes at the office (a few a week, but a lot for our office which gets a fax now and again), and a number of unsolicited phone queries — often starting, “Hello. You don’t know me but I represent a multi-billion-dollar business.” Those are all clearly Herbalife resellers (read about taking down their signs).

In the last few weeks, though, junk faxes have stopped and the last few months — no weird phone calls. I wonder if the FCC and the various attorneys general finally put enough fear of penalty and prosecution into the scammers of the world.

Posted by Glennf at 8:10 PM | TrackBack

AmaSpam.com

By Glenn Fleishman

I can’t believe it, but I just received what looks an awful lot like very clearly identified spam from Amazon.com’s Associates program. I emailed their abuse address to confirm whether this came from them, cc’ing three colleagues at Half.com who I have known for a couple of year. Say it ain’t so, Amazon.com! Ironically, I’ve been an Amazon.com Associate registered under the address they emailed to for about four years.

Return-Path:

Received: from mm-outgoing-106.amazon.com (mm-outgoing-106.amazon.com [207.171.188.106])

by americano.glennf.com (8.11.6/8.11.5) with ESMTP id g77K9WG23264

for ; Wed, 7 Aug 2002 13:09:32 -0700

Received: from mail-ems-101.amazon.com by mm-outgoing-106.amazon.com with ESMTP

(crosscheck: mail-ems-101.amazon.com [10.16.42.228])

id NAA23312; Wed, 7 Aug 2002 13:13:42 -0700

From: llindberg@amazon.com

X-AMAZON-TRACK:

Received: by mail-ems-101.amazon.com

id NAA09353; Wed, 7 Aug 2002 13:13:42 -0700

Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2002 13:13:42 -0700

Message-Id:

Subject: ADV: Earn more with Amazon.com Associates

To: comments@isbn.nu

Reply-To: associates-feedback@amazon.com

Content-type: text/html

X-UIDL: 1No!!GoI!!#

Dear Half.com Affiliate,

As you may know, the Amazon.com Associates Program is the most recognized program of its kind, but we recently noticed that you have yet to join. Perhaps it’s because you thought we didn’t pay referral fees for used or 3rd party products. Well, put your worries behind you and join our program today. Amazon.com has expanded its Associates Program by paying referral fees on items sold by Amazon.com Marketplace vendors, including Target and Toys “R” Us. We’d like to welcome you to our program, and offer you a $25 Amazon.com Gift Certificate for joining!

Here are the details:

1. Join our program and place any Amazon.com Associates link on your Web site

2. Reply to this email with the URL where your new link resides

3. Include your new Amazon.com Associate ID (you will receive confirmation of your Associate ID via email shortly after you submit your application)

4. Generate five or more “3rd party product sales” by September 9

5. We will send to you a $25 Amazon.com Gift Certificate

To increase your chances of selling “3rd party products”, we encourage you to adopt one of our Amazon.com Recommends links that will automatically display the lowest price available for our best selling products. Or grab one of our brand new “used product” buttons or banners, available for every product category we offer. You’ll find everything you need for building links in our easy-to-use Associates Central, to which you’ll have access upon joining our program.

Need more reasons to sign up? How about these:

1. You can easily link any of your site’s content (news, recommendations, or reviews) to complementary products at Amazon.com. Our program makes it easy for you to supplement your content with easy commerce solutions from the web’s leading retailer.

2. We now have over 30 million customers so chances are good that visitors to your site are already customers of Amazon.com. Once you join our program, we pay you when your visitors shop with us.

3. You can earn between 5-15% of each new product sale and 2.5% of each used or 3rd party product sale through our program.

4. We have a strong, internationally recognized brand name among consumers, and a proven track record in converting browsers to buyers.

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Posted by Glennf at 1:13 PM | TrackBack

Talking back to bloggers boosts your Google rank

By Glenn Fleishman

It struck me in adding an entry to my Wi-Fi blog in which I credited a reader who sent a URL in to a useful article that merely by sending that to me and having me link to him in turn in thanks, that I’ve boosted his Google rank. All of my blogs are highly ranked — thank you, everyone, for linking to me — and thus my magic URL wand goes plink, plink, plink.

I saw a related phenomenon this last month. Also on my Wi-Fi blog, I have an article called Cheap Home Gateways that describes several sub-$300 wireless Wi-Fi access points that support various cable/DSL modem gateway features (DHCP, NAT, firewall, PPPoE, etc.). I couldn’t figure out how to make the kind of chart I wanted to at weblogger.com, so I created essentially a big blank canvas on which I could offer up a huge color chart for someone to review or print out. I put that at my site here a couple of months ago.

What I didn’t anticipate is that because glennf.com is more highly ranked than the Wi-Fi blog, that people searching for cheap wireless get my glennf.com fairly highly ranked, while the Wi-Fi blog is much lower. This ranking difference has put money in my pocket, because each item that’s in the cheap list and is available at Amazon.com has an associate/affiliate link. Revenue from these link last quarter: about $150 per month. Revenue this quarter? $500 per month (so far).

Who says blogging doesn’t pay?

Posted by Glennf at 10:37 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Brunei Alternative

By Glenn Fleishman

All cons breed variations, just like virii. Each variation is a test, and the most successful test breeds into millions. This is the first time I’ve seen this variant on the Nigerian scam. Unlike the various Nigerian variants, this one has some interesting qualities: mostly good grammar and spelling; an altruistic element (the bait for someone who wants to be a con-man themselves — the oldest trick in the book!); a young woman’s voice:

My name is Haja Laila from Brunei I am a 23 years old and a British citizen who was taken

to Brunei by my father 10 years ago. He married me out of my will to a Prince in Darussalam.

Over the years I have been able to acquire some money, which I intend to transfer out of

Brunei to Europe,after which i intend to flee from Brunei.That is why I contacted you.

I need your assistance because I do not want my husband to know about

it. If you know you are capable of handling this transaction contact me

immediately. Note also that this transaction must be kept secret and confidential. I await

your quick response.

Posted by Glennf at 9:39 AM | TrackBack

August 2, 2002

Every Chink in the Armor

By Glenn Fleishman

You’d think I’d be smart enough not to leave any holes open, but there you go. I accidentally left a caching proxy Web server running on a Macintosh on my network, and, sure enough, within a few weeks, someone probing found it and started attacking through. I count 5,000 unique addresses sending thousands upon thousands of queries that are all illegitimate: retrieving porno sites, logging into Yahoo accounts, etc. All static URLs, from what I can tell. The goal is to run Denial of Service on the remote sites as well as flood my bandwidth.

The pattern was determined from looking at our router stats via the MRTG tool that takes five-minute snapshots. I couldn’t figure out what kind of attack would flood inbound and outbound traffic to the same extent. Of course, a proxy would: the remote retrieval and then the remote transmission (back to the request location) would be the same size.

Posted by Glennf at 10:13 PM | TrackBack

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