Saturday, August 22, 2009

Why I dislike text messages

This article succinctly explains the main reason I dislike text messages: (emphasis not in original)
"...Wireless data service is AT&T's only bright spot, up a whopping 26% per customer. How so? As any parent of teenagers knows, text messages are 20 cents each, or $5,000 per megabyte. After the first month and a $320 bill, we all pony up $10 a month for unlimited texting plans. ..."
I have been waiting for someone to shake things up and get cell phones using instant messaging and/or email rather than text messaging which, in my mind, consists entirely of disadvantages (expensive coupled with payment on receipt, limited message length, impossible to know if messages are even received, ...). With luck, this will help as well.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Weird Craiglist scam

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game
-- Sympathy for the Devil (Rolling Stones)
Dear Internet,

I am attempting to sell a desk on craigslist and received an unusual response, quoted here in its entirety:
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2009 07:53:48 -0500
Subject: Re: L-shaped desk, almost new - $150 (East Side)
From: trendy carley <>

Hello ,
I appreciate your response to my inquiry. I'm interested in buying it
from you. I would've come and inspect it myself but I am on a business
trip overseas and wont be back for a while.
Please do withdraw ,with immediate effect the advert from Web as I dont
mind adding $50 for you to do that so I can be rest assured that it is
held for me. I should believe it is in good condition as stated. I will
be making the payment via a Certified Check which my secretary will
mail across to you. I'll be picking it from you with the aid of my
mover. My Mover will be coming to pick it from you once the Certified
Check has been cashed.
If condition of sales works for you I then ask that you get back to me
with the following details so that payment can be posted ASAP:
Required Information

1.Name to be issued to...
2.Contact Address(City,State,Zip code,Country):
3.Contact telephone number:(home,cell or work)
4.Clear pictures showing details

Do get back to me as soon as possible with this details for payment to
be made out to you immediately you get it on time. Also I will want you
to remove the advert as soon as possible and I dont mind paying $50 for
you to have that done ASAP as I said earlier, so no one else is lined up
for it. Thanks Hoping to hear from you soon.

Best Regards
Just what is the nature of this guy's game (not to mention his (her?) rather unlikely name)? Completely bizarre that one would pay someone to remove an ad and weirder still that one would expect them to do it before receipt of payment. Additionally, the desk is only being sold for $150 so $50 is a considerable markup (plus he'll certainly be paying a bundle for the mover). Then there's the spot where he seemingly leaves out my name from the template ("Hello, ") and the redundancy of asking for a ZIP code and country (at least, I've always heard other countries refer to them as postal codes).

I'm really curious where he's going with this. Some ideas: (please post ideas in the comments)
  1. He's just gathering names, addresses, and/or telephone numbers.
  2. No check will ever come but maybe a mover might.
  3. Check will come and bounce. Mover will come and bounce with the desk.
  4. There's some second part of this scheme that is too tough to predict at this point.
One other tidbit is that the original email from him (which came from instead and asked me rather simply "Is it in good condition..?i am interested.") was immediately tossed into the spam folder by Gmail.

I've been thinking about comedic responses. So far, the best one I've come up with is posting his response on the Internet.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Steal this idea: Google, optimize those links!

You know, those links at the top of Gmail and related services. Mine say:

Yours do too? How strange. I would think these links should be personalized if not customizable. Google knows which ones I click on since I'm logged in all the time. Why not get rid of the ones I never click on (Sites, Photos, and Web -- if I need to do a web search, I'll use the address bar in my web browser) and show the ones that I always have to find in the like Scholar. Some people would probably object to a fluid UI (i.e. if Google adjusted these automatically) and I think the preferred methods these days are to have computers suggest changes but not perform them without user intervention. Maybe there's some plugin/extension/religion that lets you change these? (not that this is really a high priority...)