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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Top 10 Dumbest Online Business Ideas That Made It Big!

1. Million Dollar Homepage

1,000,000 pixels, charge a dollar per pixel that's perhaps the dumbest idea for online business anyone could have possible come up with. Still, Alex Tew, a 21-year-old who came up with the idea, is now a millionaire.

2. SantaMail

Ok, how's that for a brilliant idea. Get a postal address at North Pole, Alaska, pretend you are Santa Claus and charge parents 10 bucks for every letter you send to their kids? Well, Byron Reese sent over 200000 letters since the start of the business in 2001, which makes him a couple million dollars richer.

3. Doggles

Create goggles for dogs and sell them online? Boy, this IS the dumbest idea for a business. How in the world did they manage to become millionaires and have shops all over the world with that one? Beyond me.

4. LaserMonks is a for-profit subsidiary of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank, an eight-monk monastery in the hills of Monroe County, 90 miles northwest of Madison. Yeah, real monks refilling your cartridges. Hallelujah! Their 2005 sales were $2.5 million! Praise the Lord.

5. AntennaBalls

You can't sell antenna ball online. There is no way. And surely it wouldn't make you rich. But this is exactly what Jason Wall did, and now he is now a millionaire.

6. FitDeck

Create a deck of cards featuring exercise routines, and sell it online for $18.95. Sounds like a disaster idea to me. But former Navy SEAL and fitness instructor Phil Black reported last year sales of $4.7 million. Surely beats what military pays.

7. PositivesDating.Com

How would you like to go on a date with an HIV positive person? Paul Graves and Brandon Koechlin thought that someone would, so they created a dating site for HIV positive folks last year. Projected 2006 sales are $110,000, and the two hope to have 50,000 members by their two-year mark.

8. Designer Diaper Bags

Christie Rein was tired of carrying diapers around in a freezer bag. The 34-year-old mother of three found herself constantly stuffing diapers for her infant son into freezer bags to keep them from getting scrunched up in her purse. Rein wanted something that was compact, sleek and stylish, so in November 2004, she sat down with her husband, Marcus, who helped her design a custom diaper bag that's big enough to hold a travel pack of wipes and two to four diapers. With more than $180,000 in sales for 2005, Christie's company, Diapees & Wipees, has bags in 22 different styles, available online and in 120 boutiques across the globe for $14.99.

9. TruGamerz

Faux-suede padded covers for game controllers and gel thumb pads for analog joysticks? No one will buy that. Forget it. The product proved to be so popular, it got picked up by and and annual sales new exceed half a million dollars.

10. Lucky Wishbone Co.

Fake wishbones. Now, this stupid idea is just destined to flop. Who in the world needs FAKE PLASTIC wishbones? A lot of people, it turns out. Now producing 30,000 wishbones daily (they retail for 3 bucks a pop) Ken Ahroni, the company founder, expects 2006 sales to reach $1 million.

11. To see other businesses that have not made the top 10 list but came pretty close, visit Uncommon Business Blog

categories: Internet
Other Stories according to Google: TechCrunch » Blog Archive » Companies I’d like to Profile (but don | BoingBoing | make money on ebay selling wholesale items drop ship home based | Ghost Of Democracy In The Media Machine | PressThink: Top Ten Ideas of '04: News Turns from a Lecture to a | Save the Internet | - A Gateway to New Web Sites, Best Web Sites | Home Theater Forum - Powered by vBulletin | Choose Your Competition | Top 10 Work At Home and Home Based Business Scams

11:50:12 PM    

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Making A Life And A Living In Second Life

Jennifer Grinnell, Michigan furniture delivery dispatcher turned fashion designer in cyber space, never imagined that she could make a living in a video game.

Grinnell's shop, Mischief, is in Second Life, a virtual world whose users are responsible for creating all content. Grinnell's digital clothing and "skins" allow users to change the appearance of their avatars -- their online representations -- beyond their wildest Barbie dress-up dreams.

Within a month, Grinnell was making more in Second Life than in her real-world job as a dispatcher. And after three months she realized she could quit her day job altogether.

Now Second Life is her primary source of income, and Grinnell, whose avatar answers to the name Janie Marlowe, claims she earns more than four times her previous salary.

Grinnell isn't alone. Artists and designers, landowners and currency speculators, are turning the virtual environment of Second Life into a real-world profit center.

"It's not just a game anymore," said online artisan Kimberly Rufer-Bach. "There are businesses, nonprofits and universities" taking advantage of the online world.

With users now numbering over 130,000, game-maker Linden Lab estimates that nearly $5 million dollars, or about $38 per person, was exchanged between players in January 2006 alone. Working in Second Life is "the same as working in London and sending money home to pay the rent for your spouse," said company CEO Philip Rosedale.

Just ask Rufer-Bach, known in Second Life as Kim Anubus, who works full time making virtual objects for real-life organizations. In a recent contract with the UC Davis Medical Center, Rufer-Bach created virtual clinics in Second Life to train emergency workers who might be called upon to rapidly set up medical facilities in a national crisis. The work is funded by the Centers for Disease Control. "In the event of a biological attack ? the CDC have to set up emergency 12-hour push sites, to distribute antibiotics," said Rufer-Bach.

To create the most realistic simulation possible, Rufer-Bach crafted about 80 distinct objects, "from chairs (to) a forklift, plumbing, wiring," she said. The end result is a training environment that's not only lifelike, but relatively inexpensive. "There are substantial advantages to doing this training in the virtual world," said UC Davis professor Peter Yellowlees. For one thing, it's "incredibly cheaper."

Of course, most of the business opportunities in Second Life don't involve anything as weighty as medical training. The game has a significant market in specialized avatars: People pay as much as 2,200 in-game "Linden dollars," or just over $8, for stock avatars -- with custom work commanding prices that can go much higher. Rufer-Bach ordered a special avatar for her mother, "a knee-high lavender warthog, with a tiara and wings and a big fat spleef with smoke effects."

The game world's mixture of fancy and serious business can lead to some incongruous scenes. "We joke that you just don't show up at a business meeting as a mermaid," said Rufer-Bach. "One guy is a furry, with an animal head. Another's a ball of glowing fuzz. There's a giant two-story robot transformer."

Wharton professor Dan Hunter, an expert on law and virtual worlds, said Second Life's relatively small size makes its economic future hard to predict. But virtual worlds are becoming spaces where "globalization of services can occur," he said. "In SL, services are valued. 'Hey, I can provide something that someone else wants! And I can make money from it!' The expansion of the economy is almost certainly going to be dependent on expanding the service opportunities."

With more and more people cashing in on Second Life, the most pressing question may be, how many can benefit before the boom times end?

categories: Internet
Other Stories according to Google: Wired News: | Wired News: Making a Living in Second Life | Wired News: Making a Living in Second Life | Wired News: | Second Life : Your World. Your Imagination. | Second Life : Your World. Your Imagination. | Slashdot | Making A Living In Second Life | Extra | CNET | Extra | CNET | Linden Lab | Makers of Second Life

11:44:10 PM    

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


How slutty is your blog, quantitatively speaking?

Slut-o-meter evaluates the promiscuity of the subject you enter by comparing the number of Google search results with and without "safe-search" enabled. A complete slut would return unsafe results and no safe results. Alternatively, a clean name should produce the same number of safe and unsafe results. The "promiscuity" percentage we give you is calculated as follows:


Negative Promiscuity? Huh?

If you're wondering why some subjects have a negative promiscuity, well, you're not alone. In general, this happens when the number of safe results is greater than the number of unsafe results (or if there are no unsafe results whatsoever). We're not quite sure why this is the case, but we believe that Google is not telling us the truth.

Results for "Earl Bockenfeld's Radio Weblog": Promiscuity: -38.11% (287 / 753)

 Hat tip to Majikthise: Promiscuity: 6.02% (130000 / 2160000)

categories: Internet
Other Stories according to Google: Skype Journal: slutometer Archives | Skype Journal: Skype is six times as promiscuous as Vonage. | Jan in Malaysia: The Slut-O-Meter . | Jan in Malaysia: Fun | Slut-O-Meter | blogrium » Blog Archive » Slut-o-Meter | Comments on: Slut-o-Meter | Slutty Summer Slut-O-Meter | Slut-o-Meter | Larry Hnetka Goes HMmmm

8:47:44 PM    

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Ten Internet Commandments

Just a little something to keep in mind, going into the new year.

  1. Thou shalt not buy merchandise found in pop-up ads or spam.
  2. Thou shalt not post thy email address, phone number, address or social security number to the internet, nor shalt thou post anyone else's.
  3. Thou shalt not forget to update thy Windows every second Tuesday.
  4. Thou shalt not connect to the internet without installing an antivirus, nor shalt thou begin a scan without checking for updates.
  5. Thou shalt not connect to the internet without installing a firewall.
  6. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's credit card number, nor his bank routing number, nor his social security number.
  7. Thou shalt not enter thy credit card number without seeing the tiny padlock icon on thy status bar.
  8. Thou shalt not reply to the email from the Nigerian banker.
  9. Thou shalt not forward chain letters to thy friends and family.
  10. Thou shalt not use "password" as thy password, nor thy birthday, nor thy children's names.

categories: Internet
Other Stories according to Google: Ten Commandments for Computer Ethics by CEI | The Net: User Guidelines and Netiquette, by Arlene Rinaldi | The Ten Commandments : all points of view | The Ten Commandments of PC Security | The Ten Commandments (1956) | The Ten Commandments (1923) | The 10 Commandments of Internet Writing | The Kim Komando Radio Show®--Kim's 10 Commandments for Kids Online© | ISP-Planet - Business - 10 Commandments - a | PlanetMike Jokes Internet Commandments

2:56:31 PM    

Friday, October 21, 2005

Nigeria To Put Spammers In Slammer

Nigeria, home to some of the world's most notorious cyber crimes, has proposed a law making spamming a criminal offence for which senders of unsolicited e-mails could be jailed for at least three years.

Is this the end of an era?   Nigeria is cracking down on its best-known export - email scams - by putting a law up for vote that would finally make these scams a criminal matter. The move is the latest by the government there to project a tough stance on the issue - back in August, the country even hosted a conference on how to crack down on spam.

According to this Reuters story, spammers who are caught could face up to five years in prison, and possibly have to give up the proceeds derived from their, uh, entrepreneurship. But sadly, if effective (although we kinda doubt the practice will entirely cease), it will deprive us of some of the best - if inadvertent - humor online. On the other hand, if the Nigerian spammer goes the way of the 20 gigabyte iPod, it could boost sales of Tuesdays with MantuRich Siegel's book about his email correspondence with a Nigerian con artist, for nostalgia value alone.

The advance fee e-mail scam, known as "419" after the relevant section of the Nigerian Criminal Code, is a computer age version of a con game dating back hundreds of years and is sometimes called "The Spanish Prisoner."

Typically spammers send millions of unsolicited e-mails around the world promising recipients a share in a fortune in return for an advance fee. Those who pay wait in vain for the promised windfall.

President Olusegun Obasanjo has been keen to clean Nigeria's image as a country of spammers and one of the world's most corrupt nations since he was elected in 1999, ending 15 years of military rule in Africa's top oil producer. He set up the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in 2003 to crack down on e-mail fraudsters who had elevated scamming to one of the country's main foreign exchange earners after oil, natural gas and cocoa, according to campaigners.

The anti-fraud agency is investigating hundreds of suspects and prosecuting over 50 cases involving about 100 suspects.

The agency got its first major conviction in July when a court sentenced a woman whose late husband masterminded the swindling of $242 million from Brazilian Banco Noroeste S.A. between 1995 and 1998, one of the world's biggest e-mail scams.

This is a link to one of my favorite online videos, Ze Frank's request, in which he dramatizes a Nigerian scam e-mail, verbatim:

categories: Internet
Other Stories according to Google: Nigerian spammer thrown in slammer | Virginia files felony spam charges | CNET | Microsoft, Nigeria fight email scammers - Security - | Microsoft, Nigeria fight email scammers - Security - | Nigerian spammer thrown in slammer - TechSpot OpenBoards | Nigerian spammer thrown in slammer - TechSpot Troubleshooting | Nigerian spammer thrown in slammer - TechSpot OpenBoards | TechSpot OpenBoards - Nigerian spammer thrown in slammer | Nigerian spammer thrown in slammer - TechSpot OpenBoards | Winter-Spring 2004

9:02:40 PM    

Friday, April 08, 2005


-Gareth Branwyn

Narcipost - A shamelessly egocentric blog post that's of little interest to anyone besides the person who posted it.

Moantones - The recorded sighs and moans of porn stars, available for download as cell phone ring tones.  As porn princess (and moantoner) Jenna Jameson said in a press release:  "The technology is way beyond most of us, but the bottom line is, you'll be able to hear me ...moan when your phone rings."

Nouse - A peripheral device that tracks the movement of the tip of your nose to control a cursor.

Open Loops - The incomplete tasks and projects in your life that constantly cycle through your head, leading to anxiety, stress, and creative constipation.  Popularized by David Allen's work-flow management book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.

Mobcasting - Mobile audio podcasting using a phone-in blogging service, such as audioLink.

Data Sponge - Silly slang for a handheld scanner.

eBay Effect - The rise in a company's stock after announcing the addition of auctioning to its online offerings. Ticketmaster and Sharper Image both enjoyed the eBay effect.

Generation Lap - The overtaking of baby boomers by their more technologically savvy offspring. The idea of a generation lap has been articulated by many who believe that the "Net generation" has an innate, magical relationship with information technologies.

Pic Post - A free porn supersite on which adult sites post banner ads and links to images each day. The pic post gets content, users get lots of free dirty pictures, and participating sites get, um, exposure.

Spendorphins - The pleasure proteins that seem to be released during a shopping frenzy. Coined by Martha Barnette in Allure magazine.

Y2.038K Bug - Another time/date bug - this one will cause counters on certain legacy systems to leap back 136 years when January 19, 2038, rolls around. The relevant code may no longer exist in 39 years, but then again, two-digit dates once seemed a harmless temporary fix.

Big Hat, No Cattle - Texas expression used to dismiss a cowboy wannabe. In Lone Star IT circles, it describes a technician with a certificate or degree in computer science, but little or no field experience.

Sneakers-up - A dotcom that's gone belly-up. Reminiscent of the older hacker slang "casters-up," meaning a broken-down or dead computer.

GNU Economy - The open source software marketplace, named after the GNU General Public License, which prevents corporations from acquiring public domain systems like Linux.

Cycle Brokering - The farming out of number-crunching tasks to a distributed network of consumer PCs.

Relevance Switching - P2P collaborative-searching technology being developed by OpenCola. Users can share their database-scouring results with other people who have similar search interests and behavior.


Gee, a couple of weeks ago, I didn't even know what a groantoners was, Now I R one!

04/14/05 UPDATE: We have word from  Johnny & the Moan Ranger correcting what was published in Wired. It seems that moantones were invented four years ago, and that porn princess (and moantoner) Jenna Jameson is a late cummer (and not inventor) to the moantone scene. It amuses Johnny that bloggers will latch on to any media tit that is thrust into their gaping lips without checking to see if the nipple belongs to their mama. While thats true, Johnny, when did you ever get a correction like this in the NYT or LAT?

categories: Internet
Other Stories according to Google: Suspended Animation Jargon Watch | The Washington Monthly | The Washington Monthly | Wired 7.04: Must Read | Wired 9.08: Must Read | Wired 11.10: START | Hit and Run | Jeffrey Veen: IA Jargon Watch | callalillie: Jargon Watch

2:17:10 PM    

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

India's Porn Police Bring Their Quarry To eBay

NEW DELHI - What started off as an ordinary little scandal about youngsters and pornography has exploded in India's face, with the world's top auction website screaming blue murder as its India manager sits behind bars, questions being raised in parliament, and even US Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice getting involved.

But perhaps the real can of worms is the implication for Indian e-commerce in general, after a magistrate ruled that ink on paper was required, not the mere clicking of an "I agree to the terms of service" button.

Indian police are now conducting a massive hunt for porn in cyberspace, and its perpetrators. Into the dragnet have fallen the schoolboy who lit the fuse of outrage when he secretly filmed an oral sex act with his girlfriend (When sex gets out of the cupboard, Dec 9), and a former student of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) who, to help pay for his education, peddled the sex clip on, the Indian arm of eBay. They are both in jail, along with Avnish Bajaj,'s manager and chief executive officer.

The fact that the offending blue movie was filmed with a camera-phone is apparently all-important: the saga has become known as the "MMS case" because of the technology used. Adding fuel to that particular fire - the misuse of technology and invasion of privacy - was the secret filming (using camera phones, what else) of top Bollywood actors Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapur getting passionate - French-kissing, no less - at a nightclub this month.


But why is Condoleezza Rice involved? She is taking a personal interest in the welfare of's Bajaj, and has contacted David Mulford, the US ambassador in India, and asked him to impress upon the government to ensure Bajaj's safety. Bajaj, an IIT and Harvard graduate, is a US citizen and, if convicted, faces a prison term of several years. "The US Embassy is following this case very closely and there is high-level interest in Washington regarding it. Consistent with normal US consular practices, the [court] hearing was attended by a US consular official," said a spokesperson.

India-born Bajaj was arrested under Section 67 of the Information Technology Act (transmission of obscene material through electronic media), which can carry a jail term of up to five years. He was expected to have a bail hearing on Tuesday: meanwhile, the high-flyer was lodged in India's most infamous prison, Jail No 3 of Delhi's Tihar Prisons, sleeping on the floor in a room along with 70 other prisoners awaiting trial on charges ranging from pick-pocketing to rape and murder.

Bajaj's arrest came about courtesy of Ravi Raj, another IITian (they are the country's brand ambassadors as far as IT goes). Ravi, a final-year student of IIT, was the first person to be arrested in the case, as he was selling clips of the said sexual act - procured from a local area network as it rested on the desktops of many other students - on Raj is a regular seller on the site to pay for his tuition and other expenses as he belongs to a poor family.


Indeed, one of the biggest loopholes in the Indian laws against cyber-crime was the fact that no action could be taken against websites selling or promoting prurient matter as the servers could be located at any international location. However, over the past year Internet business models are stabilizing worldwide, with two Indian dotcoms - and - being bought by and respectively. Other major portals such as and too have their India operations well under way. By making accountable for material on its website, whatever may be the merits of arresting Bajaj, the Indian authorities have sent a powerful message that local laws and sentiments have to be abided.

The question is, what are the implications of the laws for Indian e-commerce in general? According to an online petition addressed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, authored by venture capitalist Mahesh Murthy and calling for the quick release of Bajaj, Raj allegedly put the film clip up for sale on after reading and agreeing to the website's terms of service, which expressly forbid trade in any pornographic items. He advertised the item as a "video of Delhi girls having fun" and said he would email it to anybody who sent him Rs125 (about US$3). In the next two days, eight people sent in their money and Raj allegedly emailed them the clip. None of this exchange happened on, and at no time was any pornographic material of any sort hosted on

"When eBay India/Baazee's lawyers applied for bail [for Bajaj] on Saturday, December 18, by quoting, among other things the Terms of Service of Baazee that the merchant had to agree to before signing up, the magistrate apparently rejected the documentation by saying that there was no ink-on-paper signature on the agreement and hence she would not accept it as evidence."

And then comes the crux of the issue: "By rejecting the admissibility of the paper version of Terms of Service, and insisting on an ink-on-paper signature for legal status, the entire legality of the e-commerce business in India is called to question. This is ironic, for the largest e-commerce operation in not just India, but South Asia, is the Indian Railways online ticket-selling business - a government-owned and -run operation - which does business worth Rs18 crores [$4 million] a month. This magistrate's decision seems to imply a lack of legal standing for all ticket sales online by the railways. It also calls to question all other e-commerce sales in India ... "

EBay has predictably reacted angrily to the arrest, calling it "completely unwarranted". Acknowledging that the listing of the smut clip was against's policies and user agreement, it said in a statement that the video clip itself could not be played on the website and the illegal item was deleted from the site once it came to notice. Moreover, Bajaj had on his own flown down to New Delhi to assist the police, which helped to locate and arrest Raj. "It is unfortunate that local law enforcement has chosen to misdirect its energies towards Mr Bajaj. today is a part of eBay Inc, the world's online marketplace, which has a presence in 32 markets around the world. Never before has such an action been taken against the company. This position advocated by the police is shocking especially as Bajaj has been working closely with and fully cooperating with the Delhi police since they contacted us on December 9," the firm said in a statement.


To conclude, while it does seem that the treatment meted out to Bajaj is harsh, it is apparent that the action against Raj and the schoolboy, who cannot be named under Indian juvenile laws, will surely be a deterrent to such future occurrences. Think about the girl for a moment - it is only her face that is visible in the clip and all she did was engage in an intimate act with her boyfriend, not the rest of the world.

categories: Internet
Other Stories according to Google: Asia Times Online - The best news coverage from South Asia | Crossway Christian ISP Service - Headlines - Internet - Online | Online Auctions News - by | Auction Software Review - Online Auction News | News headlines on Quarrying | AuctionBytes Newsflash: Other Online Auction News, December 23 | Ecademy - Business Networking - Connecting Business People | Ecademy DailEnews: Latest Business News | Savage Communications, powered by LocalToolbox - serving Northern | Headline News : The World Wide Web & Internet : ( Online Auction )

10:39:15 PM    

Friday, December 03, 2004

IBM to Quit Making PCs

NEW YORK -- IBM has reportedly put its personal computer business up for sale in a deal that could fetch as much as $2 billion and close an era for an industry pioneer that long ago shifted its focus to more lucrative segments of the computer business. Its stock rose 1.6 percent in early trading in the wake of the report.

The New York Times said in its Friday editions that IBM is in serious discussions with the Lenovo Group, China's biggest maker of personal computers, and at least one other unidentified buyer for the unit.

The newspaper cited people close to the negotiations that it did not further identify for the report.

IBM spokesman John Bukovinsky refused to comment Friday. Spokesmen at Lenovo's Beijing headquarters and Hong Kong offices did not return calls Friday.

Analysts have said a sale of the PC business would make sense for IBM.

Ben Reitzes, an analyst at UBS Investment Research, said in a July research note that the business would be sold. He noted the PC business, which accounts for about 10 percent of IBM's total sales, loses money.

For Asian computer makers, new competition from Dell is a big threat. "By linking up with a heavyweight like IBM, vendors would logically think they could fend off any threat better," Reitzes said.

IBM is increasing its focus on consulting services, analysts said.

"They've been very clear that they intend to streamline and prioritize around new growth opportunities," said Mark Stahlman, technology strategist at research firm Caris & Co. "PCs are not one of them."

IBM, based in Armonk, New York, has refocused on the corporate server and computer services businesses, but was a major force in driving personal computing into the mainstream with its introduction of the IBM PC in 1981.

IBM now ranks third behind Dell and Hewlett-Packard in the personal-computer business, according to Gartner Inc., an analyst in the information technology industry.

The Times said the business up for sale would include the entire range of desktop, laptop and notebook computers made by IBM. The sale would likely be in a range of $1 billion to $2 billion, the report said.

Other possible buyers could include Japan's Toshiba, analysts said.

Guo Tongyan, a Lenovo marketing manager in Beijing, said he had not heard of any discussions, but noted Lenovo was building up its personal-computer business.

Last month, China's state media said Lenovo and IBM were discussing teaming up to make desktop personal computers.

Asked about the Times report, Guo replied: "If Lenovo wanted to further expand its PC capacity, I wouldn't be very surprised."

"We decided on a strategy of 'reinforcing the PC business, focusing on the PC business' in a strategic meeting early this year," said Guo, who heads Lenovo's northern China marketing department.

Lenovo, formerly called Legend, had begun expanding into mobile phone manufacturing and information technology services when its computer manufacturing business faced intense competition from foreign rivals such as Dell.

But after reporting worse-than-expected results last year, Lenovo said it would return its focus to its core computer business. Lenovo is the world's ninth-biggest computer maker by size of shipments.

categories: Internet
Other Stories according to Google: IBM and HP to quit making PCs ? - | IBM and HP to quit making PCs ? - printer friendly - | IBM and HP to quit making PCs ? - talkback - | IBM and HP to quit making PCs ? | - The Hardware and Recording Authority | Trio Gives First Look at Cell Processor | IBM shows off security laptops | IBM to quit making desktop computers | Yahoo! UK & Ireland News - IBM and HP to quit making PCs ? | IBM and HP to quit making PCs ?

10:17:11 PM    

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Photo May Land La. Marine In Trouble

He's awaiting word on disciplinary action

By James Varney, Staff writer

A Louisiana Marine responsible for an offensive photograph made in Iraq last summer was awaiting word Wednesday on a disciplinary decision by the Marine Corps, a military spokesman said.

Lance Cpl. Ted J. Boudreaux, a reservist with the 3rd Battalion/23rd Marines who hails from Thibodaux, became the subject of a formal investigation last week after a photo in circulation on the Internet came to the attention of a Muslim public relations firm in Washington, D.C.

In the photo, Boudreaux is shown with two Iraqi boys. All three are smiling, and all three are flashing a "thumbs-up" sign. The middle boy is holding a handmade cardboard sign that reads in English, "Lcpl. Boudreaux killed my dad then he knocked up my sister."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which describes itself as "dedicated to presenting an Islamic perspective on issues of importance to the American public," but which also has been identified as "a radical Islamic group" by experts in congressional testimony, posted the photo on its Web site last week and demanded a Pentagon investigation. The results of that probe were expected Wednesday, but Capt. Jeff Pool, a local Marine reserves spokesman, said it would not be released until Boudreaux had been notified.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations' spokesman in Washington, Ibrahim Hooper, said Marine officials told him the investigation was of a "nonjudicial" nature, which could lead to Boudreaux's "separation from the corps."

Last week, the Marine Corps acknowledged the photo was real but said it wanted to make sure the lettering on the sign had not been doctored. It was unclear what military code Boudreaux violated if the sign was genuine, or whether the famous military catchall of "conduct unbecoming" covers enlistees as well as officers. Nevertheless, the sign's message was offensive, officers said.

"Let's just say that if it is true, it sure isn't the smartest thing I've ever seen a Marine do," Pool said.

During his deployment in Iraq last year, Boudreaux was stationed in Al Kut, the capital of Wassit Province, which runs southeast of Baghdad to the border with Iran. His duties there with a headquarters unit kept him largely confined to the big concrete hangars at an air base on the outskirts of the city, and he had little contact with locals. The photo, which shows the trio in front of a ramshackle hut, could have been taken at one of tens of thousands of locations in Iraq, including a shed outside the back entrance of the airfield where the Marines would buy soda, tobacco and trinkets such as prayer beads and head scarves from locals.

Boudreaux could not be reached for comment. His commander during the 3/23rd's Iraq mission, Lt. Col. David Couvillon, called the photo a sophomoric attempt at humor.

"Look, he didn't actually do what that sign says," Couvillon said. "This is stupid, lance corporal stuff that he thought was cute. But it's not, and I was informed the commandant of the Marine Corps had it and the Marine Corps will deal with this."

Couvillon noted that, as he is no longer the commanding officer of the 3/23rd, he is not involved in the investigation. He said he has not spoken to Boudreaux.

At the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Hooper agreed with Couvillon that the picture was a lame attempt at humor.

"My assumption has always been these things didn't happen, and in fact I doubt there's any girl at all," he said. "How the military reacts to this case," he told the Associated Press, "I think will send a message to Muslims in the Middle East and worldwide as to how seriously the United States takes these issues."

[Via The Times - Picayune

categories: Internet
Other Stories according to Google: Iran News | Urban Legends Reference Pages: (Sign of the Times) | Everything New Orleans | Everything New Orleans | War on Iraq | We lost the war | How Not To Fly by Mike Leung | Feedback by backBlog | Sgt Grit's Marine Forum - he knocked up my sister

11:02:48 AM    

Monday, January 26, 2004

PayPal Spoofing

<Jacob Palme <>>
Sat, 10 Jan 2004 13:58:53 +0100

I received a message which is abbreviated below [and even more by PGN]:

> Received: from unknown (HELO reva) (
>    by 0 with SMTP; 6 Jan 2004 01:55:14 -0000
> Reply-To: "" <>
> From: "" <>
> To: <>
> Subject: Account issue
> Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2004 03:51:33 +0200
> Due to concerns, for the safety and integrity of the PayPal community we have issued this warning message.
> It has come to our attention that your account information needs to be renew due to inactive members and non-functioning >mailboxes.  If you could please take 5-10 minutes out of your online experience and renew your records you will not run into
> any future problems with the online service.
> However, failure to update your records will result in account deletation [sic].  This notification expires on January 10, 2004.
> Once you have updated your account records your PayPal will not be interrupted and will continue as normal.
> Please follow the link below and renew your account information.
>   PayPal Service Department

When I clicked on the link, I got to a form which requested a number of personal data, including my credit card number, its security code and its PIN code! I have put up a copy of the form they asked me to fill in at

I got suspicious for several reasons:

(a) No company has ever before asked me for my credit card PIN code.

(b) This information was requested by http, not https. But with a domain name, which might make some people believe it was actually using https.

(c) Looking up in whois indicates that the owner of the domain name is a private person, not a company.

To be on the safe side, I immediately blocked my credit card, since I had entered some information before I understood this was a spoof. I also wrote to PayPal, who confirmed that the mail was not from them!

I have learnt to be more careful and suspicious in the future!

Jacob Palme <> (Stockholm University and KTH)
for more info see URL:

  [This is increasingly becoming a problem!  We desperately need some greater authentication and accountability.  PGN]

[Via Risks Digest


categories: Internet
Other Stories according to Google: scams, spoofing , phishing, ebay, paypal , update credit card | New site spoofs PayPal to get billing information | - PayPal Users Warned of Spoof Site | at Yahoo - PayPal Users Warned of Spoof Site | Symantec Enterprise Solutions | New site spoofs PayPal to get billing information - Computerworld | New site spoofs PayPal to get billing information - Computerworld | New site spoofs PayPal to get billing information - Computerworld | InfoWorld: New site spoofs PayPal to get billing information: July | New site spoofs PayPal to get billing information

8:16:44 PM    

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Google Whacking The Perfect Antidote To Spam Rage

This was the year spam joined the axis of evil. Or at least the axis of the incredibly aggravating.

As exclusive offers of Paris Hilton sex-romp videos multiplied exponentially, pundits estimated that e-crap was costing Australian businesses at least $2 billion per annum. (And that didn't take into account all the productivity we lost worrying about how so many complete strangers knew we had such small penises in the first place.)

Then there was the growing problem of spam rage.

In the US late last month, a Silicon Valley computer programmer was arrested for threatening a company he believed was crippling his business with penis augmentation propaganda.

According to Reuters, Charles Booher threatened to send a "package full of anthrax spores" to the company, to disable an employee with a bullet and torture him with a power drill and ice pick; and to hunt down and castrate employees unless they removed him from their email list.

The object of Booher's ire - the advertisers for a product called the "Only Reliable, Medically Approved Penis Enhancement" - blamed a rival firm which they said was giving the penis enhancement business "a bad name".

Now there's a tough assignment.

While many of us share Booher's rage (I'd get into the ice-picking business myself if I wasn't so busy deleting all those emails for black-market Viagra), this is the season of goodwill so it's worth remembering there is some good spam.

The warning about the boob hoax I keep receiving, for example.

"I hate these hoax email warnings, but this one is important," it reads. "If a man comes to your front door and says he is conducting a survey and asks you to show him your boobs, do not show him your boobs. This is a scam; he only wants to see your boobs."

As one recipient lamented: "I wish I'd received this email earlier. I feel so stupid and cheap."


While not strictly spam, "Google bombing" also deserves a mention for excellence in en masse internet usage.

Thanks to a weird algorithmic abnormality associated with Google, computer nerds are now able to manipulate the search engine for their own dastardly means.

This is why a search for "miserable failure" will still send you straight to the biography of George W. Bush.

Hunting for weapons of mass destruction?

Enter this phrase into Google and you'll be directed to a site explaining that the weapons you are looking for are currently unavailable. It then suggests adjusting your weapons inspection mandate, pressing the regime change button or, if you are George W. Bush, checking your spelling of Iraq.

It's cyberspace at its anti-establishment, anarchistic best.

[Via The Australian

categories: Internet
Other Stories according to Google: lgf: the road not travelled | w4 | w4 | w4 | Prodeathrave's Recent Entries | Church Central: November 2002 Archives

9:50:13 PM    

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Final Days in the Life At Jennicam

After seven years, it looks like former Washington resident Jennifer Ringley is finally turning off the webcams.

Ringley, more famous as the woman behind Jennicam (, became an Internet curiosity and a quasi- celebrity in the early days of the Web by putting up cameras around her apartment and letting anyone with an Internet connection tune in at any hour for a $15 annual subscription.

An announcement on Ringley's site last week said that the Jennicam show will close at the end of the year. But so far, the woman who shared everything -- yes, everything -- about her daily life has not revealed at her site why she's pulling the shutters. She did not respond to an e-mail sent midafternoon Friday.


Canadian Jennicam fan Paul Brown told The Post in an e-mail Friday that he was sad to see Jennicam close.

"In a sense I'd like to have maintained the surveillance for the rest of her life. . . . as a sociological experiment and a life-narrative art project," he said. "I wish we'd been able to see it out."

At the peak of Jennicam's popularity, around the turn of the millennium, Ringley told The Post that her site got an average of 100 million visitors a week.

[Via Washington Post

categories: Internet
Other Stories according to Google: Final Days in the Life At Jennicam ( | Personal Tech | – tech policy, regulation, government tech, | Matriculate | MyAppleMenu - Reader | the Digit Head exchange - the career development resource for | the Digit Head exchange - the career development resource for | the Digit Head exchange - the career development resource for | – tech policy, regulation, government tech, | – tech policy, regulation, government tech,

12:26:48 AM    

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