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.
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.
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.
is a for-profit subsidiary of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of
Spring Bank, an eight-monk monastery in the hills of MonroeCounty, 90 miles northwest of Madison. Yeah, real monks refilling your cartridges. Hallelujah! Their 2005 sales were $2.5 million! Praise the Lord.
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.
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.
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.
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 Target.com and Walmart.com and annual sales new exceed half a million dollars.
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
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
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
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?
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
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)
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 Mantu, Rich 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
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.
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: http://www.zefrank.com/request/
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?
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
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 Baazee.com, the Indian arm of eBay. They are both in
jail, along with Avnish Bajaj, Baazee.com'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
Baazee.com'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
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 Baazee.com. 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 - Baazee.com and
Jobsahead.com - being bought by eBay.com and Monster.com
respectively. Other major portals such as Yahoo.com and
MSN.com too have their India operations well under
way. By making Baazee.com 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
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 Baazee.com 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 Baazee.com, and
at no time was any pornographic material of any sort
hosted on Baazee.com.
"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."
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 ... "
has predictably reacted angrily to the arrest,
calling it "completely unwarranted". Acknowledging that the listing of
the smut clip was against Baazee.com'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. Baazee.com 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
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 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
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,
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
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
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
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.
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."
I received a message which is abbreviated below [and even more by PGN]:
> Received: from unknown (HELO reva) (18.104.22.168) > by 0 with SMTP; 6 Jan 2004 01:55:14 -0000 > Reply-To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com> > From: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com> > To: <firstname.lastname@example.org> > 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. > http://https-ebay.com 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 http://dsv.su.se/jpalme/temp/domain-name-spam-2c.pdf
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, http://https-ebay.com which might make some people believe it was actually using https.
(c) Looking up in whois indicates that the owner of the domain name https-ebay.com 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!
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.
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 (www.jennicam.org), 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.