Oh, the Irony

I generally count myself lucky as I do not receive a lot of spam email. I also use an email client with superb spam filtering features.

However, over the past few days, I’ve gotton nearly identical emails from virtually the same place, and guess what? They’re all for spam filtering software. I checked into both the spammer and the “author” of the product, and they’re one and the same.

And, for the coup de gras, the message claims to be conformant to the “2003 US Can-Spam Act”. I can only assume that they mean the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (of which I am very skeptical about the possibility of effectiveness, alleged enforcement, and motivation).

At any rate, it has been asserted that the CAN-SPAM Act “Requires that your have an working unsubscribe system that makes it easy for recipients to unsubscribe opt out of receiving your e-mails” [1]. In fact, the CAN-SPAM Act (Section 5.A.5.ii) only says that there must be an advertised notice of an opt-out opportunity. There are two things wrong with that. The first and most obvious one is that usually “opting-out” on a spammers website pretty much guarentees more spam. You’re falling right into their trap: confirming that an email address is real. That means a slam-dunk every time they want to send out an email. Second, the opt-out facility is not even required to work. Just because they provide a URL for opting-out doesn’t mean that the URL has to actually do something. Idiots…

Sure, email is a convenient medium for advertisement. Sure, there’s no particular reason why any person should be prohibited from emailing any other person. But, there’s also no reason to send me the same, unsolicited email over and over again. There’s also no reason for me not to publish their contact information 😉

I provide the following for informational purposes only. Anything you choose to do with it is therefore your own fault and/or problem. Enjoy!

Here’s a representative email from these people:
(note that I have inserted a few newlines for formatting. also, the original email was, in fact, in the despicable HTML format.)

From - Thu Jun  3 21:48:20 2004
X-UIDL: 20040604014228s18000qb58e0045db
X-Originating-IP: []
Received: from ([])
   by ([]); Thu, 03 Jun 2004 19:35:25 -0700
Date: Thu, 03 Jun 2004 18:44:25 -0800
From: "Cecil" 
Reply-To: "Cecil" 
Cc: [several email addresses, including mine, all at the same domain]
Subject: Protect innocent eyes from adult email
Mime-Version: 1.0
X-Mailer: Telectorate Version 0.0
Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit

I have a special_offer for you...

*Better than all other Spam filters -*

*Only Delivers The Email You Want!*

This is the ultimate solution that is guaranteed to stop all spam
without losing any of your important email! This system protects you 100%.

We didn't believe it either until we actually tried it. So you be the judge and 
see for yourself.

*You owe it to yourself to try this program,* and forward this email to all of 
your friends
who hate Spam or as many people as possible.

Get rid of unwanted emails now. 


If you want to stop receiving this 

P.revia Marketing, Inc.
14781 Memorial Dr. / Suite 966
Houston, TX 77079

Conforms to legal requirements of 2003 US Can-Spam Act.









chronic hutchins perihelion spavin amelia backside


Here is some more information that I was able to gather:

[chris@localhost]$ nslookup better-svc-plans.com
Note:  nslookup is deprecated and may be removed from future releases.
Consider using the `dig' or `host' programs instead.  Run nslookup with
the `-sil[ent]' option to prevent this message from appearing.

Non-authoritative answer:
Name:   better-svc-plans.com

[chris@localhost]$ nslookup
Note:  nslookup is deprecated and may be removed from future releases.
Consider using the `dig' or `host' programs instead.  Run nslookup with
the `-sil[ent]' option to prevent this message from appearing.

Non-authoritative answer:      name = www.previa-mktg.com.

Authoritative answers can be found from:
78.139.66.in-addr.arpa  nameserver = ns1.serverbeach.com.
78.139.66.in-addr.arpa  nameserver = ns2.serverbeach.com.

[chris@localhost]$ whois better-svc-plans.com
[Querying whois.internic.net]
[Redirected to whois.directnic.com]
[Querying whois.directnic.com]
Registration and WHOIS Service Provided By: directNIC.com

Intercosmos Media Group, Inc. provides the data in the directNIC.com
Registrar WHOIS database for informational purposes only. The information
may only be used to assist in obtaining information about a domain name's
registration record.
directNIC makes this information available "as is," and does not guarantee
its accuracy.

 Previa Marketing
 14781 Memorial Dr.
 Houston, TX 77079
 281 602-4096 


Administrative Contact: 
 Mgr, System admin@previa-mktg.com
 14781 Memorial Dr.
 Houston, TX 77079
 281 602-4096 

Technical Contact: 
 Mgr, System admin@previa-mktg.com
 14781 Memorial Dr.
 Houston, TX 77079
 281 602-4096 

Record expires on 05-29-2005
Record created on 05-29-2004

Domain servers in listed order:

By submitting a WHOIS query, you agree you will use this data only for
lawful purposes.  You also agree that, under no circumstances, will you use
this data to:  a) allow, enable, or otherwise support the transmission by
email, telephone, or facsimile of mass, unsolicited, commercial advertising
or solicitations to entities other than the data recipient's own existing
customers; or to (b) enable high volume, automated, electronic processes
that send queries or data to the systems of any Registry Operator or
ICANN-Accredited registrar.
The compilation, repackaging, dissemination, or other use of this WHOIS
data is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of
directNIC.com reserves the right to terminate your access to its WHOIS
database in its sole discretion, including without limitation, for
excessive querying of the database or for failure to otherwise abide by
this policy.
directNIC reserves the right to modify these terms at any time.
[chris@localhost]$ whois previa-mktg.com
[Querying whois.internic.net]
[Redirected to whois.joker.com]
[Querying whois.joker.com]
domain:       previa-mktg.com
status:       production
organization: Previa Marketing
email:        admin@previa-mktg.com
address:      14781 Memorial Dr.
address:      Suite # 966
city:         Houston
state:        TX
postal-code:  77079
country:      US
admin-c:      admin@previa-mktg.com#0
tech-c:       admin@previa-mktg.com#0
billing-c:    admin@previa-mktg.com#0
nserver:      ns1.my-isp-usa.com 
nserver:      ns2.my-isp-usa.com 
registrar:    JORE-1
created:      2004-03-04 21:06:39 UTC JORE-1
modified:     2004-05-06 10:14:09 UTC JORE-1
expires:      2005-03-04 16:06:26 UTC 
source:       joker.com

db-updated:   2004-06-06 20:16:45 UTC 
[chris@localhost] $

For convenience, $1.00 gives 1 hour

I live in Arlington, Virginia (USA), which is a pretty nice suburb of Washington, DC. I’d always wondered how they kept the county going with all of the services they provide, knowing how costly running a county is.

Well, now I know.

4 minutes for each nickel, 8 minutes for each dime, 20 minutes for each quarter. For convenience $1.00 gives 1 hour.

Apparently, Arlington County tricks unsuspecting motorists into paying an extra quarter for each hour. Suckers!

It’s funny… I’ve only found these parking meters on parts of Wilson Boulevard, near Whitlow’s on Wilson. The rest of the parking meters appear to be less shady.

Update 2004-05-26: I just thought I’d mention that my wonderful wife, Katrina (who keeps track of everything for me, including my social schedule, overly vast computer hardware collection, and fashion tips), often joins me for half-price burgers on Monday nights at Whitlow’s on Wilson.

Old Skool Software

Today, I was wading through a lot of old computer stuff that I have lying around, and I came across a LogiTech-branded Microsoft Windows 3.1 box, complete with 5.25″ and 3.5″ floppy disks.


I did what any red-blooded, nostalgic computer dork would do: I installed it on a vmware instance. Here it is in all its glory.

In order to install it, I actually needed to install DOS 6.0, first. That required me to dig up a box affectionally known in days gone by as my big keg of software. It’s a dot-matrix printer-paper box full of floppies: 3.5″ and 5.25″.

The Keg has some real gems in there:

  • A 5.25″-floppy version of PC-Tools version 7
    note: this is so old-skool that it wasn’t even called Norton, since Norton/Symantec hadn’t yet bought them
  • A copy of a game called Stunts (which was even better than Gran Turismo 3 if you ask me)
  • WordPerfect 5.1 (oh, yeah!)
  • Many old-skool Sierra games (KQ, QFG, etc.)
  • Visual Basic for DOS (you read that right: DOS!)
  • … and much, much more!
  • Legal licenses for all aforementioned software

Several months (or is it years, now?) ago, I was determined to actually get disk images of everything, burn them to a CDROM or two, and defenestrate the whole thing. I live on the 8th floor, so if I do that I’ll definitely get some video.

Anyhow, I got started making images and then I realized that I might never actually be able to get them to run for a number of reasons. First, lots of old copy-protection schemes relied on having direct access to the floppy devices, so many of them just won’t work. Second, many games, etc. required the disk to actually physically be in the drive in order to run, much less install. These days, it’s tough to bring yourself to pay for a floppy drive on a computer, so all this software may go the way of the dodo if I can’t figure out how to get it running.

All this to say that I haven’t yet imaged all of them and littered the street with multi-colored squares of plastic. However, my recent install of Windows 3.11 on VMware has given me the opportunity to image the DOS 6.0 and Windows 3.11 disks and verify that they still work. (I had to image them because my laptop doesn’t have a floppy drive at all — what a shocker!).

Once I get everything onto a nice, small CD, Heather Vargas, my good friend and personal organizer will give me a big, wet kiss on the lips.

Update 2004-05-26: Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of lode runner. W3rd to stunts.

Johnny Come Lately

So, it seems like everybody and their brother has a Weblog these days.

I used to think that people that blogged were either full of themselves or actually hadsomething important to say. Most bloggers fell into the category of "who cares".

Now, I understand that blogging is the new way&trade of the web. I mean, you can hardly get a decent position on Google[1] without being mobbed-up in the blogging scene. It’s a friggin’ pyramid schema, I tell you. What’s the first thing everybody does? They get several of their friends interested in blogging, and they all link to each other’s sites. Then, anyone who reads any of their blogs pretty much gets sucked into the whole ring of blogs.

Well, anyway, in an effort to avoid becoming obselete in these heady days of blogs on the intarweb, I have decided to jump in with both feet. I hope you enjoy reading the mindless drivel that I write.

I’ll hit a lot of random topics, but you’ll find that I often return to many of the same things: software development, Java stuff, Politics, and things that generally piss me off. Not coincidentally, these topics usually overlap.



  1. Friggin’ Brian Vargas’s explosive ammo mutator page is rated higher than my
    explosive ammo mutator
    page. Help me change that, will you? 😉