Spam of consciousness

Ah, spam. Where would we be without it? I’ve been thinking about it recently. My current email address is a university one; I used Gmail for a while while I was outside the bubble, but it’s easier (given network restrictions etc) to stick to the ‘official’ one while I’m back inside it. Recently, the on-site Spam Assassin software has been replaced by off-site Microsoft-owned FrontBridge, which doesn’t fill me with much glee.

Anyway, the real purpose of this post is to link to this tongue-in cheek article from the New York Times: “Raining E-Blows On Egos”. Reporter Lisa Foderano gives various examples of puzzled and amused responses to inappropriate (yet appropriate) spam.

And her heart aches for one of her young employees, the only one in the small firm not to have finished college, who seems to be a magnet for spam pushing Johnny-come-lately bachelor’s degree programs. “It’s rubbing him raw day in and day out,” she said. Worsening the psychic toll is the increasingly focused tailoring of spam of all stripes.

When I worked for a student representative organisation, I had the best ones of these up on my wall. It made me laugh for a whole five seconds, but it was something.

The brilliant Canadian independent musician Brad Sucks put together an album entitled Outside The Inbox (free download or $5 CD). It’s a series of songs inspired by subject lines in spam emails. It’s similar (but just as insane) as Spam Radio, which I discovered nearly five years ago, and still tune into from time to time. It takes spam emails and converts them (through text-to-speech) into audio, and sets the result to chillout electronic music. Simple and original.

On a more serious note, note last week’s news that a phishing spammer was convicted under the (US) CAN-SPAM Act; the first full jury trial leading to a conviction since the law came into force. His dirty deeds involved fake AOL emails requesting billing data. You all know the type.

Spam spam spam.

Edit: there’s more…over here!

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