Saturday, September 24, 2005

Mail & Christmas cards - my rantings

This is not on the subject of Linux, but, on bulk mail that I get at home from not-for-profit organizations.

Let me be clear, I do support a number of not-for-profit entities financially with a fair amount of my money. Namely:
  • Alzheimers Society of Canada
  • Arthritis Society
  • Canadian Cancer Society
  • Cancer Research Society
  • Canadian Diabetes Society
  • Covenant House
  • Heart & Stroke - Ontario
  • Nepean Optimist club
  • Ottawa Civic Hospital foundation
  • Ottawa Humane Society
  • United Way
  • Victorian Order of Nurses
  • War Amps
  • Plus others that I can't remember offhand.

What gets me peeved is that I get a large number of unsolicited boxes of cards and labels. Just in the last two months I have received four boxes of cards and each box holds a dozen cards, several for mailing labels, one with a note pad and one with a pen enclosed. The labels are in sizes of approximately 50+. All of these except for one were directly addressed to me from organizations I current contribute to.

The problem is that I am giving to part of these charities my money and they are sending out materials that must cost them a fair bit of change to make and mail. That money could be used more productively going to what they are in business for. If they want they could send out a targetted solictitation for funds to existing donors and then have a check box that you can fill in if you give over $X for cards or personalized labels. One organization that does this is the war amps. You can check off a portion on the solicitation on if you want to receive personalized mailing labels.

I have hundreds of cards and labels that I have not used from prior years so I have a near-lifetime number of Christmas cards that I can mail out. Please stop, or better, ask me first before you send out the materials.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

State of spam

Well for the last two months the amount of spam I have been getting is on the decrease. I hope that this is a permanent trend. That said I don't think spam will be going away totally, the economics of it is too good for it to be totally eradicated. On the downside the spammers now have my Sympatico id. I have received about six spam and variants of the Nigerian scam letter. I have been letting Firefox flag these as spam and drop them into a spam folder. Later when I am bored I will go through them and purge them.

The phishing attempts have been dropping too. If you get an email that is an obvious phishing attempt check out the site that purported to send the email for an email address where you can forward it to. Why make these crooks lives easier? Have the companies and law enforcement agencies shut them down.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

New Paypal phishing?

I got a new email that purports to be from PayPal on a payment for a class action lawsuit. This is a good trick as I don't have a PayPal account. I am forwarding the email to PayPal and let them figure out if it is a phishing attempt. Why do I think it is a phishing attempt?

  1. I don't have a Paypal account.
  2. It asks for bank account information.
  3. The link does not resolve to PayPal, but, to another website.
  4. None of the links in the email resolve to PayPal.
Confirmed, Paypal sent me an email that this is a phishing attempt. If you receive something similar to the image above forward it to so they can shut down the phishing site(s) in the clickable links.

Spamming Blog

Well it finally happened. My blog got a commercial spam comment. Not even related to Linux which wouldn't upset me much if he/she was also a Linux enthusiast. The person has a commercial site selling CD's on a product which I won't name (Not porn). I enable the new option (word verification) for submitting comments. That at least will make it harder for 'bots' to spam and force an actual person to submit the word verification before putting up their spam.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

My Desktop

I know it is boring, but, you can see what my desktop looks like.

For those of you who are still running Windows it looks close to what you are running. The desktop is called KDE and if you are able to work in Windows you can easily navigate this (or Gnome, XFCE, etc). At the bottom kicker is running, this is your Start menu and task bar. If you look towards the right side of the bottom you will see 1, 2, 3, 4. These are the virtual desktops. I setup for just 4. This allows me to organize my screens in whatever fashion I want. When I start my heavy duty work I can have the browser & email on one desktop, music playing on another, the P2P program on the third and the CD burner running on 4. It makes it much easier for me to work.

When you look at the right hand side you will see an application called GKRELLM. This allows me to monitor how the system is running and what applications are taking up the CPU. It also has realtime weather monitor along with other toys.