Friday, June 30, 2006

Did somebody sell a Yahoo email database?

A few years ago, around 2000, maybe 2001, I signed up with a yahoo account. This was so I could gain access to the yahoo games system and try out word racer. When I signed up I had to give yahoo an email address to confirm the account with. I use custom crafted email addressses which encode the site's name in it so I can filter out companies that refuse to honor their unsubscribe/stop sending me junk options.

Other than the initial email to confirm the account, that address has never been used for anything--in general I use these addresses as receive only. And kindly, yahoo never used it again to send me spamvertising. Also, I haven't played a yahoo game in about 3, maybe 4 years. Today, however, I received a spam to that address. This spam was clearly illegal junk spam, a 419, and so it clearly wasn't condoned or sanctioned by yahoo, however it arrived at an address that existed for a one-time use to receive an email from Yahoo, and then again two years later for a password recovery (yeah, I forgot it).

This means that the existence of this address was only recorded in two places, my email archives in which the original was saved, and yahoo's internal databases. Therefore, since my systems have not been compromised (I manage internet servers for a living, and track all activity in and out of my boxes), this means that someone with access to Yahoo's internal listings of email addresses has sold/made available that list to illegal scammers. Not good.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

419 Eaters scam awesome carvings

Carved N64 419eater is a site dedicated to people who turn the tables on Nigerian 419 scammers. The usual bag is to get them to write something dumb on a sign and send in a picture of themselves. One of them, however, inspires them with great riches in exchange for a sample of carved artwork. This is the story of one such 419 eater who, after convincing the artist that the sculpture "shrunk" in the mail, gets the scammer to send in a carving of a Commodore 64. Quite impressive. The real gem, however, is found in the trophy room where an enterprising 419eater gets a carved N64! Quite impressive.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Man of steel, made of rubber

Well, it turns out that the Man of Steel is made of rubber. At least that's what the over-used, too-close-up CGI made it look like. But the good news is that just like Joe Sixpack, he likes a Budweiser when he's got woman troubles, though his supporters are cool with Bud Light. Lois Lane drives the new Audi sport-utility-compact, talks on a Samsung cell phone and the Daily Planet has switched over to VoIP for their phone system. Oh, and Jimmy Olsen uses a sexy new Nikon digicam. Certain kinds of refreshment, however were limited to plain old advertisements.

So, evidently all is well in metropolis. Of course, not all product placement would have been appropriate given the plot. Then again, maybe latex can't stand up to the man of steel.

Oh yeah, in a global market with timed releases, it's no longer commercially viable for S-man to stand for "Truth, Justice and the American Way". Now he just (always has) stood for Truth and Justice". Good to know.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Tips for Game Masters

Alan De Smet has a nice collection of tips for game masters. Advice for any game player really.

The Golden Rule

Have fun.

Maybe you're breaking a "rule" from a magazine article or web page. If you're having fun, don't worry about it.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Levers, a game of balance

Screen shot of levers
The game of levers is a wonderful little toy where the goal is to keep the stuff out of the water. Each time you succeed, the ante is raised by giving you more things to balance. Like a mobile, the key to winning is evening out the weight among all the hooks you have available. Of course, there are some nice dynamic elements like the birds you can shoo and the bucket of water you can drain. Lots of fun.

Friday, June 9, 2006

Daily UML

I've started a new website, Daily UML which is intended to serve as a regularly updated site giving examples and discussion of UML issues. The first post is up and with luck I'll be able to keep up a five-posts/week schedule. Since it has a specific technical focus, I'm hoping the update schedule won't be unbearable. If need be, I'll ramp back to a Mon/Wed/Fri schedule. We shall see. So, for now, if you want to see, talk or learn about UML, head on over.


The domain was lost to a domain squatter, so that's the end of that.


For many years, NIST has hosted the online Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures. It's an excellent resource for any computer science student or practitioner. It contains concise, complete definitions of most important aspects of computer science. From the obvious quicksort to the obscure Fisher-Yates Shuffle. Bookmark worthy any day.