Economy Life and Personal Tech and Culture

The business of spamming email inboxes

Lately, I have been getting a lot of spam emails in my inboxes (both gmail and, inspite of the usually reliable spam protection provided by Google. A lot of this spam has attached images that I usually discard without looking. I decided to look at one of these emails tonight, and it was spam sent by someone paid indirectly by a listed company to coerce investors into buying their stock!

As you can see, the company is not doing very well, but it has some good news in the form of about $275,000 in non-brokered private proceeds. It has also appointed a new President, and a new Mining Consultant. I believe this company has only recently been listed, but due to my limited investment and stock exchange knowledge, I am not sure if that is correct. Nevertheless, what took me by surprise is the fact that the picture has a legal disclaimer that says that the spammer was paid an amount of $25,000 to “publish” the “report”! I knew that email spamming was big business, but didn’t realize it’s so easy to earn 25 grands just by sending an image to random email addresses.

Tech and Culture

It’s camping season again…

So, after a wonderful camping season last year, it’s that time again. Playstation 3 comes out this Friday (17th), and the Nintendo Wii comes out on Sunday. Already, the pre-orders for the $600 premium PS3 system are selling for as much as $1,700 on ebay!

Apparently, some people actually started lining up for the next-gen gaming console 4 days in advance, until they were made to leave. I bought an Xbox 360 last year. Maybe, I’ll get a PS3 this year!

Check out this funny video about a guy dropping his Xbox 360 last year while showing it off!

ADDENDUM: Click on this video to see the guys being interviewed before they were asked to leave!

ADDENDUM: “Entrepreneurs” in Cary, NC, are now hiring homeless people to stand in line for them for $100 a day!

Life and Personal

My horoscope for the day

My reading for today says, “Celebrate what is sure to be a good day by getting out and connecting with people.” Come to think of it, today is in fact a very good day. There’s lots of sun outside, and I do feel like going to the lake and talking to people. Maybe, I’d call up a friend today to catch up with them.

The extended forecast goes like this:
Remember that it’s your duty to shine, so put away any excessive modesty. The stars declare that it’s time for you to share your talents. The world needs what you can give. What have you been too shy to declare?

I am still trying to figure out how I could make the extended version more relevant. That’s the fun about reading horoscopes. They are usually cryptic messages that could be deciphered in a multitude of ways. What have I been trying to be modest about? Hmm…maybe it’s a signal that I need to stop doubting my capabilities, and just do it!

Horoscopes provide me joy…

India Life and Personal Politics

The joys of living in a democracy

Yesterday was election day in the US, something that happens every 2 years. The responsibility of electing representatives to the 435 House seats as well as 33 out of 100 Senate seats was given to the public today. As I sit here watching the Democratic party take control of the House for the first time in around 14 years, I find the election coverage very familiar.

There’s the usual reporting of live precincts, live interviews, the usual anxiety, and the usual rejoicing by the winners. I am a big fan of the statistics and graphical analysis, and it seems that not much is different in the way newscasters and reporters function in India and the US.

Now, if only I could vote in this country…

Tech and Culture

Turbulent times in the reliable software industry

After the Xbox Live snafus two weeks ago, Micro-Soft has done it again! This time “less than 1%” of the Xbox 360 owners (roughly 6 million at last count) had problems getting the latest firmware update released a couple days ago. Apparently, the engineers forgot to incorporate cross-checks for the unlikely possibility that someone might have avoided applying all the previously released updates to their system before downloading this latest update. These people are now left with an expensive paperweight, and Microsoft deserves some credit here as it is trying as hard as possible to provide them with new consoles. A newer update to the update has also been released. 

I am glad I am safe! 😀

In other news, a strain of California electronic voting machines was found to have a “featured” flaw that enables multi-voting by the same person. The developers claim that this is an expected feature as the button responsible for the flaw is supposed to be never pressed during actual operating. Yeah right! All this after the infamous Diebold fiasco. I am sure global voting machine developers could learn something from India, where there have been no Electronic Voting Machine exploits to date.

I am starting to get critical of people who diss software development outsourcing to India as buggy.

UPDATE: Looks like is down once again for “scheduled maintenance”. Uh oh!