Congratulations! You are still alive!Another year, huh? You must have been looking after yourself or something. Or perhaps you're still young. Whatever, you're still here and that is good, because it's going to be a good year, the best yet. Can you feel it?
Thanks to everyone who sent greetings over the festive season, even those automated ones which at least show the webmaster cares about something, though using "Xmas" instead of Christmas found me immediately at their unsubscribe page. Erm, it's from "Christ", you see, as in, what Christmas is all about. Or is it just some Pagan festival? Och, who really knows? Anyways, fuxxake, in a hand-written card it could perhaps be forgiven, but a mass email? Guys!
If you've ever watched an old woman, say, your grandmother; who's hands were so badly gnarled with arthritis that she could barely hold a cup; struggle her way through handwriting five hundred Christmas cards because, well, "everyone does it", you'll hear what I'm saying.
About three months, my Mum says, since she felt Nana around, I was thinking about the same. that's good right? When you can't summon them any more, it means they've fucked off, and you can have a wank in peace! Love ye Nana! and we'll all be thinking about you over the next couple of weeks, for sure. I'm talking to no one in particular, here.
In Scotland, the Winter can be long, dark and cold, so a wee festival in the middle seems like a nice idea. I'm thinking it's designed to come just before the "paying for holiday" season, financially speaking. I don't go in much for either, to be honest, or for finance in general, much to my detriment.
Winter, of course, is how we weed-out the old and frail in the Far Northern Hemisphere Societies, at least the stingy ones that can't stump up a half-decent pension for their old gits, who let's face it mostly didn't do very much except work their entire lives for someone else, paying extortionate taxes and national insurance all the way. Money that if they'd invested wisely, even fairly unwisely, would have probably still been worth a helluva lot more than the meagre allowance that is their current dole.
So the unwanted old gits die of cold, you see. it's a bit like Logan's Run, except instead of thirty years old, it's seventy, or eighty. Saves on National Health bills. In "the old days", neighbours and friends would look in on old folk over the cold months, make sure they were okay, that sort of thing. But society is all messed up now and many old folk are, if not afraid, then at least fairly wary of their neighbours. It is returning, I think; society; though very slowly, and in patches.
Back to the pension thing: a dozen-odd years ago, self-employed and working on a building-site, of all places, I got to the end of my tax year and was informed that I'd neglected to pay any National Insurance. Oops! I called a tax inspector and we talked. Fairly quickly we got to, "so, is it worth paying, then, or what?" and his reply took me aback, mainly because I'd imagined he was employed to say roughly the opposite, he said, "To be honest, I wouldn't bother. By the time you're pension age, there probably won't be any such thing. You'd be better off investing the money in a decent pension fund". Of course I'd already blown the money on drink and drugs, so his answer was, to say the least, convenient.
Perhaps I'm hoping that by the time I'm old and grey, society will have once again returned to a state where folk look out for each other. Or perhaps something else will happen. Bottom line is, though I do consider myself fairly sensible these days, I have not lost one single night's sleep over not having a pension, nor will I ever.
Which brings me neatly to the subject of Spam, indeed, unrequested sales literature in any form. LISTEN! I DO NOT WANT A PENSION! Nor do I require a mortgage, amongst other things I do not require. Here's a Fact: spam is sent. Yes, we know it's insane, we know that dominions all over the globe are busy creating laws against it, and the fines are heavy, etc, etc, but spammers will still send spam, lots of it. Mainly because they are just plain stupid.
We have to accept that as humans continue to reproduce, there will always be a steady supply of stupid people waiting to take the place of the stupid spammer who was stupid enough to get jailed, and then some. We need to accept spam as a part of internet life. I have zero tolerance for unsolicited paper mail, by the way, those fuckerz can burn in hell.
So what if, instead of fighting spam, we accept it. But instead of also accepting the spammer's stupidity, we give them some intelligence. As radical as this might sound, I think it might just work. Here's my plan..
For each email address there is a list. I don't know where it is, or how all this is implemented, that's not my job. On this list you will find all my likes and dislikes. Things I'm interested in, things I'm not. Things I want to buy, and things I don't want to buy, ever. Simple.
Instead of trying to evade us with misspellings, and fake "hi! I really loved your pics" (oops, they haven't done that one yet, sorree!) subject lines, they could classify their spam. As I started this paragraph I realised my initial* idea - that the spammers could use this information (perhaps in some central registry) to know where to send mail - was unworkable, they cannot be trusted. This classified mail can be then be dealt with. It could even be forwarded cheaply by large, efficient, legitimate ISP mail servers to whole blocks of their addresses, without fear of upsetting anyone.
Good news for the spammer, too! Now he (and it's usually a he, isn't it) has an instant "hotlist" of potential customers. No more 0.05% response rates guys! Every mail you send hits a HOT target, interested in what you have to sell, and ready to spend! Think: Targeted Spam. Everyone wins. I'd like to welcome my daily Spam, I'd like to open my inbox and think; Hmm.. I wonder what interesting special offers are available today …
As a side effect, once you have "legal spam", you can create the most horrific penalties for illegal spammers, because now there is absolutely no need to do it. None. I don't think the death penalty is too severe, not for illegal spamming in 2010, or for tree-killing, earth-polluting paper & CD mailing in 2006, for that matter. ... Okay, life imprisonment, then. pfff...
Where was I?
Ah yes, observant sorts will notice these lovely orange pages appearing higgeldy-piggeldy around the place, all part of the general xhtml-ness that's going on at the org. The old (white) pages will be replaced over time, probably quite a long time. Thanks for all the comments and critism I've had over the last couple of years about the old design (and bejeezus! even folk emulating it on their own sites!), I considered them all carefully. No, really I did. Though clearly I gave more consideration to the few who didn't like it, or maybe I just fancied a change; well, it's outta here!
At last, crucially, I've started moving that which is sometimes accused of being "art" into the main site. "output" is probably a better term, music, images, words. that's all I'm going to say about that here, I'm not even going to tell you where to look.
by "initial", I mean, the idea I first had at the end of the previous paragraph.