Monday, November 26, 2007

O'Reilly Books Yes ! Spider/Spyware DataBases NO !

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I just had occasion to call O'Reilly' to see if there was some wild chance I could get a replacement CD for one of O'Reilly's books. The service was absolutely out of this world ! A human operator in 3 rings on immediate pickup of the call. A quick transfer to customer service after listening to my need accurately. Another quick transfer to the CD replacement operator. He'll be burning a CD and sending it out this afternoon. No stories like, "you need to buy another book and CD combination." Or stories like, "we can't do that, it violates copyright." Or stories like, "we're out of stock," or like, "that'll be $19.99 shipping."

On the negative side, not connected in any way to O'Reilly, I did a bunch of research the other day on GPS units for laptops and cell phones, for a client, visiting many sites, and signing up at several vbulletin sites for memberships, always using a throwaway address.

Now I am getting email spam on the topic of buying such devices. The scary part is that the spams are not coming to the throwaway addresses. Instead they are coming to an address that is only posted on the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce. For some reason, the NCCofC insists on putting our emails right out in the open, where they are easy pickings for even the dumbest of spiders.

What seems to have happened is that either by my signups, or my site visits, a database some where has gotten wind of my interest (my client's interest) and has linked to me via an email they never saw during my search. This nicely excludes the parties to whom I gave the throw away addies from any blame, because they can claim they never gave away the email. They didn't, but apparently they did give away (more likely sell) the name, and let the third parties take the hit via my alternative addy.

All the more reason for assuming a totally fake persona, a computer just for web use, with cookie and history claarings after every session, and no true personal info. I think I may become nolo volente or maybe Nick Volentia, just to really screw them up.

Also, you know it is kinda funny. gives excellent service too. Is it perhaps because book readers won't put up with the kind of problems I've had with Best Buy and Hopeless Home Depot ? The America public seems to be headed for Ideocracy, the movie.

I went into a fast gas and food place the other day, and picked out a pound of butter, plainly marked $3.99, to avoid a trip into town. I asked what the price per stick was, and the clerk said, "$ .50" I said, "The pound is $3.99 and the price per stick, 1/4 pound, is $ .50?" He said "yes." Somebody should come up with a software program that runs on a cash register screen that offers clerks a chance to win extra cash for learning and demonstrating skills in division...

At the the other end of the spectrum, check out this "Merry Christmas" from Princess Cruises:

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