Saturday, November 24, 2007

The New Updated "Spamming 101" - Part II

The successful candidates who finish Part I of the "How to Spam: Spamming for Beginners" course will graduate to the part II.

The Hardcore Spam:

Now this is the part all the students have been waiting for, or at least those who want to launch their own spamming careers. This is the part which will earn you money, and unlike mails from part I, often ends in "Spam" folder.

The course will cover in detail the industries which provide support for our operations:

  • The Pharmaceutical Industry: Given the amount of "pills" and other "aids" sold on the internet, it does not come as a surprise to the educated people that the world population has sky-rocketed recently. But remember, that means the number of potential customers is increasing by the second. And it is our job to keep the world (-population) ticking.

  • The Inheritance and Immigration Laws: With pros of globalisation, come the cons. With people spreading all over the world, and the nuclear families shrinking, it is hard to keep track of one's relatives (and their money). The course will teach how to track down the immediate relatives (the "relative" being a relative term here), how to get government departments and banks to "clear" the concerned inheritances and to get the "authorities" to write to the "relatives" to impart the glad tidings.

  • The Banking Industry: Given the number of banks coming up (and being taken over by bigger fish), it is understandable that the websites for banks keep on changing. It is our duty to provide people with the updated information. Also, there is a social-service angle attached to this of helping people who forget their passwords by storing them.

  • The Retail Industry: Given the globalisation trends, it is but understandable that new industries need to spread overseas. And who more can understand the tricks of local markets and finances as "finance agents" recruited in the country to collect and send money to parent company? Ask any professor in marketing...

  • The Stock Market: The number of new companies coming up every day, and the rising global economy... It pays to be on top of your portfolio.

  • The Movie and Media Industry: There has been a decline in number of mails giving people access to their favourite "stars" and their special "movies" or photographs which the general public can never come across. We feel that like retro fashions, this industry is poised for comeback, not to mention an upturn. This is the evergreen source of clicks out of all the mentioned industries. Remember, this is where the "hardcore" part of the course name can be taken literally.

Apart from the market review, the course will also cover the essential skills required of a successful spammer. A short list of course contents:

  • What's in a name: How the name doesn't matter, and how getting even a part of name is enough online.

  • Spelling and grammar, do they matter?: Hint: not in the least.

  • No red tape: How to avoid the delays in official channels by bypassing the authorities (see point 2 and 3 above). We can send their mails for them.

  • The New Royalty: After all, Africa can have only so many deposed princes and dead rich men. There are more continents (and hence countries) in the world.

  • Marketing medicines, an art: The claims of "breaking a log" are definitely getting old fast.

  • Know thy enemy: The videos such as this, and other information.

Admissions are open (Instructors and research fellows can also send mails, with 3 writing samples in their area of interest).

Legal small print (because our lawyers said so):

  1. The institute does not guarantee any income after the course (except for the institute of course).

  2. All fees are payable in advance, in cash. Offers of partnerships with overseas industry or details lost bank accounts will not be accepted in lieu of the fees.

  3. The course does not advocate sending spam mails, the role of the institute being limited to teaching.

  4. For any damage caused to the candidates, the institute will only be as liable as the institute teaching horse riding or archery.

  5. For any damage caused by the candidates, the institute will only be as liable as the institute from where a student creates and sends out a virus.

- The Great Eagle Has Spoken

Quote of The Day:

Like almost everyone who uses e-mail, I receive a ton of spam every day. Much of it offers to help me get out of debt or get rich quick.
- Bill Gates

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The New Updated "Spamming 101" - Part I

It's been an year since last time I gave you the sneak peek into my course "Spamming 101: Tips for New Spammers". And given how things change in today's fast-paced world (the fact brought to me by this great article by Aditi), what then was cutting edge is now commonplace. So, I think it is time we need to make the course known once more for the syllabus which is truly the ahead of its time.

Here's your look into the new, updated "How to Spam: Spamming for Beginners" (yes, the changes start from the name, and no, we don't like calling potential customers "dummy").

The new course will be split into two parts: the non-earning part, and the monetizing part.

Non-earning or social part:

The slew of social sites and suchlike have opened up new ways for the learning spammers to hone their skills. And since this is more of irritating, and not exactly "spamming" (except for some people), you can easily get away with a lot, while getting less brickbats and flames coming your way.

The coursework will consist of topics like (as usual, my comments are in brackets):

  • Social Networks and Invitations:
    • How to make sure invitations are sent to all your contacts

    • How to make sure all your address books are used for sending out invites

    • How to optimize contact lists so as to make sure nobody is left out

    • How to avoid the temptation to add anything personal to the invites (mass-invites are always more efficient)

    • How to add all the Facebook applications you come across, so as to multiply the amount the mail

    • And for extra credit: Sending invites to people who will be least interested in the app you are promoting

  • Social Networks and Requests: With social networking, you are in an enviable position to keep your contact list always growing, thereby giving you new people (and mailboxes) to experiment with.
    • How to give personal touch to the requests with creative new words (who said the orthodox word "friendship" sounds better than the new-age avataar "fraanship"?)

    • Experimenting with grammar (these two points come in handy in next part of the course, too)

    • How to use smsese and other forms of not easily understood words (today's kids should excel in this)

    • For extra credit: Only for girls, sending "frndship" requests (told you we are ahead of our times)

  • Forwards: These have been around for ages, and yet, the importance of forwards in spamming can never be underestimated.
    • How to send all the forwards you get to everybody you know, however remotely.

    • How to write effective "If you don't send this to X people in Y minutes" appendices, and add them to all forwards which don't have anything at the end (that's a waste of a forward if you ask me)

    • The optimum number of daily forwards you should send so as to irritate people an optimum amount

    • The main point: Never ever, at any point of time, for any mail, put the e-mail addresses in anything but "to:" field. In fact, remove "cc:" and "bcc:" fields from your mail application. Remember, the more the "visible" number of people you send the mail to, the more people will think of you as a famous person.

But remember, since this is done mostly to the people you know (or people in your address book), this can go either way. So you should carefully monitor the amount of "social" spam you generate. On one hand, if you irritate the people a lot, they know where you can be found. But on the other hand, your "friends" may be able to forgive you a lot more worthless e-mails than the people you don't know.

So, the main part of this course will deal with the determining frequency and amount of spam you should start with. Research positions are available for this topic.

The course will also cover other media, like scraps, blogging (and comments on blogs) and so on.The successful candidates who finish this part will graduate to the "Hardcore Spam" part of the course. For details of that part, stick around till next post.

- The Great Eagle Has Spoken

Quote of The Day:

We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true.
- Robert Wilensky, speech at a 1996 conference

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Quick Draw McGraw

Event: Intra-DC Charades Championships (Round: Comics and Superheroes)
Date: Regrettably Forgotten
Venue: the basement hall in one of the buildings in office

Imagine this. A team is heading back to their place after their turn, their heads bowed in defeat. Other team heads up to the podium. Two members take their places, while third member picks up the chit from the box. He turns, gestures, the name is uttered. The team heads back before the previous team has reached their places. Time taken: 2 seconds

So, was it a surprise we won the first prize?

So, let me tell you how it came about...

Our team was (hastily) selected the morning of competition. Due to the projects (all members from different projects), none of us had time to sit together and plan anything. The only planning was done while walking to the venue of the competition.

We arrived, and went through first round easily. Second round, the team before ours was on the podium, and they could not guess anything, despite energetic gesturing by the "dumb". From what he was doing, we guessed that he was trying to convey "Phantom" to his team-mates. "Why is he doing all that? I would just show a person drawing guns from his holsters" was the verdict of our discussion.

Turns out they were supposed to answer "Asterix" (or something like that), and not Phantom (which actually made it a lot "dumber", IMO). Then our team was called up. I went on the stage, saw the name given to us...

I may not have beaten the record for "Fastest Draw", but I must say, I came pretty close to it that day.

I have friends so tuned to a common wavelength that many times we just need to look at each other to get what we want to say (a thing the girlfriends of my friends rue). I have had charades adventures when the correct guesses came before any movement. I have had charades games where the opposing team got so desperate that they started giving imaginary movie names (which incidentally, we guessed, all of them). But this was the only time it was, "We came, I did (something), We Won".

Got any such "connections" and adventures to share?

- The Great Eagle Has Spoken

Quote of The Day:

- Robin

Thursday, November 08, 2007

About Pu La...

Purushottam Lakshman Deshpande (November 8, 1919 - June 12, 2000), called Pu. La. or Bhai affectionately, was one of the most accomplished Marathi artists (and believe me when I say that there is quite a competition for top spots in that category). Apart from being a famous writer, he was an orator, actor, director and music director, not to mention a very talented musician and singer.

His writings span across various fields. He is most famous for his humorous portraits (of lives of mumbaikars and others), and other humorous writings, but he has also written plays, character portraits, travelogues, dramas, screenplays and dialogues for movies. He also translated "Pygmalion", "The Old Man and The Sea" and many other famous works into Marathi. He brought "One Man Act" to Marathi theatre, and many of his acts are still remembered.

He is often compared to George Bernard Shaw or P. G. Wodehouse, but his brand of humour (when he shifts the upper layer of comedy just a bit to show the tragedy it covers in many cases), in my opinion is almost unique. Avoiding temptation to write a long post on my favourite author, I guess it should be enough to say that he is one of the leading humour writers in Maharashtra, the state which has produced many famous writers in this field over the ages.

The "Pu. La. Deshpande Foundation" is a charitable foundation, which he started with his wife, Sunitabai Deshpande, herself a very good writer. From the royalties the couple got from their books, they used to keep just the money needed for their necessities, and pass on the rest of the amount to the foundation.

In the last century, at least three generations on maharashtrians have known PuLa's writing intimately. It is very hard to find a Marathi household which does not have at least one of his books (and it will be very hard to find a true Marathi student, who does not carry at least one of his books when he flies outside India). His writings and plays are so much part of Marathi people's psyche, that people can recite the whole dialogues by heart.

If you think I am exaggerating, my post on one of his famous books, "Vyakti ani Valli" is the most popular one on my book blog, and has more views than the second and third posts combined. And I am sure the same fate awaits my next post on that blog about "Asa Me Asami".

In short, though the term "Maharashtrache Ladke Vyaktimatva" (Maharashtra's Favourite Personality, is the closest translation) has now lost the meaning due to political overuse, this is one person who truly deserved the epithet.

- The Great Eagle Has Spoken

P.S. Maharashtra Times has a great collection of quotes, poems and incidents from PuLa's life. A must read for anyone who understands Marathi.

Quote of The Day:

There is an instrument called "divider" in pencilbox. It did nothing except dividing me and mathematics.
-P. L. Deshpande, Bigari te Matric

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Medium, Nothing "Well-Done"?

Every weekend, I look forward to catching up with my "favourite" serials on Indian television. And one of the main reasons I look forward to this time is that, it has never happened that it hasn't inspired me to ask some fundamental questions of life.

Just take my today's thoughts as an example:

  1. As far as I remember, taking aatmas of dead people is a task allocated to Yama (and his Yamdoot) in Hindu Mythology. Since when was the task "outsourced" to the scythe-bearing Death?

  2. And is that why sadhus (tr: sages) now recognize Death? Is this what they mean by "Global Village"?

  3. Death being such a mean, old (yup, mean and old both) thing, shouldn't its aura be black, and not such glowing bright Rin-ki-safedi white?

  4. Luckily, the old remedies(?) to frustrate the Death still work (remember the tale of Savitri and Yama?)

  5. There might be worse reasons to die than just because your wife cannot care to follow Karavachauth, right? (And standing near a Sati-Savitri might be more deadly than just jale pe namak (tr: rubbing salt on...) in this case)

  6. Incidentally, how do you know that someone sitting next to a temple in a place completely foreign to you is Gyaani Mahatma (tr: An Enlightened One)? As a corollary, how exactly does a GM look?

  7. On an unrelated note, why do all women take a bath on suhag-raat (tr: wedding night?)?

  8. If somebody is suspected to have died of poisoning, and if there is a beverage glass lying nearby, the conclusion is obvious. So, after discussing and saying it out loudly many times, and packing off the glass to forensics, why are some people surprised when they hear that the beverage contains poison? Is it short-term memory or are they surprised that they got it right?

  9. If police are tracking somebody who used to work in the place where a murder was committed, why should it come as a news to the commissioner that the aforem. person used to work in the aforem. place? What happened to all lines of communication in the investigation?

As you can see, despite the doubts about television's IQ (or lack of it), it does keep providing me such food for thought weekly... Nothing better to relax on a weekend..

- The Great Eagle Has Spoken

P.S. Can anybody give me the English translations of the Hindi words I have used here? For a detailed description of "Karvachauth", see Madhavi's comment below.

P.P.S. And no, in my opinion, suhag-raat != honeymoon. Honeymoon normally extends much more than "that" one night.

Quote of The Day:
Television is a new medium. It's called a medium because nothing is well-done.
- Fred Allen (1894 - 1956), on the radio program The Big Show, Dec. 17, 1950