talesbar.jpg (11182 bytes)

Button Bar


By Jeff Schult


Ahh, Virginity Sells ....

Mike and Diane, the two so-called "18-year-old virgins" who were slated to have sex live on the Net at www.ourfirsttime.com, apparently never intended to go through with what is now reportedly just a $5 million scam on an easily titillated public.

Seth Warshavsky, founder of the Internet Entertainment Group, IEG, an adult-site provider, has loudly pulled out of a no-cost sponsorship deal with the site. On Friday afternoon, IEG posted images of documents at one of its own sites, Club Love, to support its claim that the Our First Time site is a "money-making publicity hoax," planned for the 60th anniversary of Orson Welles’ "War of the Worlds" broadcast.

"We were very excited to host this event. We're passionate subscribers to the First Amendment," says Warshavsky. "But then we found out they were going to go through the whole build-up, get AIDS tests, buy condoms, get a hotel room -- and then decide to abstain."

Though a statement on Our First Time insists that the controversial site is a noncommercial venture, "Our First Time" principals were negotiating with IEG to provide credit-card services to the site for age verification at US$5-a-pop on the day of the supposed deflowering, Warshavsky claims.

All I can say is, too bad. I can’t think of anything more delightful than seeing on guy make complete fools out of the national media, the online porn industry and the Christian Coalition in one fell swoop. I wish he’d gotten away with it.

Gubernatorial Spam Backfires

A Georgia gubernatorial candidate’s foray into spamming the electorate backfired last week in practically every way possible – anti-spammers got mad, the campaign violated its ISP’s acceptable use policy, and they couldn’t even forge an address properly, leading to an innocent Mindspring customer receiving all the complaints.

Steve Langford is a Democratic state senator. His campaign organizers sent out the bulk email message on Thursday, and the subsequent fallout prompted them to issue an statement of apology on Friday.

Lee Raudonis, Langford’s campaign manager, said that he was "horrified" at some of the angry responses his office received. The campaign sent out 500 messages using a bulk email software product.

"It was a flagrant violation. It forged headers and implicated another customer, which is grounds for termination," said Harry Smoak, the "abuse captain" who oversees MindSpring's use policy.

By Friday morning, stevelangford@mindspring.com, the email address listed in the text of the spam, was closed, the software package had been returned, payment stopped, and the Friends of Steve Langford had issued its apology.

Raudonis said Langford, if elected, may push for anti-spam legislation.

I don't trust politicians. I don't trust even ex-spammers. And while Langford may have what it takes to be a *Georgia* lawmaker, I don't want him even THINKING about Internet spam law until he can configure his own mail server.

AOL Community Leaders Hacked

Last week, 1,363 AOL Community Leaders -- more than 10% of AOL's remote staff -- found
that the real-life names behind their screen names were stolen by
malicious attackers. The account numbers associated with the accounts were also stolen, according to David Cassell of www.aolwatch.org.

At CNet, the rumor is that the hackers had help on the inside of AOL. It wouldn’t be the first time.
The latest breach comes just weeks after AOL's new "privacy policy" was

In the meantime, CNet has named AOL the Number One national ISP. Some things passeth understanding.

Baby Bells and Bandwidth

The Federal Communications Commission is considering allowing the Baby Bells to spin off high-speed data subsidiaries to compete in the broadband market with little regulation.

Watch out.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Bells have to open their local phone loops to data service and long distance competitors. By and large, most of the competition expected to result from this hasn’t happened, between footdragging and litigation.

Under the proposal, the subsidiaries would not have to share access to their technology.

The FCC says the plan would help level the playing field among the large phone and long distance companies and the new generation of providers in the expanding broadband market that includes technologies such as DSL (digital subscriber line) or cable Net access.

The overriding benefit of the proposal, according to agency officials, is that it would give Baby Bells an incentive to offer high-speed Net access and upgrade their local switch centers: With less regulation the subsidiaries would be able to sell retail services at any price they chose, and would not have to share their new packet-switching technologies and investments with competitors at wholesale costs.

"The key to making this work is that they can't use their existing network in a way to disadvantage their competitors," said one FCC official.

But that’s exactly what the Baby Bells do best. Beware.

1,000,000 sold – 100,000 pissed off

Dave and Bill over at The Computer Report have probably talked to a few more people about Windows 98 than I have, but I’ve been doing some reverse spin on what’s coming out of Microsoft, and it sounds ugly for the consumer.

OK, they’ve sold a million upgrades, and a so-called "independent study says 90 percent are "happy" or "somewhat happy" with the product. From that, we can infer that there are AT LEAST 100,000 brand-new Microsoft haters out there, just since the June 25 release, because to be less than "somewhat happy" with an operating system generally means that there are parts of your computer that don’t work anymore.

Microsoft, incidentally, did not release any methodology for the study, nor could I even find a web page for TRG, the company that did it. For all we know the 90 percent might have come from a question like, "Are you somewhat happy with Windows 98, compared to what you’d be if we poked out your eyeballs with a pointy stick?"

It’s not unthinkable. I, for example, have to say that I’m "somewhat happy" with the Redhat Linux 5.1 box I’m running as a web server now, even though I don’t know most of what I can do with it yet. I’m mostly somewhat happy it’s not Windows 98.


Back to archives