Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Reaching Me Online

Ahh, for the good old days of the Web. You could stick your E-mail address wherever you wanted to and people would send you E-mail... ; >

Well, it hasn't been like that in a while, due to spam. I have an address that I only use to post on USENET, and I'm up to about 10 pieces of spam a day. Unfortunately, I need to check it sporadically because my ISP insists on having at least one E-mail address separate from my E-mail on their server.

I have a Yahoo E-mail I really don't use, and I get about 3 spams a day from that one. Luckily, the spam filter catches most of them.

Seeing the onslaught of spam, I took my E-mail off of my pages a few years ago and opted to use formmail forms.

Stop laughing..

What funny about that was that it turns out formmail has massive security problems. I detached my forms from formmail over the summer, but neglected to take formmail off my server. So, lo, I had a hacker try to spam others with my formmail.


So I've pulled down my Perl scripts and have downloaded a single Perl script which promises it is a bullet-proof mail utility. And I've put my forms back.

If you've been trying to reach me, I'm sorry I've been hard to contact. I'm really not trying to hide. But there's only so much spam you can delete in a day....

Contact the Webmaster.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Meeting Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman

One of my favorite books (well, the first 2/3rds of it, anyway) is the Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay. I also liked The Wonder Boys and Mysteries of Pittsburgh very much. Michael Chabon also runs a wonderful Web site on top of being one of the better writers of our day.

So when I saw he was making a "stealth visit" to his former employer (Jay's Bookstall) to sign some books, I made a point of getting myself out to Oakland to pick up a copy of Summerland and meet Michael.

Ayelet Waldman, Jay, Michael Cabon and Ida-Rose

They were just delightful folks. I'd seen Michael in some TV interviews, but I don't remember having seen Ayelet Waldman before. She's also been writing, a series of mysteries called "The Mommy Track." I bought one of her books as well.

While I've been very lucky to meet lots of writers due to my involvement in SF fandom, I haven't met all that many mainstream writers. I met Barbara Kingsolver after a talk a few years ago, and that's been about it. So meeting a Pulitzer Prize winner, and "local boy makes good" was a real treat.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

He's Probably Dead: Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden hasn't been seen publically since last fall, and he wasn't looking too good at the time. Remember, he was only 44 but was reported to have had severe kidney disease on top of living in a war zone for a few months.

And now, this:


Osama wasn't like Mullah Omar - he didn't completely shun cameras. He'd give a speech every once in a while or demonstrate a rocket launcher in front of video cameras.

The fact that he didn't give this self-congratulatory speech on video means he's probably dead. The fact that he has not been reliably photographed since last
fall, and isn't showing up on a recent video tape during this first anniversary of 9/11, means he's not around to worry about anymore.

But whether it's Osama or some fellow-traveler, his contention that history has been changed is nonsense. While his people did murder about 3,000 people in cold blood and ruin a few blocks of downtown Manhattan and part of the Pentagon, let's examine whose history has changed in the last year, shall we?

Americans, Europeans, et.c.: Few lifestyle changes;
more unemployment, some extra lines at
the airport, more focus on terrorism

Afghanistan: Taliban out, something less onerous in;
al Qaeda's movements greatly restricted
to caves and remote countryside (or underground).

As the crash of Flight 93 demonstrated, Americans woke out of their terrorism stupor pretty fast.

I think the best way to spend tomorrow is to try to acknowledge the hit we took without wallowing in the terror of the day. Living in terror means the terrorists win. I plan to go to work.

I don't believe all terrorists are gone, nor do I believe that we'll never have another terrorist attack. But, as I said last December, I believe we're more likely to have small-scale terrorist acts, not large flying bombs.

2013.02.20: And, OK, I was wrong on this one. Bin Laden was alive until May 2011.