As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
Good day, Sir,
I was thinking about the recent Federal bill concerning the legislation concerning "spam" or electronic junk mail.
I was thinking that there was one item that was not covered by that legislation (or at least I think so) that concerns the "opt-out" provision.
On one of my websites, I've created about 60 or more "fake" email addresses to help me sort out the information that I receive from my readers. Since I own that domain ("www.havetodance.com"), all email going to that domain gets forwarded to my personal email account.
Spammers and other people use "spiders", programs that surf the web for the sole purpose of "harvesting" email addresses for the purpose of sending out spam. Here is my problem:
[added afterwards:]Furthermore, some Internet experts have suggested that using those spammers' opt-out features merely confirms that they have a legitimate email address to which they can send more of their spam. These experts recommend *not* replying to the spammers. This cuts into the effectiveness of the "out-out" requirements.
One primary concern that everyone should note is that spam is an *invasion* of our home. It is theft of our time and it is [uncompensated] work (to remove the spam) for which we are not being paid. It is theft of this country's productivity. Regular paper advertisers get stopped at our mailbox (and *they* pay the freight). We can choose not to watch the advertisements on television (though we are getting fair value in return in the form of entertainment). There is no redeeming social value in spam (plus the fact that it's unsolicited). Everyone should be appalled that spammers are allowed to send offensive material into our homes without our consent. [added this sentence afterward:] Why should I have to opt-out of getting porn in my emailbox? Everyone should be appalled that spammers are allowed to promote illegal activity (such as boxes to steal cable services)
The programs used by spammers to harvest email addresses should be legislated (I would prefer "outlawed") because their sole purpose is to enable the spammers to harass the public and invade the privacy of our homes. The current legislation does not go far enough. I hope you will consider putting forth some amendments to correct these flaws.
Just as the United States has treaties with other countries to curb illegal activity, I think that this country should work with other countries to get rid of safe havens in which these people (the spammers) operate. I recognize that in the big picture of world hunger, war, terrorism, and the multitude of bigger and more urgent problems, dealing with spam is, alas, way down the list, probably somewhere below the administration's interest in, for example, improving the average car mileage, reducing polution, and reducing our dependency on foreign oil, but I believe that this is one of those little distractions that prevent us from being focused on the big picture(s).
Thank you for your time and attention.
PS: Please note that I'm not against legitimate advertisers who get customers and readers to accept targetted electronic advertisement. They do offer services and value to those who *choose* to receive it.
PPS: On January 30, 2004, I've received approximately 112 pieces of spam as compared to 26 legimate notes and 52 bouncebacks from failed virus messages. On another account, I received 562 pieces of spam while getting only 8 pieces of legitimate email.
FYI to my readers: For better or worse, I am not against "political spam" that seeks to inform us on issues of importance that are facing us, though I am against the use of such spam to distort the truth. It is the responsibility of a free and democratic society to be informed of the important issues at hand and *to ask questions*! However, this sort of spam should still be regulated.
Feel free to copy and send to your own Congressman as your own.
One last thing: There is no email account at havetodance.com so I can't send out email from this domain. If you get any mail from any user at havetodance.com, it's going to be either spam or a virus.
I find that some promoters forget to send me their information on time, probably because I'm not always around at their events and I fall off their radar. Please remind the dance promoters you see that *they* need to send me their information in order to make sure it appears on this website and they need to send it early enough so that I have time to type it in.
I went to the Comcast IMAX theater the other day to see Matrix Revolutions (aka Matrix III). This was one of the features of the Jordans Furniture Store in Natick. With it's hilltop location overlooking the rest of Framingham and Natick, it's fairly isolated. The former tenant of that location was HQ, the (former) green competitor to Home Depot's orange, and, well, they're not around anymore.
The boys (Barry & Eliot) must have decided that they needed to give people a reason to make that long lonely hike up the mountain to visit their store. They needed a reason for people to stay up there. People might get hungry before or after going through their huge store so they added Kelly's Roast Beef next door. They put in a New Orleans/Bourbon Street theme at the front of the door with some canned "entertainment" (finally threw away the purple beads from several years ago and now I have another one). And, of course, there's the six-story high, 12000-watt stereo IMAX theater. While I prefer the one at the Museum of Science with wraparound screen, it's still pretty neat to see only the movie and not the theater. Even the snacks seemed reasonable compared to the commercial theaters.
I won't bore you with the details of the movie since I'm sure most of you have already seen it, albeit in "ordinary" theaters. When I got out of the theater, I looked back on the outside of the building and saw a whole wall of lights blinking and moving around (I'm sure that was the American flag I saw in the lights).
I was forced to come to one conclusion: There's hope for the rest of us. It's okay to have fun and we *don't* have to grow up.
I was at Swing City the other night where the White Heat Swing Orchestra was playing to a extremely packed crowd (more than usual, I heard). It was also the bandleader's (Craig Ball's) birthday so that seemed like a reasonable excuse to go (I gave him and the band a cake for the occasion).
There was one incident that I noticed that I had to tell someone.
There was this guy in a dark hat (no gentleman wears a hat, especially one that big, inside a building and in front of a lady) who was standing at the front of the stage and he was staring at one of the guys in the front row of the band. Note that I didn't say he "looked"; I said he "stared"...for a while...while the band was playing.
Now if I were one of the band members playing with this strange person staring at me, I'd think I'd have a seriously hard time concentrating on what I was doing. What was this guy thinking?
I'm sure many, if not most, of you have been inundated with email containing viruses lately. It seems that even the most paranoid and obsessive users aren't immune to getting viruses on their computer, in spite of their best efforts.
Sometime this week, I had started the shutdown process on my computer, shut off the monitor and went to bed. When I got up in the morning, I realized that my computer was still on. I turned on the monitor and noticed that the Norton CleanSweep program had just finished monitoring the installation of some software; I know I hadn't installed any software the night before. After completing that installation process, I noticed my computer running sluggishly. After that I decided to run my Antivirus software and, of course, there was a virus on my computer.
Please make sure that you have antivirus software on your computers and make sure you *use it* regularly.
A local teacher promised to write an item about people who attend classes. This should be a good one. And you wonder where I get my inspirations for this Soapbox. Stay tuned.
This website has about 60+ "fake" email addresses scattered throughout the website, include firstname.lastname@example.org for the purpose of helping me organize the information I receive from my readers every day. These addresses exist only on this website. Only one of them is related to tango; the rest are intended for swing and ballroom dancing information. All of these addresses forward to me and such addresses don't exist as email accounts so there's no way I could have used those addresses to sign up for electronic junkmail. I've gotten 44 copies of their mailing in one night so far.
If you want to help stop spam, please let organizers of events like Buenos Aires Tango Week 2004 know that you will not be supporting venues that harass people with spam.
I got a call at 11:30 pm from a dance teacher who wanted to tell me that his/her website was plagarized by another dance teacher.
I immediately thought, "No! Not again!"
There's a dance teacher (the "plagiarizER") who will be offering a dance class in the coming week and this teacher copied, *word-for-word*, the course description (even down to the exclamation mark ) from the website of another teacher (the "plagiarizEE") who is *currently* teaching the same class. Announcements of these upcoming classes were sent out to a local email list (and I got a copy of it);
A couple of local dancers (including another teacher who has been plagiarized in the past) caught this act and sent out their own condemnation of this fairly blatant act of plagiarism. One dancer sent in a letter asking if the plagiarism was a mistake and the descriptions disappeared from the offending website soon after (though a copy of the webpage was saved before that happened).
Regardless of whether it was an act of stupidity or laziness (most likely, both), the owner of that website and dance business should make an immediate and public apology to the victim. This would be the mature, responsible and *honorable* action to take. Lifting whole paragraphs of original text from someone else's website and using it as one's own is outright *theft* and plagarism, even if it were an honest mistake. At this time, several dancers have written into the plagiarizER and those people have reported not receiving a response from the person who copied the class descriptions. Ignoring this and hoping that it goes away is unacceptable.
The dance community isn't that big; therefore, little things like this action will be noticed and many of us have been friends for years so we're going to be looking out for each other. The veteran dance teachers are smart and responsible enough not to copy information from someone else.
One more thing: I wrote an article for this website back in 1998 about Plagiarism.
P.S.: Just a few hours before updating the website, I received a note (through the relevant Yahoo group that the teacher who is working for the "PlagiarizER" made a honest mistake and he apologized for the pain and suffering that the "PlagiarizER" went through. However, he did *not* apologize for the pain and suffering of the victim (the one who was plagiarized) who, in fact, was one of his first teachers. I'm also disappointed that the owner of the offending website took three days to acknowledge, with a backhanded apology, the mistake even though he knew about the mistake that day.
I think someone ended up insulting all the local West Coast Swing teachers that way this week.
Those of you who are forced to use new email addresses because your ISP got bought out should do a search on the web for instances of your old addresses so you can tell everyone to change them (you can also tell the webmasters to take you off the website to less the amount of spam you get!). There have been so many buyouts and many of the vendors listed on this website still haven't sent in changes-of-address to me. I only know about them when I happen to look through a particular page for editting and I come across a now-defunct ISP like MediaOne or ATTBI.
You might want to consider getting a domainname and having it forward to your real address so that if you ever need to change Internet providers, you only have to change the forwarding to your new address instead of telling hundreds of people what your new email address is.