Tuesday, July 5, 2011


By now most of you who received last week's e-mail from me will have either correctly deduced that I did not in fact get "a iphone from my relatives" and deleted the spam message. Those of you who did seize the precious chance to shop for PC, TV, motorcycle and so on at that site are probably still awaiting delivery. You may want to check that status, and while you're online perhaps check out your credit card accounts as well.

This is the second time in eight months some spambot has been able to access my Hotmail contacts list and send similar messages for sites hoping to capture credit card details from people who haven't already donated their life savings to that unfortunate guy in Nigeria.

There is an upside. I heard from several old friends whom I haven't corresponded with lately. The downside, unfortunately, is that more than a few thought that perhaps I had actually written the e-mail after a tad too much vodka.

After this last attack, I went into my Hotmail contacts list and altered everyone's e-mail address so a spammer couldn't automate sending a message yet I would still be able to remember what the true address is. I also deleted contacts who aren't contacting me (and vice versa) anymore. That left me with only a handful of people who will be annoyed if the spambot gets by my rudimentary protection and strikes again.

I say rudimentary because I sent an e-mail to about five people last week and when I typed in their names two addresses came up - the original and the altered. I am not quite sure why those I have changed are still showing up and will try to figure out how to permanently remove them. But I am a little worried that the final solution may involve dealing with Microsoft technical support - something I have been able to avoid for years by switching to Apple Macs.

You know Apple Macs - the ones that don't get hacked!

I may have been tempted to revert to old-fashioned snail mail where you just lick some glue, put the stamp on and throw it in a metal box in the shopping mall. Then you wait to see if you can still taste that glue on your tongue when the letter arrives.

I should add that the recent record of Australia Post has not inspired me to seriously consider reverting to traditional mail. When we went to Bali, I completed the form to have them hold our mail for the week. They are supposed to deliver the held mail on the day you designate as your return.

In this case that was June 20. I am pleased to report that AusPost successfully held our mail for the week. Unfortunately more than two weeks and three phone calls later the held mail hasn't been given to us. And don't even think of going to the post office and collecting it. It is held in the distribution center and mere mortals like us are not permitted there.

There's obviously more to come with this story (although I'm not sure it's the held mail that is coming). And I am especially pleased to report that LK, fresh from her successful campaign in the Optusian Wars, has taken it upon herself to lead the fight.

Obviously something is holding up our mail. Be it rain, hale or dark of night, I don't know. But I suspect that LK might be the answer to our problem. I'll let you know.

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