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techsploitation
by annalee newitz

I hate everything

I'M HAVING ONE of those days when everything fills me with loathing. Some dorky blogger finally discovered my work and is telling all his 14-year-old friends what a dumbass I am. Now they're writing me at the rate of about 10 e-mails an hour and asking for "XXX pix" and calling me an idiot newbie blood-drinking monkey who doesn't understand the Web. Democratic communication has its downside. You get to hear exactly what people are really thinking, and sometimes that's way more information than you wanted.

When you're filled with digital hatred, there's really nothing else you can do but ...

Chat with porn spammers A person called T. Higgins sent out a crafty porn spam featuring a giant, throbbing image that said, "Don't go to www.nawtee.net – it's been banned for exploiting college girls!" Cunningly, he had put the address "spam@nawtee.net" in his reply-to field. But I knew better and replied to "edsall@greenhorn1.com," the address in his from field.

"But what if I want to exploit college girls?" I asked.

Miraculously, he replied: "Then go to nawtee.net. I know for a fact that some of these girls are in college at USF and UCF." This was no porn spam drone but a real person. It was like discovering the man behind the curtain in Wizard of Oz. So I continued our conversation. Why not? At least he wasn't telling me I sucked because he'd read about me in a blog.

I informed him that I only like San Francisco girls because "they're all lesbians!" (I figured as a spammer, he'd enjoy lots of exclamation points.) Then I added that I was his devoted fan. T. Higgins's final e-mail to me was a kind reassurance that nawtee.net had live lesbian cams. Wow! What service! He really put the human touch back into porn spam. E-mailing with T. Higgins made me think about what it was like to shoot the breeze with my local independent baker after spending 10 years buying prefab rolls at faceless, corporate Safeway.

Stick this in your fucking portfolio A very purple flyer that looked like an invite to some sort of techno music event taught me all about "Brand Tech Forum," an upcoming conference in Half Moon Bay where marketing droids from places like Microsoft and IBM and Yahoo! will gather with prominent journalists like Kara "AOL is my love daddy" Swisher to discuss the tempestuous world of corporate brands. Crucial questions addressed will be "Is Your Brand Buoyant Enough?" and "Is Branding Overrated?"

Also, don't miss the breathtaking presentation "Leverage Technology to Leverage Your Brand." Did I mention yet in this column that I hate everything? Well, I think it's time that I leverage my hatred and take execration to a whole new level of branding awareness, opening up my sales channels so that all my customers will be serviced with precisely the right kind of cruelty and disgust.

Learn how to launch distributed denial-of-service attacks Some moronic publishing company has decided that it will raise "branding awareness" for its latest book by buying stupid, unrelated URLs and "linking them together." I'm telling you right now, the only reason why I'd ever visit the (linked! market-savvy!) URLs www.iowntheuniverse.org and www.theultimatechallenge.org and www.thefreespiritchurch.org is to destroy them. That's the kind of day I'm having. They're giving .orgs a bad name. And I need to learn more about hacking.

Of course, if these sites do get hacked, just remember: I've already stated in print that I haven't learned to launch DOS attacks. In fact, what is a DOS attack? Isn't that where you open up the dark place on your Windows box and type strange commands into it like "dir"? Yeah, that's it.

Compulsively visit the Oolong 'head performance' Web site You know you want to do it. You can't stop yourself ... you want bunny porn at (www.fsinet.or.jp/~sokaisha/rabbit/rabbit.htm). Oolong is the insanely cute rodent in question, and he comes from Japan. Start clicking through the links and you'll begin to notice something strange. Oolong's human friend likes to take pictures of him with things on his head. Oranges. Cookies. Dolls. Plants. It's the bunny with a thousand weird objects stuck between his ears. Why? Why? Why? Luckily, there's a special English translation that explains Oolong's "head performance" and why Japanese bunnies don't mind these things, even if American ones do. After a few of these pictures – bunny faces at rest beneath strange fruits – you won't be able to stop looking.

But you may stop hating.

Annalee Newitz (oolong@techsploitation.com who would have a bunny if they didn't eat computer wires. Her column also appears in Metro, Silicon Valley's weekly newspaper.