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A Note on Sending Me Money (And Getting Stuff in Return)
08/19/2003

So anyway, a few weeks ago, before I knew that I'd have an entire book to typeset, I mentioned to my Web host that the program that sends me email via forms was being accessed without my receiving anything, although the forms appeared to work correctly. The host replied that I would have to change the generic name of the program to something else.

Well, since the book had landed in my lap, I tested the program using the form that subscribes to my column, and it still worked, so I figured I'd finish off the book and then deal with the online problems. Everything appeared to be working, and my schedule was packed enough that I figured I'd risk having some people who had never heard of Timshel Arts be spammed for a couple of weeks.

This morning, I got an email that somebody's server had rejected and returned to the sender, which was technically me, but was really a spammer disseminating a "Wicked Screensaver" that was more likely a virus. Upon seeing this, I decided to go ahead and change all the file names and links involving my form emailer program, only to discover that my host had blocked my order form — the HTML page — which had the same name as the CGI program, but not the program itself. Who knows how many thousands of dollars of orders I've lost! (That's a joke, by the way.)

This functionality of my Web page goes way back to when I was still crawling up the Web design learning curve, as apparently was the tech support guy from my old host who told me not to change any of the names. It's all fixed now, so if you've been itching to buy something from the store but were frustrated by the lack of an order form, here it is.

Hackers and virus-senders and spammers have proven one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt: as humans overcome natural barriers and increase the ease with which amazing things can be done, other humans will volunteer their services to replace those barriers — meaning, to take advantage of those who use the new technology. Who'd have thought, not long ago, that any schmo with a Web page could set up automatic order forms and the like? But scumbags are out there just waiting to ensure that those schmos have as difficult a time as possible.

That's why I support the death penalty for spamming, hacking, and virus sending. Alright, alright, that's a bit harsh. How about just life in prison for hacking and virus sending? And for spammers, we'll do to them the opposite of whatever their lying promotions claim to do. Get rich? We make them poor. Larger genitalia? ...

Posted by Justin Katz @ 11:00 AM EST