Off to a bad start today. Spilled coffee everywhere, drenched my new keyboard. But it gets worse: On today’s quarantine report of my primary email account, the one I intend to use for the rest of my life, a friggin’ ecard. Great. Opened it up through Google’s Postini so as not to trip any remote alarm, says it’s from my aunt-in-law, the one who spent at least a week compiling a DVD, complete with menu navigation, of my wedding from all the footage she could collect from everyone who taped some of it, stitching together dozens of clips to assemble the entire long day. Multi-DVD actually. She even got our tango (which we nailed by the way, six lessons).

If it were anyone other than her, I’d be laying down a five paragraph lecture on why giving out any email address, hers or mine, to any such system unless it’s a throwaway – and even then don’t give out my throwaways – is a bad move. But she made the DVD. It’s a serious wedding DVD, she clearly went to town on Final Cut Pro for us. Feel bad enough not to click the link in the email to see the card (as it would confirm to the ecard people that my email address is “a live one”). I assume it’s some Easter thing, but maybe she spiced it up somehow with varying degrees of secularity or maybe it was a garden variety resurrection thing but I’ll never know. Maybe I should just send her back this, can’t go wrong with this:

So Google caught it, great, but now that email is on a list. Why didn’t she just use the email on the domain of our stupid wedding website? Such lists get used, traded and sold. Why do you think these services are free? The only function of those email lists that I can think of is to send unsolicited emails, spam, and of course by nature of things spam exposure snowballs over time. Google’s as good as it gets when it comes to defending you against spam but probably not over enough time from reckless relatives who, though loving and thoughtful, don’t know any better, even after you explain it to them multiple times. I’d really wanted to settle on this email, and not an alias for the family because I’m trying to show off that I’m starting my own company I guess, until the end and for that particular account I’ve got my phone set to light up extra loud than another as it may be work related, can’t really do that if you start getting spam).

This didn’t happen this morning but, Jah forbid, you know about these chainletters? Big forwards? In addition to being worthless, I don’t want my email added to a recursively forwarded thread. So I try in vane, like a school telling kids not to have sex but if you do use protection, to tell them never ever to forward a chainletter, I don’t care what it’s about, even if it’s a haiku about penguin neglect, chainletters are the cancer of the Internet (that’s what I tell them, that they’re spreading Internet cancer) – but if you can’t resist, at least email it to yourself and put everyone else in the Bcc field. That’s apparently too complicated for people who fail to figure out for themselves how to spot a chainletter and come up with, on their own, a reason why blasting out a forward of it in an attempt to dodge bad luck or be unpatriotic is not a contribution to your friends. If this makes me the bitter tech savvy buzzkill of the family, I submit that if you conceptualize this, you’d see that you don’t have to be a computer whiz to figure this out for yourself. C’mon.

Back to my aunt-in-law, I feel this small responsibility to correct her anyway as given that she sent it to me, I can picture her having sent this (and doing it again down the line) to a lot of people. Wanting to avoid burning an in-law bridge over ecards would be to turn my back of what I ballpark to be at least thirty people. Ahh whatever I’ll just vent about it here and move on in life, maybe watch that penguin video a few more times and clean my keyboard. At least it wasn’t orange juice. What should I use, a little water? Is Fantastic ionized?

Doug Simmons

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